Wednesday, February 28, 2007

At last...

I am no longer an "unemployed employee. ahhhh... For months now I have had held down a number of jobs, but I wasn't recieving substantial assignments from any of them. Now, I have officially been hired as part of the tasting room staff at Artesa Winery in Napa. It is a beautiful winery; the picture I've posted on the side doesn't do it justice. You can bet I'll be posting photos on my other blog soon.

I can't convey how relieved and greatful I am for this job. Money was tight and my self esteem was dropping as I moped about the house, doing nothing. I am looking forward to having a purpose when I get up in the morning and a paycheck at the end of every two weeks.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Growing Up

My oldest friend had her first baby on February 18th. This is the girl that knew me when I was a baby (she was about two), and now she has a baby of her own. We used to compare popsicle tongues, play on the swings in my backyard and build “a house of pillows” when it was raining. We were expert pillow house builders. We lived in Seattle, after all, so we had lots of rainy days to practice. His name is Cooper Bo Gordon Meek, but I’m planning on calling him friend baby, at least for a little while. That’s the nickname Beth gave me when we first met, so I think it’s appropriate.

But my experience with adulthood among my friends doesn’t end there. I have another friend who is pregnant, a female friend who joined the army (I have three other male friends that did so also, but that was back in 2001-ish), another with a husband and three kids, and another that is getting married this summer. The thing is, we are all getting toward the age where making such adult decisions and facing such adult situations seems appropriate. We aren’t “engaged and underaged” or tragically pregnant sans high school diploma. Now, people get excited when we get engaged, and even if we are pregnant with no spouse it is not tragic. We can handle it now, as much as anyone ever can handle it anyway. We are allowed to feel joy in our adulthoods.

Which brings me to, well, me. I desperately want something adult to happen to me. Now don’t mistake this for a cry for a ring or a baby (or a bunk bed at boot camp for that matter!) because that is not what I am asking for. I just want something to happen, something to get my life going again. I know that I am going to have to bring this change about for myself, I can’t just sit around and wait for the world to do it for me, but I can’t decide what I want to do. I can’t even decide where I want to move this summer. In with mom and save oodles? Or live with Marissa, continue to take joy in tending to my own house, and have lots of fun living with her? Then after that? Save, pray for a stroke of luck, and figure out how to move to England? Or is there really only one reason I want to move there (anyone remember Felicity?)? Or do I continue looking and trust that a new opportunity will present itself here?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I Love Chico!

The first time I went to Chico back in the fall I realized that there was a lot more to Chico that the drunk frat boy stereotype. But when I visited again this February, I fell in love. I love Chico. It's a beautiful, has a downtown full of unique little independent shops, a good bus system, a strip of real life frat houses on Ivy Street, an older University right in the middle of downtown, plus a little bit of suburban sprawl beyond. The following is a list of some of my favorite spots in Chico, CA

My Top Ten Favorite Places in Chico:

1.) Lulu's Fashion House

2.) Gigi's (shoestore)

3.) The Naked Lounge (coffee shop)

4.) The Banshee (cool loungy bar with loud, cool music)

5.) Madison Bear Garden (it's a bar that serves food. yum.)

6.) Ashley's Room

7.) The Bear Hole at Bidwell Park

8.) The Diamond Hotel (Room 309)

9.) The Pizza Place in town (I don't remember what it is called)

10.) yet to be determined...

Some photos of the Diamond Hotel and Bidwell:

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Happy Hour

"I'm not really fussy, I just look it."

Marissa and I went on our traditional happy hour excursion on Friday: wine tasting at Oliver's. She goes more frequently than I do and her mom goes too, so she knows more people there, but I still like it. I even like being around people who are regulars and know each other, even if I am not one of those regulars. It's still fun. The first time I went with her, it was one of the pourer's last day AND his birthday. He got three rounds of "happy birthday" over the two hour tasting session because everyone wanted a chance to sing. You could hear them through out the store.

The wine tastings can get to be very crowded. Marissa and I have compared them to mosh pits before. Sophisticated most pits, of course. We can't bump into each other while we're sipping the mother devil of all staining devices: red wine. Friday was no exception; it was way crowded. The pourer was so cool, though. She looked typical Napa valley wine snob. She had perfect skin, perfect hair, and a great but not too trendy outfit. Though she looked snobby, she totally wasn't. First of all, she didn't want to see my I.D., she said I was cute, she poured huge portions, and kept stuffing cheeses and pate's down our throats. Then, someone was reluctant to give her a tissue to throw away, but she was all for it. She said, "I'm not really fussy, I just look it."

Hehehe. Marissa and I loved it.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

One Left, Two to Go

Book #7. July 21. Thirty-five dollars per book. 325 million Potter books sold worldwide. 10 years since Potter first appeared in print. Forty percent off if you reserve your book at Borders Books and Music. There are dozens of numbers surrounding the release date announcement of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. The most important number announced on February 1? Two.

J.K. Rowling has announced that two characters will die in the final installment of the Harry Potter series. She also has said that the two characters that die in the final Potter book were not originally slated to have such grim endings, a fact which makes it difficult to predict which characters won’t make it to the last pages of the series. But if Rowling continues on her path of killing progressively more important and beloved characters as the story goes on (first Cedric, the Sirius and Dumbledore), the final two to go could be doozies.

Hopefully, we can assume that one character to die in Deathly Hollows will be Lord Voldemort. Otherwise, seriously, what is the point of the series? Though Rowling has taunted her fans by dangling the possibility of killing Harry off in Hollows under their noses, it is doubtful that she will do it. I don’t doubt that she has the guts to do it (my mother still hasn’t forgiven her for killing off Dumbledore), but it wouldn’t be consistent with the magical rules she has spent six books introducing and explicating.

Harry has too many magical binds that will protect him from death. The Durselys, Wormtail, Dobby, Gwarp, most likely Snape, and almost any other creature he has treated with kindness or wizard whose life he has saved: all of these ties put together could be strong enough to save him. On top of that, he has many loyal followers who would sacrifice themselves in order to give Harry a better shot at killing Voldemort.

I hate to say it, but my prediction for the second person to die is Ron. There are many people in the series that Harry loves and is close too, but Ron is his closest friend, not even second to Ginny or Hermione. If Ron were to die, it would be consistent with the death pattern Rowling has established.

More importantly, Ron has a history of self sacrifice. In The Sorcerer’s Stone Ron guides the trio in a wicked game of wizard’s chess. He plays the Knight piece, and knowingly and willingly sacrifices himself so Harry can checkmate the King.

“Who cares about what Ron did in the first book?” you may wonder. “Facing a giant sized chess piece that may clobber you is scary, facing Lord Voldemort is by far scarier.” But Ron’s actions in the first book are important, just as Harry and Hermione’s were. Their actions establish their characters, and so far their characters have remained consistent in that respect. At the end of The Sorcerer’s Stone, Dumbledore commends Hermione, Harry, Neville, and Ron for the following characteristics:

Hermione: “the cool use of knowledge in the face of fire.” (SS, 305)
Harry: “pure nerve and outstanding courage.” (SS, 306).
Neville: “it takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but even more to stand up to our friends.” (SS, 306).
Ron: “the best played game of chess Hogwarts has seen in many years.” (SS, 305).

Since then, we have seen Hermione make logical decisions, and we’ve seen Harry do extremely brave things. But we haven’t yet seen Ron do anything particularly chess-like. No calculated movements, no logic. In fact, Ron has done just the opposite. He’s usually ridiculously wrong about whatever problem they are trying to solve.

Of course, it’s impossible to say for sure what will happen in the last book until we actually get to read it. In fact, Cedric, Sirius, and Dumbledore have all died quite suddenly and with out much foreshadowing. All we can do is predict based on the themes and magical rules Rowling has already set before us.

For more predictions from the #1 Harry Potter Fan Site, check out Mugglenet's new book.

Ah, daffodils.

My daffodils are popping up! I was worried that they wouldn't pop up at all, an experience that would make me the absolute worst gardener ever, considering daffodils are so easy to grow. But a few days ago, one brave little bud broke his way through the dirt, and now his friends are following.

I never cared much for daffodils until my year abroad in Swansea. The Welsh winter was hanging heavily over my head and heart, and it seemed like everything was depressing. But sometime in March, my mood began to change course. For weeks I had noticed clumps of what looked like onion roots in grass patches along the bus root into town. One particularly gloomy day I was gazing out the window on my way into town and I realized what all those "onion roots" really were. Daffodils. Happy, yellow, bouncy daffodils all over town. No matter how gloomy the weather was, or how dismal my spirits were, those bubbly little flowers just wouldn't quit. Even when a violent storm was brewing that was sure to break their stalks and rip off their petals, the daffodils were happy. The winds blew, and they bounced about like they were dancing. It was like they were partying at their own funeral: bobbing around in the wind to the tune of music only they could hear. Some of the daffodils survived the storm, though they were a little worn from all their partying.

I think I love daffodils so much because they are brave flowers. They are like little messengers of spring, popping up before all the other flowers to make sure everything is all set for everyone else's arrival. They light up winter with their yellow and bouncy attitudes while they are there, then bravely fall shortly after.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

My Vices: From most sophisticated to least

Vice #1: Wine
Red, White, Bubbles, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Reisling, Viogner, I love them all! My goal as a wine lover is to be able to appreciate all varitals. Varital snobs suck!

Vice #2: Chocolate
Cadbury's chocolate is the best in the world. Much thanks to Ashley's parents and Clem for keeping me stocked!

Vice #3: Reality T.V.
I never used to watch reality T.V. In fact, I used to scoff people who did. But in the last year, the number of reality T.V. shows I watch has gone from zero to three! America's Next Top Model, The Girls Next Door, and Little People Big World: yep, I watch 'em.