Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Impatience and Peace

Thanks to the neighbors, this is the view that greets me each time I leave the apartment. Ah. Breathe. California has some of the most beautiful flowers with the most vibrant colors and it feeds my soul to lay eyes on them everyday. These are the things that keep me from becoming too frustrated in the midst of job searching. I haven't written about my experience in this area and I won't dwell on it now but I'd like to say, if one needs an ego-buster, try job searching. My plan was to move to LA, temp for a few months, add to the savings, travel internationally, come back to the states and look for a permanent job. Things have not worked out as I planned so I find myself making different decisions and re-evaluating my future.

Travel is the piece that is most concerning to me. I've never traveled internationally before and while I'm really nervous about doing it solo, I can't wait to see the world! My thoughts of spending 3 months or more in a culture have shifted to 10 days, anything just to be "there." I've been reading lots of blogs written by various people living in other parts of the world and living vicariously through them. But, perhaps selfishly, I want my own experience and like a two year old, I WANT IT NOW! On more than once occasion, I've come quite close to hitting the "buy" button on a flight to Italy. If only I could guarantee I'd have a job when I got back, I wouldn't mind going into debt over this trip. Of course, there are no guarantees. I just don't want to be one of those people so tied to the pocket book that they don't take risks or follow their hearts because of the "what ifs." I'm not much of a risk-taker, especially when it comes to money, so intentional debt is a difficult choice for me. It feels irresponsible.

So with all the noise in my brain over travel, employment, money, risks, and dreams, I'm grateful for the nature that surrounds me and offers serenity.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Birthday Recap

As kids, my sister and I spent many years celebrating our birthdays together since they are just two days apart. As adults, however, it's been a different story since we haven't lived in the same state since I was in college. And well, that was a while ago. Here it is 2008 and we find ourselves not only in the same state but in the same apartment! And here's how we celebrated our birthdays...

Thursday, April 17th (My birthday)
Thankfully, I was called for my first temp job, a great birthday present in itself, but it was made better by the fact that it was at Reb Bull which meant a relaxed atmosphere- jeans are encouraged! My tasks were quite mundane but it proved to be an entertaining day thanks to a co-worker who seemed to think she had just 8 hours to tell me everything about her life. Luck for me, we ended up having a whole second day to finish her life story since the project remained unfinished. After work, my sister, Melissa, picked me up and took me to Wilshire Restaurant where we indulged by toasting with some Pinot Grigio and sharing a couple appetizers we had never tried before, Hamachi Sashimi and Steak Tartar and followed it up with a couple desserts, Brown Butter Banana Cream Cake and Chocolate Pudding Cake. Oh my stars, everything was fabulous! Including this fun gift (but in black) from Melissa. When I arrived at home, there were beautiful flowers waiting on my doorstep from my dear friend, Michelle. I certainly felt spoiled. Thank you to everyone who sent birthday wishes, it means a lot to me.

Friday, April 18th (Day between birthdays)
Again, we both went to work but then I joined Melissa and several of her friends from work for a Birthday Eve Happy Hour at South, a new restaurant in Santa Monica. These girls know how to do happy hour, it lasted over 3 hours!

Saturday, April 19th (Melissa's birthday)
We slept in, always a good way to celebrate a birthday, and eventually, did a little shopping. Melissa spent the rest of the day with her boyfriend while I cleaned, went grocery shopping, and baked yummy Chocolate Cupcakes with Berry Ganache and Cinnamon Buttercream to be enjoyed the next day.

Sunday, April 20th (Day after birthdays)
Melissa had decided she wanted to celebrate her birthday with wine tasting at some vineyards in Santa Barbara County. Sunday was the day that all of us were available so my parents, Melissa, Erik and I took the 2 hour trip and visited Sunstone Vineyards and Rusack Vineyards. Both were lovely but we all preferred the wine at Sunstone. The coastal drive and the vineyards were beautifully scenic and the tasting itself was fun, as was the picnic lunch we enjoyed in the middle of the day. I look forward to future visits to vineyards and I highly anyone to give it a try, if they ever have the opportunity. Melissa, good choice and happy birthday! Below are some pictures from the day.

Sitting at Sunstone listening to live music.

Tasting some red wines in the second tasting room at Sunstone.

Dad and me in the wine cellar at Sunstone.

Welcome to Rusack Vineyards.

Enjoying the sun while wine tasting. Cheers to Melissa!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


A couple months ago, I posted a blog that included an email I had received from Amy encouraging people to sign up for the 2008 Nike Women's Marathon, a benefit for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Of course, I've written a lot about this event because I participated in it last year. While it was an incredibly moving and powerful experience, I never thought I'd do it again. One marathon was enough, right?

It was 4am on a March morning, I had yet to fall asleep so I gave in and picked up my computer to catch up on email. I had received another announcement about the marathon and remembered how great it felt to be part of such an important cause. Did I want to give it another go? No, that would be crazy. I hadn't forgotten the ice baths, the black toe nails, the pain! Or the honor patients, the moving stories, the laughter, the sense of accomplishment! It would be really great to share this experience with people that I love. This fall will mark 15 years of friendship for me and a group of girlfriends that met freshman year in college. Training and fundraising together for a marathon or half marathon sounds like a great way to celebrate this milestone, doesn't it? Of course not. Who's going to want to spend their reunion weekend running/walking the streets of San Francisco? Well, I sent them all an email titled "10 Reasons To Call Me Crazy" and threw out my idea and recognized that I would likely have a change of heart once I had a good night's sleep. But that was irrelevant because surely, these wise women would shake some sense into me and remind me that we don't get together to run long distance races.

The responses came:
"Call ME crazy but that actually seems like a really neat idea."
"It's actually kind of tempting."
"Ok, I am crazy...I'm considering too."
"I think I'm interested."
"I'm in."
"I'm in, too."

What?! They were supposed to laugh at me and agree that I was crazy and sleep deprived. Instead, every last person responded positively, not committing but agreeing to consider it. Well, it's been about 6 weeks and several of us have already started training and even fundraising as we wait for the official TNT Kick-Off. Currently, 9 of us have committed to the marathon or half marathon, representing 2 countries and 5 states. It's possible that the team may a grow a bit as there's still a few weeks before registration begins in many areas. LA has an early bird registration so I signed up last week making my participation official! I still can't believe I'm doing it again but I'm really excited about sharing it with these dear friends and maybe even a few family members!

I have a goal to raise $3200 before August 1st. As exciting as it is to be partnering with such special people, it will make the fundraising more challenging. I'm up for the challenge so if you have any ideas for fundraising, please share. In the meantime, please visit my fundraising website (website no longer active) and feel free to pass it along to everyone you know and/or add it to your blogs and websites. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.

If you would like to follow the progress of me and my friends, please visit TRAIN RUN HOPE CURE and feel free to comment. We need all the encouragement and support we can get!

Thanks to all who supported me last year and to all who will support me this year. I am grateful.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Art Of Science

Did anyone else not know that moths were so furry? Thanks for this science lesson, Steve.