Oh yeah, about those 2015 resolutions.

No matter how soon before Christmas I begin to consider it, I never seem to hammer out my resolutions until at least the end of the first week of January. With Christmas decorations on top of the usual mess to clean up and New Year’s Eve and Day plans with travel, I don’t quite have the sanity to envision the next 365 358 351 days. I’m okay with being a few days late, with the right intentions, rather than not following through consistently with my goals.

This year, though, it was even harder. Continue reading

A little secret…

I did a few posts about my family trip to Southern California. I made posts about L.A., Disneyland, our stay at the fabulous Parker Palm Springs, and a road trip to take from Palm Springs. But there’s one thing I didn’t mention, and I’ve been keeping offline for six weeks.

A little back story:

Mark and I’s courtship began with an impromptu trip to the sunny state of California. Once running buddies then with a few dates between us, we flew across the country to see the beaches of San Diego, taking turns glancing at each other with enamor in our eyes and laughing about how unreal it all seemed. Then we agreed: “Yep, you’re my type of crazy.”

Fast forward a couple years and a few million more of those glances and memories, we were engaged. I soon threw myself in a frenzy of wedding research, excited at the chance to have a dream wedding with my soul mate—both of which I had, at one point, given up on the idea of—only to be disappointed that in our culture of Bridezillas and materialism, vendors are taking advantage of people who are vulnerable to those dreams and raising costs accordingly. We considered all of the OTHER dreams we could pursue at the same price of ONE, bought flights back to The Golden State where it all started and… Continue reading

SoCal Takeover: Anaheim/Disneyland

After our brief stint in Los Angeles, we stayed a night in Anaheim and prepped for the following days that we’d be at Disneyland. Originally, we had booked a room at the Sheraton Anaheim, but Mark looked at reviews last minute and it had a terrible reputation. We instead stayed at Sheraton Park Anaheim, which was just on the other side of the park from the first one.

The rooms had balconies that overlooked the back end of Disneyland Adventure, which allowed us to watch fireworks from our balconies each night rather than dealing with the crowds in the park. Sweet! We arrived at the park a short while before it opened, but I was surprised how quick it was for us to get in. Pro tip I found through my research prior: go to the entry lines at the far left. Everyone goes for the first lines that they see.

Aurora's castle photo

We were so happy when we arrived and found that we had come to Disneyland California during the FIRST WEEK of Christmas decorations!

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SoCal Takeover: L.A. Edition

Southern California has a special place in my heart. Mark and I took our first ever trip to San Diego, and I’m sure to always include it when I drag out our love story. The weather is grand, the people are beautiful, and the produce tastes so luscious. We went back to SD a year after our first trip for him to run a marathon, but three weeks ago we brought ‘Bias for his first time to The Golden State. My mom came along for the ride, too.

Mark and I flew together, and arrived in L.A. a day earlier than my mom & Tobias, so that they could fulfill their school/work duties for one more day. Right after we got our rental car, we went straight to the Hollywood sign because priorities.Southern California (1 of 28)

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Marine Corps Marathon 2014

I already went into detail about my Halloweekend, but information about the Marine Corps Marathon from the weekend prior had been sitting half done in my drafts. Whoops! We flew out to Washington D.C. on a Friday and were back the following Monday afternoon. We didn’t have near enough time to see all of the things we wanted to see or go to all of the places that we wanted to go, namely because we needed to stay rested prior to the race and Mark was definitely exhausted after the race as well.

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Glass Blowing Lessons in Seattle

Glass blowing is something I had always wanted to try. When I wrote my bucket list, it was among the many things which I thought seemed distant and unrealistic. In fact, the bucket list in it’s entirety seemed that way when I first wrote it. That’s worth it’s own entry, though. I digress.

I didn’t take any photos while I was in the studio, because I was elbows deep into molten glass. Not really, I just like how terrifying that imagery is. I don’t know why I assumed that blowing glass wouldn’t be difficult. Perhaps it was the Chihuly videos I had watched the day before at the exhibit, where I saw the ease only a genius of their craft could have doing their work firsthand. Everything about it was challenging. We had to place a cement block next to the furnace just so that I’d be able to reach into it to efficiently place the molten glass on the pipe. The glass was, as you would expect, lava hot. The distance at which you had to be was close enough was painful. I wondered if I should have worn sunscreen. You’d really think I would have taken the heat to MELT GLASS into consideration, or that the last twenty five years of enduring Texas summers was training for this day. Nope.

Inside the furnace was fluorescent orange from the immense heat, with the vat inside filled to the brim with clear molten glass. When you’re gathering the glass to the pipe, the glass has the density of molasses. You’ve got to lightly dip the pipe into the glass and quickly take it out of the vat while spinning the pipe, but leaving it in the furnace. However, the glass is invisible and your eyelashes are being singed off while you’re looking for it. Watch out for that. You repeat the dip, lift, and spin process a few times, until you have enough glass on your pipe. Then you take it over to an area with a tub of water, roll the parts of the pipe that don’t have the glass on it in the wetness to cool it, and by then the glass has also had a moment to cool.

So you take the pipe to another oven. This one doesn’t have molten glass inside and it’s a bit cooler, at roughly 2349826352001 degrees Fahrenheit. I resisted the urge to put on my sweater. They call this oven the Glory Hole. As in, “I put my rod into the glory hole” or “Its really hot on the other side of the glory hole” or “Don’t get to close to the glory hole, or it’ll melt your face off.” Through the process of shaping and blowing the glass, you will frequently return to the glory hole to keep the glass hot enough to manipulate. You can shape the clay by using various tools: over-sized tweezers, some intense looking scissors, wooden molds, and the A, B, and C section of a newspaper, folded up into a five inch square and submersed in water. The tweezers seemed like they’d be the coolest, because you could pull the glass into shapes. If you were good at it. If it’s your first time, it feels like there’s another human equal your size pulling in the opposite direction of the glass so that you can’t do it. But there isn’t, it’s just glass. And it’s hard to move glass no matter how hot it is.

With a lot of help from the instructor, I ended the day with a paperweight, an ornament, a candy dish, and a disfigured octobust for Tobias. (I meant to type octopus, but I felt that typo was appropriate. I’m just instinctively funny like that, I guess.) It was really cool, in a burning lava hot kind of way, and I would definitely go for another shot at it, with hope I would get better with practice.


I made this!

I made this!