January 30, 2009

kind of hoping its over

What a week.

I don't even know where to begin and am afraid I'm forgetting something.... Shall we go day by day? Oh, and guys, there are girly elements (gross ones, sorry), so you are excused from reading. If you keep going, know that it's at your own risk....

Monday: Normal, yet hectic, start of the work week. Quarterly staff luncheon meeting goes as usual. Aunt Flow shows up, and is greeted both with joy (it's been awhile) and doom (it's gonna suck).

Tuesday: Practically crawl to work thanks to the joy of womanhood. One moment it seems my fallopian tubes are being tied in knots around my uterus, then it's as if it's all being twisted and wrung out. I vow to see the doctor as soon as the madness ends, because this is ridiculous. Though I was tempted to call in sick, I try to fight it out and spend the morning curled up in my office doing data entry. I end up being glad I made it, as a last-minute mandatory staff meeting is called. We knew the news was bad, as we just had a staff meeting. And we were right. We are all getting 5% pay cuts. After recognizing that keeping most of my paycheck is leaps and bounds better than unemployment, I go home to find that my expected package from Dell Computers is not there. My disappoinment was met with Midol and sleep.

Oh, and crazy thing. While I was driving home thinking about the income decrease and other challenges, the song "In My Arms" by Plumb emerged in my head. I had heard it that morning on the radio, and thought that turning the radio on at that moment might be a good idea to take my mind of things. Wouldn't you know, the minute I hit the button, I heard it pick up right where the song in my head left off...
"Knowing clouds will rage
And storms will race in
But you will be safe in my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash all around
But you will be safe in my arms

Castles they might crumble
Dreams may not come true
But you are never all alone
Because I will always Always love you."

Coincidence? I thinketh not.

Wednesday: Give into the "joy of womanhood" and stay in bed. For most of the day. Truly vow to call doctor the minute Aunt Flow departs. Still no Dell package, which means no computer. That's right. My awesome, brand new computer does not work. At all. Dell has had me wiping all my files out and re-installing operating systems, and nothing's working. I'm trying to press on and not cry. Thank God for warranties.

Thursday: I jump in my car to return to work. I turn the key... and nothing. I look to the sky and say "Really? Now? This week?" Thankfully, I take Sophia's car. I decide to conserve her gas and walk to get lunch. I waited at the corner of the intersection, watching the traffic lights. When the little man appeared that signaled my turn to walk through the crosswalk, something made me hesitate. Right then, a van blew through the red light. It took a minute for the shock to wear off.... Thank God for holding me back. The feeling of extreme vulnerability at near injury combined with the invincible feeling of divine intervention and equaled each other out to normalcy. Later that evening, we jump started my car. Randomly, the cd player works again. I don't understand it, but i'll take it!
Also, I spent hours on the phone with Dell working on my computer. I can use it for the moment, but it's already starting the cycle that ends with it crashing again.

Friday: I happily drive to work learning music for "One Voice". Then my check engine light goes on. I can only conclude that God is teaching my relience on Him in crazy circumstances. I cancel plans to spend Saturday morning volunteering with the Dream Center so I can wake up early and take my car to be checked out (again). I have a feeling a certain mechanic can fund his children's education based on one 2002 Cavalier....

And now I sit at work, typing. For a really long complicated reason, I can't go home until late tonight. I don't feel like being social (and now, with a paycut, neither can I afford to be), so i'm not sure how I will be spending my Friday. But blogging in my office is not the answer.

January 27, 2009

bandwagon betty

Yeah, it's 25 random things. I wasn't going to do it for a couple reasons (time, trendiness, the fact that i talk about myself in my blog quite often (malthestar.blogspot.com!), the usual). But I'm actually enjoying reading everyone else's, and i have some time to kill at the moment..... so here you go. I'd gift wrap it if I could.

25 things you probably knew about me already.....

1. When my sister, Becca, and I were little, we would use our happy meal boxes and toys to play McDonald's drive through. This involved one of us sitting inside a low cabinet while the other came to order. Years later, I would work at McDonald's.....

2. I like pickles and peanut butter. I also like pickles with swiss cheese, and pickles with vanilla ice cream. However, I do not like relish.

3. I miss my car cd player.

4. The other night I had a vivid dream I was visiting my old Kentucky college, and i had plans to re-enroll there. First I cried because I didn't realize how much I missed the school and the people there. Then I cried harder because I really missed California. I decided I would only do Kentucky for a semester then return to L.A. I woke up shaking.

5. I have always like my first name and never wanted to change it, even as a child.

6. Long ago, I vowed to never marry a pastor, but if I did, to never put kids through life in the ministry.

7. This is harder than it looks.

8. I just finished a book about child soldiers in Africa that broke my heart.

9. Currently, I am trying to reconcile my ridiculous schedule with the desire to not miss life's goodness.

10. I refuse to give up on my new year's goals. I almost beat Mario last Saturday.... again. One day, Koopa... one day....

11. I dream of writing professionally, but I'm sort of scared I don't have anything of worth to say, so I haven't started the screenplay, devotional, novel, or song.

12. Sometimes God has to remind me that He's really using me at Kids Kingdom, and the kids aren't really wasting their time in my class. But remind me He does.

13. I've developed a crazy high tolerance to tylenol and ibuprofen.

14. Sometimes I'm sad when I seem happy, and other times, I'm happy when I seem sad. Isn't that fun for you? ;)

15. Bubbles are always a good idea.

16. I wish I knew when my last Mamaw-cooked meal was, or the last night I stayed over at my Grandma's house. The "no-going-backness" and lack of permanence of my past makes me sad.

17. This list is more melancholy than intended and does not accurately represent that I'm typically pretty happy. :-D

18. The fact that I pick a word and overuse it until I've wrung it dry does not appeal to me. Yet lately, everything seems to be amazing, random, or fantastic. Perhaps a thesaurus is in order.

19. I'm truly attempting growing small plants in window sill flower pots, with a long term goal of a garden.

20. I'm having leftover Japanese food for lunch.

21. I find it grossly unfair that those of us of the female persuasion must smile through cramps and pms as if nothing were wrong, and go about our work and daily life. When do men get to struggle like that? Not that I wish agony upon men, but if they get off easy, shouldn't we? Otherwise, I recommend mandatory PMS days given to every woman in the workplace. Paid.

22. I would also settle for a standard four-day work week, three-day weekend. Americans are smart. Let's find a way to keep our work ethic and still live balanced lives.

23. I like kids. I like babies. Small people tend to make more sense than their older, taller counterparts.

24. My lunch break is about to start so I need to wrap this up.

25. I love you. Seriously. If you are reading this, you matter to me. Please don't forget that. I will offer you reassurance anytime you need it, though.

January 20, 2009

New Feature!

Yay! I added a playlist to my blog for your listening enjoyment... I shall try to keep it updated. I don't think it automatically plays, but at least you can select your songs? Let me know what you think!

Meanwhile, I only received three challenges. Two will be attempted soonly, and the other takes a bit of planning. Challenges are still being accepted! You can look forward to reports on the following:

1. Live the life of a hobo for a day- little sis, Claudia, in Ohio
2. Carry out 5 random acts of kindness (adapted from a random comment)- new guy I didn't know read my blog (but yay! Thanks for reading!)
3. Get up 30 minutes earlier to leave the house earlier on a work day- former roommate and current friend, Spiff, in Kentucky

Obama's being inaugurated right now. It's not that I don't care... I do think it's wonderful that we have a president who is not a wrinkly, old, white guy. I just get a little weirded out by some of the hype. I totally understand why people are so excited- it's a major historic acheivement. But really? T-shirts and plates with Obama's face? Are you really going to eat dinner, finish your peas, and gaze down admiringly upon our leader?

I need to get back to work... there's a lot to do today! And my first piano lesson was postponed again (for legitimate reasons), so I'll have more time to prepare my Kids Kingdom lesson and work on learning the alto part for the musical. The show is called "One Voice", and is the Easter story from the point of view of some Jewish leaders. It's pretty well-written. I am happily in the ensemble, which is a good place to be when you're getting to know a new company. So far, I love the people! Everyone's been incredibly friendly and welcoming. It is a happy way to spend a Sunday.

January 15, 2009

Seeking Challenges

Ok, so I read this fun article from Self Magazine where Jenna Fischer completed all these random self-improvement goals- like exercise or no Blackberry for a day.
(You can read here:.. http://www.self.com/magazine/2009/02/jenna-fischers-new-healthy-habits )

It sort of sounded like fun. And while my plate is darn full, i thought that one adventure a day would be groovy.

But I doubt that I'd keep with it on my own... so that's where you come in.This could be a fun blog entry series. You can submit your one-day challenge, I complete it, write about how it goes, and you get credit for the idea. It can be self-improvement, adventurous, helpful to someone else, good for the environment, or just something interesting and miscellaneous.The suggestion box is open! Begin Random One-Day Challenges 2009!!

And feel free to hop on board... I'll totally support your efforts with creative, helpful challenges. :)

my battle with the 210 freeway

Monday- take car to shop for expected repairs from last month. Expect to be at work by 9:30. Encounter heavy traffic after delay at auto shop, arrive at work later than planned. 210-1, Mal-0

Tuesday- leave house a mere five minutes late, encounter extraordinarily heavy traffic, yet no accidents to explain the delay. Arrive at work late. 210-2, Mal-0.

Wednesday morning- Big rig carrying asphalt oil overturns near my house. In attempt to avoid the long line of freeway-bound cars on my street, I leave a bit earlier and take a back way through residential areas to catch the freeway a mile down the road. It takes 40 min to travel this mile, only to encounter heavy traffic once I actually reach the freeway. Massively late for work. 210-3, Mal-0

Wednesday evening- Wisely grab McDonald's after work before heading to church, am decieved by freely flowing traffic for the first ten miles, before coming to a standstill. Attempt to outsmart freeway by taking side streets. Find the rest of the county is doing the same thing. Arrive at church (late) after a ridiculous two-and-a-half hours in my car, complete with contemplating peeing in my McDonald's cup out of desperation. 210-4, Mal-0

Thursday- Leave house even earlier. Do not eat breakfast or apply make-up while driving, just focus on arriving on-time. Somehow manage to rear-end car in front of me (albeit at the crawling lack-of-speed we were traveling). 210-5, Mal-0

There's still tomorrow, 210 freeway. I'll be back (because you know I have no choice....)

January 13, 2009

bean dip does not dinner make


And yet, i chow down....

So I had the best weekend ever. It started early Saturday morning at a groovy diner-type restaurant in Echo Park. I met some friends for breakfast.... one close friend, one new friend, and a couple I love spending time with, and from whom I have so much to learn. After breakfast, we drove down the street to the Dream Center to spend some time passing out food somewhere downtown. I say somewhere because we rode in the back of the food truck, without really being able to see where we were headed...

My job at the food site was to place two eggplants in plastic bags. The eggplants were added to the other produce and canned goods, and people walked down the sidewalk taking one of each bagged item(s). My eggplant station was completed by two regular volunteers around my age, and a nine-year-old who was there with her family to get food, and was happy to help. We laughed as she tried to encourage one of the regulars to speak Spanish- in her own sassy way. Once we ran out of eggplant, i moved to the next station to help another regular volunteer- this time a woman in her late fifties or so- fill bags with lettuce. I overheard a coordinator say about 250 people were there to get food. Sometimes the amount of need in our city is astounding....

Before we boarded the truck (now filled with empty boxes and spilled grits on the floor), I got to meet Pastor Matthew Barnett and his wife, Caroline. i am impressed that the leader of a large, nationally-known church is involved in the basic levels of ministry. His wife started the food truck program after taking a couple bags of groceries to a needy family some years ago. They're pretty neat people- very down-to-earth with a genuine heart for people.

Our ride back to the Dream Center was bumpy and wild- most of us ended up on the floor! Thankfully, a pile of grits cushioned by fall, haha.

i want to go back.

Before our little group headed our separate ways, we walked to a laundromat/Subway/Starbucks (random, eh?). I had the greatest time just chatting with the incredible people I am blessed to know.

That would've been enough to complete weekend awesomeness. But there was another event waiting...

I received an email on Friday night about auditions for a theater ministry in Anaheim. Somehow, I ended up on their mailing list. The auditions were scheduled for Sunday, but the short notice was made bearable by no preparation required, as it was a group audition. I decided, "why not?" and drove to Anaheim Sunday afternoon.

The audition in itself was a surprise blessing. I knew I missed being involved in theater, but i didn't realize how much. Yes, i've been doing drama ministry at church, but it's not the same as being involved in an established company. What i'm doing right now at church is pulling together what I can so God can work last-minute miracles. And while I hope to grow into something to be taken more seriously, I need some real theater now. And I found it in Anaheim.

It was a bit nerve-wracking to not know anyone (because they all knew each other), but I encountered theater people. And theater people are the same across the board... creative, individual, and, in this case, welcoming. Hanging out while waiting for our turn to perform was not as awkward as it could've been. I was welcomed into the group. :) Which made the audition part a bit easier.

I sang in front of the director and music director- a scale to see range and a verse of Amazing Grace. Though a bit nervous, not too bad. The dance part was, thankfully, a group activity. And pretty simple- grapevines, jazz square, that kind of thing. The cold reads were fun. I like cold reads. And oh how I miss acting. Holy cow.... They also did a quick "interview" just to get to know who I was, being new and all.

So I'm in! I don't know what I'll be doing, but I'm happy backstage, in the chorus, or any role they deem fitting. There are three shows- Easter, Christmas, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in between. And don't worry, you'll all have notice of how you can attend. ;)

Now if only I didn't have this pesky job to distract me from real life. hehe

And no, I don't mean that. As stressful things have been at work, that stress makes me feel secure that i will keep my job. And with this economy, I count myself blessed to be employed.

Though I am considering that island caretaker job in Australia.

January 08, 2009

green machine

The more I drink Naked Green Machine, the tastier it is. How is that possible? The first time I had it, I sipped it. I liked it enough, it was just a bit green tasting to be gulping. But now? Totally downing it. I love it. I want more. Pity Naked Juice costs so much..... (and no, Becca, I don't trust dumpster diving for it in So Cal sunshine. I don't like botulism for breakfast).

So i'm really trying to be proactive on my 2009 goals. I figure if I lose momentum I'll not complete them. So far, I've made tentative plans for my first piano lesson, been reading a couple devotionals daily, and will resume weekly tennis as of tonight. There's been a few other points toward progress, but i won't bore you with the details. The point is that it's moving in the right direction.

So, typically I'm pretty easy going. For instance, when my car breaks down, I might worry and become frustrated with the hassle, but I deal with it and move on. Circumstances rarely make me angry (people on the other hand... hehe... just kidding. mostly). Then there was this morning.....

I was happily listening to Christina Aguilera's "Stripped" cd- haha, and turning the volume low when I rolled down the window, lest the parking attendent overhear my occasional guilty pleasure. Suddenly, in the middle of the Alicia Keys-inspired "Impossible", it stops. The car fills with silence.

I do not panic, instead i take out the cd and try every possible way to produce music... new cd, turning the car off and then back on, turning the radio on and off... The result? I can get the cd player to say "Err" and spit out my cd. And I felt anger. There's NO WAY I can or will get this repaired. It is a luxury item and the budget is too tight. While I'm usually fine living simply, my car cd player is one of the few "luxury items" that I rely on- my lifeline during my daily hours in the car. So I admit, while I'm fine and calm.. I'm still kind of mad.

But the bonus? I have not cursed once today, despite that. Yay silver lining, as tarnished as it may be.

Which reminds me of something our pastor said on Sunday that I liked: "Temptation is the opportunity to do the right thing."

Meanwhile, I finished my Green Machine. I will happily recycle my bottle, knowing I just consumed 2 3/4 apples, half a banana, one-third of a kiwi fruit, one third of a mango, a hint of pineapple, and a bit of spirulina, chlorella, broccoli, spinach, blue green algae, garlic, barley grass, wheat grass, ginger, and parsley.

And I savored every drop.

January 01, 2009



Now, i typically don't make true resolutions, because the pressure not to fail is just too great. But here my goals for 2009. Feel free to hold me accountable.

1. Learn to play the piano.

2. Develop daily and weekly habits of exercise, journaling, devotions, and creativity. This includes resuming tennis, guitar-playing, and yoga.

3. Find a way that my job is satisfying, therefore bringing in necessary money while not wasting precious moments of life on crap that doesn't matter.

4. Eat more salad.

5. Write a devotional.

6. Pay off student loans by developing video game- or at least making major progress on the project.

7. Beat the original Mario Bros. NES game.

8. Fall in love (will need some assistance here).

9. Increase and improve drama ministry.

10. Do more for other people- more volunteer service time.


Stay tuned for progress reports!