July 30, 2008

you and me, tv free!

No tv, and i'm still alive! hehehe

Last night, i housesat and had dinner at a groovy little Thai place in Toluca Lake with Sophia. When we got home, her mom and cousin had the tv on. Though my heart broke at the thought of missing the latest installment of "America's Got Talent" (please note sarcasm), I spent my time reading instead. A little anti-social, but much more interesting than the strange whistling act i heard from the other room.

Today's revelation, as I tried to productively work toward solutions to my issues rather than wallow in them: In order to afford living expenses and bills (no luxuries), i must make $18 an hour. So i am seeking jobs that actually pay that much with my limited experience. Sadly, this means that everything i studied in school and all my recent/current career goals are useless. It seems creativity is only valued by the dollar when it is paired with years of experience. I still pray for that eleventh hour miracle (though it seems that hour passed months ago), and i still cling to waning hope that God DOES have a plan for me, and it is good. Meanwhile, if any of you know of an open position with that kind of pay, please let me know.

Soon, off to church. We're supposed to take our kids to Golfland tonight. I think i screwed up the scheduling though, so i'm waiting to hear exactly what we will do. I'm battin' a thousand this week, that's for sure.

July 29, 2008


i'm on top of things at work, there's nothing a pressing... a few emails to answer and a flier (or is it flyer?) to make. If i really buckled down, i could finish in an hour. Then what? i've got to pace myself or i will be twiddling my thumbs for a few more hours. Then again, i should enjoy it now, because this time next week i'll be up to my ears in billing invoices.

We had an earthquake this morning. It was kind of fun. Our building is on rollers and we're on the fifth floor, so it swayed back and forth for a little bit. Then came the fun time after where you can't use your cell phone. No, not a natural phenomenon, just the result of EVERYone in the Southland calling friends and family to make sure all is well.

Last night with no tv went well. Really, all i did was sleep. Literally. I came home and went straight to bed. Partly because my back was hurting, but who knows why else. Today i cheated a bit and did watch news reports in the studio, but that was honestly to be updated when people call, so it's not like wasting time with passive entertainment.

i'm eating broccoli and ranch.

i should answer emails now.

July 28, 2008

make it matter

Coming back from a weekend of spending too much money, exercising too little, watching too much tv, and eating too much junk food leaves one less than prepared for a Monday.

Particularly when one wakes up with back spasms.

I am not fifty years old!! This is not fair!! But if my week of being sick wasn't signal enough from my body that I am not living well, maybe this would get my attention. It seems my muscles are protesting to their eight-hour confinement to this desk chair, then freedom only to sit in the car for another hour (and the hour on the way here in the mornings must only serve as a "warm up" for marathon sitting). It seems that my job is making me sick. Literally.

Funny that this occurs during my week of analyzing my time management. So what's a girl to do?

I pray. I pray that God guides me and opens doors, because the job search only left me worn out and at square one. I'm really out of answers, but open to any possibilities. Maybe i'll start searching again, but part of me already feels defeated. Then again, maybe i'm just cranky because i'm hurting and still in the chair of death.

Regardless, we move forward. It's week two of the "Every Monday Matters" challenge. I think i'm a bit disappointed that no one wanted to join the challenge with me. I thought it could be fun if a group of us did it together. So the offer still stands.

This week: Turn Off Your TV
Did you know a person watches television for an average of 40 days a year? And kids spend about 1,023 hours a year watching television, compared to 900 hours of school, and 33.4 hours having meaningful conversation with their parents. What about you? Can you add up your hours spent watching tv?

Time for action. Step one is turn off the tv.... for the whole week. Actually, this comes at a good time, since it's summer and there's nothing new on anyway.

Instead, use the time to make a list of alternative activities. My list includes reading, taking a walk or some other active thing, playing my guitar, writing, working on drama ministry or kids kingdom or whatever else is on the "to do" list. Haha, though i suppose transferring your television time to time spent on the computer is counter-productive.

Prepare for the end of the week- don't return to bad habits! Remove televisions from the bedroom or kitchen. Designate specific tv time so you reduce viewing hours. Avoid using television time as a reward (hehe, the book says this "increases its power" which made me laugh). Also, be more selective about what programs you watch.

I guess I will start a list of "approved" programs and only watch them. This should naturally and indirectly restrict my hours. The shows shall be:

- The Office

- Desperate Housewives

- The Simpsons

- anything educational

- movies without commercials (otherwise do something in between)

So no tv this week... stay tuned for my blogged results... and dare to try it with me!! I know some of you have already, so i'd love to hear how that went for you. Discussion, people! Don't make me go it alone!

July 23, 2008

click the paper, and it will be large enough to read

Check out "Save Me From Myself" by Brian "Head" Welch. It's worth your time.

July 21, 2008

New (interactive) book! Join the craziness!

Good weekend, everyone?

Quick recap: Friday night was spent hanging out with friends in Hollywood, including a quick excursion up the residential Hollywood Hills- past many "no access to the Hollywood sign" signs, to an amazingly close view of said landmark. I knew about the dog park (with very green grass- must be fertilized often.. teehee), but i didn't know there was a lake up there. It was fun- i'll post the pics next time I upload stuff from my camera.

Saturday and Sunday were quietly productive, with errand running and relaxation. I had my phone replaced- the enV quit recognizing my bluetooth, and it's now illegal to drive without it- and spent some of my Target gift card from the Shining Star award. I'm trying to be VERY frugal with money, because there is a possibility of vacation on the horizon!! Soph's mom and Chris said "thank you for the surprise birthday luau- please use our timeshare points to go somewhere". So i'm quite excited, because it's high time for a real vacation. And though i feel guilty vacationing while i'm still in the rent pickle, THEY are the ones suggesting we go, doesn't that make it ok? So we're working out the exact location of our trip... details pending.

Ok, so the book part. My current reading list still includes the book on screenwriting and the one about dreams by Tommy Barnett (they are daily snippets so it takes awhile), and new addition "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan and this interesting book called "Every Monday Matters".

The premise is to do something once a week to make a difference, and since Mondays are notoriously sucky, why not do the good thing then to bring something happy to the day?
Works for me. So here we go.... the first challenge is "What Matters Most". After giving a few facts on the things that suck up our time (commuting, working, television, sleeping), these action steps are listed:

- Make a list of what matters most to you- Create a list of how you currently spend time- Organize the list and decide what's important and what's wasteful- Rearrange the schedule to prioritize the truly important stuff

Well, good question. What matters most to me?
1.God- faith and service2. my family and friends3. living life to the fullest (this includes adventures, creativity, those amazing moments, you know. :) )4. growing into a more satisfying, purposeful career (also resulting in paying off my debt)

Step two... how i spend time...
Well, i get up between 5:45a and 6:15a, get ready for work, then drive to work, where I sit at this desk from 8:30a-5:30p (or sometimes later), then drive home, where my evening varies. Sometimes I play tennis, sometimes i have somewhere to go, sometimes i just hang out with the family. Weekends are sometimes crazy busy with activity, and other times unplanned productivity.... you guys read this blog, you know how unstable it can be (the only thing consistent is the insanity! ha!). I cram activity into every nook and cranny- even my lunch breaks are busy.

So where's the waste? Argh, this is where I get frustrated... because it's all important, really. I will probably have to give this thought through the week. The things that aren't important to me- commuting, answering the phone- you've heard this gripe before- are necessary to survival.
Unless i get a new job. But haven't we been down this road before? So instead of going into the anxious frustration that i've experienced oh-so-often in the recent past, my next action step is to be aware and analytical this week on how i spend my time, and to continue to pray for a job opportunity that is more conducive to a purposeful life without wasted time.

But i invite you to join me on this challenge. It's designed for a year with 52 challenges. i'll try to post on Mondays with each week's challenge- do whatever you can (test yourself, can you keep up with them all? You might be better for it this time next year). Leave comments with your results or thoughts, and we can even have a discussion or help each other out- let's do this as a team!

If you want a copy of the book (it's easy to read/reference, printed on recycled paper, and a portion of the proceeds are donated to charity ;) ), it's "Every Monday Matters" by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza. Let's go! :)

July 16, 2008

sick and tired of being sick and tired

Yesterday, i pushed aside my irrational needle-phobia and donated blood. The bloodmobile was at work, and i knew that a)i needed to get past that challenge, and b)i would feel guilty seeing it parked there all day, knowing i was selfishly withholding healthy blood just because i was chicken. So i sucked it up and did it.

Later, when it was time to go home, i felt drained of all energy.... i chalked it up to just recovering from losing the blood and it being near dinner time. A hearty meal would perk me right up.... and i grabbed tootsie pop to sustain me through the drive home and that was that.

When the headache came, i thought it was just from the sugar in the tootsie pop. And when i fell asleep by 8:30p, i thought i was just lazy. But when i woke up this morning still feel achy, drained, and with headache and nausea, i figured i'd lost the battle of denying i was sick. Blah.

So today I stayed home and slept most of the day. It's kind of frustrating because i've been doing a lot of sleeping lately. Yes, one could argue that my perpetual busyness wears me down, but Sunday i slept most of the day, and I've gone to bed early all week. I'm actually skipping church tonight, because i don't feel up to running around blowing bubbles with the kids (tonight's planned fun activity) or even sitting through the college/career small group Bible study (that i was really looking forward to, and won't have a chance to do again in a month). I'm feeling well enough to be restless and want to do something, but crappy enough to lack the energy to do anything beyond computer, television, or reading- and that's what's occupied me between three-hour napping spurts.

So i figured i could do something on my list... a book review! A while back, a publisher emailed me saying they found my blog, and asked if they sent me a book would i review it. They explained it was sort of a grassroots campaign versus a professional book review. I was skeptical, but gave them my work address so they wouldn't have any personal info should it be some kind of scam. But i got the book and that's that. So here is my review of:

Historic Photos of Los Angeles
Text and Captions by Dana Lombardy

It's simple, really- page after page of black and white photographs of Los Angeles, mostly in chronological order. It was really neat to see the progression of the city from a small frontier town to the smoggy skyline in the sixties. The captions provided enough information to be informative, but as I looked closer at the details of the photos, i wanted to know more. Overall, it was fascinating, and fun to compare then-and-now with some of the places I'm familiar with. Ironically, the book arrived when Cali Grandpa was in the hospital for the surgery, so it was a great way to pass time for me the night we stayed over, and he and Cali Grandma looked at it for a bit and reminisced. I'm sure that the folks who would get the most from the book are older, long-time residents of the L.A. area, or someone who really really digs Southern California and classic Hollywood history. Though I am happy to report that Hollywood and movie stars were included, but only in a small portion of the pictures. They did a great job of including many areas of Los Angeles in the limits of 200 pages. So i do recommend the book if you're even minorly interested in history- after all, the photos are much more fascinating than most texts, and i think makes it seem more real than fiction. It might spark you to check the libary for photos of where you live.... then again, now i'm talking like i'm writing to the masses. i know you people, and i would reckon most of you haven't been to the library since you left school. ;)

And last little side note (though i feel awkward cause it feels braggy and that's not my intention), i won an award at work! The Shining Star award is kind of like an "employee of the quarter" and is nominated by any employee and voted on by management. Besides the certificate, there's a commercial that plays for a week on the stations, and a $150 gift card (v. useful and fun). I am so blessed!!! And slightly afraid to look at the pictures, for I know i blushed all shades of red. But many thanks to my coworkers for being so kind and encouraging!!!!

July 14, 2008

irresponsible exhaustion

What a weekend!

Sophia's mom and stepdad (Rosalie and Chris) have birthdays within four days of each other. Sophia had a brilliant idea- why not celebrate their birthdays and express our appreciation for all they do by throwing a surprise luau?

And so for weeks (or longer? ), Sophia has been plotting and gathering supplies, inviting people and being party-planner extraordinaire in anticipation for this weekend's big event. As soon as they were out of the house (with the usual complicated plans that come with throwing a surprise party for two people- at their own house!!!), we got to work. Tables and chairs were delivered and set up, food was brought out and prepared, umbrellas and canopies for shade, and lots of decorations. Various family members helped pull it off, and Chris and Rosalie were pleasantly surprised at the festivities. We moved Chris' bar from the garage to the yard, and the drinks were flowing.... so of course everyone was feeling festive a couple hours into the fun. And that's when it started raining.

That's right. It's summer and technically a drought. We haven't had rain in months. And of all nights, THIS is when the downpour began- with thunder and lightning to boot. However, it didn't even put a damper on the party (pun intended). Instead of everyone calling it a night, they got more into the party spirit. First everyone crowded under the canopy and pulled umbrellas under the bar to protect it and the sound system. The drinks kept coming and the music kept playing, and people kept dancing- albeit much closer together. And the rain poured and the lightning flashed. When it became clear this was more than just a passing shower, for safety reasons everything- and everyone- moved into the garage. And the party continued..... well into the night.

After all that, i slept pretty hard.... i woke up at a quarter til 11 this morning.... i kind of figured I would miss church though, because there was still some cleaning up to do. However, i ate some breakfast and got distracted by a program on tv about ruins and fell asleep..... and woke up after 4:00 in the afternoon!!! i couldn't believe it!! Not only that, but relatives were coming back over for a barbecue to help take care of the luau leftovers!!!

So the evening was less festive than last night, but still fun all the same.... as we tore down the last of the party stuff and feasted on leftovers (there are still plenty). Then we get a phone call from a cousin. They discovered a dead body in the wash by grandma's house. They wouldn't let anyone through because it was a crime scene.... so they called a cousin who is LAPD and he got grandma and grandpa through, but we have some cousins here overnight because they can't get home until morning.

So i'm surprisingly very sleepy, but also a bit hungry... my whole body clock is off.... .i can't believe i have to work already tomorrow. I have a spot due, and of course i haven't touched it. i am so irresponsible!!! Maybe somehow I'll do it in the morning......

July 07, 2008

the artichoke is steamed

I can't spend a lot of time on this entry, as I'm at work... but there's a lot of recapping to do! The past week has been crazy at work as we jammed the usual beginning of the month/end of the quarter insanity into a four day week (which also means double up on getting everything ready... because even when we have days off, the programming runs 24/7). So the mood around here gets interesting. It's as if the excitement of a holiday weekend pulls the stress of pending deadlines and work overload into a very tense but even balance.

And we started a nifty new wellness program. You get points for various good health decisions, like eating fruits and veggies and getting ample sleep. At the end of the month, if you have enough points you get a Target gift card (v. useful), and if you do that four months in a row, you get a $50 Visa card (even more useful). i'm excited about a) the possibility of such useful bonuses and b) the extra motivation to do things i've been trying to do in the first place.

So this weekend was very awesome. Friday morning we woke up early and drove up the mountain to Big Bear. It was pretty.... lots of pine trees (i love that smell!), rocks and mountains, and the lake. It's popular in the winter for skiing and snowboarding, but i think i appreciate the warm weather much better.

Sophia and I hung out with our friends Lauren, Bill, and Leah, and stayed the night in a cabin. After walking around and checking out the little shops in the village, we caught a movie at the theater... "Wall-E". Now, i wasn't planning on seeing it, due to my less-than-enthusiastic attitude toward Disney/Pixar films and residual animosity towards robots from my childhood fear. However, I was there for quality time with friends, and that's what everyone wanted to do...

Mal's mini-review of Wall-E: Sad, slightly depressing, with a few cute chuckles. The kid next to me got bored, and so did Daylene when she saw it yesterday. Slightly political with a few good points, but you don't go to see a Disney cartoon for an artistic philosophical moment. That's six dollars and fifty cents spent on a movie ticket that could've purchased a gallon of earth-killing gasoline.

The best part about Big Bear (besides good times with friends) was being able to sit on the back porch of the cabin with a book and hear birds and breeze- not the sound of traffic. The sky was blue - not smoggy. And at night you could see the stars. On a different trip, one not balanced with lots of people- I would spend lots of time outdoors.... kayaking, hiking, horseback riding... and maybe one weekend i'll save up my money and go back. It could be a great mini-cation, since i lack the vacation time and resources for a real trip....

Haha, oh, and we tried to see the fireworks that night. We followed the recommendation of the rental folks and found a spot on the lake not far from the cabin, with about fifty other cars parked waiting for the show. When the first firework hit the sky, we saw one itty-bitty flash of color over the trees. Suddenly, it was a mad dash as everyone ran to their cars, hoping to beat the rush out of the one narrow driveway leading to the road. I'm proud to say we were quick on our feet and in the head of the pack out of there... we saw some of fireworks from the road until we pulled into a parking lot with an ok view of the rest....

We were back home on Saturday night, in time for me to babysit for SIX kids. However, it was really more child-minding during a party, so the parents weren't far away. And when kids know their parents are near, they behave quite nicely. Five hours later, I was on my way home, and my Big Bear trip was paid for. :-D

And if THAT wasn't enough for a weekend, there was still yesterday! After church, Sophia and I headed for Hollywood to pick up our will-call tickets at the Pantages theater for WICKED!!! :-D
In honor of Sophia's mom's birthday, we had a girls night in Hollywood with dinner and Wicked. Many thanks to goldstar.com for making the evening possible with their rock star discount tickets. And seeing it a second time was phenomenal.... and made me madly miss theater.
See, here's me being a nerd with less-than-glamorous (and why i think I like it) Hollywood in the reflection.

Sigh.... Wicked....

So i think that covers it. Here I am, back in the same-old desk with many of the same-old tasks, dreaming of a more bohemian life of art and nature... and how I can possibly make that dream a reality.