Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Pastime

Over the last month I temporarily switched my love for cupcakes to a love for something else: sugar cookies! I think I've probably baked about 15 batches over the last 4 weeks... no lie. I had been looking for the perfect sugar cookie recipe and I finally found it! It's delicious and easy and it makes soft sugar cookies so I'm happy.

I think the thing that made me keep going is that I baked these cookies with my friends. I baked some with Valeria and Jonathan, Colleen, Jessie and the boys, Corrie, Mary... It's been so fun to bake with people! I wish I could start some sort of ministry where I just bake with people, taking the time to have quality conversations and bake delicious things.

Anyway, I love this recipe. I love baking. And I especially love baking with friends. (If you're in need of a quality sugar cookie recipe... mine, or the one I found, is below. I've made it so much that I now know it by heart.)
Sugar Cookies
2 sticks room temperature butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Set the oven for 375 degrees. Cream the butter and gradually add in the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla. Mix in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Let the dough chill overnight (about 4 hours is suffice). Roll dough out about 1/4 inch thick and cut cookies. Bake at 375 for 6-8 minutes.


Vanilla Frosting
3 sticks room temperature butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cream butter. Gradually add powdered sugar until smooth. Add vanilla (make sure to do this last to avoid clumps.)

Friday, December 25, 2009

White Christmas!

Gary Lezak ("famous" Kansas City meteorologist) reported earlier this week that we haven't had more than an inch of snow on Christmas Day since 1962. This year is our year! We got a beautiful white Christmas (about 8 inches of snow!) It's kind of a fun feeling knowing that it is Christmas day and that we are completely snowed in.

I love it. I love the snow. I love Christmas. It's been a great day!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

College Grad.

Things have been crazy since I left for Columbia last Thursday for graduation until today. I haven't taken a time to slow down and soak in everything. Here I am now. I am a college graduate from the University of Missouri. Craziness.

College was an incredible experience. I am thankful for so many things that shaped me and made college amazing. What I am most thankful for:

-My friends. Especially those who I met my freshman year and I'm still close with today. My family came into town for my party and then graduation and they all kept talking about how nice my friends were. It's true.... I have the coolest friends in the world.
-My Bible study. This contains many of the people mentioned above but man am I thankful for my Bible study. A lot of the girls have been around since freshman year and know my junk better than most. I've had two of the coolest leaders ever: Colleen and Sara. They are incredible women.
-Veritas. Veritas kind of became my identity at college. I gradually got more and more involved until it was all I was doing: and I'm happy with that. It shaped me and grew me and gave me a place to belong.
-Kaldi's. You wouldn't think working at a coffee shop would be that great of an experience, but it was for me. I love the people I worked with, I love what I was doing, I love just Kaldi's and its atmosphere in general. And I never knew how much I loved to bake until I started working there. My friend Emily said, "Working at Kaldi's kind of changed your life, didn't it?" She's right.
-The Haslags. My last semester I had the privilege of living with Sara and Joe Haslag. They opened their house to me for free and gave me a home and it was an amazing semester. Sara's love and generosity and Joe's bad jokes but genuine care poured over me constantly. God gave them a vision to love on college students and I feel like I was the lucky one who got to receive a lot of it.

I'm going to miss Columbia. My friends, my Bible study, Veritas, Kaldi's, the Haslags... and more. What great memories though... Now onto Kansas City. :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Graduation Present

For graduation, my parents gave me a Canon Digital Rebel XSI and I love it! I have SO much to learn but I'm enjoying it tremendously already. Luckily I got it around the holidays so that people don't get annoyed that I'm taking so many pictures...

Like I said, I still have so much to learn but here are some of my favorite pictures that I've taken after having it for a few days.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Holy cow.

Tonight was an experience I'll never forget. I went out to dinner with my old roommates/best friends from college: Valeria, Megan, and Sarah. It was a great dinner... I couldn't have thought of a better way to spend one of my last nights in Columbia. Meg had to leave to babysit so Sarah, Valeria, and I headed back to my place (the Haslag house) to have a chill evening watching Julie and Julia.

We walked in the door to a dark house... I headed toward the living room where I turned the corner and was surprised by 20 or 30 of my favorite people in Columbia... my parents even came! The funny thing is that I had been helping Sara decorate and bake over the past few days for what I thought was an open house that she was having tomorrow... Turns out the party I was helping prepare for was my own!

I have never been so surprised in my life. My instant reaction was tears. (To be honest, I'm crying right now as I'm writhing this...) I have never been so overwhelmed with love and thoughtfulness in my life. Normally I love being the center of attention but having all those people there just for ME just blew me away. I don't deserve a celebration so special... but I am so humbly thankful.

Thanks to Valeria who I'm told was the mastermind of the whole thing. I don't deserve a friend as great as you, V. Thanks to Joe and Sara who worked so hard decorating, cleaning, baking, and hosting. Thanks to everyone else for coming and celebrating... I couldn't have asked for better friends...
(My Bible study... I LOVE these girls.)
(My parents made the drive... so special!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

To Do When You Graduate

I just returned home from taking my last college final. I'm finished with college! I know... I could go back and get my masters or maybe I'll even go to culinary school, so I may not actually be done with school... but as for now... I'm done!

Over the last few months I've been been formulating a list of things that I want to do after I graduate. There's been this sticky in the upper left hand corner of my screen entitled "To Do When You Graduate" that I add to every time I want to do something but don't have the time due to school. It's not a very impressive list... actually a lot of the things are kind of silly and frivolous. But I'm pretty excited to get working on it. Here it is:

To Do When You Graduate:
-Read the Harry Potter series
-Watch some Wes Anderson films
-Read the Chronicles of Narnia series
-Learn how to play the guitar
-Visit my cousins Marc and Dana in Sublette, KS
-Visit my cousin Brad at K-State
-Watch some classics like Gone with the Wind (I also want to read Gone with the Wind)
-Starting watching some TV shows that everyone seems to like: Glee, Modern Family, maybe even The West Wing
-Oh yeah, and... Get a job

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Animated Movies.

I love the good ol' Disney animated movies. I'm not talking Toy Story, Finding Nemo animated... I'm talking people had to draw out every single frame animated. My favorites are The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin... I grew up on those classics. I love the characters. I love the singing. I love the princesses. I love the morals. I love it all...

Needless to say, I'm pretty excited for the upcoming movie The Princess and the Frog. It's going to be great! Yes... I'm 22 years old and almost a college graduate, but you better believe I'm going to go see that movie.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Colm Mac Con Iomaire

As I mentioned a few days ago, I went to see The Swell Season in concert. Glen Hansard, the lead singer and guitarist for that band, used to be in a band called The Frames. But The Frames also now make up the majority of The Swell Season. A guy named Colm Mac Con Iomaire (quite the name, eh? He's irish...) who was in The Frames and plays violin for The Swell Season also is doing his own, solo thing and makes some quality, quality music. He played a piece at the concert on Monday and it was incredible. There is a video below, and it's from the actual concert that I was at which is pretty awesome.

It doesn't really matter what band, name, or whatever this guy is... Overall his music inspires me to change the world. I don't know how... There aren't even lyrics to his music. It just makes me feel like I can do anything. I hope it has the same impact on you.

Again, his name is Colm Mac Con Iomaire. Check him out.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A little bit of Christmas!

As many of you know, there are many wonderful things about living with the Haslags... They have loved on me so incredibly much this semester... more than I could ever deserve. I've learned so much from their generosity, hospitality, and kindness...

Yesterday Sara loved on me yet again with a fun surprise... She bought be a cute little Christmas tree! It's so fun! I love it... I was saying yesterday that it never really feels like Christmas until you are officially home for Christmas break... but having this tree in my room has put me in the Christmas spirit a little earlier this year.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thankfulness...

Tonight at Veritas Ryan gave a talk about how thankfulness shouldn't just take place on Thanksgiving day. We are created to worship and be grateful for everything God's given us. That's what we will be doing in heaven and that's what we should be doing here on Earth. It was a good reminder of how I don't deserve anything... and when I get that in my head, I will be so much more grateful for what He's given me. Anyway...

He showed us this clip of a comedian on Conan O'Brien who was talking about how ungrateful we are these days. It's pretty funny... and so true. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Swell Season

Tonight I went to a concert of the band The Swell Season. I've always enjoyed The Swell Season but if someone were to ask me my favorite bands or what kind of music I listen to, honestly, I don't think The Swell Season would even come to mind. But not anymore... After tonight's concert, they have moved WAY up on my list of favorites. It was one of the most powerful concerts I've ever been to.

I think the reason why this concert was soon good was because if I were to ever be in a band, I would want to sing music really similar to theirs: male and female lead with lots of amazing, intense harmony, driving acoustic guitar (but still some quality electric), some strings, a variety of fast and slow. It's exactly the kind of music that I would want to create.

There were many things about tonight's concert that I enjoyed and would want to incorporate into a concert of my own someday. A lot of them are random, but I kept a list in my head so I thought I'd go ahead and write it down:
1. They sang a song sitting on the ground. I don't know why... but that was fun to me.
2. The lead guy played a some completely unplugged: no mics, no amp, nothing. Just singing passionately at the top of his lungs.
3. They encouraged the crowd to sing along... in harmony.
4. They were more genuinely thankful for their fans than any band I've ever experienced. They came across as so sincere and humble.

Anyway... it was a great concert. It definitely inspired me musically. Below is a video of probably my favorite concert of the concert "High Horses." The end gets a little intense but I think it's pretty stinking amazing!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Traditions.

Thanksgiving is a big deal in my family. We are a family of tradition... so much in fact, that years ago we started a list of traditions. Each Thanksgiving weekend, we make it a point to continue the traditions. Some are obvious (e.g. eat turkey, give thanks) and some are more obscure. Some are from when we used to have Thanksgiving at Grandma's and some are new now that it's at our house. Some traditions are retired after they are no longer in effect and new traditions are considered an official tradition after taking place three years in a row. These are what make Thanksgiving special. Here is the list:

1. Going to the park and playing tennis, football and using the playground.
2. Giving thanks.
3. Using the ping pong table for the Thanksgiving dinner table (retired Nov. 1999).
4. Going to Rancho Grande on Friday night (it used to be Grandma pays, now is it Cindy pays?)
5. Fireballs after Rancho Grande.
6. Going to some kind of rec center and playing knock-out, half court competition, and swimming.
7. Playing electronic games.
8. Chili dinner on Wednesday night.
9. Mary bringing salsa or anything hot from Texas.
10. Swinging on the rope in the backyard (retired Nov. 2001).
11. Brother-in-laws and boys washing dishes and cleaning up at least one meal during the weekend.
12. Plugged up toilet.
13. Playing Nertz.
14. Sleeping in the pit or dungeon.
15. Playing Hearts.
16. Playing football in the backyard.
17. Dave reads the tradition list at Rancho Grande.
18. Going to the movies.
19. Shopping.
20. Exchanging Christmas lists.
21. Ladell carving the turkey.
22. Turkey dinner with ALL the family (34 people this year!)
23. Eating Chex Mix.
24. Celebrating Mary, Ladell, and Dave's birthdays.
25. Doing a piƱata provided by Mary.
26. Doing puzzles.
27. Giving out Christmas tree ornaments.
28. Coffeecake and cinnamon rolls.
29. Being with a wonderful, loving family.

I'm sure we have some more... but these are the ones that were on the list as of 5 years ago which is the most update version I have. Good times... I'm pretty lucky.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Day

I've been dogsitting for my friends the Crows the past week and today is the last day that I am watching their dog before I pass him on to some other people because our family is coming into town. I'm not going to lie... I haven't been the most willing volunteer as I've been dogsitting. Luckily my friend Jessie loves me even though I've been sending her e-mails with the subject "Your Stupid Dog" telling her all the crazy stuff her dog has been doing... Anyway, this morning when I went to let their dog out, there was the most beautiful sunrise and I feel like it put life back into perspective... (pictured above)

I was reminded of how tiny and meaningless so much of what I let consume my life is. There are greater, more worthy things, to be concerning myself with and the sunrise was a sign of how grand life can be. ALSO, it made me thankful for a new day. Things have been kind of hard in my house lately, so I'm thankful for new days. Especially new days that start with sunrises like today.

This last week, we sang a song at church by the Robbie Seay Band called New Day. I feel like the lyrics are fitting... (The whole song is great. You can read the rest of the lyrics here or watch/listen to it here.)

And it just might be
The prettiest thing that you'll ever see
It's a new day, oh baby, it's a new day
If you look outside
To see a beautiful sunrise
It's a new day, oh baby, it's a new day

Friday, November 20, 2009

Chipotle

I feel like my blog has been lacking lately. I was reading some of my posts from a year ago and I wish I was still writing posts like I was back then. Part of me thinks it's because most of the things that I noticed, I've already written about... and so I'm lacking new ideas. Part of me is fearful that I don't pay attention to those things as much anymore. I'm going to try harder... So starting now I'm turning over a new leaf, or going back to my old leaf... whatever.

Today I had Chipotle with my mom. I LOVE Chipotle. It's one of my favorite places to eat. I worked there in high school and even after working there I still love eating there. Here's what my burrito normally consists of: rice, black beans, chicken, "a lot of corn", "a little bit of sour cream", and some lettuce. Mmm... quality stuff.

I feel like what a person gets on their Chipotle burrito says a lot about them. (It's kind of like palm reading, but not... Ha, kidding. Basically it says if you're picky or not, like spicy things or not and are a vegetarian or not... that's al.) What do you get on yours?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Last Day at Kaldi's...

As graduation is growing near, I have found myself having a lot of "lasts." Last time singing worship for Veritas. Last Veritas leaders meeting. Last time buying toilet paper (at least for a while until I move out of my parents house. Although, for the record, I am more than willing to pitch in for TP...) Anyway, today was my last day as a baker at Kaldi's.

It was a bitter sweet day. While I won't miss the 4:30 mornings and making scones (I hate making scones) I will absolutely miss working here. I have this horrible tendency to dread things... and with every job I've ever had (besides when I've worked in ministry) I would dread going to work. This job was different. I love(d) it! I love the people I work with. I love the actual baking. I love the free coffee. I love the atmosphere of Kaldi's. I love almost everything about it...

But it's time that I graduate and therefore it's time to move on from Kaldi's. It's been great..
(I bet not many of you are awake to see this...)
(My good friend Kate and I. One of my
favorite things about working here: Kate.)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Top Chef: Veritas Edition

As many of you know, I am really involved in a campus ministry at MU called Veritas. Freshman year I joined a Bible study, sophomore year I started singing on their worship team, and junior and senior year I lead a Bible study for them. It consumes a lot of my time but I love it. MU wasn't home until I found Veritas... Anyway, every month we have a leader meeting for Veritas and last night was our last meeting of the semester, and therefore, my last meeting ever. (Unless God does something crazy and makes me decide to stay here for another semester... Doubtful, but anything's possible.) The Veritas staff decided to do something special for the last meeting so we were told to meet at the new Hy Vee in town and the rest was a surprise...

So we got there, and they told us we were going to play Top Chef: Veritas Edition! Top Chef is one of my favorite shows ever so I was so pumped. And then they split us into teams and I was put on a team with some of my favorite people so I was even more pumped! The task was to make an appetizer, entree, dessert, and beverage enough to give 25 people samples for under $50 in an hour and 45 minute time limit. I thought it was going to be a piece of cake, especially since they gave me the dessert category... but it was hard! I have never been forced to think on my feet like that, and after yesterday, I've learned that I am incapable.

We decided on a fruit theme (later someone was clever and called it the "fruits of the Spirit") so we made this chilled kiwi/soup thing for an appetizer (still not sure what that was, but everyone liked it), canadian bacon and pineapple calzones, this cinnamon cake with fruit on top (oh man... was THAT a disaster) and our version of a virgin mimosa. We ended up taking too much time and spending too much money... we were even concerned that some of our food was inedible (especially my cake: my team decided to crank up the temperature and cook it for a shorter amount of time... Little do they know, baking just doesn't work that way.) Somehow it all came together though... and we actually prepared a pretty good meal!

We did not win the competition but we did win best entree. I had a great time. It was a great way to end to semester and my time as a leader with Veritas: Top Chef. Good food. Competition. Fun People. I mean... that's a quality time. (I had the intention of taking pictures to document the event, but things got so crazy that there was no time. Here are the few that I took.)
(Lauren and Addison hoping that we're under $50.)
(Bethany and Chris debating meal ideas. They're
acting... they're not really mad at each other.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Recipe for a Good Late Night

I'm a night owl, for sure. My ideal schedule would be to stay up until 3:00 in the morning and sleep in until 11:00 or noon. Unfortunately... the world doesn't work on that schedule, but that's ok... Sometimes I enjoy being the only one awake...

Tonight has been a night of fun late night activities. Including:
-A bonfire (aka fire pit) after Veritas with smores a
nd hot chocolate.
-A trip to the new Hy Vee that just opened today!
-The purchase of some gerber daisies that Valeria spotted were on sale! (You know I love fresh flowers...)
-A quick stop by Megan's to drop off some things Valeria bought for her (the essentials: Peter Pan peanut butter and some toothpaste).
-Baking a new cupcake recipe: cinnamon cupcakes (which after they were finished I decided they are almost identical to the snickerdoodle cupcakes that I was obsessed with making at the end of the summer.)
-Watching some America's Next Top Model (Tyra Banks is absolutely insane, I don't know if I can handle watching that show anymore...)
-And now blogging...

All of the above occurred after 10:00 pm... What a great night! I love late nights...

Monday, November 9, 2009

City and Colour

I'm currently obsessed with this guy: City and Colour. (His real name is Dallas (city) Green (colour, he's Canadian hence the unnecessary 'u')... get it?) My friend Chris showed him to me the other day and I can't get enough. I bought his most recent album, Bring Me Your Love but I may have to invest in some of his older stuff because I just love it.

Give me a soulful male vocalist and an acoustic guitar and I'm happy. That is exactly what this guy is... He pretty much embodies everything I would want in a musical experience. Can you tell I really like him? Anyway...

Below is a video of one of my favorite songs on the album... A little different, but great nonetheless.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Talent

My little brother Cory has recently gotten really into graphic design and he's great at it. Part of me really wants him to pursue journalism because he's a great writer and I want him to come to MU. But the other part of me wants him to pursue graphic design because he's so good and I love his work. I know... there has to be some place in the journalism world for him to pursue both but we'll see if that happens.

Anyway, he recently made this design of a tree. He says that it's not that impressive because he steals bits and pieces from other people to create his final projects, but I think it's great. If I were ever to record an album, I would want this to be my album cover. For sure.

Anyway, if you want to check out more of Cory's stuff, you can go to his blog. It's great!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fresh Flowers

One of the many things that I love about living at the Haslag's is that Sara almost always has fresh flowers around. Yeah, they're pretty, but flowers add something special to an atmosphere. I'm sure I've discuss my sentiments on flowers before, but I'll say it again... I love flowers because their function is to be beautiful. Sure, they're a bit frivolous, but someday when I have enough money to make ends meet and a little extra, I hope to don my house with fresh flowers like Sara does.

Sara brought me home my own personal bouquet of flowers yesterday because I found out some pretty heavy news that kind of brought me down. While no, flowers don't fix things, they do make life a little more beautiful while facing the tough stuff and I'm thankful for that.

(I was going to wait until I had some quality daylight to take some pictures of my flowers, but I decided to go ahead and take some tonight and see what happened. You can't appreciate the entirety of the bouquet but I really like how the picture turned out...)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Best Weekend Ever!

This weekend was top notch. One of the best I've had in Columbia... Friday my family came to visit! We went to Shakespeare's (you know, a must-do when you visit CoMo) and then played games the rest of the night. After everyone went to bed I headed over to the guys' place to celebrate Valeria's 21st birthday.

Saturday the fam and I had a tasty breakfast then headed over to campus to walk around a bit. We went to Kaldi's so everyone could see where I work, stopped by the Mustard Seed, then walked around campus a bit more. We came back to the Haslags were we had a yummy lunch and my family had a chance to get to know Joe and Sara. We helped Joe rake leaves then everyone headed back to KC. Then Saturday night some friends and I went to Encore to celebrate Valeria's birthday some more...
(Beautiful MU campus.)
("Helping" rake leaves. (Photo by Georgie))
(Happy Birthday, V/Audrey...)
This weekend was just a wonderful time of community with family and friends. PLUS the weather was beautiful... I couldn't have asked for a better time...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Box Cake

I baked a cake today. It was the first time I'd baked a cake from a box in about 4 months. But lately I've been thinking that I maybe like box cake better than from scratch cake. Maybe I just haven't found good recipes... Maybe I just prefer box cakes because that's what I grew up on... I don't know. But thanks to Betty Crocker's Devil's Food cake mix and chocolate icing for the help. I did make the orange frosting from scratch. I guess I can say that much...

Happy birthday to Mackenzie and my bestie Valeria! (That's what the M and V stand for. And the thing in the middle is supposed to be a leaf...) Props to the camera on my phone. It's blurry but it's getting me by until tomorrow...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lost without my camera...

The battery on my camera is dead. Many might think, "Go find some AAs and move on with your life"... but I can't. My camera has a rechargeable batter which is wonderful because it saves me a lot of money and helps the environment because I don't throw away old batteries (No Impact Man would approve). Anyway, I left my battery charger at home in Kansas City and my camera has been dead for almost 5 days now.

You wouldn't think that this is a big deal. Nothing big has happened in the last 5 days... no birthdays or celebrations... just normal life. But it's killing me! I have realized that any time I see something beautiful that I have this intense desire to capture it so I can hold on to it forever. Like the fall colors: I want to take pictures so bad... but I can't. And today the sun was finally out and the sunset was beautiful... but I couldn't capture it. I've tried to take pictures with my phone and my Mac but they're no good.

Every time I see something beautiful I think, "Hurry, quick, take a picture before it disappears." But this week.... because I know that's not a possibility it has caused me to appreciate things now rather than a year later when I come upon the picture and think, "Oh yeah, that was pretty." I've taken the time that I would normally spend taking multiple pictures from various angles and started acknowledging the Creator. It's been good.

I must admit though... as soon as my mom brings my charger this weekend when my family comes to visit (hurray!), you better believe I'll be taking tons of pictures (while appreciating things now and acknowledging the Creator... of course.)
(Trying to capture the sun with my phone.)
(Trying to capture the sun with my Mac.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

No Impact Man

Last night I saw the documentary No Impact Man. It's about a New York family who decided to take a year and be radically "sustainable" and have zero impact on the environment. The family cut things out of their life in phases. They did things like: using only bikes for transportation, not eating at restaurants, only eating local, getting rid of their tv, composting leftovers, having no garbage, not buying anything new (only used), and eventually even turning off their electricity. The family admitted what they were doing was radical and said that they never expected people to try to do everything that they did, but they took it on as an experiment and I think it really changed their lives.

I'm no environmentalist so I was a bit skeptical going into this movie... but I loved it. Yeah, I was challenged that the way that I'm living my life isn't as great for the environment as it could be. And I do want to do what I can to be a little better. I feel like being "green" is looked at as this liberal, tree hugging thing and that only one side of the political spectrum should worry about the environment. But as Christians we are called to be stewards of what God has given us and I think being a little more intentional about the way I live my life would be a good thing.

More importantly than the sustainability lesson that I got from this movie was a lesson on sacrifice. This family gave up so much. They inconvenienced themselves immensely. And I was incredibly challenged because I rarely do anything that is less than comfortable. I give up little and I don't think that's ok. It just really challenged me...

Anyway, this movie was great! I would recommend it (but it had a few f-words so beware!) It is playing at the Ragtag, our indie film theater in town, but if you see that it is playing near you, you should see it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lazy Sunday Afternoons...

Today has been a pretty quality day, absolutely unproductive, but quality nonetheless.

I tried out a new church today which was fun. I came home to a house smelling like eggs and bacon and cinnamon rolls (they weren't made specifically for me, but I was told that I could have some, so I did.) I took my plate of delicious carbs downstairs where I decided to paint. So I painted. A tree. Surprise, surprise. BUT, I branched out a little bit (branched, ha!) and painted a tree with leaves this time. Fall leaves. Because I have been inspired lately. While painting I listened to The Swell Season's new album which is SO good. I then took a nap. As you know I love naps. But today's nap was a little different. I have a king size bed and normally I sleep on one side. Today I decided to sleep diagonally across the whole thing. It was liberating. (Ha, I'm kind of joking... but kind of not.)

Anyway, my nap, as it always is, was too long. So now I have to get down to work. I have a horrible midterm on Wednesday. My guess is that you can expect some random, meaningless blog posts in the next few days that will work to help me avoid studying.

Anyway... happy fall and happy lazy Sunday afternoons...

P.S. Sorry for the crappy picture of my painting. My camera's battery is dead and I don't know where the charger is so Photo Booth had to suffice.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Deep Leaf Thoughts

Today I was thinking about the changing colors of the leaves and how their beauty never ceases to amaze me. Every single fall I'm blown away by the vivid colors of red, orange, yellow and every shade in between. It's never a surprise when the colors finally change, but I'm always blown away.

Kind of like my fascination with the sun setting, I don't get why the colors of the leaves are continually mesmerizing because it happens every year. We have been learning about the concept of habituation in one of my psychology classes: it occurs when your response to something decreases after seeing it repeatedly. My response to the fall leaves is not decreasing... it is as intense as ever. Habituation does not apply here.

So I'm driving through town, gazing at the trees, contemplating this baffling concept, when I decide that the reason why the color of the leaves never gets old is because in my head I know that it isn't going to last forever. I know that soon the weather will start to get cold (oh wait, it already has), the colors will fade, the leaves will fall, and winter will begin. My appreciation of the leaves is so great because I know that it is temporary. I know the beauty is fleeting so every day that I wake up and the leaves continue to display their incredible hues, I'm thankful. Part of me wants them to stick around forever, but the other part knows that if they did I wouldn't love them nearly as much as I do.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Big Tree.

There is this big tree out in the middle of nowhere just a bit outside of Columbia. I've always heard it referred to as "big tree" so that's what I call it, too. Not "a big tree" or "the big tree", just "big tree." I went to visit big tree two years ago with some friends and yesterday I was randomly in the mood to go visit again.

So my friends Valeria, Jonathan, and I went! Valeria and Jon grabbed some Sonic happy hour, I made a fun playlist (including some Chris Brown, Ingrid Michaelson, Cranberries, Taylor Swift... it was great) and we were on our way. I had never seen big tree in the fall, so I was hoping it would have beautiful leaves.... It didn't, but the drive there and back provided some pretty beautiful colors. The weather was perfect and the tree itself was just a majestic as ever. The only downside of the outing was that a couple was taking what we assumed were
their engagement pictures there. I don't blame them, it's a great backdrop, but they were in our way! :)

Anyway... it was great! I love Valeria and Jonathan. I love Sonic. I love a good playlist. I love fall. And you know I love trees...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Missed a day...

I made it a goal to blog every day for a week... but yesterday I went pretty much non-stop so I didn't get around to blogging. There were blog-worthy things that occurred, for sure, so I will write about them today.

My mom has been redecorating our piano room (aka a mini living/family room that has a piano in it) because it still had the bad wall paper that it came with when we moved into the house 12 (or is it 13?) years ago. She's been working hard all week taking the wall paper off, painting, shopping for new accessories (desk, rug, chair, mirror...), cleaning, etc. But she recruited me to help her figure out what to put on the main wall of the room. So we did my current favorite decorating idea... put a whole bunch of frames on the wall. We went to thrift stores to find frames, then we painted them to go along with the room. The creativity of it was fun but the best part of it all was that I got to do it with my mom. How often do you sit down at the kitchen table and paint with your mom? Not often enough...

So yeah... yesterday was filled with a lot of great things (Cory got baptized, we went to lunch with the family at Don Chilito's, I got to spend the afternoon with my good friend Mary who has been away in the Navy) ... I just really enjoyed doing the wall project with my mom. :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mute Math Revisited...

I went to the best concert OF my life last night. It was so great. Cory, Brad, Ashley and I bought these VIP passes this summer (they included the album, a shirt, a poster, a concert ticket, and a pass to get in before everyone else, for only $50!) so we got to go in the venue before everyone else and that pretty much transformed our whole experience.

We were around for the sound check of the opening band, As Tall As Lions. They were pretty good... but I'm not sure if I liked them because they were actually good or I was just enjoying being so close (front row, touching the stage, had to move out of the way when the musicians got too close because we were afraid we'd get hit... THAT close) Anyway, they were good, but Mute Math was GREAT!
(As Tall As Lions)
I don't really know what to say... Words can't describe. It was an amazing concert. Being close made it even more amazing. There is something incredible about being up front, and not having anyone around to be boring and afraid to get into it. It's like you want to get pumped up because the guys on stages are playing their butts off... AND, the people that I went with were amazing. Within 10 feet, I knew about 15 people. It was like our own personal concert. Anyway, it was great.
(Greg)
(Roy)
(P.S. The drummer DID put his bass drum out into the crowd but I didn't have to hold it up. He didn't crowd surf but he DID hang from the rafters. So great!)
(Darren)
(My friends... the VIPs)