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News and a move! February 20, 2010

Posted by Michelle, with dignity in Uncategorized.
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I know that moving can cause all kind of confusion, but it is the nature of things.

I have a new blog, http://mrs.dimwell.net

And a new blog title Mother with Dignity

Because, well, Chris and I are expecting a child in late August of this year, and life is now about being a mother.

So catch me there, and say hello!

Protesters January 30, 2010

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On a big intersection in town, two seperate groups of proteters gather every Saturday. One group holds anti-war signs that say “peace”, “war is not the answer” and “bring out soldiers home safe”.

The other group hold signs that say “the traitors are across the street” and “they can protest because of our soldiers” and other such negative messages.

I personally think they’re missing the point.

An exercise is superficiality, or my top products of 2009 January 14, 2010

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My weakness this past year was definitely makeup and other related products.  (I hate that they’re called “beauty products”.  I think that makes people feel that they’re not beautiful without them.  lame.)

So, here’s my top products of 2009! (a bit late, yes.  deal with it.)

1.  Stila’s Kitten eyeshadow.  It’s a beautiful goldey-pink-champagne shimmer that just glides on super smooth.  I’m almost out of this, and will definitely be repurchasing. It’s a little on the pricey side at $16, but this one pan has lasted forever, and I use it all the time.

2. Mascaras this year are tied.  I do love MAC’s Plushlash mascara.  It volumizes, separates, and leaves beautiful wispy lashes that aren’t overly dramatic.  But, I am a huge fan of super dramatic lashes, so I do love L’oreal’s voluminous full definition as well.  It can be a little difficult to work with, but if you comb through with a spoolie while it’s still wet, the end product is beautifully volumized and dramatic lashes.

3.  Best cleanser this year is probably going to Keihl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser.  It’s a non-drying facial cleanser that leaves my skin clean, refreshed, and not at all dry or tight feeling.

4. I found MAC’s Mineralize Skinfininsh Natural powder to be my favorite powder/base.  It doesn’t break me out, it never looks cakey or powdery on my skin, and it evens out my skin tone very well.

5. Fredderick Fekkai Au Natural dry shampoo is a godsend.  This product helps me have second day hair for the first time in my entire life.  My bangs always get so greasy, but with this product I’m able to go two days (sometimes) without washing my hair, and this is a life-changer.

6. My favorite lipgloss this past year was MAC’s Love Nectar lusterglass.  It’s a beautiful sparkly apricot color.

7.  My favorite body lotion is the same as it is every year.  I keep trying other kinds, but always go back to Aveeno’s regular Body Lotion.  It’s just perfect.

The natural order of things, whether I like it or not January 11, 2010

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I spent a few hours today watching one of my favorite documentaries ever – BBC’s Planet Earth, and I think I noticed a few things about myself while watching it.

Leave it to me to pick apart my feelings during a documentary!

I got angry when I thought about the big bully animals chasing down defenseless tiny baby caribou.  I felt serious pain when the crocodile jumped out of the river and took his sweet time drowning a wildebeast.  My heart hurt when a pack of hyena killed an impala.

But when the beautiful snow leopard couldn’t catch dinner for her and her mate, and they might die of hunger, I felt seriously saddened for them.  She walked slowly back to her little cave, and was met at the entrance by her mate.  And it was obvious that they cared for each other.  They licked and rubbed and then disappeared into their home to wait for another chance for food.

Am I more sad because a beautiful, graceful animal didn’t find dinner, or am I more said about the impala and the caribou?  When I realized I was definitely more sad about the snow leopard not finding food, I was a little shocked.

I mean, it’s sad when anything dies.  But it the natural order of things, and I do realize that crocodiles and hyenas and wolves must eat.  Just like I need to eat.

I was worried at first that I was being a little unfair (it’s not racist, but perhaps it’s species-ist) to the bully animals that aren’t pretty.  But that wasn’t it.

I suppose it’s more devastating for a majestic animal to die of starvation than it is for an impala to make the ultimate sacrifice for the lives of another.

How I found my peace, purpose, and the feeling that I’m where I’m supposed to be January 7, 2010

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Since the beginning of my blog, I’ve been searching for my “something” else.

And I don’t know when, and I’m not really sure how I came upon it, but one day, sometime in the last year, I felt like I’ve found my purpose, what I live for, my “something” that I spent so many years yearning for.

I wish I could tell everyone what I did, or what was said, or what I thought when I found my peace.  I want to help other people find that calm and solace that happens when you no longer feel like there’s a constant hole in your heart, and pull for something “more”.

I see it in coworkers and friends (and coworkers who are friends), and I tell them that their depression, their longing, their want is normal, it’s pretty much the typical quarter-life crisis, when you see that a freaking quarter of your life gone, poof – just like that, and you still don’t know what the eff you’re doing with it.

What did I do?  I read some philosophy, some ancient, some modern.  I read some literature.  Some old, and some new.  I did a lot of crafting.  And a lot of introspection, and that dug up a lot of shit I didn’t really like about myself.  So, I changed it.  And I looked for the positive.  And while I have a job that doesn’t necessarily provide trust funds for posterity, it provides me with a little joy in my day to day.  Because I like making people smile, and an easy way to do that is to ask them how their day was when they come in for a coffee or latte.

So, perhaps my best advice is not to go on a giant epic search for that thing that makes you happy.  Perhaps it is to find that thing that makes you happy where you are today, right now, and in this space.  With the cards that you were dealt today.  And once you can find that, I think more falls into place.

Reducing the “footprint” January 3, 2010

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This year, Chris and I have made the decision to change a lot of things about the way we live.

One of the things we’re going to change is our eating habits.  While I successfully ate a larger amount of fresh fruits and veggies this past year than the year before (as stated in my resolution from 2009), we have set a goal to cook more things from scratch, hopefully completely scratch with as many ingredients from our garden and mixing our own seasonings instead of buying packets full of tasty things with preservatives and hidden sodiums and who knows what else.  We’ve also made a decision to buy more produce organic and/or locally, and will certainly be looking into a CSA, perhaps even sharing the CSA with someone so that the cost and amount of food is more manageable.  I’m also going to learn to bake my own bread and make my own pasta and tortillas.

Not only is this in an attempt to create a healthier lifestyle for ourselves, and any future mini-selves that we might have, but it’s also an attempt at conserving and living a “greener” life.

Another step that I’m going to make, and I’m sure Chris will agree, is to cut down on our waste.  In a given week, we don’t accumulate that much garbage between the two of us.  Most of the time, when trash day comes, there’s usually one or two kitchen bags, and a small bag (courtesy of the cats).  And I feel that this is reasonable.  But, we’re going to buy filters and pitchers instead of buying gallon jugs of filtered water (this is my biggest weakness.  no joke), and I am going to make a very serious effort to utilize my reusable cups at work more than I do.  I will be purchasing some cleaning supplies, like extra towels and things to replace our paper towels for day to day use, and hopefully start using cloth napkins instead of disposables.

We live a very comfortable life, full of conveniences, and when we step back and look at those conveniences, we realize that with a little extra effort, and possibly one more load of laundry every week, we can cut down on our waste, help save the environment in a city that does VERY little to support that cause, and hopefully have a higher quality of life.  Oh, and to also save some monies in the long run.  We will be reevaluating our spending habits in an attempt at living off of one income.  (OMG yikes.)

I wish I could add “drive less” to this list, but with just about everywhere we need to be outside of driving distance, it’s just not feasible at this time.

Who’s got the funk? December 26, 2009

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I must admit that I had a very difficult time being in the Christmas spirit this year.  I tried very hard, and wanted to be in the spirit of things.  But it just wasn’t as magical as Christmas can be.

(As I type this, my cat Nettles is climbing all over my and getting in my face.  I love her, and it’s cute, but it’s making this exceedingly difficult.)

I decorated the house, had a Christmas tree for the first time, baked yummy Christmas goodies, hung stockings on our mantel, sent Christmas cards.  I even watched Love Actually twice, trying to coax myself into the mood.

But it never came.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed spending time with my family, and I love buying and making things for people that I love.  I love watching them open their presents, and I even enjoy opening my own.  (haha)

But something was missing. Perhaps next year, things will be different.  And maybe this year will have been my last retail Christmas.  And perhaps next year, I won’t feel like I’m in such a funk.

The only thing I ever wanted to learn (from Starbucks) December 21, 2009

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I just had to share this.

A few minutes ago, I received this email from a coworker…

I had the most wonderful experience at work today.  I was taking an order from a pleasant faced woman. She was ordering a Grande Caramel Brulee Latte.  She was dressed for the weather.  She was wearing a large gray cable sweater and matching knit hat.  On her sweater was the sweetest long, sterling and enamel Santa Clause Pin with the Santa sitting on top of a Christmas Tree.  I said to her, “I love your Santa Pin. My Mother just loves Santa Clauses.” She looked down and unhooked the pin and started to handed it to me.  I thought she was letting me look at the pin up close but then she shook her head and said, “I didn’t remember what I had on.  Here, give it to your Mother.” I was stunned.  I talk to people all day long and compliment them on their looks, clothes, jewelry, and perfume but never have I had someone hand over their possessions to me.  I said with aghast, “Absolutely not!” She looked up at me so disappointed and sad. She said to me, “Really? If you give it to your Mother it would bless my day.” I looked up into her guiless face and said, “Yes, I will take it to my Mother and she will adore it! Thank you. Thank you.” I put my arms out to her and she hugged me.  I was speachless.  The woman left to pick up her drink.  Finally, shaking myself free I looked up at the next person in line.  This woman didn’t seemed fazed at all by what had just happened.  I said to her, “I can’t believe she gave me her pin!?”  The woman smiled, looked at me and said, “That’s my Mother.  She does stuff like this all the time.”  I have to admit she looked very proud.

I am crying as I write this.

J

I can’t really explain just how rare it is to experience a random act of kindness while working behind the bar at Starbucks. I mean, the majority of our customers are really quite nice and pleasant, and they are why I enjoy doing what I do at work.

But for someone to actually display a kindness to a “random” barista is just so rare, and it gives me hope for the human race as a whole, that there are some out there who would rather do something nice for others than not.  It’s touching.

And I’m going to try to remember that every day.  That there are nice people out there.  They might be few and far between, but they’re there.

Top 5 Albums of 2009 December 21, 2009

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Because I used to do this years ago on LiveJournal, and because well, why the hell not, I’m going to do a series of “top” lists for 2009!

Disclaimer: If one of these wasn’t actually released in 2009, then I’m so sorry.  But it’s my top 5 for the year, so there!

1.  Anjunabeats Volume 7.  I have developed an even deeper love of Trance music this year, most due  to Above & Beyond (and Alex).

2. Lady Gaga’s The Fame Monster. That woman has talent and vision, and goes for it balls-to-the-wall.  And I love her.  Seriously.

3. The Resistance by Muse.  I seriously enjoy listening to Muse.  While this album wasn’t by any means a “great stride” in their style, it was a really great album, and it’s just like Muse to keep your head bobbing through the whole thing.

4. A few weeks ago, I discovered Metric’s newest release, Fantasies, and immediately fell in love with this band.  I kept hearing the name EVERYWHERE, so I checked them out on youtube, and decided it was definitely worth $9.99 from itunes.  I hand-heart Metric now.

5. And here’s the album that wasn’t released this year, so don’t get your panties in a wad.  :)  It’s actually pretty old, but I found myself listening to this nonstop this fall, and it really helped me through a lot of shit.  Death Cab for Cutie, your We Have the Facts and the Answer is Yes, even though it was released 5 or 6 years ago, was one of my top for 2009.  There is something about its sound that just helped take me away from my head.

So, there’s my favorites for 2009.

And I reserve the right to edit this list at a later time.  Just in case.

That time I had freaking nosy neighbors (and some loud ones) December 15, 2009

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A tweet from Renee reminded me of some good laughs I had over some neighbors that I had a few years ago while living in a cute little rental house in a quiet little cul-de-sac in a small neighborhood of my hometown.

One may about 4 years ago, my VBFF Alex and I moved into a rental house (owned by my mother-in-law, or MIL for short.  But she wasn’t quite my MIL yet.) It was a cute three-bedroom rancher, with enough room for us to have our space, but not so big we couldn’t handle it.  AND it was for an excellent price.  It’s located in a working class sort of neighborhood, full of hard working people but little expendible income, pretty much exactly like us.  Except for their quirks.  Which were nothing like ours. (Which is a completely different post, and one I should totally write.  What I learned while living with Alex!)

When we moved into the house, we found out that the neighbors across the street knew MIL, and dude asked about us.  She told him we were good girls, who worked hard and I was in school and Alex was working and applying to grad schools (like another job really).  He let her know pretty much everything we did.  When other cars were there overnight, and who knows what else.

Then Chris and I got married, and Alex moved out, and Chris moved in.  And the neighbor told MIL that “oh, one of those girls you have living in that house had her boyfriend move in.”  All judgey and holy.  And MIL laughed in his face and said “yeah, she married my grandson and so he moved in.”

Well, a few whiles after we were married, and good friend moved back to town and needed a place to get back on her feet.  It was fun living with Chrissy, and that’s another post, too, for another day.  But we freaking became the scandal of the neighborhood.  We couldn’t leave the house, together, separately, or alone, without some stupid neighbor peeking out the window and I’m sure speculating on what sin was going on in our house.  Because you can’t have a roommate, we were apparently spinsters.  Jesus.

So the guy across the street asked MIL about that one, too.  All judgey and holy.  And she laughed in his face again.  Because WTF is wrong with having a roommate?

Oh, and the loud neighbor?  Yeah, the people that lived next door were loud and obnoxious.  It was an older lady, her daughter, and her daughters kids.  When the daughter wasn’t yelling at her baby daddy in the middle of the night and bashing in his windshield with a baseball bat, the older lady was yelling at the kid and being downright rude.  So yeah.  That was a fun cul-de-sac.

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