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Archive for January, 2009

Today my sister and I are going to spend some time in Berkeley, and I can’t wait. We’re going to go to 4th Street which has a bunch of fun shops, restaurants, and lots of “people watching” opportunities.

The impetus for the whole trip (besides being able to spend some time together) is that one of LC’s favorite stores is closing. Hydra is a unique bath shop, filled with lots of fun things to make your bath time so much more relaxing, rejuvenating, and enjoyable. My personal favorite is their “chill pill” line of bath balls that make the bath water so luxurious. I recently saw that they have chill pill shower steamers, so I’m going to find out what those are all about. Since Hydra in Berkeley is closing, we thought we should make a quick trip to Berkeley to see what great sales we could cash in on.

I’m also looking forward to having a yummy sushi lunch. I don’t know why, but I’ve been craving sushi for a while now, and since LC loves sushi too, we decided that’s what we’re going to have for lunch. The fun thing about going to lunch with LC is that she is adventurous as I am when it comes to trying exotic cuisines. She’s probably even more adventurous in her tastes than I am. Since her hubby is more of a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy, she always takes advantage of our meals together as a time to get her “fix” of more exotic food.

The best part of the day is going to be spending time with my sister. It’s been a little while since our last sister day, and I’m in need of some one-on-one time. It’s been a really crazy week at work, and nothing is more relaxing than spending time with LC. Our sister days are so good for my soul.

Can’t wait to see what kind of retail trouble we can get into.

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Update:

We definitely got into some great retail trouble, but it was so much fun.  Actually for once LC spent more than I did.  She was definitely in the buying mood!

(BTW, we didn’t end up having sushi because the Japanese restaurant we found didn’t serve sushi.  We did end up at a really nice French/California bistro, which was really good).

A really cool surprise for the day was that there was a Chinese New Year celebration, complete with dancers, drums, and dragons.  They closed off a small side street and we were able to witness it all while we had lunch.

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All in all, it was another wonderful sister day.  Just what I needed!

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I just finished watching yesterday’s Oprah show and was so moved by this song. I hope you enjoy it.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Today’s inaugural poem was beautiful, touching, and so deeply meaningful.  To me, Elizabeth Alexander could have done a much better job with the reading of the poem.  It’s strange, maybe she was nervous.  For who better to read a poem than the poet who wrote it? 

No matter what you thought of the reading of the poem, I find beauty in the power of the words, and cannot wait to read all of the new sentences that will be written. 

Praise Song for the Day
By Elizabeth Alexander

Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other,
catching each others’ eyes or not,
about to speak or speaking.

All about us is noise.
All about us is noise and bramble,
thorn and din,
each one of our ancestors on our tongues.

Someone is stitching up a hem,
darning a hole in a uniform,
patching a tire,
repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere
with a pair of wooden spoons
on an oil drum with cello,
boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.

A farmer considers the changing sky.

A teacher says, “Take out your pencils. Begin.”

We encounter each other in words,
words spiny or smooth,
whispered or declaimed;
words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways
that mark the will of someone
and then others who said,
“I need to see
what’s on the other side;
I know there’s something better
down the road.”

We need to find a place where we are safe.
We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain, that many have died for this day.
Sing the names of the dead
who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks,
raised the bridges,
picked the cotton and the lettuce,
built brick by brick
the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean
and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle.
Praise song for the day.

Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring it out at kitchen tables.
Some live by “Love thy neighbor as thy self.”
Others by “first do no harm,”
or “take no more than you need.”

What if the mightiest word is love,
love beyond marital, filial, national.
Love that casts a widening pool of light.
Love with no need to preempt grievance.

In today’s sharp sparkle,
this winter air,
anything can be made,
any sentence begun.

On the brink,
on the brim,
on the cusp –
praise song
for walking forward in that light.

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Change is finally here.  Today’s the day.  It seems like we’ve been waiting forever.

We are all witnessing history in the making.

Obama’s Inauguration – January 20, 2009

After eight years of devastation and disappointment (to put it mildly), I am once again proud of my president.

00010201-CPS-obama-001 President Obama, I am so proud to be an American today.  Thank you for renewing my hope in my country’s future.

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Tonight I got home from a fairly long bike ride.  It was dark out, and I was tired from riding my bike fast to get home before it got too late.  (Long story about why I was out riding my bike that late).  Anyway, I had my iPhone tucked into my arm, but I didn’t have it in “locked” mode, unbeknownst to me.

As I was walking into my house, through the dark kitchen, I suddenly heard a voice.  I got concerned, thinking, “is someone in here?”  I heard the voice again, and started to get even more worried.  What the hell was going on?  Finally, I heard it again, this time, my sister’s voice saying, “HELLO??”

I guess I accidentally called her.  Too funny.  We both laughed hard when I told her what was going through my mind as I walked into the dark house.  We ended up talking for about 45 minutes; the two of us always have something to talk about, even if the call is accidental.

At one point my 6-year-old niece, T, wanted to say hello.  I love talking to her on the phone now because she’s really easy to understand.  I remember talking to her when she was 3 or 4 and not really being able to understand her on the phone.  Anyway, T was very excited to share a rhyme she had learned at school last week:

Martin Luther King was a great man,
What a great man was he.
A teacher, a preacher, and a man of God.
He had a dream for you and me.

The rhyme gets repeated 3 times, and when she was between the 2nd and 3rd verse, she paused and said, “Zia, there’s one more.”  It was so adorable!  Both my sister and I laughed at the same time, and T said, very earnestly, “Well, I just wanted to let you know.”  And then she finished the rhyme.

I love that she learned about Martin Luther King Jr. in such a fun way.  She’s only in first grade, but the rhyme helped her learn why she had the day off of school on Monday.  Too sweet.

So, an accidental phone call ended up in a great moment between my sister, my niece, and I.

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Regular readers of this blog may be wondering why my writing has been so infrequent.

Last year (December 2007), I started a weight loss blog as a way for me to write about my journey.  What began as a secondary blog to share my weight loss stats has turned into a primary blog with a community of weight loss bloggers who offer me amazing support and encouragement.

Living a healthy life has become the primary focus of my life.  This encompasses weight loss, exercising, trying new recipes, attending WW, and celebrating all the little victories that add up to huge success on the scale and beyond.

I guess you could say that taking care of myself and losing weight have become a sort of hobby for me. But the word “hobby” doesn’t even begin to cover what embarking and continuing on this journey means to me.  It’s all-encompassing, and it feels amazing.

Which means that if you want to read my writing on a daily (or almost daily) basis, you should bookmark Bella on the Beach, my weight loss blog.

I’ll still be writing here, but it will be less frequent.  I want to save this blog for truly amazing, inspiring, funny, and poignant things that happen in my life. Sometimes, these things happen several times a week; other times, they may happen only a few times a month.

Life is good, and I couldn’t be happier.

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babysitting Babysitting duty, that is!

Thursday my sister roped me into babysitting tonight.  You know those conversations that start with, “So, what are you doing on Saturday night?”  My pat answer is usually, “well, I have a few things going on, why?”  Just to see what the other person might suggest.  That way, I don’t have to commit to something without knowing what I’m getting into.  But, since it was my sister, I said, “oh, not too much.”  To which she replied, “oh, good, then you wouldn’t mind babysitting for T & E while R and I go to my friend’s house for a party.”

Wait a minute!  Are you telling me that the married-with-2-kids sister is going to party and the single, devil-may-care sister is going to be home on a Saturday night babysitting?  What’s wrong with this picture?!

Not that I don’t love my nieces, because I do.  I like spending time with them.  I like to think of myself as the “fun aunt.”  They love Zia (Italian for aunt) because I like to play dolls or watch movies with them.  But usually at my parents’ house, and usually only for a short amount of time.  The thought of being completely responsible for them scares me for some strange reason.

I mean, it’s not like I didn’t babysit when I was a teenager, because I did.  But that was before I had a car, or friends who had cars, and I wanted money to buy that future car.  It was fun to get out of my house and be in charge.  When LC first asked me, I was hesitant.  I’m not sure why.  I guess part of the reason I’ve decided not to have kids is because I don’t want all that responsibility.

Then I reminded myself that it was only for 4-5 hours; not even overnight.  I could deal.  Plus, we could make it fun and say we were having a pajama party.  Which is why I’m in my comfy, cozy pjs as I write this at 6:35pm on a Saturday night.  That’s right, it’s a rockstar lifestyle, aren’t you jealous?

I have popcorn and hot cocoa, so we’re all set on the snacks front.  LC’s bringing DVDs – I heard mention of a My Little Pony movie and The Bee Movie.  And I think she’s going to pack a board game in the bags somewhere, too.  My youngest niece is only 17 months, so she’ll go to bed fairly early.  My 6 year old niece and I will have a great time, I’m sure.

Plus, I think it will be good for me to see “how the other half lives.”  You know, the half that is selfless, and puts others needs in front of their own?  Ya, them.  I’m not usually one of them, so this will be an interesting experiment.

I just hope we all make it out unscathed.  😛

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Update: It’s 10:20, and both kids are sleeping.  T (6 yrs) fell asleep after playing with magnetic paper dolls (very cool!), having some popcorn, sugar free hot chocolate, and lots of School House Rock.  My sis told me that T had been talking about coming over here all day.  She was so excited to go to Zia’s house.  🙂  That really just melts my heart, you know?  Fun times.

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