Friday, September 28, 2007

"Bring it Back!"

Apparently that was the mantra declared by thousands of loyal fans, and their cries were heard.

The devastating disappearance I am referring to is none other than Shakey's Bunch-a-Lunch buffet. The mojos! The pizza! The meatballs! The fried chicken! The mashed potatoes & gravy! The always-disappointing cinnamon rolls! It was a bit of KSP tradition, but with the closure of our 2 closest restaurants and the Bunch-a-Lunch buffet, we had not been in ages. Until yesterday.

A few of us more loyal fans (Kevin wasn't hungry and the other techs had already eaten) decided to head to Covina to the next closest one. Although a few of our past favorite food items are no longer available, we enjoyed it nonetheless. While not something I recommend on a weekly basis, the occasional trip to the calorie-filled/artery-clogging Bunch-a-Lunch buffet at Shakey's is worth the visit.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Come one, come all

This morning I received an email from APU regarding my upcoming December graduation. It stated that guests will not need tickets to enter the location, though students are encouraged to try and keep their guest count to 10.


Come one, come all! Now I don't have to choose between sweet little Lance and dear friend Denise. You can all come. Even you, Lancey. :-)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

And this one is for me

Because it makes me smile every single time I see it. I should watch this every day. (Volume should be turned on to enjoy the music along with the smooth moves.)

The Bee

This one's for my stroller-searching sister.

LOL Cats

In an attempt to make today not one of those days where you wish you were elsewhere, I went to a happy place and found this.

And this.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Golden Hometown Birthday

Mom turned 50 today so she had to be celebrated in grand style. In what has become a Shaw family tradition, we headed to Hometown Buffet.

There were the usual mini-corndogs and ice cream, and a piece of Pavillions white cake, Mom's favorite.
Balloons and funny faces capped off the night.

We love you, Mom, and wish you a wonderful 50 more to come!

Eye Candy

I'm looking forward to this movie (even though there really isn't a need for it).

Mostly for the clothes, which I assume will be a feast for the eyes.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Celebrating Micaiah

On a rainy day in September, Micaiah, adorable son of Tim & Sarah, was celebrated in style on the occasion of his 1st Birthday.

I especially loved the flags........And the funfetti cupcakes............And the sign.

Happy Birthday Caiah! I'm so glad to have been a part of your first year of life.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Oh, the places you'll go!

And the things you'll do to get there...

As ridiculous as this may sound, I believe one of the reasons I never considered graduate school was because I realized that it required a time commitment that was not really compatible with a full-time, decent-paying job. The end result of no full-time, decent-paying job = life-of-a-poor-grad-student. I've known several of these people and I always thanked my lucky stars that I did not have to forgo a movie because funds were tight and rent was due. That is not to say that I live the life of luxury; though I am sure people in India or Ethiopia, or even inner-city LA would surely disagree. I will readily acknowledge, though, that I am comfortable. I have my little apartment with cozy furniture and a kitchen equipped to rival Williams-Sonoma; plenty of shoes and handbags to keep a girl stylin'; and the ability to enjoy the culinary delights of local chefs on not-so-infrequent occasions. All this to say that for the most part, I am well aware of my blessed level of comfort and am loathe to give this up. I am after all 30 years old...isn't this how it's supposed to be when you are this age?

Things don't always turn out the way you expect and that often means a surprising change of direction. For me that means a 5-year ticket to the lifestyle of a poor-grad-student. Amazing the things we are willing to take on when the end goal has meaning and purpose, and inspires passion and excitement. Although I do not look particularly forward to those 5 or so years of near-luxury-free existence (beginning fall 2008), I know there is a purpose and an end in sight. (Even if that end does have the year 2013 attached to it.)

In spite of financial mistakes, misadventures and misappropriations, God has always provided for my basic and admittedly not so basic (I don't think Michael Kors falls under the category of "basic," right?) needs. When I stop to think of how irresponsible I can be with my money, I'm surprised he lets me get a paycheck at all! But I'm not adverse to learning a lesson on how to be financially responsible, and God is faithful to do so lovingly and without unnecessary rush.

Yesterday morning as I stood in front of the bathroom mirror, I recalled a conversation I'd had the night before about the high-cost of moving; especially to the east cost. It occurred to me that I had no plan to procure those moving costs, and I was shocked at my lack of forethought and planning. Did I just believe the money would fall from the sky when I needed it? I knew that I needed to get practical and make a plan to save in the coming months. Save A LOT. Enter God. Again. As I considered my options (no movies, cutting back on cable, organ donation, etc), I uttered the unthinkable question (or at least the unthinkable question to those that know me, and know how utterly content I am to live alone in my cozy little place): Could I do anything to change my living situation in order to save money? The fact that this thought even occurred to me and I was willing to consider it is enough proof for all the atheists that God does indeed exist. That has simply been a luxury that I was not willing to give up. Within an hour or so of asking the question, my living situation had changed. In what can only be described as an act of God, one of my dearest friends--currently living alone in a 4-bedroom town home--offered to cut me a deal on rent so I could save money. And this was all without my even mentioning that I was considering changing my living situation; I'd only uttered the words, "Ging, I need to come up with a plan to save money." Her sacrifice is not going unnoticed and will allow me to save a large chunk of the anticipated moving costs.

In a matter of hours, I could see how God had not only provided for my financial needs by giving me a way to save money on rent, but he had also prepared my heart to accept this change. Although I am sad to not spend the coming holidays in my little place with the neighbors I've had for the past almost 5 1/2 years nearby (many of them friends since junior high), I have no doubt that when I asked the question early yesterday morning, God provided an answer.

I look forward to sharing a home with one of my dearest friends for the next 9 months. I look forward to being more financially responsible and see that responsibility pay off in an ING money market savings account. I am appreciative for the reminder that God always takes care of us.

So in summary: as of November 1, 2007, I am moving 1.44 miles away. Just in case that wasn't clear. :-)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Doesn't it look dark and gloomy and cold and rainy?


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fight for it

I love this print.
I love the quote.

It's everything I want to believe about love, true love, and finding a great mate. I also really love the title of the print, "Fight for It" because I know that marriage is not easy and to keep it going, to maintain not only your relationship, but the deep abiding love as well, you do have to fight for it.

Protect it.
Cherish it.
Feed and water it.

But it's worth it; I believe it is worth it.

(Print was first seen at White Skinned Goddess)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Dearest Danmark,

I miss you.
I miss your sauce.
I miss your sweet things.
I miss your beautiful castles.
I'm so glad that some things can be re-created.

(Photo courtesy of BAM)

(Side note: Just a minute away from BAM's house on Saturday, we were greeted with a sign advertising a new housing development that said, 'WELCOME HO_E'. A charming desert dweller had lovingly removed the M in 'HOME'. Gotta love the desert.)

To all my friends with kids:

If I had the money, I'd buy this work/play table for your children.

As it is, I'll have to start saving just to buy this for my children someday.
(Item originally found at Design Mom)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Driving Habits

In talking with Denise as she was driving on the freeway this morning, she expressed her annoyance at a driver on the road with her. This driver had signaled their intention to merge in front of her into her lane and yet hesitated to do so despite the many car lengths Denise had left for them. As her benevolence was not something I would have offered (after a few seconds of hesitation, I would have simply sped up and passed them so they could merge behind me), I said, "You're a better driver than me!" to which she replied, "Yeah, I know!"

It's nice to have friends who know and yet love me anyway, in spite of my slightly aggressive driving habits. Suffice to say I believe I could hold my own in Mexico, Boston or the Philippines.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Keepin' it real

I feel like a fraud.

A big, fat fraudulent frauder.

Friends and acquaintances often remark upon my vocabulary, so I had somehow deluded myself into thinking it was in fact quite large. My first practice test/assessment in my GRE test prep book proved otherwise. I scored approximately 460 out of 800. Please keep in mind that most schools state their requirement of minimum 550 in each section, with one school claiming a required minimum combined score of 1150.

(Insert stunned, sobbing and supremely humbled image of Kelly here.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tagging, and yet not

There are a lot of lists going around where you are to respond with quirky, unknown facts about yourself. Most are inane, but this one I found interesting and challenging: choose just one word to describe the following about yourself. So, for your entertainment...

Your favorite item: Art

Yourself: Multifaceted
Your partner: Hiding
Your hair: Cool
Your dream last night: Unmemorable
Your favorite drink: Champagne
Your dream car: RangeRover
Dream home: Villa
The room you are in: Office
Your fear: Ignored
Where you want to be in 10 years: Vacation
Who you hung out with last night: Myself
You're not: Irrational
One of your wish list items: Painting
The last thing you did: Faxed
You are wearing: Black
Your favorite weather: Crisp
Your favorite book: Optimistic
Last thing you ate: Oatmeal
Your life: Waiting
Your mood: Contemplative
Your best friend: Many
What are you thinking about right now: School
Your car: Accord
What are you doing at the moment: Typing
Relationship status: Absent
What is on your t.v: Dust
When is the last time you laughed: Sunday
When is the last time you cried: Saturday

Care to share your list?

Monday, September 10, 2007

"Consider Secondary Meanings"

Part of the grad school application process includes taking the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), the scores of which schools use to identify your academic aptitude for Masters and Doctoral programs. Similar to the SAT's, the GRE tests verbal and math skills, as well as analytical writing ability. Suffice to say, it behooves the applicant (that would be me) to prepare for this exam in some capacity; I chose the self-study method utilizing 2 different GRE Test Prep books and 1 book geared just toward math. I have less than 1 month to prepare so this weekend I got crackin'.

I invite you to study along with me.

One style of question in the verbal section requires you to choose the antonym of a word from a list of four additional words. Should you not know even the initial word, the books suggest the following: "Consider Secondary Meanings of the Capitalized Word as well as its Primary Meeting"

One example is as follows:

Choose the antonym for IMPRECISE:
A) direct
B) resolute
C) voluminous
D) nice
E) perceptible

This is where you get to play along. Which letter would you choose to be the best possible antonym for the word IMPRECISE?

You have 1 minute.
Ready? Ok. Warning: According to the book few examinees tested on this question would it answer it correctly so let's break this down. IMPRECISE means inexact, approximate, vague. Thus, its antonym means exact & precise. If you are like me, you may have chosen A) direct. If so, then like me, you would be WRONG for failure to "Consider Secondary Meanings." Apparently, choice D) nice, is the correct answer: "In this case, nice does not mean pleasant or agreeable, as in enjoying nice weather or being nice to your baby brother. Instead, it means requiring or marked by great accuracy, delicacy and skill, as in making a nice distinction in an argument or hitting a nice shot in golf."

Um.......What the......?!?

Shall we take bets now on what I score? I promise I won't be offended if you guess only 400 out of 800.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sunday stuff

What happens when Kelly & Lauren decide to "run errands" on a Sunday?

  • Downtown LA to hunt for fabric
  • Calico Corners
  • Marshalls
  • Pei Wei
  • Ikea
  • Target
  • No school work done as planned

Thank heavens for the trusty Honda. And Sundays. And friends. Couldn't live without any of them.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Please, allow me to introduce you

My portrait of a lady arrived this afternoon.
She was as lovely as I anticipated.
I found her a home.

I believe I shall call her Esmé.
After one of my most favorite of the Terrill-family-tree names.

Happiness is...

Perfect evening temperature and soft, cool grass to walk on.

"Live in rooms full of light"

Lookee what I found.

I bought two. Total cost was under $45.00. God bless Target. (And Sarah.)

(Title quote by Cornelius Celsus)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The most brilliant of brilliant decorating tips

I cannot recall where I heard the most brilliant decorating tip but I had to share. Regardless of where it came from, it's brilliant! In a nut-shell (because again, I can't recall where I heard this brilliant decorating tip and so must paraphrase what I took from it so that I can share it with you)...

When considering a color scheme or style for a room, think of a painter or artist that you are drawn to. Note the colors that they tend to use: pastels? muted primary colors? earth tones? Further ponder why you like them, why that style and those colors are drawing you in. Start to envision that painting or collection of paintings turned into a room's decor. How can that same look that speaks to your soul, be turned into a living room? Your bedroom? A dining room? Take those thoughts and run with them to have a room inspired by a true artiste.

("Forty People" by Geoffrey Johnson (above right) and "Channel Marker" & "Lemons" by Kris Shanks (both directly above))

(If you by chance have heard this tip recently too and want to tell me where, I will gladly give credit where credit is due.)


Earlier this year, Denise & I took a cooking class through Hip Cooks, a fun, down-to-earth group of gals with a casual approach (See "45-minutesish" below) to food preparation. If you happen to live in the area, I highly recommend them! It would be fun to get a group together to do it sometime too. There are typically 10 to a class.

In their most recent email newsletter was this recipe that sounded so tasty & celebratory of the coming fall season, I thought I'd share. Enjoy!

(NOTE: Photo is not of this dessert, but a random photo I borrowed (stole) because it looked tasty and how I sort-of envision this looks but will have to make to confirm.)

  • Recipe of the month: Apple for the Teacher?
Strolling the Farmer's markets in the coming month your start to see APPLES, Hooray! Do you know that there are over 60 varieties available to us in LA? From the sweet (like Honeycrisp, Gala and Fugi) to my favorite, the tart (Melrose, Pink Lady, Jonathan). This Irish Apple Cake is the bomb - a mix between a cake and a pie. Easy and lovely.
3 cups flour
1 t baking powder
1 stick (4 oz) butter, cubed and cold
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten + 1 for glazing
4 tablespoons milk
2 apples of your choice, cored and sliced. I leave the peel on 'cos I like it. You do what you want. Then toss the apples in any or all of these things: a few cloves, ground cardamom, cinnamon, lemon zest, grated nutmeg, vanilla paste

Butter a 9 1/2 inch tart tin with a remivable base.
Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl, and then rub the butter in with yoru fingertips until crumbly.
Stir in sugar, egg, and enough milk to make a soft dough. (If you need more milk, go ahead)
(For you smarty pants out there, I just gave you a basic scone-dough recipe)

Between plastic wrap, roll about half of this dough into a round slightly bigger than the tart tin, so it comes up the edges. If your dough is too wet and sticky to roll, don't fret. Simply spread half of it over the base of the tin. Arrange the apples on top, with whatever spices you chose. Roll (or spread) the rest of the dough on top. Score the dough with a knife in a pretty criss-cross pattern. If some apples pop through, good! It is prettiest this way. Give the top a brush of beaten egg and pop into the oven and bake for 45 minutesish at 350. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.

Can-do Attitude or Unsufferable Arrogance?

My friend Lauren (i.e. professional clothing designer/pattern-maker extraordinaire) thinks it's funny that I one time sewed a dress for myself. With most things in life, I have this attitude of, "How hard can it be?" My experience making boxer shorts years before had contributed to this perspective about making my own clothes.

That one-time dress-making experience changed that attitude. I wish I still had that dress. I bet Lauren would get a real kick out of looking at the makeshift job I did. It was rather funny, at the time and in hindsight: I couldn't find a dress that I liked, I had a vision of what I wanted, and so assumed that I could recreate that vision (despite a lack of pattern or anything to guide me). Valentino I ain't!

A recent post here led me to this, which makes me want to get back my can-do attitude about sewing and give it a try again. This is all in spite of a lack of a.) a sewing machine, and b.) knowledge about materials and notions and such, so I'd likely end up with a bag that would come apart the first time I proudly showed it off.

Still, this bag is so cute (wasp/honeycomb print included!) that I may just have to attempt it when I finally get some free time. It even includes a pattern! How hard can it be?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Best laid plans...

I tend to be one of those types where most decisions are carefully thought through, even if the decision is weighed in a matter of seconds. Sometimes I wonder if I should bother, though I doubt at this stage of life that I can really change the habit of a thorough assessment, however long the assessment takes.

A funny example of this was seen this afternoon. Arriving to work in the morning and upon returning from lunch, I typically roll down the front passenger & driver's side windows a couple of inches so the hot air isn't contained, making it a suffocating heat bomb when I leave. This afternoon, knowing that the car wash guys would be coming by to wash my (oh-so-dirty-black) car, I consciously considered the rolled-down-window idea. Ultimately I decided to roll down the driver's side window half way, rather than both windows a quarter of the way. My thought process considered the likelihood of the car-washers not noticing the only slightly down windows before they hosed the car down. Surely a window half way down would be noticed.......right?

My office has a nice view of my car, and thus the car-wash guys as they wash. After handing my keys to the car-wash-boss (so he could roll up my windows) I looked away from the window and continued my work. The sound of rushing water prompted me to look up and what to my wondering eyes did appear, but a car-washing assistant furiously scrambling to mop up the inside of my car after having sprayed the outside without noticing the window was down.

What's that saying again about the best laid plans of mice and men? Or am I thinking of the one about the road to you-know-where (aka. Southern California this past weekend) and good intentions?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Goodbye, Good Friends

It was a good goodbye, if such a thing exists.

Perhaps it is because there is a chance that I'll end up in the same city, that takes away the sting of dear friends moving away. Or rather, I suspect that the sadness was somehow lessened by the expectation that these friends, though no longer conveniently located minutes away, will nonetheless remain an invaluable part of my life in years to come.

Osborns, I am honored to be among your favorite of people. You hold just such a place in my heart as well.

Some rules are meant to be broken.

Like the one at Marston's retaurant that says you can't substitute a piece of their tasty cornflake-coated french-toast for regular, plain 'ol toast. Someone did it for me the last time I was there and simply charged me extra, which I didn't mind paying. But yesterday, Oh no! God forbid they give me a single piece of the french toast in place of sourdough! Our sweet but newbie server asked the manager if she could and the manager sternly told her no. To make her point, the manager then came to where Molly & I were sitting and stated that she was very upset to learn that someone had indeed done that substitution for me previously, and if she knew who it was, that person would be fired. We sat, surprised at the fervor in her voice while she quoted restaurant policy, when suddenly I saw the server who had done this for me last time walk past us to pick up an order, oblivious to the fact that her very future rest in my hands...Suffice to say I didn't reveal the identity of the traitor.

So instead, I chose the Denver omelet and did in fact enjoy my sourdough toast even while I gazed longingly at the deliciousness that was my desire.
You see, we sat at the counter, which meant prime viewing for all of the platters of french toast waiting to be delivered to hungry mouths.

As we were paying our bill, the manager returned, still looking somewhat shook up by my revelation of mutiny on her staff. For my trouble and frustration at not being able to order my single piece of french toast, she offered free dessert; I chose the raspberry-peach cobbler to go. I bet that free cobbler cost more my single piece of frenchtoast...