Category Archives: Thoughts

Every Day is Special

Check out this picture of part of my old apartment, before it burned down. Now, take a moment to read the black canvas. 
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This is something I made when I was in college, and it was hanging on my wall during my apartment fire.
Now, here is a picture that the contractors took with my phone after the fire, of the same area, but from a different angle. See that black canvas?! It’s still there! It was saved! They were able to bring it down to me, though it looks a bit more rugged than it once did. And I love it even more. It wasn’t moldy, or smelly, so I kept it!
Oh, and that black/gray thing in the top left of the picture? That’s the roof. Yup. This picture still makes me cry as I long for what was lost. 
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However, remember what that canvas says, y’all?
 
Don’t save something for a special occasion. Every day of your life is a special occasion.

How true this is, y’all. 

How fitting that this is the first thing that I hung up in the living room area of my new apartment.
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Y’all, every day of your life is a special occasion. Enjoy things while you can.
 
I often now think of my fancy hat collection, and that I should have worn them more often instead of saving them for special occasions. I think of my flamingo serving platter that I should have used to simply eat dinner, instead of using it only when someone came over. These and many other things that I have lost I now wish I’d used more often.
Yes, it’s important to have special things that you only use for special occasions….but seriously. Use things. Love them.
 
Use them. Get out your fancy plates and USE THEM. Get out your special shoes and wear them. Get out your nice dress and enjoy it.
I really love this picture because if you compare it to the first picture in this post, you can see that it has some scars from the fire. And I love it like this. 
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Every day of your life is a special occasion.
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No Need to Dust

I was raised in a busy household with 7 children, a cat, and a bird. And always someone’s friends. There was always something to, and someone to do it with. 

In this pic, I’m on the lawn, playing Build-A-Bear with my little sister. 

Notice the alien in the attic window? Within the first few years of living there, my mom put it up there for Halloween…and never took it down. 

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Now, I live in an apartment on my own. I always thought I wouldn’t want that, but now I do and I love it. However, there is something that I am just now realizing… 

Until I lived on my own, I never had to dust. Now I have to dust! Look at all this dust!

While trying to figure out why this never happened growing up, I was thinking “maybe mom just did it all…?”

But who am I kidding. The mom who bragged that “I haven’t mopped my floor in 10 years” (because it was always something the kids did…usually me) would not choose to dust. 

I even asked my mom if she dusted when we were younger…she said there was no need, because we never had any dust in the first place. 

So then I thought some more, and I think I figured it out. 

You see, in our house, nothing had ever been still long enough to collect dust! Every surface was climbed on, played on, or used in some other way. 

No room was off limits. We could play and go anywhere in the house. Well, with the exception of the siblings yelling “STAY OUT OF MY ROOM!”

Even outside…one time I called my mom while I was in college. She was looking out the kitchen window, watching the kids rig up a zip line from the roof of the garage down to the trampoline…using yarn…and a belt as a harness…and she just wanted to see if they could figure it out. We were encouraged to experiment, but I thought that was taking it too far! She didn’t, though…and hey, they were fine!

From looking though old pictures, I found several pictures of kids sitting on the kitchen table, coffee table, or kitchen counter…which is something that I have since learned is indeed frowned upon in most households. 

This was a common way to get down the stairs…

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The kitchen table was okay to be on…

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Same kid on the table, just a few years later…this was actually mom’s birthday…Brigdon got her a can of soup…from our pantry…he wrapped it up in printer paper and everything. He was so proud, and she was so grateful. It was precious. 

And that fire extinguisher? We had it as a joke for when she blew out her candles. 

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It was even okay for mom to be on the kitchen table!

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Even I sat on the kitchen counters (this was on Wacky Tacky day in high school…though it isn’t far from my usual attire)…

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The coffee table was often just another thing to sit on…sometimes even stand on if we had a performance in the works!

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We would often catch the two youngest troublemakers on top of the entertainment center…not allowed, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen often. 

Moral of the story: There was no need to dust. 

And hey, we turned out alright! This is us kids and mom from Thanksgiving 2015.

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Curious

Books.

I am currently reading three books:

The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger’s by Temple Grandin

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

The most recent addition to my bookshelf is Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy. I saw it at Costco and it was cheaper than on Amazon, so I couldn’t pass it up. It’s next in line for reading. I’ve never read it before, but Binchy’s Tara Road has been one of my favorite books since high school, so I want to read this new one. 

I usually have more than one book going at a time, usually from different genres, so I can pick up the kind of book I’m in the mood for at the time.

A couple of days ago, I watched the movie Saving Mr. Banks. It became an instant favorite, and I watched it again today. I think I will watch it very often over the next few months, that’s how much I love it.

It inspired me to re-read all of the Mary Poppins books. There’s 8 of them. It’s probably been over 10 years since I last the first 4, and it’s about time I do it again, and read the last 4 as well. However, I don’t want to just borrow them from the library. No, I want to own them. So, I made a list of all the books so that when I am at the thrift store I can search for them.

Then I couldn’t stop, so I made a list of many other books I want to own…then went to one of my bookshelves for some inspiration.

While looking through my bookshelf, I noticed something curious. On the Romanian books, the titles on the spine are printed opposite the American books. See what I mean?

Curiouser and curiouser.

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So Stereotypical…

This is my friend Kristen and me.

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I’ve known her since…..since a time…that I don’t remember…but since I lived at this one apartment, where we met! It was in college. We both went to Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah. I loved it there, because the weather is great and the scenery is amazing. It is beautiful there.

We went to the Holi Festival of Colors together…

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Yep, it’s true. Basically all the BYU students go.

We also did many other fun things together, just not all documented in pictures. 

Anyway….we have both since graduated, and that has not kept us apart. Yes, we are far way. I live in Texas, and she lives in…Utah? I don’t even know! No, we don’t talk often. Yes, we email. It takes us a LONG time to respond to one another, though. Like after a few weeks or months. But most recently, I just responded to her email from a year ago. It’s just that I wait until I have time to write a thorough response!

I love our emails, because sitting down and typing things gives me time to reflect and think through things that normally I would just speed through if I was talking instead of taking the time to type it all.

Last year we were talking about stereotypes, and I found it very interesting and she said I could share with my small world of readers…

Kristen:
Also, I have never been to Texas but my daddy grew up there (in El Paso–the armpit of the state, I hear). So, here is my question for you: what is the culture of Texas? Are the stereotypes true? You don’t fit them (no cowboy hat or football/barbecue/oil obsession) so I assume they’re not wholly true 🙂 

Also, do I fit Utah stereotypes?
 
Me:
Culture of Texas….well it is pretty diverse. I am from the suburban area of Houston, which is why I am not the cowboy type. But don’t get me wrong – I love me a cowboy! And for the record, I DO have a BBQ obsession 🙂 And steak – I LOVE steak!
 
I moved from Utah to Texas in 3rd grade. Before I moved, a boy named Logan went on vacation to Texas and came back in full cowboy gear – boots, chaps, cowboy hat, etc. So, that’s what I thought Texas was! So my family moves here and I’m like “WHAT?!” Obviously Logan was LYING. But then as I got older I realized that Logan had simply not been to Houston. He had been to a DIFFERENT part of The Great State. 
 
Yes, there are parts of Texas where people live that TOTALLY match the Texas stereotype. I even have friends like that – one friend from HS was raised on a ranch and he rides in rodeos and has a heavy Texas drawl and such. And I have another friend who married a cowboy and they live on a farm and have horses and such. But, for the most part, my friends and associates are all from the suburban areas as well. Now, if you go out to West Texas, it’s another story. A whole lotta nothin, just fields and fields…crops, oil, etc. I love it all. Well, driving through West Texas is hard because there’s not much to see, but I also love the beauty in the simplicity. 
 
I love Texas due to the diversity. Especially here in Houston. For example, as a white girl, I was the racial minority in my high school, with the majorities being Hispanic and African American. I loved it. I have so many friends from various cultures that have taught me that there is more than one way to live your life. I love it. I love learning about their culture and lives and history. I mean, yes, America is very diverse in general. But Houston has it all!
 
Ok, ok. Confession: I also love Texas because of the Blue Bell Ice Cream, the Texas-shaped foods, and the Texas flags flyin’ high with pride. 
 
Let’s see…when I think of a “Utah girl”, I think of a skinny Mormon girl with blonde straight hair who puts it in a big Utah poof…ya know, the bump on top of the head? Yeah…that. I also imagine that she doesn’t understand how I can have more non-Mormon friends than I do Mormon friends, doesn’t think I should have friends who are attracted to people of the same sex, and has had a generally easy life (meaning lacking in hardships of the truly taxing variety). 
 
Now, my dear Kristen, you definitely do not fit my idea of a “Utah girl” stereotype. In fact, I have not met anyone who does. I have met many people who are almost a 100% match, but most people are nothing like my initial stereotypical thoughts, or they only fit a few of the “conditions”, or they are only missing 1 or 2. There may or may not be someone out there who is a 100% match for that, but if there is, I have yet to meet her. 
 
Okay well, I have met people who I THOUGHT lived up to my “Utah girl” stereotype perfectly…but then as I got to know them, I realized that even though they may fit some of my “conditions,” there are so many hidden things in each person’s life, so many quirks you will never know until you get to know the person, and I would have missed out on some beautiful friendships if I had let my idea of a “Utah girl” stop me from getting to know people. 
 
It just goes to show that stereotypes are not usually correct. And I think it is a beautiful, wonderful thing. There are so many things that you can learn from each and every person. You just have to get to know them. 
 
And wow….I had never spelled that out before. I thoroughly enjoy our discussions.
  
As I said before, I love my talks with Kristen. Well, emails 🙂
She said after that that she used to fit that stereotype when she was in high school, and was an “ultra self-righteous jerk”…but she said she is “all better now.” 
And I love her. 
Basically, don’t judge someone based on a stereotype. You’ll most likely be wrong. There is so much to learn about each person in this world. Go learn. 

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On Reading

Today I realized two reasons why I love to read:

1: It makes me proud. 

I got my car detailed today (I haven’t had a car this clean inside and out for YEARS!). While I was waiting, there were 3 men around me who were also waiting, and they were all doing something on their smartphones. I pulled out my Alice in Wonderland book and started reading where I had left off last time I was waiting for something. And yes, it made me proud to be a book reader amongst the smartphone men. Who knows, maybe they were reading a book on their smartphone (I doubt it). However, there is just something about holding a book in your hand that makes it more worthwhile. 

2: One word can trigger the memory of a whole story.

I have recently (meaning last week) discovered the beauty of Panko bread crumbs. And after my car wash today I went to the grocery store and I bought pork chops (among other things). So when I got home, I looked for a recipe involving pork chops and Panko bread crumbs. Found quite a few, and decided on one after I read “No need for frying, this oven baked, lower fat pork chop recipe is delicious served with pasta and your favorite simple marinara or puttanesca sauce.”

Is it the “no need for frying” that got to me? NO. 

Is it the “lower fat” that got me? NO. 

Was it the “puttanesca” that got me? ABSOSTINKINLUTELY YES. 

The last (and only) time I hard the word “puttanesca” was when I read A Series of Unfortunate Events. I love that series!

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Reading the word “puttanesca” again brought back the memory of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny being forced to cook for the evil Count Olaf and making puttanesca sauce. I had never eaten it then, and I still haven’t eaten it (if I ever to make it, I am leaving out the anchovies), but what matters is that ONE WORD can bring back a whole memory of a book I have read. Like magic. 

And there you have it. Two of the many reasons why I love to read. 

P.S. Shout out to Texas Car Wash on Eldridge here in Houston, TX for doing a great job with my car.

P.P.S. Shout out to all the writers ever. 

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People

There are many people in our lives. 

There are people.

Sometimes we let them go.

And then there are GREAT people.

Sometimes we let them go, too.

And then there are those people that make you SO SUPREMELY HAPPY.

Hold on to them.

Don’t let them go.

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Captivated by Books

I love holding a book in my hands, getting cozy, and reading.
I also love doing whatever I feel like (cooking, cleaning, resting) and listening to an audio book.

Even when I am here in Romania, I take time to read.

There are some books that captivate me no matter how many times I re-read them.

Namely, Harry Potter.

I just finished re-reading (well, listening to) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince with my roommate. And every time I re-read the part where Dumbledore dies, I can’t help but cry. If it’s an audio book, I can’t multitask during the part where they are in the astronomy tower and Snape kills Dumbledore, when they are with Hagrid and he finds out what happened, and when they are in the hospital wing afterwards.

I simply can’t. It is sad every time and I feel like I need to devote my full attention to times like that.

When we were at the beginning of the book, I asked my roommate “Wait, is this the one where Dobby dies? Or is that the next one?” She assured me that it’s the next one, and I said “Oh, good. I’m glad Dobby is still alive.” I later remembered that it couldn’t have been this one because he dies while they are searching for the Deathly Hallows.

Even though Cedric, Sirius,  Dumbledore, Hedwig, Dobby, Fred, and Snape die each time I read the books or watch the movies, it is still sad every time. And if I don’t actually cry, I at least shed a tear. And when I read an earlier book, I am glad they are still alive.

How do books have the power to captivate us over and over again?

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