Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top 2010 Picks

My neighbor Scott told me today that any self-respecting blogger should have a top 2010 music list. I don't know that I'm self-respecting as far as music goes, as anyone who knows me knows that I don't have the most sophisticated taste in music (see: obsession with Bon Jovi). I'll confess, I always feel like a bit of a dud when I look at people's 2010 lists and don't recognize any of the names, and it was only 'til about a month ago I even knew who Bruno Mars was. But I WILL give you my top lists not necessarily of what I think is the best music ever to grace the airwaves, but at least the top hits on my personal ipod, along with some other favorites (oh, and most of today's current hits I can thank "Glee" for introducing me too). By the by, these are in no particular order...Equality for all! :)

Judge away!

Top Songs:
1. "Total Eclipse of the Heart"--Glee/U2
2. "Don't Know Nothing"--Maroon 5
3. "Stutter"--Maroon 5
4. "Tiny Light"--Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
5. "One"--Glee/U2
6. "I'm on Fire"--John Mayer
7. "Forget You"--Glee featuring Gwenyth Paltrow/Cee-lo
8. "OMG"--Usher
9. "Hey Soul Sister"-Train
10. "Marry You"--Bruno Mars/Glee

Top Albums:
1. "Hands All Over"--Maroon 5
2. "Kaleidoscope Heart"--Sara Bareilles
3."This is Somewhere"--Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
*I realize itunes has assisted me in the nasty habit of only buying mostly singles now, so I actually haven't purchased full albums in awhile... *sad*

1. Glee
2. Modern Family
3. Law and Order: SVU
4. 30 Rock
5. Conan

1. The Omnivore's Dilemma: Michael Pollan
2. Skinny Bitch: Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
3. Taking the Field: Michael Messner
4. Outliers: Malcolm Gladwell
5. Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea: Chelsea Handler

Top Hobbies I Discovered:
1. Bike Riding
2. Knitting
3. Painting
4. Eco-Crafting
5. Geo Caching

Top Trips:
1. Seattle (anytime)
2. USC
3. Boston Veg Fest
4. Portland for Christmas
5. Disney Land

Happy New Year!!! Looking forward to a 2011 filled with more favorites!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart...

Why hello there...long time no blog. Frankly I've not had a whole lot happen to me that's been blog worthy, and I'm not sure what that says about me and the life I'm leading, but it can't always be all fun and games I suppose. Upon the request of a dear friend, I decided to send a little Christmas blog your way, and it seems that seeing as it is 3ish days til the big day, a holiday blog seemed appropriate.

Last night my family and I had out annual get together with our neighbors across the street. It is one of my favorite times of the year--I grew up with the kids across the street, and they are literally a second family. Anywho, we went around the table sharing our favorite Christmas/holiday memories, so it got me thinking about my own:

5. 2007--the year I went to visit Rob in Walla Walla right before Christmas. Snow seems to follow me where ever I am at Christmas time, and we got to drive back slowly in Rob's Rav 4 Burt. I did however score a killer dealer on some jeans at the outlet mall we stopped out. I also saw "Twilight" for the first (and only) time (no comment...). Rob and I also made candy trains and watched home movies (see facebook).
4. Although it's not a favorite memory, in the year of 2008 Father Christmas decided to dump about 10 feet of snow on Portland, thus stranding my brother in PDX overnight, and then having to take a hellish taxi ride back through the snowy streets to my brother's house where I watched about seven hours of "Scrubs" and his cat Homer continually attacked me and I wondered if I was going to get eaten alive by the mold in the apartment (I love my brother with all my heart...but his residence was not of the cleanest persuasion). We finally made it home two days later.
3. One year my parents organized this huge scavenger hunt with some family friends. The parents organized all of these clues and the kids had to go all around the city and we finished off with our big final present (I scored my first digital camera). It was super fun and creative!
2. One year my mom stayed home from work (I think I was in 5th grade). We made REAL gingerbread houses and go to the grocery store and pick out any candy we wanted. Mine was pretty legit--M&M roof and all.
1. When I was 11 I wanted a dog SO bad. My parents told us that December 1 they would decide if my brother and I were ready for a dog. On Thanksgiving morning I kindly reminded my mom that December 1 was approaching. She said, "Oh yeah." A few hours later we got an early Christmas present. Inside was Kirby, our beloved labrador retriever puppy--still the cutest one I've ever seen :) (RIP Kirbs!).

Top 3 Best Christmas gifts:
3. When I was SUPER into American Girls I REALLY wanted the bunk beds in the catalog (I had Kirsten and Molly and both needed a place to sleep). The one in the catalog was like $100 (OUTRAGEOUS...specially back in '95)--so my Grandpa MADE a beautiful one and Mom made the sheets and pillows!!! I tucked Molly and Kirsten safely into bed every night.
2. Tickets to see Bon Jovi in Los Angeles!!!
1. Kirby (my puppy in the a-forementioned story)

Goals for future Christmases:
3. Eat a chestnut over an open fire
2. Have Jack Frost nip my nose
1. Get kissed beneath the mistletoe

Merry Christmas to all!!! I hope you make some fantastic memories!!! Christ our Savior is born!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


It is 12:39 AM and I suffering from jetlag...but it's really the opposite effect of jetlag: because I am not one bit tired, as it is only 9:39 on the West Coast. So here I sit, updating my blog, as I had been discussing with a friend that I had not updated in awhile, which APPARENTLY did not matter as he had not read it in several months. Hmph. His loss!!! Just kidding, friend :)

Anywhos, I had a delicious week away from work. I intentionally use the word "delicious" because I hate a lot of scrumptious food, but it was also delicious as in "delightful." I originally flew to Seattle to surprise my friend Rob for his 25th birthday. I LOVE surprising people, especially Rob because when he is excited he let's a scream like a little school girl and it is music to my ears. I also took this opportunity to jump on a jet plane and fly to the University of Southern California to check out grad school stuff. This was amazing as well. I will write more in detail about these things later.

As many of you know, I am infamous for having bad things happen to me on airplanes, and this trip was no exception. For the first time in the history of my life, my luggage was lost. Unfortunately, I was not prepared with an extra change of clothes and a toothbrush in my carry on as my mother always told me to do, and was subsequently no prepared. I would have made a terrible boy scout. Thus, my first day of vacation was spent in the exact same clothes as the day before. But do you want to know the more horrifying thing about the whole experience?! Southwest kindly provided me with a toiletry kit full of goodies to get me through my stay without my bag. I opened it up to find a mini deodorant that said "regular." I was immediately suspicious, as the deodorant looked suspiciously mannish. What?! This "regular" SHOULD imply "gender neutral/unscented"--not "manly"!!! This of course horrified the gender studies person in me, as it is a well known theory in gender studies that the dominant group tends to be seen as "the norm." Maybe I was leaping to conclusions...but unfortunately as I opened said deodorant my suspicions were confirmed. I had been given men's deodorant and it had been pawned off as "regular." GAHHHHH. They would never try to give women's deodorant away as "regular" to both sexes...I'm just saying...The patriarchy lives on! Southwest: you will be getting a letter from me, and also because you should look into a more sustainable way of giving out complimentary beverages instead of plastic cups. But don't get me wrong! I love your service! And the free $50 travel voucher I got for you losing my bag! Lose away!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloweenies!!!

Rob as an "Anonymous Dad On Family Vacation at Disney Land"

This is my friend Rob. He is hilarious. He is in fierce competition with my friend Cassady for being one of the wittiest people that I know--they should have a witty duel. That would be entertaining for everyone involved. Needless to say, I cracked up when I saw this picture. I immediately told him that I loved his picture and that if we were together then maybe I could be his kid that he pushed around in a stroller who then fell asleep during the firework display, and he responded saying that he would have a harness on me for when I go chasing down all the characters. I think this is an awesome idea and we would totally win a prize if we were going to a costume contest. I also thought that I could go as Rachel Berry and Rob could go as Kurt but everyone would be expecting that. I really hope that he goes to a party where someone is dressed as a Disney character because that would just be neat and ironic.

This Halloween I am staying in and I will be watching reruns of "Modern Family." I've never really been a Halloween person, mainly because I tend to be a bit lazy when it comes to making costumes. I don't want to spend the money nor the sweat for one day. One year I went as a TV and that was only because I had a shirt that said "NBC" on it, and then I just cut a black square out of poster board and wrote "SONY" on it. Problem solved. A year later I was a skunk, but only because Holly had a pre-made costume ready and I just had to step in and zip it up. If I'm really honest the only reason that I wanted to be Rachel Barry from Glee this year was because I have an abundance of plaid and argyle and really all I would have to do to pull off the look is throw on my loafers and get some high socks. I've never really gotten into the "sexy" [insert female occupation] thing. Obviously now I am not into it because I am a feminist, but even pre-feminism the thought never crossed my mind. It seems really counter intuitive. It's FALL, so I don't really understand why you would wear less clothes on this day then any other day out of the whole year. It's chilly!!! And I don't understand why if your costume is a football player why your midriff is showing. It's really beyond me. OK, I know exactly why things are the way they are, but for the sake of succinctness I will feign ignorance. Happy Halloween!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Identity Theft is NOT a Joke!

There I was sitting in my office diligently working on a project when I received a phone call from US Bank. "This message is to verify some recent purchases you made on your credit card." Uh oh. How many Coach purses did someone try to buy on my card? "$200 at Gymboree, Florida. $16.50, Target, West Hartford. $4.13, Stop and Shop, West Hartford. Press 2 if you did not authorize these purchases." TWO. I was thus transferred to a very cheery customer service representative from US Bank named Darlene. "Hello, Jessica. Did you authorize any of these purchases?" "Yeah, ummm I do not shop at Gymboree, and in fact have no reason to be spending my money at Gymboree as I am childless." Turns out that someone had tried to purchase a $200 gift card in Florida on my card. I'm sorry, but if you are going to steal money from someone and spend it somewhere, wouldn't you make your way to the nearest Wal Mart and clean out their electronics department--I think the Black Market has really good turn around these days. But Gymboree? That's so...boring. I'd like to think I'd get a little more creative with my purchases. I think I'd buy an espresso maker. Or maybe a new I Pad. The world is at your finger tips...at least until you get caught. I thanked Darlene that US Bank had provided me with such excellent fraud protection, and that I was indeed proud to be a US Bank customer, and that Darlene, with her very cheerful and sunshine-y disposition had made bank fraud quite enjoyable and may I please speak with her supervisor so that I could inform him or her of what fantastic customer service I had received. So thanks US Bank for stopping fraudulent criminals dead in their tracks!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Think About It...

So, I'm co-teaching a class on diversity with my coworker Tai. I'm super excited about it, and we're talking about privilege, that meaning that there are certain things that I don't have to think about/get treated differently/might be easier because of my race, my social class, my able-bodied-ness [I have no idea how to spell that], my heterosexuality, etc. Anyways, Tai and I got on the subject of the education system and she mentioned that one of our students of color had stated that she had never had a teacher/professor of color. That was shocking to me, and again, I take it for granted that as a white person I have seen plenty of people who look like me in positions of power, however I decided to reflect on my own teachers throughout my education from a gender perspective. Granted, this is not highly methodical because this is based off memory minus college where I was able to look at my transcripts and actually count who I had based on what classes]. Granted, I have to acknowledge that the particular area I grew up in [Boise, Idaho] is mostly white, so when dealing with the question of race I do acknowledge that in general there simply are not that many people of color in Idaho.

Elementary school: all white women. I believe I had ONE male P.E. teacher, and maybe one male art teacher.

Middle school: all white teachers, [7 women 6 men from my memory], fairly egalitarian

High school: all white teachers, gender differentiation actually fairly egalitarian from what I remember, and actually very egalitarian right down to the subject matter: [Total: 9 women, 10 men, from the classes I remember]
Math: 1 woman, 1 man
English: 2 women, 2 men
Science: 2 women, 1 man
Social Studies/Government/History: 2 women, 2 men
P.E.: 1 woman
Art/Photography: 2 men
Speech: 1 man
Cooking/Foods: 1 woman
Band: 1 man

College: 24 white men, 4 white women, 2 men of color

The good thing about my secondary education was I had several women teaching math and science classes in middle school and high school, as women are not typically associated with these subjects. Notice though, how the gender dichotomy changes as the level of education increases... ALL women in elementary school, to virtually ALL men in college. Which do we associate more power and intelligence with...elementary school or college? I will acknowledge that this of course will depend on what field you are going into, such as if you are in the nursing field you are probably going to see a lot of female professors, but again this says a lot about gender as well that is far to complicated for the purposes of this blog post. Anyways, the results aren't terribly shocking.

Why does this matter? I would ask this question: if you never see someone who looks like you teaching or in a position of power, and had no one to model the way for you, would you strive to/believe you could do that particular job? Would you develop beliefs about yourself that may or may not be true based on who it is you see performing different tasks? Could you believe this might influence your own development in SOME way? Might it be more difficult to find a mentor you connect with? I'm not saying that it's not POSSIBLE, but is it PROBABLE that you might pursue a position that you see a lot of people like you doing said position? Furthermore, would we be more likely to develop stereotypes or beliefs about other people groups if we've never seen competent professional examples [Chances are we would have stereotypes, but these at least might be discredited or altered upon interaction]? I only say this because sometimes I question my own ability to pursue a PhD, and upon reflecting on my own college experience, I can see why that might be so. Now granted, there are obvious method issues here, as this is my own personal experience and may or may not be representative, but I thought it was very interesting. My sociological thought of the day...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I swear, the Social Science section at Borders and Barnes and Noble gets more and more polluted each time I go. Why are there books written by non-social scientists [aka journalists] in the Sociology section?! And why is this section void of the classics?! Where's Suicide by Durkheim? The Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism by Weber?! The Second Shift?! Why are they being replaced by non-sciencey counterparts?! Bleh.


Read my friend Rob's blog here:

You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wise Words from Nancy Drew

Nancy Drew Wilderness Tip #82: "If you see something resembling a shark in a river, don't fret. It's more likely to be a small submarine operated by theives." ~ The Mystery of the Lilac Inn


I really like that I have the right to vote in this country. I really do. And I appreciate those that have fought for me to be able to vote. But the PROCESS in choosing who to vote for s-u-c-k-s. Yeah we need to work for more clean energy. Yeah we need more jobs. Yeah we're in a deficit. No shit Sherlock. It just feels like I'm looking at the SAME thing on all these different people's websites and then that person says that she lied and she says that he's a cheater and he says her plans won't work and BLAH BLAH BLAH. I hate politics, but it's such a necessary evil. All that to say...vote!!!


I've heard mixed reviews on this week's episode of "Glee." The reviews have been on the spectrum of "I cried at the end!" to "Meh. Disappointment." I fell somewhere in the middle--I wasn't blubbering by any means, but I daresay it was one of my favorite episodes--not necessarily entertainment wise [although I did quite enjoy Sue as always and the Grilled Cheesus was cracking me up] but more for intellectual reasons. I daresay this is the best discussion of religion that I've ever seen in the mass media. In general, I must say that when the issue is brought up people generally tend to tense up and get all defensive and what not. But that's not what this episode was--it was an open and honest discussion. In general I feel like discussions of religion through the media are very one-sided--one side is seen as more or less stupid for believing what they believe, whether that is in God or not. However, I loved the story lines because everyone had their own reasons for believing what they believed--and how could I blame Sue or Kurt for not believing in God when they'd experienced so much pain? And as Emma said when she was talking to Finn when he was going through his Grilled Cheesus crisis, these questions are big for a reason. I actually get more afraid of people who DON'T question anything then the ones that do. Kurt pointed out how the church doesn't think too highly of gays or women...I can't blame him for not wanting to be apart of an organization like that, and I think it was good for churchies to hear. Finally, I loved the scene at Mercedes' church where she tells Kurt that hey, it's OK if you don't believe in God, but you're always welcome here, and I hope you find something to believe in. That's how I think it should be--this inclusive community where we walk and think through the big questions together. And I have to thank Glee for not portraying people who believe in God as hypocritical or loud-mouthed or arrogant--I felt like those that believe in God on the show [minus maybe Quinn in earlier episodes] were caring, thoughtful and had just as many questions as everyone else. I was talking to a friend about the show and what he thought and he said that he didn't feel like it had closure...and I pointed out that life sometimes doesn't have closure--We're all wondering what life is about, and it seems to me we focus so many times on the insignificant differences and let those become divisive verses the questions and the times of pain and joy that we all seem to share in common as human beings.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Go NBC!!! And my Sociological Imagination!!!

There's a new show on NBC called "School Pride" in which they take dilapidated schools and make them over (sort of like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, but Extreme Makeover: School Edition). The idea is that by changing the school, kids will then do better, because frankly they're being treated less like animals and more like human beings--by investing money, time and energy into the schools, kids then see that as investing in THEM and actually do better in school [AND let's put it out there...a lot of lower income schools are directly correlated with race...yes folks, racism is still an issue. argh!]. I love this from a sociological perspective because it's about changing the STRUCTURE and thusly changing a LOT of individuals. It's so cool that media is being used in such a positive way! I'll be watching NBC...I'll be watching!

**As an interesting commentary on race/gender may I proclaim that I am a big fan of NBC right now because I was in NYC with my family and I looked at a promotional poster for all the new shows coming out this fall. There was a really wide range of of people depicted--white men, black women [though I will say from what I remember it was lacking a bit in Asian/Latino/a people depicted]. There were two women who were CIA agents or something equally powerful and kick-ass. I looked across the way at CBS and saw...all white faces, except for like one or two. Anyways, go NBC for diversity!!!!! I haven't actually seen some of the shows so I can't say how these people are being depicted, but from the posters it looked like a decent start. Hoorah!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Short Update

Hello to you good ma'am or sir. You're probably wondering why I have had all but four blog posts for the month of September, when my normal average tends to be approximately 50. Four words: Grad school and work. Oh, let me add one really long hyphenated word: the-gre-is-kicking-my-butt-and-is-the-bein-of-my-quotidian-existence [did you like how I incorporated the GRE word quotidian in there? It means "occurring daily"]. Anyways, needless to say I have been a busy bee, which leaves less time for ridiculous adventures, which is unfortunate for everyone [as in you blog readers and myself] involved. What have I done lately...let me see:

1. Got horribly outrun by college students at Dean's Cup [residence hall competition] this last Wednesday. I've accepted the fact that I am distance not speed. I have not accepted the fact that I am horrendously out of shape.
2. Went to a Whole Foods Tasting party and ate the best cake I've had in awhile [blood orange frosting!]. I'm glad that Whole Foods decided to turn 30 and even more that they decided to celebrate. I also did a horrendous job attempting to flirt with the cute guy at the sampling [Me: "So uhhhh are you like a cook or uhhhh a cashier or something?" Him: "I do everything." "Oh, that's neat uhhh..." His coworker: "Hey--you have a customer on aisle 3!" Him in his head: "Thank goodness, get me out of here." End scene]. Much like being physically out of shape, it seems I am also romantically out of shape.
3. I have cut my coffee consumption down from 7ish cups a week to two. I ironically have much more energy. I'm attempting to view coffee more as a special treat [as well as Splenda because that shit is REALLY bad for you I learned], and decided to walk up to Starbucks early one morning for a carmel machiatto [I don't know how to spell it]. I was going for the decadent drink, you know, not holding back, and by the time I had walked all the way to Starbies I was hot and decided I wanted an iced beverage instead of a hot one. I forgot to say iced. And the world caved in. I could have asked them to remake it, I suppose, but I felt bad given that it was my own fault...and it was the pickle on my crap sandwich that was my day, as Elliot Ried from "Scrubs" would say.
4. My family came! We went to New York City and Boston, and I got to see the NBC studios and where they film Saturday Night Live! Fun Fact: it is harder to become an NBC Page like Kenneth on 30 Rock then it is to get into HARVARD. I also got to eat Italian rainbow cookies and a whoopie pie.

That's been the extent of my life...graduate school prep, work, and some occasional laps around the track just to make sure I don't keel over or anything. Hopefully something extremely interesting happens to me soon so that I have something hilarious to write about. But hopefully NOT some man telling me that women should stay at home in the kitchen and have children on a date.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I've been really into Swagbucks.com lately. Basically, if you use it as a search engine, you can get "swag bucks," which add up, and then you can trade them in and get gift cards. I've already gotten like $20 to Amazon. Sure, I'll let you take tabs on what I search for Marketing People. Why not? You can participate in a daily poll and earn one swag buck per day. Anywho, today I was irritated with this poll:

Which Category Do You Fall Into?
1. Student
2. Employed
3. Unemployed
5. Self-employed

And what if you're a stay at home dad? Does that just mean you're "unemployed?" Because that sure seems like a full time job to me. UGH. Not to mention this is horrible survey writing. As a sociologist, I find this appalling on a variety of levels. Tsk Tsk. Goodness I hope I get into grad school and put all these observances to good use.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Yeah I Made It

As you may have read in my last update, my plans for a pumpkin Glee cake were rapidly thrown out the proverbial window, and it seemed that this cake was cursed from the beginning. Not to be without cake on Glee-miere night, I had settled on a traditional yet still satisfactory yellow cake mix with white icing. I've made a lot of cake from a lot of cake mixes in my time, so I was certain I had all the necessary ingredients: eggs, oil, and water. The day of the Glee premiere I pulled out my bowl, ready to mix that bad boy up...and WHAT did the cake require? A stick. Of. Butter. Who didn't have butter in their refrigerator? This gal. In a panic, I recalled that I did have a few cake mixes in my apartment. One box of expired angel food cake mix [which makes me wonder how old it is given the copious amounts of preservatives that must be in the cake mix in the first place...bleh] and...one box of Reduced Sugar Devil's Food Cake Mix sweetened by the devil itself...Splenda. Also Bleh. If you're going to do it, do it right for pete's sake--why did I even have such a thing? It's a slap in the face to cake I say! Did I go with sub-par cake or no cake?! I figured by adding an extra layer of frosting, it might make up for the lack of sugar. So I decided to roll with the punches, until I remembered that while in college I had once thought I was being a good friend by looking out for my girlfriends' health by using reduced sugar chocolate syrup in an ice cream cake I had made. Unfortunately, this resulted in a bad case of the runs [oddly enough for everyone except me. Cassady thusly nick named me "Stomach O' Steel."] I hoped this cake didn't produce the same results, but decided to play Russian Roulette: Cake Edition. I haven't heard if anyone had stomach issues that night, and I only had a few rumblings myself, but I'd also eaten two pieces, so that could have just been cake overload in general...Anyways, the Glee cake was consumed in about ten minutes and tasted pretty good if I do say so myself minus the fact that Rachel said, "Jess, is this diet cake?" She was on to me [though this is also why she has earned the nickname Nancy Drew]--the extra frosting had failed! I had to admit to the reduced sugar, but it was either that or watch Glee cake-less and that certainly won't do.

Monday, September 20, 2010


If you know one thing about me you know that I. Love. All. Things. PUMPKIN. Every year without fail I indulge in pumpkin bread, bake pumpkin muffins, and consume ample amounts of pumpkin pie. The day that Pumpkin Spice Lattes come out should be a National Holiday in my book. You get the picture. As you ALSO very well know, tomorrow is the season premiere of "Glee." I am highly anticipating this event, and have in fact reserved a hall lounge to celebrate this momentous and joyous occasion, and will also provide the party goers with cake. Thusly, it was only natural that said cake should be a pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting, and I really couldn't think of two things I love more--Glee and pumpkin cake. Maybe if Lea Michele herself were going to be at the premiere. So, you can imagine my complete shock and dismay when this evening I trekked up to Waldbaum's (our local grocery store, much like a Safeway but more expensive) in search of canned pumpkin. Whenst I arrived, I went and picked up the ingredients for the cake, then thought to myself naively: all I need is canned pumpkin. I searched in the canned vegetables section. Canned yams...close but no cigar. Canned fruit? I didn't think pumpkin was a fruit, but hey, these days you never know--tomatoes are technically considered a fruit, and with that rationale I headed to the canned fruit/pie aisle. Negatory. I continued wandering around and ran into an older gentleman with a Waldbaum's nametag. "Excuse me kind sir, have you any canned pumpkin?" I said as pleasantly as possible. "Nope. We don't have any yet" he gruffly and unsympathetically responded, not at all caring of the fact that I was not going to be getting what I had come into the store for. No "I'm sorry ma'am, no pumpkin yet. We'll be getting some tomorrow." It was all I could do not to scream and rip the cake box I was holding in two and have the powder fly everywhere--because damn it, it's your JOB to at least pretend like you care that there is no pumpkin!!! Do you know what this means to me?! You have just further irritated my annoyance with your bad attitude! I go to Waldbaum's for their variety of goods--and I know that I complain about capitalism but the one good thing it provides me with is lots and lots of VARIETY--i.e. a variety of fruits and veggies such as PUMPKIN. And for heaven's sakes, Waldbaum's, it's SEPTEMBER! It's not like I'm asking for canned pumpkin in April. That would not make any sort of sense. Any person with common sense knows full well that pumpkin season is mid-September until after Thanksgiving. Someone on facebook the other day had stated that she was frustrated because one of the grocery stores had run out of pumpkin. I can feel that pain and full heartedly "liked" that status, however, I would argue that my predicament is slightly more frustrating as at least SOMEONE is enjoying pumpkin if the store is all out, where as NO ONE is enjoying it now. But really?? No pumpkin in September?! I feel the same anger that I felt the day I went to Cupcake Royale and they were out of cupcakes. I generally try to have a good attitude about most things, but I really feel like I don't ask for a lot in life and I was just hoping for some pumpkin cake. Sigh.

Thank goodness that there had been pumpkin ice cream in the dining hall that day, or someone may have lost an appendage.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Companies that do good

As was mentioned in a previous post, Tom's of Maine is one of the top rated companies. Well, upon looking at their website [http://www.tomsofmaine.com/home] I am obsessed. You can donate 5% of your paid time to VOLUNTEER when you are an employee!!!! How awesome is that?! So buy their stuff!!! The products may be a wee bit more spendy, but I figure I'll just give up a few cups of coffee [which is better for me anyways] and won't use all the chemicals and crap that comes in the cheap stuff. Give a little more, get better results I say.

New Addition to the Miller Family!

This is our new pal that has joined our family! He is a labradoodle, which is such a funny word to me. I haven't met him yet. His name is Cooper. I am looking forward to meeting him as I have greatly missed having a dog!

My Thoughts on...The Emmys [because you're dying to know I'm sure]


This past evening I sat and watched the Emmys with two friends in its entirety. Although I was torn that it was Pop Culture Trivia Night on campus and we all know I would have cleaned up because of my wide array of useless facts [but would have felt bad about stealing the $500 prize from a college student], I was very satisfied with my decision to sit with said friends and share cupcakes and sparkling apple cider. I'll admit I had mixed feelings about the outcome of the Emmys in spite of having looked forward to them ever since I'd heard Glee had received a whopping nineteen noms [that's short for "nominations" in case you didn't catch that. I think that's how they say it in the biz]. I had renamed the Emmys the "Glee-mmys" because Glee was so overly represented, which I did think was incredibly clever of me if I may bang my own drum or toot my own horn, whichever you prefer. This alone should gain me admission to grad school--pure, unadulturated BRILLIANCE [the stuff PhD's are made of]. Unfortunately, my renaming of the Emmys turned out to be completely inaccurate, useless and unnecessary, as they decided to SNUB Glee and they only won a few awards and they were robbed, ROBBED I SAY! I may be a little biased though, because, along with every other award show I watch, I've only seen about 5 percent of the things that are up for awards, so of course my allegiance always lies with those that I've seen which is completely unfair. But in this case, I don't care, because Glee kicks a$$.

However, there were some top moments:
1. The opener to the show. And I found Jimmy Fallon to be completely hilarious.
2. My three favorite women were in one room: Tina Fey, Mariska Hargitay and Lea Michele.
3. Tai texting me, "Is Al Pacino drunk and wearing a bump it?" I asked myself that same question.
4. Sharing cupcakes with Rachel and Beth! Yippee!!!!

The downsides:
1. The aforementioned snubs of Glee
2. Was it just me or did the freaking Movie/Mini Series section take up like the WHOLE SHOW?! Argh! I was def b-o-r-e-d by like the second award.
3. On top of Glee getting snubbed, so did Mariska! Good thing I bought that "Good Housekeeping" magazine with her on the cover. You're my gal Mariska. And according to that article, a good Christian woman too. Reason #534 why I love you.
4. Do you know how incredibly upsetting it is to see Matthew Morrison [Mr. Schuester on Glee] walk down the carpet DATELESS and know that you could be on his arm? And in "you" I mean ME. It hurts! He could have cried on my shoulder when he didn't win. Let it out Matt. I don't know why I'm shocked as Matt certainly falls in category #3 for men I'm interested in: "Not in the West Hartford vicinity." I mean, I know I would totally have a shot if I lived in L.A...right?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Two things that have greatly enhanced my life

So, I've been reading a lot of books lately about food--you know, how my food makes its way to my dinner plate, how it's processed, where it comes from, all that good stuff. The journey has been fascinating and I've been trying to eat less processed sh!& and more wholesome "real" food, and, believe it or not I'm ACTUALLY considering becoming a vegan [yeah, never thought THAT would happen], although with that said there are two things holding me back: 1) Pizza 2) Cupcakes. I realize you could find vegan versions of both of these, but please! Gimme the real deal. Anywho, I was watching a show and they featured Alicia Silverstone who is apparently a vegan and she suggested these delightful little Rice Dream treats as a dairy free option. My goodness. I nearly lost my mind when I consumed said goody. They are an oatmeal cookie sandwich with rice ice cream [sounds weird but you really can't tell the diff] covered in chocolate and they come in four flavors and AHHHHH. I want one now! AND they're nutritionally not horrible for you--I mean a lot of calories, but the food itself is wholesome and good. Anywho, as you can tell from my previous blog posts, I have really been working on being socially conscious in my life like a good hippie should be, and my friend Callie sent me this AWESOME book.
I'm super obsessed with it. Basically, you could look up something like "condiments" and it will tell you all the "good" companies to buy from [they rate them on a variety of factors--everything from human rights to environmental impact, to community involvement], and they get a grade of A-F. Well, it turns out I consume things from a lot of companies that fail...oops. NO MORE. Or, at least, I'm trying not to anymore. Every little bit helps, eh? Oh, and fair warning to the world: these are the top 10 horrible "corporate villains"--don't give your money to them! Boo! Bleh!

1. Exxon-Mobil (shouldn't be a shocker)
2. Kraft
3. Wal-Mart
4. Chevron-Texaco
5. Pfizer
6. Nestle (ugh! Don't get me started on them! We learned about them in class and UGH--and if they're only sixth on the list we're in trouble)
7. General Electric
8. Archer Daniels Midland
9. General Motors
10. Tyson Foods

But the 10 Best, you ask?!
1. Seventh Generation (yeah! that's totally what my laundry detergent is right now!)
2. Working Assets
3. Eden Foods
4. Organic Valley
5. Clif Bar
6. Honest Tea
7. Patagonia
8. Tom's of Maine
9. Ben and Jerry's (I was REAL happy about this one)
10. Aveda

Look people. I realize I may hit my proverbial drum often about this, but all I'm advocating for is thinking a little more about where we spend our hard earned cash-ola. My opinion is, if you're going to spend it, you might as well make a difference with it. You can look at many of my other posts about how I feel about social consciousness, but like I said, all I ask from the good people of planet earth is to think a little bit more before spending the dough.

A Small Aside

It appears that all men I am interested in fall into one of three categories:

2. Taken
3. Not in the general West Hartford, CT vicinity


Monday, August 16, 2010

"The Education of Shelby Knox"

I watched this documentary yesterday. If you ever have a moment where you think to yourself "I would like to learn something today, or perhaps broaden my perspective," then I urge you to bust out this sucker. The movie is about a 15-year-old high school girl named...Shelby Knox [shocker, I know]. See, she lives in the town of Lubbock, Texas which is highly evangelical and highly conservative where their sex education consists of "abstinence only." Unfortunately for Lubbock, they have extremely high teen pregnancy/STI rates [oh and side note: it turns out the "P.C." term now for "STD" is "STI" or "Sexually Transmitted Infection." I don't care how you sell it, I don't want it]. Anywho, Shelby is fighting for a more comprehensive sex ed program in her school--basically they would teach that abstinence is the only sure fire way to fight unwanted pregnancy/STI's, but they would also teach you things such as *gasp* how to use condoms just in case *gasp* all teenagers have sex, and various other types of birth control. Of course, this throws her conservative town up in arms and the documentary is really about her asking a lot of questions, coming to term with her "liberal" viewpoint, and what that means for her as a Christian. A good part of the movie is devoted to her fighting for the rights of a group of gay kids at her school, and how she reconciles her own beliefs that homosexuals should be treated as equals with a faith that says homosexuality is a sin.

I absolutely loved this movie, probably because I identify with Shelby's character on so many levels--more than what I can even say here. There is this one scene in particular where Shelby is talking to her pastor who explains to her that he cannot believe in a comprehensive sex ed program because if he does it seems like he's condoning having sex outside of marriage when it's immoral and Shelby says to him, "Look. I made a vow to wait until I was married to have sex. But I can recognize that not everyone has the same support systems I do--be that church, family, or whatever that help me along with that decision." I wish I had that good of a sociological imagination at that age. This to me was extremely poignant, I mean we could learn a lot from a 15 year old, that is for sure. She still has her beliefs, she still holds her ground for what was good for her, but recognized that others just don't come from the same background as her, and she fights for it so that they can have better lives because they will have better education. I love that. I think we could take a lot away from that if we could just get past getting freaked out about how America is supposedly going to hell in a hand basket. It just seems so much better this way. I realize I'm walking on a slippery slope for a lot of people, but...so be it I suppose. Well, anyways, go watch the movie and see what you think for yourself.

Things That Happened Today

1. Cute cable guy came to campus. Wife. Damn.
2. Procrastinated on GRE studying. No shock there.
3. Talked with Amy on the phone. Delightful.
4. Organized my apartment. Clean as a whistle.
5. Going to try Starbucks VIA instant coffee tomorrow.
Cafeteria is closed all week where they hold the real coffee.
I almost died from being tired.
We all have to make sacrifices.
6. Rode my bike around town--twice because it was so fun.
7. Found a rock star rubber ducky from an event in my room
that has drumsticks and long hair. This made me smile.
8. Enjoyed two mini cake donuts.
9. I signed this pledge to better biking.
10. I decided I really love life. I already knew this, but today
I really slowed down and savored that thought.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Today I bought a bicycle. Tomorrow I will rule the world.

Well I did it! I bought a bike! It looks like this:Except for it is maroon. Normally I would take a picture of it, but as you know my camera's busted, so that's not going to work out. My bike buying experience was indeed a hoot--I got to ride six or seven bikes around the back lot of a bike shop in Newington, Connecticut. I was probably a really annoying customer as I was a walking contradiction--"I really want something comfortable...but that can go distances...but has high handlebars...but is light weight but has thicker tires..." Yeah, hot mess. The cute guy at the shop who was helping me eventually judged me when I walked out with a "comfort" bike verses the road bike he was trying to sell me but hurt my back and neck, but I didn't care as the other older guy who was also helping me said that I seemed like a very interesting person. Yes, yes I am. It turns out that there are all these neat bike riding events all around town, so I'm not sure if this makes me part of the cycling subculture quite yet, but I have a feeling I will be meeting some very interesting people soon. So today was my super green friendly day--I bought a bike [did you know for every four miles you ride on a bike it reduces carbon emissions by 15 pounds?! COOL!] and I washed my hair with a baking soda mixture in an effort to get away from the chemicals that reside in shampoo and most likely leak into my head killing my brain cells and then go down the drain and pollute. For the record, it worked quite well!!! My hair is indeed squeaky clean just as the blog I snagged the idea from said it would be [it's just a 1/2 cup baking soda and 2 cups warm water if you're interested. You have to shake it up a bit before you use it as the water and baking soda tend to separate]. NEAT.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I would just like to thank everyone personally for the b-e-s-t birthday I have had thus far in my twenty five years. My birthday was freakin' awesome. I had so many messages and phone calls and little gifts that I just didn't expect. And a ridiculously good ice cream cake. And my grandma bought me cupcakes when I was in Cleveland. And I got a fruit bouquet from my family. Well I could just go on. Both last night and the night of my birthday people took me out for drinks and treats and were just super thoughtful and I felt loved from West Coast to the East Coast. Seriously. So thank you!!! I have the family and friends EVS!!!

Rainbows of Heaven

As many of you know I am a cookie fiend. While many may think my only allegiance aligns with cupcakes, you would be incorrect, as my zest for cupcakes often over shadows my love for cookies--mainly because I think cupcakes are sort of the "trendy" food right now, much like sushi was three or four years ago and pho is becoming now. I also really love Italy, and it is my personal goal to get there before I die, so I hope this whole "2012" thing is a myth because that would really put a wrench in things. Anywho, I have found that two of my favorite things have been combined into what is known as the Italian Rainbow Cookie. And I don't really mind rainbows, so maybe like two and a half of my favorite things. Scratch that, I love rainbows because they are synonymous with the gays and I love the gays. You could say that four of my favorite things reside in this cookie I suppose because they are CAKE cookies made to represent the Italian flag [hence the different color layers]. I even got to buy these cookies from an Italian bakery the other day with a real Italian [as in one of my RA's]. I'm all about moderation, but when it comes to these suckers I lose all control...it's a good thing that God doesn't count calories on your birthday [or so I was told...do you think that's true?] Even if calories aren't counted, I surely was in jeopardy of a cookie hangover, but it was totally worth it because these things are that good. Consider this a public service announcement: get yourself to your nearest local Italian bakery ASAP because you will NOT be disappointed.

I Like to Ride My Bicycle I Like to Ride My Bike

Well kids. Being somewhat of a commit-o-phobe tomorrow I am going to commit to buying a bike. This excites me a great deal, as I L-O-V-E bike riding. There are also a great many benefits [See: Benefits of Cycling]. I'll be reducing my carbon footprint AND improving my health, two things I really like. Woohoo!

Just to Clarify

I had a conversation with a friend today and I thought it would be worthy to clarify:
"Feminist" does NOT mean "Man Hater." In fact, I love men a great deal. That is all.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Can Money Buy Happiness?

I found this article fascinating:

I suppose this all goes in line with my simplification of life. The woman in the article manages to whittle her personal items down to 100. I think I have more than that in my living room alone. Oh geez. Here we go...a new challenge...

And I think this is my new favorite blog by a woman who became a minimalist:


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Food For Thought

Oh I just crack myself up sometimes. Get it?! Pun INTENDED. So I was asked what was on my reading list this year, and "The Omnivore's Dilemma" has been lingering on that list for quite a while, but it's general thickness seemed to keep deterring me as I tend to have A.D.D. when it comes to thick books [which I sure better get over A.S.A.P. if I'm pursuing the P.H.D.]. Anywho, I cracked that sucker open the other day and let me tell you, it is an interesting read if you need something to tickle and stimulate your brain cells. Don't read it if you do not want to change your diet. In fact, spoiler alert: don't read THIS blog if you don't want to change the way you eat. The Omnivore's Dilemma is basically this idea that human beings get the chance to actually PICK their diet. Carnivores eat meat--a little limited choice wise. Koala bears [herbivores] eat eucalyptus leaves. If it doesn't taste like a eucalyptus leaf, they don't eat it. But us--we can eat both--and so we are faced with the responsibility of choosing what it is exactly we eat. Well, it turns out that given several governmental policies and changes in history and, of course our beloved capitalism we are choosing to eat a whole hell of a lot of corn. That sh** is in EVERYTHING. To quote Michael Pollan, the author, we are "walking corn chips with legs." Corn is in our meat. It's in Coca Cola. It's in most processed foods. It's even in the stuff that makes magazines glossy. Wowzas. I can't get into all the reasons that this is detrimental to us [that's why you have to read the book], but I WILL tell you that I'm trying to cut out the corn in my diet. I had gone to Trader Joe's yesterday, which was great because I love that store, and I had been looking for not a ton of processed foods, you know, just to be conscious of what I am putting in my body. And even though I was conscious of this while walking through the store, I STILL ended up with 3 or 4 items that had, you guessed it...CORN. Blech. I suppose that my body being inundated with corn just can't be healthy and really grosses me out, so I'm going to try to stay away from it. This works in my favor health wise, because just yesterday I saw some Skittles that I would normally snack on which have zero nutritional value and are well...fake. But, given my knowledge of corn and what was in them, I just imagined little mini ears of corn which let me tell you was enough to deter me.

As a birthday present to me, Oprah decided to interview Michael Pollan, the author of the book. She's so thoughtful. Well, thoughtful to rerun that program on my birthday. Thanks Oprah, especially for putting yourself out there after that whole beef law suit--that was a little risky, but you know what, you did it.


Is it just me or does Lea Michele look REALLY weird on the cover of the new Glee Season 1, Volume 2 cover? I'm not sure what it is about the angle of her body or what, but she looks armless. Hmmmm...just a thought.

Amy's Wedding

The bride and I

As many of you may or may not know, my friend Amy's wedding was last Friday, and what a momentous occasion it was indeed [although I needed a four hour nap and twelve hours of sleep to recover afterwords]. This wedding was especially important because Amy has been in my life for fifteen years [my neighbor across the street], and is not only the first Katsma child to get married, but also the only daughter out of five children [it's OK if you're thinking 'awwwww']. Needless to say it was a fun week, and apart from getting solicited for a one night stand at a bar by a very intoxicated young man during the Bachelorette party, I'd call it a success [though...I guess some people might count the aforementioned event as success, so I guess it's all about your perspective]. I made new friends. I mastered the "Hoedown Throwdown" which I NEVER thought would enter not only my musical repertoire but also my dance repertoire. I gave a toast and didn't forget what I was going to say. I ate a lot of cake. I was told I looked like Lea Michele of Glee fame at least five times [yessss]. While many of us thought we were going to melt into puddles much like the Wicked Witch of the West due to the surfeit amount of heat that had been ravaging the valley a few days beforehand, God decided to shine great favor upon us by draping a proverbial blanket over the sun and providing a lovely cloud cover that kept us all April fresh, or at least August Fresh, which doesn't seem to be quite as fresh as April, but is still much better then what it could have been.

Perhaps the best moment of the wedding [minus the exchange of vows and commitment of love of course] was when the bridal party was exiting the ceremony. Amy had thought it would be neat-o to dance out to Chris Brown's "Forever," similar to the YouTube phenomenon of last year, and that was parodied on the hit show "The Office." I thought this was an awesome idea as I enjoy any opportunity to make a spectacle of/draw attention to myself. Many of us worked on busting our moves pre-wedding, though none of us could have practiced enough for what was to come. My new found friend Liss said that her and the groomsman she was dancing with [our beloved Jason Katsma, the youngest of the Katsma clan] needed to make a "good exit, because we're the last ones out." And they did just that. At the end of their exit, Liss jumped into J's arms and J ran off into the sunset and...crashed and burned, dumping Liss and himself squarely on the ground, and earning a grass stain on his tux. Highly embarrassing and highly hilarious. I think the people at the tux rental place will no doubt be scratching their heads wondering if this was a wrestling themed wedding. An ab workout was not needed that day, as I had a good hard giggle. There is a video on facebook if you care to take a gander. Every time I watch it I think, "Maybe it won't happen this time...ohhhh no....here it comes." You watch out America's Funniest Home Videos, we're coming your way. Although, unfortunately I don't think I'm entitled to any cut of the money as I am not really an integral part of the comedy. Dammit I wish I lost my balance more often when carrying bridesmaids down the aisle!!!

Now, as many of you know, I've been super into buying locally as of late [I'm going to the Farmer's Market in West Hartford on Saturday and I am chomping at the bit as I cannot wait!], henceforth why I found one of the presents that Amy selected for the bridesmaids particularly beautiful: and let me tell you why. It turns out that one of her now-husband's neighbors on Whidbey Island has some sort of disease--I want to say cystic fibrosis but don't quote me on that. This girl's father bought her a kiln, and taught her to make jewelry out of broken pieces of glass. So we all got these different green colored necklaces, made out of glass that had been broken, melted down, and formed into something new. I suppose the reason that I loved this was because a) it supported a good cause [umm obvi] but b) I really love the metaphor of it all--I mean making something new and beautiful out of something broken and what many consider trash. It's too perfect of a metaphor for the human experience and God and redemption and all of that. And I loved that each piece was unique, but yet still made out of the same material, still with a common thread running through it. Really, Max Lucado or Philip Yancey couldn't have picked a better metaphor for one of their books if I do say so myself. They can use it, but only if they pay me the money that I would have won on America's Funniest Home Videos [oh and if you squint really hard you can see the necklace I'm talking about in the picture above].

The only downer to this week? My camera broke. I mean the screen on it has a big black blob. Fortunately I got ten pictures or so, but it really puts a damper on the upcoming fall season as I greatly enjoy taking pictures of the foliage in Connecticut. I guess I'll have to take up painting again, or something like that.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hoorah 25

Whelp I'm about to celebrate the big 2-5 on Wednesday. This means I will be a QUARTER CENTURY OLD. This is slightly disturbing, but I'm hoping that with 25 years under my belt that I'm headed in the direction of wisdom-gaining. While I'm a little sad that I can truly say I'm "mid-twenties," let me tell you I certainly have things going in my favor this year:

1. I already won $20 in the Ohio lottery. My uncle and aunt gave me a ticket, and hey guess what, Ohio loves me.
2. I get lower car insurance because my pre-frontal cortex is officially fully functional lowering my impulse control.
3. I can now rent a car for cheaper [see reason above]
4. I can participate in my school's retirement plan officially.

I think this is all, but these are the last age-related benefits that I get until about the age of 55.

Every year my friend Brittany makes us [as in my girlfriends and I] answer questions on our birthday. We usually roll our eyes and answer, but secretly I love this about Brittany--she's a real life savor-er.
One of the questions is: what were your best memories from last year [I can't remember if you have to do the number of how old you're turning but I'm going to do ten because I'm moderately lazy] [oh and these are in no particular order]:
1. Seeing New York City for the first time and seeing the play "Rock of Ages"
2. Seattle Trip #1
3. Rob's visit to Boise
4. John Mayer in Boston
5. Amy's Wedding
6. Lilith Fair
7. Seattle Trip #2
8. Various memories with Tai/Tam and other CT people
9. Making new friends
10. Visits from friends from the West Coast!

Then we are asked what our goals are for the year. These are mine:
1. Apply to grad school
2. Volunteer somewhere
3. See "Wicked" in NYC

It's gonna be a good year.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

It's Wedding Week!

What am I looking forward to? CAKE.

I realize that I often blog about my thoughts and ponderings about the world, which I know the masses thoroughly appreciate and I'm sure that I will someday be sitting next to David Sedaris at a book signing. I would like to do this even if I haven't written a book yet because David Sedaris is a hoot and a holler. But I digress. Anyways, I thought I would update you about what I'm actually DOING in my real life activity-wise: namely I am in a wedding for my best friend [and long time neighbor] Amy and it is Wedding Week. I am the Maid of Honor, or "The Maid" for short. Why is this so awesome, you ask? Ummm can we say "week long party"? AND my brother is home. And my neighbor Scott who is also awesome. Even MORE of a party. Here are the top ten things I'm looking forward to this week:
1) Pedicures with Mom
2) Hanging out with Matt--finding good bars in Boise now that he is over 21. We are also going to be seeing "The Kids are Alright" which I am SUPER stoked about.
3) Bachelorette Party
4) Rehearsal Dinner at The Reef which means GOOD food
5) New friends!!!
6) White Water Rafting
7) Doing the "Hoedown Throwdown" at the wedding. Yup. We are doing a big choreographed number which I have ALWAYS dreamed of doing. It took me like an hour to learn it because I am rhythmically challenged.
8) Giving a kick ass toast and having a captive audience who has to listen to me or at least pretend to listen to me. They'll laugh! They'll cry! They'll applaud! Sorry, no encores...it's a one shot deal--speech number 2 will require payment. My words are worth a lot you know.
9) CAKE!!!
10) Celebrating with Amy on her big day! Hoorah!

This week has already been awesome because today my neighbor Scott told me that I have "vocab swag." I take this to mean I have a grandiose and eclectic diversity of words to communicate with. I hope the GRE thinks this as well.

Last year when my friend Holly got married I thought about how insanely crazy and really very amazing it is that two people can come together and say, "I want to spend the next fifty years with you." I mean, this is really, really amazing if you think about it--it blows my mind. I could liken it to a hurricane I suppose. The conditions for a hurricane have to be exactly right in order for the storm to occur--there has to be the right mixture of temperature and air pressure and then BAM!!! It hits. That's a lot like committing yourself to someone I suppose, that is the conditions have to be just right for it to happen. I mean think about it: you have to a) like the person A LOT which is a miracle in itself. Even finding someone to have a crush on can be challenging... b) have the same values and c) be heading in somewhat the same direction in life [i.e. it would probably not be wise of me to marry someone who wants to start say a small fast food restaurant chain in the midwest if I want to be a surf bum on the coasts of California. I don't know where that example came from, but it works]. I mean I guess these conditions don't HAVE to happen, but I wouldn't get into a marriage unless they were there. I like and love a lot of people, but to be able to make that sort of selfless commitment to someone for the rest of my life and say, "Yes, I will wake up to you every day and put up with you when you are in a bad mood and smell your farts..." Well...it really is a miracle.

Boise Saturday Market

One of my favorite activities this summer was heading yonder to Downtown Boise and hitting up the local Boise Saturday Market. It's a blast, let me tell you. Tasty fresh berries. Locally grown vegetables. And the food samples that abound! I love going to the market because I feel super eco-friendly [minus the gas it took me to drive down there], and it's good to know that my dollars are going to support my fellow Boiseans and are staying in the local economy. Anywho, one of my favorite vendors at the Saturday Market is a woman who owns an organic farm and sews her own bags that are made out of fabric that was purchased at a thrift store. This is awesome, as the bags are a) super trendy b) one-of-a-kind and c)fairly made. All things that I like. The little patch on the bags reads "Know your grower, know your sew-er." Cute. Anyways, I'd not really talked to her very much in depth, but today I felt more extroverted than normal so I started a conversation with her. We began talking about her farm and the market and she told me that she is actually only allowed to sew her bags in a specific shape. This is because apparently it would ruin the competition around her: a.k.a. Urban Outfitters. I found this fascinating and ironic, as large corporations seem to have no qualms with crushing their small independent competition around them by outsourcing and low prices. Anywho, she THEN told me that she worked for Urban for several years as a fashion forecaster, and decided "Hmmm, I'm going to become a farmer" [this would seem like the most natural choice after being in the fashion industry...?] and thusly began telling me about all the evils of the corporation [Side note: sorry if you like Urban. I did too, but unfortunately because of new information I am now boycotting them and Anthropologie as it is under the same parent company. Although I don't know how much change that will bring that I'm boycotting Anthro as their prices are so outrageous I can't afford anything anyways...but still. It's the principle!]. As you can guess, it was a fairly depressing conversation. I won't go into all the disturbing things she told me because it would take too long and you'd probably become bored and think I was crazy or exaggerating, but trust me, it's bad and you can certainly call me up if you would like to know. She told me she did not have these conversations with most people and she probably would have no friends otherwise and I said that indeed, this is how I felt most days of my life. The saddest thing was that she said, "You know, if people only knew they wouldn't shop there!" and I said, "Nay. I'm not sure that is true...I know a lot of things but that hasn't stopped me in the past. It's easier to do nothing. I know other people who know a lot of things and this doesn't stop them either." Major sigh. We talked about how sad it is that young people spend so much money trying to look good, when they miss out on so much [aka traveling] because they are spending so much money in such stores as Urban. And then I immediately forgot my privilege social class wise because she said, "Yeah, traveling or in my case going to the dentist." Oops. I should have thrown buckets of money at her. I get that boycotting is a toss up, as you could ask the question, "Is it better to buy cheaper clothing and donate more to charity or buy more expensive things that you know were fairly made?" I say buy less and give away more, personally. And I get that there are a LOT of bad stores out there, but even picking the REALLY bad ones could make a difference. We talked about how fashion is fun, but there's a fine line, and, as she said, "We all die naked anyways, and if all I'm remembered for is my fashion sense then what is that really worth anyways?" Touche. I thanked her for chatting as I had learned a lot and she had greatly validated my decision to not purchase new clothing for a year. As I walked away I couldn't help but feel slightly disappointed that I had to leave Idaho in only a week, as it seems that we would have had a lot of interesting things to talk about and I perhaps might have made a new friend. As I was thinking this I looked down and realized that I, very ironically and very embarrassedly was wearing a scarf I had purchased awhile ago [before I boycotted it] from Forever 21: a.k.a. the mecca of cheap labor...I hope she didn't judge me too much.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Someone did this on facebook...and in an effort to procrastinate and because I was bored, I did it too!

10 anonymous things you want to say to 10 different people:
1. Thanks for being there.
I hope you've benefited from my friendship as much as I have from yours
2. Thanks for everything you do, even if it seems like I don't appreciate it.
3. You have no idea how much I needed your friendship at that time [and still need it now].
4. I wish it would have happened. I don't think you know how I felt.
5. I seriously think you're the funniest person I know. I wish you saw how special you are.
6. You matter.
7. I miss you. A lot.
8. I hope I'm just like you someday.
9. I really. REALLY don't understand why you did that...could you please explain?!
10. Thanks for understanding me--I really really enjoy our chats and think you're the best [sometimes I don't think you realize this]. I'm super glad you're in my family. You're neat-o.

Nine things about myself:
1. Sociology is my passion in life. I hope I'm your professor some day.
2. I love high heels--the higher the better
3. I recently discovered I love White Riesling. I also discovered I love Broadway. Put these two together for a great afternoon.
4. I speak Spanish fairly well
5. I love coffee and cupcakes--together is better. My favorite places are coffee shops and cupcake shops.
6. I sing really loud in the car...I mean belt it. I hope I have enough confidence to sing kareoke some day. I think I would sing "You Give Love a Bad Name." I hope in heaven I have a voice like Lea Michele [of Glee fame]. And I hope I'm a really good dancer. Basically I hope heaven is like one big musical and I wish God would have given me either the ability to sing or dance.
7. If I could be anywhere in the world I would be sitting with a friend at a coffee shop in Seattle. I miss Seattle most days.
8. If you are my friend you will only receive socially conscious gifts [i.e. fair trade, recycled or a charitable contribution in your name] for occasions such as birthdays.
9. I really really really want a Labrador Retriever. A yellow one.

Eight ways to win my heart:
1. Appreciate the crazy
2. Care deeply about something [i.e. justice related]
3. Be hilarious
4. Be confident
5. Be kind
6. Have a mission. Have dreams. Have adventures.
7. Recycle.
8. Listen and try to understand.

Seven things that cross my mind a lot:
1. Am I making a difference?
2. Do I matter?
3. Where is God? or "Oh, there's God"
4. Will I get into grad school?
5. What if I don't make it in grad school...then what?
6. Grrrr...really?! Did you REALLY say that?!
7. I want a cupcake

Six things you wish you never did:
1. Said something mean or insensitive
2. Was stingy/not giving
3. Was too busy/in a rush
4. Wasted so much time
5. Thought I wasn't pretty/thought I was fat/worried about boys and getting married when I was younger [thank goodness I've gotten older and wiser]
6. Was too afraid to do it or say it

Five turn offs:
1. being obsessed with being "a man"--MAJOR TURN OFF: say "that's so girly..." UGHHHH
2. sarcasm
3. ignorance
4. non-hilarious people
5. no confidence

Four places I want to go:
1. Italy
2. Greece
3. Australia
4. places where my friends are

Three smiley faces that describe me:
1. ;)
2. 8) (cuz I wear glasses)
3. :S

Two things I want to do before I die:
1. Ride a vespa and eat gelato in Italy
2. Get my Phd

One belief:
Jesus is here, even when it doesn't seem like it.


Well shoot. So, a few months ago I posted a blog about how I fully appreciated the common-ness of my name. You can read about it here: http://jess-miller.blogspot.com/2010/03/jessica-miller-is-awesome-name-afterall.html. Anywho, the other day I was watching an episode of some sort of detective show: oh that's right: NASH BRIDGES. Yes, the awesome cop show of the early 2000's starring Don Johnson of "Miami Vice" and the god awful "Heartbeat" fame [Please: enjoy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULI5kolBpAk]. Anywho, the story was about how this woman was murdered because the hit man got the wrong person. Her name was something common, and it turned out there were three in the area, but he'd shot the wrong person. This is some scary sh**, and hardly anything I want to be apart of. I mean for goodness' sakes, what if there's a Jessica Miller running around out there who is a drug dealer and has some bad debt to repay to some drug lords? Or what if she's an embezzler or involved in some sort of international scandal? Or she's a psychopath? I once knew someone who got stopped by airport security because it turned out someone of the same name was on an international "do not fly list" hence he had to spend a very long time proving that he was NOT the a-forementioned Black List Guy. While my anonymity has certainly proven to be useful, I had NOT thought about the consequences of it. Dear Other Jessica Millers [and there are many]: Please do not participate in any sort of shenanigans or tomfoolery--please aim to represent us well, we all appreciate it!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Whelp. I'm Doing It.

Every time I walk into a Forever 21 I want to die a little inside. It's really only with that store. I think because a store like Forever 21 to me is the very pinnacle of capitalism: cheap CHEAP prices and tons and tons of variety. I mean really if you walked into that store the next day you probably wouldn't find the same article of clothing from the day before. Now, I've stopped purchasing from that store, but let's face it: many of the other stores I purchase clothing from aren't that much better--and I purchase a LOT of clothing, call it my addiction. There's a reason one of my RA's calls Old Navy "Old Slavey." What happens is that, as a capitalist, I want more bang for my buck, thus corporations, in order to appease my need for cheaper prices, outsource to places who will do more work for cheaper [i.e. China] thus taking jobs away from the U.S. and thus you have meltdowns known as Detroit, Michigan. A lot of people will argue that capitalism brings out the best competition wise--the best products at the lowest prices--but at the expense, I ask, of who? And if we're so concerned with lower prices at the expense of human beings [i.e. God's creations]...then aren't we worshipping money? As a person who certainly sees the downsides of capitalism, it turns out I'm very, very good at participating in it. And, combine that with low impulse control and a pleasure center that goes off when I buy stuff...well it just makes for a very bad combination. Yes, I've sat through classes about the workers in sweat shops and think it's horrible, but when I go to Target...and I see that dress...for only $20...and I look really good in it...I tend to just shove that knowledge right down where it came from, and then I become part of the problem. Nay, THE problem. Not good. Not good. This is not only wholly irresponsible as a person who follows Jesus, but as a human being and citizen of the world in general. I've done little things here and there to make the world better, but I haven't really given up things I'm obsessed with--aka buying clothes. We pray the Lord's prayer a lot--bringing heaven to earth--but it seems to me like we're not doing the best job sometimes [sometimes, not ALL the time]--but as people of privilege that comes with responsibility. I have far more than I need, and it doesn't seem very fair at all that people don't have clean water to drink but I have about 50 shirts to choose from on any given day. Really? Where is the equality in that? I guess lately I've been grossed out by the amount of STUFF I have. Stuff is EVERYWHERE. I get it for my birthday, for Christmas, I buy it for myself. Stuff, stuff, STUFF. I also think about the amount of environmental impact my shopping addiction has: I mean the gas that goes in my car to go to buy something, the materials it took to produce it, the materials to make the factory to produce the clothing, the gas it took to ship it to the H&M I purchased it from...you could really go on and on. And I use that time to go shop when I could do something worthwhile like read a book or volunteer or something. Therefore, I'm cutting out new-clothes buying for one year. Yup, I'm doing it. I half way committed at the beginning of the summer, then I FAILED. Miserably. Then, I am donating money to http://www.charitywater.org/ and http://www.onedayswages.org/, that I would have spent on clothing [which last year was far more then it needed to be]. The fact is, I always say, "Eh...I'm so poor." FALSE. I waste my money on shit. That's really the bottom line. I spend all this money on myself, I could stand to spend a little on other people. I mean I spend money on other people every once in awhile, but really in the grand scheme of things I am self-admittadly stingy, which is also a horrible misnomer as a Christian and everything that Jesus preaches against. Blech. I've had a lot of wake up calls that have shed light on how capitalism has corrupted my thinking about human beings and money and wealth and blah blah blah, so I'm doing something about it. Less talk, more action. The idea is--less money on clothes to buy things for me, more money for others. Now, I don't do this to toot my own horn, I promise, and I know it may come off as self-righteous or preachy which believe me isn't the intent at all because I thoroughly get annoyed when I feel guilted into something...but hopefully you will read this and think of something small you can commit to in order to help make an impact...be that buying fair trade coffee, buying fruit and veggies at your local farmer's market, voting, riding your bike to work twice a week, eating less meat, changing your lightbulbs to energy saving ones [after your old ones burn out of course], taking a reusable bag to the grocery store or using a reusable coffee cup when you hit up that fair trade coffee store, buying used clothing from Value Village instead of new clothes, signing a petition, what have you. I keep talking about making some sort of big impact...why not start small?

What's wrong with the world? I am. [I stole that from G.K. Chesterton]

Saturday, July 17, 2010

"I Went on a Balloon Ride"

Here's something you don't think you'll hear: "Hey Jess, you wanna go on a hot air balloon ride?" Answer: Duh. It turns out that it works in my favor that I know my dad [aside from the fact that he's an outstanding guy], because he knows a doctor from work and this doctor knows his brother who flies hot air balloons. I know people who drive cars, people who drive boats, and even someone who flies a plane. But until this very day, I did not know someone who flew hot air balloons. Needless to say, the experience was really cool, and as we soared over the local Wendy's I couldn't help but note the irony that while I have such a fear of airplane flying, put me in a small wicker basket surrounded by combustable fuel tanks with a large flame burning into a very thin sac of fabric with no seat belts, and I'm happy as groupie at a Bon Jovi concert. It was cool seeing the entire city of Boise from a very different perspective...we floated right over people's houses, waving them friendly hellos...although dear citizens of Boise: if you are a large, beer bellied pale man, out of general courtesy to hot air ballooners you should put some clothing on before you exit your house. But you know, I guess you didn't ask us to fly over your property either, so in that case be free!!!

These are some things I found out about hot air ballooning:
1. You should not wear Tom's shoes out in the wee hours of the morning as the grass tends to be very dew-kissed, which sounds very romantic and beautiful I suppose but your feet will be very thoroughly soaked.
2. Boise has far more outdoor swimming pools then one would anticipate.
3. Hot air ballooning is very cool if you ever want to know what people's back yard spaces look like. It turns out people have small forests a.k.a. gardens, and some people desperately need to mow their lawns. There was one neighborhood in particular I wouldn't have minded residing in as it had a pool in one yard and a freaking sweet trampoline right next door. Those kids must be happy.
4. While one might anticipate that it would be a bit breezy up in the air, and one person [a.k.a. me] might layer up and bring an extra sweatshirt, because you would typically equate "high altitude" with "chilly," do not be fooled. It is HOT up there. And not just because I was present...[get it...cuz I'm HOT...just kidding. But it had to be said]
5. "Back in the box" is hot air balloon lingo for "going back to where you originally flew out from." Apparently it doesn't happen too often.
6. Apparently hot air balloons create some sort of a sound that is a higher frequency then human beings can hear and it makes dogs get a little nutty. Thus, we left a wave of barking dogs in our wake.
7. There is a LOT of work that goes into it! You have to have a whole crew of people to help you out, you have to go through all this testing to get your license, I mean it's a whole family affair! I suppose it's just one of those things that you never really think of when you say, "Oh hey! A hot air balloon!"

I would highly suggest hot air ballooning at some point in your life because let me tell you, you will not be disappointed. And you can mark it off that Bucket List!