Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Guest Blogger: Brittney's Thanks

On this oh-so-lovely Memorial Day weekend I am reminded of how awesome three-day weekends are (not that I've ever forgotten, believe me...). An extra day added to my weekend so that I can enjoy life even more - I could seriously get used to this. Whether I have exciting plans or not I just love knowing that my regular five-day work week is a little farther off and that I have a few more hours in the day to do whatever I want. Hello shopping and hiking and mani/pedis with friends!

So today, as I help miss Em launch her guest blogging concept, I am so very thankful for TIME.

It's the one thing that there never seems to be enough of so when I'm granted even a little extra I want to savor every last drop and fill it with all of the things I feel I never have the time to do. It's a terrible and at the same time amazing truth that time flies by with such speed as you get older. What I wouldn't give for a summer vacation now. I think it's a cruel reality that those aren't implemented into every profession. 

Public Service Announcement: When I run for president, shutting the country down for a month in summer will be my winning platform.

At any rate, until I am the master of my own schedule and/or independently wealthy, I will enjoy every extra minute of my free time (which I consider to be every ounce of non-work-related-time) that I'm lucky enough to have. Sometimes it might include traveling and sometimes it might just be snuggling on my cozy couch with a great book and a cup of tea. Either way, I'll take it all as it comes and continue to be thankful for the time I'm blessed enough to have.

Thanks for thinking of me Em. It's great to take the time to count your blessings from time-to-time. :)

Pictures from the awesome hike I went on today in LA - a second thing to be thankful for - NATURE found in even the unlikeliest of areas. Look at that greenery and open space. Not to mention the ocean. :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 150: May 30, 2011

Today I am thankful for pantry staples. 

Not that I would eat spoonfuls of peanut butter out of the jar sprinkled with chocolate chips...but, some people might do that if they really wanted something for dessert and the two ingredients appeared out of thin air as if a gift from God.

Also...I am super excited to announce that I am going to feature a different guest blogger each week!
Tomorrow look for my friend Brittney's post, and next week Stephanie will be my featured thanker.
I can't wait to read what all my blogging buddies are thankful for :)

P.S. If you would like to be a guest blogger let me know! And if you're reading this I'm probably going to ask you anyway, so get ready to get your thank on!

Day 149: May 29, 2011

When Nick and I started condo-hunting five years ago, we quickly found our Sundays to be dominated by open houses and scouring of the neighborhoods of San Francisco. And after we found *home* we continued this weekly discovery mission. Every weekend, since we were kind of new to the city, we would pick a 'hood, hop on a bus (or put on our walking shoes) and go on what we call like to call an Urban Hike. I would like to say that we coined the term ourselves, but I think we stole it from someone, I have no idea who. We have covered the city, neighborhood by neighborhood, so it's no longer a weekly outing, but we still try to go for frequent hikes around our favorite City by the Bay.

In San Francisco we do not have traditional hiking (although we do have some fabulous parks and open spaces). San Francisco is not a big place (it's only about seven square miles). But if you've ever seen our famous hills, you know that we are not a stiletto-wearing city...just walking to the bus stop could be considered a hike!

The Rose definition of urban hiking includes, but is not limited to:

Exploring a neighborhood(s) on foot
Shopping for indigenous specialties
Tasting the local cuisine
Enjoying neighborhood parks and landmarks
Checking out dog-friendly spots
"Hiking" some serious mileage and lots of hills
Bonus: getting a little bit lost

Today we laced up our tennies and headed for the Castro. It's my new favorite walk because I get to stroll through three distinctly different neighborhoods on the quite end of Haight Street, passing awe-inspiring Victorian mansions on the way. Today we picked up a crazy good cup of coffee at Philz before stopping at Duboce Park to let Zoe stretch her legs a bit.

Reasons why Urban hiking rocks (and may be better than real hiking):

1. You run into friends randomly (we ran into a co-worker and a bald South African).
2. There is almost always good food or beverage involved. (Fancy some Coffee in the Castro? Sure. Craving a burrito in the Mission? Got it! Dim Sum in China Town? For shizzle.)

3. When you get lost you will not risk starvation, dehydration, or hypothermia, you'll only learn more about the neighborhood you're exploring and probably have a bit more fun.

4. You will probably not get eaten by a bear or mountain lion. (Although you may feel like you are going to get shot when you get off the bus in the middle of Bayview. Oops.) 

Today I am thankful for the Urban Hike.
Because I've never been on a bad one. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day 148: May 28, 2011

Today I'm thankful for a little soul in my life. 

Soul food that is. The husband and I hit another spot on 7X7's Big Eat 2011, Little Skillet this morning. The tantalizing picture of fried chicken and waffles is what inspired me to "challenge" myself to try all of the must-eats on the list...because it looked that good. And it was that good. 

Fried chicken. Waffles with powdered sugar. Covered in syrup. 

 Side of biscuits with butter and strawberry jelly. 

Oh. Yes.

Nothing screams soul like a couple of white peeps and a golden retriever lounging on a loading dock noshing on fried chicken! 

Day 147: May 27, 2011

Today I'm thankful for cover songs. 

I love this! 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day 146: May 26, 2011

Today I am thankful for heat lamps.

You know, those beautiful red scorchers that adorned bathrooms in the eighties? Today while relaxing during an acupuncture session, the acupuncturist switched one on and warmed me to the bone. I felt like a lizard on a hot rock, basking in the sun. I think they should make a comeback. I'm seriously considering installing them in my living room. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 145: May 25, 2011

Today I am thankful change. 

Even though it's scary. And I actually don't like it at all.
Sometimes opportunity knocks on your door. But sometimes it forgets to knock like it was born in a barn or something, and it just walks right in and falls in your lap giving you no choice but to embrace it.
That's kind of how I feel about today. Neither Nick or I were necessarily looking for a change, but I guess change was looking for us because we were both offered new jobs today. Weird coincidence, right?

The Husband was offered a job that's pretty much perfect for him. The major "change" involved is that he will have the opportunity/obligation to travel up to thirty percent of the time. Exciting and fun and inconvenient all wrapped into one.
I was offered an interim job, so the "change" will be potentially temporary. It's also a job that is less than perfect for me. In this case, I think that's a good thing because it will give me a chance to grow a lot professionally, I'll get to try a totally different aspect of Nursing, and I'll get a taste of life as the boss lady, but I can go back to my old job at the end if I want! I'll also get to live the nine to five lifestyle for a while (but I won't be working five days a week...I'm not crazy, people!)

I'm looking forward to the new happenings, but I can't help but want to cling to my comfort zone. Change. It's such a funny thing, isn't it?

Day 144: May 24, 2011

Today I am thankful for the term "the bee's knees".

I think it's both corny and funny and it conjures up thoughts of a little cartoon bee with actual knees.
Yup, it's pretty much...the bee's knees.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 142: May 22, 2011

Today I am thankful for Bubblicious Watermelon Gum

Nick and I popped into the gas station on our drive home and we were craving something sweet so we picked up a pack. This stuff is just plain delicious. It reminds me of being a kid, so oblivious to the tooth-rotting sugariness it contains. We both happily chewed away on humongous wads of the bubble gum and I was surprised at how difficult it was to talk...how do kids fit those big pieces in their mouths?

Day 141: May 21, 2011

Ahh! The sweet smell of mountain air!
The day could not have started any better. Latte and freshly baked blueberry scone at Coffeebar  and a relaxing walk from Donner State Park to China Cove at Donner Lake with my Mom. There are still patches of snow surrounding the lake, but the sun was strongly shining, mocking all of the weather reports false predictions of rain. We ran into more wildlife than we did people, and the highlight was spotting two huge bird nests in the treetops. We didn't see any babies, but the mommy birds put on a beautiful show of diving and surfing the wind currants. And nothing makes me happier than seeing my puppy dog play gleefully in the lake...she's such a water baby!

No perfect day is complete without a little baking, so my Mom and I went home and were inspired to attempt to replicate my favorite cornmeal scone. They were no Arizmendi Bakery scone, but they were pretty delightful.

Nick and I headed back to Donner Lake for the real reason we are in Truckee for the weekend, the Shindler wedding!

We danced the night away and celebrated the newlyweds. So much fun!!!

Today I am thankful for Donner Lake.

It holds so many memories: West End birthday parties, lazy days and late nights on the docks with friends, and the spot where Nick and I got engaged almost exactly three years ago. Driving into Truckee, the first peak of the lake surrounded by mountains always signifies that I'm home.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day 140: May 20, 2011

Today I am thankful for given names. 

I was watching the Giants game tonight with my family and what do I hear? "At bat for the A's...Coco Crisp". 
Uhhh...seriously? Coco Crisp?
Then, the husband informed me that there is also a Milton Bradley on the another team. Wow.
I come across some doozies in my line of work, but Coco Crisp is up there with the most hilarious. 
My other favorites include: Ima and Ura. Not that weird? Their last name was Butts. Mean, right?  
And who can forget Le-A (Ladasha). 
I don't know how these kids makes it through childhood unscathed, and why their parents thought they were doing them a favor with the name, but they are good for a laugh!

Day 139: May 19, 2011

Today I am thankful for "good" busy weeks. 

There is good busy and there is bad busy. This week is busy in a good way. I feel like I've been running around from each thing and will continue through next week, but it's mostly fun things, so keep 'em coming! I don't know that my house would agree. Most of the chores have been seriously neglected. Maybe that's why it's a good week!
Already done: Perfect Sunday, policy updating, worked a full week by Wednesday, LAUNDRY, Chinese medicine goodness, meetings galore with a little champagne thrown in, packing.
Still to do: Shopping, wedding gifting, lot perusing, driving, wedding, family time in T-Town. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day 138: May 18, 2011

Today I am thankful for what I have affectionately named "halfsies".

By halfsies, I mean babies that are half one race and half another. Today I took care of the most delicious little babies. One was half black and half white with skin the color of my latte and perfect rosebud lips. The other was half Irish and half Korean...hello cuteness! 

Day 137: May 17, 2011

Today I am thankful for Morningstar Soy Sausage Patties.

I only eat them at work because they aren't as healthy as one might guess. I always feel like I'm having a "real" breakfast because they're just so good!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day 136: May 16, 2011

Today I am thankful for gift cards.

I used to think gift cards were a cop-out, a gift you got for someone when you didn't really care, unthoughtful. I still prefer to buy actual *gifts* for people, because I think it's more personal, but I see the appeal. And sometimes having the luxury to buy something you really like with gift money feels pretty awesome. Even if it's just a cup of coffee or a Jamba Juice.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Day 135: May 15, 2011

I was planning to spend the better part of today with my In-laws (I was looking forward to it!) but they ended up cancelling last minute.

Today I am thankful for cancelled visitors.

As much as I was excited to have them visit, we ended up having a delightfully relaxed day, just the two of us. A morning stroll to the farmer's market was the perfect way to start the day, a walk down Haight Street to take in the spectacle that is the Bay to Breakers crowd, and homemade pizza for dinner.
I heart Sundays.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 134: May 14, 2011

 We travelled North on windy, windy roads to Bohemian Grove, a private male-only camp built into a redwood forest. I was unsure of what to expect going in because I was told that women are only allowed a few days of the year, the grove is frequented by Presidents and other big wigs, and that they might do a background check or something!  
We were invited as part of my Father-in-Law's band that had been invited to play for a Spring opening picnic, so I was happy to be a groupie for the day and gain access to the super-private hideaway. 
It was much more laid back than I had anticipated: No gun-holding security guards, just the regular type. No secret password to enter, we just had to make the guest list. And it really is a grove. A giant grove of redwoods with camp buildings built into the scenery, moss covering everything. It was a very intimate group in the camp we visited, so we mingled, drank some delicious Blood Marys, and listened to good music surrounded by huge trees. 

Today I am thankful for Bohemia. I am thankful for classical guitar music, Redwood trees and all their majestic beauty, and a roaring campfire. 

Day 133: May 13, 2011

Today I am thankful for Friday the 13th. 

Thirteen has been my 'lucky' number since I was a kid and I have always looked forward to the rare times that the day falls on a Friday. Must be something about the anticipation of unknown wacky things that could (but usually do not) happen. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Day 132: May 12, 2011

I don't eat very much meat. 
I am repulsed by the sight of anything that resembles a vein, tendon, or identifiable part of an animal. 
I am SUPER picky about my carnivorous meals. 
So why, oh why can I do I have absolutely no problem eating some of the worst parts?

Today I am thankful for hot dogs. 

The most delicious mystery meat out there. Fo' sho'. 

Day 131: May 11, 2011

Today I am thankful for Chinese medicine.

I have been intrigued by acupuncture for quite some time and I finally decided to try it out. As I have learned, most acupuncturists are also herbalists, so I'm also sampling a selection of herbs. I can't say that I feel any different or healthy yet...but I've only had two treatments.
I'm fascinated by the Eastern medicine philosophy of treating the whole person instead of the condition, and I finally understand yin and yang. (It's not just a black and white picture, people. Who knew?)
I have been reading a lot and am surprised by how much sense it all makes.
And acupuncture is...so...relaxing. I literally leave as a puddly version of my self.

I'm also pretty thankful for Western medicine, particularly because it is my livelihood, but I wish the West would adopt more of the East as well!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day 130: May 10, 2011

Today I am thankful for the gigantic rosebush that I pass on my way to work in the morning.

Right now it is in its prime, covered from tips to roots in beautiful, fragrant, pink blooms. I love my daily encounter with the eight-foot tall shrub! Easily the best part of the 6:40-6:45 am window :)

Day 129: May 9, 2011

Today I am thankful for Mondays off. 

Nothing beats a case of the Mondays better than a Monday that feels like Sunday!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Day 128: May 8, 2011

Today I am thankful that I was able to spend Mother's Day with my Mother! 

Day 127: May 7, 2011

Today I am thankful for cornmeal.

It makes everything better, I'm quite certain.

Scones, pizza crust, cornbread.




My family is in town for the weekend and today we hit two of my favorite cornmeal havens for some insanely yummy cherry cornmeal scones and cornmeal pizza. I couldn't be happier!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Day 126: May 6, 2011

Today was emotionally draining, to say the least. I was prepared for the draining, but it didn't make it any easier. Memorial services are coined as a time to celebrate life, and I get that, but a lot of times I feel like we're celebrating too soon. This particular life was celebrated way too soon.

I take care of a lot of babies.  I meet a lot of families. This family is extraordinary.

I have known for a long time that I was thankful for having met them, but I have struggled with how to capture their "essence" in words. To see this Mother/baby combo in action, was to witness love at its finest, in its purest form, raw and unadorned. I remember thinking the first time I took care of them, that I have never seen a parent so outwardly enamored with their baby.

Today I am thankful to have witnessed an amazing family.

They impressed me constantly through the eight month journey with their spirits, their expressive love, and their strength. I am thankful that I was able to be a part of their life and that they shared their sweet baby girl with me for a while.

A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam
And for a brief moment its glory
and beauty belong to our world
But then it flies again
And though we wish it could have stayed...
We feel lucky to have seen it.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Day 125: May 5, 2011

Today I am thankful for teamwork.

We were busy, busy bees at work today, but sometimes everything just falls into place because everyone works together. Kumbaya. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day 124: May 4, 2011

Today I am thankful for after-work greeters. 

I absolutely love peaking out the hospital door to see my handsome husband waiting to walk me home, beautiful puppy laying at his feet. Especially when he's armed with flowers. 

Day 123: May 3, 2011

Today I showed up for work...and I wasn't scheduled to work. Oops.
Once I got over the fact that I woke up three hours early for absolutely no reason, I appreciated the extra time. I went for my daily walk a lot earlier than I normally would and it was a different park. It was dewy, it was quiet, and the air was brisk.

Today I am grateful for musicians in the park.

I encountered a very amateur clarinet player sitting on a bench. Zoe was downright terrified of the squawking noise, and I kind of was too, but it made me smile inside because this sixty-something-year-old woman decided that it was a good idea to leave the privacy of her house to practice her clarineting skills in the middle of the park.
Then I passed a tunnel leading from my path to the conservatory of flowers. Inside there was a man pacing through the tunnel playing a guitar and singing. And he was awesome. I sat on the stairs and listened to him play his concert. And because it was early morning, I was the only audience member.
Finally, as I headed home, I came upon a man playing a jazzy trumpet tune in a grassy inlet.

My early morning walk had such a nice soundtrack! Loved it! 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Day 122: May 2, 2011

Today I am thankful for dessert on a stick.

This Spring I have been loving popsicles. They make me think of Summer and of being a kid, but there is a new breed of frozen treats on sticks. They are delicious, they are refreshing, and they are kind of fancy! We tried some ridiculously yummy gelato pops the other day. I'm planning on trying every awesome flavor! I came home from the market with three different varieties of fruit pops last week and have been enjoying them all: watermelon, coconut, and tonight Caribbean fruit!

Day 121: May 1, 2011

The first day of May was a day that felt like it would never end; it was a day that felt like many days crammed into one. In a good way.
I was up bright and early but excited about it because it was wedding day! I love weddings! We had a peaceful and quick drive to Nevada City. We chatted, listened to our book on CD, and made a pit stop in Sacramento for some delicious coffee (I remembered Caroline at Coeur de La talking about Temple Coffee, so we made a detour through downtown to try it out).

We had a great time browsing around the quaint town of Nevada City and spending time with old friends and some seriously adorable kids before the wedding. I even picked up an new old antique copper pot for my collection!

The wedding was at the Miner's Foundry, an amazing old building right in downtown. I was mesmerized by the beautiful stone walls and old glass windows. As I said, I love weddings. I love the ceremony, the reception, the essence of love that always infuses the day, the cake...I like it all. Since my own wedding though,  I really love weddings because it makes me think about my own. I mean that in the most non-self-centered way. I am not a guest at someone else's wedding and thinking about or comparing it to my own, but rather after having experienced being married and having a wedding, I am now fully aware of what an honor it is to be witness to someones own exchanging of vows and a marrying of two families.

I know a lot of people who dread the wedding ceremony and wish they could skip to the reception, but for me, the ceremony is the best part. No matter how well I know the couple, I always leave the ceremony feeling like a got a glimpse into their "real" relationship, the side of it that they usually reserve for private, and I love that. 
This particular ceremony encompassed all that I think is great about wedding ceremonies: The Groom cried, they had amazing, personal vows, and it made me laugh and cry, and it reminded me of what it means to be married. And the Bride and Groom? To quote the Officiant, "a match made in Heaven". I love seeing two people who are glaringly well-suited for each other.

The ceremony included a reading by Louis de Bernieres from Captain Corelli's Mandolin that was also a part of our wedding ceremony!
"Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two."

Today I am thankful for fortunate accidents, I'm thankful for love that inspires, and I'm thankful for weddings.
Chris and Beth- thanks for letting us share your big day!