Thursday, December 27, 2007

29 Year Streak

So I made it 29 whole years without seeing someone get shot. I really wish I could have made it longer.

Last night my friends from school and I were out to a nice dinner at Mi Piache in Old Town Pasadena (one of my favorite places to be) and we were having a grand time, toasting our graduated selves and feeling all hip and eating-in-an-awesomely-decorated-window front-gourmet-Italian restaurant in Pasadena. Our food took much longer than we were anticipating and we were a bit annoyed but still happy. The bread was good and so was my mint tea. It was a fabulous night.

Then across the street we heard 3 pops. Now, Pasadena's big gig is New Years - people celebrate for like 3 weeks so I thought it was a fire cracker or three but I saw this guy book it down Colorado Blvd and this other guy kind of stagger out into the street looking like a loose marionette.

The whole restaurant stopped. Every buzz of across the room conversation and clanking pan froze. Nearly every guy in the place stood up (not the women though - I found that interesting). The LA Times reported this morning that apparently there was an argument between the two and a possible racial slur slipped. I don't know. No one does apparently- But he shot a man. Three times. At 7:30 in the evening. On a crowded street. In a shopping district. The day after Christmas. Right in front of me.

After the first two minutes of realization the silence left and was replaced with the worried murmurs instead of happy well fed chatter. I kept wanting the restaurant's manager to get up and say something, recognize that something had happened and that the authorities had it under control but no one appeared. One server next to our table said something like "this thing never happens here" and shes right. Old Town Pasadena is one of the most patrolled and guarded places in Pasadena. There is a Tiffany's there for crying out loud.

We left as soon as we could manage to get a check and as we were walking back to the car we passed by this delicious natural oil, soap, and lotion store called Lather that's next door to Mi Piache and the whole window front was shattered by a stray bullet. No one was in the store when it came through the window but if that gunman had been so mad and had moved that gun an inch further back that bullet would have gone right into the restaurant.

How sad.
How horrible.
How... completely out of my realm of normalcy

And strangely, I feel fine. I felt fine then. Everyone stood up but I put my head down. That was not an image I wanted to be burned into my head any more than it was and I was grateful for the bundle of people already standing up blocking me from the window. My friend Sean was the one doing the looking and all that other hard stuff. It was all so surreal how unaffected I felt. My friend NaToya pointed out how fortunate it was that our food took so long because we could have been outside when it happened.

I just can't believe how this time of year brings out the absolute best and absolute worst in people. I can't believe how someone would pull out a GUN over an argument and then shoot someone in the BACK??!

There is no honor or reckoning in that. The gunman was in custody within minutes along with the weapon so its not like he bettered his position at all either. The whole thing is just miles outside of my understanding. Maybe that's why I'm not shaken, because I just don't get it.

Also - I have a brother on a mission with means blessings. Blessings of protection and blessings of peace. The though of my brother being in that position brings me instantly to tears, just witnessing something like that, but I'm OK. Very surprisingly OK.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Daytime Twinkle Lights

So its Christmas Eve and I'm taking a bit of a breather so I decided to check in. I've been lame-o of lame-os in terms of being a blog maven this month. I have sufficient excuses but I still feel lame. But I've finally had sufficient time to actually think about stuff outside of a deadline and gotten sufficient sleep to string more than 3 coherent thoughts together as well.

As a total aside - Sleep is really underrated. Americans need to embrace the concept. Like make it socially acceptable to take a nap during the day and make you a social bozo if you're out past 11. It just makes EVERYTHING better.

But on to Christmas -

I'm really excited. I'm always excited but I love Christmas because it the perfect occasion to give the gifts I've been wanting to give all year long. I somehow have acquired a number of amazing friends and family members that have this complex about gifts and so I don't get to give them "just because" (which is my favorite time to give a gift) because they don't know how to receive them too well. I don't really care for the gift obligation that occasions warrant - but that's besides the point. I think gifts should be given just because. Like hugs and breath mints and nights out for sushi and any other manifestations of love and regard you can think of.

"because I love you and you're there you should have this."

I think that's how it should be, but since its Christmas I get to incorporate the Savior so its a two-fer! Testimony builder and chance to tell someone that I love them. Super Yay!

I've gotten a few gifts already and I adore all of them but I think the best one I've received thus far is peace of mind.

Earlier this week I had a dream -
And this isn't a MLKJr kind of dream or a Lehi dream or a Midsummer Night's kind. Just a woke up, went back to sleep, had a really potent dream kind of dream. Now, I'm usually not all metaphysical like this but I cannot just put away the veracity of this experience. So yeah I had a dream, but I was taught a really good lesson too.

A bit of background first though:
So I'm pretty thick when it comes to the whole "love thing". I'm clueless when its in front of my face and have managed to only get myself into the twit of love when its not received and/or returned. I totally own it. Its ridiculous and I'm working on it but you kind of can only practice being in a relationship when you're IN a relationship and because of my near/farsighted approach to the whole matter that makes practice a bit difficult.

As a result I regularly ask myself some hard questions:
Since the whole true-love thing is all but a mystery to me what if its in front of my face and I don't even recognize it?
What if (past people) was the real thing and I let it go because it wasn't what I was expecting? What if I've read too many fairy tales and Jane Austen to be realistic about this love thing? Why can't I just get out of my own way?

So I had this dream - and you know those kinds of dreams that aren't just shapes and people and events. The kind that feel real. The way things smell and feel are real. The feelings you feel are real, the conversations you have are real. It all is just in a super clear, super real universe. But especially the feelings. ALL of the feelings are real and they change you a little bit. You feel fear and happiness and excitement and The Spirit and everything else. The real kind of dreams. Well this was one of those dreams. I've only had dreams like this a few times and they've typically been about things that are really important to me.

In this dream I was up in Utah (at grad school apparently) and I was at this big choir practice and there was this guy there. We met, went on a date, and it was this whole montaged courtship but it was the best kind of courtship. I was totally in love but it wasn't the sparks a-flying wand waving kind. It was the puzzle piece kind. Like it just fit and it was wonderful and comfortable and I was wholly accepted and loved. Like he was looking specifically for me and had found me, I wasn't just someone he had settled for (which is a darkened and locked back room fear I have). It was wonderful and I think that it was a gift. It was an answer to a prayer I hadn't even said. I think it was God familiarizing me with how love should be and whats in store so that I can recognize that kind of love and him when he comes along.

I have never felt more at peace on the matter than I am right now or have had so many "what ifs" erased from past twits.

Merry Christmas Lizzie,
Know that you're loved and know that you know how to love. No worries.
Heavenly Father

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wednesday Giggles

But on a Thursday sorry - things kind of got away from me yesterday. Anywho-

These guys are called "Flight of the Concords". They're a New Zealand comedy music duo who are worth their weight in gold and have their own sitcom that is worth its weight in platinum.

As you can see-
This is Bret's Angry Dance

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I have a feeling this is just the beginning -

So Nick left on his mission this morning.
The original plan was to say goodbye at the airport and put him one the 6 am flight to SLC, get picked up by my brother there, have breakfast with my Uncle and report at 12:30 at the MTC.

Well - it was raining and they got a late start and there was traffic at 4:30 in the morning so they ended getting there at 515 to catch a 6am flight and dad told me the wrong airline so I parked at the wrong terminal. On farthest side of the airport from the right one.

That morning at home dad's phone broke too so he could get calls but not make them so even though Nick corrected him on the ride over he still couldn't call me and Nick had already turned his phone off. *sigh*

So when I called dad looking for them. In the rain. At 5 am. At the Ontario airport. In my pajamas. Before sunrise. Dad said he'd drop off Nick and then come get me and ferry me to the right terminal and he did. So we were checking in his luggage (that was 5lbs over the limit "$50 please") and realized his flight was going to close and board in two minutes and there was a 20 minute line for the luggage x-ray drop off and then there was the real security to get through. So we looked at each other and he turned around and rescheduled for the next flight to SLC (because there was no way on God's beautiful green Earth and in the physical world that he was going to make that flight).

So we said our teary goodbyes - all of us broke down and we waved to him going up the escalators and then went home and tried to pretend that things were normal.

Turns out that he was shaking and crying all the way through security and when he got to the gate he found out the flight was delayed 2.5 hours! So he had to sit there in this traumatic (though very important) moment and wait. The plane was a tuna fish can and he probably would have been more comfortable riding strapped to the wing or in the cargo bay but he wasn't. He was squashed between BO man and the colicy newborn all the way to SLC where Jonathan was waiting. They jammed to the MTC (pit stopping at Carl's Jr. for good measure and because he hadn't eaten anything and had been up the entire nigth before), and he reported 4 hours late.

His companion must have been freaking out! I called the MTC as soon as I heard and I just said "my brother's flight was delayed and he missed his 12:30 report time. His name is -" and the sweet lady at the front desk said "Nicholas _____" and I said "Yes- that's my brother. I take it you noticed he wasn't there." so that really reassured me.

The MTC is looking out. Heavenly Father is looking out. Not that I ever doubted it but the conceptual-to-tangible transition with the mission was a doozie for me [Enter Weepy Liz]. I was a mess the day he brought home the rest of his shopping asked how to do the "sew on a button thing" and was thumbing through is brand new Missionary Library. My baby brother is off to the world. I'm still crying about it. It's mixed emotion city. I'm deliriously happy for him and confident he'll be the best thing that's happened to missionary work since Parley P. Pratt, but I also will mourn the gaping hole in my everyday life that his absence will be. It's a marvelous thing to have a close knit family and it kills when they have to go. Yay for true doctrine! Opposition in all things. It's part of The Plan and the only way out is through.

So here I go. Here it goes.

Screaming babies, overweight luggage, long hugs, used Kleenex, airport food and growing up and all.

Here we go.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Grab Bag Catch-Up

IE - a bunch of thoughts that I've had that are post worthy but that I simply haven't gotten to:

I'm a college graduate. That's right. I need to keep saying it so that it will be real cause I'm still not believing it.

Nick reports to the MTC the day after tomorrow. I have cried and and I will miss him desperately but I am happy for him. He's the best brother ever and has worked hard and long to be able to serve. Dropping 50 lbs in 6 months is no easy feat. It finally hit me last week when he came home with the remainder of his shopping. I was beside myself for a good part of the night but a Mom chat and a Patrick chat helped. I made it through the farewell without breaking down and he asked me to sing all 7 verses of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" and I got through all of those without any eye fanning too. That's a fantastic feat for me. I hate breaking down while singing. It's so not professional (not that I am one - but its just so Youth Conference ya know) but I've done it the last two family missionary events I've sung at. I'm glad I broke the cycle. With him gone I will be in the market for a new Indie film and gym buddy. Anybody an LA Fitness member with a taste for angst and ambiguity?

On Saturday Patrick and I were catching the Mellowdrone set at The Echo and who was crossing the street with us? None but Michael Cera (George Michael from Arrested Development) and he was short and exactly how he is on the show. I felt very LA - it was cool. :D He's a favorite. Yay Michael. He was going to the time travel store and not to the show -but that's OK. I wonder who else is just roaming around Echo Park? Gob perhaps. I really need those DVDs. Like a dog needs food. Seriously.

My Graduation Application is (FINALLY) in for the U and is now being scrutinized by the best and brightest so I need all the happy thoughts and prayers that you can muster for me in the direction of Grad School ascension. And yes, my new copy of my lost novel is coming along fantastically. I'm almost pleased with it. Thanks for asking.

I bought a membership to CostCo and its been a strange experience. See - I've never really shopped at CostCo before. I've gone to one and picked people up from there and enjoyed a dollar hot dog once or twice but I've never gone there with the intent to shop. I'm very much steeped in the "get baked goods at a bakery and meat at a butcher and fruit at a farmers market" school of thought and am a Mom and Pop shopper all the way. But when I was in Utah Jonathan took us shopping at CostCo for wedding stuff and I thought "Self, there might be some merit to this. AND you get discounted gas. Totally worth the 50 bucks over a year right there." But wandering that place with a shopping cart and a list was a very overwhelming experience for me. You would have thought that I had just come from behind the Iron Curtain. I kept bumping into stuff because I was just looking up in wonder half the time. Much like how I was my first time in New York. My internal dialogue went something like this-

"No wonder the rest of the world thinks Americans are gluttons. LOOK at this place??! They have bikes! And Muffins! And coffins! and organic spinach! and leather jackets! and jars of vitamins the size of feedbags! My word. Just call me Gulliver"

I only wanted to get stationary for Nick and some office gifts. The smallest package of pens I could find had 40 pens. What on earth am I going to do with 40 pens? I don't think I've used up 40 pens in my entire college experience. I was so curious I spent two and a half hours there just combing the isles to see the extent of randomness and Oz size portions of everything.

Which leads me to a philosophical point I've been brooding over - but I'll save that for tomorrow- cause I think I have more to say than a Grab Bag snippet would allow.

And just a s Point of Informatio: those Hello Kitty grab bags they have at the mall have been a life long happy thought. I'm prepared when Tinkerbell arrives. I haven't bought one since I was 10 or so but oh how I do love them. How can things be bad when there are Christmas carols and grab bags to be had? I mean really.

I can't get the Whoville Christmas song out of my head.

My best friend is the best and sent my mom cookies and me yarn and keeps me stocked with nephew pictures. Who could ask for more?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Best Hot Chocolate on the Face of the Planet Ever EVER

A few Christmases ago my boss, as office presents, gave us this super super yummy hot chocolate mix in these adorable mugs with some Hershey's kisses and a candy cane. I recently remembered the heaven that those few mug fulls were and asked her for the recipe the other day and made it -

And I am, once again, taken and I needed to share the joy.
3 c powdered sugar
1 c nonfat dry milk
2 c instant NesQuik
3/4 c French Vanilla non-dairy creamer
1 lg (6oz) box of instant chocolate pudding

mix together in a large bowl and store in cool, dry place in an air tight container.

To enjoy: add 3tbs to 1 c of boiling water (adjust according to size of mug and pallet). Add marshmallows and a Hershey's kiss. Stir with a candy cane.
I've yet to find its equivalent. I even like it better than the Ghirardelli stuff - and that's saying something.

The world should know. Seriously.

Wednesday Giggles

So I love this guy -
About a year ago my friend James had come to visit all the way from Utah and he had, like, 3 hours to visit with friends so when he got here he didn't even knock he just walked into my apt, with out even a "hi", walked over to the nearest outlet, set up his laptop and said
"you need to see this guy"

He was right - I did. And so do you -

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I think I'm at one of those cross sections thingies in life.

I just graduated. (yayay Liz :D)

And I'm getting ready for Grad School but I have a little bit of time and a few options. There are a lot actually - there are so many "what ifs" it makes my head hurt so I think I need to write all this out and down to get some clarity. Advice welcome...

A teaching position in an English Program at the College or University level.

Needed items
A graduate degree, knowing someone in the program, and teaching experience

Grad School Game Plan

-If I get accepted to a PhD program at the U and am offered that Fellowship I will start teaching and taking classes there in August.

-If I don't get accepted at the U I'll go on with the Master's program at Cal Poly also starting in August and start working my way around the local Junior Colleges looking for entry points into their English Programs.

Option 1)

With my youngest brother reporting to the MTC and my older brother getting ready to move closer to his job I could move home to save money and keep a better eye on my rapidly aging parents, continue in my current employment which has healthy benefits, is close to home, would be a great position if I go to Grad School at Cal Poly, but consists being inside a grey life sucking cubicle in a morguely silent office, in front of a computer screen with - uh - "characters" for superiors.

Pros- Option 1:
- Save scads of $ and pay off car thereby entering Grad School completely debt free
- only drive 7 minutes to work thereby feeling properly green and less exhausted.
- If volunteering time at a JC is necessary I would be financially OK going part time to free up my schedule
- downsizing of stuff with the move home would facilitate a possible jump to SLC

Cons - Option 1:
- Packing up my entire existing apartment into storage/Goodwill/or Craig's list
- Figuring out how to live with my mother again
- Moving back out once Grad School starts (either here or there) and loosing the sweet deal I have on my place right now (that I love love love)

Option 2
Don't move home, keep working at the same job and wait to hear from the U.

Pros - Option 2:
- Keeping my own apartment, space, time, and privacy a healthy distance from my amazing and devoted family

Cons - Option 2:
- loosing the opportunity to get financially ahead
- continue to drive almost 45 mile a day commuting

Option 3
Take a job cleaning celebrity Hawaiian Villas on Maui for $35/hour till August and then come home when Grad School starts.

Pros - Option 3:
- Living in Hawaii
- Getting a chance to recharge my batteries from my Bachelors before I start Grad School
- Learning to surf
- Fulfilling my lifelong dream of seeing tropical water
- Getting to write on the beach on my days off
- Having a job that is active and plays to some of my greatest joys in live (IE: cleaning)
- Being paid nearly twice what I'm making now and having cost of living be the same as it is here.

Cons - Option 3:
- Having to pack up my existing apt in to storage/Goodwill/Craig's List
- ........

So whats the call? I'm so very tired...

Friday, December 7, 2007


So I feel the burning need to post but I don't have sufficient time to really write so I'm going to do another one of Shelly's games because I love memories and especially memories about Christmas.
So Merry Ho ho ho and stuff :D

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? I'm going to have to go with hot chocolate. My boss made us this gourmet mix stuff one year as office gifts. SO good. It was chocolate, powdered milk, powdered sugar, instant pudding mix, and french vanilla non dairy creamer. My world has never been the same.

Do you wrap your presents or not? I actually really love wrapping presents and making them pretty and getting the right ribbon with just the right the paper. However, I hate having to do it 50 times in one sitting.

Colored lights or white? I love white lights. Its like insta-fairy grotto for anything. Toppled down shack, add a few lights and brrrraaaddding! bearable toppled down shack.

Do you hang mistletoe? No, but I'm always looking for a new tradition to embrace.

When do you put up your decorations? I don't have a specific time. Either before finals to avoid studying or after so usually the first two weeks of December but NOT before Thanksgiving. That's a promise

What is your favorite holiday dish? On Christmas Eve mom always puts out those little cocktail weenies in BBQ sauce and toothpicks. I never eat them because I was traumatized by a hot dog manufacturing video once and I typically don't care for BBQ sauce but the second I smell them I start singing Little Drummer Boy.

Favorite memory as a child? About Christmas or in general? Well Christmas memory wise I remember one time when I was about 6 or 7 and we had just gotten the Christmas tree and we were decorating it (that was my favorite part). Our tree is composed of ornaments that each kid got some different year. We all get one every year so when we take them all out the next year we get to reminisce about every other Christmas before. Christopher was always some form or a Drummer Boy, I was some Angel cognate, Jonathan was a Nutcracker, and Nick was a bear usually. Well anyways - we had to go to sleep before the tree was finished and I was pretty heart broken but I was so excited about it that I couldn't sleep. So I went back upstairs to the front room after Mom and Dad had finished and gone to bed and everything was dark the parentals kept the tree lit and it was so magical to my 6 year old eyes in that dark room. I just sat on the floor in front of it and soaked it up. I think I fell asleep there but coming up the stairs to the soft glow of a lit and decorated tree was pretty awesome.

When and how did you learn about Santa? I can't remember exactly. I think Christopher outlined it out for me when I was about 7

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes - growing up we opened one and it was always new pjs. Not too shabby.

How do you decorate your tree? Well family wise see #8. My tree in my apt I use ribbon and some stock ball ornaments and I've decided to buy a pretty ornament every year too so I only really have 2 noteworthy ones but give me time. :D I'm thinking about starting to collect the Wedgwood ornaments. My friend Adrienne does that and it seems so classy and lady like to me so I might shamelessly copy her. it or dread it? After my recent snowing in experience in Utah I think I can honestly say that I love it as long as I have good socks and gloves and don't have to drive. It somehow makes things more homey. Like home is not just a good place to be - its where you want to be and seems warmer. That and you feel like you're on Hoth but without the snowbeasts

Can you ice skate? I haven't attempted in years but I can hold my own. Its like riding a bike. Right?

Do you remember your favorite gift? My grandparents gave me the entire Anne of Green Gables series one year and a swatch. I don't think I've been happier in my entire life.

What is the most important part of the holidays? Reaching out to other people. I think that we live 75% of our life in the 4 weeks in December. We visit more and party more and shop more and travel more and eat more and just blah - and if you have people to love and go to its marvelous but there are a lot of people who don't have someones and its torture. I want to give them a hug. That and the Music. Yay for people regularly singing about the Savior. Its beautiful.

Favorite holiday dessert? hmm - probably my great grandma's sugar cookies. Mostly because I like to nibble at the dough when its chilling but nothing screams Christmas more than that to me.

Favorite tradition? Every year on Christmas Eve we do our candle ceremony. When my parents were married a squillion years ago my Nana gave my mom this beautiful German carved pillar candle with a music box in the bottom that played Silent Night and every year we light that candle and play the music and Daddy reads Luke II. When hes done and the music box finishes we each have our own little personal candles (nutcrackers, angels, bears, drummer boys) and we light it from the central candle to remind ourselves about the Light of Christ and how that's where we draw our strength from and why we sing. Then we sing with the music box again, open presents and go to bed. I love Christmas.

Favorite Christmas Carol? Lo How a Rose and Gesu Bambino

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Wednesday Giggles

So - A LOT has happened this last week.
The bro is officially married
I got snowed in under 7+" of snow. Very pretty and fun snow mind you. But snow nevertheless.
Slept on a couch for a week.
Got to hang out with some old friends (a few stories there)
Fell in love with another golden child - (more stories there too)

I promise to blog about it all ad nausium as soon as grad apps and GREs are done
but one of the jewels I brought back from Utah was this video my friend Matt (father of the golden child) showed me

No School like the Old School
The Muppet Show - Danny Boy

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