Ten on Tuesday: Travel Edition

How to perfect to randomly return to blogging for a travel 10 on Tuesday (the original purpose of this blog!).  Questions from RootsAndRings.

1. What is your dream vacation?
Right now, all I can think about is how bad I want to fly to Ireland and spend a week or so driving around the edge of the whole island (can you call it an island)?  I’ve driven around part of Northern Ireland before on the Coastal Causeway (see here), but I would love to do the whole thing!   Currently tentatively planning on this trip for April 2012.   Also planning to hit Italy on that trip.  I’ve never been to Italy, but for some reason I’m more excited about going back to Ireland.  Kind of crazy. 
2. What has been your favorite trip so far in your life?
Hmmm….. Way too hard to choose.  I was so lucky to get to live in England for 5 months and travel to so many great places.  Can I just count the time I lived in London (with weekend travels included) as one “trip”?  If not, it’s a pretty close tie between that trip to Ireland, a trip to Switzerland, and Dave and I’s recent trip to San Francisco.   Also, I don’t have a link to it, but I really loved a roadtrip I took with my fam years ago when we moved my brother from Oregon to North Dakota (who knew parts of Idaho and Montana were actually pretty?  Bananas).  
3. If you and one of your best friends could go anywhere in the world for one week, where would it be and why?
Depends on the friend.  If it was Dave or Krissi, I’d want to go to Ireland.  If it was Joni, Hawaii.  If Melissa, Alaska!  Along with my crazy urge to go back to Ireland lately, I’ve also been wanting to finally see Hawaii for the first time, and travel around some small towns in Alaska (a la the town in the movie The Proposal).
4. Have you ever booked a trip using an online deal? How did it go?
Airlines and hotels on a fairly regular basis…. back in college my friend Juliana and I booked an all-inclusive trip to Mexico (including air and everything) on travelocity.  It went well!  Also booked several airline/hotel combo deals while I was in Europe.  I was always satisfied except for that one time when my hotel in Spain ended up being on the wrong side of the barrio, if you know what I mean.
5. What’s your favorite thing to do while you’re on vacation?
It depends.  I love to get out and experience new cities, I love to get out in nature and do outdoorsy things (e.g. scooter down a mountainside in Switzerland or kayak in the ocean in Mexico), and I also like to just go somewhere completely relaxing and just chill.  I would actually really love a trip where I go somewhere and do nothing sometime soon. 
6. Have you ever missed an opportunity to take a trip that you regret?
Yes.  Two big ones.  First, while living in London, I never made it to ITALY.  It was in my top 3 must visit places and I didn’t go.  Second, while living in London, I was supposed to visit my friend Bre in Germany, but I ended cancelling (and losing out on the plane ticket money).  I had an unexpected trip to the U.S. for an interview, and when I got back, I was so wiped out and so behind in school I just couldn’t bring myself to get on a plane and head over to Germany.  Now it’s a HUGE regret.  Why didn’t I just go?!
7. You travel far away from home and get stranded with no way to buy anything, what’s the one thing you can’t live without?
Hopefully I have my iPhone 😉
8. What’s one of your favorite traveling memories?
So many… scootering down that mountainside in Switzerland with the Looneys, that time I went scootering again and crashed because I tried to look behind me while going downhill,  seeing that crazy band at the top of Jungfraujoch, that time I was in Barcelona and people busted out in the dance from Thriller, that time I was in Barcelona and we happened upon a kids festival with a spanish version of the Wiggles and one of the guys jumped off stage and smacked me on the butt, that time I drove around the coast of Northern Ireland, that time we saw a devil parade in Brussels (why don’t I have a post about that?!), okay I’m getting tired of searching now so I’m just going to say some more without linking….. climbing to the top of Notre Dame, taking photos in the bathroom at the top of the Eiffel tower, climbing to the top of the cathedral in Strasbourg, the canal tour in Amsterdam, the vampire hotel room I shared with the Looneys in Switzerland, the time Meghan and I went to Napa, and spent our first night eating Mexican food and then getting a bottle of wine and cookies from a convenience store to consume in our hotel room because we like to keep it classy, seeing the Eiffel tower twinkling at night, the time Dave and I rode bikes across the Golden Gate bridge and it started pouring down rain so hard it washed some of the color out of my jeans and shrunk my TOMs, the time the Looneys and I went to Colorado for 24 hours…. Ok this is way more than one.  I have too many great travel memories…..
9. All included resort or backpacking? Why?
I have never been backpacking, so it sounds a tad tempting because I love being outdoors.  If a friend proposed these options to me, the “I like new things!” part of me would be tempted to choose the backpacking trip.  However, I’m not a huge fan of bugs, or being cold or dirty for too long of a period of time… so I would probably be complaining and fairly miserable around day 2 and wondering why I didn’t choose the all-inclusive resort option 😉   I think day trips into nature are more my speed.

10. Are you more of a lie on the beach kind of person on vacation, or do you prefer to see the sights?
Depends on the trip.  Well, I’m never really a “lie on the beach” kind of person.  Perhaps walk on the beach, or sit in a covered area and read a book kind of person.   Sometimes I like more mellow activities like that, and sometimes I like to get out and see everything.  It just depends.  It still surprises me that my favorite trips in Europe were the ones where I didn’t get out and see all the popular stuff, but got out in nature and went for hikes, drives, etc.

Ten on Tuesday…. :)

1.  What two cities should be moved closer together?
My first instinct is to say Houston and Los Angeles, because I’m not super gungho on leaving the west coast, but there are a lot of people I love and would love to live closer to in the Houston area.  However, it probably wouldn’t be good to put a city prone to have super bad pollution and traffic and hurricanes next to a city prone to have super bad pollution and traffic and earthquakes.  Also, I do not know how long I’ll be kicking it in Los Angeles, so it might not make sense to drag Houston all the way over here for nothing 😉   Maybe I would move Portland and Los Angeles closer together.  I think I’d be happier here if I had my friends and family from back home closer by.

2. What was the first plane ride you took? 
I think it was from Washington to Alaska when I was 3ish.  I actually remember little parts of it.  The part I remember most is being on some kind of shuttle bus from the airport, and we had to stop at Fairbanks first and I remember being very cranky and annoyed about the sound of the word and the general existence of “Fairbanks.”  And again, I was like 3 years old.

3. What continent would you most like to visit? 
The next one I’d like to visit is Australia!  If I ever get to go, I’d like to knock out New Zealand and Australia in one trip.

4. What’s your favorite place to window-shop?
The place that I go most frequently where I will look around at things even though I’m not necessarily there to buy any of those things… is Target.  I always go in there with the intent to buy specific necessities (ie eyeliner and toilet paper) and I always leave over an hour later with at least $75 worth of random stuff.  Usually I find a clothing item, a household item, and some other random things that I think I need.  Beyond that, I like to go in really expensive stores, particularly stores that sell purses, just to pretend I can afford to shop there and give myself mini heart attacks when I look at the price tag.   I think only celebrities and oil/bank executives can afford to shop in those kinds of stores. 

5. What’s the least fun you’ve ever had at a place specifically tailored for fun?
I love this question and I am bummed that I can’t think of a good answer.  Apparently I’ve blocked these painful experiences out of my memory!   I will say though, that what makes anything fun for me is the people that I’m with.  So I could be in the funnest place ever and hating my life if I’m not with fun people. 

6.  You’re stuck on an island with plenty of food, a companion, and a relatively stress-free lifestyle. What do you say when the rescue ship comes? 
I am the kind of person that would enjoy that for a couple of days and then I’d be like “Ok, get me out of here.”  I’m not the laze around an island for days/weeks/years kind of girl.  So I’d be like “omg omg thank you so much rescue ship!” and I’d turn around to the companion and be like, “I’m out.  You comin?”  And if companion says no, companion can stay on the island alone.

7. Which day of the week do you look forward to most? 
I sort of touched on this yesterday but all of the days of the week blur together now.  For whatever reason, growing up I alternated between really liking tuesdays and thursdays for no apparent reason.  I’ve never really been a “yay weekend days are my favorite” kind of person.  I don’t really know why, I guess I just like to have something to look forward to during the week too.  I suppose I really like Sundays right now.  I usually sleep until about 8, get up and get ready, walk over to Starbucks for some coffee and breakfast, and then walk over to church.  Then I usually swing by Subway as I walk either to work, or back to my apartment to work from my home office.  I like being able to walk places, and I like having such a relaxing start to my day 🙂

8. What’s your favorite place to enjoy the great outdoors? 
It depends on my mood, but I’m a big fan of the beach, or being in a mountainy area with trees and hiking (especially the Columbia Gorge!).   However, I do not like bikini and beer beach experiences if I’m feeling like “enjoying the great outdoors.”  (I never wear a bikini or drink beer, but that’s beside the point).  I like quiet, relaxing beaches where I can go for a walk or take a little nap on a blanket or read a good book, or sit and talk. 

9. What’s on your “to do” list this summer? 
I would like to take some fun trips in between all the massive amounts of working I’ll likely be doing 😉

10. Which natural disaster freaks you out the most?
The absolutely insane ones where there is absolutely no warning… primarily earthquakes but I also get freaked out by the possibility of a giant asteroid hitting the earth on occassion.  Haha.

Ten on Tuesday!

1.  If you could travel back in time, would you?  What decade would you visit?
As long as we’re just talking visit (lets face it, I’ve been completely spoiled by today’s technology and there is no way I could make it without computers, cars, washing machines, etc. ;)), I am trying to think of another answer, but I’m going to have to go with Chelsea’s: I’d go back to the time of Jesus’ ministry on earth.  It would be really cool to see it firsthand. 

2. What was your best Halloween costume?  (fun to make? most creative?)
I haven’t had many because we went through a long “Halloween is the Devil’s birthday and we’re not going to celebrate it” period, and then a long “Harvest Party! Yay lets dress like Bible Characters” period (I think I went as Delilah… lol), and then I just felt too old and silly to wear costumes (even though people my age still do).  However, I would love to be Neytiri this year (a blue navi from Avatar and I would like to walk around with a short, white man dressed normal as “Jake.”   I SEE YOU JAKE! I SEEEE YOU!).

3. Do you like your name?  If you weren’t called by your name, what would you want to be called?
I do like it, but there are about 18 million Michelles running around.  In one of my freshman PE classes, we had 8 Michelles.  EIGHT MICHELLES.   I have become very defensive of the name Michelle.  For example, I do not like Micheles.  (spelling error ladies?!).   I also take it a little personally when I meet a Michelle who is not a nice person.   I was about to say at least I’m the only Michelle [Last Name] but even that’s not true… there are at least 8 of us in the U.S.  However, while my name is so common, it still feels unique to me.  I guess because I’m such a unique person 😉  I wouldn’t want to change it. 

4. In the past year, what is the BEST recipe you made.  Please share it!
I have just recently started “cooking,” and I’ve relapsed in the last two months because I got crazy busy with work, and I’m currently back to my sandwich or lean cuisine cooked in the oven routine.  I don’t really have any creative recipes that I’ve made yet…. just basic salad and pasta dishes.  Maybe some day I’ll cook something more exciting….

5. Look around – what is the nearest object or picture hanging on the wall?
I’m sitting at my desk at work and a lot of things are equidistant to me.  Laptop, external keyboard/monitor/mouse, iPhone, security badge, lip gloss, lotion, Starbucks iced coffee, Starbucks sugar free chewing gum, magic meatball, pens, highlighters, sticky notes, etc. 

6. What was the last movie you saw in a theater?  Would you recommend it?
I think the last one I saw was Valentines Day with Heather.  I recommend it for a rental if you like feel-good, light, cute romantic comedy movies.

7. Did you go to summer camp?  Will you/do you send your kids to camp?
I don’t think I went to any summer overnight camps until I was in middle school, when we started going to a new church and we went to their youth camps.  They were usually just under a week, and then in high school I started going both to the youth camps, and to the “kids camps” as a counselor.  If I ever have children, I’ll definitely send them at least to the church camps if our church has them… maybe also to something more like Salute Your Shorts.  😉

8. What kind of ringtone do you have?
I have a few different standard iPhone ones set for different people (btw… the standard iPhone ringtone selections are very limited and disappointing!).  I also have the song “Little Boxes.”

9. Where is the farthest away from home you have ever been?
I can’t quite tell from looking at a map which European city I visited is furthest from the west coast of the U.S., but I’m going to say Amsterdam.  That was definitely one of the most surprising cities for me.  I went as part of a school trip, and I was expecting the city to be very drugs/sex focused which is totally not my thing.  However, that stuff is actually well confined to certain parts of the city, and I was surprised by how beautiful Amsterdam is!  We took a canal tour one of the days and I absolutely fell in love <3.  I would definitely go back if I had the chance. 

10. Has anyone ever written a song or a poem for or about you? 
Yes!  I have actually had several people write songs for me/about me.   Unfortunately none of the songs have been in the romantic sense 😉  but they were great songs nonetheless.  Some of my lifelong good friends, Juliana, Joni, and Jaamar, are in the group of people that have written fun songs for me/about me.  Also, Alexander wrote me a sweet poem for Valentines day one year.

Ten(eleven) on Tuesday.

1. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
I just realized with this question that I cannot remember the last time I even had any ice cream.  Wow.   I’m a bigger fan of frozen yogurt or sorbet most of the time.  However, when I do want actual ice cream, it’s usually either mint chocolate chip, or some variation of “mocha almond fudge” Mmmmm.   Those two have competed for my faves in the ice cream department probably since middle school.  Mint goes better with my good friend Chocolate Cake. 

2. What is your earliest memory?
I have quite a few memories of living in washington which was like… ages 1-4?  I can’t remember which one was first, but I remember being on a ferry with the fam and posing for a picture when my younger brother was a baby (and he’s only 14 months younger than me so I couldn’t have been too old..).   I remember driving up this long windy road to our future new home at Ft. Lewis, and spinning in the middle of the floor of the empty house… until my dad yelled at me that I needed to sit still and stop “horsing around.”  (I had to be like 2 or 3 at that time.. good grief Dad!).  I also remember being very sad when my next door neighbor moved away, and subsequently “breaking in” to her house while she was gone.  I brought Kevin (little bro) with me and we sat in there playing cards.  The weird thing is that even though I was only maybe 3 years old, I remember kind of knowing it was wrong, but I missed my friend and technically the door I entered through was unlocked.  My poor mom was freaked out because she couldn’t find us.  And we were supposed to go to chuck e cheese that day but didn’t get to thanks to my little stunt.  There was another time Will (slightly older bro) and I ran off to the park without telling my mom that got her worried too.  I remember walking by this open garage door and this woman (who was a different race) was sitting there coloring someone’s hair and she told me and Will that we did not belong down there and needed to go home.  I remember feeling very awkward and uncomfortable.   So yeah, those are the memories of my time in Washington that jump immediately to mind.  I’m guessing the ferry thing was probably the earliest memory.  

3. What is your earliest memory of a dessert?
I remember how I used to climb up on the kitchen counters to sneak into the brown sugar.  LOVED eating clumps of brown sugar.  Must have been pretty young to need to climb up onto the counter, since I was 5′ when I was like 5.  Probably a slight exaggeration, but pretty close to accurrate!

4. Do you have any recurring dreams?
I do… but I can never really remember them when asked this question.  However, back when I was younger I had this recurring dream that I was laying in a crib and a person or two dressed all in black would come into my room and I thought they were going to kidnap me and I would try to scream but couldn’t scream.  And instead they just hovered over my bed saying “JIF! ….JIF!… JIF!..” and I saw the colorful letters from Jif peanut butter coming at me.   Now that I think about it… was it just a dream, or crazy Jif marketing ninjas breaking into my room at night?  I’ll never know…

5. Have you ever dreamed about dessert?
Yeah.. I tend to have mundane dreams about working, studying, or eating.  I’ve had some really good meals in my sleep.

6. What is one thing (aside from a cell phone or computer) that you cannot go the entire day without?
Oxygen is the most obvious answer; food is a close second.  I think as long as I have oxygen, food, my computer, and my cell phone I am good to go.  So I don’t really know what else to put here. 

7. What is one dessert you could go your entire life without ever having again?
First of all, oh my goodness Chelsea I 100% agree with you on all the desserts you can’t stand.  ie anything with raisins, lemony things, fruit tarts, bread pudding… amen! BLEH!  I originally saw these questions last night and was totally planning on saying “any lemon desserts” just to stick to one.  But all of those other things popped into my mind as well.  it is very rare for me to ever like a dessert that involves any form of fruit.  Unless it is just fresh fruit.  And then that’s not a dessert.  That’s just a snack.

8. If you could go on vacation tomorrow, where would you go? (Assume someone else is footing the bill, but within reason…so “the moon” won’t work)
At the moment, my strongest desires are to visit 4 places: Houston, Denver, Portland, and NYC.  NYC only because I have two nights at a hotel there that have to be used before May 13th or I lose them (and the $$ I paid), the other 3 because of friends/family that are there.  Ideas of a real vacation are secondary.   I actually have no desire to go to the other places I’m longing to go (Italy, Germany, Greece, Australia, New Zealand) until I get those first 4 taken care of.

9. If you could have any dessert tomorrow, what would you have (assume someone else is buying it for you. Within reason though, no “gold sprinkled ice cream cones.”)
Why is a gold sprinkled ice cream cone not realistic?  When I was in vegas recently, this coffee shop had a special gold sprinkled espresso drink that was “only” $24!   That’s not too crazy, right? 😉  That being said, I have no desire to ever spend ridiculous amounts of money on any food item just to have gold flakes on it.  Gold doesn’t taste good.  It’s just a way for people who only feel special because of their money to feel even more special because they are drinking gold.  No thank you.  And I would have a piece of that mint torte from Papa Haydns in Portland.  The person that bought me that dessert would also need to buy me a ticket to Portland so I could come enjoy it.

10.  What was your first impression of your significant other? If you’re single, what was your first impression of your best friend?
My last relationship recently ended, but my first impression of him was “wow, I really like his voice.”   I have several best friends, so I will list my initial impressions of a few of them.
Melissa [around 6th grade]- wow that girl is hyper!
Joni [college age]- when I first met her, she was a combo deal (Carmen + Joni) and for some reason even though Carmen and Joni do not actually look alike, for the first several weeks/months that I knew them, I could not remember which one was which (sorry ladies!).  But originally I hung out with Carmen more and somehow along the line Joni and I became BFFs 🙂  (I do actually know how, but it’s a long story for a simple question online).
Krissi [law school]- she was a combo deal too.  When I first met her, she was the wife of a fellow scholarship finalist at a weekend retreat for a prospective law school.  I thought they were a cute couple, and I really liked her.  We ended up not talking again until about 5 months later when we ran into each other at the grocery store in Malibu a few days before law school started.  And we were pretty much instantly California Best Friends.

11. What is your first impression of dessert pizza? (Personally, I think it’s weird. I love dessert but I don’t want any on my pizza.)
I don’t like the idea in general.  But I’ve had a few in my time and actually liked them.

Ten on Tuesday (aka technically thursday aka apparently I can’t just write a regular blog post anymore)

1. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
This is a toughy because I am proud of many different things for different reasons.  I guess for the sake of brevity, and sort of to state the obvious, I will say that I am very proud of my education (my bachelor’s degree and my juris doctorate).  No one else in my family (even extended family) has graduated from college, and it took a lot of hard work and determination to make it through the past eight years (I took a year off between college and law school).   Not to mention, I paid for it all myself (with a little “help” from Uncle Sam in the form of federal loans.   My loans are way less than the average person after 7 years of college/law school… but the interest is still enough to make me want to barf and wish I’d eaten a little more Ramen and a little less Macaroni Grill and Taverna Tony all those years ;)).

2. How much did you weigh when you were born?
Nine pounds four ounces if I remember correctly (is that right, Mom?).   However, I’ve known big babies who ended up tiny people when fully grown, so my massive weight at birth was not necessarily indicative of my massive size now 😉

3. What is your favorite perfume?
I don’t have a sense of smell, so I can’t legitimately answer this question.   However, I still wear perfume.  Most often Clinique Happy or Burberry Brit.   I like the Clinique Happy one the most, because I like the name.. .and I tend to get compliments on smelling good when I wear it, moreso than with the Burberry one.

4. How many siblings do you have?
Two brothers–one older and one younger (and our heights go in order of our age.. it’s funny).  The younger one is married so I also have a sister-in-law.  And my dad is remarried so I also have two step sisters, also one older and one younger.   I am always the middle child 🙂

5. How many children would you like to have? (Or how many do you have?)
Currently my answer is ZERO.  But word on the street is that some day if I ever get married, my “biological clock” might start ticking and I may suddenly want to be woken up at all hours by a crying, pooping machine 😉  I think my nieces and nephew (and my step nephews) are absolutely adorable, but I really prefer the role of Auntie and not Mommy.

6. What’s the best class you took in college?
I have large gaps in my memory when it comes to recalling details from most of my life pre-law school (so sad!).  However, I had this one political science professor in undergrad, Professor Lawrence, who I LOVED!  I took every class from her I could.   The way she taught her classes was fantastic, the subject matter was always really interesting, and I always got to write really cool papers.  (I wish I still had them but my college laptop died and I  never seem  to learn that lesson about backing things up.)   For example, the class that popped into my mind first was a class I took on Polling and Public Opinion.  And basically we learned all about how the way questions are asked drastically impacts what the  “Public Opinion” is on an issue.  If I remember correctly, I wrote my paper for that class on human cloning.  And in my research, I found that based on the particular word choice in the way I asked the question, whether the majority of people favored or disfavored human cloning changed a lot.    Really makes you question whenever a study says “65% of people think/feel/believe XYZ.”   Take a look at how those questions were asked, my friends.

7. What was your favorite game to play when you were a child?
I guess when I was really little, I loved Candyland for a bit.  But unfortunately I was a little too clever and quickly realized that while Candyland carried a bit of nostalgia, there was no strategy involved AT ALL.  So I got over that pretty quick (maybe age 3? ok maybe not that quick but you get the idea).   I was also a big fan of Sorry! and Life, although I began to lose interest in those games due to them not containing enough strategy for me either.  Also liked Monopoly but it takes too long, and I am impatient.   The games that have stuck with me through the years though, that I still really enjoy, are:

Skip-bo, Rack-o, Rummy, Solitaire, Scrabble, Boggle.  So basically, card games or word games.  Those are games I started playing as a kid and still love as a “Grown Up.”

8. What character on Friends are you most like?
My impulse is to say Chandler, but mainly because of that whole thing where he makes the same face in every photo and can’t help it?  Totally me.

9. Are you a phone person? (ie: Do you like talking on the phone?)
Not currently.   I don’t know why, but I go through phases.  Back in middle school/high school/college I was a big fan of talking on the phone for all hours of the night with girl and guy friends.  Then somewhere along the way in late college I started burning out on talking on the phone.   Now, for the most part I rarely have much of a desire to talk on the phone.  But I randomly get in chatty moods and I’ll talk on the phone for awhile.  Usually just to my mom though, and sometimes Joni, and lately on occassion even my Dad.  I would say I maaaaybe have one conversation on the phone per week that is not a quick call.

10. What was the best vacation you ever took?
I can’t lie, definitely the 4+ months in Europe were AMAZING! Of my weekend trips while there, my favorites are a tie between Ireland and Switzerland.  My two trips to Paris tie for 3rd place.   I’ve also had some very fun trips in the U.S. with friends and fam.  I have very fond memories of two trips to San Antonio, and two trips to Houston (separate times), and the time we drove from Oregon-MN when moving my younger bro to ND.

Ten on Tuesday

Wow.  I totally intended on posting over the weekend, because I had some exciting adventures planned.  Two of the exciting things actually happened until my weekend of fun came crashing down late Saturday night, and I spent the next two days in bed (and on couch) sleeping those two days of my life away.  The details of my sickness aren’t really public blog material, but I am mostly fine now (aside from what I like to refer to as a “sleep hangover”.  So much sleep in the past few days that I feel hazy and confused from so much sleep, and oddly still tired.  Sleeping a lot is a lot of work!). 

Anyway, I’ll try to catch up on my weekend adventures prior to sickness in another post, but for now it’s another set of questions from Roots and Rings.

1. Are you usually late, early, or right on time?
I’m usually early.  I try to time myself to be fashionably late sometimes and even then I end up being right on time.  It’s lonely standing around alone, waiting for everyone else to show up because very few people in the world know how to ever be on time for anything, but it’s kind of a blessing and a curse of mine that I am unable to be late to things. 

2. What is your middle name?

3. What are the last 4 digits of your cell phone number?

4. How big is your bed?
It’s only a queen.  But during my first two years of law school I had the blessing of a king in the fully furnished room I rented and I LOOOOOVED it.  The queen bed I’m using now isn’t actually mine… when I decide to buy a bed, I’m going to go for a King for sure, assuming I can get up the elevator to my apartment 🙂

5. What are you allergic to?
Used to be strawberries but lately I’ve eaten some here and there and have been fine (is that possible?!).  I also break out if I sit/lay directly in grass, swell up ridiculously if I get bitten by mosquitos, and get crazy itchy if someone does my laundry and uses fabric softener.  It’s unfortunate, because I appreciate the idea of softer clothes, but my skin apparently does not.

6. What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Look at the clock and decide whether I want to get up.  The beauty of my current situation (ie that I live 3 blocks from my office, and I currently don’t have a lot of work to do) is that I don’t have to set an alarm and I can just wake up naturally and go into work when I feel like it.   That being said, I naturally wake up around 7ish, so I’m usually in the office by 9 anyway (after taking my sweet time to shower, eat breakfast, watch the news, check things online, etc.).   A lot of people don’t come in until after 10am, but I just can’t seem to get myself to do that.  I’m a morning person.

7. What was your favorite TV show growing up?
This is a tough one.   Back when I was in grade school, I LOVED the show 3-2-1 Contact.  So my mom would let me go watch it up in her room, and one day I switched the channel and happened upon The Young and The Restless.  I had no idea what was really going on because I was like 8 at the time, but somehow it intrigued me so I started watching that show instead.   Then one day my mom was braiding my hair and I was talking about something that happened on the show, and she realized the story line I was recounting was not something from 3-2-1 Contact.  Busted!   On the Soap Opera note, I ended up pretty obsessed with Days of Our Lives throughout middle school.  I could even make a chart diagraming how all of the characters were interconnected.  I also loved family shows (full house, step by step, the nanny, family matters, home improvement, etc.).   Although, I have to admit that I had a secret hate for family shows, because everytime *I* got upset, twinkly music didn’t start playing and my 1-3 fathers didn’t come running after me to teach me the moral of the story and tell me it was all going to be ok.  Oh, and back to being young and in grade school… Salute Your Shorts and Legends of the Hidden Temple!

8. Will you, or did you, go to your 10 year high school reunion?
My 10 year reunion will be this year (2010).  Holy Cow!  Probably not going, because I graduated early and I barely knew anyone in my class.   I might figure out if there is a way to go with a friend to the 2011 reunion instead, where I’m bound to know more people. 

9. If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it still make a sound?
I don’t get this question.  I mean, I do get it (if nobody hears it, is it still a sound?), I just hear it all the time and I don’t get the point of asking it.  Yes, it does still make a sound.  Does it really matter since nobody heard the sound?  Probably not.  (Wow, I apologize for my general crankiness lately.  I think I should stop posting these things before my coffee has kicked in!) 

10. What, in your opinion, is the greatest invention? (You know, since sliced bread…)
Ooooo this is a tough one.  My favorite invention that I own is probably my iPhone.  I know, I know, I sense eyerolls as I say that, but it is AMAZING!  The internet, GPS, and various applications have saved me on countless occassions.  I love it.  Otherwise, I loooove ice makers (I have one of those too), water purifiers built into fridge doors (don’t have one of those… sad), zip lock bags, remote controls, and garbage chutes.  Probably countless other inventions would rank up there at the top (it’s so hard to choose just one) but those are the ones that come immediately to mind.  Random, I know 😉

Ten on Tuesday

Yesterday, I woke up at 5:15am in Vegas and was sitting at my desk in downtown Los Angeles just before 9:00am.   Crazy, right?  What was REALLY crazy was the fact that I waited for 30 minutes in a ridiculously slow moving starbucks line, gave up waiting because my plane was about to board and  I was not about to lose my A-26 space I paid an extra $10 for, and then I spent the flight regretting passing up that coffee because an hour long conversation about cats behind me (the length of the flight) made me literally want to gouge my ears out.   But I survived that conversation, and I survived a death-defying cab ride home.   And that’s a good thing, because I can participate in the Ten on Tuesday questions, even though this week’s questions are cooking based and I am no cook 😦

1. Are there any movies that inspire you to bake/cook?
Julie & Julia for sure.  That’s the only one I can think of for now, although I know there have been others.

2. What’s your favorite food blog and why?
I am actually out of the whole food blog loop.  Perhaps I need to find one!  Actually, I’ve been thinking for awhile about searching out some vegetarian/vegan cooking blogs, but just haven’t got around to it yet 🙂

3. Who’s your favorite celebrity chef?
I don’t actually have a “favorite”, but I do have a not-favorite: Sandra Lee.  Ugggg she drives me insane.   Ladies, we must all save prep time on the food by making it semi-homemade, so that we have enough time to coordinate our outfits and kitchen decor, and create elaborate table displays. She doesn’t technically say that, but the message is pretty clear 😉

4. What’s your favorite kitchen tool?
Oh… Hmm… Once upon a time I would say microwave (lol), but now I have an aversion to using microwaves for anything so my pretty built in thermador one sits unsused.  I really like my orange strainer???

5. When it comes to cooking/baking, what’s your specialty?
I don’t have a specialty.  I’m actually just starting to get around to cooking more often at the young age of 25 😉  Prior to recently where I have started making a lot more meals myself (but I admit it, very simple meals), I was pretty good at making salads 😉   And I say that partly as a joke and partly as truth.  My salads were delicious! 🙂

6. When in the kitchen, do you wear an apron, if so, any cute ones you’d like to share?
I don’t own any cute aprons, but my friend (and roommate for awhile)  Krissi does.  She is an awesome cook, and usually I just let her do her thing but the last few times I was with her I offered to help and she gave me a cute apron to wear 🙂   (Her and her husband are back in Texas now.  Sad for me :()

7. Is there anything that intimidates you when it comes to baking/cooking? (ex. Pie crust, yeast breads, sauces, etc…)
Um, is “all of it” an acceptable answer?  I overanalyze recipes to death, and I’m always, always afraid I’m going to totally screw it up.  It makes cooking a less joyful and more stressful experience for me.  But I’m trying to overcome, because I can only make these simple-can’t-possibly-screw-up meals for so long.

8. What’s the weirdest gadget in your kitchen?
I have this egg cooker thing and I have no idea how to use it (and wouldn’t anyway because I’ve been avoiding meat, and minimizing my dairy).  But, it’s stainless steel so it looks really cute on this cart I have in my kitchen with other stainless steal kitchen stuff 🙂

9. What’s your go-to music for cooking/baking?
When I’m cooking by myself (home alone), I usually will just have whatever I was watching on TV before cooking on.   But sometimes when I’ve cooked with others we put music on.  It varies depending on our moods.

10. After several failures, what do you do to motivate yourself to get back in the kitchen to try again?
Luckily, I haven’t really failed yet, but I also haven’t really tried.   The motivation I need is to actually get in the kitchen and TRY things.  And by try I mean things besides pasta, rice, and vegan “meats” 😉  I would like to try cooking some things with tofu, and baking some vegan cookies 🙂

Ten on Tuesday (5)

Today’s questions come from my friend Sarah at SoJo & Co. … and Sarah’s blog is actually how I found Roots and Rings, the home of Ten on Tuesday 🙂

1. When do you put up and take down your Christmas decorations?

We most often put the tree up right around Thanksgiving, and I think the general plan was to take it down shortly after new years… but I remember one year we still had the Christmas tree up at Spring Break.  My younger brother starts listening to Christmas music in the summer… I guess we liked to stretch the season out as much as possible 😉

This year is my first year living by myself, and my first year that I didn’t go “home” for Christmas, and so it was also the first time I decorated myself.  I bought a fake Christmas tree and some decorations the day after Thanksgiving, and set it up in my loft as soon as I got home.   I plan to take it down as soon as I get home from my new years travels,  but I know I’m going to miss having something fill that spot!
2. What do you do to simplify the holiday season?

I’m not quite sure how to answer this question.  For the past three years, I have been a law student on winter break, so I have enjoyed the simplicity of not having classes to go to or reading to do.   I never really get caught up in the “stress” of the holidays because I’m too focused on relaxing during my precious few weeks off of the madness.  This year, Christmas just snuck right up on me.  It really doesn’t even feel like December to me.  It’s wild.

I guess I simplify things by not doing things that stress me out.  If I realize I’m getting stressed out about gifts/sending cards/etc., I just take a step back, and figure out what I can do that is simple and won’t cause me stress.   On that note, I was TOTALLY planning on sending Christmas cards this year, but time got away from me.  I will spend the next year collecting addresses and make sure I get on it early next year.  Apparently since I’m a professional now, sending cards is practically required.

3. What do you do to remind yourself and your family what the Christmas season is all about?

Hmm… again, I’m not one to get really stressed out and wrapped up in what Christmas is “not about.”   In terms of what Christmas is about for Christians (celebrating the birth of Christ), I know that back in the day when we actually had Christmas traditions, we always went to the candlelight service at church on Christmas eve, and we always read the story of Jesus’ birth on Christmas morning before opening presents.
4. How do you spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?

I’ve been in a season that is kind of “between traditions” for years now.  But before my brothers both got significant others and moved away (and never have been able to come back home for Christmas since), we (my brothers and I) used to always spend some time on Christmas Eve with my dad and his family, then we’d go to the candlelight service on Christmas Eve at church with my mom.   After church, we have a big family get together at my mom’s parents house with all the aunts/uncles/cousins on my mom’s side of the family.   Then, we go home with my mom and wake up on Christmas morning and open presents with my mom… and then just hang out together for the rest of the day.

The last four years, I have been the only one home for Christmas (out of my siblings) and my dad’s mom and grandma (my great grandma) passed away a little before that.  So basically, at some point on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day I would find a little time to go spend with my dad, and then I’d still go to the candlelight thing and then my mom’s family’s christmas get together, and then spend Christmas Day alone with my mom.  (My aunt and my cousin Thomas actually live with my mom, so a few of those years the 4 of us opened presents together Christmas morning).

This year, my mom is coming to visit me in L.A., and one of my brothers is coming out for Christmas Eve.  Very, very different Christmas this year!
5. What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

My favorite Christmas tradition is eating my mom’s sugar cookies… Seriously.  Hahahaha.   Candlelight christmas services are a close second, although I don’t think I’m going to one this year because my mom gets into LAX at 9pmish on Christmas Eve.  She’s going to miss hers and I’m going to miss mine… But at least we’ll be together! 🙂   Aaaaaaaand she’s bringing the cookies! ❤

6.  Did you do the whole Santa thing growing up? What do you like/not like about continuing the tradition?

I totally knew Santa was mom when I was like 4.  Way too suspicious that my mom’s handwriting and Santa’s handwriting were identical.  Unfortunately for my parents, I was a little too clever for things like Santa, the tooth fairy, unexplained cleaning to prepare for a surprise birthday party, etc.   One year in grade school I was actually REALLY surprised for my birthday.   I still have no idea how my mom and grandparents pulled that off.

I think the idea of Santa is fun because it adds an extra bit of magic to the holiday (if your children aren’t too smart for their own good like me).   Also, it provides incentive for kids to be good throughout the year.  However, I am torn because I don’t really dig the whole lying thing.  But at the same time, I don’t necessarily want to tell my kids Santa isn’t real and have them ruin christmas for all their friends.   I think I can at least solve the incentive to be good part by telling my kids that Christmas is a bonus, like Mommy gets a bonus if she meets her 1950 billable hours requirement, and they only get their “bonus” if they meet their good behavior requirement 😉
7. What is your favorite Christmas cookie?

Sugar cookies, but only if they are sugar cookies made with my mom’s recipe.  Otherwise I also like snickerdoodles, peanut butter cookies, and fudge 🙂   But really I basically eat my mom’s sugar cookies like no other food exists on earth 🙂
8. How do you take your egg nog?

Bleh.  I am not an egg nog fan.  My brother Kevin used to LOVE that stuff (probably still does?).  Not this girl.  I have also never been the type to just sit down and drink a glass of milk, so that might explain it.
9. What is your favorite Christmas carol and why?

O Holy Night– gives me CHILLS and makes me tear up every time I hear it/sing it.   Especially this part:

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh hear the angel voices!
Oh night divine! Oh night when Christ was born!
Oh night divine! Oh night! Oh night divine!

Wow, I just started singing it in my loft to make sure the words were right, and it made me feel a little teary.

10. When was the last time you had a white Christmas?

Technically last year was a white christmas, but not in the good way.   On my way back from Europe after spending a semester there (with 8 huge bags in tow because I had to bring back all of Alexander’s bags due to him leaving early because of his dad’s sudden passing).   I arrived in L.A. to find out British Airways had lost one of my bags (unfortunately the bag with all my shoes besides the boots I was wearing), and Las Vegas, my destination, was shut down due to snow!  First time in 40 years!  I managed to get to Vegas the next day, only for an insane snow storm to hit Portland so I couldn’t get to Portland for over a week and was essentially “stranded” in Vegas.   I finally flew home to Portland on Christmas Day or the day after, and almost got stuck in Reno, again due to snow!

When I finally got to Portland,  my mom hadn’t been able to go home for days due to snow on her hill so she was staying with my grandparents.   Cramped conditions with the grandparents and no internet wasn’t going to work for me after the week I’d had, so I paid for two nights in a hotel for my mom and I until we finally managed to get up the hill and into my mom’s apartment.

A White Christmas is only a good thing when you already are where you plan to be for Christmas, so you can just sit inside with the fam and enjoy the pretty sight 🙂  (or go out in play in it!)

Ten on Tuesday (4)

First, I would like to mention that I wrote a whole post last night about my weekend, and then for some reason I felt really weird about it and I went back and put it on private.  I’m having a bit of an internal struggle trying to figure out what is appropriate for me to post and what isn’t, given that I am a “professional” now and given that people from work might find my blog.  I feel like I have to be super mature now, and go to the Orchestra like I did on Sunday night and enjoy it solely for the music now, not also for the ugly sweater parties (if you’ve been to an orchestra, you know what I mean.  If you wear such attire to the orchestra, my apologies ;)).

I know I’m supposed to still Be Myself.  But it’s a complicated balance and I’m working on it.  Like Saturday night at my work Christmas party when I was discussing my tendency to snort when I laugh, but that I’m trying to get it under control in professional situations, and then proceeded to snort laugh right in front of one of our partners in charge.   It looked like his smile was endearing and not “omg why did we hire this girl???”    Let’s hope for my job security that it was the former.

Anyway,  I definitely plan to remain a genuine person, but at the same time I’m aware that people at work or clients could somehow discover this blog and somehow discover that it’s really me, and I just have to be aware of that possibility, but also not let it completely stifle me outside of work…. it’s a delicate balance, lol.   So we’ll see how this goes in the future.

For now, enough of that.   It’s time for another round of “Ten on Tuesday” questions from Roots and Rings.

1. If you could change anything about your physical appearance, what would it be?
I would probably make my feet a little smaller so I’d have more shoe options!  Wearing a women’s size 14 really cramps my shoe style.   Literally and figuratively.

2. Is there a habit in others that you find annoying?
People who are always late annoy me.  Even if they are not late just to meet me but if it is like a group event or meeting or something and they always walk in late.  Or like in law school there were certain people that would always come late every single day.    I feel a little hall monitor inside of me wanting to go be like “Hey, idiot, obviously if you have been late every day of the semester so far you are not leaving your house soon enough in the mornings.  You need to leave earlier and be on time and stop interrupting the rest of us because you suck at time management (and/or just don’t care about anyone but yourself.)”   See, it really annoys me.  Hahaha.   Another annoyance is people who have something negative to say about pretty much everything.  Such a downer.

3. What is your favorite recipe using ground beef?
Uh…. I don’t eat meat anymore so this doesn’t exactly apply… And I’ve also never been a big ground beef girl…. but I do/did love making manicotti with ground turkey! 🙂

4. What was your favorite book as a kid?
I’m not sure if I had one.  As far as I know, I was never one of those kids that wanted the same book read to me/to read the same book over and over.  Once I read one thing I wanted something new to read.  I was REALLY into Nancy Drew books for awhile though.  I’m pretty sure I’ve read every single one.  ❤

5. Did you work as a teenager and if so, where?
I think I started babysitting in middle school to earn spending money for myself.  Then I continued babysitting a lot through high school, particularly in the summers.   But I didn’t have a “real job” outside of babysitting until I graduated high school.  But I graduated high school shortly after turning 16 so I was still super young.   My first “real job” was working in child care at a gym with my aunt.  Then I got a seasonal job at GAP Kids  to get more hours than the gym, and while I was at Gap Kids I landed a receptionist job at a place called Disabled American Veterans which is an organization that helps veterans with their claims for benefits to the Veterans Administration.   I worked there for a while, and then moved out of town for school and worked at Meier & Frank (now Macys) in the juniors department at the mall in the closest nearby town that had a mall.  Then I moved back to Portland and got a job at a law firm as an office clerk.  I’m pretty sure I still a teenager at that point (19?).   Oh, and somewhere in there I also worked as an orientation leader the first summer after college.   Wow, a lot of jobs as a teenager for me!

(it was ROUGH tracking down all that information when I had to apply for the bar!)

6.  Did you work while in college and if so, where?
See above for part of it (I took a year off after high school and then started college at 17 so for my first three years of college I was still technically a teenager).  I stayed at that office clerk job at the law firm (20-30 hours per week all through college) until I quit in July 2006 to move down to Malibu, California  to start law school 🙂

7. When you go to sleep do you like  total darkness or semi? When you go to sleep do you need quiet or is some noise ok?
I used to prefer complete darkness and complete silence.  But I’ve had this weird problem for a few years now that sometimes I half-wake up in the middle of the night and I will think someone is hovering over me and I scream out, and the scream wakes me up completely and I realize nobody is there and I feel like an idiot and it takes me forever to fall back asleep and my heart is pounding.  So now, I just leave my blinds open while I’m sleeping to let in enough light so that if I wake up in the middle of the night I can tell that nobody is hovering over me and I won’t freak out.  I’m not afraid of the dark,  I’m just afraid of my half asleep hallucinations that sometimes occur in the dark 😉

8. When doing laundry, fabric softener or not?
For some reason fabric softeners tend to make me break out and get all itchy so I don’t use them.  It’s weird.

9. Open toed or closed toed shoes?
Closed if I’m wearing shoes, but I wore flipflops almost every day through lawschool.  Yay Malibu California yearround 70s and sunshine! 🙂

10. Would you rather be blind or deaf?
I am already missing one of my senses (smell) so I don’t think it’s fair to ask me to give up another one!   But if I had to, I’d give up hearing because sight brings me way more enjoyment in life than hearing.   I would hate to lose being able to travel and see all the beautiful new sights around me, being able to take pictures, being able to do artsy things… etc.

11. Dangle or stud earrings?
My ears aren’t pierced.  Weird, huh?

12. Bottled water or tap?
I’m generally a tap water girl.  Although taking it directly from the faucet myself seems weird.  So I’ll just drink it from a brita filter or drink it from water bottles if people have them available before I’ll take a glass and put it under the faucet myself.  But if someone else goes into a kitchen and gets me water from the faucet, apparently it doesn’t bother me.  But ALWAYS with ice if it’s tap water.  I like it cold, cold, cold.

13. What do you put on pancakes?
Never butter.  I know I’m weird, but I’m not a fan of clumps of butter on top of things (although of course I am a fan of butter cooked in things because it tastes soooo gooood even though its sooooo baaaad).   I usually just have syrup.   I also don’t like butter on toast.   I like jam or peanut butter.  Something about the reality of a big clump of fatty lard just resting on top of my food just doesn’t work for me.   But if it’s all cooked in the food and I can’t tell, I don’t seem to mind 😉

14. On a long trip would you rather drive or fly?
It depends.  I’m a fan of roadtrips (I’ve driven OR-MN, OR-CA, CA-TX, OR-CO, OR-CANADA, NM-CO-TX, TN-KY, you get the idea).   But there is also something to be said for flying which gets you far away places in a short amount of time!   When the flying trip is easy (ie no major hassles at security, no turbulence on the plane, no screaming kids), I prefer flying hands down for long distances.  But it’s so rare to get that perfect flying experience.  And, there are really pretty things to see on the road.  (If you are my facebook friend, check out some of my 120+ photo albums for some roadtripping pictures from recent years!)

15. Do you prefer classic old movies or new?
I like both.  I watch a lot of movies from the 50s and 60s on a regular basis, maybe even some 40s thrown in there? (those count as classic old movies right?).  But I also like a lot of new movies too.  It depends on my mood 🙂

Ten on Tuesday (3)

Sorry for the lack of entries lately.  Busy, busy, busy!  But I think it will lighten up tonight after work and I will play catch up!

1. Cost aside, if you could go (back) to college for anything besides what you currently “do,” what would you study?

For me, it wouldn’t necessarily be a matter of “cost aside” but probably “time aside.”    I’ve already spent 7 years in college and law school… I’m a little burned out from school right now!   However, time aside (if I could get abducted by the Navigator so that when I come back to earth after school is done, no ACTUAL time has passed), I think I would take some more language classes… and I think I might get some training in being a (non-legal issues) counselor/mediator because I would like to do some of that at some point, most likely just on the side… not leaving the whole lawyer thing.

2. What do you do for a living? Do you love it/hate it?

Well, as of last Monday, I’m an associate attorney at a large law firm and I work in the litigation department.   I loved it during my internship, and I think I’ll still love it now!  (Haven’t done enough work yet to give an absolute yes!)
3. What is your favorite Christmas ornament? If you don’t celebrate Christmas, what is your favorite holiday tradition?

This one year at a women’s event at my mom’s church we painted wooden ornaments.  For some reason, my mom and I both couldn’t quite figure out the paint and the brush sizes and so our ornaments are AWFUL and so embarrassing.  All the other super crafty women turned out these beautiful ornaments and we hid ours.  Well, my aunt lives with my mom, and every year my aunt still puts those two ornaments on their tree.   This is not a story to tell you they are now my favorite.  It’s still really, really embarrassing (right mom?).   But in response, I would like to remind everyone of that painting I did a while back (scroll down in the entries for a picture).  My first painting experience after that ornament fiasco, and I think it turned out awesome! 😉

As for a favorite, my current tree only has one ornament besides the colorful balls, and it is a silver one that is just letters and it spells peace.  I like it 🙂

4. Name something you could literally do without for the rest of your life.

Traffic.  Holy moley I could definitely do without ever experiencing traffic again.  Sadly, that’s not going to happen unless I move to North Dakota, and that is most likely not going to happen either, haha.
5. If you were going to have any kind of “cosmetic procedure,” what would it be?

I have bad teeth.  What Alec Baldwin’s character on 30 Rock would call “poor teeth.”  I’d probably have something done with that.
6. Do you have any “collections”? (comic books, shoes, etc.)

I have one of random giraffe stuff 🙂  I looove giraffes.
7. At what age did you get your first cell phone?

I think it was around 17 because once I started driving I wanted a phone in case anything happened.  Of course that quickly turned into phone-I-used-for-many-other-things-and-racked-up-HUGE-phone-bills.   Ooops 😦
8. What is currently in your purse (or pocket or backpack if you’re a guy)?

My work ID, my blackberry, some chapstick… my wallet and keys… nothing exciting.
9. Are you a neat-freak or a slob ? *this applies to house, office, car, etc.

I am pretty much a neat freak.  If 3 things are out of place I describe it as a “mess.”  However, I do not judge other people for having messy spaces, I just personally can’t sleep well/work well in messy places.
10. What kind of parent do you think you will be? If you’re already a parent, what is your style?

I am not really sure.   But I do know a few things.  I’ll be the obnoxious mom that takes pics of EVERYTHING (because I already do that),  I will not tolerate whining (and I will likely turn whining into photo ops as well), I will try to be fun, and I will make my kids get good educations 🙂