Monthly Archives: December 2011

Friday Links

Because I haven’t been working this week, I have spent a lot less time on the computer (good for my eyes, posture, sanity) which means that I haven’t been as active on my social media sites such as Twitter. That means that my pickings for my favorite Tweets of the week are rather slim.

I am looking for a full time job in San Francisco (yes, my current employer does know that I’m looking. It was actually an agreement between she and I. She is even trying to help me find a new job because she knows I don’t want to live in San Luis Obispo – a college town in California – forever. But I digress…) so a lot of my links have to do with professional development and how you approach your job search. I hope some of you find them as helpful as I have.

This week’s links are a weird combination of holiday cheer and professional development stuff. Oh well.

(haha people’s comments on this one are funny)

Side note: I use the phrase “seriously fascinating” way too much. Who does that?!

And with that, I hope you have a wonderful new year. Here’s to 2012 starting out right and being a great year.

 

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Twas the Season

I am a firm believer that one of the best weeks of the year is the one between Christmas and New Year’s.

It is that week when there are no more presents to be purchased, no more stress about how Christmas day will go, no more worrying about whether or not someone will like your gifts. There is just family. Oh, and maybe one or two returns.

holiday decorated bird house in my mom's neighborhood

Yesterday morning, as I walked into the bagel store, I was struck by how much I love this week. I love that children are out of school and that parents take the time out of their day to sit and have a jelly smeared bagel and hot chocolate/coffee with their kids. I love that it is still cold enough to cuddle up on the couch and watch a movie. I love that it is still appropriate for said movie to be a holiday movie. I love that I’m still able to order Pete’s peppermint soy hot chocolates and not feel dumb. I love that the house still smells like pine needles. I love that there is no more pressure to ge a bunch of things done, but that my family is still home and I still get to spend time with them (minus Caitlin who just had to go back home. Whatever Caitlin.)

MJ and her daddy

Of course, this holiday season had its downs too. I was stressed about work. I couldn’t quite figure out what that perfect present would be for my step dad so I was disappointed with my gift to him. I wasn’t feeling well. I was exhausted. My mom and step dad had to put down our dog, Toby.

Toby, we will miss you

This holiday season I learned a lot about myself though. I guess it means you’re growing up when you realize that you are more interested in seeing other people’s reactions when they open your present to them, rather than unwrapping your own presents. I had four Christmases (having divorced parents is sometimes really exhausting), but it was wonderful to see (almost) all of my family. I really treasure our holiday traditions and was so happy when each of them came along (including eating minestrone soup with my mom’s family, eating Mexican food with my dad’s family, cuddling up with my family on the couch to watch It’s A Wonderful Life and watching my dad cry without failure, etc.)

Anyway, just in case you were wondering, here are a few more holiday photos from this season. Enjoy.

Merry Christmas Eve – family tradition: home made enchiladas
brown paper packages tied up with strings (how I wrapped my Christmas presents this year)
Doogie, my handsome nephew
Christmas dinner table
me and my older cousin
cousins 🙂
I love her hair like that
MJ and Grand-Piffy
Oh, Christmas Tree
MJ and Toby
Auntie Rachel and MJ – denim shirts, leggings, and over the knee socks
me and MJ in our matching outfits 🙂
MJ in her “ugly” dress (I thought it was cute… she didn’t)

Prey, MJ, Pookie, and Toby

me, MJ, and Toby

Wondering how four christmases works? I’ll tell you:

  1. Wake up at one parent’s house – this year it was my dad’s (luckily, Gramma and Grampa spent the night on Christmas Eve so we got to see them)
  2. Open presents, eat a delicious breakfast, then get on the road to go to the next Christmas
  3. Show up at Christmas #2 – mom’s house
  4. Drink delicious cappuccinos, rush through presents, head to the next Christmas
  5. Show up at Christmas #3 – aunt’s house
  6. Help make Christmas dinner, hang out with cousins, open presents, rush out to get to the next christmas
  7. Show up for Christmas #4 – mom’s house again, with step brothers and niece
  8. Open presents (letting your niece open all of hers before anybody else opens anything)
  9. Get worn out and head back to dad’s to sleep.

Whew. And that doesn’t include the  fifth Christmas that we normally have. The one where we go back to our dad’s house and say hi to our family who always comes over for Christmas dinner there. There just wasn’t enough time this year. I think it might have worn me out beyond return if I’d had any more “Christmas cheer.” It was pretty exhausting, but I’m so glad that I saw the family that I did. Maybe next year I will have Christmas over two days instead of wearing myself out all in one day. We shall see.

I hope your holiday season, no matter what holiday you celebrate, was full of love, family, and compassion.

What are our favorite holiday traditions?

Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings – Zuzu, It’s a Wonderful Life


Proof of the List Master

Just in case you needed proof that I am a List Master, further than my list page, this story should convince you of my habits:

Today, as I was heading into The City with my mom and step dad to go see a museum exhibition at the Legion of Honor, I saw a poster on the side of a public bus advertising the most recent One City One Book: San Francisco Reads book. Of course, I don’t remember what the name of the book was, but before you chastise me for not being observant enough listen to why I don’t remember.

When I saw the book advertised on the side of the bus, I went to type the title and author into my “Books” list in my notes on my iPhone, but when I did, a list popped up that I didn’t remember writing. Want to know why I didn’t remember writing it? It’s because I have a habit of texting in my sleep. That’s right, If you text me after I’ve already fallen asleep for the night, there is a good chance that you will get a text back from me, however that text might not make any sense.

Now, don’t ask me what I was dreaming about last night, but this is the list that I created. I seem to recall sort of slightly becoming conscious in the middle of the list and trying to read it, but deciding that I couldn’t understand what it said for some reason so I put it away. Hmmmm, I wonder why…

My Dream Induced List

I wonder what I was dreaming about? And what the heck is “potad wed” … maybe potato wedges? Haha oh well. I hope this cheered up your day. My mom laughed at me. S’more and Raul laughed at me. Honestly, I laughed at myself. Who does that?!


Friday Links

My favorite Tweets from the past week:

On another note, I finally got my Christmas shopping done (and my dad’s… and my step-mom’s…) Tonight I am spending time watching Christmas movies with my mom – The Holiday and Love Actually – and tomorrow I will spend with my dad’s family and  my step mom’s parents. I will finish wrapping presents, and then spend wonderful time with family to celebrate Christmas.

Oh yeah, and KB comes home tonight!!!! We are all so excited.

P.S. Find me on Goodreads.com and recommend books to me. I’d love to hear from you!


More time, please

Do you ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day?

Okay, that’s a rhetorical question. But still, the reason I ask is because that’s how I felt yesterday. Actually, that’s how I feel this week. I know it’s the holidays and that means that everybody is a little bit more stressed than usual, but it just seems like this holiday season snuck up on me and there aren’t enough days before Christmas (which, in my divorced family, is never a calm and relaxing day with family). Perhaps it’s because it’s the first time ever that I don’t have a winter break because I am no longer a student. Granted, my boss is giving me the week between Christmas and New Year’s off, but honestly I think I’d rather have the week before Christmas off… more time for shopping, wrapping, and relaxing.

Anyway, I’m not going to get into that right now. The purpose of this post is actually to tell you about one of the things I wish I had more time to do: reading. I’m not talking about the Freshly Pressed blog posts on WordPress (although I do love those, nor am I talking about articles I get from my daily news sites, Twitter accounts that I follow, or friends’ Facebook posts.

I’m talking about real-live, turn the pages (or click the “next page” button on my Kindle), smell the ink, crack the spine because you’ve read it so much, highlight the quotes, underline the passages that speak to you, absorb the stories, get lost in someone else’s world, books.

When I was younger I used to read all the time. In fact, my step mom, in an effort to get KB to read, decided she would pay us to read during the summers so that we would have money to spend on our family vacations every August. Well, it didn’t quite help KB (although in her recent adventures in Copenhagen she has developed a taste for reading, especially the Hunger Games series which I highly, highly recommend), but it was fun for the rest of us because Caitlin, Pookie, and I read so much that we each got about $100 by the end of the summer. (No, I don’t remember what the calculation for the money was.. maybe $1/hr?) But I digress.

The point is, I loved, and still love, to read.

I have an entire bookshelf of books that I haven’t read. I even had to get rid of a bunch of books on my shelf to make room for the books that I had stacked all over my room and in my closet that were taking up space and driving my step mom crazy.

I get books at every holiday. I get book recommendations from friends. I get lost in the book aisle in Target, or in the line at the grocery store. Every time I walk into a book store, used or new – it doesn’t matter, I find at least 5 new books that I want to read (well, 5 on the “new paperback” table…) And it doesn’t help that Caitlin, my step mom, and Caitlin’s friend Ayesha all have such wonderful book recommendations! Ayesha even has a book blog called Bound By Books (you should really check it out)!

Because I love reading so much but don’t get to do it very much anymore, I am making a vow to myself (not a New Year’s resolution, because really, when do those ever work?!) that I will set aside time each day to unplug from my computer, disconnect from the internet, put down the iPhone, and simply relax and read.

I really miss doing that.

Oh yeah, and you can view my list of books to read by checking out my list here: Books I Want to Read


Friday links (a little late)

Wow, if I can’t even keep up my Friday links promise for two weeks, I have some serious reevaluating to do in my life. Not that Friday links are the most important thing ever (actually, they probably serve very little purpose at all – especially in the grand scheme of things) but it is the principle of the thing. If I can’t even stay dedicated to this little task, what else am I falling behind on in life?

That, however, is a post for a later date.

Anyway, here are your Frid… ahem, Saturday links. Enjoy.

**Note: I found myself getting kind of sad this week as I was reading a lot of my daily articles (see my post: A Lowe(‘s) Blow) and I was really down about the state of the world for most of the week. Because of this, I tried to have my Friday links be mostly positive. They mostly include cute videos, happy thoughts, fun stories, and ways that large industries/companies are trying to make a positive difference in the world. This made me feel like, even though there are so many problems with today’s world, maybe there is just a little hope for humanity.**


A Lowe(‘s) Blow

As a PR professional, I know that it is not necessarily a good idea to speak out about things that could later get you in trouble. PR is all about image and following the mission of the organization/person being represented. Maintaining the image of a company is a tricky thing – you don’t want to upset your consumers, investors, or the general image of your company because that may affect sales/perception. On that note, I think it is important for people to remember that their actions do affect others.

That’s why I am (sort) shedding my PR role right now in order to give you my opinion on a big PR issue going on at the moment. What happened is this:

The TV channel TLC, known for it’s controversial shows such as 19 Kids and Counting, Sister Wives, Toddlers & Tiaras, and My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, came up with an all new show this season – All American Muslim. The creation of this show caused a major advertiser – Lowe’s – to pull its advertising from the program. Needless to say, this caused an uproar from liberals, conservatives, progressives, Christians, Muslims, Lowe’s shoppers, TLC watchers, and many more. Many comments, letters (and here), and opinions have chastised Lowe’s for its discrimination of Muslims and their heritage; however many have also come out in support of Lowe’s decision to remove advertising from the show. Since the announcement of the removal of its advertising, Lowe’s has posted an apology on Facebook which was subsequently taken down due to disrespectful and harshly worded comments. Lowe’s then posted a follow-up comment that can be seen below:

self-taken screen shot from Lowe's Facebook page

Anyway, the purpose of this post is not to chastise Lowe’s for making a (what I believe to be poor) business decision. This post was sparked by an article I read earlier today (or yesterday?) about the 25 Dumbest Comments on Lowe’s Facebook Page and was infuriated by what people said and how ignorant they are, the purpose is to call out the people who are supporting Lowe’s decision with the argument that it is in “America’s best interest” and that Muslims are not “true Americans.” My questions for them is: what, exactly, is a “true American”? Is it somebody who is born in the United States? Does it depend on the color of your skin? Your religion? How long your family has been in the States? The amount of education you have? I’m serious, what exactly is a “true American”?! Would you consider me a true American? I am white, Christian, and pay American taxes. What if I told you that I was second generation American? That my grandparents came from Germany and England – one leaving Germany out of fear for his family with Jewish roots. Am I still a true American in your eyes?

I know we have all heard this before but I will say it again: this country was founded, amongst other things, on the freedom of religion. In case you forgot, here are the words written on the Declaration of Independence – a document written by our Founding Fathers after white christians left Europe and fought against the British for their freedom of religion and independence from prejudice. They wanted to create a country where people could practice the religion they wanted – without being persecuted. Just to refresh your memory, here are the first words written on the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Now, I’m not going to give you a lecture (anymore than I have) on what the Constitution and Declaration of Independence have to say about the American people’s right to freedom. What I am going to say is that sometimes I am sorely disappointed by the people I call neighbors and fellow Americans. All of us came here from somewhere, at some point. Just because you have lived in the United States longer than others does not make you any more or less patriotic than somebody who moved here ten or twenty years ago.

Perhaps I will be labeled as the “classic liberal,” but I think that there is something to be said about being open minded and listening to other people’s opinions. Before you argue with me, I do realize that being open minded also includes understanding that not everybody is as open minded as me and that other people will have different opinions, but that doesn’t mean that those people have to impart their opinions on me and others. Just because you think you are right, doesn’t mean you are. Yes, I know, that means that I could be wrong. I am willing to risk it.

Here is a little insight on the roots of my beliefs:

The other day I got into a conversation with my dad about what I was like when I was little. The first thing he said was that I was sensitive (surprise, surprise – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree). The second thing he said was that I didn’t see color, religion, or sexual orientation. I didn’t care whether someone was black, white, green, Christian, Jewish, atheist, straight, or gay. As long as they treated others well, everybody was the same to me. In fact, when I was 3 and attending preschool in El Cerrito, CA, I was exposed to a lot of ethnicity: the main preschool teacher was Sikh, another teacher was white, and another was black. My dad said I didn’t pay attention to their skin color – instead of saying “my white teacher” or “my black teacher,” I said “the teacher with the light hair” (meaning my white teacher) and “the teacher with the dark hair” (meaning my black teacher).

As I thought about that story, I got wistful for those days of innocence, for the days when no prejudice based on color or religion clouded my opinions of people. I try to keep myself from pre-judging people, but sometimes it is hard. Sometimes I find myself thinking about other races and applying stereotypes to them, or looking at other Christians and judging them for their extremist views, or vegetarians for their judgmental comments. At those times I have to step back and remind myself that everybody has a right to be who they are and believe what they think is true. It is not my right to get in their way.

I suppose the best I can hope for is that, by the time I have grandchildren, they will live in a world (or at least an America) where people aren’t persecuted for their beliefs. An America where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence are actually followed.

Finally, I will leave you with a quotation from Nazi opposer Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

And now that I’m done with my (not-so) mini rant, have a wonderful night.


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