Friday 7 Quick Takes (vol 154)


1.


Last week of the month means free topic week on Totes Awesome Channel!


Youtube Link


2.

When I was in high school I was lucky enough to be at Rice University when Nelson Mandela was accepting the Enron Prize for Distinguished Public Service. I will always regret not fully appreciating the experience as a 16 year old. The video and audio clip of that speech can be found here.


3.

This was the first week I had Bob with me at my new rental while working. He has never been left alone for longer than 5-6 hours and usually had Alan to let him out whenever he wanted since Alan worked from home. To help with the feelings of boredom and isolation, I thought I’d move his exercise to the mornings before I leave for work. I now wake up at 5:30 to walk him for an hour before heading out. Also, now that I’m a single dog parent, I no longer can stop on my way home for dinner or happy hour. Another new level to the life changes!


4.

Speaking of Bob. He has his own Instagram now.


5.

It’s day 6 of my Fear Factor December project. Last night, I spent an hour in a sensory deprivation chamber and it was amazing. I plan on writing a more detailed post about the experience but suffice it to say it feels like you’re floating in space and not salt water. I still am not sure what fear I’m facing today but tomorrow I have an acupuncture appointment with Mary Ellen!


6.

From Day 3 of Fear Factor December:


Youtube Link


7.

This week’s moments of bliss: ♥ the hour I spent in a float tank ♥ coworkers who contribute with ideas and materials for my Fear Factor December project ♥ a late start to work today because of the weather ♥ quiet morning walks first thing in the morning ♥ watching Bob the dog twitch and occasionally bark in his sleep ♥ mom’s food for work lunches ♥ health insurance ♥ eating Harry Potter beans with Anita ♥ Having one of my closest friends in the same town and at the same work place! I still can’t believe it. ♥ plans to watch Catching Fire this weekend ♥ moving my desk closer to a window at work

Question: What are you looking forward to in December?

Strangers and their Fears

In December, I’m doing something that scares me every day. For the first day, I revisited something that scared me during my October challenge, which was to take ten photos a day with my newly acquired DSLR in an effort to learn how to use it. Hung had given me daily homework for October, one of which was to take a photo of a stranger with his or her permission. It gave me such anxiety that I thought it was a good one to revisit for my fear project. Thomas and Kim joined me for coffee and moral support, and I nervously asked five people to let me take their photos with their fears.


“I’m scared of people seeing my handwriting.”


His wife: “Risk makes you smile?”


“Do you have a black marker? Because we’re talking about fears here.”


She was the first person I asked and her answer made us wince and clutch our hearts.


“I like your bubble lettering.”
“Thank you, I’m trying to make it look as cute as possible.”

I ran out of paper but I love this set so much I decided to keep this series up in tandem to whatever else I’m doing for my daily dose of fear-facing. (Today’s is to sit through a scary movie without closing my eyes or ears. I don’t even know if I’m capable but I’m going to try.)

Thomas and Kim

In 2001, I used to follow Thomas before I met him to chemistry class. I have terrible sense of direction so I would wake up early, loiter outside my dorm building, and when he left for class, I’d trail behind him. Like a creeper. Today, I call him when my GPS fails and he always guides me to where I’m trying to be.

In 2001, I found a girl who mentioned living in a dorm at the University of Texas when I was browsing Diaryland blogs. Her roommate also had a blog and I remember liking her perspective on life more than the original blog. Her roommate was Kim.

Thomas and I toured Austin in 2005 through happy hours. The first time I rode a jet ski was with him. He was the first person with whom I experienced progressive meals.

Kim and I have Marfa and Paris and Brussels and Istanbul. And we carry the other’s stories of hopes and broken hearts as if they’re our own memories. I often feel if I could just find a man who is half the person Kim is and could love me back, I’d be set for life.

Somehow along the way, I introduced Thomas and Kim and now we have years of memories together. It’s not often we’re in the same city but every Thanksgiving, we have an email thread that basically start off with someone saying, “What kind of magical day should we have?” I think what I love about the three of us together is that we all have big appetites for food and life. We’re never too cool or too mature to try something silly. Like folding dozens of of origami cranes or blowing up balloons to fill up a telephone booth. We’re kind. We’re open. We invite others along. We simply just say yes.

I hope you say yes to the good things in your life. I hope saying yes leads you to your Thomas and Kim.

Friday 7 Quick Takes (vol 153)


1.


Last week of the month means free topic week on Totes Awesome Channel!


Youtube Link


2.


As mentioned in the vlog, today we had our third annual Friendsgiving potluck picnic. This photo was taken by Thomas and we all happen to be holding one of my mom’s egg rolls. I kind of love this photo.


3.

Wednesday night, I picked up Bob the dog and gave up my keys to the old apartment. It was surreal.


4.


I found a teepee today.


5.

My dad loves Bob the dog.


6.

Currently reading: My Year with Eleanor


7.

This week’s moments of bliss: ♥ three hour friendship dates ♥ being reunited with Bob the dog ♥ Friendsgiving ♥ progressive Indian snack time ♥ early dismissal from work ♥ mom becoming less scared of Bob the dog ♥ reading time ♥ playing match maker and being successful ♥ being away from Austin ♥ eating noodles for breakfast, lunch, dinner ♥ hot pot with the family

Question: What makes you happy?

Awesome Things in My Life

♥ friends who show up with encouraging words, surprises, messages, phone calls, hugs ♥ getting Bob the dog for Thanksgiving ♥ my work computer is a laptop so I can bring it home to use personally ♥ scented candles ♥ no cable but finally have a reason to watch DVDs ♥ noodles ♥ loving a handful of my coworkers ♥ my best friend becoming a coworker ♥ good books ♥ gorgeous journals ♥ supportive parents ♥ Youtube for all the funny dog and baby videos ♥ good chocolate stashed in a bucket at work ♥ friends being in from out of town for Thanksgiving ♥ Houston ♥ Austin ♥ airline miles ♥ getting along with my new roommate ♥ being on good terms with Alan ♥ being employed ♥ (with benefits) ♥ being matched with my little from Big Brothers and Big Sisters for going on six years ♥ Thanksgiving picnic tradition ♥ New Year’s Balloon/ Paper Lantern tradition ♥ funny emails with girlfriends ♥ my DSLR ♥ learning how to use the DSLR with help from friends and the internet ♥ the internet ♥ Twitter ♥ Facebook ♥ Ally McBeal ♥ phone dates ♥ perfect rainy day spent touring art studios ♥ things to look forward to on my calendar ♥ possibilities ♥ my sister ♥ friendships that have lasted longer than the average seven years ♥ perfect cups of coffee ♥ perfect cups of tea ♥ mom’s cooking ♥ employment ♥ sweet new roommate ♥ coworkers who have become more than just work friends ♥ free wifi while traveling ♥ traveling ♥ people watching ♥ today I had two back to back friendship dates that were three hours long each ♥ adventurous friends ♥ friends who let me call just to cry ♥ daily phone calls to the parents ♥ living three hours away from parents and friends in Houston


Question: What’s awesome in your life?

Wordless Wednesday: Cold and Wet in Austin Lately

leaf

Home on the Internet

me: Nico, I’m trying to blog every day in November. I’ve done this for 4 years now. The first three years, I did not miss a day. This year? I missed 4. Suggestions for blog post?
Sent at 3:53 PM on Tuesday

Nico: Were you around for the “golden age” of blogging? Right around the start of Twitter and the rise of 20sb?
Sent at 3:54 PM on Tuesday

me: I was around, yes.
Nico: Because I have the feeling that when people made their own homes on the Internet, we came to each others’ sites like how you’d visit someone’s house. But now that there are common meeting spaces, it’s like New York – you don’t spend time at your place, you meet in public. And it’s easier for people to shrink back into the shadows when we all have to share this common space. So the prompt > how does one make a “home” on the internet nowadays?

I’ve been sharing my life on the internet since high school. My last home before this blog was Diaryland, which I had from 2001-2005. During high school I owned my own domain with my best friend; it was called healingstar.org. Before that, I blogged on someone else’s domain. I am almost too embarrassed to tell you it was called sweetessence.com but please remember I was 14 and it wasn’t mine! I still have a few friendships from those days which means they’re some of my oldest friendships. I made my home by sharing my small life as consistently as I can and reading (and listening and watching) the content of others as they share their lives. The internet has changed my social life. I make it my home by keeping it respectful. I try very hard to not air the dirty laundry of people I share a life with. This was something I had to learn as I have a history of over-sharing. I make it a home by taking things offline. If there is a spark in public forum, I’ll send a private message and meet for coffee or bubble tea. Before I knew it, the first meetings grew to vacationing together and sharing heartaches.

I have seen people say personal blogging is dead. People don’t share too personally anymore. Really, after Diaryland, I myself don’t share too personally. Maybe it’s true as a trend, but I’m glad I’ve found a tribe of friends who still show up and who still tell their stories. It has been such a gift in my life.

So, thank you for reading if you’re reading.


Question: What is your life on the internet like?

Friday 7 Quick Takes (vol 152)


1.


This week on Totes Awesome Channel, we’re discussing irrational fears.


Youtube Link


2.

I’ve moved out for the most part. I am acclimating to the new place. I have about two to three car loads left at the old apartment. I hope to get those done this weekend but my hard date is Wednesday before I head to Houston for Thanksgiving. And then just like that, a five-six year chapter is done. I have a five year journal that will be completed in December. The timing of that is perfect.


3.

This is my fourth consecutive November of blogging every day. In previous years, I haven’t missed one day. This month? I’ve missed three. This makes me twitch.


4.

This weekend’s fun plans include riding a steam train to a small town in Texas with my little from Big Brothers and Big Sisters and a self guided art tour around Austin with Michelle.


5.

Moving last weekend was so hard and I took Monday off. I hoard my days off for travel but heartache is a bitch and I was not functional. This week I’m really thankful for showing up to work 4 of the 5 days and for existing. Kim tells me I get points for existing.


6.


Currently reading: This is How You Lose Her


7.

This week’s moments of bliss: ♥ Ally McBeal marathons ♥ taking a personal day for the heart ♥ betting on good things ♥ Friendsgiving with Anita & AshleyD ♥ winning a gift card at work ♥ decluttering ♥ girls’ dinner at Arro ♥ early bed times ♥ funny and encouraging email from Brittany ♥ one of my coworkers is a cookie fairy ♥ inadvertently sending an inappropriate thought meant for a girlfriend to a coworker, then laughing hysterically about it in horror with girlfriends

Question: What are your hopes and dreams for 2014?

Friday 7 Quick Takes (vol 151)


1.


This week on Totes Awesome Channel, we’re discussing whether or not we’re technologically savvy.


Youtube Link

I borrow my friend’s fancy camera to vlog about how I’d like to learn how to use fancy camera technology, and all the while I’m vlogging with me out of focused. I left it as is because the battery died. Doh!


2.

Movers are coming bright and early tomorrow! Movers are coming bright and early tomorrow! I’m not ready! I’m not ready!


3.

There are a lot of things I have in common with Anita. Our love for bacon and photo booths is just one of many things.



Actual food photos from this piglicious event can be found on my food blog.


4.

I’m giving myself another week before buckling down on not eating out. I’ve been eating out every day for a month!

I’m obsessed with noodles.


5.

I’m brainstorming 30 day projects and after this month of eating out all the time, I think I’m going to dedicate January to not eating out. It’ll help me recoup my eating out and moving funds and possibly get a leg up on all the other goals that take so much money. Like travel and owning a computer. I’m still brainstorming a fear list for December. I’ve only brainstormed about ten things so far and the list makes me sweat just looking at it.


6.


Currently still reading: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

I haven’t read much this past month. I can’t focus long enough!


7.

This week’s moments of bliss: ♥ all the noodles ♥ loving the people at work ♥ betting on good things ♥ friendship dates ♥ chocolate truffles ♥ decluttering ♥ surprise F*%k It Bucket delivery ♥ coworker surprised me with moving day survival kit: includes chocolate truffles and a creative cursing guidebook ♥ funny and encouraging email from Brittany ♥ this video ♥ payday today!

Question: What would you do if you were not afraid?

Striving Towards Minimalism

There’s a lot about minimalism that appeals to me. There’s the not buying things. The money I used to spend on buying clothes and projecting this false image of me as someone who is on top of her sartorial life, is now channeled towards paying down debt and traveling. I like the idea of not owning a huge home where I’d feel like I’d have to then buy all the furniture and things to make it feel and look like a home. There’s the idea that I don’t have to spend so much energy to heat and cool more space than I can ever need. I like the aspect of not spending my time maintaining the upkeep of things. Things that need to be dusted, stored, and packed when I move.

I have stopped clothes shopping for fun for about two years now because I wanted to channel most of my disposable income into paying down debt and traveling. I used to really enjoy clothes shopping but after I stopped, I found that my life didn’t change. Instead of being a happy girl who loves to shop, I am now a happy girl who doesn’t shop. I didn’t look critically at my ginormous closet with my ridiculous shoe collection. Now that I’m moving to a place with a significantly smaller closet, I was forced to really look at the stack of shoe boxes storing boots I haven’t worn in about 3 years. I had to look at the dozens of scratched up pairs of stilettos that I used to wear to bar hop on weekends from another lifetime. As I’m frantically packing, I finally had to admit that I own over 200 DVDs and have seen maybe 10 of them in the last 10 years it took for me to build the collection. I came face to face with the guilt that motivated me to keep all the stuffed animals and snow globes and other knick knacks that I’ve been gifted by people in my life. A lot of these gifts I’ve kept not because I like the items but because I love the people who have given me these things. The space these things were occupying isn’t reflective of how I feel for the people.

In my desperation to fit my life into boxes, I’ve let go the false assumption that I need to keep the stuffed animals or the snow globes that light up in neon colors to prove that there was love. That I don’t have to keep everything to honor the people who gave it to me. And that as much as I thought American History X was an amazing film, I will not ever want to re-watch it. The same goes for Requiem for a Dream. And Heat. And Goodfellas. That my indoor grill and chocolate fondue set have been moved to new apartments more than they have been used. In the last two weeks, I’ve gotten rid of at least 60 DVDs, threw out five pairs of shoes, gave about 15 of my snow globes to my coworker whose kids love them, and started many Goodwill bags. And it feels good.

minimalismbottom My friend Ashley published a collection of essays about Minimalism that was a great companion and inspiration to me during this month of paring down. If you’re looking to simplify your environment and creating your own meaning with the space that is cleared, might I suggest you purchase her essays? It’s a whopping $1.99 on Kindle. It gets bonus points for not taking up space on your bookshelf.


Questions: What is your relationship like with your things? What is your favorite possession?