Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thankful Thursday: Back to the Routine

Classes resumed today, and I was ready. I always freak out a little at reading all the lists of readings, projects, papers and exams that I'll be facing in the next few months. It always overwhelms me a little. At the same time, I didn't realize how much I had missed the routine of classes until I got in the car yesterday, loaded up my favorite podcast, and drove to school for the first day of the new semester. It felt comfortable and right. It felt good.

I'm not a newbie anymore. I got through the bookstore in about 20 minutes because I knew how to find the required books. I knew where to find my class. I know where to get cheap refills of coffee in my SDSU mug. I think I took more notes than anyone else in my class (what can I say, note-taking is a gift.)

Sometimes I'm tempted to say that my life is boring, usually at times when it feels routine and predictable. But it's good to remember that sometimes the routine is a blessing, too.

Originally posted at:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pledge 5 for free coffee

Starbucks is offering a free cup of coffee if you commit to 5 hours of volunteering! Click here for more details and to search for a volunteer opportunity near you if you don't already have something in mind.

Originally posted at:

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I never do this much exploring in my own back yard, so I'm exhausted! But I sure had fun wandering around the zoo looking at the animals.

This little guy is such a sweetie, and we had a great time together during his family's visit. Aaron, I enjoyed every minute of our precious time together, and I dread thinking about how much bigger you are going to get before I get to hold and cuddle you again!

Originally posted at:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Happiest Place on Earth

I can't believe my luck at being able to spend two days at Disney with the S family! We rode all the great rides, soaked up the amazing Disney magic, charm and hospitality, and we all left wanting to come back for more (even if Aaron doesn't know it yet!)

Disney offers special rates for Southern CA residents, so I will be returning soon... for $31 (!), I was able to upgrade my two-day ticket into an annual pass! Yippee! Looks like me and Mickey are going to become good friends in 2009.

Here's some snapshots of our adventures:

The spinning teacups... a Disneyland classic!

The Hollywood Tower of Terror is a pretty sweet ride. The first time I went on it two years ago, I was completely freaked out and didn't plan to ever ride again... but a few hours later I was back for more. Mike and I checked it out while Sarah kept Aaron company on some kid-friendly adventures elsewhere.

If you're thinking no one should look this sad at the Happiest Place on earth... you're right! This IS a pretty big frown. This was at the end of the Toy Story ride, which is actually very cool. As you ride through, it's like being inside a video game. The cars have guns on them, and you earn points for hitting targets throughout the ride. I made a face because I lost miserably against Sarah.

Here's the best part of the ride. Disney has strategically placed cameras in the ride, and snaps a photo as you move through the ride. In this case, however, instead of being able to buy the image, you can e-mail it to yourself right from the park. Cool! You can see our scores on this snapshot, Sarah scored more than 3 times the number of points that I did.

So, Sarah, when's the rematch??
Originally posted at:

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thankful Thursday: 1,684

Somebody had to travel 1,684 miles to make this photo possible... that would be my good friend Sarah on the left. Yesterday, she and her family arrived for a week of fun in California. We kicked off the first full day of the trip with a walk on the beach in Oceanside and some yummy In-N-Out Burgers. It's going to be a busy week, and I have a feeling there will be a lot more K*dak moments!

Oh! And I almost forgot... the Sharps actually got the full CA experience with an earthquake included at no extra charge this evening.
Originally posted at:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


[mel-uh n-kol-ee]

- noun, plural -chol⋅ies
1. a gloomy state of mind, esp. when habitual or prolonged; depression.
2. sober thoughtfulness; pensiveness.

- adjective
1. affected with, characteraized by, or shwoing melancholy; mournful; depressed: a melancholy mood.
2. causing melancholy or sadness; saddening: a melancholy occasion.

- ~ - ~ - ~ - - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ -

Whoever said that you shouldn't make big decisions after dark was right. It's cold, and dark, and when faced with something sort of unexpected and on the bummer side of life, it feels like the sun may never come back from the other side of the world, to once again light the day. I'm in the most bizarre state of mind at the moment.

Act 1. Midday, I heard the most amazing bit of news from friends, and was floating along on cloud nine, simply euphoric over our shared good fortune. Tomorrow, I will drive to the airport and there I will pick up these friends who are traveling 1,756 miles across the country to spend their vacation with me. (Conveniently, I live in a highly desirable vacation destination!) I remember when they called to tell me they bought plane tickets, I was ecstatic. Today, to add the most delicious, fluffy, sweet, thick icing on the cake, they called to tell me that a business contact of theirs was sending us - all of us - to D*sneyland. Now you know why I was flying high. Even for a native Californian like myself, this is a delightful treat!

Act 2. I go to work, as scheduled, this afternoon, to find out that this particular job, one of several part time jobs I have, has ended. Yes, it was contract work, so it was on an as-needed basis. No, there were no long term commitments. Yes, this stinks. Yes, this is the third job I've been involuntarily separated from in two years. Yes, for the third time, I was told how terrific I am and that there was no other choice. At first... well, it was OK. Easy come, easy go. But now, my gut has rebelled and there is a gigantic knot of stress in the pit of my stomach.

Act 3. It's cold outside. And dark. And my practical self is arguing with my emotional self:
Practical self: "No, really, the sun always comes up, and it brings with it light and warmth and the opportunity of a beautiful new day. Seriously, it will start to get light in about seven hours, and a few hours after that you're going to forget how dismal life seemed."
Emotional self: "Blegh. Whatever."
Practical self: "Is your glass always half empty?"
Emotional self: "Is your glass always so cheerfully half full? Remind me again why we have to be an optimist?"

Act 4. (I know by now you are thinking this is the part where the nice people with the white jacket are going to calmly enter the scene and there will be an unexplained long pause from blogging, but....) Practical self wins the argument. Emotional self is too darn tired to think about this any more tonight. Conveniently, by the time tomorrow begins, practical self will have been proven right, and will be basking in the sunshine of another new day.

This week in the chronological Bible reading plan is the book of Job, where I read this on Sunday:
"The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." - Job 1:21
With that, I breathe a prayer of praise... and go to bed.

Originally posted at:

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Book: Swapping Lives

A fictional answer to the question, "Is the grass greener on the other side?"

A successful single woman, dissatisfied with her life, makes a trade with a suburban wife an mother who 'has it all' to find out the answer. Through the swap, they learn some surprising truths about themselves and their own lives, and realize that the grass in their own backyard is actually quite lovely. More importantly... it's a perfect fit.

Swapping Lives
by Jane Green
Originally posted at:

Friday, January 2, 2009

To resolve or not?

Happy New Year!


Yesterday, I had a discussion about whether or not to make New Year's Resolutions. In recent years, I've tried to make at least one resolution each year, more along the lines of "things I want to accomplish this year." For me, to say them out loud, or in this case blog them, gives me a self-imposed accountability. I don't ask anyone to hold me accountable, but I feel compelled to live up to my own expectations because I don't like to say I've failed. I also know that if I keep my goals to myself I'm really, really not very good at actually reaching them.

At the same time, I allow myself the grace to adapt expectations to accommodate real changes in my life that make adaptation necessary. Or sometimes, reconsidering a goal is prompted by a new discovery about myself, my motivations for the goal, or the effects of the process to achieve a goal.

For example, I attempted last year to read the entire Bible in chronological order. I tried to do it in 100 days, and I didn't make it. I got almost one-third of the way through the readings when I realized it had become a chore, a mere item to check off my list, and it was no longer meaningful. I decided to take a short break to regain perspective. And... I forgot to go back. I think my motivation for the break was good, and what I should have done was resume my readings at a slower pace so I didn't get burned out again. Lesson learned.

So this year... that's on my list again, but the 365-day version of the reading plan. It will be no less daily, but hopefully not so demanding. That said, I think it will be the hardest to complete... mostly because it will be the easiest to let slide.

So here's the list for 2009:
1. Read through the Bible chronologically.
2. Finish grad school.
3. Lose 30 (+/-) pounds.

This last item is the final stretch of a goal I started in in September of 2007. This one I've been semi-public about, keeping a ticker at the bottom of my blog page. The ticker currently says I need to lose 26.8 pounds, but, well, there were Christmas cookies, and pies, and cakes and so on. Now it's back to regular trips to the gym for me to burn off all those goodies and a few more.

So, are you making resolutions? Do you usually? Never? Just curious to know, not so much what your resolutions are, but if you bother making them at all. Regardless of what you resolve to do... or not to do... I wish you a wonderful 2009!
-- Originally posted at:

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ugly Cake

Otherwise known as a culinary "don't," this was my contribution to our big family party today:

Lovely, isn't it? That's OK. I know it's atrocious. You can laugh. But you can't have any. Despite it's appearance it was quite tasty, so I'm not sharing the leftovers.

So how did this cake go so horribly wrong?

Well, really, the cake itself is not to blame, but as seems to often be the case, it was the glaze that did me in. (If you don't believe me about this being where cakes often go wrong, you really should check out Cake Wrecks, a blog that I read for fun.)

As the cake baked, I whipped up the the 3-ingredient glaze according to instructions. Only it was white, and I thought it would be oh-so-much more lovely if it was yellow, since the cake is lemon. In my mind I imagined my cake would be just as tasty and even more beautiful than the to-die-for lemon cake from C*stco.

So I got out the food coloring paste, only I forgot how potent that stuff was, and my glaze suddenly became a color only a preschooler could love. No problem. Recipes never have enough frosting anyway, so I decided I would just double glaze and not add any more food coloring. Well, obviously that didn't really solve my problem. Too late now. I was out of lemon juice, so couldn't attempt a third batch of glaze.

The cake finally came out of the oven, and only broke a little when I turned it out of the bundt pan. No biggie, that's what the glaze is for, to cover up the little dents in the cake. Yeah, right. This glaze being on the thin side, it hid nothing and instead magnified the dents. And it started hardening kind of quickly, effecting the gloppy clumpy look. At one point the center of the bundt was filled with glaze (remember, double batch?) and I scooped it out with a gravy ladle to drown the outer visible portion of the cake.

Like I said, at least it tasted good. Let's just hope this is not representative of what's to come in 2009.
-- Originally posted at: