Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Big Bear Bonanza!

5 Things I learned while in Big Bear:

1. The Big Bear zoo makes me sad. All the animals there were abused, injured, or abandoned. There’s like a cloud of gloominess that hovers over the entire place. Yes, it’s a good thing to rescue animals and provide for them. Yes, I was happy to pay the larger fee because I knew it was going to animals that needed rehabilitation. (Like Huckleberry, the three legged bear. Poor old Huckleberry.)

But, holy moly, the dreariness of the place was palpable. All the animals would look at you with eyes that were saying “Just counting down the days until death. Sweet death.”

I don’t know if I’ll ever go back. The nephews liked it. But, they’re just kids, so the despair was lost on them.

2. I love the “House of Jerky.” First of all, due to its name. I think because it reminds me of “House of Pancakes.” Any establishment that dedicates itself to one item, and thrives, is okay in my book. (Well, as long as it’s not “House of Depressed Animals” which I’ve already mentioned I’m not a fan of.)

Second of all, because it makes me feel like a pioneer to leave with a little pack of jerky and think “I could trek across the great Big Bear landscape and survive the harsh clime with my jerky stash.”

I’m not as brave as some members of my family. I stick with the regular kind. I passed on the ostrich, buffalo, and venison.

3. I am now a huge fan of Mahjong! I learned how to play it this weekend from one of my sisters-in-law (Hi Daphne!) and fell in love with the game. (Even though I stunk at it.)

Now, if you’ve ever played a game with me, you will know that I’m not competitive. In fact, I will help other players win if I can. This was not the case with Mahjong. I don’t know if it was because it took me so long to get the concept, but I became set on winning. I didn’t, mind you (even though we played 7 games in a row). But, in my heart of hearts I wanted to be the Mahjong champion.

We’ve ordered two sets for my family, and soon I’m going to announce an upcoming “Mahjong Extravaganza Party!!” You’re all invited. But be forewarned, when I play with you, I’m going to try my best to crush you into dust (in a Christ-like manner, of course).

4. High tea is for me! In Big Bear they have this cute tea shop that is decorated to the nines. It’s like tea cup happiness exploded all over the ceiling. And they offer the “high tea” experience which means that they bring you a plethora of little foods to enjoy with your selection of teas. Tiny sandwiches of all varieties, tiny soup, tiny salad, and tiny scones, cakes, and muffins. I was in tiny heaven!

It was so much fun to go with my mom, sisters, and sisters-in-law and have time away from the boys to chat while using fancy cutlery and raising our pinkies. What a blast! Our only regret is that we didn’t realize (until we were leaving) that the hat rack filled with awesome hats were for the guests to wear during their tea. Oh well, next year!

The price of the whole thing made my brothers and father question our sanity. But, really, can you put a price on memories filled with little delights? Can you? I don’t think so.

5. I love my family!

Even in tight quarters with 7 people to a bathroom and 6 of us to a room.

Even with babies crying and children screaming and parents yelling.

Even with smeared chocolate mouths on new shirts and “Carry me!” on a long walk with a hurt back.

Even with slight disagreements over dishes and fierce competition over Mahjong.

In fact, I love them because of all those things! And can’t wait until next year when we do it again!!

Yay for families!!!!!*

Here are some pictures:

* And speaking of families, could you all do me a favor and say a little prayer for my brother Joe who has come down with a case of the Shingles? Yes, Shingles. Poor guy. It's terribly painful...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Upcoming Posts…

1. Big Bear Bonanza

2. My Addiction to iTunes and what happened when I recently visited it.

3. Changing my World View and how’s that going.

4. Art and spiritual creativity. (Which I’ll probably put on my other blog.)

But, for now, in an effort to do nothing, I’ve been visiting your friends. (You know, the people you have linked to your blog that I don’t know.) Well, I’m looking at their blogs and sometimes commenting in a hopefully non-stalker-ish manner.

I’ve wanted to expand my horizons and your friends are how I’m doing it!*

What I’ve learned from this is that it is a tangled web we live in. I’ll stop by someone that you have on your blog and then swing over to someone they have on their blog, and then the next thing you know, I’m reading about someone’s trip down the Mississippi who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone that I know.

Weird. And a little confusing.

But lots of fun. Give it a try!

*Oh, and if there is a blog or website that you LOVE, drop me a comment so I can check it out! I'm always looking for something to do besides what I should be doing.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Fluff…

…in the news!

First, what do you think about my new blog design? I think it’s bright and happy! Maybe a little busy, but for now, I’m sticking with it.


Can I just say how excited I am about Rachel and Katie’s Olympics party? I have the costume for my country all picked out. And my food representing that country, chosen.

But, I hope and pray that like China, Rachel and Katie institute this rule for any food brought by other party guests.

Cause if not, I’m not touching a thing!


Did you ever go through a phase where you hated your name? I know I did.

But, I now see that I had nothing to complain about.

What is wrong with people? I’m not a fan of the idea of “Big Brother” monitoring everything we do, but, sometimes I really think people should be forced to take some kind of test before they become parents.

I mean, what kind of a parent names their child Violence? A good one?

I don’t think so.


And lastly, if you know me, you know that if I don’t have a pocket or purse (and sometimes even when I do), I’ll store something in my bra.

Phone, money, lipstick, keys, glasses, they’ve all been stuffed next to my d├ęcolletage.

And, I’ll admit that there have been times when I’ve forgotten that something is in there, only to be surprised later when it falls out.

But, this? A live creature? Come on!

How could you not notice? And she’s so calm about it.

If I found a bat in my bra, you would still be hearing the echo of my screams.


Well, I hope you have a fabulous weekend. I’m off to Big Bear to be with my family for a little mini-vacation.

And not to worry, since I’m going to be in the foresty mountains, I’m going to be extra careful that what I put in my bra isn’t alive!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

OPEN LETTER OF EXCITEMENT AND DISBELIEF!!!!! [Cue the bells and whistles and confetti]

Dear 10,000th Visitor,

Who were you? Come on, confess! I have a present for you! (Other than my undying love which is a given.)

I hope you were someone I know! Or at the very least someone who knows someone I know. Or someone who knows someone who knows me, but I don’t know them.

Really, I just hope you weren’t a spammer.

I’ve been hit by those recently and would be bummed if I had to give my “You’re Awesomely Awesome for Visiting Me” present to federal student loan or lottery gambling.

In any event, thank you! Thank you for stopping by, even if it was accidental, and you only looked at my blog for a nanosecond. I still love you!

So, tell me who you were so you can collect your gift*.

And come back soon!

Gratefully yours,


*Would it help you to confess if I told you about the present? Well, it’s a one-of-a-kind mixed media piece by yours truly entitled “To the Super Best Blog Reader in the World.” Who wouldn't want that?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Office Update

I just realized that I’ve never shown you pictures of how I’ve transformed my little cubicle of despair.

It’s still gray.

It still only has a sliver of a window that overlooks my garden of air conditioning units.

And it’s still between two women who like to keep the room like a dark stifling dungeon.

But, I’ve made it much chipper! More chipper? Chippier? Maybe I shouldn’t use chipper? But just say happier? Well, you get the idea…

In case you don’t remember the absolute gloom of my original office condition, here’s a picture:

And now, here’s how I’ve livened it up:

This is a picture of my postcard collection. It adds a lot of color, don’t you think? Also, it’s a great tool for my meditation. When I need a little mental break, I just pick a card, let’s say, Oaxaca Mexico, and I focus on it and imagine myself there, really there, feeling the breeze on my skin as I’m being taken to the top of a pyramid to be sacrificed to the gods of humdrum.

Here’s a picture from another angle. As you can see, my back faces the opening of my I have a mirror on my monitor to combat sneaky folks from sneakily sneaking up on me. And that sign on the back of my chair says “I can’t hear you. I’m wearing headphones.” You don’t know how many times people have started talking to me and I have no idea. And then they walk away thinking I’m rude, or mad at them or something. Hence the sign. I got tired of putting out fires.

This picture captures a couple of things. First, my window crack. (It looks much bigger in the picture than it feels in real life.) Second, a picture of one of my dead boyfriends, Mr. Walt Whitman. And third, my zen bonsai plant. Since I couldn’t see greenery out my window, I placed some in front of it.

Here’s a close up of the two little friends who came with my bonsai tree. I call them Chin and Steve. (Chin is on the left, holding a white scroll of ancient wisdom.) These guys really help me keep things in perspective. They’re always telling me “You are greater than your job. You hold infinite potential. Creative forces constantly flow through your life. Stop imagining your death in Oaxaca.” They’re great guys!

Well, there you go. Now you see where I spend the majority of my daylight time. (And you can be grateful that you don’t have to.)

I’ll leave you with a quote I have tacked up by my computer: “It is ordinary to love the marvelous, but it is marvelous to love the ordinary.” I don’t know who said that, but they were spot on! And I’m trying!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Do you want to see it?

Then look over here!

And then stay tuned on this blog for an explanation on the spiritual/mental/emotional transformation that occurred as I worked on it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Visual Aids Inside My Mind

A personal blog is all about sharing oneself with the world (or, really, the six people who know you have a blog).

And as I was thinking about that and how much I go on and on about myself, ad nauseam, I thought I’d do something new.

It’s still about me, of course, but instead of talking, I thought I’d show you. (Well, I guess I’ll have to do a little talking for explanation. So, maybe it's not new. It's just me blabbing on, but with pictures. Oh well...)

With that, here are the TOP FIVE Favorite Things in my bedroom:

1. This is my favorite picture. It’s of a crumbly old abbey in Ireland. You can't read the name of the abbey, but it’s “Hore Abbey.” I imagine it was an abbey for past women of easy virtue. When I go to Ireland, I’m tracking down this place and I’m going to frolic about with the cows.

2. This is my guitar. Isn’t it beautiful? I like to just hold it, and feel the wood grain as I beg its forgiveness for my lousy playing. You’d think after 3 years of lessons, I’d do better. Sigh… I haven’t named it yet, so if you have any suggestions, let me know! (I thought about Lucille, but I think that name is taken...)

3. This is my easel. It makes me feel all art-y just looking at it. The mixed media painting I’m working on (you can see its backside in the picture) is for Katie’s birthday. I’m about 6 months late. In my defense, this is actually the second painting I’ve started for her. The first one was given to Mr. A. Dumpster. It was horrible! This one’s coming along nicely. (Dear Katie, Please forgive me. I’m working really hard on your piece and am almost done. I’m only waiting for the quilting iron I ordered, so I can smooth out the beeswax, and then it's all yours. Pinky swear! Love, Liz)

4. This is my Shakespeare canister that holds all my paint brushes. I got it at Big Lots for $4.99. Yes, Big Lots. And I love it! Initially, I was trying to think of something else to store in it besides brushes. You know, something literary, like a scroll of some sort. But, I didn’t have any scrolls. So, then I put Post It notes in it, and that just seemed like a slap in the face to the entire creative world. So, brushes it is! I think Shakespeare would be okay with that.

5. And last, but not least, is my bedside carafe. I think everyone bedroom should have a carafe. Why, you ask? Well, first of all, when you wake up in the middle of the night, dying of thirst, you know you have clean water waiting for you. No dust in it. No hair. No bugs. Nothing! (Trust me; even if you’re half asleep, taking a swig of water with hair in it is no fun!) And, secondly, who doesn’t want to say “I have a bedside carafe.” Talk about being fancy!

Well, there you go friends. Some visual aids to help explain who I am, and what brings me joy!

If you want, take pictures of the five favorite things in your room and post them. (Or, if you don’t have a camera, write about your top five.)

I’d love to see (and hear) what you surround yourself with to make you happy!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Digression (Or really, look over there...)

I posted on my almost-a-complete-waste-of-time poetry blog.

Give it a look see, if you want.

Oh, and I've posted on my book blog, too. (In case you can't get enough of me...)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Question: What’s big, and heavy, and rectangle inside and out?

Answer: A box of books!

So, I belong to a book society/group that sends me monthly catalogs of books I've never heard of. Most of the time, I don’t order anything. (I already have stacks of books to read, after all.)

But about a month or so ago, they sent me an email saying that if I send them $50, they’ll send me a surprise box of books.

Now, how could I pass that up!

What I expected to get was a bunch of junk—stuff I would NEVER read or purchase on my own. But, I’m a sucker for the element of surprise. So, I sent them my money, and then promptly forgot about the whole thing.

Until one magical day, when I walked up the stairs, and saw my front door. There, resting as a possible safety hazard, was a beautiful cardboard box with my name on it!

And inside, I found joy in the form of seven blessed books!

They weren’t crap!

I’d actually read them!


In case you can’t read all the titles, here they are:

The Traditional Shops and Restaurants of London (Now I’m ready for my trip to this great city! Who’s with me?)

Elements of the Table (Throwing a fancy party and want to know how to wow your guests? Well, this is the book for that. You know I’m going to use this for my next event!)

Reading Like a Writer (You all know how my favorite books to read are books on how to read! This is perfect!)

Drives Like a Dream (This is a novel I’d never heard of, but since I’ve started to write another book, (Did I tell you guys that?), I’m reading as many books as I can to “study the craft.”)

Gatsby’s Girl (Another novel for craft studying! This one looks pretty interesting…)

Cakes and Ale (I’ve never read anything by W. Somerset Maugham, but have always wanted to.)

And last, but not least,

101 Best Scenes Ever Written (Could this be more perfect for me right now?)

I wish every day I could come home and find a box on my doormat filled with surprises.

Don’t you?

What a way to live!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

How I spent yesterday on the job… (Of course, I’m leaving out the majority of my “work”, so as not to bore my reader(s).)

- Stared out the crack of a window I have in my cubicle, wondering how I ended up here.

- Sat with Trainee as we went over a report that should have taken us 30 minutes but instead took us two and a half hours…and we’re still not done…guess how I’m spending today…sigh…

- Googled (That’s a verb now, right?) different words for “psychic.” Why, you ask? Can’t tell you. At least not yet. Possibly never. So, don’t hold your breath.

- Met with a guarantor rep. who tried to sell me on their financial literacy program. And yes, it was as exciting as it sounds.

- Realized that I’ve developed an annoying habit of spelling out words while adding “to the” in the middle of them. For example, here’s a sentence I actually said “Man, I really H to the A T E that song.” Heaven help me! (If I do this while talking to you, first, forgive me. Second, tell me to knock it off.)

- Stared out the crack of a window I have in my cubicle, wondering how I ended up here, and noticed that they added another unit in my air-conditioning garden.

- Walked to the university’s library to get 4 of the 23 books I’ve requested on freelancing while talking to Rachel on the phone. (I mean I was on the phone while walking to the library, and not that I have some weird need to freelance only while talking to Rachel—although that probably would be helpful since she’s hilarious.)

- Spent the majority of my lunch hour continuing my psychic research. Man, there’s a lot of stuff out there! And I do not recommend doing such research while at work because a) you can be taken to some questionable websites, b) if a co-worker happens to peek into your cubie, you have some explaining to do, and c) it’s so fascinating that you might spend your entire lunch hour on it and then feel sad that you didn’t go outside to escape the gray box of your work environment.

- Talked with my co-workers about food storage, and then tried to convince them that Mormons aren’t a bunch of kooks with ready-to-use bomb shelters for when it’s “the end of days”.

- Got roped into joining an office potluck. (Even though it broke the most sacred vow made on the head of my first born to never participate in voluntary potlucks. (Mandatory potlucks are another story.))

- Listened to the song “Love Will Keep Us Together” by Captain and Tennille about 10 times trying to figure out some words, only to realize I could have googled (verb) the lyrics in 10 seconds and satisfied my curiosity.

- Stared out the crack of a window I have in my cubicle, watching water drip from one of the units, while wondering how I ended up here.

Well, that was a bit of my yesterday. I'll spare you from what I did when I got home--part of which I'm ashamed of. (Let's just say it has something to do with a woman named Tori, and a man named Dean, breaking my other cardinal rule of never watching reality tv based on the lives of the semi-famous.)

Don’t you all wish you could trade lives with me?