Thursday, June 30, 2011

halfway point

It's the last day of June...the last day of the first half of the year (wow!). I thought I'd take the time today to see what I've accomplished so far this year & set goals for the rest of it.

As you may or may not know, my One Word for this year is smile.

That word is my mantra, my motto, my resolution. 

When I wrote my first post on this topic, way back in January, I was thinking more about physically smiling, so other people can see. But I've realized that it's turned into more of a mental/emotional thing. Of smiling internally, noticing the little things and being happy about them.

I definitely feel like I've become more conscious of my feelings and moods and how I can change them. Instead of whining, I try to pause and think about the good things. I try to smile instead.

A surprise goodie basket of candy from a counselor...that makes me smile.
Seeing kids running around, having fun...that makes me smile.
Listening to my favorite songs...that makes me smile.
Even just snapping pictures with my mom's iPhone on the way home from camp (hint: these)...that makes me smile.

Looking forward, for the rest of this year, I'd like to...

...continue being grateful for the small things more in the moment, instead of wishing for something in the future or longing for the past (this is something I'm working on)
...not be afraid to really smile if I am happy (too often I try to hold my emotions in -- but this is all about letting it out!)
...try to reach out to others and help them smile, too

Do you have a one word for 2011? If so, how's it going so far?

lots of smiles,

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

seven wonders of today

#1. National Geographic came in the mail.

And, darn it, any day I get new reading material is a happy day. Enough said.

(Now, to find time to read it...)

#2. Cherry Pomegranate Sorbet.

It didn't look anything like the pictures (nothing ever does, to be honest) but it tasted delicious, and frankly, that's all that matters. It's very sweet and the chunks of cherry add a nice touch of flavor. A bowl of sorbet is perfect with a side of a nice summer novel--this is what I'm re-reading. :)

(This is the recipe I used for the sorbet, in case you're curious.)

#3. Empire State Blue. 

What is that, you ask? It is the current color of my nails. What this particular shade of blue has to do with the Empire State is beyond me. But it is pretty, kind of like how the ocean would look if it looked like how oceans are supposed to look. (If that makes any sense.)

I always feel cool with newly painted nails. Like I can take on the world. Yaaaaa!

#4. The annoying construction is actually good for something.

Remember that construction from earlier in the year? It's back and better worse than ever. Bulldozers and backhoes and all those loud machinery of which I do not care to learn the names, right in front of our house. They make noise and vibrations and we have to park our cars down the road. Anyway, today I finally figured out what's good about it.

Whenever I go outside to take pictures of something, I either have to go to the mosquito-infested, un-mowed backyard, or the front yard, where I am faced with stares by neighbors and passing lay-people. But now? The constructions blocks it all! So I can take pictures in peace! Ha! Also, the things are fun to climb on. Just be sure to wear shoes.

#5. Yep...I'm still addicted.

By that I mean to assure you that, yes, here are even more pictures of flowers. Feast your eyes -- but look closely. Who spies the ants? I do! *backs away slowly*

Also, I just remembered that these are called cone flowers! At first I thought they were corn flowers, but then I googled that and realized...those were something different.

#6. Going through my bedside table drawer.

Oh boy. I have so much junk in there. Every time I reach in, something falls out. Usually it's a headband. But seriously. I have stuff in there from, like, fourth grade. Why do I keep it? A lot of it is jewelry that I never wear...beaded bracelets, earrings missing pairs, plastic rings. There's probably at least a hundred ponytail holders; no joke. I also found this necklace today.

I remember I got this when I was eleven; my best friend and I got matching ones at this store. #nostalgia I haven't worn it in ages because it's like a choker. But I decided to show you because I don't hate this picture.

#7. I should go to bed.

I know, I know, this isn't a wonder. But it is a fact, and it is also a fact that I have to shower and practice guitar before I go to sleep also. So...good night.

Any wonders of your day?


Monday, June 27, 2011

everything is going to be okay

Today was not my day. 

It was hot (the car thermometer read 101 on the way home), I was tired, and I was sore from yesterday (biking ~17 miles). We had some troublesome campers--ones who kept wandering off or not wanting to participate. One kid even punched me in the stomach for no apparent reason (it hurt).

 Nothing was right.

I got home and I just wanted to cry.

Sometimes it just feels like that--
The little things all add up like building blocks 
and then topple over,
crushing me underneath.
I need to let it all out...
...and then stop, breathe in and out
and know that it is going to be okay.

It's not the end of the world.

There is so much more out there than
the bad things that I'm letting weigh me down.
There is so much more beauty in everything;
I just have to find it.
So today, I'm forgetting about the frustrations--
I won't let them bury me.
I am stronger than that,

and I will be okay. 

It's been a few hours now since I told myself that 
and you know what?

I am. 

Now that I've calmed down,
taken a breather,
everything is just all right.
Even good, I might venture to say.

How are you today?


Saturday, June 25, 2011

june afternoons

"Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me, those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."
--Henry James

Quite true, this quote! Whilst searching through a quotation website to find the proper credit for it, I noticed so many other lovely sayings about summer. They all made me remember why I love it so much.

This morning was spent running errands; getting new tennis shoes and the like, with a refreshing stop at Jamba Juice on the way. They have a smoothie called Razzmatazz, which I always get because a) it is delicious, and b) it has my cat's name in it. Hee-hee. We also went to the library so I got stocked up on some reading material.

Well, this afternoon was a rather lazy one, although I hate using that word because I did do stuff, just not the running-around kind. 

For one thing, I made some tea (iced, of course. It's simply too hot for anything else). I have to confess: this is the first time I've ever made it for myself. Usually I just make my dad do it or get somewhere else. Buuut it turned out alright. :)

I read a little bit of an old favorite while sipping on my refreshing concoction and eating a burrito for lunch (I can't escape my Texan roots!). I would have read more but I get too distracted by other things. Like the tripod I dug out of the closet today. I happily discovered that my camera fits pretty much perfectly on it. You know what that means! Actually, I don't, although I am thinking more selfies. Yes, I am terribly narcissistic, too.

On an unrelated note, I have gotten a bit more into journalling lately; primarily poems & lists & short paragraphs of thoughts and feelings whenever the mood strikes. It mostly strikes at eleven at night, but whatever. My journal is everything I can't say out loud, my true, however cheesy, feelings. If anyone ever read it, I think I would die. 

My afternoon was spent in the company of some of my most beloved things, books and cameras and ice-cold glasses of tea. Tell me, what is your favorite way to spend a June afternoon?


P.S. I have just realized it is past six. What? It feels like three. Well then.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

flowers in jars & more.

Because I still haven't taken any pictures since I got home (my battery is low),
...because I am tired and lazy,
...and because these pictures just cheer me up,
we are taking a short trip back in time today, to a much cooler and lush place...

On our last morning in Hawaii, which was also Father's Day, we went to this place for brunch. It has a restaurant, as well as surrounding gardens where the food is grown. It was really neat & I couldn't resist taking pictures of everything. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, but my mom had hers, luckily.

I love these decorations. They're so simple but they really brighten up the table. 

They also had some select produce for sale. You take what you want and then you put the right amount of money in a box. Pretty trusting!

After eating, we walked around a bit. We saw the gardens first--positively blooming with bright flowers and vegetables--and then I noticed the goats. When I first approached them, they all shied away, but then one came back. Soon enough, they were all back at the fence. And they were loud. (I was going to upload a video of the goats, buuut Blogger was being extremely slow and I have no patience. So, sorry! Maybe another time.)


Quote of the day:
kid: I eat ants.
me: That's kinda gross.
kid: No, it's not. They taste like lemons!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

the longest day of the year.

Happy Solstice! It's the first official day of summer & it darn well feels like it. Ninety-nine degrees. Bit on the cool side. (I'm only half joking.)

I celebrated in increments. Strawberries for breakfast, visiting the nature center's pond (two kids fell in--heh. Neither was hurt, though!), cooling off with an iced beverage* when I got home, writing my birthday wishlist, listening to the Jack Johnson station on Pandora. Aaand, happy news, I have Harry Potter tickets! Oh, yes.

So, today was my first day as a CIT. It was, as expected, fine, but long. We played tag, pet a snake, and splatter-painted, among many things. Well, the kids did. I mostly cleaned up paint, put away toys & tied their shoes. But you know, it's worth it.

[We were talking about going to the sun, and being inside of it.] One little girl: "It would be like being in a really hot pineapple!"

Because of that.

Where do kids even get these things?

Anyway. I spent a lot of time outside, in the sun. It's quite tiring but it makes it all the nicer coming indoors, to air-conditioning. I love being outside all day and then just hanging out in the evenings. Browsing inspiring blogs, making lists, yes, eating dessert. Speaking of, I'm currently compiling a list of things to bake when I have the time--do you have any good recipes to suggest? I'd love your ideas.

Well, it's the first day of summer, so I hope you did something fun! If you didn't, it's okay, you still have all summer. Ride bikes, drink lemonade, go barefoot. Embrace the sunshine (but don't forget sunscreen!). And to my southern-hemisphere readers: have fun in the cold. I envy you in an odd way, as it's really hot here.

Also: These pictures are old; from last summer, with my point-and-shoot (you can see the reflection in the first one). I just haven't taken any since I got home so I'm resurrecting these. Huzzah!


*Which is actually water but that sound lame so I went with the generic. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

home (finally!)

I'm home. Okay, you probably could have deduced that from the title, but I thought I should make it clear. Home.

Sidenote: It's weird typing on a real keyboard. I've gotten used to the laptop one...but I like this one so much better.

Moving on.

Before our flight yesterday, we went to this really authentic Hawaiian place for dinner (by authentic I mean they didn't have forks for sad people like me who can't figure out chopsticks). Then the plane left at 10:30 and we arrived at LAX (which, despite being such a famous & busy airport, doesn't have WiFi!) around seven in the morning in that time zone. We didn't have time to get breakfast before boarding our next flight to Dallas, and then we had another plane to my hometown. Three flights is too many.

So, in conclusion, I got about four hours of sleep (while sitting up, mind you), all I've eaten since yesterday is a cinnamon scone (which was very delicious but that's besides the point), and my luggage took its own route home. I am just a ray of sunshine right now!

No, but seriously, I'll be fine once I have dinner.

On top of that, tomorrow I start a two-week session of being a CIT (counselor-in-training) at a local nature camp. This will be my third year doing this, so I speak from experience when I say that these days are long and tiring (8-5, baby). Fun, though. Working with four- and five-year-olds is never a dull experience!

So, that's where I am now.

I would be unpacking but my suitcase isn't here yet. Instead I'm just catching up with blogs...and I'm not complaining. ;) Just waiting for the pizza to get here...

Happy Monday!


Friday, June 17, 2011

blue skies & blue ice (hawaii part four).

Wednesday, after I blogged, we went to a lighthouse. This one, in fact. A cute little thing, built in 1913 (I think), but no longer in use. We couldn't actually go inside the lighthouse because of repairs (which was pretty funny considering they still charged us $10 but...) but we got to walk around it & the view was spectacular.

Fact: I have always thought it would be kinda fun to live in a lighthouse.

Another fact: I am fond of this picture. >>

That afternoon we drove to Kapa'a to look in some stores. On the way there: hundreds of palm trees! So many palm trees! An army of palm trees!

On the way back, my grandma got thirsty so we all got shave ice. It was humongous! (It took me like five tries to spell that word, nbd.) I got vanilla which turned out to be blue (?) but it still tasted exactly like vanilla. Ah, the power of modern day science! Anyway...I ate it all. :)

Yesterday was a pretty great day. We biked about ten miles around the beach and then went to this adorable little cafe. I got mango iced tea, mhm. Then in the afternoon we went to the beach. It was semi-raining but the waves were good yet not too powerful and I actually managed to boogie board (gawd. What an awkward word).

Today, I'm going to boogie-board more and watch my dad surf (interesting). Tomorrow we're going to kayak early in the morning, and Sunday is our last day here. We leave that afternoon/evening/I really have no idea and then spend the night on the plane and arrive home Monday midday. The last time I've flown overnight was to Germany, ten years ago, but I still remember it being dark and getting blankets and stuff.

Tangent (because I'm on the topic of my trip to Germany): If you count airports, then I've been to England & France. I mean, my body was physically within the borders of those countries, therefore, in a manner of speaking, I've visited them. What now? I want to really-actually visit them some day, too, of course. :P But until then...

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

bits of miscellany (hawaii part three).

Since I don't appear to be able to stay on topic for very long today, I'm just going to divide this into several smaller ones. Just cause. 

Why did the chicken cross the road?

The world may never know.

The most miserable I have been in a long time.

On Monday (I think? I get all my days confused during vacation :P) we went to this so-called 'hidden' beach. It had a treacherous hike down--very, very steep with very few rocks to step on. Anyway, we get down and long story short, the waves are huge--much bigger than at the previous beaches, because here they don't have reefs to cushion them or something. I decide to go swimming, because I am brilliant, and this is what happens: La ti da, I am floating along, and then a wave comes and knocks me off my feet. And it twists and turns me around, I do flips and acrobatics underwater I would otherwise be quite incapable of doing. I feel my head hit the ground, I feel sand pounded into me from every direction. Saltwater fills my eyes but I have to get up before another wave comes. Eyes closed, running, running, hoping I'm going the right direction. 

That happened to me twice (I know, right? You'd think I'd learn...) and it was not pleasant either time. In fact, by the end of the second time, I was very upset. I was covered in sand, salt in my eyes, my head sore from being hit against the ground. All I wanted was to take a shower. And I still had to hike back up the path, uphill. Needless to say I don't think I'll being going back to that beach. I'll stick with the small docile ones, thankyouverymuch.

This was what my shoes looked like after this excursion:

They have gone through a vigorous cycle of the washing machine now and look brand new! But they're still kind of damp... That's the trouble with the humidity.

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes!

As I've mentioned, it's been raining a lot but the sun finally came out yesterday. We went to a gorgeous beach on the other side of the island for the day. 

Look how blue the sky was! It was brighter in real life, but I haven't seen it so devoid of clouds in a while. Makes for a nice change, if a rather *hot* one.

Evenings are my favorite.

I love coming back at the end of the day, after being outside for hours, and just hanging out. Playing a board game, having some ice cream, and watching the sunset. That's my favorite part. :)

Have a great day!


Monday, June 13, 2011

the sea and me (hawaii part two).

This is my one hundredth post! If I was at home, I'd try to do something extra-special to celebrate but as it is, I think this is okay. ;)

There's something about the sea. It can be so beautiful and peaceful and so powerful and strong. The lapping waves can meet the shore softly, or they can crash against the rocks fiercely. The water is so full of polar opposites but at the end of the day I can't help admiring it.

We've gone to the beach a few times since we got here. The first time was early Saturday, in the quiet fog of the morning. It was pretty vacant, not crowded at all. It wasn't like I'd imagined the beaches--full of rainbow umbrellas and frolicking children and surfers. But it was nice, in a simple way. Just the sand and the sea and the mountains peeking out from behind the clouds.

We found some shells, too.
Then, yesterday, we went to a different beach in the afternoon. The sun, which has played hide-and-seek the whole time we've been here, teased us with warm rays for a bit, but despite that, it was still cold. I read from my book while shivering under the weight of two towels. And then, I at least tried to boogie board. The waves weren't very big, though, so I mostly just drifted along by myself.

I love the beach and all the little things about it: the squishy sand on barefeet, the sound of the waves, seeing fish swim by, etc. etc. 

That's about all for now, folks! Have a great Monday. :)


Saturday, June 11, 2011

aloha to the aloha state (hawaii part one).

Well, I finally made it to Kauai yesterday, after waking up before the sun and sitting on an airplane for an ungodly amount of hours.

And--can I just say--it is beautiful. Despite the fact that it has literally rained about six times since we got here, it feels terrific outside. A breeze keeps it from getting too hot, and it's all very mild and temperate and nice. I'm sitting with the windows open, listening to the wind rush through the palm trees.

This is the view from the front of the house that we're renting. ^^

Yep, it's rained a lot. Never for very long though; only a few minutes usually. It's how everything stays so lush and vibrant! Like this:

The back has a little patio and then looks out onto a golf course. It is perfect for playing frisbee at sunset.

Look, a UFO!

I'm suffering from awful jet lag, though. We're five hours behind our normal time, so it's taking some getting used to. I woke up initially at five-thirty this morning, to the sound of rain and roosters (there are chickens all over the place!). I managed to go sleep for another hour but I'm still so tired, and my eating habits are off too. Oh, well!

Pretty bird! I've seen them a lot but they're elusive, i.e.  they won't sit still.

We went to the beach this morning. It was remarkably bereft of people, although I guess the fact that it was only eight o'clock had something to do with it. That time change again... Anyway, it was nice, though I am not a fan of salt water at all. I'll show pictures of the beach soon; that deserves its own post, I think.

Then we walked around town and got burgers for lunch. Afterwards we drove around some more, looking at the scenery. We stopped at one place where there was a cave on one side of the road and a beach on the other. It was neat.

Even the grass is pretty... or I'm just weird.

And here I am, writing this from my mother's laptop (what great inventions!). I'm sleepy but we're going to make brownies so that should perk me up. ;)

I'll blog more later. Until then, have a great day!