Thursday, September 24, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
- Compliments on my necklace from a stranger and a co-worker.
- Spending a little time with my mom, pop and brother.
- Talking on the phone to my Uncle Lars, Aunt Jan and cousin Kai-- family that I haven't spoken to in far too long but still love dearly. Side note: I may be visiting them in Loomis (near Sacramento) for Thanksgiving. We'll see!
- Lindt hazelnut chocolate.
- Your super sweet feedback on my blog's new look. Thank you, thank you!
Friday, September 11, 2009
I remember sitting in my history class, in shock and horror as I watched the images play over and over on TV. When the towers fell, my stomach dropped. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, that someone could do something so horrible to innocent people. And I wondered what was next.
I remember crying for the people who died, for the people who survived, for the people who witnessed the tragedy first hand—those who rushed in and those who stood by in the smoke and debris, feeling utterly helpless. Having lost my brother just four months before, I knew exactly how it felt to lose someone you loved so suddenly and tragically.
I remember seeing the country pull together in the aftermath and being amazed by how much patriotism and kindness can grow out of such pain. I never saw so many flags in my life. They were on every car window and outside every home.
I remember today that freedom isn’t free. I am grateful for the men and women unselfishly serving in the U.S. military and risking their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect those freedoms that we too often take for granted. Their sacrifice, and their families’ sacrifice, does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
Tonight, I attended the 4th annual Freedom Walk at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. I was covering the event for the paper. It was so wonderful to see that, even after eight years, people do still care and they do remember. And that they continue to support the troops, no matter what they think of the war. It was also amazing to see that of the hundreds who came out to walk, many of those were kids who were just toddlers when 9/11 hit. In talking to them, I was happy to see that even though they did not understand the magnitude of the tragedy when it happened, they understand it now. Their parents and teachers have done a good job teaching them and because of it, they realize the significance of the day and that it is not something to be forgotten.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Growing up, my family was middle class. Some might have even considered us upper-middle class. Either way, we were pretty well off. My parents were able to buy new cars when they needed to. They sent my brother and me to summer camps at private schools, paid for me to take gymnastics and dance lessons, kept my brother appeased with the latest in video gaming technology. We always had big Christmases and birthdays and took summer vacations every year.
Even when my mom quit working (read: lost her job when her company moved and we couldn’t sell the house) when I was in 6th grade, we still lived comfortably. Though we were told that Santa Claus might not bring us as many toys as in years past (to which we replied, much to my mother’s dismay, the jig is up. We know Santa ain’t real), Christmas morning really didn’t suffer that much. But when I was a senior in high school, things got a bit rough. My dad lost his job. And here I was looking to go to college at not-so-cheap universities. In fact, I ended up attending one of the most expensive colleges around (Pepperdine’s tuition costs more than many Ivy League schools). I am extremely grateful to my parents that they allowed me to go to the school of my choice despite the financial hardship my family was experiencing. I don’t think they knew it would be four years until my dad would get another job, or that I would receive zilch in financial aid from Pepperdine or the government. But it didn’t matter. That’s how much they love me. To be honest, the situation makes me feel a bit guilty, all the loans they had to take on for me to get an education, but I am literally forever in their debt (and my own).
Even with my dad’s new job, which he had for the last three years or so, things were a bit tight. And then, the recession hit. And my dad got laid off. Again. Though my mom is working, being a manager at Starbucks doesn’t pay much. The reason I am thinking about all this is because I am now in my own financial crisis. Living on my own, paying my own way, being an adult—it’s hard, even without the national economy in the toilet. But I can no longer turn to my parents for help because we are in the same boat. It is one of those moments where you realize, wow, I really am an adult now. You are talking on the phone with your mom, complaining about having to pay bills and rent and that you don’t make enough money and your mom says, “Me too.”
Sure, they would find a way to help me if I really needed it and was desperate enough to ask. And if we go out to eat, they’ll pick up the tab. But they can’t afford to buy me a new car when my current one breaks down for good (which it will surely do in the near future).
I have never been that good with money. Not to say I am unable to handle my finances but I have been known to miss a credit card payment or two. I don’t follow the stock market, I don’t balance my check book, I don’t organize my receipts, I don’t have a savings account—though not for lack of wanting one, but simply because there is nothing to save. Sometimes money seems to fly out of my wallet! (Do you ever get that feeling?) But really, I didn’t worry too much about all this before. And yet now it seems like all I can think about is money money money. And how I went from being middle-class to living in a state of perpetual poverty, practically paycheck to paycheck (this week especially!).
Perhaps that is not so uncommon for a 20-something just out of college. My question though is, when will things change? When will I again feel like, OK, I don’t have to worry about money? Is that even possible if you are not Donald Trump? I guess what I am saying is my fiscal future looks pretty bleak (Yoo hoo, raise? Where are you??). The optimist in me says, you’re fine, everything will work out. The realist in me sees the expenses mounting—like, how am I going to pay for the trip to Canada that I'm taking in two weeks for a friend's wedding?—and wants to run and hide. AKA, move home where the room and board are free.
Please forgive the ramblings, but this is just what’s on my mind. I am thinking some of you can relate to these thoughts running through my head… Let’s commiserate together.
What did Notorious B.I.G. say? “Mo money, mo problems?” Hmm, I don’t know about that, Biggie. I think I am more inclined to agree with Fergie: “If you ain’t got no money take your broke ass home!”
See more photos here.
Monday, September 7, 2009
2. Your hair? brownish
3. Your mother? loving
4. Your father? supportive
5. Your favorite food? Italian
6. Your dream last night? craziness!
7. Your favorite drink? lemonade
8. Your dream/goal? happiness
9. What room are you in? living
10. Your hobby? blogging? :)
11. Your fear? loneliness
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? fulfilled
13. Where were you last night? home
14. Something that you aren’t? assertive
15. Muffins? banana nut!
16. Wish list item? genie in a bottle, bottomless bank account (oops, I cheated)
17. Where did you grow up? Simi
18. Last thing you did? blog!
19. What are you wearing? boy's pjs
20. Your TV? big and expensive! (I don't really get this question though...)
21. Your pets? Hazel
22. Friends? smiles
23. Your life? complicated
24. Your mood? stressed/tired
25. Missing someone? Marielle
26. Vehicle? Chevy
27. Something you’re not wearing? shoes
28. Your favorite store? Anthropologie
29. Your favorite color? yellow
30. When was the last time you laughed? tonight
31. Last time you cried? can't remember
32. Your best friend? Marielle
33. One place that I go to over and over? starbucks :)
34. One person who emails me regularly? editor
35. Favorite place to eat? Cheesecake Factory (this answer changes by the minute though!)
Friday, September 4, 2009
This outfit is summery and chic at the same time and looks so comfortable—now if only I could afford it! It seems the recession has not stopped Carrie one bit from looking oh-so-fabulous.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Have you ever read a passage in a book that seemed to completely define where you are in your life at. this. very. moment?
That is what happened to me the other night. Bored with baseball, I decided to make good on my promise to myself to read more books. I picked up a memoir that I have been “reading” for quite some time. More accurately, I brushed the dust off a memoir that I was reading months ago but had neglected for quite some time.
(I am slightly ashamed to admit that the memoir I am referring to is Eat, Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I am ashamed because I wrote about my needing to get back to the book in April! My seeming inability to finish the 331-page book is in no way a reflection of its merit. I really do love the book, so far. Full disclosure: I have read to page 119.)
Anyway, I flipped through the pages and opened up to where I bookmarked: Chapter 28. As I began to read, my heart swelled and at the same time, a lump developed in my throat. She is talking about me, I thought. Wait. No. She is talking about herself, but it might as well be me. Maybe its not the exact same situation but it is the exact same feelings. Which, in my book—pun kind of intended—matters more.
From pages 83-84:
“There’s a constant level of closeness that I really need from the person I love . . . But it just destroys me to not be able to count on that affection when I need it.”
". . . but who amongst us lives without sacrifice?
And the question now for me is, What are my choices to be? What do I believe that I deserve in this life? Where can I accept sacrifice, and where can I not? It has been so hard for me to imagine living a life without David in it . . . But how can I accept that bliss when it comes with this dark underside—bone-crushing isolation, corrosive insecurity, insidious resentment and, of course, the complete dismantling of self that inevitably occurs when David ceases to giveth, and commences to taketh away. I can’t do it anymore. Something about my recent joy in Naples has made me certain that I not only can find happiness without David, but must. No matter how much I love him (and I do love him, in stupid excess), I have to say good-bye to this person now. And I have to make it stick.”
This experience of self-identification in the words of another has just reinforced what I have known all along. Read more. Books, that is. Somehow, it makes me feel less alone. More understood. Happier even, to see my life mirrored in someone else’s, to know someone else has walked where I now stand and somehow made it through. And that today, they are better for it.
For me, reading those few pages was like talking to a best friend who knows exactly how I feel and what to say. Kind of like Liz and her Italian-language tutor, Giovanni, who upon seeing Liz break down in tears after breaking up with David says in perfect English: “I understand, Liz. I have been there.”
Quote via Design Crush
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
- Played a round of putt-putt golf at a rundown miniature golf course called The Hot Shot. The fact that the greens were held together with duck tape, pine needles acted as hazards and Cher was playing through the speakers made the game that much more fun—and hilarious.
- Went cosmic bowling at the Bowling Barn and kicked the boy's butt in the first game with a score of 140 (I got two strikes in the 10th frame!). Unfortunately, I must admit that my skills went downhill from there and the boy beat me in the next two games. Still, I'll always have 140 to 114. Boo yah!
- Window-shopped the kitschy boutiques at The Village. Found it easy to resist the urge to buy woodsy souvenirs.
- Took a scenic drive around the lake and through the town of Fawnskin, taking in the sights.
- Introduced Hazel to the lakeshore. She loved it. So much so she became fearless and wanted to jump into the cool blue water from a pier!
- Climbed a mountain. Yes, you read that right. We hiked the Cougar Crest trail. We didn't quite know what we were getting ourselves into. We were told it wasn't that difficult and that it had amazing views. The second part of that statement proved true. But it was challenging because it is all uphill, and steep, rocky hills at that. It took us two and a half hours to complete the 5-mile roundtrip trek but the feeling we had when we reached the top was worth the huffing and puffing!
- Went for lots and lots of walks with Hazel. To the park. Along the Alpine Pedal Path, which hugs the lake's shoreline. Oh, and to the grocery store parking lot because it was the closest place to our cabin that had grass for Hazel to go potty at night!
- Discovered that there is a town called Sugarloaf. Yep. We took Maple Lane to get there. No joke.
- Caught up on my magazine reading. Well, some of it anyway.
- Ate tons of yummy food. Finger-licking good barbecue (We shared a combo plate of pulled pork, grilled chicken, creamy coleslaw and honey butter biscuits). Classic Italian fare (I devoured the Paoli pasta, which is a Alfredo-pesto hybrid named after the popular local eatery). Old-fashioned home cooking at the Teddy Bear Restaurant (I dove into a huge, made-from-scratch turkey pot pie). A late night ice cream cone (cookies & cream) and lots of candy.
- Climbed a mountain. Oh, did I mention that already?