Sunday, March 29, 2009

...put your mind to it, go for it, get down and break a sweat...'s the thing. I am not a huge fan of running. Actually, let's just avoid all euphamisms: I hate running. If I'm not being chased by a rabid dog or a murderer with a cleaver, I'm generally not going to run. I'm a water sports kind of girl. I swam competitively for over ten years. Working out in a clean, cool pool is the best--you can't feel the sweat, burn a ton of calories, get cardio and resistance training in one workout, it's low-impact on joints, and, oh yeah, it's fun!

But once in a while when I don't have time to get to the pool, I'll run a few miles. I always forget, though, just how much I hate running until I feel like my burning shins are going to shatter right from under me with each step, my face turns red as a tomato and feels like it's on fire, and I'm dripping with sweat like my Turkish linguistics professor at UCI used to during lectures. (He was really into syntax...what can I say?) I think to myself that any sort of exercise that is this miserable and difficult should warrant an instant ten-pound weight loss...instant.

And it never does. And that's why running disappoints me.

But I'm not going to give up. (My new shoes were too expensive.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth laughs in flowers. --Emerson

I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers. --Monet

Last weekend was full of flowers! It was the perfect way to welcome springtime.

First, sweet Sara took me to the flower fields in Carlsbad. We were overwhelmed by all the bright blooms and their delicious colors, and we also had some incredible conversation as we took lots of fun pictures. It was so lovely standing among the flowers, as if in a painting, drinking in the sunshine, and looking out at the ocean and feeling its breeze.
Then, we picked up Sara's old roommate and made our way to downtown San Diego to Extraordinary Desserts. I can't even begin to describe the Nero-ish novelties we found there! I had salad with flowers in it and a piece of truffle framboise, decorated with gold and rose petals! It was an incredible Saturday.

Sunday was, well, whatever the opposite of "incredible" is. I was tired, burdened, and did not feel well. But after a great night of Peace training and a bouquet of orange daisies and roses from Nicole, I was definitely cheered up.

Flowers...I love seeing their beauty smile at me, in times of celebration or sadness. I read a quote online that said "In joy or sadness, flowers are our constant friends." There's something powerful about them, and they make me feel happy...just like my friends.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Why I Love Veronica Mars

Her friends say, "earth to Mars" when she's not paying attention. (Or should I say, when she's spacing out?)

Her hair always, ALWAYS looks good.

She doesn't put up with crap from anyone, especially guys.

Her relationship with her dad is as envious a parent-kid duo as the Gilmore Girls'.

She's a detective! How cool is that? She has a huge camera and spy tools, and even a Taser! She knows people's secrets and can find dirt on them without breaking a sweat.

She's smart. Really smart.

Just as important as the hair, she's almost always wearing lip gloss. Girl's got her priorities straight, even when in peril.

She fixes her own car, a skill I greatly admire (and will most likely always lack).

Latin phrases roll off her tongue, as if it's a normal part of the average high-schooler's vernacular.

Oh, I love her...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tough Love

I’ve been e-mailing a long-distance friend about my July Peace trip to the Dominican Republic, and about life. He's actually been to the D.R. before and wrote some incredible thoughts about some of his learnings...

“… I'm so excited that you're getting to go to the D.R. I'm sure you know, but a lot of these people are very poor. Being around them has definitely been a test of the true character of my heart, because when I was there, I actually found that I was kind of disgusted by their poverty and ignorance. There are some things that the people there tend to do that are ugly to our culture. Without realizing it, I took on some of the attitude that a lot of my friends had in looking at these people as though they were sort of second-class, or semi-human. Sad, but true. But, thankfully, God always called me out. And I learned something about myself. It's easy for me to love the poor people in Kenya, because Africa is so exotic and beautiful and...distant, and I'm deeply interested in their culture. But I'm horrified by how my feelings can be toward people with similar struggles that are closer to home, and from a culture I'm disinterested in. We're not supposed to love people according to our own interests! And loving the people in the Dominican Republic, or Mexico, or Newark New Jersey, is no less important than loving the people in Kenya, England, or India. That's not to say it isn't harder, though.

I'm definitely learning that my view of love can be shallow at times. Paper-thin, in fact. It's easy to love someone because they are beautiful, or bright, or cheerful, or passionate. But what about truly loving people who are awkward, who are ignorant, or rude, or maybe not dazzling enough to keep you interested? That's what I've been learning. Oh, and that there is always, ALWAYS, much more depth and beauty to a person than meets the eye…."

What a powerful reminder to me...

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Last night, I got ready for swim practice. I suited up, grabbed a towel and my swim parka, packed my bag, and walked downstairs.

Then I thought, "Dang, it's really cold. And I'm really tired."

I didn't make it to swim practice last night.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's a Funny World We Live In...

My least favorite part of my nighttime routine is washing my face. When that first splash of water shocks my face, I daily reconsider my affinity for black eye makeup, question my judgment in wearing three different mascaras every day, and rethink how necessary any of this makeup nonsense really is. That first splash of water creates in my mirror an image not too far off from resembling Heath Ledger’s Joker. And don’t even get me started on how my towel looks after I dry my face.

And then every morning I get up and the vicious cycle continues.

C'est la vie...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Two Stupid Things That Girls Do...

I read this book last month. It's a hilarious coming-of-age story set in 1970s Santa Barbara. The reason I bought it? Read Larry Doyle's quote on the cover. He knows funny. He wrote I Love You, Beth Cooper.

Anyway, this book reminded me of two stupid things that girls do...

We allow ourselves to have crushes without the expectation of reciprocity. Why do we do that to ourselves? Why don't we move on? Why don't we crush on people who actually like us back? Is that too convenient?


We are baffled by moments when we don't see absolute perfection in people that we've put on pedestals.

Do guys do this, too?


Thought you should know...

It's called "daylight-saving time." According to Grammar Girl, it's best to use the hyphen and no capital letters.

And it's 'saving,' not 'savings.'

You're welcome.

We Need To Talk

Crave, the college-age ministry at Saddleback Church, just finished a series on sex, dating, and relationships. Last week we closed the series with a panel and answered Cravers' questions...and I was on the panel. I was nervous, but heard that my answers were helpful and was encouraged to post them. Below are the questions I got from Cravers, and my answers. I'd love your thoughts!

“If you are too shy a person to go up to a guy you think is cute, what can you do to approach this guy? What about being scared about getting hurt?”

Since I know the person who wrote this is a girl, I totally understand where you’re coming from. In fact, I think everyone’s been in your shoes. But I would like to say that one of my biggest desires is to feel pursued, and when you think about it, God wants to be pursued by us…it’s a natural desire and I think he’s given that to all girls…that innate desire to be chased. So, listen up, guys…we want someone who will stand out in the rain for us, who will kick down doors for us, who will hold that boombox above his head and look like a fool for us, who will fight dragons for us (metaphorically speaking, of course). We want to be chased. The Bible says in Proverbs 18:22, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” Guys, while it’s not all in your control, you need to be proactive in finding her. And ladies, that doesn’t mean that we just sit around and wait to be found and don’t talk to guys. You can definitely show interest without taking that role away from him and without having to be a wallflower. Just start with casual chatting…get to know guys in groups instead of dating right off the bat. I feel like a date just has everything going for it to make a super awkward situation, especially if you’re shy or don’t have much dating experience. Hanging out in groups is low-pressure, you can be yourself, and you can build a foundation of friendship first. And about getting hurt….it’s just a fact of life that there is always risk involved with dating, and one of the things we’ve talked a lot about in the XX/XY series is guarding your heart: Proverbs 4:23 says your heart is the wellspring of life. Don’t give it to someone who’s just willing to take it. It’s precious! And even if you’re making good choices, you might get hurt. But that’s the risk you need to be willing to take when you’re dating…but you can definitely minimize that risk, and that’s what we’ve been learning in this series.

“By giving my sex life and the area of relationships to God, does that mean I have to go to the extreme of breaking up with my boyfriend? If you are in a dating relationship and sexual sin is occurring, does the responsibility fall on the male or female? What actions need to be taken?”

I think that if you want to give your sex life and the area of relationships to God, but you’re in a relationship where your boyfriend or girlfriend is not willing to do that, then you need to break up. That is not God’s best for you. God wants to give you so much more than that…someone who will do their very best to protect your purity. And that sexual sin in the relationship is revealing that both individuals need to spend more time single, developing their character and connecting with God. BUT if you and your boyfriend or girlfriend are BOTH committed to striving for a relationship that honors God and remains pure, then your relationship might be able to survive. Surrendering that to God doesn’t necessarily mean breaking up. It means setting new boundaries and making sure you’re not putting yourself in situations where you know you’re going to fall into temptation. My friend in college used to call me and say, “Oh my gosh, this guy is coming over tonight and I’m cooking dinner and then we’re going to watch a movie on the couch! I’m so excited!” And then the next day she’d call me and say, “You’ll NEVER guess what happened last night!!” Are you serious? Of course I can guess! She set herself up! Don’t do that to yourself. The other part of the question asks where the responsibility falls…it falls on both the male and female equally. The bottom line is that if you are in a relationship where the other person is NOT committed to sacrificing to establish safe boundaries in that relationship, then you are putting yourself in a compromising situation and breaking up is probably necessary. Purity isn’t going to be something that just happens…it has to be something you’re super intentional with and serious about, and you need to date someone who is just as passionate, if not more passionate, about purity than you are.

“If a guy is really pursuing me and is very persistent with it and I am just not interested in being anything more than friends, how do I tell him that without things being awkward afterwards, and possibly losing him as a friend?”

I’m going to be honest…this is a tough question, because when you don’t feel the same way about someone, it’s rare that things won’t be awkward afterwards, even if both of you want to try to be friends. I think the best thing to do is be up front about it and be honest with him. It’s important not to string him along, give him false hope, and make him think that you like him and just let him keep pursuing you. Don’t waste his time or his heart on you if you know for sure that you’re not interested. Yes, he might be hurt or embarrassed, but you’re doing him a favor by telling him up front instead of playing with his emotions for months. But AFTER you do tell him that and you want to try to keep being friends, you’ll want to call or text or invite him places to ‘be nice,’ but in reality you might need some time apart, so he can heal. Otherwise you’re saying one thing (that you’re not interested), but he’s still thinking that you like him, when in reality you’re only acting super nice to overcompensate for the awkwardness and to ‘prove’ that you guys can still be friends. Basically, be honest and tell him how you feel, and then take a step back and let him heal. After a little while, try to be friends and hang out in groups. And guys, the same message applies to you. It’s your job to protect the hearts of women. You may be thinking that your interactions are platonic, but think about the messages that you’re sending her and how she might interpret them.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

When I Was Your Age...

Do you ever think about the conversations that you might have with your future children? The questions they'll ask you? The stories they'll want to hear about you as a kid? Where you were when things happened: The Beijing Olympics, the O.J. Simpson trial, Obama's inauguration, 9/11, etc. If you saw this band in concert or that movie at the theater. you wonder what your kids will think of you? Here's a very possible future conversation with my future kid (let's say her name's Scout):

Scout: Mom, it says here that Titanic was one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. Do you remember that movie?

Me: Oh of course! I loved that movie! I saw it six times in the theater!!

Scout: Wait, what? Six times? Why?

Me: I was kind of obsessed with it. The only reason I saw it the sixth time was because it was April 15th, the anniversary of the sinking. I also started an aol webpage for it and my first screen name was RoseDwson, after the main character. I even had a cookbook with recipes for the meals they served on the ship, and both soundtracks...I still have them if you want to listen to them, and...

Scout: Okay, I get it. You liked it.


Scout: Mom...I don't mean to be rude, but...that's pretty nerdy.

Me: I know, honey. I know...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Every man's memory is his private literature. --Aldous Huxley

The other day, I realized that when I’m reading a book, I like to find a spot to read it, and then stick with that spot for the duration of the book. I never consciously think to do it. And I don’t know that I’ve been doing it for very long. But I do enjoy looking at the books on my shelves and being reminded of the places where I read them…

I started reading The Jungle while I was sitting at jury duty on a gorgeous spring day, and I read it for hours and hours (obviously; I was at jury duty.). I was completely absorbed by that book, and I remember thinking how awesome I thought jury duty was, because all I did was take a day off work, sit, and read a book all day. What’s not to like about jury duty, right?!

The bulk of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was read at Corner Bakery off El Toro Road. I always sat in one of their green booths, ate harvest chicken salads, and underlined passages I thought were great (there were a lot). Come to think of it, I haven’t had a harvest chicken salad since I finished the book…

I remember reading much of The Three Musketeers while I was taking a train from Frankfurt to Ulm, in southern Germany in the summer of 2004. I remember being stressed out because I was nervous I’d fall asleep and miss my stop in Ulm. And I was trying to keep my face close to the cracked window because the air in the car of the train was thick with cigarette smoke.

Frankenstein was read between classes at UCI at a Togo’s in Irvine, near the campus. One day I sat there for probably four hours, completely lost in the story, waiting for an evening art history class with my pretentious professor who always wore black (and oh, who I loved), and getting cold from sitting in the shade outside in the late fall weather.

I literally couldn’t put Into the Wild down when I brought it to Bagels and Brew, not even to eat my lunch. The loud El Toro seniors sitting at the table next to me often glanced at me (yes, girls, I noticed), probably not used to seeing someone shaking her head in suspense or laughing out loud while reading a book.

Most of Lolita was read at the Staybridge Inn off Bake Parkway when my family had to stay there for two nights because our house was getting fumigated. While the rest of my family went to sleep in our rooms, I stayed up late out in the lobby, sitting on a couch in a corner, reading and sucking on Junior Mints and watching weary businessmen check into the hotel late at night.

I remember reading Pride and Prejudice in my room at my parents’ house on the Oregon coast…I have a pretty comforter with flowers on it, and the walls of the room are white and simple. It just feels and smells Jane Austeny there. I can remember the smell right now…it smells like newness and possibilities. The summer after that when I was back there, I read Mansfield Park. I love reading Austen in that room…

It's almost magical how the glance of a book on my shelf brings back these memories and the stories that are precious to me.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Artickled Pink

I am a published writer! Check out my article on the Getty Villa in the March issue of The Gazette here!

I had a blast at the museum with Jen, Amy, and Sara, who all work for the magazine. Thanks, girls, for this incredible honor.