Thursday, December 17, 2009

I have a busy weekend so I better blog now! Let me first start with last week. It was a relatively quiet week. On Thursday Nick and I went on a date to the Old Spaghetti Factory and then to Christopher's winter band concert. The concert was pretty good. It wasn't as long as we thought it was going to be. Christopher told me that the set was 45 minutes long, but it didn't feel that way at all. Nick said that he had a pretty good time for sitting on metal folding chairs and listening to a high school band play. I also got A Collection of Essays By George Orwell from Half Priced Books while we were out for only $2! I also got 1984 by Orwell, but that one was $5. Still, two books for $7 is exciting! I haven't started either yet because I've been reading Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis, but I want to look through the essays soon. Less Than Zero is a pretty quick read so I think if I just sit down and read it (and not watch Grey's Anatomy) then I can finish it quickly. I'm in love with Ellis' writing style even though American Pyscho had me fearing for my life in my own bed.

On Saturday I spent a good portion of the day Christmas shopping. I got most of it done on that one day, so I was quite happy. TJ Maxx is my best friend. It just so happened that the day I picked to do all of my shopping was one that Mother Nature tried to turn Concord into a bog. I was soaked and my feet were freezing. The next day I went down to Fremont to meet my friend, Linda, so that we could go shopping in Gilroy. I know it's Christmas time and I shouldn't be buying stuff for myself, but I did get myself a new Coach wallet. After a whole bunch of shopping we went back to Fremont and had some much needed Phó before I drove back home.

This little one is for when I don't want to carry a big purse and just a wristlet. It doesn't fit that well in my flat wristlets, but I'll make due. I can't fit my keys and cell in them anyway. I was going to get just a flat thing that I found in the men's department for credit cards, but Linda said that this is much cuter. It is, but it doesn't fit like I want it to. I can get it easily into the wristlet that Josie gave as a bridal party favor, which is a puffy wristlet, so it works out. I actually use that one the most because I can fit my cell phone, little wallet, and keys in there. I can also fit some extra makeup in case I'm out somewhere. In hindsight, I guess this little card holder is better than the men's version.

This is the main wallet that I got myself. I had the other little one in my hand and then while I was in line with Linda I saw a brown one of these sitting where someone had left it. I had missed it! It's a good thing Linda had seen them. I was literally pushing through the mob to get to the wallet and get back in line. The inside is just like every other Coach wallet, but it's the front that attracted my attention.

This week has also been a mellow one. Very lazy actually. The only exciting thing so far is that I had my weekly dinner with Melanie and her family and was able to give them all their Christmas presents. I love giving presents! I gave Talan (their little boy) a VTech game (similar to this) for their TV. I thought it was pretty cool. I spent way more time in the toy section than I did in any other. I got really excited about the little games that it comes with. I got him Noah's Arc game that teaches animals and also a Mother Goose game that goes over rhymes and stuff. I think I was more excited about it than he was. He's only one and a few months, but it seemed like he had more fun with the glowing blue power button than the rest of the game.

Going to Melanie's was like going to a CVS. Not only did she give me my Christmas gift, but she gave me all these lotions and stuff out of her cabinets. We were talking about the anti-aging wrinkle cream that I've been using as a preventative and she started pulling stuff off her shelves that she had but never used. She also gave me one of those Wave face cleaners. You all should try this thing. It makes your skin feel super smooth. I made Christopher and my mom try dad didn't want to try. I better go out and get more cleansing pads.

I'm in for a very exciting weekend. This afternoon I made gingerbread dough for the first time ever. (If you hadn't noticed I consider Friday nights the beginning of my weekend.) Anyway, I was going to make my own royal frosting, but Safeway didn't have some of the ingredients that I needed. I figured that I had to go to Micheal's to get it, but I didn't feel like going out there. So Christopher and I resolved to use premade frosting for cookies. Nick is coming to make Shrimp Estouffe with me and finish off the cookies. The dough is chilling in the fridge right now. I used this gingerbread recipe from I read in one of the reviews that the dough texture depends on how you pack your flour, which makes sense. The baker writing said that she does hers as a light pack before sifting, where as others just said that they packed it and stuck it in the fridge. Since I'll be taking a whole bunch of cookies to parties this weekend I decided to make two batches. I tried light packing and heavy packing and marked each batch so that I can see how they come out for future baking. We will see how they turn out. The heavily packed flour mixture was really dry so I had to add about 1/4 cup of molasses to the dough because it was really crumbly.

Tomorrow I will be picking Bonnie up around 10:30 so that we can head to Burlingame to Abby's house for a luncheon. My first batch of cookies will be going with me to this engagement. I think the menu consists of turkey wrapped in bacon, green bean casserole, cheesy corn-potatoes, potatoes, and my cookies. Note: There are only three of us eating this lunch. I think that we will be rolling home. After this, Nick and I will be heading over to the Ryan family house for our annual tamale making party. I will be bringing the rest of the cookies there since it will be a much larger crowd. Then on Sunday I will be going to lunch with my friend Tim from Riverside. He will be back home from Washington today so I wanted to snag some of his time before he takes off after the holidays. The day after that I will be heading up to the snow with my family, Christopher's girlfriend, and Nick. It's going to be a busy weekend and I'm looking forward to it. This week seemed like it went by so slowly because I was waiting for this to come! Now I'm off to have some fun!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Happy Holidays

Well, it's been a while, as always, but I'm back. Thanksgiving was great as usual. Lots of brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes. Those are my two favorite dishes of the season. I love brussel sprouts! Yummy, yummy, yummy. As I write this I've realized that I don't have any Thanksgiving pictures! My camera hasn't been working as well as it should be so I haven't been taking many pictures lately. For some reason it always goes into video mode even when I put it in picture or play back mode. Once it's into the right mode the pictures come out just fine, but if I'm trying to catch a quick picture it fails me. I have to give it a whack or two to get it to where it needs to be. I've had it since my Riverside party days, so this baby has been thrown around quite a bit, not to mention been to multiple countries and states. I think it's ready for its retirement. So now I'm on the market for a new camera. Maybe Canon will have some awesome after Christmas sale. Right now the Canon Powershot SD1200 in charcoal I've been looking at is at Costco for $150. Not bad, if you ask me. All of these digital camera companies come out with so many cameras a year that I just don't know when the best time to buy is. By the time I get around to getting this one, they'll have a new model out. I will go check them out, but I have a feeling just letting everyone else take pictures and then stealing them is easier. Haha. It's a good thing that everyone else in my family has functioning cameras. All of the pictures that I put up on this post have been stealthily stolen from my mom's camera (even though she'll know that I took them from her as soon as she reads this). On the downside, now I have boy scouting pictures that I really don't care much about. Oh well.


I look like a turkey-stuffed gremlin, but everyone else looks happy.

Too bad our family is too big to all sit at the table to eat anymore. Well, the more the merrier!

Right after Thanksgiving my mom, Mrs. Ryan, and I headed down to LA to watch Christopher's marching band perform in the Hollywood Christmas parade. We headed down there on Saturday afternoon and got in around 7pm. Once we got into the motel I was trying to find somewhere for us to go out to get a drink after our long ride, however, they didn't really feel like going out. Instead we headed to Vons, which is now Pavillions, to get snacks and drinks. Oh my goodness, they bought so much food you'd think that we were going to be gone for a month. We were only going to be staying two nights! Below is the conversation that I had with Nick after we got back. I had been texting him their ridiculousness while we were at the grocery store and he had to remind me that they're boy scout moms so they were "being prepared". My mom and Mrs. Ryan just feed off each other and get a little overzealous sometimes. (This came directly from my chat transcripts sans timestamps.)
Nick Fong: how much stuff did u buy?!
Nick Fong: lol
Allison Chin: let me list it
Nick Fong: lol
Allison Chin: individual lays potato chips, biscotti, wheat thins, string cheese, bananas, vegetable chips, fruit cup, cottage cheese, milk, kirin ichiban beer, chardonnay, and merlot....for three little girls in a best western
Nick Fong: lol
Nick Fong: sounds like u guys are having one heck of a party!
They also stole some wooden chopsticks from the deli department because I had mentioned that I eat my Spicy Cheetos with them. I didn't even end up getting the Cheetos, but they had gotten so carried away that they took them anyway. After they talked themselves out of getting individual sized key lime pies, we headed back to the motel. Man, I really should have taken a picture of all the stuff they got.

The next day we went to Mel's Diner for some breakfast and early drinks. My mom and Mrs. Ryan had Bloody Marys and I had a Mimosa with my omelet. Way to start the day! After that we did some shopping on Hollywood Blvd. The way I was shopping you would have thought that I had never seen these stores before. I hit Sephora first and then moved on to Victoria's Secret and a boutique (I think it's a boutique) called Baly's. My bank account is suffering now. Heheh. After that my mom and Mrs. Ryan were undecided on whether or not to get tickets to sit in the stands. By the end and after a call from Mr. Ryan, we came to conclusion that since we traveled all the way down there that we may as well put out the money to sit in the stands.

We met up with another band family to watch the actual parade and then went out to dinner with them. Right after the parade we stopped by Mann's Chinese Theater and I took some pictures with the hands. I don't think I've actually stopped to look around Hollywood before. I always just thought it was a dump, but it's not so bad. I generally just dislike LA. Part of me disliked it even more this time because Juni wasn't there. It actually made me a little grumpy on the drive down knowing that I was going into the city and not going to see her. When I think LA, I think Juni. I took a whole class on LA literature and how the city consumes your soul so my opinion of LA isn't exactly the best. The only positive thing about LA was Juni, but she currently resides in China. (Should anyone be interested, Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis...also the guy who wrote American Psycho, which gave me nightmares, is an awesome book. Both are awesome books. Ellison's detail is amazing.) Anyway, the company I was with helped. I sat with a sibling of one of the marchers. She was a pretty cool kid and very well spoken for a 12-year-old. At dinner I decided to be bold and try sushi again. Back in Riverside I had it, but didn't enjoy the texture at all. After having raw oysters with Nick and realizing that my tastes have changed quite a bit, I took the plunge and I liked it! Now I want to try more. Oh, the world is opening up for me. I better start scrapbooking again!

My mom walking down the red carpet where the parade was going to be with her much pondered ticket. The tune to "I've got a golden ticket" is going through my head as I type this.
Mrs. Ryan, my mom, and me. Go Minutemen!

So Erik Estrada was one of the announcers for the parade. My mom and Mrs. Ryan got pretty excited when they saw him. I had no idea who he was, but by the way all the moms around me were reacting I figured he was a movie star of some sort. Apparently he was in the show Chips, which I don't think I've ever seen. I recognized his name, but didn't know who he was. I had to look him up on my phone while we were sitting there to see what all the fuss was about. I love Wikipedia.

This man, however, I was swooning over. I was whacking my mom's arm so that she would pull out her camera and take a picture of him. Unfortunately, it's not a good one, but if you click on this Gilles Marini link that I've provided you can see him in his Sex and the City: The Movie hotness. He also was the runner up to Shawn Johnson for Dancing with the Stars, which made him even better. His Bolero was awesome! I believe he is now on the show Brothers and Sisters. I used to watch the show but then stopped when they had that writer's strike a while back. Maybe I should get back into it. Hehehe. Besides Eric Dane from Grey's Anatomy, Gilles is one of the only actors that I really find very attractive. Taye Diggs from Rent and Private Practice is a runner up (it doesn't matter if Benny was a jerk). I also have a not-so-secret older man crush on Anthony Bourdain because he's just plain BA, but that's beside the point.

Anna Trebunskaya and her husband Jonathan Roberts! Both Dancing with the Stars pros. I also got quite excited about seeing them. I do have to say that being at the parade watching it live is not as cool as watching it on TV. All of the retakes made it a little too real for me. I prefer the perfect version that they air on TV.

The moment we've all been waiting for.

Just a bunch of pictures of me in front of Mann's Chinese theater since I was, for once, in front of the camera and not behind it.

Gene Kelly had really small feet for a man, seems like. He was the first cement print that I saw. He is a legend. OMG, I love Gene Kelly. <---This is a clip from Singing in the Rain, one of my all time favorite musicals. He's just so amazing! I've linked the DVD two-disk set, but if you want it I have it so I can make you a copy.

Sushi that I actually liked! This was from my phone, which explains the horrible quality.

Can you tell that the kid in the middle has spunk?

Well, as soon as Thanksgiving was over Nick and I couldn't keep our Christmas gifts to one another a secret. Hahaha we're like two peas in a pod. I fondly call us Legos because we fit together so well. He got me a super, super awesome Shun kitchen knife. You should feel how easily it cuts through potatoes and big hunks of salami. It's wonderful. My mom believes in this old wive's tale that if you get someone cutlery that you are cutting apart the relationship. It's a good thing I don't believe in those kinds of things. He also got me a new Coach bag. It's beautiful. I actually punched him when I opened it. There were a lot of "no you didn'ts" and "no ways" floating around the room and then I couldn't stop smiling. I don't think that my pictures do it justice, so I've also link the official picture. He's definitely a keeper!

I love, love, love the purple on the inside.

Also, here are a few back logged pictures from the Big Game. I just pulled them off of my mom's camera.

Look how huge this piece of meat is compared to my hand.

Mmm...a heart attack in a crab shell.

This past week I have been obsessed with Grey's Anatomy. I go over to Nick's place so that he can play Assassin's Creed 2 for the new PS3 I got him and then I lay on the floor and watch episode after episode of Grey's. It's a nice little system that we have going here. Hahah Forget buying me cutlery for Christmas, I think I may have doomed our relationship with getting him a video game counsel, but we'll make it work. I take precedence over the game!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Blogging will commence tomorrow, December 9th. I have a lot to say, but don't have the time to put it all down today.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What a good weekend.


I started this post a few weeks ago and never finished it. So now I'm posting for dates Nov. 6-25. To indicate period breaks, I have added some dashes so you know when I'm jumping from one week to the next. Also note that each section is relatively done in present tense because when I was writing, it was in the "now", though it is currently pretty old news. I know! I've been so lazy! But I'm sure that you all know that I get lazy with blogging anyway.

The weekend before last was a blast. It started on Friday night when I went to the City to have dinner with Jen Jen, Kimi, and Patti. I got the scoop on how Rob proposed to Patti and found out the Jen Jen is expecting! How exciting! On top of that, Uncle Victor kept bringing out yummy food and wine. It was awesome. I took BART out to Daly City where Jen Jen was acting as taxi driver in Auntie May's 4Runner. After I got in, we went to go pick up Kimi and Patti. I had forgotten how steep the street they live on is. It feels like a roller coaster when you go up and down it. I don't think I'd fancy driving up and down on that everyday and I definitely wouldn't like to park on it. It's a good thing they live on the bottom of the hill so that they don't have to worry about the hill parking. Their neighbors, however, aren't so fortunate. After practically closing the restaurant out, I headed back home where I met up with Nick before heading to Shanna's to play some Rock Band, which was great fun.
Get ready for the longest list sentence, which I'm not even sure is grammatically correct because I don't know how/never use semicolons, I have ever written. After going to an engagement party for a couple of Nick's friends, a going away party for Shanna, spending as much time with Shanna as possible before she left last Tuesday, coning my mother into buying us a whole Rock Band set and five different games (on her birthday, mind you), making a card and taking my mom out to dinner for her birthday, my weekly dinners with Melanie, Kevin, and Talan, wine night with some new girlfriends, Nick's car getting hit across from our driveway, Christopher's Napa band review, going to a Bouchon Bistro in Napa with Nick, trying raw oysters for the first time and enjoying them, buying a new Kitchenaid Professional 600, baking scones and messing them up, joining a gym so that I can continue baking, attending a gem show where I got some awesome necklaces, and hanging out with Nick I am POOPED! That pretty much sums up the last two weeks. Below are a few pictures of a couple of the events that took place.

At Sunflower

Star Sapphire

Clear Topaz, which my mom's friend, Mrs. Minnich, says that shady vendors try to pass off as diamonds.

In front of the bakery where Nick got his Macaron. (Not to be mistaken with a macaroon. I had no idea macarons existed.) I need to try to make these things with my new mixer!

Filet mignon with super cheesy macaroni. Sooooo delicious.
Who would have thought that raw oysters were good? I was afraid that I wouldn't like the texture. I love shellfish, but the texture of sushi weirds me out so I was expecting this to be the same.

I totally botched these up. For some reason I was reading two different lines at once. I saw that I needed salt, but then I guess my eyes skipped up a line to see that I need two tablespoons. The horrible part is that I checked twice because I was thinking that it was way too much salt. And I read it incorrectly the second time too! So instead of adding two teaspoons of salt, I added two tablespoons. The scones didn't turn our horribly. They were still edible with frosting on them. Nick said that they were like biscuits with cranberries in them.

This past weekend (Nov. 21-23) was another full of fun and packed with events. Friday, was quite busy for me even though I really wasn't doing that much. I just seemed like a lot. On Thursday I got maintenance done on my car, which ended up messing things up with my radio. Basically, since I got the battery replaced the anti-theft radio mechanism kicked in and now I have no radio. I was supposed to get it fixed on Friday, but it was a little too busy around the house for me to do that. I had plans to go out dancing with Nick and a couple of our friends, but had also promised to make some pumpkin pies for Christopher to take to his girlfriend's Thanksgiving party. Since the Big Game was the day after and I was planning on having friends to come and hang out to watch the game I made some pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes. I got the recipe from Allrecipes and just altered it by adding the chocolate chips.

On the day of the Big Game, Nick and I went down to Palo Alto to tailgate with my parents and family friends. On the way down he gave me a rundown of how a vehicle engine works. Oh the things one can learn. After a certain point though, I kind of started to zone out. There is only so much that I can handle. The tailgate was awesome as usual, but the actual game was even better. No one thought that they would win, but they did! Go Bears! I was so happy that I was jumping around everywhere. The plan was to originally congregate at my house so that we could watch the game on TV after the tailgate since we didn't have tickets. By the time we got back to Nick's place to get my car and then head over to my house it was already 4pm (which is when I thought the game started when it actually started at 4:30). I was not happy that I was going to miss kick off. Then we found out that Astound doesn't have the channel Versus, where the game was airing. Oh man, I was so mad that I was shaking and didn't want to listen to anything Nick was saying. He was trying to console me, but I was so angry that I was having none of it. Thankfully, he kept his cool and said that we could go back to his house to watch the game because he had the channel. It's a good thing he can handle my mood swings...especially because I have a lot of them. So we packed up all of the food that we had at my house and headed to his. I'm just so glad that we won.

...I've been working on this post for almost three weeks now on and off. I'm over it. Today I got my radio fixed and the recall on my windshield wipers finally taken care of. For the last week or so I've been conversing with Julie on and off about doing a "joint custody" thing with Emmy since she is back in CA. Edward had really long hours at school so he sent her home where she would be happier. After getting Edward's consent, I will be sharing Emmy with Julie and Mrs. Levie until Edward moves back home. It may be just a short time, but it's better than no time. My mom and I went to get her a new crate and bed today, among other things. I just hope she remembers me! It's been quite some time.

P.S. She definitely remembers me and she took up all the space on my tiny little bed last night even though she has a brand new doggy bed not two feet below mine.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

This is Halloween, this is Halloween, Pumpkins scream in the dead of night

This Halloween was relatively old-fartish, but very fun. Christopher and I carved our pumpkins a little early this year so by the time Halloween actually rolled around they were slightly shriveled and not looking up to form. We should have sprayed them with some bleach and water, but by the time my mom mentioned it they were already turning into pumpkin-sized grapes. It was fun carving them anyway. The pumpkins had been sitting in our garage for some time. I think that my mom had bought them as soon as pumpkins were out for the picking. So much for going to a pumpkin patch. Safeway it is! I have noticed in the past years that pumpkins have become more oblong. I remember when they used to be very near to perfect globes. I find it difficult to carve a pumpkin that is so tall. I think I prefer mine to be a little more squat and rounded...but that's just me. This year we picked a Cal theme. I'm pretty sure that our parents have us brainwashed. If we were better carvers we would have taken the time to carve "Beat Oregon", but we're not. So the bear and the cursive "Cal" will suffice.

The actual day of Halloween was enjoyable. It was nothing too out of hand nor was it boring. Originally we were going to go the City, but Nick wasn't feeling so well and I didn't really want to be out there with all of the crazies so we stayed local and ended up at the same restaurant with my parents. We had a great time with some of his friends listening to the house band and drinking beers. Nick was a ninja and I was a Harry Potter student again. Nothing too exciting for me. I didn't really want to put the effort into finding another costume when I had a perfectly good robe sitting in my closet. Anyway, we went to this restaurant called Dallimoti's in Pleasant Hill. Nick said that we dropped the age ratio in the establishment by half, which I thought was amusing but then realized that he was right. There were quite a few patrons who were well past their prime and should not have been dressing in skimpy little cheerleader and sexy cat outfits. Is this what I have to look forward to? At least my parents were sufficiently covered up. My mom dressed up as a hippie and my dad as a nerd. The saddest part is that all of the stuff that my dad was wearing was straight from his closet. When I acquire a picture, I will post it. Apparently, my parents were the first couple to arrive at the restaurant and were sitting on a bench by the front door. From what I was told, they were not moving much so when the hosting couple walked in my parents scared the living daylights out of them. The hostess said that she thought my parents were stuffed! I got a kick out of that one.

You now what time it is now? It's officially November. You got it! Christmas music time!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lemons, Orange and Pears! Oh My!

Last night we saw Wicked for my mom's birthday. It was fantastic as usual. There was plenty of room and we had no one really sitting in front of us. I did get the Wicked mug that I was talking about in my last post, and yes, I have been drinking hot water and singing Wicked songs. What was cool is that the cast was doing their biannual Broadway Cares fundraiser where casts and shows nationwide raise money to help fight AIDS. It's neat because cast members come out and hold out buckets for donations, which means that you can see them up close and personal and creepily touch their costumes without them knowing...not that I did that. The actress who plays Elphaba's sister, Nessarose, was out there too. I have to say, I was doing nothing short of staring. My dad said that I should take a picture with her, but I didn't think that they allowed pictures in the theater. Anyway, last week when I went they hadn't started this yet. It's a good thing we went again! Besides holding out donations buckets, they were also selling stuff to raise money for their cause. I was practically pushing people out of the way so that I could get to the concessions counter faster because I thought that they might run out of signed posters. I got one with no problem. I guess that's what happens when you're willing (or your mom is willing) to shell out $75 for a piece of cardboard with signatures on it. Once I had that baby in my hands I wouldn't let go and actually did a little jig in public...sober. I am still super stoked. This will definitely get framed. I have a signed poster from The Drowsy Chaperone, but I'm not nearly as enthusiastic about that musical as I am about Wicked. The poster is sitting rolled in the heaps of stuff in our garage right now. At least it was displayed for a year or so in my apartment in NY. I also got an apron and my mom got herself a reusable grocery back. Now I can wear my shirt and go grocery shopping all to come back to put on my apron and drink tea out of my mug! Hah hah!

The Bart ride out to the city.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Wicked was awesome! I knew that it would be, but the woman who played Elphaba, the wicked witch, was amazing! When Juni and I went to go see it in LA the actress didn't quite hit the high notes the way that we expected. She did them, but then didn't hold them out like Idina Menzel in the original Broadway soundtrack. When Nick and I went to see it on Friday the actress, Teal Wicks, hit the notes and held them. It was spectacular. I was grinning so much that my cheeks started to get tired. I'm going for an encore session of Wicked tonight with my family. We're taking my mom to see it for her birthday. I'm very excited. It was just so good that I had to see it again!

While we were at the theater on Friday I got myself a nice shirt. Now I have a shirt from when I went with Juni and one with Nick. Haha maybe I'll get another one tonight from when I go with my family!

No, I did not make a transformation into a white girl with light brown hair. This is just a model. But I am the proud owner of this shirt! I think this is about the same color as the last one that I got, but oh well. I must really like the color. If they have them, I think I would like to get a mug so that I can drink my hot water and sing Wicked while waiting for calls at work. Ahh... what a life.

At the Bart station waiting to go see the play. Can you see how excited I am already?

With the mob of people around we couldn't really get a good picture in front of the sign. Tonight I'll try to have the man at the door take a picture of my family before the play starts...provided we aren't late. Being late to musicals seems to be a trend in our family. We're always running for the door. It's a good thing I can run in heels!

It was a pretty full and satisfying weekend. On Saturday my dad, Nick, and I went to the Foothill band review to watch Christopher march and then headed out to a Cal game. I don't think that Nick knew how competitive high school marching was or how fast I can walk when I need to get somewhere in a hurry. Hahah. It was fun though, tiring, but fun. This post would have been up yesterday, but I was trying to upload a video that my dad took of the band. After waiting for five hours with still no result, I gave up on the video. Photographs will suffice.

Moving on...

Lately, I haven't really been inspired to write anything. I am a writer who cannot write. I've been reading Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose to help boost my desire to start writing again. It may be working since I am at least starting to blog more often. I was telling Nick that I've been doing some literary cheating in the last few weeks. He was a little confused by my statement. I'm a believer in the "to write, you must read" concept. It's just that I haven't really found a book to settle down with. I picked up Chekhov, read two pages and then put him back down. Picked up March by Geraldine Brooks, read half a book--reshelved. Picked up Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko, opened it, read the first page and then put it back. And the list can go on. Literary Cheating.

As a way to try to get out of this reading and writing funk, this weekend I picked up a book at Borders called The Writer's Idea Book by Jeff Heffron. So far it is really good...hah hah! Until I cheat again. It's basically just a book full of writing prompts and advice. I thought that the introduction was really inspiring. Here is a passage:

Writing is an act of hope.

It is a means of carving order from chaos, of challenging one's own beliefs and assumptions, of facing the world with eyes and heart wide open. Through writing, we declare a personal identity amid faceless anonymity. We find purpose and beauty and meaning even when the rational mind argues that none of these exist.

Writing, therefore, is also an act of courage. How much easier is it to lead an unexamined life than to confront yourself on the page? How much easier is it to surrender to materialism or cynicism or to a hundred other ways of life that are, in fact, ways to hide from life and from other fears? When we write, we resist the facile seduction of this simpler roads. We insist on finding out and declaring the truths that we find, and we dare to put those truths on page.

To get ideas and to write well, you have to risk opening yourself. In her book When Things Fall Apart, Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön writes of this risk:

When we regard thoughts and emotions with humor and openness, that's how we perceive the universe...We begin to find that, to the degree that there is bravery in ourselves...and to the degree that there is kindness toward ourselves, there is confidence that we can actually forget ourselves and open to the world.

There must be that softness, that openness. Rather than making us weak, it makes us confident and fearless. The more confident we grow the more open we can allow ourselves to be. If you can write even when your life seems dark and bleak, even if all you can write is "Life sucks," then you have the hope and courage necessary to keep moving, to persevere as an artist. In perseverance you will find your creative self.

You should have seen my eyes when I was reading this. My little blue and pink pencil with the star top was underlining like crazy. I think I was getting giddier and giddier as the passage went on. Even just rereading it now for typographical errors made me a little happy. See, "to write, you must read" is in the works already. I'm writing about how wonderful this passage is. Even if the rest of the book is a flop, which I seriously doubt, I have gained so much from this page-long introduction for the purchase to be worth it. Now that is an intro if I can say so myself. What an impact it made.

Works Cited:
Heffron, Jeff. The Writer's Idea Book. Cincinnati: Writer's Digest Books, 2000.