Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reader Topic Request: Hair Dye

Today's request comes from my friend Cecie, who is a super talented actress, seamstress, party host, friend, etc, etc. The second time Jeff and I hung out outside of the office was to paint Cecie's house, so obviously she had something to do with our marriage. Plus she and her husband are just super fun people. Proof:
Here they are stealing the cake at my wedding.
Anyway, this post is not about Mark and Cecie. It's about hair dye. Ready? Thoughts on hair dye:

1. It is sometimes awesome and iconic.
If you haven't seen Run Lola Run yet, you should. It's the best movie you'll ever read.
2. It can be abused.
Oh, no. No, no, no.
3. It can go accidentally wrong. Like when I went to "Fantastic" Sams to get "highlights" the summer before my junior year of college. I have this dumb issue with getting my hair done - I feel like it needs to be noticeable in order for me to get my money's worth. That's why I rarely get a trim; I just grow it until the split ends are ridiculous and then chop it all off. Sad. Anyway, same deal with the one time I professionally colored it. They asked what color I wanted as highlights, and I basically asked for the blondest of the blonde. They asked how much I wanted in there, and I asked for a lot. Therefore, this was my own fault:
Oh, no. No, no, no.
Okay, you really can't tell just how disastrous it was from this picture; however, I have proof that it was terrible. I think I've mentioned before that my mother is super supportive. Like, ridiculously supportive. But the day I came home with my "highlights" she said, "What happened?!" Not hello. Not something vague and diplomatic. Not even "well, it'll grow out." No, she went straight for "What happened?!" Yeah, it was that bad. Hair dye is not to be trifled with.
4. Sometimes it's just nice to be able to use it. I got my first gray hair about five years ago. I thought it was cool. It kind of stuck up in the back of my head, so I named it Al (short for Alfalfa, obviously). But now Al has a LOT of friends and it's not as cool. So I've been hiding them with the magic of dye.
5. It seems to be a Hollywood necessity. See? Even my celebrity BFF, Emma Stone, is into it.
I think of her as a redhead though.
And those are my thoughts on hair dye. Cecie, do you have anything to add? 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Blank Canvas

"To everything, turn, turn, turn,
There is a season, turn, turn, turn . . . "

You are welcome for getting that song stuck in your head for the rest of today ;). I remember years ago, a friend of mine was getting married and feeling stressed out about the huge transition she was experiencing in her life. She was letting go of one way of life and waiting to enter into another. She described the anxiety of her season as being like the moment when a trapeze artist is hanging in the air between two bars - nothing to hold onto, no place to plant her feet, just flying and trusting in God to guide her hands to that next bar before gravity overtook her.

I feel a bit of peace these days, as if I've managed to grasp that next bar and enjoy a good, confident, safe swing. This after about a year and a half of hanging mid-air. Waiting to see if my thesis could get finished, if I would actually be able to graduate [a more challenging crisis for me than for most due to some special administrative circumstances], to see if I could get pregnant, to see if Manny would get a job, to see if the pregnancy would go smoothly, to see if we could make community in less than a year in San Diego, to see if Sofia would survive the first few high-risk months without succumbing to SIDS, to finally see what our new home would be like when we moved to Maine. And we're here, I graduated with my thesis, and Manny is employed, and Sofia is alive and well. So, now what?

Here I am swinging on my trapeze, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And I'm not quite sure what my next move should be. It's no longer a matter of trying desperately to squeeze in some developmentally stimulating activity time for Sofia, we have the whole day for her to learn and grow. So what do I do?? The house is generally unpacked, now what do I do with all this stuff and box-free-space? There are no more huge milestones to work towards and past, like a birth or a move. A relief, yes. But this is a new season. A new challenge. A blank canvas.

A blank canvas presents its own opportunities and its own fears. I am free, but for what - I don't yet know. It is time to find a new structure, settle into a new routine, explore new territory. I am excited, anticipatory, disoriented, and a bit unsure.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Movie Review Monday #15: Camp Rocks 1 & 2

I am not ashamed to say it: I enjoyed the Camp Rock movies. I stumbled across them on Netflix Instant, and I watched them both. Observations:

1. Disney is brilliant. I honestly don't understand why I can enjoy these films but not all cheesy tween musicals. For example, I tried to watch Standing Ovation, and I couldn't make it past the opening credits, it was that bad. Maybe growing up near Disneyland brainwashed me or something.
2. Demi Lovato is actually talented. I mean, who knows what she could do in a live performance, but the stuff she recorded for the film was surprisingly impressive.
3. I now understand the appeal of 2 out of 3 of the Jonas Brothers. By the end of Camp Rock 2, I was, like, totally crushing.
4. The third Jonas brother is, hands down, the worst actor in the history of acting. I do not exaggerate. Also he's weird looking. Also, he happens to be the one who's married in real life.
5. The music was catchy, the costumes were bright and cheery, the dancing was high energy fun. What more could I ask for?
6. Why is it that many Disney films are based on "misunderstandings," which are actually just children straight up lying to each other? In this film, Demi Lovato claims that her mom is a rich music producer. When the truth is revealed in the end, she is embarrassed, but suffers very few consequences. I'm not sure it's sending the best message, but it's still so freaking happy.
7. I can't believe I just admitted any of this. Next week's review will be of a very deep, important movie. I don't know which one yet, but it's going to help me start to get your respect back, Lobsters. I promise.

One claw up!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sabbath Sunday #15 - Hunkering

Hunkering is a funny word.

Hurricane Irene is supposed to come through here, most likely today. So we'll probably be spending the Sabbath indoors. If Irene ends up as mild as her name sounds, we'll go to church then relax and try not to think about the fact that I go back to work full time tomorrow!

How are you observing the Sabbath, Lobsters?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Help a lobster in need!

Kim, a faithful Lobster reader and dear friend of my sister, entered a photo in a contest to win a year's worth of Dr. Pepper. Go vote for her picture - it's photo #1 here:

And read that blog while you're at it. It's hilarious.

Snapshot Saturday #15: just dandy

Oh Lobsters, if only you could have seen me taking these photos. Please picture: woman walking down the sidewalk, slows to a stop, crouches down with phone pointed at the grass, leans over a bit, is now fully on her side scooting around, rolling a bit to get the right angle. Now, add in the fact that she has a baby strapped to her chest and is trying to work her camera phone around the head that sits awkwardly below her chin. Who is thinking to themselves right now, "I've fallen and I can't get up" because I'm sure that thought crossed the mind of one or two passers-by, though no one stopped to help so it must have looked more weird than disconcerting. As I strode through the crosswalk in the background, I was thinking to myself, "what a waste, I didn't even get a decent shot. I looked a fool for nothing." But as I downloaded the pictures later, my husband said, "pretty" - so I took a closer look and decided I did actually like one or two [there were several more that did not make the cut]. At least I got what I was after. I like how these two shots capture different temperatures of the same image.

Have you ever powered through a publicly embarrassing moment to get something you were after? Do tell!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Update on Being Eiley's Momma

Well, first of all, I've decided I want to go by "Momma." I still call my mother "Mama," and maybe it doesn't matter that we go by the same mom name, but for some reason it makes me feel like an impostor when I try to refer to myself by such a familiar moniker. So, since I tend to picture words spelled out, Momma is different to me and less impostory. (Other forms of OCD of mine: I like the radio volume to always be on an odd number and I don't like to have property as money in my bank when playing the card game Monopoly Deal, which is an awesome game, by the way.)

Every day is a roller coaster. Usually the mornings are wonderful - I have a happy, squirmy baby who likes to gaze at me and can be occupied for an hour on her play mat. We go for walks with Buster, and I think that I'm a great mother. Usually in the afternoons, my happy, squirmy baby is replaced with a screaming, stiff legged monster. There is a brief reprieve of nap time, then monster is back in the evening. By bed time, I think I'm a terrible mother and I wonder how I will possibly work at home, and there's a lot of despair. Luckily the monster is still adorable, but you see what I mean about the roller coaster.

Eiley has a pink bird that hangs from her car seat. We named it Clarence.

Sometimes Eiley will be very upset and suddenly get calm and focus on a specific point. There is usually nothing in the place she's staring. We named the imaginary friend who must be in that place Guido.

Taking a nap with a baby on one's chest is heaven. Absolute heaven.

Eiley seldom smiles so far (WHOA, I always thought the adverb was "seldomly," but apparently it's just seldom and my little English mind was just blown), but when she does I feel like joy could explode out of me in a big, messy way.

I have learned numerous ways to calm Eiley, including, but not limited to: bouncing her on my legs, bouncing her on my shoulder, swinging her in my arms, skipping around the house with her on my shoulder, swaddling her, letting her suck my thumb, duct tape, shushing in her ear, turning the volume all the way up on the iPad and playing an ocean sound effect app (this one was courtesy of her creative Aunt Tab), making loud kissing sounds in her ear, and intensely patting her back.

In conclusion, BABY!

P.S. Come on, people. I was kidding about the duct tape.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cooking with Zoe: I love basil

This town is great. I can pretty much walk the length of it from one end to another with ease, even carrying Sofia the whole way. I'm like a walking advertisement for the Ergo, everyone asks me about it! And with few things scheduled in my days yet, and with how good it is for Sofia to get out of the house and have things to look at and explore, I've taken advantage of almost every opportunity I've had to visit our farmers' market. It is a small market, but its location is just so picturesque and pleasant. It's centered on the town green, a strip of grassy lawn in the middle of the town, peppered with trees and book ended by a huge gazebo and the downtown-y area. 

A new friend mentioned she buys loads of basil there and makes pesto in bulk so she can freeze it to use in the winter. 


I love pesto. My husband loves pesto - perhaps even more than me. I have been so frustrated for the past year to have so much trouble finding quality, affordable basil that I've been reluctant to make any pesto at all. So off to the farmers' market I went [twist my arm!], and I shopped around the different vendors to figure out where I should buy. I ended up buying it from one woman, Sarah of Small Wonder Organics, almost more because she seemed cool and nice than that I figured the price was best. [getting to know your farmers at your farmers' market is such a hip ideal these days, I'm so thrilled to finally be able to do it and not just glorify the idea of this practice!] 

A bit over eager, I was starting to ask her how much she would charge for a FEW pounds worth. She wisely encouraged me to look at what just one pound looked like and I humbly agreed to start with that, knowing I could find her if I needed so much more so soon. All of this I got at less than a fifth of the price I had been accustomed to paying in the San Diego grocery stores. And for about a week, I've had this lovely smell of basil wafting from my kitchen into the other rooms of my house. I almost want to scatter it into flower vases just to spread the aroma. 

Day one I used all the pine nuts I had to make as many recipes worth of pesto as I could, which turned out to be about five [we made about five more recipes later, when we got our hands on some more pine nuts]. Here's the pesto recipe I use:

Pesto Recipe:

1 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
[my mom ads 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco, which I never have around, so I skip]

Process first six ingredients in food processor until finely chopped. Slowly add oil through feed tup with machine running until consistency is as desired. 

Pesto Uses:
I love to use pesto in pasta, with some grilled chicken and garlic sauteed mushrooms. That's probably our most common use. But we also love mixing it with some mayonnaise and grilled chicken to make chicken salad sandwiches. When I feel like splurging, I'll add in some artichoke hearts to that salad for some extra yum. When we're entertaining, I'll spread some pesto on some slices of a baguette, place a slice of tomato, and melt some mozzarella on top for a sure-fire-crowd-pleaser appetizer. 

A few nights ago, I made a caprese salad, which is just tomatoes, basil, and cheese [usually mozzarella, but I used some herbed goad cheese, also from the farmers' market, because that's what I had] with some basalmic vinegar and olive oil drizzled on top. And last night I made caprese paninis - the same ingredients grilled between some nice bread. So simple, and yet so stinking enjoyable! If any of this seems like too much work, I have to admit - I have been caught more than once in the past week just chomping on a leaf or two of basil on it's own. I feel a bit like a gourmet cow. 

None of this is terribly original or earthshattering, but I'm just twitterpated over how much GOOD basil I've been able to enjoy lately, I had to write about it. I hope you have a chance to visit YOUR local farmers market and make some good use of basil for yourself. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Reader Topic Request: Wedgies

I recently asked for topic suggestions via facebook, and the first one I received was wedgies. This came from Edwin, a friend of mine from church. He recently turned 34 and is obviously very mature for his age. For reals though, he and his wife Stefanie are wonderful, generous people who have consistently modeled servant hearts, so it's my pleasure to fulfill his request. Hence, my thoughts on wedgies:

1. Wedgies are uncomfortable. I had one for a solid hour when I was pregnant a couple of months ago, and the wedgie successfully kept my mind off of the giant watermelon I was lugging in front of me. Since I was so heavy, I couldn't dislodge the wedge discreetly in the car, so I'm sure someone in the parking lot at Panera had quite the visual that day. I mean, I looked around to make sure no one was watching, but I'm sure I could have just missed someone.
2. Wedgie is a funny word. 
3. I know a guy who has a perma-wedgie. Seriously, he turns around and I feel like I can see him clenching. And it's not like I just go around staring at this person's butt. He's an actor, and his perma-wedgie has been on stage in the spotlight many times. It's distracting. And I will never tell who it is so don't ask, thankyouverymuch.
4. In the movies, bullies often dole out wedgies to nerds. I find this hard to believe since I would think that any bullying that involves underwear would eventually also involve lawyers these days.
5. Wedgies are interesting because you can't tell from the front if someone has one or not. Let's examine:
See? Edwin may or may not have a wedgie in this picture.
The world will never know.

The end.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Hey Emily -

Do you think it was the fact that, you and I have now both moved from California to the East Coast, that brought about todays once-per-century earth quake on this side of the country?

k. bye.

Long Distance Daddy

Two months ago [I'm a bit behind on blogging about life with all that's going on!], Sofia and I survived our first week without Manny, a.k.a. "Daddy." He was at a conference in Scotland. Other than being totally jealous, it was not the easiest week of our lives. But I knew it wouldn't be, so I prepared. I had just gotten over a bout of mastitis, which really knocked me out. I was afraid of it coming back while he was away and Sofia suffering from the lack of a single capable care provider. So I lined up helpers. 

For the first night, I had Manny's mother stay with me. It is not too hard to convince the grandmother to spend a little time with her first grand baby! Let me tell you a little thing about Nora. You know how annoying it is when people leave a toilet paper roll empty in the bathroom? Nora replaces the roll before its too close to being empty and leaves the old roll on top so as not to let it go to waste. I think that's a pretty good micro-example of the kind of person this woman is. I am so thankful for her! 

We spent one night alone, which I was afraid of, but actually ended up being a total treat of some one on one Mommy-daughter time. Then my dear friend Erin arrived. I knew what I would need most with Manny away was someone who helps me to be calm and relaxed so that I can care for Sofia and help her to stay calm and relaxed. Erin ALWAYS delivers on this account, as she did when she stayed with us this week. 

With many hours of tea and talk, we caught up on life, explored ideas, encouraged one another, and recounted great memories. We also managed to get out on the town and enjoy ourselves, including our day at Point Loma. Instead of feeling strung out and lonely, Erin helped me feel renewed and comforted.

Sofia's first viewing of Little Women
appropriately took place with Erin in the room.
Please note she was well prepared, with tissue in hand!
That said, there are elements of caring for an infant I just couldn't ask Erin to help with, but that Manny does help with every day. Well, actually, every "night" I should say. I think Sofia must have really missed her daddy, because she was getting up tons in the night all that week, even though she had been sleeping through the nights just fine up until that point. I can not deny that this was rough. Manny might have gotten more than one mid-night email from me, moaning about his absence. 

One night was particularly rough. After a couple of hours of trying to get Sofia back down to sleep, I was on the floor in the living room, sweating from the heat and distress, and I just eventually broke down into tears. I looked into my restless, fussing, baby girl's eyes and begged her to calm down and go to sleep for Mama. And what do you know? She did. Right that instant. She calmed, looked back into my eyes with a knowing intensity, and she closed her eyes and slept the rest of the night. 

Manny's gals missed him. Even besides needing him around, we wanted him around. So for the first time, we had some family Skype time. Manny didn't have a chance to forget how cute his daughter was and he didn't have to miss out on the week where she really started to sit up well on her own. Thank heavens for technology! After Erin left, we had another couple of nights and days to ourselves, but were thrilled for Daddy to come home. 

So my advice to any new mothers with baby daddy's leaving town? Skype it up, ask for help, and pace yourself. I'm sure you Lobsters have some more advice for the next time Sofia and I are on our own. Have you had any good or bad experiences?  

Skype shots by Daddy

Monday, August 22, 2011

Movie Review Monday #14: The Help

The Help was an amazing book. I devoured it. The characters were vivid and memorable and distinct yet natural. The movie was equally fantastic. Observations!

1. Arabella and I have chosen celebrity best friends - you know, the celebrity who would be your best friend if you ever met and hung out. Hers is Anne Hathaway and mine was, up until recently, Queen Latifah. Because Queen was my celebrity BFF, I of course imagined her in the role of Aibileen. Instead, the role went to Viola Davis. After watching the film, I have to commend the casting director. Viola Davis is incredible for many reasons, not the least of which is her ability to let snot drip out of her nose when she cries. She did it in Doubt, and I'm convinced that's what got her an Academy Award Nomination. She snotted in this film too. It's a brilliant use of bodily fluid to convey raw emotion. I hope she gets another Oscar snot nod.
Doubt snot!
2. Okay, all the actresses in this film were amazing. I was going to start listing them all, but there were at least five other impressive performances and me gushing about actors would get old fast. So let's just all be impressed with the acting and move on.
3. The Help deals with an intense subject without getting super depressing and without making too light of the matter. It's a tricky balance. I laughed (and so did two super loud ladies near me - seriously, it was surround sound cackling/screaming laughter in my theater at times) and I very nearly cried. 
4. The movie followed the book fairly well. Or at least it had been long enough that I didn't notice any major changes. I have a terrible memory for details in books though, so this really isn't saying much. Maybe this shouldn't count.
4 again. This is one of those films that anyone could enjoy. Sure, it's a heavily female cast, but men could enjoy it too (in fact, one of the men in my theater whistled at the screen when Jessica Chastain showed some cleave - classy). Any age could enjoy it, any race...anyone. Nearly universal entertainment is rare.
5. You may have noticed that I said Queen was my former celebrity BFF. That's because I've been thinking it through and Emma Stone has replaced her. I've been feeling this coming for a while, but The Help really sealed the deal. Emma is hilarious and a good actress and I like her film choices (yes, The House Bunny, yes!) and I think we'd be great friends. And if you're reading this, Queen Latifah, I'm sorry you had to find out this way. 

In conclusion, two claws up, Lobsters! Go see The Help today because you is kind, you is smart, you is important!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sabbath Sunday #14

I have no official plans for this Sunday. I'm taking a day of rest from being scheduled. Can I get an Amen? I'm going to kick back, relax, and praise God for His provision of this new home and this new state He's given us to live in. Somehow I hope to check out a new church too. We'll see how that goes.

How are you relying on God on this Sabbath day, Lobsters?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Snapshot Saturday #14: lil Sis

This is my little sister, Lauren. I always have to emphasize the "little" because she's five inches taller than me so I always have to work extra hard to assure people that I'm older. In this pic, she is at what she considers her worst. Not bad for her worst, eh? I love how dynamic her hair is, the way the light from the window warms her whole face, the fact that at this time, she is playing on here iPhone (which is what she spends most of her spare time doing) and doesn't realize I'm photographing her. My favorite part is the eyebrow.

Do you have siblings that live far away from you? How do your nurture your relationship to stay close?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Maine so far . . .

We arrived in Maine on August 3rd and boy have we been busy! We got ourselves a Maine-worthy-car, we moved into our new home, we've seen lots of sites, and we've met lots of people. 

True to the iconic images of Maine, we've seen the boats lining the coast of the Atlantic ocean, we enjoyed our first lobster rolls, and we even saw a moose in the woods. 

Manny's colleagues couldn't even believe we saw the moose. Apparently people work here for decades hoping for a siting. Our life-long-Mainer-neighbor across the street had only seen one once. But the day our movers unloaded the first truck, we heard rumor of the moose, walked into the woods together, and sure enough, saw the sweet Eeore-esque creature calmly sitting in the woods. If you also don't believe me or trust the above photo, here's the local newspaper report for ya. Lest I fear we've already covered our bases in Maine, there's still the lighthouses and winter to come. 

I also managed to gain a whole year since we arrived. In addition to Emily's lovely birthday message, my  Manny christened our kitchen by making me a birthday breakfast. Having feared we would have trouble building community here, we did a crazy thing and invited the whole Math department and all our neighbors over for an ice cream birthday celebration in hopes of getting to know people. Leading up to the event, I feared Sofia wouldn't go to/stay asleep, that no one would show up, or that we wouldn't have enough ice cream. Turned out that five minutes before we planned for guests to arrive on our back deck it began to rain. We scrambled and moved things indoors. Somehow we managed to have a packed out kitchen [the one room I'd managed to unpack by then] and a sleeping baby through the whole thing. It was such a wonderful birthday!

Sofia and I have visited the farmers' market twice [I have to enjoy it while the weather is nice!]. It has swiftly risen up the list in things I love about Maine so far. Also included on this list are the wonderfulness of our neighbors [we are one of 5 houses on our street - street, not block] and the fact that we were able to get our drivers licenses, car insurance, and car registration all within the course of two hours.  

Wild Maine blueberries put to good use on left over birthday party ice cream.
Call it a honeymoon period, but I love Maine so far!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Today, This happened

Lobsters, remember when I talked about how rare and special it was for me to get my hands in the dirt? Well today I bought myself some gardening gloves and while this happened:


[unruly weeds]

morphed into this:

and this:

and this:

That means today was a good day!

An Anecdote Starring Grandma Bradshaw

My Grandma Bradshaw is a sweet, gentle, soft-spoken woman. She recently came and visited, and this happened at the mall, where there was a new Fiat on display:

Me: Ooo, I love these cars. They're so cute!
Jeff: Actually, I really like them a lot too.
Grandma: What color would you like, Jeff?
Jeff: I would choose blue.
Grandma: And what color would you like, Emily?
Me: I'd like gray so I'd never have to wash it.
Grandma: Okay, sounds good. 
Me: Are you taking orders or something?
Grandma: Yes! And I'll give them to you if you come home for Christmas.

Brutal. This year we have Christmas in Idaho. Apparently Grandma Bradshaw is sweet, gentle, soft-spoken, and ever so mildly conniving. 

To get her back for that set up, here is a picture of her in Williamsburg. In a bonnet.

Of course, "getting her back" is less effective when she looks so stinkin' cute in the picture.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's All in God's Timing - The Tale of a Cliche Come to Life

Once upon a time, I enrolled in the Master of Arts in Screenwriting program at Regent University. I receive tuition remission, so we would only have to pay taxes on a degree that would help me come closer to my goal of writing for a living. I worked full time and planned to take a full load of classes, so I felt nervous about the amount of busting my butt that would happen, but even more, I felt excited to stretch my creativity muscles.

On the first day of class, I made an effort to contribute to the classroom conversation (so not my thing). The professor was awesome, as were my fellow classmates, and the class whizzed by quickly. However, at the end of the class, I felt completely unsettled. Something in me was telling me to quit, this wasn't the time, I shouldn't be in the program, I needed to withdraw, withdraw, withdraw. 

I. was. crushed.
I felt like this post needed a picture, so here is me looking upset. In 2009.
Okay, I really just wanted to post a picture of myself looking thin and tan.
Vanity in a post about God!
I had worked hard to assemble all the admissions materials to get into the program. I had rearranged my work schedule. I had told many people about this new endeavor. I had thought that this was going to give me a bigger sense of purpose in Virginia. I had even purchased a brand new computer. But I could not ignore the intense feeling that I needed to stop immediately. (Spoiler alert: That "feeling" was actually the Big Guy - the Holy Spirit itself, speaking in a freaking loud voice instead of a still small one.) 

Fast forward to a couple of months later when my husband knocked me up. What?! If I had remained in the graduate program, I would have finished my first semester and then had to quit, thus losing a lot of time and money. I would have been even more heartbroken to have to end something into which I'd invested a difficult semester's worth of energy. And I would have been heartbroken while pregnant, which would have compounded the disappointment because of all the crazy hormones. 

I don't know if you're a believer, Lobster, but I sure am. God's timing has blown my mind many times, and this is a prime example. Anyone else have a good example? Either leave it in the comments or send it to us as a guest post - we'd love to share it with everyone in internet land. 

Move Complete

What a long process this move has been! It was March of 2010 that we made the decision to move to Maine. This June we started shopping around for movers. After weeding through all the options, we landed on Sullivan Moving and Storage [the United movers in San Diego]. And now the move is finally complete. 

Our moving coordinator, Chris, was fantastic. Immensely more knowledgeable than the other guys who came by to provide us with estimates, Chris was also incredibly responsive to all of my calls and emails peppering him with questions throughout the process. His offices were not as responsive or impressive - making complaints about the corporate offices  changing policies that caused delays or complications in my paperwork (I'm not a big fan of excuses). But in the end, everything came through ok, it just left me nervous in the waiting. 

We were moving belongings out of residences in three different cities [we've been a little slow to fully grow up and move all our stuff out of our parents' homes]. That meant three different crews to load up, and another crew to unload. [more on our loading process in San Diego] All of the guys we interacted with were great. They were professional, competent, and fun all at the same time. The day we unloaded in our new place, we took a lunch break while it rained outside. We enjoyed some pizza while the guys gave us advice about surviving the Maine winters. One guy spent half the time laughing at how crazy it was that a couple of California kids were about to face their first northeastern winter, but in a good natured way that actually helped to dispel some of the anxiety. 

Our stuff arrived in two shipments, one truck from California, one from Texas. The guys from Texas loaded that truck, drove it out, and unloaded it for me. It was a pair of brothers, Paul and Dwight. Having met my mom, who was managing the pick up there, it felt like I had family friends helping me set up my new home. They were even thoughtful enough to remember that my mom had mentioned I was allergic to dogs, so they dusted off some of the furniture to make sure no residual dog hair even entered my house. 

Despite the fact that we did all the packing ourselves ["our" should be read as including our extended family and friends - thanks everyone!], we consolidated belongings from six cities total into one home, and that the move included several very vulnerable pieces of antique furniture and dish-ware from my grandmother's collection I've been incredibly impressed that I can only find one nick about two inches long on one piece of furniture. Not too shabby United Van Lines! And not too bad, Reyes family! I'm kind of impressed with us for surviving all of this. Time to enjoy Down East Vacationland! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Checking In

Hey Lobsters, am I the only one who has been catching up with a friend you thought you were so close to to discover that she's been dating a guy for five months? whoops. Or have you ever been scrolling through the facebook news feed to see a status update from your friend you always thought of as a high-powered-business-woman-not-ready-for-kids posting about her three children you hadn't noticed she'd had? When did that happen?!

I often fail at this when I call old friends by childhood nicknames they've worked hard to grow out of [ironic, as I worked very hard to change my own name], or forget about major career or life changes a friend has undergone since I've seen them last, or show little interest in a family member's dreams for the future. I find it easy to get stuck in memories and hard to keep learning about people love. 

Does anyone else ever witness this effect? I have heard many a wife talk about watching their husbands regress into little boys when they return home to their mother’s house - suddenly forgetting how to cook or clean for themselves. Or people who turn back into their high school selves when they get around their high school friends. Tastes, personalities, life style, and perspectives change with our life experiences. It is helpful for us to adapt our friendships as much as we adapt ourselves. 

The way psychologist, John Gottman, explains it in the context of marriage is staying up to date with your partner’s “love map.” The point he makes is that people are changing all of the time. And if you want someone to feel loved by you, you can’t keep loving them as a person they used to be and ignore the needs and desires of the person they are now. 

Take Emily, for example, I knew her in college when her tastes were rather narrow and she was pretty stubborn about trying new things. But a while back, she started a blog called “Anything Once,” dedicating herself to give new things at least one try. Her tastes have since broadened dramatically.  But if I didn’t take the time to read her blog or check in with her about little details like the ways she likes to spend her free time now or how her job is, I would be loving on a friend I used to know, not the friend I have now.

For some great concrete tools to do this with your spouse, your family members, your old friends, I recommend trying to get your hands on John Gottman's books.

What are some of the ways you keep up with who your friends are becoming, Lobsters? 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Movie Review Monday #13: Shades of Ray

I've been spending a lot of time in front of Netflix Instant lately. A lot. (To be precise, it takes Eiley about an hour total to eat, and she eats about 8 times a day, and a lot of those feedings are spent in front of Netflix.) I've discovered many new shows and already watched every episode of Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Samantha Who?, and Better Off Ted. I heartily recommend all of these shows. Claws up everywhere.

We don't watch a ton of movies on Netflix, but Jeff and I did recently check out Shades of Ray, an independent film starring Zachary Levi. He plays a half Caucasian, half Pakistani man. The film is mostly about him trying to figure out what it means to be such a unique racial mix and what that means within his family. Observations:

1. This film reminded me a bit of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, in that it was mostly a comedy with some brief touching moments and it provided a little bit of insight into a different culture (in this case, Pakistani Muslim) and a lot of insight into a particular family.
2. The best friend in this film was super cliche: Best friend since childhood and now they're roommates, kind of a screw up, comedic relief, blah blah blah. Well, I suppose that's a cliche for a reason - I still liked the character. The writer in me just got a little annoyed at the contrivance at times. Am I allowed to be a screenwriting snob when I've never even tried to write a screenplay? No? Oh well.
3. Seriously, Zachary Levi has my husband's career. I mean, I've always thought that Jeff looks slightly Middle Eastern, and there Zach was, playing a half Middle Eastern dude. 
Do you see it? Slightly Middle Eastern...slightly.
Maybe when we move back to California we can stalk Mr. Levi and Jeff can go to all of the same auditions. Or maybe he'll need an actor to play his brother at some point. Zachary Levi, if you're reading this, please leave some work for my husband. We have a kid. Have mercy.

In conclusion, this was an entertaining film. Nothing outstanding, but worth the time. I give it one and a half claws up. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sabbath Sunday #13

Today I'm observing the Sabbath by going to church, then lunch with friends, then hopefully to Goodwill to buy some not maternity and not my normal size shorts and also hopefully going to see The Help. Next week is my first week as a theater widowed single mom (rehearsal starts next week), so I'm trying to live it up today!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Can't take Texas out of the Girl

You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can't take Texas out of the girl, y'all. That's right, I was born and raised in the Lone Star State. I have re-acclimated to this other country where no one has air-conditioning in their homes, I have learned to live without getting bar b que every saturday for lunch, but every now and then, I just need a little country music fix. It's one of my guilty pleasures.

I am a little pretentious about it, in that I prefer "Texas Country" to typical pop stuff. But I'm also way out of touch with things that are current. There are just a few songs or artists here and there that bring a smile to my face and make me feel like home. Can Texas be considered one of my long distance friends?

Three Days
Pat Green - from my own hometown, guitar student of my old youth pastor, this is the only country music artist I've ever seen live in concert. Manny and I saw him at the Houston Rodeo, largest rodeo in the world, thank you very much! He's up there with Willy Nelson as a true Texas Country artist.

From This Moment OnAny Man of Mine by Shania Twain - my karaoke go to song. 

George Jones - This guy sounds like the side porch of Goode Company Bar B Que [best BBQ in the world], where my dad took me every Saturday for lunch as our break from working in the yard. NPR did a great piece about him not too long ago.

Travelin' SoldierDixie Chicks - an exception to my supposed preference against pop country, these gals were were practically outlawed in Texas for a while for their lack of patriotism, but I still enjoy them. I especially love their cover of Landslide.

Rascal Flatts - another pop exception, but they're just fun.

Assuage my embarrassment Lobsters, anyone else enjoy the guilty pleasure of some country music from time to time? [Texans, please don't yell at me for being embarrassed.]