Saturday, June 27, 2009

Delayed and Strangely Placed

A big thanks to Shelbi for giving me the Kreativ Blogger Award first (Andrea did second). She deserves a cookie. ^_^
Here are the rules:
1) List 7 things you love
2) Link back to the person who gave you the award
3) Pass it along to 7 other bloggers

7 Things I Love (I could easily list several more, but rules are rules.)

1. Photography
Mentioned previously. One reason I love photography is I get to relive moments like this one:
I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. ^_^

2. Baked Goods
My favorites to make are and consume are cookies (peanut butter and chocolate chip), brownies, brownie cookies, and mug cake. *drools* Okay, so there are more, but I'm getting hungry and naming my favorite baked goods is not helping.

3. Music
Who doesn't love at least one song? I've met some people who claim to dislike music, but I've seen them light up like a new star at the sound of a theme song and join in without caring what it is the theme to.

4. Knitting
I've mentioned my general love for crafting before, but I like knitting the most. I love it because there are so many beautiful things to make and I enjoy making them myself and looking at what other people have made. I also love the look on someone's face when they see something I've made, love it, and find out that they can have it. It makes me feel good knowing that what I've created gets to be enjoyed both ways.

I have to mention one knitting-related thing that I love: Lynne Barr's book Knitting New Scarves. I am currently trying to get my jaw back in place because I just found out that she is coming out with a new book called Reversible Knitting (click on Lynne Barr and look for the title on the sidebar). Oh, snap. There goes my jaw again. . .

5. Books
Few books are worse than their movies and movies are pretty awesome. I love books because they provide hours of entertainment (usually quality) and smell good. They take me to another world and tell me things I probably didn't know. I get to learn and enjoy a great story, pattern, or picture. Ah. . . books. :) They are like baked goods to my eyes.

6. Friends and Family (gotta include God, of course)
What would I do without them? Who would let me rant for hours about how I hate the word skein? *cringe* Who would I knit for? Who would eat my cooking even when I fail terribly? Who would I bake cookies for at midnight? Who would keep me from hating people? Who still lets me complain about Costa Rica even though it's almost been a year? Who would tease me to my annoyance and delight? Who else would tell me to stop typing right now if they could?

No one. My friends and family are awesome and completely loveable. They're the best.

7. The Internet
It has pretty much everything I love (or a way to get it). What's not to love about that?

7 Bloggers
(twas tough to choose just 7)

A Game of Twister (even though she's done it already)
Formative Creation (even though she's done it already)
Stuck in the Peat Bog (She's my sister's best friend)
1000 Awesome Things
Robot A Day
Strawberry Kitten
The Cherry Blossom Girl

Until the next post, and as always, take care! :)

p.s. The title refers to the fact that I could have posted much earlier this week or at least waited until the most recent post had been up for 24 hours.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Music and Dance

I love my camera and what it allows me to do. As the Freezepop song "Photographic" goes: "I take pictures, photographic pictures."
I'm not going to blog about MJ, Farrah Fawcett, or the death of any other person. Those topics have been talked, ranted, tweeted, raved, reported, mourned, celebrated, blogged about, and written about to death.

I have decided against complicating this blog. You want to see more awesome links than I've linked to on the sidebar? Stalk Shelbi and I. The ongoing conversation is renewed with either "This is [awesome, adorable, cute, funny, weird, or some other adjective]." or "O.O". I don't let myself eat while checking msn or anything on the internet for that matter. I'm afraid my drastically-changing facial expressions will cause total mouth failure (a.k.a. dripping or spewing of food in possibly random directions at possibly unexpected times possibly on living creatures or clean carpets). I'm kidding about stalking us on msn, of course. That's what Twitter is for. It's win-win. You get to follow and we know you don't know our awesome, secret world cutification (you WILL say "aww") and plushie plans. Gr. I'm kidding about the world cutification plans. I'll try to stop repeating things that add words rather than meaning. I will stop repeating myself. I will stop repeating myself. -_- [What' Up Doc reference]

Earlier this week, I took my first classes in Argentine Tango and West Coast Swing. Both were awesome. So far, my favorite is WCS. I watched a few other dance classes. I can't wait until tomorrow night! Three hours of dancing! :D It's Latin night at Shake It Up which should be fun. Really, I don't care what dances they feature; I'm excited to just dance.

Also, I went to Diane's asssisted living homes. There are 2 with 6 residents each, I think, and she takes care of old folk like I've never seen them taken care of. I actually enjoyed visiting the homes. I can't say I've ever said that about a nursing home. Nursing homes have the appeal of a septic tank; Diane's homes are wonderful places. They are true homes for the residents rather than just places to die. The nurses and residents looked healthy, loved, and happy. Diane is doing an impressive, wonderful thing. I wish all people in their later years would get care like that.

Today, I went to the Redlands Bowl where the San Bernadino Symphony and Rita Coolidge performed. I wanted to hear more of the symphony by itself and less of Rita because I couldn't understand what Rita was singing half the time anyway and I didn't need to hear several tribute songs to Peggy Lee. Sure, I like Peggy Lee, but I didn't know who Rita Coolidge was and I didn't want to think of her as a Peggy Lee tribute singer. I wanted to hear Rita Coolidge sing her own music and show who she was. I did end up pretty satisfied after she sang "Amazing Grace" in Cherokee. Very beautiful and it felt like it came from her heart. All in all, I enjoyed the concert. Taking my camera would have been pointless because they were not allowed according to the program. According to my own observations, I could have gotten plenty of shots had I charged my batteries. Oh, well. Just take my word that it was cool.

While I'm in an I-love-dance mood, I'm going to share the links to dances and dance-related videos that I have enjoyed watching several times.

36 Pirouettes. Crazy. Alicia is a good dancer anyway, imho, as you can see here, if you so choose.
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not. I have watched a different version of this several times, but this one popped up in my list first. Maci has some other cool videos floating around.
First Love. I want to dance like this.
Carnevil. Eight minutes and thirteen seconds of twisted coolness, imho.
A Dance From Above. I like this because it's not traditional. How many dancers do a routine with rope?
Wade Robson's routine from Dancing With the Stars. It's Wade Robson. He's awesome. He could do the Hokey-Pokey and I'd probably faint with joy. :P
Lindy Hop Showdown. Lindy Hop is nuts and these people look completely awesome doing it.
Heidi and Travis. Of course, the famous bench routine by Mia Michaels.
SNAP. One of Anaheim Ballet's awesome videos.
Benji and Heidi. They make my jaw drop.

Side note: I am a So You Think You Can Dance enthusiast, so I do search for some videos of contestants outside of the show. Pretty much assume that I'd post tons of SYTYCD videos, if I could find them all. I don't want existing ones to get reported, so I've only including one. That's the only one I will include. Search away or ask me for more links.

Those are just a few and they don't cover all of the types of dancing that I enjoy watching, but I think they are enough for now. I need to get some sleep if I want to dance tomorrow.

Until the next post, and as always, take care. :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

First post from Redlands

This is what I should be doing right now.
After jamming my Skittles pen into the reset button on the router (or modem or whatever that trouble-making miracle machine is called), I have wifi internet access. :D I really do not enjoy living without internet access. One reason is I'm always thinking of things to look up and that urge to search itches until completion. For example, I'm reading The Second Opinion by Michael Palmer and the main character, Thea, researches a few topics, cites sources, and makes me want to look up every little thing Michael Palmer brings up. I do the same in conversations or just while sleeping. I really do wake up in the middle of the night and think to myself look [blank] up when consciousness is regained. In conversations, I don't drift off and ignore people in; I just keep my mind open to my own thoughts and what someone else is saying at the same time. If I can, I make lists in every situation. I like lists. Admittedly, that does not always work out, but it works well enough for me. I didn't have internet access until this afternoon, so I have a list of things to look up or do on the internet before I dare do anything requiring lower body movement. Just kidding, of course. I drink water like I'm never going to get any again. Anyway, I'm happy to have internet access even though my body probably won't because I'm cutting into sleeping time.

I don't have anything else to say except that I'd like to start sharing things that I've written and maybe some old photography possibly as a second weekly post. That'll make this a biweekly blog. I'm thinking weekends and Wednesdays. Weekends being the blogging post and wednesdays probably being the sharing time post. Another possibility is making it a spotlight thing for me to show you things I've seen. Maybe all three? I'll figure something out. Maybe a surprise? I think I'll go with that. I'll reveal my plans sometime in the near future. I'm still trying to get this blog in a position I like purpose-wise, mostly.

Until the next post, take care. :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Playing Catch-up

A picture of my hair that I tinkered with in Photoshop. I was playing with layers and such.
Well, this entry is late because I was in Oregon all weekend. It was fun, if you were wondering. I took a bunch of pictures of clouds, trees, and mountains while riding on a jet boat, went to caves, enjoyed the rain, ate a lot, saw Sammy's son, Jonas, and just hung out with my family (immediate and my aunt's parents, my sort-of grandparents). I didn't get many pictures of the caves because the tour guide seemed to be taking us all on an inspirational journey. I felt wrong disturbing her moments with flash. Very awesome caves anyway. Oregon is always such a wonderful place to visit.

Taken while on the Hellgate jet boat ride.
Anyway, I do have a something to say about The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks, as I said I would. I didn't really like the book. It was too cheesy and I don't think it was written very well. It felt like one of those books that was just published because he could. Maybe I'm just outgrowing sappy romances. I did enjoy a couple parts just because I was poking a bit of fun at them. Not the best book I've picked up, but I shouldn't have bashed it so much before finishing it. It wasn't that bad. It just eh.
Taken while on the Hellgate jet boat ride.
I'm now reading The Second Opinion by Michael Palmer. I like it so far. My aunt recommended it to me after the James family reunion. My opa (grandpa on my dad's side, the German side) had Asberger's syndrome and it has trickled down into my dad (he may have had it rather than just a couple traits), aunt, and uncle on that side and my sister and I. I'm beginning to see the true meaning of "you're just like your dad". I don't mind. I'll take the good and the bad.
Before I left for Oregon, I made a few attempts at Tricorner (if you click the link, it's the orange one that is the second from the top right) from Knitting New Scarves only to fail, so I'm going to give it a rest. I'll try again later. For now, I'm content to work on smaller projects. The problem is I'm leaving for Redlands tomorrow, so I can't take all of my stuff with me. That means my cube bunnies and whatever other plushies I make can't be completed until my return in approximately 6 weeks. It's just one more thing for me to look forward on my return. I haven't left yet and I'm already looking forward to coming back. It's proof that I'm a homebody, I guess one could say.
My little cousin and the jellyfish at Monterey Bay Aquarium
I have one last thing to share. It's a bit odd and I'm telling it at a random time, but if you're reading this blog, I'm guessing you don't mind the my odd ramblings. Anyway, last year while homeschooling I realized that I had pretty much let any previous social life go. I let go of a school I never really liked and craved just one friend. I wanted to start fresh. Don't get me wrong. I had some good friends from campmeeting and the people at my old school were good people, but I wanted and felt like I needed a nearby friend. In my head, this friend would be a guy. He would like old movies, would be a Sanguine who liked to drag me out of the house, would bring out conversations that lasted a long time, would make me want to stay up late just to hold those conversations, play video/computer games, and would just be different from any other person I had ever met. There were a few other characteristics, but none of them really mattered as long as I just clicked with him. He would be the friend I had always wanted and never had, but certainly not the perfect friend. I did not want a perfect friend; I wanted the right friend.

Taken at the caves on the "inspirational" version of the tour. It was cool, actually.
In late March, I met a guy who I instantly clicked with. After attempting to date and discovering that that was not meant to be, I just found a good friend in him. He's the friend I imagined that I would have without all of the dreamt-up characteristics. Sure, he has a few of them, but it's not like I met the guy of my dreams. I wouldn't want to meet such a person. I still think it's strange that my little wish came true. Between my family, the (good) friends I hadn't let go of (like Shelbi who has always been awesome, a my fellow cool dork, good friend, and my plushophile buddy :P), the reconnected friends, and the people I just enjoyed randomly talking to at college, I didn't think my prayer for one friend would be answered. I'm glad I ended up meeting that one friend anyway. Sometimes even a loner like me just needs one more friend.
Jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
I'll just end with that story, a mention of Phil Wickham who has really cool music and a great voice in my humble opinion, and one more picture. I will blog again this week, if all goes well. Until then, take care! :)
Two Jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Friday, June 5, 2009

Microwaved Cake and Pictures

Picture taken at Lake Tahoe. I just think this sign is slightly odd. It makes sense except I didn't see a bike trail for bikers to come from or go to. I'll just have to look for it next time.
Last weekend, my aunt handed me a recipe for a 5 minute mug cake that's made in the microwave. She thought my uncle would like it. I had seen similar recipes before and I knew to be prepared for rubbery cake. I gave it try anyway. Unfortunately, what I had read was correct. The cake was rubbery. I gave it a second shot without the egg. Little improvement. It was edible, but so is grass. Same deal. I gave up for the day. My mind was not up for the task of fixing the flawed recipe. My aunt tried today without the egg, less oil, and more milk. Guess what? Same result. -_- So, I tried after dinner to see if I could get it right with a fresh thought in mind. I replaced the egg and oil with butter and put everything in the microwave. Then, I took it out of the microwave and poked it with a fork. An excited squeal later, I expressed my success by shoving more cake into my mouth and encouraging everyone else to try. Sure, it needed a spoonful of sugar (not trying to make a Mary Poppins joke), but the texture was just right. By the 3rd cake, my version of the recipe was to my family's taste. I conquered the microwave cake. Sure, I'd rather bake a cake, but it's still good. I'm proud of my accomplishment, so I'm going to share it here.

Quick Microwaved Chocolate Cake

4 tbsps melted butter
4 tbsps milk
4 tbsps flour
5-6 tbsps sugar
2 tbsps unsweetened cocoa powder
Ice cream or whipped cream (optional)
A couple tbsps of chocolate chips (optional)
A microwave
A mug
A spoon
A measuring utensil (I recommend a tablespoon.)


1. Double check that your butter is melted and that it is in your mug.
2. Put the milk, flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips (optional) in the mug with the butter.
3. Stir until the mixture looks like cake batter (in other words, combined).
4. Microwave for 2 1/2 minutes.
5. Carefully take the mug out of the microwave and enjoy your single serving of cake. I recommend that you wait a minute or so just for your poor tongue's sake and optimum enjoyment. You do want to taste the cake and the rest of your meals for the next few days, right?
Optional step. Add ice cream or whipped cream.

Note: If you accidentally add unmelted butter, just microwave everything for 30 seconds, stir, and put back for 2 - 2 1/2 minutes. YOUR CAKE WILL BE OKAY. I know because that's what happened the first 2 tries of this recipe. Third time was a charm in this case.

For the rest of the post, I'll just share some things I've made lately.
A scarf I finally finished from the book Knitting New Scarves. I love it. I'll try to get a picture of me wearing it sometime. The weather isn't quite cold enough. Speaking of the weather, I'm loving the storms. :D
A scarf I'm working on. I found the pattern here. If it comes out a bit short, I'm probably going to turn it into one of those circular scarves that kind of looks like a cowl after a couple wraps. Maybe. I'll probably let you know.
A bunch of little cube and sphere things. I'll get some cute action pictures sometime maybe.Failed trees
Another view of the failed trees

Scratch that. I do have some more things to mention. One, I added a bunch of links and such on the sidebar. They're pretty self-explanatory. Two, I'm back on Maplestory (Knifty33 on Mardia). :P Three, I'm impressed with There are some good shows and movies that I didn't know existed there. Mad About Mambo being my favorite surprise find so far. Four, my relatives from Texas and Bakersfield, California are coming, so I'm excited. Sure, part of their visit is for my oma's memorial, but the rest should be pretty jolly. Five, I'm going to have a lot to say about The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks if I can stand to finish it. My inner romantic is not impressed by this book so far. I'll have a final opinion soon, I hope. If anyone else has read this book, I would like to hear your opinion of it.

I hope you all have a great weekend!