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Eleven questions

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I came across these questions from the lovely Hannah J. Holmes in my Reader, and thought I’d give them a whirl because: a) Insta-content! I haven’t gotten around to editing/culling our 700 (no joke) Disney World pictures yet, so that recap will have to wait, and b) They’re interesting enough to give some insight into the respondent without being as tiresome as the usual “A to Z”-type memes. I’d love to see your responses, either in the comments or in a post of your own! Here are mine:

  • Let us begin with the most important matter: Do you like cake? Why or why not? I think the answer here is obvious: it’s half of my blog name, you guys. I am a cake fan, but also a bit of a pie die-hard. In the eternal battle of cake v. pie, I’m going to have to be Switzerland. It doesn’t to anyone any favors to declare the supremacy of one over the other; excellent cake and pie are wonderful, and mediocre/bad cake and pie can bring a party right down. I’m sure there’s an extended argument to be made for crust v. frosting, but it’s too early to contemplate baking and whipping together butter and sugar.
  • Have you ever been to Paris? If you have, tell me about it. If you have not, would you like to go someday? I’m lucky enough to have been to Paris twice. The first time, I was twelve, and was just there for a day (I was visiting family in England, and we did the obligatory Eurostar/bus tour). The second time, I went with GP and his parents, and…this happened. I can’t wait to go back (we sort of have to, right?), but there are many other destinations on the list before we can make a return trip.
  • Given the choice, would you rather go out to eat at a fancy restaurant or stay home and order takeout? Provided that I have something to wear, some cash to spend, and am in good health, I’ll choose to go out to eat any time. This has mostly to do with my predilection for fancy food and dressing up, but also the lack of good delivery food in my neighborhood: our options are limited, I believe, to Indian, pizza, and maybe Thai.
  • Similarly, would you rather go out dancing or or stay home with a warm blanket and a good movie? Here is a poorly-kept secret: I am not a “club” person. Between the dodgy dudes and alarmingly strong drinks made with alarmingly cheap alcohol that I survived as a member of a sorority in college, my desire to be bumped around by a lot of sweaty strangers is nearly nonexistent. On a Friday or Saturday night, the warm blanket and good movie (or even mediocre movie, I’m not too proud to admit) win out most of the time. That said, I wouldn’t rule out a cat-alarming dance party in the living room!
  • What’s your opinion of Ugg boots: cute and comfy or too ugly to meet the sun? As the owner of a legit pair of chocolate-brown Uggs, I’m going to have to split the difference: yes, they’re sort of ugly, but they’re comfy as hell and are basically like being allowed to wear slippers in public. I generally wear them on weekends only, and have a strict set of rules about what they can be worn with (the only pants that get tucked into them are the jegs, and the thought of wearing them with anything but jeans makes me sort of itchy).
  • Now onto the second-most controversial shoe known to man: What is your take on Crocs? While I will admit that, in a moment of pre-Disney weakness, I considered purchasing a pair of Crocs flats (there is a lot  of walking around at Disney World, you guys, and people seem to go ape over these shoes), I stayed strong and resisted the urge. The traditional, clog-type Crocs? Ugly as sin, and only vaguely cute on children. Don’t get me started on the idea of Crocs (which are shoes that have holes in them) as appropriate kitchen footwear, Mario Batali.
  • Do you sing in the shower? The car? The opera house? I hum in the shower, sing my lungs out in the car, and have anxiety dreams about singing in opera houses.
  • Do you have any unusual fears or dislikes? Well, no. Because it’s not unusual to dislike birds, which carry disease and are living dinosaurs. (CREEPY, is what I’m getting at.) I do like them as a design element, but will straight up kick a bird in its face if it comes too close to me.
  • Have you ever seen snow? If so, do you remember your first snow? My first memory of “going to the snow” (which is what Central Valley Okies call it, or at least the ones I’m related to) is probably from when I was about six, and we tobogganed down a medium-sized hill in the lower Sierra. I’ve made up for my lack of early-life snow by marrying a dude who both snowboards and is from a place where it snows in the winter– which means that recreational winter trips include a lot of me staying inside and reading.
  • Would you rather play in the snow or spend a day at the beach? Beach, but only with some sort of shade. I’m not an entirely crazy person, you know.
  • Do you peel your banana the right way or the wrong way (meaning from the bottom or from the stem)? I’m going to have to take issue with the phrasing of this question, because this article clearly proves that the “right” way to eat a banana is from the bottom to the stem. Hence, I eat bananas the right way, but not in the way that this question seems to think.
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30 Before 30

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This will probably end up being its own page (much like my Reading and Cooking pages…if you’re in a Reader and don’t usually click over, you should!), but I thought it would be appropriate to post my 30 Before 30 on my 28th birthday. Celebrations started last night, when my mom and I went to a local “Ladies Night Out,” which mostly consisted of dodging over-Chardonnay-ed white ladies as we browsed Christmas tchotchkes, but also included my first birthday present! Thanks, Mom. Also, thanks for giving birth to me. That can’t have been easy, from what I hear.

And now, without further ado (not “adieu,” as much of blog-land seems to believe)…

  1. Eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant

  2. Take a cooking/cake decorating class

  3. Take three weekend-trips to destinations I haven’t visited before

  4. Complete a 10k (or two non-back-to-back 5ks)

  5. Go horseback riding

  6. Hike to the top of Mt. Tallac

  7. Host a ladies brunch

  8. Send birthday, thank-you, and just-because cards to three friends each month

  9. Have a live Christmas tree in my house

  10. Attend a UCLA football home game at the Rose Bowl

  11. Have a Big Fat 30th Birthday Party

  12. Wear skirts/dresses every day for a week

  13. Fill up a paper journal

  14. Save $10,000

  15. Learn to apply liquid eyeliner well

  16. Watch every Best Picture winner

  17. Watch 12 live performances (musical, theater, etc.)

  18. Take a photo a day for a year

  19. Donate to a charitable organization each month for a year (money or time)

  20. Support local artists/businesses

  21. Adopt and train a dog

  22. Reread six books that I loved as a kid

  23. Teach someone to do something

  24. Learn to knit or crochet

  25. Create and send out photo holiday cards

  26. Eat only non-processed food for a week

  27. Weed my book collection

  28. Develop a signature dish

  29. Visit five local museums or historical sites

  30. Own three “investment pieces”

28 Things I Have Done in 28 Years

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I’ll be 28 tomorrow, and that’s when I’ll share the 30 Before 30 list that I’ve created. (See? I promised lists and…voila! They are ready to be unleashed onto the internets.) While I was making that list, however, I started feeling like it was a little silly to think of all the things I want to accomplish in the next two years without acknowledging at least a some of what I’ve accomplished in the preceding 28. It was an experiment in both reflection and curation, as it turns out that I’ve done more than 28 things…hopefully what I’ve included actually bears inclusion. (As in, yes, “Learned to read” seems basic, but literacy is important, and I really like reading.)

  1. Learned to read

  2. Played the violin

  3. Tasted wine in Australia, Napa, Sonoma, and the Sierra Foothils

  4. Swam in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico

  5. Visited 10 Disney parks in 3 countries

  6. Completed 18 years of formal education

  7. Hiked to the top of Vernal, Nevada, and Chilnualna Falls in Yosemite

  8. Worked as a grocery bagger, a barista, a tutoring center co-manager, a research recruiter, a library intern, and a research assistant

  9. Learned to speak, read, and write in Spanish

  10. Developed a strong relationship with the Oxford comma

  11. Driven a moving truck

  12. Flown first class, internationally

  13. Traveled to seven countries and fourteen states (I’m including D.C., adjust accordingly)

  14. Seen two Broadway shows

  15. Taken ballet and gymnastics classes

  16. Colored my hair

  17. Made bread, ice cream, caramels, and jam from scratch

  18. Explored Paris, London, and New York on foot

  19. Gotten married

  20. Lived in a sorority house for two years

  21. Cooked a meal for my family and used my wedding china

  22. Snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef

  23. Watched every episode of West Wing, Sopranos, Mad Men*, Dexter*, and Friday Night Lights (a couple of these are in progress, and I plan to keep watching, idiotic marriages or M. Night Shyamalan-esque plot “twists” notwithstanding)

  24. Rowed a boat in the Grand Canal at Versailles

  25. Made a latte for Tom Hanks

  26. Eaten at the Chez Panisse Cafe

  27. Traveled by train (Frankfurt to London and Rhinecliff, NY to Montreal)

  28. Read Chaucer in Middle English (with glosses, fine, but still)

15 Small Things and 7 Big Things for Which I Am Thankful

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It would seem that late fall is List Season for me… (I say this with no fewer than three lists in the works. Yikes.)

Small Things I Am Thankful For (in no particular order)

  • Free shipping
  • That I live within walking distance of a family-owned grocery store, a rose-filled public garden, and a library
  • Romantic comedies
  • Amazon Prime Instant, Netflix streaming, and Pandora
  • Waffles on Saturday morning
  • The internet
  • Slippers in the winter, flip flops in the summer
  • The Sharks, the (baseball) Giants, and the (UCLA) Bruins
  • Wine
  • Rosebud salve
  • My Kindle
  • Fresh produce from my backyard
  • Tote bags
  • Board games
  • My food processor, stand mixer, and toaster oven

Big Things That I Am Thankful For (again, no particular order)

  • A family that I not only love, but also genuinely enjoy and get to hang out with regularly
  • Friends who put as much time and energy into our relationships as I do
  • My husband, who is a partner in the truest sense of the word
  • My education, which is ongoing
  • My job, which is valuable and valued
  • My body, which is miraculously able and healthy despite the steady stream of caffeine and couch-sitting
  • That circumstances have allowed me to pursue and protect numbers 4-6
  • The reassuringly-large world, and my reassuringly-small-but-important place in it

Friday, I love your face

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The last couple weeks have been a little trying, health-wise (the in-laws brought a throat-focused ailment to town with them, which left us both with tonsillitis, then I had The World’s Worst Sinus Headache for a couple days this week), but I’m finding plenty of reasons not to completely take to my bed immediately after limping home from work. Among them…

  • An anniversary dinner at a nearby Austrian restaurant, which allowed us to taste some never-before-sipped wines (even beyond the wonder of grüner veltiner!) and sigh over some pretty wonderful spätzle (and, clearly, to have more fun than ever thought possible with umlauts)
  • A flurry of online-purchase shipments, including our now-traditional anniversary album (Yes, two years in a row does a tradition make. That was some weird syntax right there.)
  • Friday Night Lights. I know I’m about five years late to the “I love the Taylors” party, but you guys…I love the Taylors. And Matt Saracen (and his grandma!), and Tim Riggins, but not Lyla Garrity. Sorry, just can’t. Even when she’s getting her locker defaced with lipstick.
  • Christmas music on Pandora. Somehow, I skipped over the segment of July in which I desperately yearn for sweater-and-hot-chocolate weather, but I’m making up for it now– the perfect counterpoint to hours of Powerpoint editing at work.
  • Moccasins, my new iteration of house-slipper. GP has been rocking the moc slippers for quite some time (you’re welcome, dude), but I had been holding out for the right pair…which I found for about $12 at Target. It’s all I can do not to just wear these everywhere during the weekends. Target, you complete me.
  • The beginning of hockey season. Not just because I get to regularly sport this shirt, but because I missed those guys. We have full-season tickets now, so I’ll get to do even more power-play-shark-mouth-hand-signaling. Joy!
Tell me, friends, what’s making your week? Also, here is a picture of me in some Sally Jesse Raphael glasses, taken in Japan. Enjoy!

This is what I would look like if I were a hipster.

Friday, Friday

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There I was, all ready to quote Rebecca Black (yeah, that song is still my jam) and be all, “look, I blogged twice in a week! Throw me a party!” and, lo and behold, there was a novel format. Well, not novel– it’s something that many English teachers at my high school made their students do, though I never ended up doing it. So, I suppose, here’s my chance!

I am from to-do lists, from Post-Its and Windex.
I am from the small, creeping sounds of Sunday morning.
I am from the sand in your car during summer, the flickers of sunlight through the shade.
I am from tables full of sugar cookies waiting to be decorated and uncontrollable giggling, from Yvonne and Noble and Emily.
I am from the impromptu beach trip and the tendency to be just a little bit late, despite my best efforts.

(And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to dinner with the family (including the stepsister, her husband, and their babies), tomorrow my plans include a matinee of Avenue Q and Sunday, I want to make even more plum jam (our tree is a bit out of control)!)

Wanna get in on this? Head on down to Friday Fill-Ins HQ.

2011 resolution check-in, day 163 of 365

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Whoa, hey June. It’s finally decided to act a little more like summer around here, so of course I’m working on my annual list of Summer Resolutions, a fun little corollary to the regular resolutions. What can I say, I’m an inveterate list-maker. Here’s where I am on my regularly scheduled resolutions:

Take more and better pictures
I’ll give myself a B+ on this. We went to Yosemite about a month ago, and I did my best to capture the ridiculous nature that surrounded us. I was thwarted only by the heavy mist on (who would have guessed it) the Mist Trail, and did manage to successfully balance the camera on a couple steady-ish surfaces for some passable pictures of me and GP on our hikes.

Get a grownup, non-intern job
The best part, as I’ve mentioned before, of getting my new job at the beginning of the year is that I know I’ll be able to talk about at least one success every time I write about these resolutions. Yes, I have a grownup job, even though the word “assistant” is still in the title. I’m doing interesting (and, I think, important) work that has only once resulted in being the recipient of a shouted, “Megan, you fine!” shout from across a middle school playground. Yeah, I’ve still got it.

Read 40 books
I’m well on my way– 22 so far! I just finished Wicked today (after having owned it for…oh, four years?) and am getting started on My Fair Lazy. I’ve also got a couple saved up on the Kindle for the trips we’ll be making this summer (yay for not having to pack books!).

Meet a blogger in real life
No dice just yet. I suppose this one is the least under my control, but here’s something: I’ll be in DC for a couple days next week! Anyone want to have lunch?

Try 30 new recipes
I’m up to 20! Made these for breakfast yesterday, and just about died at the bliss of melted butter and cinnamon sugar. You have to make these, friends!

Regularly practice some form of exercise
I’m attempting to be as “regular” as possible with my gym-going, as it is on the way home from work– seriously, I have to pass it on the way to the freeway. On the advice of the nicer-than-I-expected trainer that I met with for a free “fitness assessment” (result: marginal), I’ve started with a little pre-weights cardio and then gone on to weights and my friend, the elliptical (easy on the knees, yo). Yes, this is sort of boring, but it’s working! I’m about twenty pounds below my heaviest, and I’d like to lose ten to fifteen more, but the most important (and, seriously, best?) part is that I feel better. Stronger, healthier, more capable of doing things with my body. (Like climbing mountains in Yosemite. BAM.).

Dinner at the living room (like people) at least twice a week
I’ve sort of stopped keeping track of this, but we’re probably hovering around the twice-a-week mark. What with my later returns from the gym and the beginning of GP’s work-intramural softball season, it’s a little trickier to get all two of us at the table, but I can usually count on the cat to be my dining companion. (Yes, he sits politely in a chair. Yes, I am a weirdo.)