Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year, Last Post

Happy New Year's Eve! In honor of the occasion, I thought I'd do the ol' New Year's wrap up survey I stole from All and Sundry last year. And you know what? You should to! Is all I'm saying. Without further ado:

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?

Completed a counseling internship, played charades all night with foreign med students, went retirement community hopping, sang live band karaoke.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn't make any, and so I didn't keep them. Or, from a more glass half full perspective, I kept them all!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Sarah did! But I think that she was the only one. 2009 was a slow year for the birthings apparently. Oh wait! No, Allison did too! Nevermind 2009, you were fine.

4. Did anyone close to you die?


5. What countries did you visit?

Utah. Utah is like a country...yes?

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?


7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

None. I think I sort of blocked this year from my memory, the same way I blocked junior high. I remember what happened, but it all kind of runs together into one big laughy/weepy blur.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Getting an A in my Applied Behavior Analysis class. That might sound a little braggy, but let me tell you, I have never worked harder in a class in my ENTIRE LIFE! I may or may not have put my grade on the refrigerator.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Writing ye olde advent blog. See also: staying organized, doing homework, finding balance in my life.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Same old story.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My Macbook, who I named Spock. Because he is from the future. We slow dance every night. Or, maybe my Disneyland pass. I made a lot of good use out of that bad boy this year.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Lacie's, for moving to California and constantly letting me play with her babies!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Should I go ahead and make the obligatory Tiger Woods reference here?

14. Where did most of your money go?

To Cal State friggin LA.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

There were many moments of excitement in 2009, but probably the only one that merits three reallys for me, would be finishing my last final of fall quarter. Three! Week! Vacation!!!!!!!! Oh! And Marianne and Anthony got engaged! That definitely held a level three really excitement factor, but after that the school thing.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?

Probably Paparazzi by Lady Gaga. Jeff? I'm glaring at you.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? sadder
b) thinner or fatter? the same
c) richer or poorer? poorer

This is the only question I was tempted to lie on, because it's just kind of a bummer. But, honesty at all times, that's my motto! Say, did I mention that 2009 was a little rough around the edges? So yeah yeah yeah, sadder and poorer, here I am. But, optimistic for next year!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Sleeping. Exercising. Writing.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Spending money on things I didn't need, and feeling sorry for myself.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Christmas Eve dinner at my parents house, with cameos provided by the lovely Bianca and Brittany, Kristen and John. Crackers were cracked, foot was ate, and after dinner we all gathered around the computer to watch Johnny Lingo on Youtube. Surprisingly racist! On Christmas day we opened presents, ate more food, and then saw avatar. Which Changed! Movies! Forever!

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?


22. What was your favorite TV program?

Chuck, 30 Rock and Firefly. (I don't care if it was canceled, still awesome.)

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I considered deleting this question, but I've decided to keep it in case I develop enemies during the course of 2010.

24. What was the best book you read?

I think we can go ahead and classify this years reading choices under the "fluff" catagory of literature. Much like the year I graduated from my undergrad, reading books that were very profound or dense just wasn't in my skill set. So while I read many delightful stories, none of them were exactly East of Eden is what I'm saying. (Don't worry, still haven't returned that bad boy to the library.) So, with that long and needless disclaimer, my favorite books were probably "Hunger Games", by Suzanne Collins, and "The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance" by Elna Baker.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Glee! Shut up.

26. What did you want and get? A macbook, a Flip (thank you mom and dad!), .

27. What did you want and not get? A kindle. A paid internship. George Clooney.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? Probably Up, and Star Trek.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I had a joint birthday party with Emily again, this time luau themed, and I turned 26! It was super fun, and featured the gift of about thirty fake mustaches. Lauren, have I told you lately that I love you?

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A sense of balance. Also money.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

Laundry day.

32. What kept you sane?

Without a shadow of a doubt, I can say it was my friends. One area that I always feel unfairly blessed in, is the quality of friends I have. I wish I could make each and everyone of you a friendship bracelet that could properly convey how glad I am to have you in my life.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Right now it's probably Nathan Fillion, because when I went to his fake book signing he shook my hand and winked at me sexily. Which is basically like a proposal when you think about it.

34. What political issue stirred you the most? Health care blah blah broken record.

35. Who did you miss? My grandma.

36. Who was the best new person you met? Say it with me: NATHAN FILLION.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

For the love of all that is good and holy, return your video rentals ON TIME .

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

You can't always get what you want

No, you can't always get what you want.

But if you try sometime,

you just might find,

you get what you need.

And I'll get by with a little help from my friends.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sweatin' to the Oldies: Christmas Style

I just want to start things off by saying: I'm sure your stocking is very nice. Really! I'm sure it's red and green and very Christmasy. And even if it's not I'm sure it's very nice! I just had to get that out there, because I didn't want you to feel jealous. You see....I have news. Like Casey, Camille and Liz before me: I have a Rachel Knecht ORIGINAL Felt Stocking Creation. BEHOLD:

Hmm? Why yes, that IS Richard Simmons on my stocking.
Let's take a closer look shall we?

When Rachel said she was making a Richard Simmons stocking and say, did anyone want it, I think I may have dislocated my shoulder getting my hand in the air. But the months of rehabilitation were more than worth it, because I can't even convey how amazing this stocking is. The gold thread! the inappropriately tiny shorts! The SHOELACES!!! It's just...a masterpiece.

Thank you Rachel, I love it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Advent Blog Fail: Day #18

Are any of us surprised? I didn't think so. So, I was debating just giving up entirely, and then I was just going to start from where I was, and now I've decided to just kamikaze this thing and give you thirteen make up posts in the next hour. And then I got tired. So, lets do that other idea after all.

Let's kick things off with a list of other holiday things I've started and not finished:

1) Gingerbread houses:

My mom came up with this really good idea for each of us to make and decorate a gingerbread house this year. We downloaded a bunch of patterns from the internet, and each made a different one. So far mine has been cut, baked, assembled, and half decorated. I haven't done anything else in a week and a half. But I have full intentions of completing every thing! Which probably makes this the longest gingerbread construction project in the history of ever. Or at least in the history of me. Also possibly the only gingerbread construction project in the history of me.

2) Christmas shopping: I have a little less than half of my presents purchased and exactly NONE of them wrapped.

3) Christmas cards: I got a little ambitious this year and decided to send out Christmas cards. Here is where I am in the process. I have purchased some. Here is what is hindering me at the moment. I...I don't have anyone's address. And also...what does one put in a Christmas card again? I think I'm bad at this.

4) This list.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Advent Blog #5: White Elephant Teaser

"Ward famous for their excellent white elephant gift exchange gift choices...Hannah and Lauren have really knocked it out of the park this year!"

Unfortunately....we were so busy making the books, that we may or may not have missed the actual exchange. A teaser of this year's offerings:

Friday, December 4, 2009

Advent Blog #4: Cop out post.

Ok, so it's Friday night, and I'm so tired that I can't even think of a clever metaphor for how tired I am. But! Third day in a row! So here's a youtube clip from the greatest Christmas movie ever made.

This is not my favorite song in White Christmas. It might even be my least favorite...but that's like saying Merry is your least favorite means nothing. Because you love them all! This particular song in fact has some excellent features:

1) Casually breaking into group song to cement a decision.
2) Use of table items to create a visual interpretation of the song.
3) Nonsensical lyrics, i.e.: washing your hair, hands and face in snow. Wha?
4) Vera Ellen's dress.

Peace friends!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Advent Blog Day #3: A Materialistic Christmas Story

Do you remember back in the day, when the American Girl dolls first came out? Ah, those were the golden days. Back before Mattel bought out the Pleasant Company, and it turning into a frightening example of soul sucking consumerism. You know, back when it was just an example of soul nibbling consumerism. Quite a distinction. So there I was, at the ripe old age of seven, when what should appear in the mail, but an American Girl Catalogue. I remember being genuinely concerned that we were going to have to give the catalogue back. Surely something so wonderful couldn't actually be meant for us. It just seemed too good to be true.

Emily and I spent hours pouring over the catalogue, carefully picking out which items we wanted most, and what order we would buy them in. You know, when we were grown ups and had lots of money. Within the first five minutes it was understood that Samantha was mine, and Molly was Emily's. Kirsten belonged to Emily's extremely cool and sophisticated friend Rebecca Pierson. She was in GATE. Marianne was four at the time, ans so had no say in the matter. She was also probably too busy walking up and down the hallway with a laundry basket on her head singing: "Father's hunting in the forest...till I'm grown..." which is pretty much how she spent the entirety of her preschool years.

Anyway, sufficed to say, we were obsessed. We even played American Girls (minus the dolls). Of course, since we didn't have the books yet, we were a little loose on the details -- the game itself usually involved a time machine and a bunk bed bomb shelter--but still.

So when Christmastime rolled around that year, you can imagine my Mother's surprise when I didn't mention the doll in my letter to Santa that year. We were sitting at the old apple computer we used to know, the kind with a black and yellow monitor...pre-internet, pre-everything really. So I'm dictating and Mom is typing away, and when I start wrapping things up: "my best to Mrs. Claus, etc...", Mom casually asked if I wasn't going to ask for Samantha. I gently patted her hand, and told her I thought that was probably too expensive for Santa. (Keep in mind these items that were already featured on my list: A puppy, a trip to Michigan, Snow. Yeah, those were fine, but Samantha? Let's try to be realistic.) Mom suggested I put it on the list anyway, just for fun...and since I've always been willing to humor my mother's fanciful little whims, I agreed.

Cut to early early Christmas morning...when all was dark, and everyone was still asleep. I knew we wouldn't be opening presents for hours, so I tiptoed out for my customary peek at the year's loot. On the couch next to my stocking, was a brown box. My heart sank. Now, I don't actually remember what I'd been hoping for, but I'm sure it was made of something pink and plastic, and probably sparkly. Most definitely not a brown box. A brown box? What was Santa thinking? I didn't like brown! Brown was like dirt! Now, certainly I figured there was something inside the box, but I couldn't even begin to care about whatever that might be. What can I say? Seven year olds aren't known for their abstract thinking. I took a deep breath and practiced my present face for the morning. No use ruining my parents Christmas over this tragedy...and headed back to bed.

Emily has almost the same story to tell of this Christmas. Only, where I didn't even think it was a possibility, she was expecting a Molly doll. And so when she saw the brown box, she was heart broken. You can tell how anxious she was to find out, by the very fact that she peeked at all. Unlike me, Emily was highly scrupled when it came to surprises. Where I was disappointed, she was devastated.

Well. The end of the story is obvious. Emily opened hers first, and when I saw what she was holding I couldn't even process it. I opened my box in a daze, barely daring to hope, and like a dream I lifted Samantha into my arms. SAMANTHA. OF MY VERY OWN. CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!

This would probably be a more meaningful story if I HADN'T gotten what I wanted, and learned the true meaning of Christmas or something...but what are you gonna do?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas: The blog series, Part two.

Tomorrow will be more creative....really! It might! But I promised daily posts, and an extra today, so here is a picture of Disneyland's freshly decorated castle:

I'm not going to say directly who may or may not have started crying a little when the fake snow started going. But I'll give you a hint. And oh, who are we kidding. I totally teared up too. The holiday celebrations at Disneyland is one of the best parts of Christmas in Southern California! It's right up there with wearing flip flops to pick out a Christmas tree, and commercials for Santa's Village.*

And now, to top model us out, here's me on the carousel:

*Meanwhile, I realize that Santa's Village is probably closed now, and by all reports was kind of sad before it was closed, but it remains one of the great regrets of my childhood that my parents never took me there.

A Christmas Post! Day 1: Sort of.

Every year when December rolls around, my mom heads down to the drugstore and brings home a chocolate advent calendar for each one of us. Here's a bad picture of one that I stole from google:

If you have supermanlike vision, you'll see little numbers all over that mark the little doors. You open a door and get a chocolate, one for everyday before Christmas.

By family tradition, my brother eats all of his on the first day. Except for the year he was vegan, when he sneered at the very idea. The chocolate's are kinda waxy, but for some reason, they remain a delightful daily treat. And when I eat one, (or seven, depending on how many days I forgot/couldn't restrain myself) it feels like Christmas.

This year, I've decided to turn my dusty old blog into an online advent calendar. Sadly, I have no waxy chocolate to offer you, but in it's place, every day till Christmas I'll post something Christmas related. (Original!) It may be an old memory, photos of what holiday stuff is going on, an inappropriate Rudolph themed haiku...I'm really not sure.

And yes, I am aware that this is in fact the second day of December, so I'm already off to a bad start...but if it makes you feel any better, I haven't eaten my chocolate yet either. To make up for it, I'll put up an extra post later tonight.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Day So Far:

Got a letter from the financial aid office saying that they need yet ANOTHER piece of paperwork before they can give me my money for the year. Realized that even when I do turn that paper in, I still am not going to get any money for this summer, so that's fun. Worked on the mountain of papers due before the end of the quarter next week. Kept not having chocolate no matter how many times I checked my purse. Headed off to the group I've been leading for one of my group counseling classes. (I should preface this next sentence with this: I AM TOTALLY FINE!) Managed to hydroplane as I was exiting the freeway and crunched the front end of my car on the center divider. As a result of this I was a couple of minutes late showing up to the school I've been working at, to be met by the principal waving me and my ghetto busted car into the parking lot. Shaky and upset I took a deep breath and headed into the group. I'll keep my description of the group short and sweet. BOYS! TWELVE! RAINY DAY! ENERGY!!!!!! They were working on a project that included writing things on envelope labels. About half way through the group someone had stuck a label to the back of my sweater. Which was excellent because I had just been thinking that what this day was REALLY missing was a "Kick Me" sign. I peeled the label from my back and began preparing a stern-but-kind lecture about respect and authority and probably spelling. The label said: 
"Ms. Birch is going to be a great counselor". 
I felt a smile spread across my face, and a warm glow spread across my heart. All in all? Not a bad day.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How many times is too many times to write "hate" in all caps?

I'm sitting in the library trying with ALL MY HEART to study even a little tiny bit for the test I have Friday. And also work on the little (read: HUGELY TIME CONSUMING) project also due Friday. But you know what? A lot of things keep getting in my way. Here they are:

1) Facebook. Too many status updates to read/too many people willing to chat. If only there a way to turn off that function. 

2) Gmail.

3) I hate this assignment.

4) Mari accidently drove away with all of my books.

5) Having to use the online resources are making problems 1 & 2 waaaaay too accessible.

6) Suddenly remembered I had a blog. So of course I HAD to go post immediately, because I wouldn't want to neglect my faithful readers.

7) Lauren is being particularly unhelpful, stealing my caffy mints, spreading falsehoods about me all around the a wonder I still soldier on.

8) Did I mention how much I HATE this assignment?

I'd tell you all about the fascinating class that leads me to post here tonight, but I'm feeling bitter about it and I would HATE to complain.