Two Roads Diverged

Life is all about choices – so which choice is coming next?

It’s going around…

As November has Thanksgiving, and is the month of thanfulness, I’ve noticed a lot of people like Lily, Jen, and Mr. Harper Faulkner writing about the blogging community and how thankful they are for it.

And as it’s the last day of November, and I too am thankful for it, I will join the bandwagon.

So let me just say Thank You to all the wonderful bloggers out there!

For being supportive, for reading, and most importantly – for giving me great things to read!!!

I was blown away by how wonderful the community is when I started to seriously get into the blogging community. How once I started to comment and interact with everyone – I felt this instant attachment.

But the thing that most surprised me?

What a wonderful writing talent so many people have!

For some reason I never dreamed that so many people could be so funny, so moving, so thought provoking.

It should have been obvious – look at the number of newspapers, novels, and magazines. But I guess I saw those people as professionals, so of course they had to be good.

But every day I discover new people, great people; and every day I lounge in the reading of great people. You’re all wonderful!

So I’ll end this Thankful November by thanking the WordPress community (and especially My WordPress community, all the wonderful people I’ve come to love and adore) for being special, for being beautiful, and for proving that the Human Race has a real greatness to it!

(I didn't make this - I'm not that creative. But it's definitely for all of you! ^.^)

(I didn’t make this – I’m not that creative. But it’s definitely for all of you! ^.^)

17 Comments »

Blog Awardfest

It’s been a blog blingirific/awardtastic time lately! And I’ve been putting off writing about it, because choosing nominees sends me into spouts of shuddering and shivering and sadness as I think about choosing between all the blogs I LOVE! Because if I follow you – I lurve you!

But ok, we’ll go from here

First, I was nominated by the wonderful Lily in Canada for the Blog of the Year award!

Rules:

  1. Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award
  2. Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award
  3. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them
  4. Link back to the Blog of the Year 2012 Rules page so people can read the real, complete, and fully accurate rules of this slightly-different blogger award
  5. You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience

Ok, I’m going to bestow the Blog of the Year award to people that I’ve been following for practically the whole year (nobody has actually been a full year, because I didn’t discover “following” until I’d been on WordPress for about 6 months. I know – I’m a failure as a human! Baaaaaaaaah!)

My 25toFly girl Becca (Because who doesn’t love Becca?!)

Crazy train to tinky town (She found love in Turkey – my fingers are crossed she gets to go back! Plus, her ‘honeymoon’ series is the bomb! Ok, but here’s her most recent post)

Iliketheworldfuzzy Hilarious lady.

Sketches From Memory (How can you not be impressed with a guy who’s put up comics and sketches every day for a year?!)

Then there’s the new “Blog Bling Award” from the fabulous Miss Four Eyes which is 4 awards rolled into one – and the Liebster Award from the hilarious Alice! So I’m rolling all those rules into one globulous set (aka, taking just one set of rulesJ


Rules:

  1. Write an acceptance speech, linking back to the person who gave it to you.
  2. Write 7 things you believe in.
  3. Answer your nominator’s 11 questions
  4. Give the award to as many blogs as you would like to share the love (lurve)

Well, I’m going to say that that paragraph above is the acceptance speech… (this is why I probably will never win an Oscar, despite also never being involved in films…)

7 things I believe in
Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, Leprechauns, Care Bears, The Easter Bunny, My toys are alive, Facebook.

Oh wait, 7 things I believe in NOW? Well, I just gave a list, I’m not giving another. You’ll just have to guess what age I was for that list!

  1. What is the square root of 473?
    21.74856317
    … … … Oh fine! I ran and got my graphing calculator out of the kitchen. Happy?
  2. Do you make sure that you wear correct day of the week underwear?
    Um, no. I don’t own days of the week calendar. My underwear drawer is strictly Victoria’s Secret. (That’s what happens when you work there once upon a time…)
  3. If today will be tomorrow’s yesterday and today’s tomorrow, when’s tomorrow?
    After a good night’s sleep.
  4. What’s in your fridge right now?
    Thanksgiving leftovers. And fudge – but that’s a gift… *sigh*
  5. Shirts – hang up or fold?
    I mean, really it depends on the style of shirt. Collared or tshirt? Nice or every day wear? Colored or black? I have a system. It’s ROYGBIV coded…
  6. Does it piss you off when people spell your name wrong?
    If it did I’d never be happy. I especially wouldn’t have been happy in Greece where the students argued with me about my name!
  7. What music are you listening to right now? I’m asking this because I’m fed up of the tunes on my ipod. Need some good recommendations.
    The gentle lull of army helicopter blades as it flies over my house…
  8. Pet names – love ‘em or hate ‘em? (I mean baby, sweetie, honey not Buster, Rover, Fluffles).
    Hate them. Baby is what you call a baby. Or a dog.
    Also, this might be my anti-relationship-right-now talk going, so probably best to ignore this question…
  9. Blogging in bed. Do you?
    I totally would! Buuuuut, my laptop gets too hot to sit on my lap…
  10. Planes, trains or automobiles?
    ooooh, trick question! Planes for long distance travel. Trains if its guaranteed I have someone to pick me up. But auto most of the time because then I can be independent, what!.
  11. How much do you hate me right now?
    I LURVE you for blog bling :)

Ok, IF people choose to do this, (and I specify ‘if’ no requirements here!), then here are 11 questions to answer:

  1. Which is your favorite part of the human face and why?
  2. What was the last thing you ate?
  3. Packing peanuts or bubble wrap?
  4. Have you had your 15 minutes yet?
  5. What’s the last event you dressed up for?
  6. If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?
  7. What’s your ringtone?
  8. Who’s cooler: Popeye or Superman?
  9. Do you prefer the sunrise or sunset?
  10. First thing you go to when you open up Google Chrome. (Or another internet browswer if that’s your thing…)
  11. Is the world going to end December 21st? I NEED TO KNOW!

Ok, the NOMINEES!

Of course Miss Four Eyes, Alice, and Lily, but you guys don’t have to write another blog award entry if you don’t want :)

Ok, for the rest, I’ve limited myself to 15 (you have no idea how hard this was). And catgoried it as well. So to start!
Some of my favorite nominated moms:
Stork Hunting
Bug Bytes
Kelly
Raising My Rainbow

Some people who guaranteed will brighten my day
Jen and Tonic
Maximum Wage
Mr. Guapola
Ms. Jules
Second Lunch Comic Tim
Mr. Hook
And although she’s been absent from the blogosphere for a while due to school and whatnot, I have to nominate my favorite teen Kay of “Have you seen my glass slipper”

Some beautiful writers who often move me
Rutabaga The Mercenary Researcher
Mr. Harper Faulkner

And of course I must nominate The Woman whose job I want SO BADLY
The Mermaid at Sea

Ok, now that I’m thoroughly exhausted. I’ll kiss my wonderful nominators for the awards, and go nap now.

18 Comments »

Avril is My Home Girl

You know when you’re sitting in your car, jammin’ to some music, and that song comes on that you realize is your (current) life’s theme song?

That totally happened to me.

Ok, that happens to me ALL the time, but this is the song for this moment.

(Now just the song mind you, the music video totally doesn’t fit.)

“I can’t stop cause I’m havin’ too much fun.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I just need some time to play.”

But man, I sat in the car and just thought, “Avril, home girl, I hear you. I hear you.”

Anybody else have their own theme song?

9 Comments »

A Question

So a week ago, out of the blue, my ex writes to me.

We exchange a couple emails, he gives his phone number (since he’d apparently gotten it changed), and in return I give mine (cause there’s NO way I’m gonna call/text him first – and I’ll admit a morbid curiosity for what he wants to talk about).

I receive a text soon after.

And out comes the WHOLE story about our summer break-up. The final explanations of why the break-up came out of the blue.

And it wasn’t for any of the reasons I thought it was going to be.

The Story
The ex liked to talk out his frustrations and worries with friends (as we all do). And he confided in one friend – we’ll call her A (important fact to remember: she was on deployement in KOREA) – about how he was worried about whether I really wanted to move to Minnesota, and how difficult it was doing a long distance relationship.

A said that no, I probably didn’t want to move, and really it would be better if we broke up. (I think you all see where this is going…)

So we break up, he’s “a mess” and a week later A declares that she wants to date my ex.

So they start dating.

But remember my fact above: she’s in KOREA, and one reason he broke up with me is because of the long distance relationship… Right.

So then they date long distance for two weeks, but she decides maybe she didn’t want to date, and they break up. He goes into super-sad-hibernation-because-he-let-an-old-friend-break-up-his-relationship mode (his words).

And that brings us to the recent texting, and the, “I was dumb, etc.” speech.

But the main reason for this post, is that I have a question for the audience. For my blogging friends.

The Question
When we broke up, one of the things the ex asked was why I didn’t “fight harder to stay together.” And with the reconnection, he reiterated this.

He stated that if I’d come to Minnesota to see him, things would be different. If I had chased him, things would be different.

To which I believe: he broke up with me.
Why should I believe that going after him would be welcome?
Aren’t the girls/guys that don’t take “we’re over” as an answer considered cray-cray? Don’t we all hate when they just won’t get it and quit?
If I chased him across the country, wouldn’t that give him the free liberty to post memes on his facebook/twitter/pinterest/every social media page depicting me like this:

Ok, I do kinda love pokemon – but don’t count that into your crazy quotient!


Or:

OR!!

They’ll start thinking you looked this way too!

But even his family wondered why I hadn’t still come out after the break up.

Of course my friends and family think that it would’ve been crazy to go.

And I still think it would have been crazy to go.

But I’m curious as to what others think. What would you have done? If you were the relationship ender – would you want them to fight harder? But why break up in the first place?

Disclaimer: There will be no getting back together will this ex; I do know that I’m better without him.

37 Comments »

Third Thanksgiving

Tonight concluded the third Thanksgiving dinner of three nights.

Now, it’s not that unusual for my family (and most especially me) to not have very “orthodox” holidays.
– Of the last 3 Thanksgivings before this one, I was out of the country for two of them.
– Of the last 5 or so, we haven’t had Thanksgiving dinner at home.
– Of those not at home, most were at restaurants, and I did not end up eating turkey (I know, I know, blasphemous. I think the pilgrims will forgive me though. I know the turkeys will.)
– And my family doesn’t argue at Thanksgiving. I always hear stories of family arguments and whatnot, and my family doesn’t have those (as most of our dinners are usually quite small, 5 people max, more often just 4)

So have three Thanksgiving dinners in a row? I can take that in stride. But what happened at them was different.

Buffy’s Thanksgivings were always eventful too!

Dinner one

As my family is very small (only my parents, brother, and me) we’re the type of family that calls 4th-cousins-twice-removed just ‘cousins’ and non-relations ‘aunt’ and uncle, etc.

So we went to visit our ‘Aunt’ in Palm Springs for dinner at her club. We’d eaten with her a couple years ago and decided to keep her company once again.

Much to our surprise when we show up and there’s 11 of us for dinner! A much larger party than we anticipated. But no worries – we’re a friendly, talkative bunch.

And it turned out there were some others at the table who were just as talkative, only it turned out they were talkative about Politics.

Yes that’s right. My first Thanksgiving dinner full of arguments and it has to be political arguments.

So I kept my head down and enjoyed my turkey prime rib and pumpkin pie apple pie.

Dinner two

One of my cousins was coming into town the next day, and she recently moved to Israel, so we decided to stay an extra day to see her.

Now the reason she moved to Israel was to join the Israeli Army.

Needless to say there was more political talk (though my cousin and I kept out of that and instead talked about her cool stories.)

And then my brother’s girlfriend got upset that “everyone only talks about Israel” and dragged my brother away for a walk.

So more political arguing and family splitting up.

Dinner three

And then today, my mother cooked a turkey dinner for just our family and my brother’s girlfriend.

How was this unusual?

Well, my mother cooked! And I mean real cooking: her grandmother’s gravy recipe written on faded and torn parchment, with her mother’s stuffing recipe, and father’s recipe for cooked turkey. A legit, legit Thanksgiving meal! (And wonderfully delicious!)

No political talk. My typical family dinner – just a couple days late.

So three dinners, three days, and a bit of what I’m not used to. But like Thanksgiving is supposed to do, it brought my family together – immediate, extended, and created – and made me remember why I’m thankful for family.

For the ups and downs, the headaches and laughter.
For them being there, for their support, and for their love.

14 Comments »

Disney Christmas Wonderland

So as I’m sure many of you already know (but this is my first time) – getting published on another blog is just super duper exciting, and fills you with happiness and warmth! :)

So if you’ve never checked out Bucket List Publications you should (Lesley Carter’s blog is here).

And if you want to learn all about Disneyland at Christmas time, click here!

So yes. That’s my excitement for the day!

17 Comments »

“I’m so glad I have kids who can get high without marijuana” – my mother

So a lot people have bucket lists, and if you’re epic like the Bucket List Publication (Lesley Carter) you’re able to do many of your bucket list items.

If you’re like me, you might need a little push to get there.

So I made myself a promise on my 20th birthday.

If your birthday isn’t going to be exciting, MAKE it exciting!

Because let’s face it, after 21, what is there to look forward to?

So for my 20th: I cut off 20 inches of hair (the first time I’d significantly cut my hair since I was 5!).
For my 21st: I celebrated in Scotland.
For my 22nd: I went skydiving and drove a NASCAR racecar.
For my 23rd: I celebrated in Greece (and went bungee jumping later)

And this year, my 24th – I decided to go hang gliding.

Luckily for me, the hang gliding season has been quite bad, but this past weekend, the bright sunshine disappeared, and the high winds came.

We showed up at the Gliderport around 12:15, and I was planning to get in the air pretty quickly (because that’s what all the reviews said would happen).

Filled out 6 pages of “I won’t sue the company if I die” paperwork. And was told to expect an hour wait.

An hour? Ok, I’ll wait.

So I did.

But at 1 they stopped calling names.

”The winds are too high! We’re going to wait for them to calm down.”

While I didn’t disagree that it was a bit windy (ok, more than a bit – I was positively shivering and chattering my teeth), I was disappointed at the time lapse. My dad had a meeting to get to later, and we had to leave by 2:30.

We waited another hour, and 2 pm rolls around.

The guy who signed up with me walks up to us,
“I just asked them about the wait time. They said I have 4 people in front of me, and to expect another 2 to 3 hours before I go up. I’m leaving – just wanted to let you know it sounds like you have a while too!”

With a heavy heart I watched him leave.

I turned to my dad, “Well… we have to leave in a half hour, and I don’t see that I’ll be called in that time. So I guess we’ll come back another day…”

My dad just looked and me and we turned and walked towards the front office.

We reached the sidewalk, were about to step inside, when a man comes out with a clipboard.

”Jillian!”
“That’s me.”
”Well this is John, he’s your instructor. Best pilot we got, and he’ll be taking you up!”

And so I followed John to a hang glider and prepared (which involves lying on the ground and pushing your body from one side to the other, because that’s how you turn a glider).

John went down to the edge, studied the winds, came back, and asked my dad and me to help him wheel the glider down to the edge.

We went down the hill, and the winds were strong enough that holding onto the wing wire, I was being pulled off the ground!

The third time my feet left the ground, three men came running up to take over.

We finally got the glider down to the cliff edge. Clipped in. And the man holding the nose down turned to John,
”John, what do I do? Keep backing up?”

John just stared and him and yelled, “DUCK!”

And straight up we went!! No going down off the cliff edge – the winds just went Straight. Up.

We flew out towards the sea, and swung around the head back to the cliff.

“Smile, the photographers are waiting,” John informed me.
Torrey Pines Gliderport, Hang Gliding, Hang gliding san diego, hang gliding la jolla
We flew a ways down the coast, and he pointed out the ridiculously expensive houses, the Salk Institute, and the nearby college.

We got to a hot spot and went from 600 ft above the ground to 900 ft in less than a minute.

”If you didn’t know it was windy before, you sure would now!”

And then I got to take over.

Now I may have an adventurous spirit – but I’ll admit that with that spirit comes tons of trepidation! While I’ll trust pretty much anyone to handle something (bus, hang glider, plane, etc.) when it comes to me, I’m less than trusting.

But I took the reins (eh hem, well, Handle if we’re going to be technical) and after a few bouts of almost sending us spiraling downwards to a horrendous death minor problems, I figured out the gist of how to steer.

We sat above the world. Hanging in place like the birds do, and I appreciated how good the birds got it.

The ocean was stunning. The view was stunning. The world seemed calm. Life was good.

We slowly made our way back to the cliff – coming in at an angle that made it seem like the ocean waves were curling in place and not moving anywhere.

We swooped one last time over the ocean, and came speeding into the land.

I slid forward in the harness, going from a lying down position to an almost standing position.

We were out over the parking lot and John turned a strong 180 again.

We gained speed as the nose rushed towards the ground –

Then, Boop. The nose tilted up. Our speed abruptly slowed. And we landed gently on our feet.

I unclipped with a beaming smile on my face, shaking from the cold and the thrill of flight.

Unlike my other flying adventures, hang gliding was relaxing as well as thrilling.

And left me with a pretty sweet Facebook profile picture. ;)
Hang Gliding, John Heiney hang gliding, Torrey Pines Gliderport

16 Comments »

Hidden Talents at County Fairs

It just so happens that my old college roommate lives in Winston-Salem, NC. The site of the Dixie Classic Fair!

So of course we had to go!

We planned to go on a Monday – so Sunday night, we spent at least an hour pouring over the schedule of events. Planning.

”Ok, dog show first. Then the pig races. Then we’ll find the woman on stilts. Ok, then the woodcarver display, then…” (and so on)

Monday dawned – dark and rainy.

But we were glad! Because rain meant the fair was empty. We didn’t fight crowds, we didn’t fight lines, we didn’t fight for seats. Everything in the fair was at our fingertips!

So our plan started off fine – we hit the first couple shows we’d planned on. Found the woman on stilts much faster than we’d planned on – and ended up with some extra minutes.

We wandered over to the “Town of Yesterday” where all the demonstrations were being held – tin making, loom weaving, etc.

We walked into the hut holding all the award-winning wines. As we’re purusing a man walks in and starts setting up some tables.

“I’m just setting up now, but if you guys come back in a half hour, I’ll let you help me.”
“With what?”
“I’m a glassblower!”

An offer to watch glassblowing? Heck yeah!

So we go wander around for a half hour, then scurry right back to the glassblower’s hut.

Jeff – the glassblower.

Dixie Classic Fair, Winston-Salem North Carolina, glassblowing

Melting glass!

Fascinating guy. FULL of stories. Full of facts.

He let us choose colors, and then turned on a blowtorch to make us glass jewelry.

As we were in 200 year old houses, he couldn’t really do full glassblowing. He could only use a small blowtorch – but it was still impressive!

So we chose some colors and he made us some glass beads. Told us to come back in a half hour when they’d cooled.

Because what’s sexier than eating deep fried reeses balls?


So we went off to eat (deep fried PB&J, deep fried reeses, and chili cheese fries. Yes – that is my arteries you hear clogging up).

Then we went back.

We all chatted some more. He made us a couple more beads. Showing us some different techniques like adding glass drops on the outside.

We left again to entertain ourselves (petting zoo, pig races).

And we returned AGAIN! And he made us MORE glass pendants.

As we left to allow him to get some dinner (and check out the Kellie Pickler concert) he told us that if we came back, he’d let us behind the blowtorch!

Some of the glass swag

So what could we do but go back?? And of course, try our hand at glass making.

I went last of the three of us. And it was exhilarating and terrifying. So cool to be holding molten glass – but I was holding molten glass and my hands were next to a pure blue flame!!

(All right, picture story!!)

glassblowing, glass bead making

This face: the trepidation of that flame


The face of amazement – the “this is SO COOL”


Molten glass – it’s dripping!


It’s a bead shape! Happy face!


Pretty much – I amaze even myself with how cool I look (ha, ha. Get it? Cause I’m cooling the glass??!?)

It turns out – I’m apparently a natural at glass bead making. Jeff complimented my skills, and the woman next to him looked at me and said, “Seriously – I’ve seen lots of beginner students and they don’t make beads that look that good.”

I know – I can hardly believe how perfect it is too.


*self-pat on the back* If I ever really find myself completely unemployable, at least I can make awesome glass beads to sell!

At the end of our 12 hour fair day we trudged home. More tired, wetter, and colder than when we’d first started out.

But in the end it was one of the better fairs I’ve been to! How often to you get tons of free glass swag, make a new friend with an awesomely talented artist, and try your hand at creating something in 1500°F flames?

19 Comments »

“Life is too short to drink bad wine”

During my stay in Greece, one of the things my North Carolinian roommate always talked about was North Carolina Wine.

Now I’m Californian. I know wine.

Ok. That’s a lie.

I don’t like most wine.

Well, I don’t like reds.
Or dry whites.
Or dry rosés.

So really, I’m pretty picky about my wine.

But my Family! They know their wines. Especially my brother.

But – just because I don’t like wine doesn’t mean I haven’t tried it.

So with more than a bit of skepticism (and Californian wine-snoodiness), I went to a North Carolina wine tasting.

North Carolina Wine, Shadow ridge vineyard, Hanover park vineyard, wine tasting

Wine on a cold day: it is pretty perfect.

And it. Was. Delicious.

I mean – WOW! The things these people were doing with wine!

I had three favorites:

    Shadow Springs Vineyard, Strawberry shortcake wine

    Image: Shadow Springs Vineyard

  1. Shadow Springs Vineyard, Shortcake.
    This wine was made from strawberries. Yeah, you read that. STRAWBERRIES! Fermented Strawberries! Drinking that wine was like drinking strawberry juice. With 11% alcohol content. Om nom nom.
  2. Shadow Srings vineyard, Dark Shadow wine, Dark chocolate wine

    Image: Shadow Springs Vineyard

  3. Shadow Springs Vineyard, Dark Shadow.
    Now this was one of those ‘dark chocolate red wines’. Now I’ve had plenty of those. It’s just red wine. Right?
    Well this one. I sniffed it. Smelled just like dark chocolate. I tasted it. It was like drinking dark chocolate! Oh man, this was a decadent wine!
  4. Hanover Park Vineyard, Blueberry wine

    Image: Hanover Park winery

  5. Hanover Park Vineyard, Blueberry.
    Once again, a fruit based wine. This one: blueberry. And just like the name, again, it was like drinking blueberries!

(I brought a bottle of the strawberry and blueberry home to my parents, who vastly enjoyed it.)

When the wine servers found out I was from Cali, they were so tickled by how much I enjoyed the wine – and of course we got into a conversation about what I thought was so special about NC wines.

And I came to this conclusion: North Carolina is doing what California used to do. Experiment.

They’re making wines from different fruits – with great success! If you suggested that to Cali wineries? They’d wrinkle their nose in disgust at you – hardly believing you’re daring to suggest something different from their grape-y recipe.

So I’d come to see that what my roommate was always going on about was true – North Carolina has amazing wines! And I will eagerly search the wine section – hoping to one day see these wines gracing my grocery store shelves.

28 Comments »

Movember – A Time to Remember

Today I turn another year older.

And like New Years, I often find that birthdays make you reflect upon your life and your past. Especially in relation to family; and like Denise’s post about family memories I think about my own familial memories.

And since it’s Movember, I reflect on memories about the men in my family.

Photo credit: reocities.com/val_james/genealogy/family-photos

But, I don’t have any.

*Well – that’s not completely true. I have my dad, and of course a million wonderful memories to accompany him!

But grandfathers?

None.

Both my grandfathers passed away before my brother OR I were born. Cancer for one, heart disease for the other.

I loved my grandmother immensely, and appreciate her for the spectacular woman that she was. Strong, independent, daring. She was a woman not to be trifled with and to be admired.

But I know I missed out on something.

I’ve heard stories about those two amazing men. But I never got to meet them. Never got to spend time with them. Never got to have them watch my dance performances, or tell them about my life, or rejoice about my schooling.

I never got to hear their voices or give them a hug.

So what would be the one thing I want to stress to men about their health and why it’s important?

Men – you want to be there for your families.

To watch your kids grow up.

To meet your grandkids.

To be there for special events.

And for the ups and downs.

A shoulder to cry on. Arms to hug. Or hands to high-five.

Family. That’s why your health is important. If it’s not important to you – it is important to them.

Be sure to check out the official Bloggers for Movember kick-off and information here

13 Comments »

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