Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pistachios!

Zane and I got pistachios for Christmas.

I broke a nail trying to open one up.

Then I encountered one that couldn't be opened.

I gave it to Rufio.

It was love at first sight.

video 

Gimli's Courage

For as much as Frodo's courage is sweet and inspiring, Gimli's courage is astounding. Astounding. Zane and I just finished The Two Towers last night, and throughout the entire movie I was shocked and pumped-up by Gimli.

I don't know why it shocked me so much, since I've seen the movie many times.

Helm's Deep: the freakin' scary Uruk-hai are coming. Their 10,000-strong army can be seen for miles. That is, they can be seen by everyone except Gimli. He's shorter than the wall and can only hear their nasty battle cries.

I would be crying my eyes out in the fetal position at this point.
Yet, he's like, "Bring it on, suckas!" and starts the count of how many Uruk-hai he kills. Then later on, when he and Aragorn go around to get the Uruk-hai crowd on the causeway, Gimli takes one look and says, "We can take 'em!"

The same goes for all the previous battles. At one point he's pinned under a worg, and an orc comes to get him. I would have thought, "This is the end." But no, he just kills the orc from under wolf hog thing.

What? I mean, seriously?

If I'm ever a male dwarf in Middle-Earth, can I please be Gimli?

Here's a link to some screenshots of Gimli, my dwarf hero.

Archery Flop

My dad's an archer. He has three daughters. Only one developed a short-lived interest in archery. He now has two sons-in-law. Neither had prior archery experience.

Christmas day, my dad set up a target with some balloons pinned to it.

My bro-in-law, husband, father all hit balloons. My older sister (archery-experience) hit a balloon. My younger sister hit a balloon. My parent's Japanese exchange student hit a balloon.

I shot twice as many arrows as everyone else. I did not hit a balloon.

Then I went inside.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Gospel in Christmas

Zane and I were unprepared for Christmas. Throughout the days of Christmas, we were showered with love and family and gifts. Gifts.

It seemed like every time we turned around it was, "Oh, this one's for Zane and Deborah."

The guilt quickly set in for not having gifts for everyone that gave them to us. I said the words, "We don't have anything for you" too often, and it hurt.

What is this mentality in our culture? You scratch my back; I scratch yours. I pay this time; you pay next time. You give me a gift; I give you a gift - oops, unless I don't have one for you! In our culture, we have a built-in expectation to repay what is given to us.

Okay, so basically by Christmas morning, I felt pretty lame. We had received so many amazing gifts and had given so little in comparison. Then it hit me. It's the gospel.

I didn't do anything to earn the gifts that people gave us. They gave them freely out of love and without expectation of gifts in return. For me to be upset that I had nothing to give them was to take away from their joy in giving to me. They just wanted to bless me with a gift. Yet there's this part in me that wants to pay for it somehow.

Jesus' gift of eternal life is the same thing. I could never repay or give God a gift great enough to equal the gift of salvation from death. To try is futile and insulting to the giver. I'm called to accept it and to delight in Him. Sounds simple enough, yet it goes against human nature.

It is abundant grace to be given what I don't deserve. It's true for Christmas gifts, and it's true for a relationship with my Creator. Thanks for the reminder.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Real Vacation

I used to think that vacation was going to the Grand Canyon or some other epic place. I'm changing my mind. That's sight-seeing. That's a trip. That's, at it's best, one type of vacation.

This week I realized what real, relaxing vacation is: the home where Zane grew up. I've been there many times before, but last week - the week before Christmas - I experienced relaxation like never before. 

I like my home. I like my parents' home. But they live in the same town as me. When I'm in town, I'm thinking of all the million things I need to get done. I've got responsibilities. However, when I'm in Zane's hometown, I'm free.  

Zane's hometown vacation in a list:
1. We arrive to a grand welcoming party. Lots of hugs. Lots of love. 

2. We sleep in the loveliest little B&B room (a.k.a. Zane's old bedroom renovated by my creative mother in law). It's such a peaceful place to sleep. It reminds me of bedrooms in my grandma's house and makes me excited about our kids sleeping there one day. Or maybe I'll put them on the floor, because I like the room so much.  

3. Zane's chef parents cook us breakfast in the morning! Actually, all our meals are taken care of for us. We don't have to think about what to eat, because we just show up. I hate to cook, so this is like heaven.

4. We get to be with people. It's always a go-with-the-flow kind of trip where we visit different relatives and friends and hang out for hours (As an extravert, that's on the top of my list of favorite things to do). And the loving welcoming party applies to each new set of people we visit. 

So basically, a relaxing vacation is where I don't have to think about anything, including meals, but get to hang out with people all day. 

Amen!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Frodo's Courage

You know you're emotional when you cry at the part of Fellowship of the Ring when the council of Elrond is in a chaotic uproar about who will take the ring to Mordor, and Frodo stands up saying "I'll go." Gandalf's facial expression was the last straw before I felt the tears roll down.

Frodo's a hobbit. His race is known mostly for eating and partying. They aren't warriors, and they don't leave home. Here's what I see in Frodo:

1. Availability. Frodo showed up and volunteered. He didn't fully understand what he was signing up for (if he had, he might not have done it), but he saw a need that he could fill.

2. Humility. He knew he wasn't the strongest, biggest, or bravest. He didn't think of using the ring for himself, and he didn't volunteer to look cool.

3. Perseverance. At the Council of Elrond, Frodo had already nearly died, yet still he volunteered. He didn't give up. If you know the entire story, you know that he continues to persevere even through near death by sword, starvation, and madness.


I relate to Frodo. He's a nobody undertaking a massive task. It's like Moses delivering the Israelites, or David and Goliath. I'd like to think that I'm part of a big adventure like Frodo's. It's hard, and I have no idea what I've gotten myself into, I'm in over my head, but it's epic. I wish I had some direct correlation to something in my life, but I don't know what my massive task is. I'll let you know when I find out.

Do you guys get all philosophical about LOTR too? What do you relate to? Tell me I'm not alone!

Friday, December 17, 2010

On Cattiness

Sometimes women can be referred to as "catty," which I have come to know as being snobby or rude or other cat-like qualities (sorry cat-lovers). I've recently developed some theories on the subject.

Zane and I had an interesting conversation about a mutual friend from high school days. I remarked that when I first met her, I didn't like her. He asked why, because he had always thought she was nice, even though many of his other female friends didn't like her either. I responded that it was because she was 1) beautiful, 2) friendly, and 3) confident. Triple threat.

You may be thinking, "If she was so friendly, why didn't you like her?" Because! I was a freshman in college when I met her and somewhere in my upbringing, especially in the high school years, I was taught that you dislike women by whom you are intimidated.

It's been many years since that incident, and I react differently to the triple threat now. I find that when I'm introduced to a beautiful, friendly, confident woman, I feel the need to become her friend, to win her over. I guess that's how I deal with intimidation.

Why the difference in gut reaction? Two theories: 1) maturity and 2) marriage.

I think some young women are catty because they think of each other as a threat to snagging their man of choice. After you're married, you still have the woman sense (much like spidey senses) to feel intimidated by a triple threat, but there's no need to dislike her, because she's no threat to your man and you're no threat to hers. Of course, that's not the sole reason behind cattiness, just a theory.

And I'd still like to think that I am more mature now.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Scroogin' around the Xmas Tree

In the past Christmas has been my favorite part of year. I don't really like cold weather, but I do love the nostalgia, sweetness and magical nature of the holiday. Christmas is special. It's Rudolph and Elf and Ernest P. Worrel. It's advent and carols and nativity scenes. It's reciting Luke 2 and eating egg souflee with family.

This year, I wasn't very excited. I'm not very excited. I'm feeling like a lesser version of Scrooge. I started the Christmas season with negativity. I thought I had stopped giving myself deadlines for children, but apparently I hadn't. In addition to my weird body situation, I felt tremendous sense of apathy and pain in pulling out our Christmas decorations. It wasn't exciting for me, because it's another year without a kid or hope for one.

More evidence of becoming more real - I had an epiphany about how many people in the world are suffering at Christmas. My guess is that there are more people who associated Christmas with pain than with joy, especially for those who have lost loved ones, or are estranged from them, or are otherwise separated from them.

I'm getting a little more excited for Christmas as I purchase everyone's gifts. It was fun to cross stitch for my sisters. It'll be fun to be with family. The Christmas parties have been a fun diversion as well.

I've already processed this internally, and I'm not wallowing away at home. I'm not feeling as anti-Christmas or even as painful as I felt earlier, but I'm also not as full of Christmas spirit as I have been in the past. Maybe it's just part of growing up.

Okay seriously - I'm not trying to be pitiful here, I'm just sharing thoughts.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Insecurity Infestation

Time for another outpouring of my heart.

I recently became aware of my insecurity. I used to be content with bad hair and no make up and weird clothes in college. Actually I think I was just in denial. I've been more self-conscious lately because of this whole acting thing. I feel like I need to look perfect and cool and confident, etc, and I've started being more frustrated by my appearance.

I had a minor freak-out moment this weekend. I started thinking about how much easier it would be to be a mother than to be an actress. (All moms can laugh ridiculingly right now, but don't ever do it to my face). I started crying and wanting to give up. I thought, "This is hard! I have a character flaw!"

Yes, can you believe it? I have a character flaw! Okay, I have many, but one of them is my need for others' approval.

I am trying to break into an industry that bears the criticism of the masses! You know it's true - how many of you leave a movie picking it apart? "She's gotten fat. The story sucked. The graphics were lame." Millions of dollars and thousands of hours go into these productions, and nine out of ten get shot down by the general public.

This thought made me nervous. What the heck am I doing? I'm branching out from my safe bubble of close friends, who don't care what my hair looks like and say that my eyeliner looks great (when I think I look kinda...not great). I'm going into an industry where you get casted by your appearance, where the audience feels at full liberty to tear you down.

Then I remembered all the times that God raises people up to do His work. Many of them weren't excited about what He had in store for them. All of them had serious character flaws. That's part of what makes God's work so amazing, He uses flawed people.

If it's hard and scary, I should move forward. I mean look at Caleb (Bible story found in Judges - Old Testament) - faithless, freaked out, but it was through his insecurity that God showed His glory. At this point, I literally have nothing to lose.

Plus, bonus: last night we were party-hopping, and I was super insecure about my appearance. I can't believe how many people made comments on how good I looked. I just laughed and thought about how God meets my needs. It's like He was saying, "I know you're taking a risk, but I've got friends lined up for you along the way." Good, because I need friends too.

I wish I could say my insecurity is cured, but it's not. I'm just more aware of it. I'm pushing through, carrying on. By the way, thanks to everyone who said I was pretty yesterday. :) And for all the encouraging facebook comments on my headshots. Keep 'em comin'!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Rufio's Hammock

Rufio usually sleeps under the bed (unless Zane is travelling and I cave in...oops!). He has a bad habit of  digging under the bed, which is basically just scraping the floor repeatedly. It's really annoying, and we yell at him and drag him out, and he still does it!

The other night he was digging and it sounded a little different. Yelling at him didn't help, so I reached my hand under the bed to grab him. I grabbed his body, but it was wrapped up in something. Then I had to turn the light on to figure out what was going on. 


When I saw him, I started laughing and told Zane to come take a look. 

The box spring fabric was torn before we ever got Rufio, so he wasn't totally destructive here, but now it's torn even more. I might be mad if we had bought the box spring full price or something, but it was given to Zane in college and it's probably 10 years old. 

Oh, Rufio, always the entertainer. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tropical Chicken

Love this place.

Zane and I went to Pollo Tropical after our Disney trip for dinner. We wanted something cheap and fairly healthy. We split a chicken, beans and rice tropichop for $4.00, and still had enough for my lunch the next day. That wouldn't normally happen, but we were eating really late and neither of us was in the gluttonous mood.

We also tried four of their sauces:
Guava BBQ
Regular BBQ
Curry Mustard
Cilantro Ranch

All of them were awesome.

While we enjoyed our feast, we conversed and spoke against Moe's in terms of the deliciousness and good price. I'm still bitter.

Follow-up to the Moe's post - I like being able to get a kid's meal. I don't like the age limit thing. Chick Fil-A would never put a limit on it. I have to judge every quick-serve restaurant against Chick Fil-A, because they're the best. Moe's, you're not the best...unless you give me back the Moo! *end bitter rant*

I'll try the Joey Jr., but I still don't like the principle of it all! *end last word to rant*

Viva Pollo Tropical!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Space Mountain Uncovered

I'm posting a lot about our Disney trip on Wednesday, but there's just a lot to share!

We ended up in Tomorrowland after dark. It was cold and I had to put on my hat and gloves. We got our fast-passes for Space Mountain, because I had heard that it was renovated, and we didn't get to ride it on our last visit.

While we waited to return to Space Mountain, we rode ol' Buzz Lightyear. Zane beat me by 10%. My thumbs hurt after the first 15 seconds of the ride.

Then we went on the rockets. It had been 16 years since I last rode them. It'll be another 14 years at least before I go on that ride again. It was cold. It was crowded. I was dizzy. I was scared. My hands hurt from gripping the bar in front of me.

We still had a few minutes to kill before Space Mountain fast-pass return, so we did the Tomorrowland Transit Authority! I love love love that ride. It takes you on a tour of Tomorrowland. Very low-key. Perfect ride to rest your feet after a lot of walking. There's never a line for it either.

Guess what awesome surprise was in store for us?! You probably already know by the title of this post! The TTA takes you around Space Mountain so you can get a glimpse of it if you're too scared to ride it. Usually, you just see stars and hear screams, but we got to see this:

Yes! The lights were on! At first, you ride through a part of Space Mountain where the cars are moving up the track (toward the beginning of the ride). Well, a car was stopped, and Disney employees were helping out the guests who were riding in it. Then we went around the corner and saw this! I was so excited, because I had only heard what it looked like with the lights on. 


Not so scary, huh? I mean, it wasn't that scary with the lights off either. It just looks kind of boring with the lights on. 

We were actually too shocked to take pictures the first time around, so we rode the TTA one more time to get photos of Space Mountain. Sorry they're fuzzy. We were moving, and we couldn't use the flash because there's a window between us and the ride. You get the idea though. 

Disney magic revealed.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Souvenir Sacrilege

Never have I ever been allowed to buy a souvenir at a theme park. Except one time we went to Six Flags, got soaking wet on a flume ride, and my mom bought us new, dry t-shirts. Needless to say, this mentality was ingrained in me. I don't even like going into the gift shops. I'm one of those people that resent the fact that the rides exit into stores.

Well, on Wednesday, Zane and I took it easy on our Magic Kindgom trip. I have a tendency to go crazy trying to ride as many rides as possible. Since we've been on nearly all of them, we just chilled out and enjoyed our favorite parts, while exploring new things.

For instance, I had never been in the tavern restaurant in Liberty Square outside of the Haunted Mansion. They have upstairs seating in there. It's pretty cool.

I also had never visited (you guessed it) many gift shops, but Zane and I managed to go to almost all of them. I actually liked it. It was fun to see what kind of Disney merchandise there is. We found a Mickey kitchen sink stopper and Mickey-shaped pasta.

My mind had been in "just looking" mode, but I kept seeing a particularly cute line of dolls. At first I said, "Oh, that's cute." But then I started to rationalize. Zane and I were having such a great day and really enjoying each other's company. It wouldn't be so bad to go ahead and buy something really cute.

Plus, it's really cute. Plus, I'll always look at it and remember our magical day. (Disney haters groan as necessary).

Here it is:
Ah! So cute!!!

And here he is with my skinny, bendy Santa:

He's my version of the santa mouse doll that my sisters used to fight over when we were kids. He'll forever be a part of our Christmas traditions. We'll forever look at him and remember how much fun we had when we were first married. And how in love we were. And how skinny we were. And how clever we were to buy a souvenir on that day at Disney. 

And that's the story of how I caved in and bought a souvenir. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Disney Castles

Yesterday Zane and I went to Magic Kingdom.  I'm glad we were able to squeeze in a trip during this busy holiday season, because we got to see this:
Amazing!

Plus, we discovered some new things. Disney is expanding Fantasyland to include some of the other princesses. They'll each have their own miniature castle and an attraction or restaurant! 

Colored fences cover the construction. On the fences are large murals of the different castles. It made me want prints of them. I mean, what a great set of wall art!

Fun times at Disney. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tick Tack Ear

Rufio had a tick.

He was rubbing his ear, so I checked it out. Boom! A tick! I flipped out internally. I've never seen one in real life, and it was gross and there is a large red sore/bump where it was. Here's a picture right before I pulled it out.
Rufio's poor little ear, with the stupid tick. :(

First, I asked my dad what to do. He hunts and has gotten ticks and knows everything anyways. He said to put alcohol on it. I asked if he thought I should use my whiskey or my brandy. Yeah right, I reserve those for my hot totties! For Rufio ticks, I use isopropyl.

I was hoping the tick would let go after a good soak, but it didn't. 

After 15-30 minutes of nothing, I decided to google it. Turns out everyone says to use tweezers, but be gentle and make sure you have the head in your tweezers so it doesn't get stuck in there. I did, and the tick came right off. It was dead. Probably due to asphyxiation by isopropyl. I still squished it with my tweezers. It's a power trip thing. 

I put neosporin on Rufio's wound. I hope it goes down. He's up to date on his heart worm pill, so there's no fear of that!

Now he's resting peacefully next to me. Crisis averted. Adventure complete.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Chicken Little Intelligence

Once upon a time, when Zane and I returned from our honeymoon, we bought a whole chicken. I had heard that this was a cheaper way of making chicken and was a fairly easy endeavor.

Six to eight months later, I moved that chicken from the freezer to the fridge to thaw for a few days.

My newlywed heart was very naive and excited about cooking, no matter what feats must be accomplished. I took that chicken out of the fridge and put it in the sink. Then I threw away those nasty insides and started trying to figure out how to cut it up.

Everyone said it was easy to do.

I sawed and pulled and yanked that chicken around. I broke it's back and wings and ribs. I threw scraps of raw poultry meat into a bucket and scraps of unidentified poultry nastiness into another one. I gave up on the wings, wondering how anyone gets the meat off those little bones. After nearly an hour, my back hurt, my fingers hurt, my brain hurt. It's incredibly NOT easy to pull apart raw meat from the bone.

I had been traumatized by tearing apart a once-living being. I better understood why people go vegetarian. I finished my chicken off and threw away the carcass, glad to be done with my disgusting task.

Then I immediately updated my facebook status to something along the lines of, "I hate making a whole chicken. I'll never do it again! It's so gross!" To which, many women replied, "Me too!" "Eww!" "I don't do them either!"

A few days later, I told the story to my coworkers, to which, my boss replied, "We cook our chicken first. Then it just kind of falls off the bones."

I identify with butchers.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cross Stitch Fun!

 On black Friday I picked up some of these from Michael's.


I've never cross-stitched before but was in awe at the beauty of the patterns in the cross stitch aisle. My wise mother-in-law advised that I start with something small if I want to try it. Bingo! They had these little ornament kits for a dollar! 

They come with everything you need, including a needle.  I finished my first one in two evenings.

And my second one didn't take long either.

I plan on giving these two to my sisters, and I'm making a coordinating one for myself (the unfinished one pictured above). I inadvertantly saved the most difficult one for last. There is no symmetry in the holly! I'm not intimidated, though. I accept the challenge. I spit on assymmetrical designs! That's the best you got?! Ha!

I also recommend these to any other beginner cross-stitchers. They're a great way to learn and feel accomplished in a short amount of time. Just my style.

P.S. I just learned that you don't use the entire floss thing given to you. You only use 2-3 threads. This would have been helpful to know before I started. Oh well. Thick stitches.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Whale of a Tale of a Nail

I've a whale of a tale to tell ya, lads
A tale of a nail or two!
How I use my hands and don't wear shoes
And blood and cut and pain and bruise
I swear by my tattoo! 

First, I accidentally kicked the edge of our tile steps last night. It hurt like a beast. There was blood. It  knocked off my nail polish, which worried me that my nail came off too, but it stayed on. I nearly fainted at the thought. I was still limping this morning.

Then my thumbnail broke this afternoon when I was handling boxes at work. I am so thankful that my nails "peel" apart, or I would have been in some MAJOR pain.
 
 
The end.
 
P.S. Fifty points for knowing the original lyrics to the beginning song and where they are from!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Destroying Toys

As a child, I was not allowed to cut my barbies' hair or draw on their faces. I was taught to take good care of my toys. It was so engrained in me that when I got a doodle bear, I felt the freedom of rebellion in writing all over it, which was its purpose.

Freedom of rebellion...that's an interesting concept.

Anyways. I have failed to teach my dog the same respect for toys. As soon as he receives a toy, he makes it his purpose to take it apart. Maybe he's going to be an engineer, because I've heard that's a trait of child engineers. Except that those kids usually put the toys back together. Rufio hasn't learned that part.

Maybe he's just a dog.

For many weeks, he had been working on removing the nose from his stuff-animal dog (I know, it's somewhat cannibalistic). The moment he finally detatched the nose from the face, he ran victoriously around the house with it in his mouth.

I'm talking laps. I'm talking skipping around.

It was similar to when an army beheads the general of their enemy army and rides around town showing it off. You know...when they used to do that... I saw it in a movie once.

I'm thinking of getting him a jigsaw puzzle for Christmas so I can teach him how to produce and not just to destroy. How to build up, not to tear down. How to gather stones together and not cast them away. 'Cause right now the only thing he produces is....well, you know. Poop.

Maybe I'll get him a doodle bear!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It can be worse.

You know what's worse than the monthly reminder that you're not pregnant?

A late period.

This might be too much information, so I'll keep it short while keeping it real. For most people, being two weeks late means pregnancy. Not true for me. Yet, I still dream, hope, wish and think of names or how to rearrange furniture, hoping beyond hope that I'm one of the few whose tests continue to show false negatives. At the same time, I'm hoping that AF (as it (Aunt Flo[w]) is referred to in the world of TTC (trying to conceive), which really is its own world) will come soon and end the misery of waiting.

Sorry, but this is the bane of my existence.

I should add that no matter how much I want to pity myself, I can usually think of at least one person who has it worse than me. It's a depressing way to make myself feel less sorry for myself. Enough negativity (unless it's a preg. test...)! I can only handle so many of these depressing posts.

I also by the grace of God, have been able to see a little bit of purpose in all this. Still painful, but with some kind of God-glorifying purpose.