Monday, December 22, 2008

'Tis the Season...

...for holiday flicks! Here are some my favorite non-Christmas "Christmas" movies:

1) The Family Stone
Dermot Mulroney, Sarah Jessica Parker, Claire Danes, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Luke Wilson. The all-star cast portrays the eccentric Stone family celebrating a holiday gathering full of surprises.

2) Stepmom
Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, Ed Harris, Jena Malone. I love almost any Julia Roberts movie. Humorous and poignant, this is a tale of an unlikely friendship between two extraordinary women.

3) Love Actually
Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson. It's coined the "ultimate" romantic comedy, but I didn't fall for it the first time. It is, however, a great and unique story depicting the twists and turns of love.

4) The Holiday
Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Jack Black, Eli Wallach. Probably the most holiday-ish of the bunch, this is a charming love story that happens to take place during the most wonderful time of the year.

5) While You Were Sleeping
Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman, Peter Gallagher. It's schmaltzy and sentimental, but it's a hilarious story of mix-ups and choices.

Happy Holidays to all!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

everywhere I look, I see rain

I have recently discovered something new about myself.

If there is one pet peeve my friends and family know best of mine, it is that I hate wet socks! This is then followed by socks with holes in them. Apparently I am very picky about my feet.

Living in San Diego, there is not much in the way of "inclement" weather. This week, however, we have been doused with rain. It rained all day on Monday. While enjoying the seldom-heard pit-pat pit-pat of drops, I found there is something I really don't like about a rainy day. Something that irks me even more than a damp sock...and a soggy hem. I hate it when the hem of your pants gets soaked. Not only does this increase the chance of acquiring a wet sock, but you cannot simply put your trousers away upon returning home and slipping into comfy-cozy sweats. They have to dry.

So, knowing full well that we were in for another rainy day today, I tried to devise the best possibly way to avoid the same mishap that befell my pants on Monday. I did not come up with anything clever...but I did decide to wear my boots today. So pants are still dry. But I am not done going outside yet.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I tend to want to keep this blog free of posts that are seasoned and spun of politics, economics, and the like. But I feel I must say something in regards to this news article.

Over this 2008 year, I have loosely followed the string of news (mostly bad) coming out of Zimbabwe and its tyrannical leader, Robert Mugabe. Despite the increasingly rising number of deaths due to the recent cholera outbreak, still he insists things are under control.

Mugabe has been in control of the Zimbabwean government since the country took its independence from Britain in the early 80s. Since then, a spiral of disaster and strife has claimed hold on the country.

Because of one man's compulsion for total power, authority, and dominance, hundreds of people have been and are dying while that same man tells the rest of the world--anxious to help--that he has everything in hand.

"Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who almost always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power does corrupt..."
-Barry Goldwater-

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

the day has finally arrived...

When gas in San Diego dips below the $2.00/gallon mark. Yeah! I was waiting to turn right at a stoplight on my way to Target on Monday, and on the corner of the intersection, there was a guy with one of those ridiculously long gas-price-changer-rod-thingies pulling numbers down and putting numbers up.

He was working his way up from the diesel price up to the regular unleaded. When he pulled the number 2 away from the price, I was suddenly filled with a sense of anticipation. What was he doing with that number 2? Was it possible he was replacing it with a number 1? He stuck the new number on the end of his long stick. Began to raise it up, and it fell off. Come on, man! The light's not that long! What's it gonna be?

Replace the number. Raise the bar high. Aha! It is a number 1! Gas in San Diego (reportedly one of the most expensive cities in the United States) is now below $2.00. I truly never thought we would ever be able to purchase gas for less than $2.00 a gallon ever again anywhere in the U.S., much less Southern California.

My only regret was that I have a full tank of gas and do not need to purchase the cheap gas.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Perfect Stranger

"We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken."
-Fyodr Dostoevky-

I like people. I like seeing the same people in the same places at the same time. It makes me feel the oneness with the rest of humanity--we're all here living our lives together.

There is a man who walks his dog up Gilman Drive. I often see him when I am heading to the freeway on my way to work. He always looks slightly disheveled--the I-just-got-out-of-bed-and-I'm-not-quite-awake-yet look. His brown hair will be mussed. The dog, on the other hand--the most adorable beagle--is always ready for the day. Alert, perky, and overjoyed to be out and about. They walk slowly, and the man is almost always wearing a blue or gray shirt. Recently, it has been a fleece pullover, as autumn brings on its damp morning chill.

Then there is the couple who I almost always see from my office window. They arrive in their red two-door car. He, driving, and reverse into the empty space across the lot from where my car is parked. They both get out. He pulls his plastic grocery bag containing lunch from the back seat. She is always wearing jeans and heels. They hug. He kisses her. He heads in to work, and she gets into the car and drives off. It's a sweet ritual.

Amazing how these people--these strangers--become a part of our lives, our daily routine, and when we find that they don't appear as scheduled, a twinge of disappointment floods the soul. There was a series of weeks when I did not see the Man Who Walks the Beagle. When he finally reappeared, this huge smile came to my face the morning I saw him again. I think I actually said out loud, "He's back!"

Cheers to all the unknown folks who surround us, knit us in to the never ending circle of humanity.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Age is something that doesn't matter, unless you are a cheese

Billie Burke said that (FYI: she was the actress who played Glinda, the good witch in The Wizard of Oz.).

Last week I went to a free concert at the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown San Diego. Justin Nozuka was playing. (Very talented young man--check him out!) It was a great free event, hosted by the radio station Sophie @ 103.7. It was low-key and Nozuka has this soulful voice that's so easy to listen to.

But the reason I'm posting this blog is not about the music, although I would recommend the artist. The reason I'm posting is the mid-life crisis lady in the women's restroom.

After the show ended, and before my friends and I headed out in the Gaslamp District to walk around, we hit the loo. There was a woman in one of the stalls chatting away--I assumed she was talking on the phone. No one else in the restroom was responding to her, or even seemed to be listening. But after she left the stall and went to the sink, she continued her ranting and raving about how she wished she was young again. "I wish I was young and beautiful again." It was so much more fun.

I peered through the crack behind the door of my own stall. No phone. No blue tooth attached to her ear. She was definitely talking to herself. For what seemed like endless minutes. I was afraid to come out. I didn't want to walk out in all of my twenty-three years while she bitterly commiserated about her lost (and apparently ancient) youth.

When I was a kid, my dad used to jokingly sing the golden ticket song from the old 1970s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (which was, in fact a musical). Only he changed the words. Instead of singing "I've got a golden ticket, I've got a golden twinkle in my eye..." yada yada, he would sing, "I've got a golden ticket. Nobody else but me! I've got a golden ticket. Nee-ner, nee-ner, nee!"

That's what I felt like I would doing to this bitter, fifty-something woman if I walked out in my wrinkle-free, no gray-hairs, everything-sitting-exactly-where-it's supposed-to glory. Gallivanting about the restroom of the Hard Rock waving my beautiful youth in her face. So I waited until she finally left to emerge, her last remark to herself, "Well, at least I own my own home. At least I can say that."

I like Billie Burke's quirky comment about age and cheese. I hope that someday when I'm "old," I don't ever wish to be something else, or somewhere else in life. I like to think of old age as an award--gray hairs being the crown of glory, of course. Age demands respect, and that starts with the self.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

a haiku regarding the four day work week

Ah, the bliss of one
day less in the week of work.
My heart rejoiceth.

Monday, August 25, 2008

let them eat cake

This weekend my mom and I went to the opening of Les Miserables at Moonlight Amphiteater. We bought lawn tickets, and they gave us little blue lawn chairs to sit on the grassy knoll up above the stage. We brought a picnic dinner--along with hundreds of other people who showed up early to lay claim to their patch of grass--and books to read and pass the time.

The show was great. The orchestra's live music so much better than any CD. The singing and acting was top notch. And we were watching by moonlight, which is pretty cool too!

During the fifteen minute intermission, the large group of about ten in front of us was celebrating someone's birthday. All of a sudden one of the women in the group stood up, turned around with a plate of cake in hand and said, "Cake anyone?"

I thought it was pretty funny. But then she proceeded to walk amongst all the show-goers behind us with plates of cake, offering it.

"We're celebrating a birthday tonight," she said. "My daughter, the one in the gray hat," pointing back to the family behind.

She approached my mom and I with two plates of cake. "Cake? We brought lots of cake to share. I know you want a piece!" We took a piece to share. It was chocolate, with a layer of sugary sweet icing in the middle and piled on top.

I'm pretty sure she handed out a lot of dessert that night. I wonder how big that cake was? Pretty cool way to celebrate your birthday, huh? Sharing your cake under the moonlight, on the grass, with a bunch of fellow drama-lovers.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

pride & joy

This week one of our big books came back from the printer. This particular book is big in more ways than one. Size. Price. Quality.

I'm not sure how many pounds that book is, but the hard cover behemoth sure isn't small! Its retail price is over $300. Yes! $300 for one book! I can hardly believe it myself, although I am starting to grow accustomed to these big buck books that actually sell.

But the most exciting thing is what is inside the book. There, on the acknowledgments page, is my very own name. This is not the first time my name has appeared in a book--after all, my mom is an author. But that's a little bit different.

She knows me.

The editor of this book, a genius doctor in the Midwest has never met me. Yet there is my name in the front of his book, thanking me for helping bring the book to reality. How cool is that?

This is the thing I like most about my job in the publishing industry. Not getting my name printed inside a book (that just makes me feel good about myself!). But building relationships with all these authors. Talking and walking them through the process of bringing their manuscript to life. It is their pride and joy.

And then it becomes mine.

Even if it does have graphic pictures of neck surgery on the cover.

Friday, August 15, 2008

under the stars

Last night a couple friends and I headed over to Balboa Park to watch The Parent Trap (the Hayley Mills version--no Lindsay Lohan for us!) out on the lawn by the San Diego Museum of Art. It was, I think, the quintessential summer night. Hundreds of people covered the grass, sitting on blankets and camping chairs, sipping wine and eating cheese and crackers. Dogs hovered on their leashes, yearning to sniff around and see what goodies the neighbors had brought for the event.

There were a some clouds in the sky, and as the movie started, the moon rose up between the eucalyptus trees over the museum. Big, white, and luminous, it shifted across the backdrop of cloud, like a pearl against gray silk.

Unanimous laughter spilled across the lawn at all the funny lines. Some people talked back to the characters in the movie.

It was sensational.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Thoroughly Modern Minneapolis

More time has passed than I intended. I fear I am lapsing back into the oh-so-terrible state of being a writer and failing to keep up my own blog! Yikes! To my credit, however, in the time that has lapsed between this post about Minneapolis and the post about her sister, St. Paul, I actually had the good fortune to travel to said Minneapolis for a quick weekend.

Shamelessly, one of the things I most miss about living in the Twin Cities is the abundance of Super Target. Sadly, I have yet to see a Super Target in Southern California. Oh, how I miss those aisles upon aisles of affordable stuff that I generally do not need at all. I feel about Super Target as I do about Google. It has everything I need in one place. In Super Target I can buy my groceries, my toiletries, that new DVD I've been wanting, and a Mother's Day present. All in one trip. All in one cart. Astounding!

There are, of course, other wonderful things about the city of Minneapolis. Where St. Paul is more classy, ritzy, old-school, Minneapolis is urban, trendy, artsy, modern. There are tons of art museums in Minneapolis, and I wish I had taken the opportunity to visit more of them while I was there.

One of the signatures of the city of Minneapolis is the giant cherry on a spoon, found in the Sculpture Garden near the Walker Art Center. I'm not sure what the significance is of the giant cherry on a spoon...but it sure is whimsical and fun to look at it. Also provides a great spot for a photo shoot!

And just up the road from the Sculpture Garden is one my personal favorite places in Minneapolis. Uptown. Uptown is awesome. Anything a person could want in food, shopping, entertainment, and leisure can be found in Uptown. It's definitely a hot spot for the nightlife, and Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles see plenty of people during the day, fishing, biking, jogging, canoeing, and walking.

Yes, I love me some Uptown. It's a great part of the city with a personality all its own. So if you're ever in the area, check out some of these awesome places!

One last great thing about Minneapolis: Holidazzle. First off, it's at Christmastime, which in and of itself is wonderful and makes you feel all warm and toasty inside. This is why Holidazzle is always fun, even if it's only fifteen degrees out. All those warm fuzzies will give you all the warmth you need for just one frigid night.

Every year the downtown Macy's on Nicollet Mall decorates the entire eighth floor of the store in a wonderful, Disney-esque themed walk through. One year it was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Another year it was The Nutcracker. It's amazing, and totally worth the looong line to get in. Macy's also sponsors the Holidazzle Parade, which runs every weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's a wonderful conglomeration of a million lights and storybook characters brought to life.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The most livable city in America

Saint Paul. Supposedly the most livable city in America. I didn't know that until I took a brief visit to the official city website, which also informed me that St. Paul is the Arts and Cultural Capital of the Midwest, which I find easy to believe. One of the greatest things about the Twin Cities is that they are really not twins at all. They are completely and totally different in attitude and atmosphere. Of the two, St. Paul is old-school...a little ritzy...artsy...cultural.

I can also easily think of some reasons why St. Paul might be the most livable city in America. I love my new West Coast life, but there are some things that I truly and heartily miss about good old St. Paul.

1. Parks

There must be hundreds of parks (big and small) scattered around the area. One of my favorite places to hang out was Como Park--walking trails, a beautiful conservatory, mini golf, barbecue pits, and a free zoo...all in one place. I spent many an afternoon watching the spider monkeys in the zoo!

Central Park was another great place to go for an afternoon or evening walk or run...although it still bothers me that it is kind of a poser.

2. Grand Avenue
This adorable stretch of street, lined with trees, is full of character. It's both urban-chic and small-town charming. There's all kinds of places to eat--little nooks, ethnic restaurants, coffeshops, ice cream parlors...and then there's the boutique shopping. It is indeed, a grand place to spend the day!

3. The Winter Carnival

I'm not sure how long this thing has been around, but I think it's a pretty old festivity. It's totally worth it to brave Minnesota's famous sub-zero temps and horizontal, icy winds. There are snow sculptures, ice sculptures, and a wonder-of-wonders entire palace made of ice and lit up in all sorts of colors. It's breathtaking and makes you feel like you're in another world, like Narnia.

Some quality people have come out of St. Paul. F. Scott Fitzgerald, only one of the greatest authors of the 20th century was born in St. Paul. Garrison Keillor--Prairie Home Companion anyone? Charles M. Schulz of Peanuts grew up in St. Paul.

So there you have it. St. Paul. Soon to be followed by her not-so-twin sister, Minneapolis!

Friday, May 2, 2008

You stay classy, San Diego

What's not to love about Southern California? The perfect Mediterranean climate. Palm trees and the ocean breeze. Sunny, seventy-degrees days. Of course then there's the ridiculous living expenses, fire season, and sharing the road with the other two million San Diegans. But those things pale in comparison with the shining glory that is being a resident of the eighth largest city in the United States.

One of the things I love most about San Diego is that I can be at boogie-boarding at the beach, or hiking in the mountains, or state-park visiting in the desert, or drinking a Corona in Mexico in less than two hours. Who needs four seasons?

San Diego has the amazing ability to be both a major metropolitan hub and a casual, breezy coastal town in one. Let me take you on a tour of some of my favorite San Diego hang-outs.

Seaport Village
Seaport Village is this quaint shopping venue between downtown SD and the breath-taking Coronado Bay Bridge. Full of specialty and themed shops, cute cafes and restaurants on the water, it's the perfect place to spend a warm, sunny day (and aren't they all!) watching the kites being flown on the grassy lawn. Just across the street is the towering Hyatt hotel, whose top-floor bar showcases an amazing view of the bay, Coronado Island, and downtown. A word to the have to buy a drink in order to enjoy said gorgeous view!

The San Diego Zoo & San Diego Wild Animal Park

The San Diego Zoological Society has the rep for boasting one of the best zoos in the world. The Zoo and the WAP are two separate places with two very different vibes and personalities. The Zoo hangs out next to Balboa Park (another fave by the way) just north of downtown. It's huuuge and home to thousands of rare and endangered animals. The plants rock too. The WAP is a wildlife sanctuary and a beautiful botanical collection nestled in the San Pasqual Valley. My favorite time of day to head to the WAP is late afternoon. In the summer, they're open late, and the best time to ride the safari-like tram is the last one before the sun sets. The animals all come out to eat grass and chill by the watering hole. The surrounding hills turn dusky purple, and soon after the ride ends, the moon rises between the foothills. It's an experience!

The Gaslamp District

San Diego's sweet nightlife rocks in the Gaslamp. Sixteen blocks of shopping, entertainment, amazing restaurants, bars, and clubs. You can park in Horton Plaza (free with validation!) and chill at a single locale, or taste-test a variety. There's always interesting people to watch--sometimes talk to--and for the most part, it's pretty safe.
I'm realizing I could probably have a whole blog about living, working, and playing in San Diego. (Now there's some food for thought...hmmm.) And this barely scratches the surface of this very cool city. But for now, this is it. And besides, I don't want to give it all ways. You'll have to come see for yourself.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

back in the saddle again's been a while since I've made use of this blog, and there are three reasons for this. Unfortunately, only one is valid.

Reason #1: In February, shortly after my last post, I moved from my parents' home into a new apartment with a sweet roommate. We were without Internet at said apartment for a couple weeks, and I just couldn't come up with enough justification to blog from the office! (This is the one valid reason!)

Reason #2: I knew what I wanted to write about on my blog, but the photos I needed/wanted to accompany the blog posts were stored on my mom's computer.

Reason #3: I have been very, very lazy. It's so sad, I know.

But--no more excuses! My roommate and I are now high-rolling it in the ultra-modern world and have acquired wireless Internet. I have the necessary photos from the other computer. And I've decided to get my fingers in gear and quit being lazy.

So, starting this week, I'm going to be writing a series of blogs (not everyday mind you!) on places that are near and dear to my heart, for varying reasons. It will be sort of like a travel blog...sort of like a blog about being at home.

I'm not making any promises about exactly which day this first travel/home blog will appear, but I can tell you where the first destination will be. It's only fitting to show off my newest hometown--San Diego!

"For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.
I travel for travel's sake.
The great affair is to move." -
Robert Louis Stevenson-

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


"I do not at all understand the mystery of grace--only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us."
Anne Lamott
Read more:

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Is it wholly fantastic to admit the possibility that Nature herself strove toward what we call beauty? Face to face with any one of the elaborate flowers which man's cultivation has had nothing to do with, it does not seem fantastic to me. We put survival first. But when we have a margin of safety left over, we expend it in the search for the beautiful. Who can say that Nature does not do the same?
~Joseph Wood Krutch~

Monday, January 21, 2008


I saw a rainbow today. It was unexpected. And short. A brief burst of color in an otherwise bleary sky. It wasn't even wet. I was headed toward the freeway, and the whole sky was gray and cloudy. All of a sudden, there was this one hill hit with a burst of sunlight. Alongside it the rainbow. Red. Orange. Yellow. Green. Blue. Indigo. Violet. All that jazz.

I've been reading through the Bible with my women's Bible study this year (our goal is to read the whole thing in the year 2008!), and recently read the strange, folklore-ish account of Noah and the ark. And the rainbow that God gave him as a sign that He would never again destroy the earth on account of man. Never again would water swallow up our existence. Can you imagine being Noah and seeing that first rainbow for the very first time? I like to imagine it bigger, more brilliant, and vibrant, and colorful than any rainbow any of us has ever seen.

What better symbol of God's grace and hope?

Monday, January 14, 2008

wonder. danger. eternity.

Pandora. 1896. John William Waterhouse. Oil on canvas. Private Collection.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


So the other day I was heading toward the freeway on my way to work, along with all the other business-type people. It was a gray, misty morning. Approaching the next intersection, I saw this guy running down the sidewalk. He had a black backpack and black curly hair, the kind found on graduate students, studying literature or physics. Across the intersection was the object of his quest--San Diego's trusty public transportation, a red MTS bus picking people up at the stop. It was apparent he wasn't going to quite make the bus. As it pulled away, the light at the intersection turned red. I stopped. He stopped.

Then he walked out into the road. What is this guy doing? I was thinking to myself, and thanking God that my car automatically locks when I shift out of park. In my rear view, I watched Grad Student approach the shiny "pearlescent" BMW behind me. Mr. Beamer, in his black suit, has his passenger window rolled down, and Grad Student was talking to him through it. Mr. Beamer nodded his head and reached to remove the Very Important Files sitting on the passenger seat, relegating them to the back seat. Grad Student climbed in.

The light turned green, and we all pressed on toward the freeway, to work, to school, to life. At the next light, I checked my rear view mirror again. Mr. Beamer and Grad Student were chatting away. Probably, Grad Student was explaining the fascinating theories in his research program, and Mr. Beamer was trying to persuade him that business is the only way to make it in life. The only way to wear the black suit and drive the shiny, white BMW with the Very Important Files for company.

A couple lights later, I saw the red MTS bus pulled over at a new stop. As I passed the bus, I watched behind me as Mr. Beamer pulled over his shiny, white BMW to drop off Grad Student to catch the bus.

I wanted to thank Mr. Beamer for Grad Student. I felt a smile tug at my lips, and a warm, affable feeling toward humanity in general creep throughout my soul. He's a good guy, Mr. Beamer. Grad student would no longer be late to his fascinating theoretical class.

Who knows? Maybe someday Grad Student will be the next Mr. Beamer, driving a shiny, white BMW, wearing a black suit, carrying some Very Important Files, and he'll stop to give some poor student a break. A shot at punctuality. A ride into the future.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

I am bending my knee
In the eye of the Father who created me,
In the eye of the Son who died for me,
In the eye of the Spirit who cleansed me,
In love and desire.
Pour down upon us from heaven
The rich blessing of Thy forgiveness;
Thou who art uppermost in the City,
Be Thou patient with us.
Grant to us, Thou Saviour of Glory,
The fear of God, the love of God, and His affection,
And the will of God to do on earth at all times
As angels and saints do in heaven;
Each day and night give us Thy peace.
Each day and night give us Thy peace.


Ta mi lubadh mo ghlun
An suil an Athar a chruthaich mi,
An suil a Mhic a cheannaich mi,
An suil a Spioraid a ghlanaich mi,
Le gradh agus run.
Doirt a nuas oirnn a flathas
Trocair shuairce do mhathas;
Fhir tha 'n uachdar na Cathair,
Dean-sa fathamas ruinn.
Tabhair duinn, a Shlan'ear Aigh,
Eagal De, gaol De, agus gradh,
Is toil De dheanamh air talamh gach re,
Mar ni ainghlich is naoimhich air neamh;
Gach la agus oidhche thoir duinn do sheimh,
Gach la agus oidhche thoir duinn do sheimh.

Collected in the Highlands of Scotland and
Translated by Alexander Carmichael from the Gaelic