Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I realized today that it's been a while since I posted any pictures, and I even had ones from going home for Christmas. The three pictures above are My sister and long time friend Lee Krempel at a really high class Eastern Shore restaurant, my cutest ever and youngest 2nd cousin Page who just turned two and who I met for the first time when I was at home, and some frozen cracking ice in the Japanese Garden in Portland.
I have more pics from Portland that I am going to up load at a later date, but if you have ever been to the garden in any other season, check it out and see how different it is in the winter.
You can get out all the albums here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Portland Goodies

Just a little gift I picked up for some people I like a lot. Look how beautifully designed these artisan chocolates are! I tried to take a picture of the whole case of the most beautiful chocolates I have seen in one case, but they told me that it was not allowed. David and I shared several of the truffles last night, and the kitty cat one's are actually very tasty.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Things I Might Like For My Birthday

1. Homemade treats
2. Socks, colorful and knee hi, argyle is my favorite.
3. A love letter or poem
4. A photo
5. Project Runway Season 3 (Guilty Pleasure)
6. Tickets in the cheap seats to one of the Preview nights at the OC Rep to see The Importance of Being Earnest. (They are like 20 bucks a piece if you do a weeknight preview.)
7. Good music or good literature.
8. Anything Yummy.
9. Romantic evening that is pre-planned or just dinner and movie too.
10. Lots of hugs.

I know that this might seem silly, but some people might need some hints, so I thought that would be helpful or if not directly helpful at least it was fun.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

rawwwrrr (Really frustrated noise)

Sometimes I want to know that other people can get just as upset and fixated on something (something very small) as I do. So fixated that is makes them want to cry over something stupid. Because if I knew other people did the same thing than at least I wouldn't feel like a freak when it happens to me.

And then if I knew that the same people spiraled into thinking about everything else that was or could be wrong. Then I would also feel a lot less crazy.

Basically, I am just having a really hard time dealing with my emotions at the moment, and if someone else was exhibiting similar behavior every once in a while, it would make me feel less down.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Religious and Spiritual Ambiguity

I have to admit that I am sort of scared to post about my spiritual journey in life because it's a pretty fragile subject. I am scared of those that I will offend, hurt, and worry. I don't want my mom to worry about me because I have broken out of a strictly Christian mold, and I don't want my friends to read what I have to say and think that I am just a back-sliding Pentecostal. So, like I said it's really fragile.

I have worked a lot of my religious things out by talking with my partner and some of my capital (F)riends. I have been particularly thankful for the Mind on Fire website because it is a community for people who are thinking carefully about there faith and their unfaith and what it all means. I have felt particularly warmed by this new Leaving the Garden Series and there is a post today that I really felt like I related to. You can visit that post, and the site here.

I don't know if I am ready to blog in detail about my religious and spiritual feelings at present, like Elaine did in this post. Maybe because for me it is hard to write about religious ambiguity because it's- well it's ambiguous and within the context of my former religious beliefs it seems very wrong. So I guess I am kind of scared to come out the closet and offend people by saying that I am okay with it.

I don't feel like I need to put a very strict definition on God right now. I don't feel like I need to judge people within their own personal religious endeavors unless I feel like they are being harmful to others in some way. I feel very much at peace with the world and my place in it without knowing exactly what God does and doesn't mean. And while I feel pretty new and fresh in having these ideas, I don't feel like any of my important "Christian" morals or drives have changed. I still feel like I should try my hardest to love my neighbor as myself. I still feel like I should try to serve people when ever possible. I still feel that peace is the answer and that people should fellowship together. Maybe I don't think they necessarily need to fellowship as believers, but I think that fellowship as friends and as humans is pretty important.

So I guess what I am saying is that I feel like by expressing this in writing on a completely public forum that so many of my friends read is a little bit scary, and at the same time I don't think I am saying anything all that radical. (I mean it's not like I am endorsing sex before marriage right?) No, but really, ambiguity feels so calm and peaceful right now and I am at really positive place in my spiritual journey and am thankful for that.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pullman's Dark Materials

I finished this series the other night. It includes The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. I have to say that while I heard several very trustworthy and like-minded people state that the ending was awful, I didn't feel exactly that way. I did however feel that the third book got a big too confusing and theologically tangled and that is was had to decipher and determine everything that Pullman was trying to say. I am not sure that I would say that it god preachy (atheistically speaking), but it got hard to interpret and overwhelming.

I did like the ending where the children were encouraged to go into their worlds and lead full and conscious lives- I think mainly in which they were conscious of their actions and the choices that led them to take those actions. I don't think that is anti-God or even un-spiritual. I think it is sort of spiritual to be aware of your roll within the universe and to see your actions within the context of the universe.

D and I got into a major discussion about Pullman's redefinition of hell. D seems to think that when Lyra went into Hell where all the ghosts/souls of the people were being tortured by the Harpies, Pullman is making a very strong statement. Lyra is able to open up hell and allow the people to return back into the world, where they essentially become part of the matter of the earth again. The Harpies, who are like the demon torturers agree to let the people out if they are able to tell them stories from their lifetimes. D said he thinks that this is lame because he is saying that regardless of whether or not you live a virtuous life, unless you live an interesting life you will have to stay in Hell and be tortured. I didn't feel that the statement was so strong. I don't think that the Harpies insisted on having interesting stories, but rather just hearing that people were conscious and aware in their lives. I think the opening back into the world was almost like doing away with the idea of hell because it presented the notion that really there is no afterworld and that our bodies return to be a part of the earth. Can anyone who has read the series offer me their opinions?

I also didn't think that the said sex between the main characters was that big of a deal or even explicitly implied. I think that the children engaging in what physical affection that Pullman did mention was merely symbolizing that they had made a transition into adulthood- which was an extremely important theme in the book.

Also, I don't feel like God was necessarily killed. I mean I get what they are saying about the part that seemed like that, but at the same time I really felt like it was less than the death of God and more of the continuation of free choice and rational thought. I know it said some thing about the the Authority and it's supporting organizations dissolving, but I think that the notion that there are going to be groups out there like that who try to control people with religion and disallow them to think for themselves was not truly killed. I felt more like the book affirmed one's ability to make their own choices and to be aware of them. In the end free thought triumphed over religious control and no thinking, and that was cool.

I liked the books quite a bit, and would love to discuss with anyone who is familiar enough with them to want to do so.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Weekend is Over...Too Soon

  • I am imploring anyone who read this to see The Diving Bell and the Butterfly as soon as you get a chance. It is probably the best movie I have seen in several years, and one the most beautiful movies I have ever seen in my life. I'd like to see it again, because I feel so moved by it that I want to be moved some more
  • David and I ate at a Korean Tofu house last night and while I don't think that we will be going back again anytime soon (unless we find someone who is more experienced in this genre) it was definitely a dining experience that I will not soon forget. Call me naive, but I thought that it would be pretty much all tofu and while I recognized that it was not as soon as we got there, I was unhappy to see red meat floating in my soup. I ate it anyway, but tried to skip the meat chunks and the shrimp in their shells with eyes still on their head. I was not grossed out by anything, but really enjoyed coldstone after the meal.
  • I talked about sex freely and openly with a really good friend, and somehow this is always very invigorating and freeing. I guess it's just good to know that other people have sex and it doesn't have to be so taboo and difficult to speak of.
  • I made banana pancakes and they were awesome. I told David that good pancakes are like a little miracle because I would say that 2 out of five times I make them they are really awful. But these were really good, and I know that because David told me so.
  • In the Quaker meeting I meditated in relationships. I thought a lot about D and I and how being in a relationship can sometimes be exciting and new and fresh but some of the best times are just being bored and lazy and relaxed with someone while they do their thing and you do yours.
  • In Meeting I also thought about all the older people in the meeting and how I really hope that when I am there age I have just as good of stories and adventures to tell and talk about.
  • I made another crock pot full of Chili because the last one disappeared too fast.
  • I went on a long refreshing walk on the Santiago Canyon Wash Trail. I think that's the name of it. I call it the canyon trail, but D says that its not a canyon, but I kind of think it is a little bit. It was really chilly in the shadow of the hill on the way back, and unlike the last time we saw NO lizards. Just one bunny rabbit and many birds.

Next weekend will have little tidbits to share, as I am going to Portland- the place where I envision myself someday. I am excited for the trip and the adventures I will have there.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Today is the official deadline for my graduate applications to
1. UCI- first choice
3. Portland State
4. University of Texas at Austin

In another month I will have the University of Montana due, and because the deadline for everything else is so late, I am waiting to hear from the first four (and for D to hear from his) and holding out any additional application fees for schools that I would be satisfied with, but are not my first choice.

You should understand that when it comes to deadlines I tend to be early. I sent everything away at least a month ago, except my GRE scores, which should be there by now. I had a mini freak out an decided to send them all copies of the GRE scores at the last minute.

I feel better when things are done very early and I have some time to relax. Working up until the last minute tends to cause me to panic and not be able to perform as well.

And I know that a lot of people work well under pressure.

Anyway, all this to say- I feel very proud of myself for deciding to apply to these places and charging through the whole application process in my spare time. I am proud because I believe that I completed them to the best of my ability, and because I committed to completing it, and then actually did it. I am proud because unlike getting a teaching credential at Vanguard, this is NOT an easy answer- it actually required a lot of time, research, and contemplation.

So from now until I start hearing from them, please keep your fingers crossed for me. (And also D) Hold us in the light, and send us your prayers. Whatever it is you do- we could use some.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Jesus and Quakers: Trying to reconcile faith

I have not been quite so good at meditation the meeting lately. Sometimes I think it has to do with being less anxious about things. In other words, when I am less stressed and anxious I am less able to focus on seeking peace. That sounds like the opposite of natural to me, but it is definitely something I have noticed. I guess it is kind of like the fact that when I am in trouble, worried, or anxious I pray. When things are going okay, I don't ask for as much help. It's seems pretty natural to me.

In an attempt to get some good thought in this morning at meeting I decided to spend my time reading a book a friend gave me when I went home. The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne. The book starts off with author talking about his experience as a youth in the church. He talked about the countless youth rallies an the fact that he was born again year after year. He organized the See You at the Poles gatherings where prayer was brought into public school by students. He referred to all of his efforts in high school in terms of masturbation. Feels good, but unlike sex there is no born child afterwards. (No comments on masturbation intended) It felt really familiar. Made me cry a little actually. All those memories from high school and the high intensity Christianity tend to be really painful for me, and to identify with someone so closely reminds me how real it was.

So Mr. Clairborne is talking about the shift that the church has taken away from the moral majority and how there is a seeming revolution within the church. He goes away to Christian college after his fervent high school days, and there he seeks a true Christian- which is someone is willing to act in Christ like manner by serving people. He repeats things like the fact that Jesus was homeless and he was a revolutionary and other such things that I cannot recall right now. He talks about how a group of his students at his college ban together to support this homeless community that lives in a tent city and is being evicted from a church. The students stay with this community for months in order to protect them for the police and eventually the city and other local organizations provide assistance so that the population can disburse to houses and leave the tent city. In this abandoned church among dedicated students and homeless he is able to see the church that believes in- a community of people supporting and loving each other- something that is so foreign to the complacent church services he felt forced to attend by his own conscious, but not really his heart.

He goes on to talk about his experience volunteering in Calcutta and working in a leper community where he forms close relationships with people from many different walks of life. He explains that it is in these relationships and bonds between people that he is able to see true Christianity and really see Jesus.

I have a lot more of the book to go, but what I gathered this morning in meeting is that fact that Claiborne is stating that we can be very fed up with Christianity and the Church, but perhaps we are not seeing the real church and the real existence of God within people that can truly bring the tenants of Christianity into a very illuminated and REAL light.

It made me think about my grudge with Christianity and all my Jesus Camp experiences. It made me think about how I have felt so wounded by certain aspects of my faith that I have wanted to through the whole thing out at points. But what he was saying really resonated with me in current state of Quakerism. The Quakers belief something of God in everyone. They believe that we should look for this undefined (G)god in everyone, and as Clairborne said he saw Jesus in all these people is sounded like a very similar idea to me.

After meeting, at lunch with D I talked about the fact that I need to start a healing process with Christianity. I need to accept the hurt in the past and try to move forward and to accept certain positive aspects. I need to decide or at least meditate more on the tenants that were and still are very important to me. It's hard to describe that process in one blog post, and to really give a good glimpse at this book without truncating thing a lot. But it was refreshing and good and it made me feel like-sometime in the future- I will be able to combine my Quaker experience with the old aspects of my faith that are really important to me. It's a lot to reconcile, and I honestly have no desire to wrap up all my beliefs and ideas into a very tightly packaged and pretty little box. The desire is more to feel whole in my present- not by casting off the past, but by using as a stepping stone to faith that I am confident in. Confidence in terms of feeling free to question and be open- rather than having bitterness towards painful things from my past.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Verdi's Macbeth

This morning I saw my first opera ever. (On the big screen)

In case you haven't heard, the New York Metropolitan Opera- in a attempt to make it more accessible to people from different walks of life has starting a series of life broadcasts Operas that can be viewed for just over $20 in several movie theaters across the nation. In order to give even more people an opportunity to see these operas they have allowed several public schools to broadcast them for free, and the CNN broadcast they showed at intermission had some pretty decent (and also very funny) reviews given my some pre-teens that had just viewed Romeo and Juliet. I believe you can look at a schedule here.

When D first suggested the idea of seeing the opera on screen I was hesitant. I mean, it's like over three hours and in Italian and could have potentially been very boring. But I was pleasantly surprised. From the behind he scenes footage to the up close performances that could be seen by the camera- I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and although I am thinking seriously about purchasing a cheap seat to the L.A. Opera in the neat future, the fact that you don't need to dress up and that you can sneak your own snacks in and lean back in the chairs in the theater made this a really unitimdating first experience Opera that I will no doubt partake in again. Of the ones coming up I am especially interested in seeing Tristan and Iseoult and La Boheme. If anyone else is game let me know. The tickets actually sell out relatively early, and next time we will know to make it to the theater a tad bit earlier, but all in all I give if 5 stars.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Christmas Gifts I am Enjoying or Have Enjoyed (Some of Them a Little Too Much)

  • A Super Soft Alpaca Scarf (from my Momma)- It's black, so it goes with anything.

  • The Dark Materials Trilogy (from David)- I just finished the 2nd book this morning, and am admittedly hooked. I have been told I will be unsatisfied with the 3rd, but I am having a hard time believing that as of yet.

  • A gift certificate to my most sacred spot ever Alta (from the Remy family)- Sunday night dinner was spent with my AJ and my Jare under a big umbrella on the patio when it was raining and the waitress was getting annoyed because we asked her to come out in the rain. Also, I asked Tess if she had opened the store on Christmas Eve to sell of gift certificate to JR and he said yes and then felt like it was completely worth is when she knew it was for me.

  • Trader Joe's Giftcards (From Arnie and My Uncle)- Can I just say praise to those who provided my groceries. Tonight D is going to reap the benefit of these groceries, while I make him with the

  • New Mini Food Processor (from D) - which helped me to make lasagna and tonight is going help me to make my first ever homemade Pesto. (Yum!)

  • Guitar Hero for the Wii (from Jare and AJ)- I think they have enjoyed it just as much as me. I sucked at first, but last night I conquered Slash from Guns and Roses (on easy), and was really proud of myself. The only problem is that this game can totally consume not only hours, but also days of your time- which means I have to be really careful.

I know Christmas is not about gifts, but I certainly find it fun to give them and to receive them. I feel really blessed by all the people in my life who thought about me this past Christmas. I think that their love and relationships are the best things of all, but the presents have also been really fun.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Political Detachment

Two people have asked me for a reaction to the victory of Obama and the Iowa caucus, and I have responded with little fervor and energy in my answer. I don't know. I like him, I am glad he won. Not much else I really care to add. I don't insert nasty comments about our former first lady or talk about issues that are important to me.

I have to be honest. NPR has been my biggest (almost only) source for election news, and I think I just realized why that is (besides being a little busy lately). If you asked me if I was a political person the answer would be- very much so. But at the same time the experience I had in the last election has left me politically detached.

I will set the scene for you. I am a senior in college, attending a program through an organization called the Christian College Coalition. I live in Washington D.C. with 40 other students from various Christian Colleges around the nation. I am currently interning in the office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in the Department of Homeland Security (still not really sure what their function is.) I am pretty much surrounded by very conservative students and colleagues. The moral majority are my roommates and there is a lot of Kerry bashing and such, without a lot of room for conversation. There is more of the I am right, and you are stupid thing going on, and I learn to keep my mouth shut if I am not ready for a huge fight.

I am told that I will be required to campaign for a canidate in some manner. I choose Kerry because I have seen where our country has been for the last four years, and don't want it to stay going in the same election. You need to remember when reading this that this is the first presidential election that I was eligible to vote in, and I am fully involved; cold calling people to encourage them to vote, standing on the Pennsylvania roadside holding up signs for John Kerry. I am trying to grapple with my faith andf politics, and understand how to be a progressive Christian. I am trying to figure out who Christ is in light of all the shit that is happening in my country- not to mention the world.

I am set on this hope of having someone new to make better choices. I don't know if he will be amazing, but I know he will be different. And then, among the moral majority I hear the annoucement being made. Fellow students get chastised because they are leaving class to go to the White House to see the acceptance speech. I 'd like to crawl in a hole (or at least my bottom bunk) and sleep for the rest of the day, but I am forced to go to class with many people who are gloating all around me.

On November 3rd, 2004 I write:

My heart is broken. I did not think it would be this hard, or that I would be so emotionally charged, but I am. I am afraid for America. I feel sick.
Please God don't let me lost my inspiration and purpose. I need you now, and so does this country. I will continue to be driven by hope and emotion, and feeling with my generation. and passion. and hope maybe, but it all seems to bleak right now. so bleak and so dark. how did it come to this.

I wore black for a week- which is funny because you don't stand out all too much when you are wearing black in the capital.

Needless to say my first presidential election was not a good experience. You can chock it up to my surroundings or the event itself, and I am thinking that maybe as you grow up and you are politically involved you learn to deal with the disappointment of such things. But it was a hard first. And I feel hesitant about jumping head first into another one of them, and having all these hopes and expectations just to feel defeat in the end. At least this time I am more aligned with like-minded people than I was then- but at this point I am proceeding with caution when it comes to Election 2008.

A New Home

A new year means a new chance to take big leaps and take some risks. With that being said, I have decided to find a new home for my blog, because my three year old Xanga doesn't have all the features I would really like anymore.

There is no big plan or scheme to this blog, but I am hoping it will be more aesthetically pleasing, and organized.

Welcome to my new home.