Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Things That I Accomplished in 2008

This seems like an appropriate post for today (inspired by this post)

1. Completed 33 credits toward by bachelor's degree in marketing (only 27 to go!!!)
2. Visited Seattle twice.
3. Visited Portland for the first time!
4. Went on my first business trip and stayed in a hotel by myself for the first time.
5. Took my first U.S. train ride from Portland to Seattle.
6. Got a raise!
7. Lost 10 pounds
8. Finished reading all of the Bond books by Ian Fleming.
9. Went to Kanye's Glow in the Dark Tour with Jen!
10. Learned how to play lacrosse
11. Baked a pie for the first time (got to cross that off my Bucket List)
12. Bridesmaid in my best friend's wedding : )
13. Started blogging again
14. Voted in my second presidential election
15. Read some really good books.
16. Met a really cool guy who gave me some hope (although he'll probably never know he did)
17. Went to Vegas for the first time since I turned 21.

I'll have to see if I can find my list of resolutions for 2008.

What did you accomplish in 2008?

Best of 2008 in the architecture world

This is actually a really cool list, especially since it doesn't include anything built in Beijing this year : )

Working for an architecture firm has really increased my love for modern art (which is what I believe good architectures like this is).

This one is my favorites--I love the re-use of an old dock to create a modern office building. I always love good contrast.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My mom requested that I post this

I got this recipe out of an issue of Real Simple magazine a few years ago, and it's one of those really easy, tasty recipes that I make all the time. So, here you go, mom!

Chili-Rubbed Salmon

1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds skinless salmon fillet (4 pieces), 4 skinless, boneless chicken-breast halves, or 2 pork tenderloins, halved (1 1/2 to 2 pounds total)
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a bowl, combine the chili powder, oregano, and salt. Pat the spices on the fish or meat. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes per side for the salmon, 8 to 10 minutes per side for the chicken, or 15 minutes per side for the pork. (Reduce the heat if the spices begin to turn black.) Divide the fish or meat among 4 plates.
Yield: 4 servings

NOTE: I actually use all of the spices above on one peice of salmon (instead of four) from Costco which I cut in half to serve myself for two meals.

Monday, December 29, 2008

I'd like to find someone who thinks this.


I think I'll watch this when I get home from the gym tonight.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter Break To Dos

Here are some things that I hope to accomplish over Winter Break:

1. Get back into the habit of eating healthy & working out regularly.
2. De-clutter my entire apartment, starting with my bedroom.
3. Finish Pullman's "His Dark Materials" Trilogy
4. Go ice skating at least once.
5. Get a new pet for my fish tank.
6. Do all of my winter seasonal cleaning.
7. Cook out of my CIA books!
8. Check out Summit with Jen & Karl.
9. Visit somewhere new every week.
10. Find some good thrift/vintage stores.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Reno: Dreamer's Coffee House

Ahh...I am so enjoying the lack of homework and daily lectures. I did absolutely nothing of any consequence on Saturday, and while I would have liked to continue that into today, I did actually need to get some things done. After reading in bed for the better part of the morning, I finally got myself ready and headed down to this cute little place called Dreamer's Coffee House (I stole this picture off of the Downtown Makeover web site. Every time I walk down the river, I always think to myself, "I should check that place out sometime." Well, today I needed to review and compare some contracts for a new project that we're starting up at work, and I thought that this would be the perfect time to check Dreamer's out. I was not disappointed! I had a Cafe Au Lait, and it was great--I hate that at Starbuck's I have to order a "misto" when I want a Cafe Au Lait. I also ordered a half sandwich later for dinner (good thing I ordered the half--it was huge!), and it was pretty good. I was kind of in the mood for a hot sandwich, so I think that I would have been a little disappointed no matter what I had ordered. Over break, I'm going to try to visit a new place in Reno every week to see what I find. : )
One of the cool things about Dreamer's is that it's in the bottom of the old Riverside Hotel which is now the Artist Lofts, so they have a bunch of local art for sale up on the walls (and, to my surprise, some of it was actually reasonably priced). There was also an interesting mix of people going in and out. The guy working at the counter told me that the space used to be a subsidiary casino where Frank Sinatra and his crew used to hang out back in the day. That's kind of cool--I forget that Reno does actually have some interesting history.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Daddy's Girl









My mom dug up these great pictures of my dad and me circa 1985-86 when we were living over in Germany. I just love them.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My Hero: C.S. Lewis

I recently gave a presentation for one of my classes on my heroes, so I thought that it would be kind of fun to post a new one everyday. If you follow my blog at all, some of them will be very obvious.

The term hero is very subjective--it means something different to everyone. I found two great quotes that helped me define what exactly a hero is to me.

The first comes from Emerson (one of my favorite sources for quotes): “The youth, intoxicated with the admiration of his hero, fails to see that it is only a projection of his own soul which he admires." The people whom I admire have the characteristics which I would most like to see in myself.

The other quote that I found is one of my old favorites from Elizabeth Drew: “The test of literature is, I suppose, whether we ourselves live more intensely for the reading of it.” To me, a hero is someone whose life makes me live more intensely for knowing of it.

C.S. Lewis was a very obvious choice for me, and the first person who entered my mind. Lewis is the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, The Space Trilogy, and The Screwtape Letters among many others. These books are some of my favorites--I have read them and re-read them a few times over the years. When I was a child, my parents read The Chronicles of Narnia to Jackie and I at least twice. I didn't realize it at the time, but those books became an integral part of my identity. The archetypal themes of good and evil, heroes, courage, and right and wrong are all themes which you will probably see relfected even in my choice of heroes. I believe that these books helped to (over)develop our imaginations which kept my sister and I entertained for hours upon hours of our childhood.

In high school, I was introduced to The Space Trilogy which changed my life to some degree. These books came to me at a time when I had started to think of the world in a different light. I was taking a Physics course. We were studying Einstein's Theory of Relativity and I was started to think about the ideas that I had seen in Madelein L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time and Lewis's Space Trilogy. Is time travel possible? Are there other worlds and universes out there?

I respect Lewis a great deal as a writer. I admire his creativity. What must it be like to have such worlds spinning around in your head? He was also very wise and had a well-developed sense of humor, both of which can be seen in his writing and in his many quotes (which of course I love).

Another element of Lewis's character which I admire is his intellect. He was an Oxford scholar, and a close friend of J.R.R. Tolkein. The two were members of a literary society known as the Inklings, who valued narrative fiction (my favorite genre) and fantasy literature. I love people who discuss ideas.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis:

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.

Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.

Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.

(Okay, I couldn't choose just one...)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Why You Won't See Me Until 12/18

Say It In Six Presentation (12/08)
New Shoes Logbook (12/11)
MKT 316 Final (12/11)
MGT 323 Note Sheet (12/11)
MGT 323 Final (12/11)
FIN 301 Cheat Sheet (12/11)
FIN 301 Final (12/11)
MGT 325 Take-Home (12/14)
MGT 321 Final Project (12/15)
MGT 321 Take-Home (12/15)
MGT 321 Final (12/15)
FIN 301 HW 9 (12/16)
MGT 325 Final (12/17)

yay!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

I Need Me a Suga Daddy



make sure that you watch it all the way to the end : )

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Weekend Project: Organize Closet

















































































Yay! I finally organized my closet. As you can see from the top "before" picture, I desperately needed to do this chore. I still need to get a bulletin board to put up on the wall by my jackets and handbags that I can use to hang my necklaces on. I would also like to figure out some way to hang up some of my scarves to have them more visible and available. What is it about organizing some little part of your life that gives such a sense of peace and accomplishment?

P.S. - Can anyone tell me how to fix the spaces between the images in this post?

Friday, November 28, 2008

7. Bake a Pie




Add Image

For Thanksgiving this year, I volunteered to bake a pie since I hadn't crossed No. 7 off of my list yet. My colleague, Kathy, gave me the pecans from her Aunt's tree down in Texas. Jackie helped me shell them, and I just might be the worst pecan-sheller in the world. But, the pie still managed to turn out fine--I didn't even get a chance to take a picture of the final product because I forgot my camera when I went down to my parents' house this weekend. The pie crust recipe made enough for two pies, so I'll have to make another one sometime this week...I'll let you know how it goes. : )

P.S. Sorry for the poor image quality--I'm still learning how to use my camera...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Bucket List

1. Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
2. Ice skating at Rockefeller Center.
3. Go back to visit all of the places that I have lived.
4. Run a marathon.
5. Go to culinary school.
6. Be the best at what I do.
7. Bake a pie. (11/27/08)
8. Spend New Year's Eve in Times Square.
9. Flip a house.
10. Skiing in the Swiss Alps.
11. Spend a week at a spa with my girlies.
12. Wine tasting in Napa Valley.
13. Visit Greece and Italy (cruise?).
14. Set up a scholarship fund for young women looking to find a cure for dimentia or diabetes.
15. Have a syndicated column.
16. Write a novel (children's?).
17. Work for something I believe in.
18. Go on a cruise.
19. Work on a project with Donald Trump.
20. Attend the winter olympics.
21. Go to a game in Yankees stadium. (8/2/07)
22. Knicks game in Madison Square Garden.
23. Rangers game in Madison Square Garden!
24. Yankees vs. Red Sox (5/8/10)
25. Attend fall Fashion Week with my sisters.
26. Graduate from college! (12/5/09)
27. Get my MBA or Master's in Marketing.
28. Get a PhD in American literature.
29. Washington D.C.
30. Boston (5/5/10-5/9/10)
31. Chicago
32. Philadelphia
33. New York City (8/1/07-8/8/07)
34. Ireland (3/14/09-3/17/09)
35. Egypt
36. Notre Dame football game
37. Syracuse lacrosse game
38. Cherry Blossom Festival in D.C.
39. Seattle
40. Own a little piece of land
41. Read through the "College Bound Reading List"
42. Oxford - Eagle & Child Pub (3/26/09)
43. Go on a safari in South Africa
44. Bungee jumping
45. Brazilian
46. Get a puppy and train her.
47. Spend a month living in the French countryside.
48. Do a better job of keeping in touch/staying close to my family.
49. Prague
50. Meet Martha Stewart
51. Take the train from Reno to Denver.
52. Moscow (yay furs and communist modern architecture!) and St. Petersburg
53. Alaskan cruise
54. Grand Canyon (backpacking/camping trip?)
55. Mesa Verde Cliff Dwellings
56. Israel
57. Paris
58. London (3/19/09)
59. Attend a Presidential inauguration
60. Prince Edward Island
61. St. Patrick's Day in Dublin (3/17/09)
62. Australia and New Zealand
63. Rio de Janeiro
64. Fall in love (I don't know an exact date...)
65. Visit every baseball park in the U.S.
66. Become fluent in at least one other language
67. Start my own business
68. Rose Parade
69. Cook my way through an entire cook book
70. Have a baby
71. Go to Spring Training
72. Read through all works by C.S. Lewis

Let me know if you have any ideas for things I should add!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"Brunch"

I find it amusing that Jen and I go to "brunch" on the weekends at 9 or 9:30 in the morning. It's really breakfast (I'm pretty sure that brunch is really a 10:30-11 affair), but it's so much girlier to call it brunch I suppose. This morning, we hit up the Stone House Cafe which I had never been to before, believe it or not. It is an adorable little cafe. I can't wait to visit again when it's warmer outside so that I can sit outside and enjoy their beautiful patio. I had the chorizo omelet (which was amazing) and Jen had the french toast with a side of corned beef hash (most of which ended up going home in a box for Karl). The service was great (the hostess complimented me on my sunglasses) with the exception of our waitress who was a tad bit on the witchy side. But, hey--I would be if I had to work with people before 10am on Saturday morning, too.

I also got to talk to Jess today! She is having a great time over in Cambridge--I can't wait to go visit her (*fingers crossed*)! I need to go into Verizon and see if I'm going to get charged like mad for these international texts & calls...

Friday, November 21, 2008

If

by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Next Phone

The Blackberry Storm.

Thank you to Blackberry for letting me have my cake and eat it, too.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Decline of Democracy

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Feeling Nostalgic...

...and I have been since A called me out of the blue about a month ago. I had a dream about my grandmother that night, and I decided to use my free plane ticket from Southwest to go visit her this summer. There's something about Autumn that makes me so homesick for Michigan. I wish that I could go visit right now while the leaves are still turning colors, but I'll have to wait until summer...I need to make sure that I enjoy this summer as it will be my last as a student (!). I feel so restless right now. I feel like I'm "in between" but I don't want to live my life like I am. If I had my druthers, I would just pick up and move to Seattle right now, but I need to wait it out one more year and finish school. : (

Sometimes I wonder whether I'll ever end up back in Michigan. I really love it there, but could I really be happy living in a small town like Plainwell or Kalamazoo? What would my career possibilities look like? I do so want to live in a place where the seasons change...

Maybe I'm just feeling antsy and restless because I've been living in this area for four years now...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I Complain About School a Lot...

But today was a really great day at school. In one of my hated classes, Interpersonal & Organizational Behavior, we had a really amazing guest speaker today (who also happened to have a very cute assistant). His name was James P. Owen, and he wrote a book called Cowboy Ethics. I realized that this is what I am looking for in school--inspiration--and that is what Mr. Owen unsuspectingly gave to me today after I took my final midterm (yay!).


Owen is a Wall Street veteran, and he spoke to our class today, as he put it, "from the heart." He feels that the biggest problem in American business today is that there is a complete lack of morals. The country's motto has become, "What's in it for me?" Growing up, Owen's heroes were cowboys, and he says that he's never grown out of that which is made clear in his beautiful book. The cowboy is an iconic part of American culture (which was mocked incessantly by my horrid CH 203 professor last semester). Owen feels that the "Code of the West" is what makes cowboys so respectable--they live by an unspoken code of honor, integrity, and humility. In his book, he outlines "Ten Principles to Live By." Those ten principles are:

  1. Live each day with courage
  2. Take pride in your work
  3. Always finish what you start
  4. Do what has to be done
  5. Be tough, but fair
  6. When you make a promise, keep it
  7. Ride for the brand
  8. Talk less and say more
  9. Remember that some things aren't for sale
  10. Know where to draw the line

I know that I could stand to work on a few of the things on that list. Why don't professors have more guest speakers in their classes? Mr. Owen was great--he gave each of us a free copy of his book, and when I went up to thank him after class, he signed it for me. : ) I'm really excited to read the book--it was very encouraging to hear a successful businessman speak about many of the things that I hold near and dear. I do long for the days when "a handshake was as good as a twenty page contract." This class today got me excited about business school again--I am going to be able to make a difference in the world someday. If you want to check this book out, you can borrow it from me once I'm done, or you can buy it here. Besides being full of good words, it is full of beautiful cowboy pictures which makes it a great coffee table book. : )

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Starbucks Gold Card

Now, you all know that I am absolutely addicted to Starbucks. I go nearly everyday while school is in session. So, imagine my excitement when I got an e-mail yesterday letting me know about the Starbucks Gold Card (which Kimbra already told me not to buy for myself because she wants to get one for me). I am super excited about this! I was excited when Howard Schultz took over at Starbucks again and started the whole share your ideas for how to make the Starbucks experience better thing because I knew that the company would actually listen to the ideas that the customers put out there. I'm enjoying the changes being made at Starbucks, and I hope that the company can continue to grow (I know, evil corporations and all, but I'm in business school).

Anyway, more about this Gold Card. It's already being tested in Denver and Vancouver, B.C (do you have one yet, Bex?). It costs $25, and it's supposed to give you 10% off most purchases (with the exception of gift cards and digital downloads). Here are more of the perks:
  • A personalized Starbucks Gold Card signifying your Gold status
  • A Gold Card dividend – 2% of what you spend on your Gold Card comes back to you, or is donated to a non-profit organization each month
  • Coffeehouse rewards – like special discounts on Family & Friends days
  • Surprise indulgences – like something special on your birthday
  • A members-only website to manage your account

I like to see companies changing and diversifying their strategies over time in order to survive. Starbucks really is a great corporation to study for business purposes. : )

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dinner with Jen

I have always been very blessed to continually have at least one amazing girlfriend in my life. Right now, I have three, and I am so thankful for them--I hope that they know that! It's always nice to have friends who seem to be able to read your mind. Sometimes it's nice to have someone to force you to be truly honest with yourself.

On my way home from class this evening, I called Jen with the intention of conning her into going downtown to Jungle Vino to have an Espresso Martini with me because I wanted to put off studying as long as possible. Instead, we ended up planning to have dinner at Blue Plate down because neither of us had tried it yet. After crossing the street in 4.5" heels, I discovered that they were only open for lunch with the exception of Greek nights on Fridays. I then crossed the street again after Jen and I agreed to have dinner at the Cheese and Wine Seller which I discovered was only open from 10-4. Honestly, for wine and cheese? Ten 'o clock in the morning?

After two such heavy letdowns we decided to walk down the street to Blue Moon for some pizza. That's one more thing that I love about my girls--we're so flexible with our plans. : ) We ordered a red wine called Menage a Trois for $3.75 a glass, which was actually decent! We also ordered the Teriyaki Chicken pizza which was amazing--I just wish that they would use a lower sodium teriyaki sauce because it was a little bit on the salty side. I know that I always say that Pub 'n Sub is the best pizza in Reno, but if you're in Reno and you're hungry for some pizza, give Blue Moon a try. I really love the atmosphere (they also have a patio), and I really love California Street. Next time we go, Jen, we can try the Thai pizza, k? : )

Monday, October 20, 2008

Yogurt Making Attempt #1

I woke up this morning and went directly to my fridge to see whether my yogurt had set while I was sleeping. To my great disappointment (however, not to my suprise) it hadn't set at all. I wonder what I did wrong. I think that before I try again, I'll go and buy a candy thermometer so that I can follow the directions properly. Here's what I did--I would love some input from anyone who has ever made yogurt before! Do I need more fat in the process? Maybe my $1 garage sale yogurt maker just isn't working properly.

1 quart nonfat milk
1/2 cup powdered nonfat milk
1/2 cup Greek nonfat plain yogurt

I heated the milk and the powdered milk over medium heat until just before it was going to start boiling, then I let it cool down to luke warm (about 20 minutes). During this time, I plugged in the maker so that the base could start heating up. Once the milk was luke warm, I mixed in the yogurt. Then I poured the mix into the little yogurt maker cups, placed them in the yogurt maker, covered it, and let the machine sit undisturbed for 8 hours. Anyone have any tips?

P.S. I heard Christmas music playing in Borders today. Is that legal? I thought that they had to wait at least until after Halloween...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rachel's Baking?

So far, I've had a very productive Sunday. I woke up, got ready, and headed down to Starbuck's to read a couple of chapters of my current pleasure reading book, An Irish Country Village by Patrick Taylor. I'm finally starting to get into it, and it's due back to the library tomorrow. I'm going to try to check it out again so that I can finish it. I sat out on the patio and read--I'm trying to take full advantage of these last few weeks of weather warm enough to allow for that.

When I got home, I decided to tackle my weekend projects that have gotten backlogged due to midterms. I started off with my first attempt at using my new yogurt maker (new to me--I bought it at a garage sale for $1). I didn't have a candy thermometer, so we'll see how this batch turns out. I also finished my glittered pumpkins, but alas, I have no batteries for my camera, so I will take some pictures of them tomorrow. They really are beautiful at night with soft light glowing around them. My project for next weekend is to carve pumpkins with Jackie. : )

I also made my favorite fall breakfast food: Pumpkin Cornmeal Muffins. I make these every year because they are so perfect for the season. They smell amazing while they are baking! I heat one up in my toaster oven every morning and my whole apartment smells like pumpkin spice and coffee. Mmmm... : ) You can find the recipe here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Reflection

by Kate Chopin

Some people are born with a vital and responsive energy. It not only enables them to keep abreast of the times; it qualifies them to furnish in their own personality a good bit of the motive power to the mad pace. They are fortunate beings. They do not need to apprehend the significance of things. They do not grow weary nor miss step, nor do they fall out of rank and sink by the wayside to be left contemplating the moving procession.

Ah! that moving procession that has left me by the road-side! Its fantastic colors are more brilliant and beautiful than the sun on the undulating waters. What matter if souls and bodies are failing beneath the feet of the ever-pressing multitude! It moves with the majestic rhythm of the spheres. Its discordant clashes sweep upward in one harmonious tone that blends with the music of other worlds--to complete God's orchestra.

It is greater than the stars--that moving procession of human energy; greater than the palpitating earth and the things growing thereon. Oh! I could weep at being left by the wayside; left with the grass and the clouds and a few dumb animals. True, I feel at home in the society of these symbols of life's immutability. In the procession I should feel the crushing feet, the clashing discords, the ruthless hands and stifling breath. I could not hear the rhythm of the march.

Salve! ye dumb hearts. Let us be still and wait by the roadside.

This was the very last page of a book that I just finished reading: The Awakening and Other Short Stories by Kate Chopin. I love good writing. I wonder if anything written today will be sitting on bookshelves next to Dickens and Austen and Lewis and Lee fifty years from now.

This was a beautiful story--all of them were beautiful, actually, but especially The Awakening. I think that I found myself identifying with Edna on a certain level--fitting in, and yet not fitting in. Finally reaching that defining moment that breathes life into your own life. Here is my favorite quote from that story: "At a very early period she had apprehended instinctively the dual life--that outward existence which conforms, the inward life which questions." Read it; I know that you will love it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Just Do It

Nike was onto something big--I wonder how many times the 20-year-old slogan is used a day without any reference direct reference to shoes? Maybe I'll come up with a history making ad campaign someday...

I'm feeling a little bit stressed about everything that I have to do this week, so I'm going to make a list:

1. Periods 4-5 Log Book I actually ended up doing too much work for this. Good to know...
2. Finance Midterm Part I
3. Read for Legal Environment
4. Finance Midterm Part II Yay! I aced that exam!
5. MGT 321 Midterm I only got to turn this in because Alex saved my life.
6. Packing list
7. Pack for Vegas!

Monday, October 6, 2008

One of Many Flaws

I've been criticized by some of my peers for being naive about people and human nature when it comes to my political stances. I don't think it's really naivete, but rather, hope and optimism. I believe in people--I want to see them live up to their potential. As Maslow put it, I'd like to see everyone reach the self-actualization (but I don't want the government holding everyone's hands along the way).

I'm not planning to get too political this month, but I got this quote in my e-mail today, and it made me realize part of why I am so wired to love democracy (really, I love the republic, but that's hardly feasible at this point):

"Democracy is…the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people." (Harry Emerson Fosdick)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Scary Topic: Education in America

Tonight, I got to sit through two hours and forty-five minutes of the one class on my schedule this semester that I don't hate: Legal Environment. Shocking, I know. The professor has set the class up to run according to the Socratic method, which falls in line with the idea that those who do the most talking in a class are the ones who do the most learning. I love class discussion and debate--that is how college should be. Actually, this class is set up exactly as I believe college classes should be set up--we have two exams and two papers due over the course of the semester.

As we were discussing the Constitution tonight, I noticed a familiar quote by George Washington on the back of my little booklet. "A primary object...should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing...than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?"

This is why our government is failing. Tonight, our professor showed us a news article that stated that only one 1 out of 1000 Americans can state the five liberties granted to us in the First Amendment, but 1 out of 5 of us can name all five of the main characters of the Simpsons. Years ago, did all of the Communists left in the country after McCarthy's witch hunts become teachers in the United States? Did they get together and decide that instead of teaching children their great American heritage and instilling in them a sense of nationalism they would teach that white America always has been and always will be the devil, and that as a nation, we should be running around with our tails between our legs chanting peace and change and kazoo? I know that educators in this country tend to lean pretty far to the left, but I am definitely not saying that they are Communists. Just so that is clear. It makes me excited to see my friends like Jen and Kimbra becoming teachers. I know that they will be beacons of truth in this storm.

I am very proud to be an American. It excites me to live in a country where the press is not censored, where no dictator rules without checks and balances, where no one is evaluating our talents and determining our careers for us, where people can say the name of God without fearing for their lives. I also love free markets and elections.

I realize that this country isn't perfect, but at least we have the right--and the obligation--to change those things that need alterations. I don't want my grandchildren to wake up someday in a world like that of Bellamy's Looking Backward. But, if we don't educate the younger generations in the "science of government", how are we to expect good strong leaders to rise up to run our country. Perhaps this is the very reason that we are in the midst of such a heated election right now.

Now, I need to get back to studying for my exams...

In case you were wondering...the five liberties granted to us in the First Amendment are: religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. Of the Simpsons, I can name Homer, Marge, Lisa, and Bart.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My name is Rachel, and I love to read.

I've been in a bad mood all week (I realize that it's only Tuesday) about my classes, so I am going to take a moment here to dwell on something more pleasant.

I have always loved this quote from You've Got Mail:

"And it wasn't that she was just selling books, it was that she was helping people become whoever it was they were gonna turn out to be. Because when you read a book as a child it becomes part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does…"

I really believe that. I remember my dad reading the Chronicles of Narnia to my sister and I when we were children. We would beg him to read the next chapter (and being the little daddy's girls that we are, we were usually successful) so that we could find out what happened next. Why is it that chapters always seem to end at a moment when you absolutely must know what comes next?

I think that reading those books as a child did play some role in helping me become who I am today. When I was watching Prince Caspian in the movie theater this summer, I felt that I connected with the characters and the story on a deep level--it made me want to evaluate who I am now and who I am going to become. It reminded me of when I snuggled up next to my daddy all those years ago. What did I think about then? Was it just the story? Did my parents intentionally read us that particular series in order to help us learn what it means to have honor? Were they trying to teach us that our actions have consequences? Were they trying to teach us that good can triumph over evil? Did I understand that when I was seven years old? Or did I just recognize a beautiful fantasy story? Regardless of whether I understood it then, those lessons have had a lasting impression in my life. People can call me conservative or old-fashioned or whatever they like, but I refuse to accept a relative point of view. I enjoy archetypes, and I believe that good can triumph over evil, but the good must exist in order for that to happen.

Someone somewhere along the line said that each individual should read the Chronicles of Narnia three times in their life: as a child, as a young adult, and as an old man. I think that's probably true. I need to finish re-reading them so that I can check "as a young adult" off of the list. I'll leave you with another favorite quote of mine by Elizabeth Drew: "The test of literature is, I suppose, whether we ourselves live more intensely for the reading of it."

Monday, September 29, 2008

Identify

Kimbra and I are so in love with this song (we listened to it on repeat for the entire 3 hour trip up to Santa Barbara one November). She just showed this video to me, and I think that it is amazing! I need to move Stigmata to the top of my Netflix queue.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A little glitter never hurt anyone...


With this change of the season, I have really been feeling the urge to create. I'm quite faithful to visiting the Martha Stewart web site on a daily basis, where I found the fabulous glittered pumpkins mentioned in my last post. Well, Friday after I got off work, I headed over to Michael's to pick up the supplies that I needed (which was everything, as I am not much of a crafter). Michael's is a dangerous store for me--I spent over an hour in there walking around picking things up. Fortunately, I was able to exert some self-control and left spending only about thirty dollars.

For a study break tonight (I have midterms this week) I decided to make the glittered pumpkins. I cannot believe how easy they were to make. They are absolutely stunning! I noticed that a girl posted on the article that she was going to use these for her wedding centerpeices. I am filing that away in the back of my mind (I've always wanted to have an Autumn wedding) because these are so beautiful and elegant! I can't get over it--I'm so excited about how easy they were to make! I bought three little pumpkins at Trader Joe's today, and I only bought two different colors of glitter, so I'm going to have to stop in at Michael's again and get a third color--I think that I'm going to go with brown. I'll take a picture and post it on here as soon as I get the third pumpkin done.

If you're in love with Fall as much as I am, you should definitely try making these. Now, my project for next weekend is to make
Pumpkin Cornmeal Muffins for my neighbors. : )

Friday, September 26, 2008

Changing Seasons

I have always been very in tune to the change in the seasons. That is one reason that I love Michigan so much--I love the very dramatic seasonal changes that take place there. Those who know me know that Autumn is my favorite time of year, and I look forward to September 22 each and every year. I watch You've Got Mail as I take down my summer lanterns, string lights, and potted flowers to replace them with leaf garlands and pumpkins. I'm going to try to make these glittered pumpkins from Martha Stewart this weekend (while I'm not studying for my midterms).

There is something about Autumn that is so inspiring to me. It makes me want to fall in love. I love the crispness in the air, the colors in the environment, the smell of burning wood, pumpkins, warm spicy drinks...and of course, the fashion. I love scarves and light jackets and sweaters and new makeup and haircuts. Maybe it's the formality that is introduced back into our lives. Summer has never been my favorite--carefree and laid back has never really been my style. I love the structure of new class schedules, and I really love football season. I love apples, pears, grapes, broccoli and sweet potatoes (which are all in season now!). I just love everything about this season...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Highway Robbery

I pay a whole lot of tuition every semester, and then on top of that, I have to spend nearly the equivalent of my tuition in books. Of course, this semester, every single one of my texts is the brand new 2008 edition (one of which is a first edition that has not even been printed yet). So, there's $200.00/book/class. Five classes, and there's another $1000 out of my empty pockets. Here's something that is really starting to bother me. More and more of my professors are moving to use the textbook publisher's websites for creating and submitting our homework assignments. Of course, this costs each student roughly $30 per class per semester. Why do professors think that this is okay to do? I am already paying my professor to teach me and to grade whatever homeworks/papers/exams that he assigns. Why am I now also having to pay an extra $30 to make it so that he just has to select (instead of create) the homework assignments, then have the computer grade them automatically? This seems like an expense that he should be paying out of his own pocket, seeing as it makes his life easier (and lazier) and has no real benefit to me whatsoever? I am really irritated by this, and I think that I'm going to have a talk with the dean of the Business college to discuss this. I still need to talk to him about my non-English speaking Statistics II professor, anyway. I do love being a student, but I am really over it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Another First Day of School

Today was my third to last first day of undergrad classes! Okay, so maybe that's not really so exciting, but I can't believe that I only have three semesters left *fingers crossed*. I only had one class this evening, which I think that I'll appreciate throughout the semester. I know about one-third of the people in my class, and they're all pretty cool, so I think that it's going to be fun. Tonight's class was Effective Business Writing, and the professor had us take a 5-page grammar quiz before she let us leave 45 minutes early. The quiz covered punctuation placement, choosing between their/there/they're sort of words, and spelling commonly misspelled words. Why are we taking this in a 300-level management class? It was a bit on the insulting side. But, what can you expect from someone who let us out early because she had an early morning flight to Denver where she is going to be a delegate at the Dem convention?

So, I started what I believe is going to be another amazing book today: The Awakening by Kate Chopin. I think that Mrs. Chopin was a truly amazing storyteller. And of course, it is local color and naturalist literature, so this book is bound to rank high on my list of favorite novels. : )

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Another Perk to Being a Student...Still...

Besides free football tickets and $60/semester gym memberships. What more could I really ask for, right? Well, just in time for all of the back-to-school shopping that I'm not doing (I have to buy a bajillion dollars worth of textbooks this semester), I'm finding out about all of these great student discount offers out there. Last night, Jen informed me (apparently for the second time) that J. Crew gives 10% off of your order when you present a valid student ID. Jen, they also give 15% off to teachers with a valid ID, so you need to hook that one up! You can find out more information about J. Crew's discount policies here.

American Apparel recently e-mailed me to let me know that if they could validate my student ID, I would get 15% off any orders that I placed by the beginning of September. I gave them my student information, and they validated it and sent me my discount code in less than 24 hours. Pretty sweet, considering all of the basics that they stock, including a really great cardigan, scarf, and lined tights that I'd like to buy sometime this fall.

I'm going to milk this whole higher education thing for all it's worth. Now, if only Riverside would start giving student discounts on movie tickets...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Summertime And The Livin' Is Easy

There's something about the dog days of summer and the sense of community that it awakens within me. As the days get warmer and warmer, people spend more time outside and more time with their doors and windows open which gives little glimpses into their lives. I can hear what my neighbors are watching on television, what music they're listening to. I can hear the carnival-esque music from the Mexicans' parties at the venue next door wafting up to my little patio. I can hear which ringtones my neighbors have selected to express their personalities. I can hear the musician neighbors down the street playing their jazz when I drive by in the evenings. It makes me think of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and the days when people would move their mattresses out onto the patio to get some relief from the oppressive heat. I think of summers spent back in Michigan at Grandma's house when the neighbor kids and my cousins would come over to play softball or roller hockey in the street. My Mom was telling me that one of her fondest memories of her summers growing up was to lay under my grandmother's huge walnut tree and watch the clouds. Maybe there's something to being poor and finding diversion and pleasure in the most simple things.

So often, I feel that I was born into the wrong time.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Reunited with My Dear Old Friends

I went home last weekend to avoid the company picnic and to help my mom clean out my brother's room before he got home from summer camp. I took full advantage of being at home, and I did my laundry and washed my car (of course, it rained while I was driving home). I came away with the usual groceries that my mother sends me home with. This time, my mom surprised me with something even better than free food: the missing box of all of my favorite books! I have been searching for this box for about 2 years now. She found it in an obscure corner of the garage. I am so excited! It contained the hardcover copy of Julie that my mother gave me, as well as The Phantom of the Opera, To Kill a Mockingbird, Mere Christianity, my dictionary, and some miscellaneous beloved textbooks from my time at Biola. Some of those were books from my Bible credits that I didn't read for the class, but for some reason, I held on to them knowing that I would probably want to read them in the future. Well, the future is now because lately, I've really been craving reading something spiritual. I think that as soon as I finish the Bond books (I only have two left!), I'm going to start on Mere Christianity. I really love books. I have a constant desire to read as many books as possible before I leave this world, and yet, I constantly find myself revisiting my old favorites. Why is that?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Bachelorette: Season Finale

Boy, was I wrong! After my last post, I was certain that DeAnna was going to end up with Jeremy. I knew that Jason was out--there was just something about him that didn't quite click. Yes, he was very romantic and his son is adorable, but he was also kind of a little kid in some ways. I can't put my finger on it, but it just wasn't there. The game that he made for her was really cute. So, when DeAnna sent Jeremy home, I was pretty sure that she was going to end up with Jesse (or make a huge mistake choosing Jason).

I was surprised to see Jesse getting so far in this whole thing. After all, he was the guy who met her in his pink shoelaces. However, the more "we got to know him", the more I liked him. He is strong, fun, genuine, caring--he's just an overall nice guy. He's totally into her, and as DeAnna's sister pointed out, he's very exciting. I love that he said he would take Mr. Pappas with him to get his hair cut to an acceptable length. : ) I think it's great that he's not like any guy she's ever dated before. I love how nervous he was about asking her to marry him. I'd imagine that guys are nervous enough when they pop the question and they know what the answer will be. He was asking her to marry him with the very real chance that she would say no to him.

They look so happy together--I hope to find someone someday who makes me look at them the way that she looked at him when he was proposing. Well, I don't have anything more to say about Jesse & DeAnna. I don't understand why I like this show so much, but I can't wait for the next season!

Monday, July 7, 2008

So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around?

I've been walking a lot lately--partly to save gas and partly for the sake of walking. I was walking down to the movie theater over the weekend, and I walked past a house that could have been right out of Macon, Georgia. As soon as I saw it, I thought to myself, "That is be Boo Radley's house." It made me want to re-read To Kill a Mockingbird. Maybe I'll borrow it from Valerie next time I go home. Maybe I'll just buy a pretty copy of it for my personal library.

I've been in a very literary mood lately. I think that I can narrow the source of that mood down to influences in my life right now. The first is one of the books that I am reading: Winesburg, Ohio. I've been reading through the "College-Bound Reading List" (to which my sister snickered), and this is one of the not-so-well-known little treasures that I have found during this process. It is a collection of short stories, maybe vignettes, about different people who live in this little town in Ohio. The stories are about people and their personal struggles--they tell me why those people are the way they are. This writing style has just captivated me. Here are a few quotes that I love from this book:

"Within him there is a secret something that is striving to grow."

"If you are to become a writer you'll have to stop fooling with words," she explained. "It would be better to give up the notion of writing until you are better prepared. Now it's time to be living.

I don't want to frighten you, but I would like to make you understand the import of what you think of attempting. You must not become a mere peddler of words. The thing to learn is to know what people are thinking about, not what they say."

The second source is all of the walking that I've been doing around Reno lately. I love walking around cities. I notice so many more details. There are some really beautiful buildings in Reno. I also notice the way things smell. I love watching the people walking around downtown. It's definitely an interesting mix.

***I'll take a picture of that house and post it later. I still need to get my camera fixed, but it's going to cost me $60. : (

Friday, June 27, 2008

Free Book Download from Oprah

Here's something that my amazing mother e-mailed me about. You can download Suze Orman's new book, Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Own Destiny from Oprah's web site through 5pm today. Here is the link. I've read Suze's The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, & Broke, and I swear by her advice for the most part. She's very practical (not telling me to stop going to Starbucks) and gives great advice for taking care of business. I recommend this book for everyone, and I'll probably start buying it as a graduation gift for high schoolers. I wish that I would have read it over the summer between my high school graduation and my first semester at Biola. I could have saved myself a lot of heartbreak. So, the short of all of this is: my mom is great, and you should read Suze Orman's new book with me (for free)!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ken Lee - Bulgarian Idol

Gotta love translations. People argue about lyrics in English all the time even when they actually speak the language.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Bachelorette: Week 5

Yay! Twilley is finally gone! I don't have anything against Twilley, I just didn't understand why she kept him around. I would have kept Fred and let Twilley go. He's just a little bit off, and I never saw any real connection between DeAnna and him.

Sean. Okay, if you watched the pre-show where DeAnna "Tells All", you know that Sean is obsessed with his body. He has a sauna in his house where he burns off water weight. He also has a tanning bed in his home. I can't remember where I read this, but I feel like it may have been Dear Margo: a man who spends too much time in the gym is compensating for something. No, I'm not talking about that, but I feel that when guys spend too much time in the gym, there is usually something lacking intellectually, socially, or maybe they just have a blah personality. Now, lifted trucks and lame pimped out cars--those are signals that they are compensating for something in a more tangible area. Sean seemed like a really nice guy, he was just a little too intense about everything. He seemed very sweet, but I'm sorry--I don't want to live one street over from my mother-in-law--especially if my husband is a momma's boy. Also, I have a problem with people who live in big houses just to live in big houses. That's what I love about Ed Begley, Jr. But, the right girl might even him out a bit.

I'm going to say it again--DeAnna picks the greatest dates! Quadding in Palm Springs? Amazing! I need to get my brother and sister to go out on my Dad's quads with me next time I go home. I'm not as much fun on quads anymore, though--I'm still a bit skiddish since that time that I almost bit my tongue off after going off that one jump. I'm pretty sure that I had a mild concussion, and I set my alarm to go off every hour throughout the night. My favorite date so far (that I can recall right now) is the one-on-one she took Jeremy on. Dinner at Frank Sinatra's house! That would be so amazing! I loved her dress, I love that he got into crooning Sinatra karaoke style with her, and I loved the dancing out under the stars by the pool. That's one thing that I will be looking for in a man now--someone with enough charisma to put on some Sinatra and dance with me.

I am really looking forward to the hometown dates next week. I really like Jesse, but I just don't see them together. I kind of feel like she's going to end up with either Jeremy or Jason. Graham is a little too iffy for me right now. I'm kind of leaning toward Jeremy right now, but was she fighting with him on the preview for next week?

Monday, June 16, 2008

How to Cure a Case of the Mondays

Go to Pub 'n Sub! Teague recently informed our little group that pizza is also half price on Monday nights. Since we had our little margarita & taco party on Friday night, we decided to have a Pub 'n Sub "make-up" today. I really love Pub 'n Sub. It's always fun to have a regular thing that you do with your core group of friends. Friends had the coffee shop, How I Met Your Mother has McLaren's, we have Pub 'n Sub.

After Pub 'n Sub, Karl and Jen talked us into going to see Kung Fu Panda at the Drive-In in Sparks. That movie was bad. I loved Ratatouille and Meet the Robinsons, but Kung Fu Panda is a good movie for adults to avoid. Maybe kids will like it, but they shouldn't. It's pretty dumb (sorry, Jen). However, the Drive-In is a cool venue, and I would love to go see another movie there!

I had my first Operations Management exam today. We'll see how that went. I should have studied a little more. Oh well, this professor reduces your lowest exam grade to a 50% value instead of a 100% value, which will help out a lot if I do poorly on any of the exams.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

I went down to Carson this weekend to hang out with my Dad for Father's Day. We didn't do anything big (sorry, Dad--I'll try to make up for it next year). We got up and went to church. Since it was Father's Day, I agreed to go to the 8am service. : ( I got to hear the "new" youth pastor speak for the first time, which was cool. After church, we stopped at Raley's and bought some cinnamon buns (Dad and Matt's Sunday morning tradition). Later in the afternoon, us girls (mostly Mom, though) grilled some burgers for a yummy late lunch.

It was a nice, relaxing day. I have the greatest father. He has always shown me that he loves me. He has always been there for me when I needed him, even when he was frustrated with me or when I let him down. I am so thankful to have such a wonderful Dad. This picture is from a few years ago when our family took a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame.


P.S. - As of this weekend, my brother is taller than me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Bachelorette: Week 4

It's getting harder and harder to see some of these guys go. I was really sad to see DeAnna say goodbye to Fred--I really liked him a lot. I also liked Brian a lot, but I see why she let him go. I don't think that he did anything wrong--I like guys who hang out with the guys and whose lives don't revolve around girls. I take after my Mom in that area--she always says that was one of the reasons that she was initially attracted to my Dad. : )

Poor Fred--she just has more of a connection with Graham and Jason and Jeremy and even Jesse. He sounds like a great guy, though. Chicago, huh...?

Now, let's talk about Robert. Who is this guy? "I took my ex-fiance out on a helicopter, blah, blah, blah." As that would be very romantic, he couldn't really afford it. He had to charge it all to his credit card. It seems so fake for some reason. I liked Fred's most romantic date so much better. I guess most guys don't understand that, while we do want to be swept off of our feet, we don't need really extravagant things. We need to know that we're loved.

Anyway...I am so glad that Robert is finally gone. He was way too into himself. Now, I just can't wait until she gives Twilley the boot. I'm sorry, but I just do not like him. At all.


P.S. - DeAnna comes up with the coolest date ideas. Car racing? Nice...

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Hey everybody, come see how tan I look!

I'm on a roll--I had another great weekend! My weekend started off on Thursday when Jen and I went to Kanye West's Glow in the Dark Tour (where we met up with Sabrina and Nicole). Then, I only had to work 5 hours on Friday, and I headed down to Carson right after work to celebrate Mom's birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM! We had an amazing barbecue dinner of surf 'n turf, grilled corn on the cob, and green beans followed up by a spice cake that my little sister spent all day making (she even made the applesauce to put in the cake). It was a fun night. I have the greatest Mom in the world.

Saturday morning, I rolled out of bed and headed down to the salon for a a haircut and eyebrow waxing. Getting my eyebrows waxed is one of my favorite things in the world. It makes me feel so much prettier so instantly. It's amazing! After the hair appointment, my amazing mother hemmed a dress for me to wear to Joe and Kathy's reception which took place Saturday night. They had the reception in the new addition to the Peppermill. Kathy looked beautiful, the food was great, and it was a lot of finally meet all of the people that I hear so much about, including her mother.

Sunday morning, I woke up to "The Joker" (my dad was calling me. : ) Unfortunately, I had a little snafu with a deposit, so I couldn't fill up my gas tank to head up to Truckee for my brother's last lacrosse game. I started reading a new book for a little while when I got another phone call inviting me to go up to Sand Harbor to hang out for the day. It was the perfect day at the beach. Jessie took a little break to hang out with us for awhile on the beach. She also helped us break into Jen and Karl's car to steal Jen's purse. : ) Jen thought it was funny (right?). Jen and Karl happened to be up there with a client at the same time, so we met up with them. We borrowed their kayak and paddled around the bay for awhile. We found a trap in which someone had caught some beautiful little rainbow trout (which is illegal, so we released them). We headed home, and I spent the evening watching How I Met Your Mother and cleaning my apartment before my first summer class starts up tomorrow. : ( So far, this is turning out to be a great summer!

Friday, June 6, 2008

That's how we roll...

Jen and I are so gangsta. We went to Kanye's Glow in the Dark tour last night. More to come...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Bachelorette: Week 3

Are we down to 9 guys already? I just want to express how relieved I am that DeAnna sent Ron home last night. Mr. "She Didn't Reject Me, She Just Chose Other Guys". Uh huh... He was way too much drama--he seemed very immature. What's up with all of this confrontation and calling Jeremy out on whatever it is that they're calling him out on. What happened to the good old days when guys just dueled to solve these problems? Now, they're just getting into silly little cat fights.

I was really sad to see Richard go home. I really liked him. Doesn't he look kind of like a handsome cartoon character? He's really sweet, and a really great friend, but if the chemistry isn't there, it just isn't there.

I love how the teasers for this episode made it look like DeAnna was ticked when Jason told her about his son. I thought that was kind of weird--she doesn't seem like someone who would really mind that much. I like Jason, but he seems a bit odd to me. I can't quite put my finger on it, though. Maybe I'm just wondering if he really has a life outside of his son. Does he have hobbies and interests, or does he just work and take care of his kid? Regardless, that was probably the coolest date ever. I would love to be picked up by a helicopter to go up to a really cool observatory to have dinner and star gaze for the entire night.

Jeremy is hot, but he is so not my type. He seems like kind of a sissy boy to me. I really wish that she could get to know Brian better--he interests me. I also really like Fred. Jesse is cool, but I just kind of doubt that DeAnna will choose him in the end. And...I agree with Ellen (whoa!). Graham probably won't be around much longer. I've moved around a lot, too, and still have managed to have two relationships that lasted longer than 5 months.

Does anyone know why all of this season's episodes are two-parters?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Summertime, and the livin' is easy...

I'm really enjoying this summer. It's nice to be able to just go do whatever because I don't have any pressing deadlines. I don't have a ton of homework looming over my head. So, today, I headed up to Sand Harbor to visit Jess. We walked along the nice little boardwalk that they've put in along the beach and read all of the historical signs. We did a little bit of rock climbing, and we checked out the Visitors Center which has a lot of cool little maps and displays talking about the history and all of the environmental issues at Lake Tahoe. Then, we all headed down to South Lake and finally found a place to have dinner: McP's Irish Pub which is right at Stateline. I had a Philly Cheesesteak (I know, but I haven't had one since I was at Biola), and it was SO good! But, Jess and I decided that next time we went out for dinner, we should just split something. I would definitely go back there. I also tried a new beer--the Black Diamond Hefeweizen, which was also very good and from Walnut Creek, surprisingly. After dinner, we drove over to Regan Beach and swung on the swingsets at this cute little park right on the beach. There used to be a little ice cream/burger shop right in the park. It reminded me of Dean's back in Plainwell, but it was all boarded up. I'm not sure whether it's closed for good, or still just hasn't opened for the summer season. After we got cold at the park, we searched South Lake for a candy shop, but the only one that we could find was closed. : ( BTW--if you're ever looking for a candy shop, there isn't on in Montbleu. After the failed candy shop search, we decided to head home. When we were driving back to Sand Harbor to get Jessie's car, we saw a beautiful Tahoe sunset. Jessie said that Tahoe sunsets are probably the most beautiful in the world. I'd have to agree.

What a great weekend!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Thomas Creek Trail

Today, I went on a 14-mile hike on the Thomas Creek Trail which runs through the Mt. Rose Wilderness area. It was beautiful! I can't believe that I've lived in Reno for almost 2 years now, and I've never even been up to that area. I'm so glad that I'm finally starting to just do things. At what was the midpoint of our hike, we stopped at a pretty little spot by the creek where there was a perfect log for sitting on while we ate our lunch of salami, smoked cheddar, crackers, apples, and carrots. There were a lot of aspen trees right along the stream where we stopped, and in that little area, people had been carving initials and dates in the aspens for quite awhile. We didn't look too hard (we were pretty tired), so the farthest back we found was a carving from 1931. It's really cool how the tree scars around the carving. This carving from 1961 was my favorite (I'll post the picture when I get home today). I love how bold and bubbly it is--it seems very 1961 hippie to me. My friend was telling me about all of the tree carvings up in the Ruby Mountains. They were left by Basque sheep herders and they date back to the 1800s. I guess these carvings are a lot cooler because the Basque would also carve pictures and dates into the trees. Here is a cool web site that tells the history of Basque Ranching Culture.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Movie Review: Sex and the City

Jen, Jackie, and I headed down to the movie theater an hour before the movie was supposed to start because we didn't want to take any chances. We knew that the show was sold out, so we wanted to make sure that we got good seats and were able to sit together. It was kind of funny to see all of the girls dress up for a movie. I think that dressing up to go to Sex and the City is the same as dressing up to go to Harry Potter, Star Wars, or Pirates of the Carribbean: it's silly, and a little bit weird.

Don't take your boyfriend or husband to this movie--it will be awkward. There is sex in the movie just like there is in the show, only this time, it's on the big screen. I didn't think that they would include that in the movie--for some reason I didn't think that it would be allowed. So, that was kind of shocking. But, the story line is still amazing and true to the show. The fashion is AMAZING (of course)!

Go see it! That's all I'm going to say about it. : )

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Because, occasionally, you spot a good one...

Spotted 5/29/08 on the drive to work:
That Which the Good Lord Giveth...The BLM Taketh Away

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Summer laziness sometimes makes me feel guilty...

"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time." ~John Lubbock

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Bachelorette: Week 2

Okay, so I wasn't liking "I'm Greek" Eric so much anymore--I'm kind of glad that she gave him the boot. I feel bad for saying this, but I'm also glad that she got rid of the "Christian" football player. It's cool that you're a virgin, but why do people have to make such a big deal about it when they are? Maybe it's just me, but whether or not we're virgins doesn't come up with my friends until we're good friends. It's kind of private. Also, if you're a Christian, why are you going on a show to meet a girl whom you know is probably not a Christian? I just don't understand the inconsistency there... He was super uptight, too.

I'm really bummed that she got rid of Chris from Dallas and kept Twilley. Twilley is weird. He talks too much, and he seems incredibly insecure. And, Chris is way cuter than Twilley.

I'm not really sure how I feel about Graham anymore, either. The beach date looked like fun, and he seemed nice enough. But, he doesn't seem very interesting. We'll just have to see. I'm loving Jeremy--gotta love a guy who can hit 6 home runs when everyone else hits one or two. He is also hot! We'll have to see how he plays out. If he really lost the push up competition on purpose in order to keep some of the animosity at bay, I think that was a smart move. I'm also liking the snowboarder a lot more. I liked it when he sat down with DeAnna after winning the push up contest (with 98 push-ups!) and talked about wanting to be home with his kids making them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

I'm interested in seeing how DeAnna reacts when Jason tells her about Ty, his 3-year-old son. I'm also kind of liking Ron, the divorced guy.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Recipe: Black Bean Breakfast Burrito

Here is a really yummy vegetarian breakfast burrito recipe that I got from Fitness magazine. It is easy to prepare in the morning, and it's very filling!

Ingredients:
1 egg
2 egg whites
1/4 c. canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 T. salsa
2 T. shredded low-fat cheese (I used a 4-cheese Mexican blend)
1 small whole-wheat tortilla

Directions:
Scramble eggs, black beans, and salsa and cook over low heat. Fill tortilla with egg scramble and sprinkle cheese over the top. Enjoy!

Happy Memorial Day! Enjoy your day off, and don't forget to remember our veterans.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Movie Review: Iron Man

Since I was down in Carson and spent most of the weekend alone, I decided to go see Iron Man. I have never read any of the Iron Man comics, and I had no idea at all what the plot line was going to be, but it looked good in the previews!
I really enjoyed this movie--I was exhausted when I went, so I was a little worried about staying awake through the entire movie. But, there was no need to worry about that as this movie seemed to fly by.

Tony Stark is on top of the world--he has "more money than God" and smarts to give Einstein a run for his money. As the head of Stark Industries, the arms manufacturer, he heads out to the Middle East to demonstrate his new Jericho missile. After the demonstration, the military envoy that Tony is with gets attacked, and Tony is taken by the enemy. While being held hostage, Tony's cell mate, Yinsen, performs a surgery on him and places some sort of magnet (or something, I don't really remember) into the middle of Tony's chest to keep the shrapnel from penetrating his heart and other vital organs. This is obviously his Achilles' heel and is later used against him by his enemy. Why is Tony being held hostage? The enemy (who happen to have an arsenal of Stark weapons) wants him to build one of his Jericho missiles for them. Instead of putting such a weapon into the hands of terrorists, Tony uses the materials that they supplied to build the Iron Man suit which gets him out of the terrorist camp. He ends up in the middle of the desert and is rescued by a military helicopter containing one of his best friends, Col. Rhodes ("Rhodey").

When Tony returns to civilization, he is a changed man. He announces at a press conference that Stark Industries will no longer make weapons, which obviously creates quite a stir. Tony basically holes himself up in his lab and begins to make a new and improved Iron Man suit that he can use to defeat the enemy. His trusted assistant, Pepper (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) is one of his only friends, and she begs him not to put himself into such danger. He says something to the extent of "I have to."

Definitely go see this movie! I'm loving all of the comic book movies that have been coming out. I loved Superman, loved Batman, and now I love Iron Man. I'm really looking forward to The Dark Knight coming out this summer. I gave this five stars for "loved it" and I'll probably end up buying it. : )