Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Brand New!

Yes, we did it. We got a new computer.

My laptop took a turn for the worse while we were in Peru. With no Mac store around I took it upon myself to jimmy-rig it to get us through our trip, and it worked! It has lasted us a while, but now...
We needed something more dependable for my freelance work and for Justin's school... So, on black Friday, we did it, we bought a new iMac.

... Why go on black Friday, why walk into that chaos? I about had to beg Justin to go, but it wasn't that bad. We went to the Mac store in Pasadena around 8pm or so. There were lots of people as usual. One of those people in particular was Zack de la Rocha, from Rage Against the Machine... he was tucked back in the corner talking with some Mac people. So, we admire from afar, we purchase our computer, our friend Jeff, who works there, escorts us to the door... and in walks Master P (not sure who he is, you're not alone). Phew, that was enough excitement for us for one day...

So, we take our baby home and we break 'er in... We love photobooth.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Nog-weeb Ma-fooz-who?

I just finished reading the first book in Naguib Mahfouz's Cairo Triology: Palace Walk. This was one of those books that toward the end, I didn't want it to be over! Every time I read it I was transformed into the the world of this family living in Cairo... thats a good book, one that makes you feel like you are there. When you put it down you almost have to snap back into your reality.

Mr. Mahfouz is an excellent writer. I really enjoy the way he writes, he is very insightful and descriptive, as far as "tones" and "moods" go. He is a master of smilies... For example, he will say things like, "He chanted slogans with the demonstrators and was zealous with the zealots, but his mind was attached to life and struggled to resist this current, like a tree trunk in a flood, its branches torn off by storms." or "He was like a dog that eagerly devours whatever scraps it finds" ... There are countless smilies throughout the whole book.

Palace Walk takes places in Cairo during World World I. It focuses on one family with a tyrannical father. The book addresses the issue of sex-roles; domineering male, submissive female. ("My opinion is the same as yours, sir. I have no opinion of my own" ~Amina, the wife in the story.) If a man seeks wine and women, good for him, if a woman makes eye contact with a man on the street shame on her. Not only shame on her, but she is as good as dead.

One thing that really stood out to me in the story was how faithful this man's family was to him, no matter how awful he was to them. They were terrified of him and he treated them so unfairly, but they loved him nonetheless and they were all the more submissive. They hardly ever questioned their situation.

Mr. Hahfouz also has a very interesting story: from his books being banned in the middle east, to winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, to being murdered by an Islamic Militant.Here is a good link about Mahfouz

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Lost Art of Living...

While in Peru we listened to a talk by Rob Bell called "Fully Present." It really struck a chord with me. In my/our venture to live a less stressful life, a deeper life this really made sense: being fully present.

How often do things fly by in our life? We look forward to this or that, but when it comes we hardly take it in. Or in the present, how many distractions do we have that deter us from the "now."

How often are we with people and we can tell they aren't fully there? When you're talking to them they seem to be a world away, "uh-huh"-ing through your conversation, and you wonder if they are even hearing you. I don't want to be like that. I want to listen and care about people, and be there with them.

The times where it is the easiest for me to be fully present are those times when I am outside and the view, the weather, the feeling is perfect and I want to hold it, to bottle it, and really absorb it. I am trying to bring that into my whole life, the good and the bad. Life is too short not to be fully present. Being fully present not only allows me to absorb, but also to think and to contemplate. I find that I don't have a lot of energy or time to "think"right now - and that bothers me. I spend too much time worrying, which we all know does no good-and it's an addictive train of thought.

"Today enough is enough - I don't need tomorrow and yesterday as well. We need to be aware of how rarely we are aware."

This song by Mason Jennings says it the way I want to say it:
"Be Here Now"

be here now
no other place to be
or just sit there dreaming
of how life would be
if we were somewhere better
somewhere far
away from all our worries
well here we are

you are the love of my life

be here now
no other place to be
all the doubts that linger
just set them free
and let good things happen
let the future come
into each moment
like a rising sun

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sabbath Economics: The Environment

Justin and I are going through a book called "Sabbath Economics" with a group and I am very excited because it covers areas of great interest for me, and I can't believe it's all in one book... it seems to be almost everything I am passionate about right now (...almost)

Well first off, they do address Surplus Capital, Negative Debt, and Giving. Those are important and do interest me, but that's not what is getting me so excited!

I only have time to share about one chapter right now, but I will definitely share about the others later.

from the book:
"Chapter 4: The Environment
How can we make our households and lifestyles significantly “greener”?
a. Do a household audit on waste, including recycling, toxic products, etc.
b. Look at energy usage, including driving, and aim to reduce by 10%.
c. Commit to growing something edible on a year round basis.

~ This has been very important to me recently. Don't let the buzz deter you... "Global Warming" "The 11th Hour" "Inconvenient Truth" "Hybrids" "Green" "sustainable" and so on. Some people are already sick of hearing about it. Some people get so offended or annoyed by the this kind of talk. Why is that? Do they really think that this doesn't matter? or are they annoyed that they might have to consider changing their life style?

This became an even more important topic while we were in Peru. Our project was to restore a desert and provide life to those living there. We planted trees, started an eco-park, created water catchment systems, re-used old tires, composted, and much more.

It's a matter of thinking wisely, sustainably and caring about the environment in which our God has created. The creation is a revelation of God. Why would we not want to be good stewards of it? ... We don't have to worship nature, we don't have to be tree-huggers but we could think of ways to not exploit and rape the earth. We also need to think about generations ahead.

I am looking forward to reading this chapter ... we won't get to it for a while, but nonetheless excited! I am really glad that it is talked about as a serious matter in a Christian context. It is a common view that we don't need to care about the earth because "it will all burn one day" ... which I don't agree with. I can expand on that if need be. But for now, I'll end.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Esty... Handmade... Fairtrade.. Elephant Poo

So, my church has this listserve email thing... and I get about 25 emails a day, no joke, but this isn't the point. Anyway, one email was about this website:


It's sort of like an ebay... but for handmade things. You can buy from the person who made the thing directly! how great! .. and for those creative people, you can sell your creations online, neat!
You can buy art, jewelry, bags, etc etc... Good to think about for Christmas. I really enjoy making things for people for Christmas... And I really appreciate when I receive a handmade gift. I love being creative and I love seeing other people be creative!

I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org


AND why not mention this place... www.tenthousandvillages.com (they have a store in Pasadena). They have fair trade products, as well as some recycled stuff, its a neat store.

Elephant Poo::
Okay, I had to add one more link. This site sells environmentally friendly gifts... made from elephant poo...that's so cool!! http://www.poopoopaper.com/

Monday, November 12, 2007


Sometimes I feel anxious. Sometimes I worry a lot and things really catch up to me. I don't like that. And, I don't want to be like that. It's taken a few anxious breakdowns for me to realize that is not how I want to live.

I've made it a goal of mine, actually Justin and I have made this a goal for ourselves, to try to live a life with the least amount of stress. Of course, we can't avoid all stresses, so we also want to practice things that help us deal with stress.

I want to be able to be completely tranquilo. I want to be able to sit in the quiet and think, not be worried. I really think those times will help me work on being a creative person as well. I am constantly busy or worrying and I don't have a lot of time to think, just think, and to create.

... I really like doing yoga. I really do feel a rush of calmness afterwards, physically and mentally. (I like using the yogamazing podcasts on itunes)

Another thing I've been practicing is not rushing. I am very time oriented person. I don't like being late, which isn't a bad thing, but I find myself stressing myself out to get somewhere on time, not worth it! ... I am going to take my time (I will try at least)!

I also like to do things that bring me a lot of joy, like cooking! I can't explain it, but it really does make me happy. I love to creative things in the kitchen. I love making my husband good meals. I love eating.

And.. of course, walking. I like to walk and think, or listen to music. There is something about being outside. We live in beautiful Southern California! Sure, the air might not be great, but we have some beautiful scenery. I love the mountains. I almost feel like I need that time, that time of being outside, the time to "connect to nature" - might sound hippie-ish. But it's not! ... It's true.

I often find myself worrying about things in the future, or thinking about things in the past. I really want to focus on the present. I often look forward to things that are coming up, but when they come I don't fully take advantage of that time. It slips away between the future and the past. What's the point of looking forward to something if I don't fully enjoy it when it comes?

Certain circumstances have made these things important to me. Couldn't we all use a less stressful life?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Mason Jennings...

Tonight... tonight we are going to see Mason Jennings.. for the 4th time, maybe 5th - I don't remember. But I am excited. Mason isn't an exceptional performer or anything, not like Jon Brion. But he is amazing in his own way. He is a talented song writer. His lyrics really inspire me and I love his music, what can I say?

So, I am sure I will update this after we see him, but I am just so excited I need to share it. We are going to the Troubadour. We have seen him here twice before.

The first time we saw him there he was explaining the meaning of one of his songs and someone in the crowd yells "Just play the song, pussy!" ....

WHAT!!??! Oooh, that really made me mad. I mean, how freakin disrespectful. This person obviously paid for his ticket, he came to see Mason, why offend him?

Mason has this DVD called, "Use Your Van." Justin and I were watching the DVD for the first time right when it came out, and Mason is practicing before a show, talking with the other band members and he says "Someone in LA called me a pussy during the show last night." We were there! ... And Mason mentioned it, it must have bothered him. That guy was an asshole!

UPDATE -- November 9th.

... What can I say, I love Mason's music. I love his lyrics, I love his voice. Justin said it well last night: Mason has a clear voice and he annunciates very well, just so damn smooth! (I added that). He did a great job last night, had me in a complete trance. I was even able to zone out the half drunk crowd singing along and doing interpretative dances to every song. The highlight song for me was his new song. It was so funny and witty, I love it and I can't wait to hear his new album. I also loved the fact that he played a Neil Young song, "Out On The Weekend".

Here is a bad quality video of him play his new song somewhere else:

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Tacna Memories - Qunioa Soup

Last night I made a meal that we had in Peru a lot... Qunioa vegetable soup. It reminded me of eating meals with our friends Jake, Heidi, Lori Jo, Brian & Rene in our cold, sterile home.


(it changes every time I make it, but here's what was in it last night)
1/2 cup quinoa
4 cups water
1 medium zucchini chopped into small pieces
1 sweet potato chopped into small pieces
1 onion chopped
1 jalapeño diced
1 red pepper chopped into small pieces
1/2 ts cumin
1 ts oregano
1 ts salt (or more)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 ts red pepper flakes
and this time, I added 1/4 chunky peanut butter

garnish w/
diced tomatoes, avocado, sourcream and cilantro

Sauté onions, jalapeño and red pepper in a heavy pot, 3-4 mins. Add spices, vegetables, qunioa and water - cook until vegetables are cooked. Taste and add more spices if needed.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Resurrection of the BLOG!

It has been a while since I have "blogged" ... I thought I was completely done with, I thought I would let my blog die and never return. Well... here I am. Sometimes I feel like I have a lot to say, but I don't think anyone necessarily wants to hear it. But this blog, it's great. I can tell it what I did last weekend, or I can show it my new design project, or I can share with it a new recipe, or I can share some photography, or talk about a new restaurant I went to.. you know, all that stuff. This blog offers me a release, it will always be here for me to speak/type this well of information that I have floating around in my head. So, I am giving it another try. Here we go.

So, speaking of what I did last weekend... Justin and I went to the Largo last Friday to see Jon Brion with Mike, Jeff & Jacquie. And, as usual, Jon Brion was amazing. Truly impressive. The Largo experience was very pleasant indeed. We waited outside for a couple of hours, but once we got in we got a seat at the bar, we ordered some food, ate, drank, talked, and before we knew it the show was ready to begin. The genius took stage and blew us away. He can just take requests, any song, off the cuff and play, and create this masterpiece. Beautiful.

.. Oh, and speaking of recipes. I am putting together a cookbook. No, I didn't write it persay, but I have collected and organized my favorite recipes. More to come on this later.