Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Give More Presence

There's this fantastic event my church is holding this Sunday, they're putting on a church concert and "Christmas Shoppe" featuring items available for purchase to benefit different organizations and causes. I am so excited!! Of course the items are just gravy, the true fun is to know that one's money goes to a good cause. Obviously, most of you reading this won't have an opportunity to attend, but the good news is that everyone can give differently this year in his or her own way.

To motivate others to attend, Flood Church ran this film you'll see right away if you follow the link below. Please do so, I challenge you to be unmoved (besides, the graphic design ROCKS). Enjoy and consider ways we might challenge ourselves to give more of ourselves and less stuff; something I'm guilty of every year.

And yes, I did steal my post title from the video, I admit it.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Booked for the Holidays

The Christmas holiday means more than the birth of Jesus, cookies, and snow; the holidays promise extra leisure time to curl up with a good book. Previously, this was always done with the knowledge that time was short and the next semester of school would recommence and banish any time for the written word not found in textbooks or handouts. Oh what joy and rapture that I am no longer required to bury my nose in over sized tomes such as Media Ethics, Golden Age Spanish Poetry, and Cognition: Study of Philosophy. These days I have time to read whatever strikes my fancy which includes the following:

Currently inhaling The Book of Lost Things, now I haven't finished it yet but I'm nutso-crazy-o about this story! I highly recommend if you enjoy any form of fairy tales retold. I'm also trying to get into Broken for You, it's fine, a little chick lit for me, but fine. Won't judge it until I finish it. I also started Everything Is Illuminated which promises to be as rewarding as the first book I read by Jonathon Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

I went on a sexcapade through some classic racy novels including Madame Bovary, Daisy Miller, and Lady Chatterley's Lover which make a sophisticated yet sexy little set, if I may say so.

I finally got around to Reading Lolita in the Tehran, which was much more enjoyable than I thought it would be and I now deeply regret missing Azar Nafisi's visit to the UNL campus during my time there.

To make my mother happy, I read The Hound of Baskerville a mere five and a half years after she assigned it to me in senior English class. It reminded me how little I enjoy the damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't conundrum of detective fiction. If you figure out the mystery, then it wasn't a very good mystery after all because you were able to solve it; but, if you are unable to solve the mystery in time and are forced to rely wholly on the voice of the narrator to explain its inner workings, then there's great dissatisfaction to be had in yourself for not being clever enough to solve the puzzle. What a ridiculous genre of literature.

I thought A Room with a View was very romantic and I'm pleased to have read my first E.M. Forester novel which was extremely well written.

Other recent reads include: Christ the Lord by Anne Rice (I rate it **/*****), The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff (****/*****), Slaughterhouse-Five by Vonnegut (**/*****), read the play Death of a Salesman (***/*****)and The Crucible by Arthur Miller.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Hint of Hillcrest

Welcome to the Gay-borhood! This is Hillcrest, or at least a cross section of it, only about two blocks from my beloved friends' apartment (Lindsey, Annie, Tina, Rowan, and Christy's) lay this glorious area where vintage boutiques, bookstores, and restaurants divine are situated. Hillcrest is the GLBT, technicolor paradise of San Diego as this is where there's a high concentration of gay/lesbian residents. There's so much more to this neighborhood, but this is the little corner I explored one Sunday afternoon when the sun was just perfect.

One of the more high-brow vintage stores in San Diego, you can't believe the fantastic couture and bygone fashions behind this fabulously Spanish-themed window display. I just about bought four hats, but remarkably, I was able to refrain (I only own about six vintage hats I never wear already, eek!).

Bluestocking Books is a used and new book store with fabulous tongue-in-cheek gifts, feminist flair, and piles of great lit. As a used bookstore epicure, I give this one five out of five for meeting the following requirements: musty but not bad book smell, creative lighting, wooden floors, mismatched book shelves, and (my personal favorite which I haven't seen elsewhere) rescued and repurposed art prints!

Mural on the side of an elementary school that I enjoyed.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I Like my Mocha with MoCA

Two weekends ago I treated myself to an afternoon downtown to play at MoCA San Diego (Museum of Contemporary Art). The exhibits varied from genius, to provocative, to utterly laughable. But I adore contemporary art; art is to me as a battery charger is to a cell phone. Though, I admit, my favorite part was the museum store. I get sort of sad when I'm in an museum because I know I can't take my favorite works home with me, but in the museum store, it's art you can buy, keep, and touch without a security guard giving you the stink eye (or an escort out of the facility).

I followed up my excursion with a stop at a fabulously modern coffee shop here called Influx, where I dined on a decadent apple-smoked ham, swiss, and pineapple baguette paired with a mocha.

I encourage you all to go exploring sometime soon, especially a museum as they're always changing and your experience there promises to never be the same twice. Adieu to you!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Chalk It Up to Experience

Not long ago, I challenged my dear friend Ben to go discover three things in his city, New York, before the end of October. He's held up one-third of his deal so far. Not to be outdone, I did the same.

The first of my three "discoveries" was the Chalk Art Festa in Little Italy (yes, festa, not fiesta). I took in the attractive Italian men, the art, and ate my very first cannoli. I concur with Clemenza, "Leave the gun, take the cannoli." I've read about artists who reject certain canvases if they aren't stretched tight enough, made out of just the right material, etc; these artists were infinitely more tolerant as they sketched around holes, bumps, and cracks to awesome effect. I hope you enjoy their fabulous creations as much as I did and, in the spirit of the upcoming election, I invite you to vote on your favorite chalk drawing!

I would've loved to stay and seen The Girl with the Pearl Earring come to fruition, but I would've had to stay a long time. Besides, just with what's there I thought she was stunning.

This lady was plucked from the audience so this Italian in full costume could cut a rug with her.

This adorable guy may not have looked like "Ole Blue Eyes," but he certainly crooned like Sinatra (I even spotted some old ladies swooning on the sidelines).

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Broken Toy

This isn't a reactionary or post-trauma post, this was my way of explaining to my very dear friend, Peter, why taking my life out of God's hands and into my own never works. Unfortunately, by recycling my little story, Peter now knows just how very pleased I was with myself for coming up with it in the first place. Oh well.

"I'm like a kid who’s been given a beautiful, complicated toy and is being taught how to work the toy. My father patiently and lovingly shows me how to not just play with it, but how all of its little parts work so I can enjoy it best. But I get excited mid-lesson and run off with the toy to enjoy it, thinking I can work it all on my own. I'm so happy to just have the toy all to myself, no sharing, no lessons. My father patiently and wordlessly stands by, knowing what's next. After a short while, I soon become bored with, then frustrated, and finally furious at the toy and pound it to near uselessness, but still father stands by. I know my father's there; I want to pretend the he's all smug and is doing this as revenge or punishment. Neither is true, the father just waits for me to come back, eager to help me but knowing I have to decide for myself. The last thing I want to do is the last thing I can do, I crawl back to my father with my now broken and totally screwed up toy and cry. My father scoops me up, places me in his lap, and helps me fix the toy until we can pick up where we left off in the lesson. He tells me he loves me so much."

Like I told Peter, I can't promise that this is all 100% theologically sound, I can promise it's much more complicated, but this is how it feels to me. If you're reading this, whoever you are, no advice from me; just know that if you've messed up or broken your life, you're not the first, you won't be the last. We're in this together and I believe God can fix it.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Falling for Autumn Is Easy to Do

Theory: I am willing fall into existence in San Diego.

Proof: I have beautiful changing trees within the courtyards of my apartment complex so that I can look out my window and see bright red leaves against a brilliant blue sky. 'Tis a thing of beauty. Also, my parents are on their first visit to Niagra this week and I prayed VERY hard yesterday that my San Diego sun would be sent to them for the day (rain was predicted for most of their trip) and guess what? Contrary to all the weather reports Mom and Dad did receive sun yesterday and we have clouds! Amazing!

Truth: God is freaking amazing and no matter where I may or may not be in my faith walk right now--He still hears me and I really can't believe how good He is.

Other things that have brought me joy: the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks, making a pact with myself that I will wear high heels at least twice a week, signing up for another 5k to support breast cancer awareness and forming a team to go with me, no joke--about 10 sightings of man capris in the past week, looking forward to seeing my dearest Sarah at the end of the month (!), compiling a new autumn playlist, a fantastic fall care package from my mom, two stories I'm working on, and a brand new beautiful leather journal I started Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Gone Writing

(this photo is entitled Meg Pontificates)

Hello Dahlings,
To all my faithful (and tolerant) readers, thank you very much for visiting my blog. I wanted you to know that until further notice, my posts will be more sparse than usual as I am working on writing an actual story. I am collaborating with my mother to develop a story she made up for Michael and I when we were little. She'd started this wonderful story and never concluded it so it's time these characters and plot were put to paper. Wish us luck and I offer the following recommendations for much better reading than you'll find here:

The Tao of Pooh is my most recent read, it's a well-thought-out argument that Winnie the Pooh is the West's version of a taoist. It's an academic argument with none of the pompousness and lofty reasonings. Though I, myself don't subscribe to the teachings of taoism, I thorougly enjoyed this short, fun read.

Bleak House, I'm not reading it; I'm watching it. This is a FANTASTIC BBC production of Dicken's book and I haven't finished it yet but I've seen enough to recommend it. I'm hopelessly hooked and thrilled by the film and the language found therein. Rent it from your library, they'll probably have it or order it for you if you ask.

For fantastic tips on everything (and even better recipes), visit the RealSimple Web site by Martha Stewart.

Go to BBC's news site for the very best of the best journalism, in my opinion.

As a former employee of and a current fan, I must tell you that for me, every Autumn's sweater shopping begins and ends with a visit to the GAP, you'll have these sweaters forever.

If you haven't igoogled yet, you must. It's basically a personalized homepage for you to add whatever you'd like (sort of like Mac's widgets, for my fellow Apple mates). I have a banner across the top featuring art by Jeff Koons, a crossword that renews itself every day, places one must travel to, BBC headlines, How-to tips, and more. Now go make your own.

Finally, to the right of my blog you'll see a list of other bloggers. Feel free to peruse their prose and enjoy their thoughts. Mama Mullen is, truly, queen of the kitchen so go there for some yummo recipes, Tiffany is brilliant and sees the world through an imperfect-Christian lens we all need a prescription for, Heather loves life more than most, and Gina is a modern-day Diana goddess of the hunt/fish/climb/camp, just to detail a few.

I'm off to write, cheers!

Friday, September 5, 2008

There's Delicious Salsa at Cafe Sevilla

Fifteen-hundred miles away, my mother chops jalapenos, stews tomatoes, and minces onions for her homemade salsa. It's labor intensive, time consuming, and very tasty. Five miles away I made some of my own salsa, it's a lot hotter than anything my mom would make, mostly because I'm using my whole body to do so.
My old friend Alison, new friend Rose, and I went downtown to Cafe Sevilla for some dancing last night and though my mother's salsa is delectable, it can't quite compete with the experience of clubbing at San Diego's funnest salsa bar. I didn't dance as often or as well as my girls, but I had a fantastic partner and I'm still on a natural high; of course, there haven't been many hours between us shutting down the place and my 7:30 A.M. work day. That's what coffee's for.
I will look my whole life and not find another experience quite like salsa dancing, a myriad of colognes and perfumes rise off of the bodies on the dance floor and mingle with the sharp smell of sweat; the effect of which is intoxicating in and of itself. Add to that the positively primal selecting of partners, and intimate moves and you have salsa. I danced with this one guy who was huge and seemingly immovable, but he was light as a feather on his feat, solid as a rock when he rolled me in, and strong as an ox as he rolled me out and guided my turns.
When I was in Mexico, it often occurred that I would start out with a man by doing the basic steps, when he would squeeze my fingers and inform me "Vamos hacer poemas," indicating I should get ready for some turns and tricky moves. The translation of this is "we're going to make poetry". I don't think I'm good enough to call any of my moves poetic, so that's why I think it's important for me to go out again tonight to keep practicing, don't you?