Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Sordid & Torrid

So there's the commercial on the radio about this old private school in this area that's celebrating its 75th anniversary or some such and on it they say something like "torrid" or "storid" or "sordid." Now in the context, "torrid" and "sordid" don't make sense and "storid" is just plain not a word, so I have no idea what word they were actually aiming for.

But anyways. Since I missed last week, due to the Boston trip that I have yet to tell y'all about, I'll do both!

sordid: adjective. [sawr-did] morally ignoble or base; vile. meanly selfish, self-seeking, or mercenary. dirty or filthy. squalid; wretchedly poor and run-down.
  •  He used some rather sordid methods to get the job done.
  • The sordid housing of the slums...
torrid: adjective.  [tawr-id] subject to parching or burning heat, especially of the sun, as a geographical area. oppressively hot, parching, or burning, as climate, weather, or air. ardent; passionate.
  • We hiked for miles across the torrid sands of the Sahara.
  • Romeo & Juliet is certainly a torrid love story.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Movie Reviews: The Avengers

Tyler and I went and joined the bandwagon masses in seeing The Avengers on Saturday night.

And I do mean masses...when you're in the habit of behaving like an elderly married couple, you forget that Saturday night is a night that people actually go out. Between the parking in Old Mill District for the Tenacious D concert that was happening just over the hill in the amphitheater and the standard Saturday night hooligans, parking was interesting and so was the line for the movie theater. Ah, well.

The synopsis is as follows: "...The Super Hero team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel Super Heroes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins..."

 Does anyone else see an overloaded lineup as a recipe for mass confusion?

Every single one of these super heroes had their own now we're going to mash them all together and not expect them to be all overwhelming? Even on the big screen?

I'm sorry. Let's reverse.

Tyler and I went to see The Avengers on Saturday night. My expectations were understandably low, as (a) it's a Marvel movie and two out of every three Marvel movies are flops and (b) the preview was entirely pyrotechnical CGI. But it bid to be a decent movie for the big screen on a Saturday night.

Unfortunately, it held true to expectations.

When I go to see a movie, unless I am made clearly aware that it's a part of a series and I'm the idiot who saw number 3 before seeing numbers 1 and 2, I want the entire plot to be standalone. Self-sufficient. Fully internally supported. With Avengers, I spent most of the movie thinking to myself that clearly, I missed something and had been expected to shell out to see all of the other supposedly standalone Marvel movies featuring the characters listed above in order to make heads or tails of certain plot insinuations, relationships and where the hell the villain Loki came from and why the hell aliens are invading the planet using a scifi thingamajig that came from an unknown place.

Because again, I didn't see any of the other movies.

Well, that's not true, I saw Ironman, both of them, so I know who Robert Downey, Jr.'s character is and his relationship with Scarlett Johanssen's character (Black Widow). But the Black Widow's relationship with Hawkeye is only sort of kind of explained in a backwards itty bitty sorta way, and who really knows where everyone else came from. And when did Super Heroes suddenly become involved with Norse demi-gods (Thor and Loki) one of which has some unexplained, random vendetta against the planet and brings unexplained aliens to conquer it?

So issue one, to review, is that the plot makes no sense.

You know what? I'm going to stop with that. Most everything else was decent. It was midly funny, Ironman took the cake for coolest and pretty much stole the spotlight in true Tony Stark style. Which is good, because he carried the movie. But no matter.

We're moving on. If you've seen The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man 1 & 2, and whatever movie features the Black Widow and Hawkeye, then you'll love The Avengers. If you haven't, you should probably catch up on those before you catch the flick.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Losing Ground

The nature of life is to be touched at times by sadness, loss and most poignantly, death. Those we lose in life do not necessarily grieve for their own loss as much as those who they leave behind grieve. I say this because my dear dear friend passed yesterday morning after a long battle with leukemia that began two years ago.

I was emailing with him about a month ago when he told me of his decision to not accept further treatments, as they were no longer helping. At that time he told me something along the lines of how he had chosen to put his faith in God to either see him through or take him home and that he was at peace with whatever may happen. It is times like these where I think any of us with true human hearts search them for the expression of God and wonder and rage at why such a God would choose to visit such a hard disease on such a wonderful person. So when he told me that, I was not at peace. I was sad, angry and very much cynical.

I am still cynical, though my grief today is tempered with the knowledge that while his ending was somewhat unexpected (he developed an aggressive infection that gave way to pneumonia, which his body just couldn't handle) and was by no means easy to watch for his family and the friends who were with him, it was Daniel's choice and he was at peace with his probable death long before any of us who loved him were.

Daniel was one of the first people I met at college, and with all the care and good-heartedness in him, he invited me to go salsa dancing lessons with him and some friends. Daniel and I had many great conversations over the years, about life, love, politics, religion, and the wonder of the world -- as well as about more trivial life-courses like school, friends, and run-of-the-mill drama. Through it all, he was a steadfast, loyal friend to me and to anyone else he met. He was genuine, good-hearted and wonderful.

There was one night my fourth year of college, when I was in one of my bouts of relentless tonsillitis that I suffered that year where all of my roommates were out of town or gone for the night for one reason or another and I was just so sick, and so alone that he valiantly offered to stay with me in a sleeping bag on my couch, just so that I would know that I wasn't alone if I needed someone. It was just one example of how caring a person he was.

He got me a job with his dad's printing company the summer after my third year of college. I ended up leaving after only about a month of employment, which both he and his father forgave me for.

He and a friend made my hometown a stop on their motorcycle trip to spend two nights and days with my family. I had to work while he was there and he hung out with my parents and my aunt and my sister and took in my hometown with them.  Such a great guy.

When we lost Daniel yesterday morning, the world lost one of its finest people. It's very sad, but its also a good feeling to know that after two years of hardship and suffering that he endured with grace, optimism, and strength he is finally at peace.

Choose today, tomorrow, and forever to celebrate life and take joy in the little things for those who no longer can. I will always keep him fondly in my memory. Saying "he was a great guy" just doesn't do him justice.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Adventures in baking

So after I recovered from the arduous run I did on Sunday, I tried something I'd been wanting to do for a while. I took my oh-so-classic pumpkin muffin recipe (a la my mommy) and added some mango to it. Like mango fruit, not mango flavor.
The combination was interesting.

But I liked it, a lot. So, if you're feeling adventurous like I was, use my standard pumpkin muffin recipe and then add frozen mango chunks (which I found at Trader Joe's). Delicious!



Sunday, May 13, 2012


It's like a rock star, only for running. Which can be applied to anyone who runs a mile or more at one time on purpose.
I add those qualifications as my neighbor always asks, "in a row? On purpose?" when I tell him my mileage for the day.
Today I ran really far. Ten miles to be exact. And I was dumb and waited to leave the house until 11:30, which was dumb because at 9 am it was already 65 degrees outside. Beautiful day, dumb me.
It was so stinking hot.
Summer's here.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Run Faster Always

Running season is in full swing, and summer is trying to hit Bend, which makes it officially my favorite time of the year. It's warm enough that I don't need layers upon layers upon layers for even a long run, cool enough that I don't have to make sure there's a water source halfway through my run, and sunny and gorgeous. Aren't you jealous?

On Sunday, I chose to take my long run up some hills on the West side of town.

Now something you should know that I haven't talked about before. Bend is divided in two: Eastside and Westside. We live on the Eastside, which used to be the less favorable side of town -- and while still developing, is getting nicer by the minute. Westside is still the nice side of town, as it features heights and buttes that allow for expansive homes with excellent views of the surrounding area, including Mt. Bachelor, the Sisters and Mt. Hood.

I prefer the Eastside, because much like the waterfront properties of Manhattan beach, unless you're dropping millions on a home even in this economy, you are living cheek to cheek with your neighbors. Our friends who live in Northwest Crossing, which is a fancier but still middle-class area, literally have four square feet of lawn as their "backyard."

I like a little breathing room, thankyouverymuch.

Anyways, if you want to run hills in this town (unless its Pilot Butte, which is 1.25 miles from my house and then a mile straight up and a mile straight down), you have to run on the Westside.

So I did.

I mapped out my 9 miles beforehand, and went running.

It is amazing how distances shrink when you have to run longer ones. There's a road that loops around a large butte on the Westside that I've been dying to run -- which I included in my run on Sunday -- due to the vistas it provides, and as it takes ten minutes or so to drive it, I figured it had to be long. Even with a generous loop, I still had to do some out and back stuff to get 9 miles in! The place you live in shrinks in size when you start putting the miles under your feet.

It's amazing, it really is.

The main point of this post, as meandering as it has been, was to tell you that I ran a ginormous hill on Sunday.

And then, for kicks, I ran another.

And then one that kept going.

All before mile 5.

And then I reached the top, and was rewarded with a gorgeous view of Bachelor and the Sisters, Brokentop and Mt. Hood. With such a gorgeous sunny day like we had on Sunday, you could see forever and it was amazing. Totally worth all the hills. And the four miles I had to run to get back to my car.


Thursday, May 10, 2012


Maddie has discovered windowsills. To the point where it's hilarious. She will climb up on the sidetable under the windowsill in our living room and sit a meow imperiously for us to open the shade so she can sit on the windowsill. Alternately, she will do the same in my office when I'm on my computer: she'll climb behind my computer and knock everything over until I've opened the shade, where she'll sit happily on the sill for quite some time.

She did almost faceplant coming off the windowsill this morning. There was a notepad on the edge of my desk that wasn't quite on the edge of my desk that she chose to step on. It went, and so did she. She stood and collected herself for a minute looking supremely embarrassed while I laughed.

I'm so mean.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Avuncular

I'm not recalling where I found the word this week. I know I read it somewhere, and I know I read it while I was at work, because I wrote it down on my notepad two days ago to remind myself of this word. It's certainly not a word one sees often, that's for certain. I think I read it when I was reading a book on my iPad...but who knows.

avuncular: adjective. [uh-vuhng-kyuh-ler] of, pertaining to, or characteristic of an uncle: avuncular affection.
  • He's warm and avuncular, the kind of guy who welcomes dogs and children in the office.
  • His avuncular manner goes down well in a country shaken by three years of non-stop politicking.
  • He is alternately avuncular and strident, cajoling and threatening.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

My Morning

Me at approximately 7:45 a.m.: tossing and turning due to slow climb into wakefulness.

Tyler: "I'll get up so you can sleep in."

Me: "Okay."

Enter fuzzy terrorist who hops on the bed and proceeds to make herself comfortable in the best place she knows: on top of Tyler.

Twenty minutes later...

I get up.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May Flowers

I can't believe May is here already. I just wanted to say that. It's insane.

My life is picking up again, and I leave for Boston in just a few short weeks. I'll keep you updated as best I can.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Pedantic

I hope you all enjoy Big Word Wednesday as much as I do. Because I really do love having to find these words and then sharing them with you. I mean, some of these are words that I have used and thought I was using correctly all along only to discover that I didn't or they're words that I've been asked to define when I do use them.

This week's is kind of fun.

pedantic: adjective. [puh-dan-tik] ostentatious in one's learning. overly concerned with minute details or formalisms, especially in teaching.

  • At times, such pedantic details stop the plot cold.
  • Not to be pedantic, but there appears to be a unit conversion error here.
  • This has been a remarkably silly discussion of pedantic, academic folly.
  • While you're technically correct, you're being pedantic.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Tyler and I flew to Annapolis for his cousin's wedding at the United States Naval Academy's Chapel. Pretty cool, huh? It was a whirlwind trip with really early flights, but totally worth it. Tyler's family sure knows how to throw an awesome party.

Tyler and I rolled in, er, flew into Baltimore at 4 p.m. on Friday and made it to the rental house in Annapolis by 6ish. We changed, freshened up, and trundled off to a party held by the groom's family. Around 9:30, the party was breaking up and Katie (the bride) and co. wanted to go out to the bars and continue the party. I did not want to go, having worked the ten days prior and then getting up super duper early to fly out.

Then Katie said the magic words, "...but I have to leave by midnight so I don't turn into a pumpkin! Paul can't see me tomorrow until the wedding!"

Tyler gave me puppy-eyes and I thought to myself, there's a deadline, I can do this!

So out we went. At five til midnight, the bride dutifully began to say her goodbyes and Tyler, her brother and I escorted her back to the house.

The next morning, I blearily drug myself out of bed at the crack of 9:45, trying not to think about the fact that it was 6:45 west-coast time. I found myself coffee and made myself mildly human. I chatted with the fam and had my makeup done by the professional there (though ironically I later got more compliments on my hair that they thought was professionally done!) and dithered between the two dresses I'd brought before finally deciding on the cute navy-inspired striped number by Gap.

We got the bride done up and dressed, and walked ourselves through the overcast, but blessedly still dry day to the chapel.

The chapel was beautiful. It was a perfect place to hold a wedding. Gorgeous. Also, thankfully the ceremony was tastefully short and sweet. It was also followed by a really cool naval tradition where four of the groom's academy buddies did the arch of swords. So fun.

After photos were taken (and dutifully emailed to my mommy who took them over to Grandma back in California), we all went to the Yacht Club where the reception was held. There was an open bar, live dancing, and a fun photo booth that we all had so much fun at. I wish we had those pictures already, as I'm sure some were just too funny...

The food was delicious and the experience unforgettable. Especially when the club shut us down and we all trooped out (parental units included!) to the bars again. Tyler and I left when the bride and groom did...just after 1:30 a.m. and stumbled home past the state building, me with bruised and aching feet from wearing heels all night and with Tyler giggly and surely taking me on the longest route home through the rain.

The next day, I again dragged my butt out of bed to be greeted by some surprisingly perky family members in order to start the party over again with a brunch that lasted well into the afternoon. Luckily, all that was required of me and my poor aching feet was sitting and smiling pretty.

We ended the trip with another early morning flight and twelve hours of travel. We made it home in one piece and I'm looking forward to another trek cross-country in a matter of weeks to Boston for my beautiful sister's graduation!

Now, some photos!

The outside of the chapel on the day of the wedding. It was overcast and cloudy, and a few drops even hit the ground, but that didn't deter the relaxed bride from enjoying her day.

Beautiful stained-glass windows dazzled inside the chapel.

The bride and groom framed by Connie and Lowry, the bride's parents and Tyler's aunt and uncle.

Because the groom knows people, they got to walk through the arch of swords. Very cool.

So beautiful!

Tyler's dad took the picture above. We clean up pretty good, huh? This picture, being so much better than the ones I took, made me realize that maybe I need a new phone. Specifically, the iPhone. Sigh. Speaking of sigh, how handsome is that man in his suit and tie?

Being tourists!