Friday, October 30, 2009

Can't Buy Me Love

...But you can check out my Etsy site and buy something from there! I'm going to be adding more items, but it takes me a while to upload the stuff. I ambitiously started my Etsy shop a couple months ago, and what do you know, I just posted some things today. For those of you who don't know about Etsy, it's worth your time to surf around on there; Christmas is coming up, you know... As far as my shop goes, there's more to come, but until then, hop unto Etsy and check the site out in general. I think people under-estimate handmade items; why would you want to buy a pair of earrings from a department store that aren't even made with precious metals or gemstones when you could get something handmade with quality materials for an equal or lesser amount? Starving artist or not, I will never stop creating.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Very Merry Unbirthday to You

I went back to Lebanon for my birthday weekend, and if any of you know my Mom's side of the family, you know that a birthday is incomplete without a birthday bash. Needless to say, Mom threw a fantabulous birthday party in my honor last Saturday, and it was awesome. Due to my being away at college, I haven't had a birthday party like this since 2004 and I had a ball!

Here are the leaves changing on Clinch Mountain...

And here is just a glimpse of the yummies that Mom made for the fiesta (also there was a homemade chocolate log cake with vanilla ice cream rolled up inside, topped with homemade fudge sauce):

Little slice of Heaven in this one: my little cousin T. He's so sweet and gave me a ginormous birthday hug:

Like me, Tristo also loves rain boots. I think he must've inherited that gene from me. He had a hard time standing still for a picture...

Here's a photographing tip that my newly engaged friend J. shared with me (I'll let the picture below act as evidence): When taking a group picture (or anyone's picture): 1. Have everyone smile 2. Tell everyone to say "Yes" 3. Snap the picture right after they say "yes" If you follow these steps correctly, your pictures will actually look somewhat like you had anticipated and you'll want to give J. a big hug for sharing this insight. Thanks, J.!

Big hugs to Mom for throwing the best birthday party ever:

One of my favorite songs ever is called "All This Beauty" by The Weepies. These are my fav. lyrics: "...But let me assure you friend, every day is ice cream and chocolate cake..." And my weekend was ice cream and chocolate cake=pure wonderful.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Story

I just finished reading Donald Miller's new book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years; I burned through it so fast that I almost forgot what happens in the book (Here is an excerpt). If you don't know anything about Donald Miller, you have to start with his hit book Blue Like Jazz and go from there. He's written some other books, and I even tried to read on of them, but I just couldn't get through it; I really tried but I couldn't even force the words into my eyes. His newest book, though, is remarkable, I recommend it to everyone. He talks about the concept of story all throughout the book; he tells stories about writing his own life story, and I can really identify with that, unlike the paving escrow agreement I just glanced at for a real estate closing. What does it take to make a story great? How do you live a great story?
My life story has been told by all the tiny pepperings of small (and not so small) events. Hasn't everyone's? Family birthday parties.....let's see, I had a 1950s theme-party in 4th grade where everybody had to wear poodle skirts and white tee shirts with cigarette packs rolled up in the sleeves; I had Hawaiian-themed party another year.....One time at LCF's dance team practice, I was so delirious with practicing the song that I started doing the breast stroke (and the back stroke shortly thereafter) on the stage to Sara Groves' song "Come Be Who You Are"--there' s a river in it (Guess you just had to be there)... One time Bets and I were on a road trip from Lebanon to Williamsburg and back, and I was driving (and was really tired, plus the fact that we'd been in the car together for way too long) and I tried to open a bottle of water while driving. Big mistake. When I opened the bottle, the cap fell in between the car door and the seat, and I started freaking out saying, "Well, that's awesome, I'm going to have to pour my water out now," etc. and other crazies like that.....It's really funny now, but Bets got mad at me and said, "You're not throwing the water away, I'll hold it, just give it to me! Just give it over here!" One time in college I was supposed to read a book and then ask discussion questions about it in an email to my professor (for a class called "Buddhism in East Asian Societies"), and well, you guessed it, I read the wrong book....the whole thing. The good thing is that my questions were so vague that my teacher gave me a B for them, so I think I fared pretty well considering the circumstances. When I was growing up, we had this humongo snow that left us without electricity for a few days, and Mom and Dad said we should just go to bed because it was so dark and we didn't have any light. I got so mad that I worked myself up into a frenzy and said, "I ain't goin' to no bed at no seven o'clock!" My family has definitely not forgotten that one. We all have great stories, but sometimes I let myself think that I'm not living a good story, but when I retell the stories, my hope is revived and I am reminded that life isn't a bundled up package with a red ribbon on top like the stories in movies. One of my major life goals was about going through elementary, middle and high school and going to college to get a degree. Well now that I've done this, I feel like I need another goal and I don't quite know what it is yet. So I don't feel like I'm living a meaningless life, it's just more different now than ever, and I know that God'll teach me to be patient in this transitional period of my life. Anyways, I felt really inspired by Don Miller's book because he emphasizes that you just really have to get out there and actually live your life rather than planning for your life that's getting ready start, like, after you get married or find the right job or move to the right town, etc. Thank you, Donald Miller.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I got to go home this weekend; it was great. Every time I go home to Lebanon I understand the old adage, "Home is where the heart is." For some reason I've been thinking that was an old wives' tale all this time, but, I see it all a little too clearly. The Clinch Mountains' trees are starting to change, the weather was so icky, but it was so gorgeous.
Here's some fog on the Clinch Mountains, with some bulls in the hayfield. Nothing on earth like Green Valley:
Also, each time that I go to Lebanon for the weekend, I always go to.....wait for it, wait for it......Wal*Mart. I know, I've really been meaning to watch that movie The High Cost of Low Prices but I just can't bring myself to do it. Why would I buy my Claritin at CVS for 20 million dollars when I know it only costs $4.72 for a month's supply box at Wally World? It's this sick cycle that I just can't get out of. So anyways, I was gallivanting around in the Lebanon Wally World, running into everybody I know (because well, that's just how it is in Lebanon) when I found myself standing in a gargantuan checkout line. Long lines don't really bother me, and here's why: I'm getting ready to admit something and make myself feel all vulnerable inside, but here goes. There's this section in grocery/superstore checkout lines that I learned about in Mrs. Fletcher's Foods and Nutrition class at good ole LHS called "The Impulse Buy Section," and in that section, there is a plethora of all the things you think you might possibly need if you ever found yourself stranded out in the middle of nowhere and just happened to be wearing a fanny pack filled with all the contents of "The Impulse Buy Section." 6 different flavored Chapsticks for all those freezing winds (you'll be licking your lips so much while stranded that your lips will practically start flaking off), Neo-to-Go for if you scratch your leg on the bleachers at the football game, Tic Tacs (for checking the stench-status of your breath with the flat-palm-up-to-the-mouth-Hah-Hah- method), the miniature pack of Kleenex (we all know the allergies will kick in at some point) and last but not least, the Beauty and the Beast cell phone charm, who doesn't need one of those? As I was standing in the checkout line, I saw them, the one thing that keeps The Impulse Buy Section alive and well, the end of existence as we know it.........The Tabloids. Here's the deal: everybody loves them, please admit this to yourself, say it out loud, even: I can't get enough tabloids! The funniest thing about this statement is that before you said it out loud, you probably looked around to make sure no one was going to hear you before you said it. Why does it make us so happy to know that celebrities' personal lives are being exploited by the pap for all the world to see? Back to Wally World: so I'm standing in the 10 Items or Less line and I'm staring blankly into The Impulse Buy Section oblivion and realize that my line's tabloids aren't as good as the other lines' tabloids. I mean, I'm reading about how Lindsay Lohan's life has hit "rock bottom," when I look over and see Angelina 2 lines over with a headline that reads, "Two more on the way!" with tiny fine print font underneath. Dang my nearsightedness. Someone out there must understand my frustration. Speaking of the paparazzi, don't forget to check out the post "The Fame" and vote on which celebrity that F. most encompasses!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Fame

Here is my dad F. hanging out in the gardens at The Biltmore:
Dad's nephrologist is hilarious and awesome, not because I've met him and think he's a riot, but because every time my dad goes to the doctor, he tells him that he looks like a new celebrity. He always says, "F., you've got the [insert celebrity here] look today." Well, Dad has had the George Clooney-look, the Robert Downy, Jr.-look, the Eddie Bauer-look (I don't know if he was referring to the man or store-style), etc. I could kick myself because I can't remember the others. Anyways, you get the picture. Yesterday Dad called me at work to tell me that someone told him he looked like Ben Stein. Bueller. Bueller. Bueller. I want to compare and contrast: which one of these celebs does F. most resemble?
Robert Downey, Jr.
Eddie Bauer (the look)
Ben Stein George Clooney
I'm going to say that in the above-photo, F. most favors the Clooney-look, but I'll let you guys be the judge. See the poll to the left of this post to vote!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Takin' Care of Business

When I was a little girl, I used to create businesses (only when I wasn't taking orders and delivering pizzas at my Barbies' Pizza Hut while fending off Ninja Turtle attacks from Bran) and make application forms on Dad's sweet IBM computer complete with a 5 1/4" floppy drive. I snagged home equity and loan application brochures from banks and filled them out because they had blank lines and it made me feel important. And it's very possible that I made some of my rintherealworld readers fill some out as well. My mom's best friend Sus used to proclaim to people at LCF that I could run a corporation in my teens. While I don't quite know about that, I will say that I have had many "careers" before my real job as a paralegal-all before I could drive: fashion designer, strict school teacher (Dad and Mom used to have to sit in desks and take my spelling tests, love it), chiropractor, tornado chaser (I watched Twister at least once a day for about a month in 4th grade), customer service representative for my fashion designing business "Fashion Club" (complete with a broken phone headset that I wore while aimlessly typing things into the ancient IBM). I had an office in Dad's office, and I used to love to go to places like Office Depot and Staples and look at office supplies. I think I had about every swirly colored gel pen on the face of planet Earth. What a dork. When people start new jobs, there are a number of tasks to be completed before one is up and running. You've got to get acquainted with where they store supplies like boxes of paperclips and staples, oodles of black, blue and red gel pens, and the FedEx envelopes, etc. You also have to personalize a few things, such as the scan/email feature on the copy machine, but before you do that, there's just one itsy bitsy thing you have to set up: the work email account. It's very legit., it's professional, it sends the message to the recipient that, "I'm not here to mess around, this is my new awesome work email address, and I want a response back ASAP! Can't you just see in the address how important my job is!" That sounds a little militant, but I think that deep down, everybody feels that way about their "work email"-it's one of the most efficient ways to take care of business. It's one thing to have a Gmail account, which is awesome (if you don't have one, you should switch), but it's a completely different situation when you have a "work" email. For instance, you know that your address is one out of ten (or 500, depending on who you work for) email addresses with the same domain name. It's exclusive, a way to be unique and belong. And we all want to be a part of something, right? I realize that this is such a trifle in the metaphysical sense of "being a part of something." I have to admit that after I had set up a "signature" for the work email that I sent my mom a test email to show off not only my new work email address, but my signature, complete with title and office name, address, phone and fax, just in case someone didn't have the resources to email me back--they can call me or send a fax, whichever they prefer. The funniest part about my "test" email is that I spent more time than I should have looking at other co-workers' signatures to see if mine was appropriate. I began to wonder what font was the best to use, or should I use dashes or periods in between the numbers for phone and fax, do I use the middle initial, etc. It was hilariously laborious, and now I feel kind of vulnerable even saying that I spent more than 5 minutes on my work email signature, but if you can't find joy in the little things in life, where else will you find it?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

All the Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands

Fall is breaking its way through Summer's rays with the kind of crisp that reminds me of biting into an apple. The sky is that bold, rich cornflower blue, and yellow is gracing the tips of green leaves all around. September through mid-November is my favorite time of the year, partly because I love the splashes of beautiful hues, the hot chocolate with bookoos of marshmallows, the hearty meals with cheesy goodness, cute jackets with jeans and that rustling sound when you walk down the sidewalk-it's the sound that lets you know the earth is alive and well (even if it is in transition). Here are a few lines from one of my favorite poems, "The Sound of Trees" by Robert Frost:
"Why do we wish to bear Forever the noise of these More than another noise So close to our dwelling place?"
Besides the beauty and wonderfulness that autumn brings, it also escorts flu season and allergy colds. If you didn't already know, I'm terribly phobic of getting sick. And I try not to, but I tend to hold teensy weensy grudges toward the people that do make me sick, I can't help it. Last week, I was supposed to get my haircut, but my girl Erin (I call her "Erin Haircut") called me and told me that both of her kids had swine flu and that we'd have to reschedule for two days later. At first I agreed to this accommodation, but then I freaked myself out that she'd be carrying H1N1, called her up and told her I was freaked out about it, and we canceled. Sigh.....and I really needed that haircut, too.
Java Lady also got sick last week, and the doctor told her that she either had a sinus infection or...........H1N1, duh Duhn DUHN! So she started feeling better immediately and we thus decided that she had a sinus infection. Being in the Real World is a tricky situation when one person gets sick in the office. For instance, Java Lady had a cough, one of the partners had a cough, the office manager was feeling icky, etc. So everybody has been popping Vitamin C like we're addicted to it, and I've been Airborning my self to death. The office manager is awesome and follows the sickly around with a can of Lysol and sprays door handles, the handrail of the staircase, phone receivers, etc.
This past weekend, I went to Lebanon, and my fam and I went to a wedding reception for some family friends on Saturday....While I enjoy these events, I cannot help but obsessively concentrate on the fact that they're a breeding ground for colds and the flu. Needless to say, the groom's grandmother waddled right over to our table and hovered over Mom and I with a terrible cold, and I could feel her spit hitting me while she talked to us. Well, what do you know, at around 9:00 p.m. that night, I suddenly felt all congested and started coughing a little bit. And now M is feeling ill-ish also. It all points back to a great Seinfeld episode: "The Close Talker." Why do people insist upon doing this? Thanks a lot, Grandma.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Beautiful Day

Hanban, one of my closest friends from college and I walked from my house to the U2 concert playing at Scott Stadium on Thursday, October 1. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience in my opinion; U2, an international phenomenon.......Bono and The Edge.....need I say more? Here are some pics from the event:
And yes, Bono was wearing the same outfit he's always wearing. Hanban predicted it spot on.
My favorite song that they sang at the concert was "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."
Mom's birthday was Sunday, October 4, so I took the long drive southbound on I-81 to Lebanon for the weekend. Mom had a yummy dinner fixed, roast beef, gravy, mashed Yukon gold potatoes out of the garden, fresh corn on the cob out of the garden, Mr. Stripey heirloom slices out of the garden, home-canned green beans from the 2008 garden, rolls, and butter, lots of butter. I'm quite positive that meal killed Elvis. So delicious. And the dessert, well, M's desserts are always always always delicious; a chocolate brownie with a chess bar-ish mixture swirled on top. Delectable. My brother Bran came up for dinner too, and he drove up in an unexpected vehicle: 1982 Mercedes Benz 240D. It's so cute. My aunt coined its name "Buttercream" at Mom's birthday party over at Granny's on Sunday. My brother, the 6'5" checkered shirt and Wrangler-wearin' manly man farmer, driving a butter-colored Mercedes-Benz around town; I love it.
It came with this unforgettable bumper sticker. My very politically active friend Dave informed me that this was a bumper sticker during the Arnold Schwarzenegger campaign (maybe I'm the only one that didn't know this).
Bran should hurry up and take that off of the back window or people will start to think that his political apathy has fallen away and he has joined one of the dreadful parties. But it's a great bumper sticker nonetheless.
Dad has become a vintner; his brand is called, "Medicine." He's got a sweet setup in the basement, and I got the grand tour on Friday night. He is making two different types of wine right now: Concord Grape and Bartlett Pear. They are still "working," as he calls it (I don't really know anything about the process) and won't be ready for bottling for another few weeks. Dad got some blackberries and his friend made a batch of blackberry wine and gave Dad half of it.
Dad made these labels himself.
As always, I love going home and wish I could go more often. Here is some corn that I fixed for dinner last night. M was kind enough to send it back up the road with me to Charlottesvegas......fresh corn out of the garden in October. When I was a little girl, corn on the cob was my favorite vegetable (besides the classic pile of mashed potatoes with gravy), and the best part was eating it off the cob. I used to get so tickled at my dad when he ate corn on the cob because it reminded me of a typewriter: he would chomp across the ear from left to right nonstop and when he got to the end, he would turn the ear and slide it back down to start at the same end. I always imagined hearing the "CHING" sound when he would hit up the next row.