Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I love how I post when I'm out of town, but now that I'm back (and have been for 2 weeks) you don't hear a thing from me. Is this a sign my life is too busy?!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Met

Original piece of the Ishtar Gate - Assyria

The Met's Christmas tree. (Apparently, I wasn't supposed to take pictures of this, but since I did why not share.)

The facade.

Inner pathway of the Cloisters.

Interior stained glass window. Breathtaking.

Say hello to Alvin!

This is Alvin. He lives in Central Park and has lots and lots of friends. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, yours truly started naming every chipmunk we saw Alvin...I think I was up to Alvin the XVI. Then I decided the numbers were getting to high so we started coming up with new names (such as Ben Franklin, Genghis Khan -Khan for short- Alexander the Great...you get the picture) This photo is either Alvin V or VI. :-)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

November 24: The Met

We got started with a bang. We were up and out by 9:30 (meaning I got up at 4:15 California time...two days in a row) and headed for the Cloisters. We used public transit and our very own two legs to get around so I started feeling like a true New Yorker. If memory serves it was approximately a 2 mile walk to the Cloisters, a medieval inspired recreation of five French religious buildings which are part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We then walked/public transited ourselves to the Met itself and spent several hours browsing the museum. There is SO much to see. We basically had to select the highlights and hope to see a fraction of their collections by wandering from place to place. Afterwards Christina and Peter treated me to a delicious dinner at Frankie Spuntino's. It was a delightful evening of yummy food and fabulous company. (the ricotta cheesecake was amazing...)

Here's a brief sampling of our tour! (see next post.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

November 23: The Flight

Here I am in New York City for Thanksgiving. My trip here was no less eventful than in the past, and I experienced more traveling firsts...a canceled flight! Things got off to a great start, but when I checked the departure board in Denver (what was supposed to be my one and only layover) I noticed a flight to LGA leaving at the same time as mine was canceled. It didn't click it might actually be my flight, and I started scoping out the area looking for lunch and a place to charge my laptop. Fortunately for me, (although I didn't know it at the time) none of the outlets worked, and I had this nagging feeling I should check the board again. That's when I discovered my canceled flight. There was no one around for me to ask about booking on another flight so I trudged down to the other end of the terminal to inquire at the gate. No one was there either, and when I finally found personnel to ask, I was told to re-trace my steps to the customer service desk which by this time had quite a long line of passengers just like me.

Fast forward an hour and I'm on a plane headed for Chicago sitting next to Mr. Talkative who is already 3 beers down. Another one on this flight turns him into Mr. Obnoxious. :-( More flight delays in Chicago prevented me from landing in NYC until 8:30 (an hour and a half behind schedule), and lo and behold my luggage was not waiting for me! Will this never end?! Actually, I wasn't really upset about any of it. Granted, it wasn't the ideal situation, but things happen and at least I reached my destination. Since my suitcase was on the next flight Christina and Peter picked me up, and we drove around Queens until we found a coffee shop to wait in. My luggage arrived right on schedule, and we were off to Manhattan.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Momentous Week

This week marks a first for me. After twenty-five Thanksgivings with my family I am spending the week with my best friend and her awesome husband in...New York City! Am I excited? You bet! Time with Christina and Peter, cooking, shopping, and fun touristy excursions await, but I'm also feeling a little bittersweet about not spending the holiday with my family in So. Cal. Part of the fun (and challenge) of adulthood is creating ones own traditions, and Thanksgiving '09 definitely fits the bill. :-)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Prayer of St. Theresa

May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be confident knowing you are a child of God..
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love..
It is there for each and every one of us.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Celebrating a life. Remembering a friend.

Vicki & Larry, 2008
Vicki, Feburary 2009
Words: Deborah D. Smith
Music: Michael W. Smith

Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
Can't believe the hopes He's granted
Means a chapter in your life is through
But we'll keep you close as always
It won't even seem you've gone
Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord's the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
Cause the welcome will not end
Though it's hard to let you go
In the Father's hands we know
That a lifetime's not too long to live as friends.

With the faith and love God's given
Springing from the hope we know
We will pray the joy you'll live in
Is the strength that now you show
But we'll keep you close as always
It won't even seem you've gone
Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Eleanor Roosevelt

"Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life."
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore

Dear Readers,

You know the kind of moment I mean. The one where you know your life will never quite be the same. It occurred the first time I drove a car after passing my drive test. Or when I held my first paycheck in hand. It happened the day I sat in the waiting room waiting for a parent to come out of major surgery. Well, Readers, today I reached another milestone. I am now a part of the group known as the “women,” the ones who are tasked with visiting sick friends, coordinating meals, and writing the perfect meaningful statement in a sympathy card.

How did this happen, you ask? Let me explain. Today I received an e-mail asking me to visit a friend who, for the past three years, has battled a lengthy illness. The past couple of weeks have been extremely difficult, and a friend from church is coordinating visitors. It’s a simple request, a reasonably simple visit. But…isn’t that something only your mom does? I remember secretly breathing a sigh of relief at 12 and again as a teenager when I knew I wasn’t old enough to tackle these adult responsibilities. I could bask in the excuse of immaturity. Then at 20 I was still too young. Whew. Now, at age 26 ½, I have officially joined the elite group and will begin my womanly duty of caring for the poor and looking after the sick and elderly. Okay, I may be exaggerating slightly, but somehow I don’t feel any more prepared now than I did at 12. When did I get old enough to actually become an adult? I guess this means I’m really all grown up now.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

We sang this in church a couple weeks ago, and while I've heard it hundreds of times the words jumped off the screen at me. I pray I am a light to those around me and never let His fire go dim.

Oh Lord, You're beautiful
Your face is all I see
For when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me

Oh Lord, please light the fire
That once burned bright and clean
Replace the lamp of my first love
That burns with holy fear

I want to take Your Word and shine it all around
But first help me just to live it, Lord
And when I'm doing well, help me to never seek a crown
For my reward is giving glory to You

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I held a moment in my hand, brilliant as a star, fragile as a flower, a tiny sliver of one hour. I dripped it carelessly, Ah! I didn't know, I held opportunity.
- Hazel Lee

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Blogging about cooking

This morning I awoke with an unexplainable urge to visit Williams Sonoma. I haven’t the faintest idea what brought this on, but I really wanted to browse the store, admire the various utensils, and craft a long list of items I want but wouldn’t have bought. However, my day was already looking to be rather full, and besides, who wants to go by yourself anyway? So, I didn’t go. I did, however, see Julie and Julia again with my parents and that left me with an urge to do some serious cooking. Unfortunately, there was a problem here too. It was already 7:00, and the thought of finding a recipe (from Julia’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, of course!), shopping for ingredients, and then actually preparing the dish was a little exhausting to think about. It is Sunday night after all, aka the day before Monday and going back to work. Not to mention, I don’t like to eat late at night and guaranteed this would have been a very, very pre-midnight “snack.” What to do? Within a few minutes I hit upon a fabulous idea…why not bake chocolate chip cookies. I know, I know. They aren’t exactly what you call French cuisine, but this evening actually felt like fall and somehow baking cookies with a brisk breeze coming in the windows seemed rather appropriate. So, I baked 15 deliciously perfect (if I do say so myself) cookies using a recipe from the Joy of Cooking. I felt a little guilty using this particular cookbook since, as the movie pointed out, the author didn’t even test all her recipes for heaven’s sake! My one consolation was it originated from their wartime edition, and since I’m a sucker for all things WWII it seemed appropriate. Even though I may not have felt brave enough to tackle Julia’s Beef Bourguignon or Raspberry SoufflĂ©, I decided that one day I will…I just have to buy the cookbook first…

Friday, September 11, 2009


Courage does not always roar. Sometime courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, 'I will try again tomorrow.'

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The purpose is what exactly?

Meetings. Why do we have them? What is their purpose and do they ever accomplish anything? I spent 3.75 hours in back-to-back meetings this afternoon, and the only thing that came out of them was to show the complete lack of organization present within the participating entities. I mean, we already know that the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing and spending half the time fleshing out logistics that really should be dealt with in (dare I say it?) another meeting is extremely unproductive to the other attendees. I am so bored hearing, "Oh, I need to talk to you about this," or "I should have told you." So tell them already! I can honestly say I came out more confused than when I went in, and despite overtures to bring various projects together in a cohesive relationship, everyone continues to operate within their own little orbit. Planning meetings that are supposed to actually solve problems only serve to raise more questions. And don't get me started on egotistical men who just want to hear themselves talk...suffice it to say today I have a very low tolerance for gatherings that end with absolutely zero resolution.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

If I were a Rich Man...

Without tradition our lives would be as shaky as a Fiddler on the Roof. And so begins one of the most spectacular theatrical performances I have seen to date. As you may recall, a couple weeks ago I had the privilege of seeing Fiddler on the Roof with my best friend Christina. I loved the show so much that I knew I just had to take my mom to see it, and happily she enjoyed it as much as I did. I truly respect actors who embody a character and help the audience get lost in the performance. This doesn't happen often, but coupled with the singing, dancing, and sheer brilliance the show is three hours of pure bliss. Chaim Topol (Tevye) and Susan Cella (Golde), who incidentally is an Eastman grad, steal the show with their chemistry and talent. (I mean, who can forget Golde's demeaning, "Ah, my breadwinner..." to their poignant "Do you love me?")

Topol's unforgettable "If I were a Rich Man"

"You tell me what you dreamt, and I'll tell you what it meant."
The delightful Cella and Topol.

Afterwards we went to Fossil where I just might have engaged in some retail therapy. :-)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Disneyland: part two

At the end of the day we took a little break at the Main Street train depot, and I found the most gorgeous black-eyed susans. (and there's plenty more pictures where this one came from...I sort of had a photographic field day)

The day wouldn't be complete without a semi-family photo. Of course, as the photographer it's hard to be in two places at once: in the picture and behind the camera. We never did capture a photo with all 5 of us.

Lunch time! This is my new favorite restaurant at the big D. Everything looked good. (my veggie tacos were exceptional!) We sat by a peaceful fountain and enjoyed watching the birds who occasionally stopped by to say hi.

When I was young I loved riding the carousel. And everytime I longed to find a noble steed in either this row or the one where Prince Charming kisses Sleeping Beauty. Apparently, this was the desire of every other little girl because it rarely happened. However, now at age 26 when I could care less where I sit, I looked up and realized I was in the row of my dreams! Ah, the irony of it all.

On the same note, I had to get a picture with Sleeping Beauty and her prince.

I may be too old to have my picture taken with Tigger, but I can still capture him from a distance! Too bad it wasn't Piglet.

Disneyland: part one

Saturday we took Dad to Disneyland for an early birthday present. This is definitely a gift that keeps on giving because we have two more days on our tickets. Fun! Our day began with a truly unique tram ride. Naturally, we chose the shortest line, however it turned out to be the slowest tram I have ever been on. And I've been on quite a few. I could have walked faster than it was moving! Turns out it the engine was malfunctioning so we quickly transferred to another tram and finally made our way to the park. Once inside we bought our traditional edible treats on Main Street (dill pickle for Mother and I and a huge cookie for Dad) and hit the rides.

I loved the festive fixtures on the lamp posts.

Gotta love Tomorrowland.

The day wouldn't be complete without riding Star Tours...not once, but twice!
The picture isn't great, but I couldn't pass up the photo op with 3PO.

I hadn't been on Small World in years.

Big Thunder!

I may not have cute videos of a new baby (keep them coming Jackie!) :-), but here's one from Disneyland!

Friday, August 14, 2009

On my way to the happiest place on earth :-)

I am so excited! Tomorrow we are surprising my dad with an all expenses paid trip to Disneyland for his birthday. Technically, his birthday isn't for another month and two days, but since the three day deal expires on August 23 we're giving it to him early. We've been planning this for weeks, and I can't tell you how many times I almost slipped and blew the surprise. It will be quite a relief to be able to say what I want about tomorrow instead of carefully crafting my sentences to be sure I didn't accidentally mention how excited I was about going back to the Big D. Or how much I was looking forward to a pickle. Or how we should develop a navigational strategy so we hit all of the important spots. Let me tell you, this has been quite a chore! So tomorrow we finally spend the first of three glorious days at the happiest place on earth. :-)

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Before the show.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009

One Cotton Ball

So much for posting regular updates! With the exception of the first night, I haven’t had internet access during my entire house sitting tenure making posting all but impossible. (that's why I'm posting this from my room...I can't stay away from the internet this long unless I'm on vacation!) I’ve been keeping track of my stay here with a cotton ball count. I use one per night to take off my makeup, and am down to one, one little cotton ball. This means I sleep in my bed tomorrow without a little doggie to wake me up. Ah, the joys of simple things.

One of my most challenging tasks has been taking the dog for a walk. The walk itself is a no brainer, however the leash is a different story. Now, I’m a fairly smart person, have a masters degree (I know, I know, history isn’t exactly related to dog sitting), and could not for the life of me figure out how to get that stupid thing on. So, after two days of intense struggling I happened on a brilliant idea: you tube. I spent one of my ten minute breaks at work researching how to put on a step in harness leash. (Actually, I didn’t know that's what it was called. I think the initial search started with “leash for small dogs.”) I am happy to report my search was successful, and it's a piece of cake. Turns out, I misunderstood how it snapped together and thereby caused the difficulty. I think Cooper was much happier with me once I figured out what I was doing.

Next up: wing walkers courtesy of the OCGP!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day One: Getting to know you (or the house)

I successfully took Cooper on his first walk. (or should I say, he took me on a walk!) I didn’t get lost and was able to navigate the neighborhood so we actually arrived back at the house. The most complicated part was figuring out how the heck to put the leash on him. It may sound easy for some of you, but I’ve never walked a small dog before. Big dogs, no problem! Just clip the leash to the collar and off you go. Not this one! I think Cooper was getting rather impatient with me as I tried a variety of techniques before I figured out which one actually worked. It was pretty funny!

The big drawback…I Don’t Have any Internet!!! What am I going to do without internet at night for an ENTIRE WEEK!!! Help! For some reason my computer won’t recognize their wireless, and I’m still trying to troubleshoot the problem.

Here’s hoping I can find a solution soon or this is going to be one interesting week…

Update: Houston we have internet! Who-hoo!!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

And that's the way it is

Remembering Walter Cronkite, 1916-2009.

"Our job is only to hold up the mirror - to tell and show the public what has happened. "

Hello Yorba Linda

I haven't posted in a while, I suppose for lack of something interesting to say. But, tomorrow I begin another house sitting job that should be less eventful than last years. For those of you who don't recall the details let me remind you. First there was the insomnia, then the morning I seriously overslept, then more insomnia, and finally the realization I would completely miss all Fourth of July fireworks. Ring a bell? This job only lasts a week (as opposed to 12 days), is closer to work (yeah), and involves watching only one animal (instead of 4). I actually wouldn't mind not having anything exciting to report because that would mean the job is smooth sailing...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Bee, The Headless Driver, and Miss Universe

Otherwise known as a day in the life of Kira. I had four random things happen to me today:

1. The Bee: When I walked out to my car after work I discovered a dead bee and a leaf laying in the backseat. I've had leaves before but never a dead bee. I disposed of it as quickly as possible, namely brushing it out of my car and into the parking lot. Sorry bee.

2. The Headless Driver: Then, while I was driving home I got behind the world's slowest driver. I tell you we weren't even going 50 mph, and I couldn't change lanes because everyone else was zooming by. The funny part was I couldn't see the driver's head, and it looked like no one was in the drivers seat. When I finally got over I couldn't resist taking a peak, and sure enough it was a little, old lady hunched over the steering wheel with black sunglasses covering half her face! (Come on, it was pretty funny.)

3: Miss Universe: This morning at work I had to go up to the 5th floor, and on my way back to my office I ran into two of our custodians. Now, I am a firm believer in making friends with the custodial crew because you never know when you might find yourself locked out of your office or have the dehumidifier overflow and need their help. So, one man I've known for almost 3 years, and the other has been on our floor for about 10 months. The latter rarely says a word, and our morning coversations usually consist of me saying "Hi," and "Thank you," when he stops by to the empty the trashcan.

Rewind to 7:45 am and picture me staring at my closest trying to decide what to iron today. Girls, you'll understand when I say, I had nothing to wear! Nothing was making me happy, but I finally found a floral sundress with matching scarf I usually tie around my waist. I grabbed a brown suede jacket (in case the office was freezing like usual) and headed out. Back to this morning. I'm walking toward the stairs and Mr. Silent says, "Wow, you look like Miss Universe. You look so beautiful." I'm not sure what shocked me more, the fact he spoke to me or the fact he put two sentences together! It was really funny and gave me a much needed boost!

4. The Key: This isn't necessarily funny, but I got locked out of the office. I never, ever take my key to my Pilates class because someone is always there when I get back. Well, today this was not the case. Why did everyone decide to take their lunch break at the exact same time, I ask? Fortunately, there were familiar faces staffing the reference desk and I was able to get back in. The moral of the story: don't leave the office without your key.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Day Trip: Rodeo Drive

On Saturday my best friend and I hit Rodeo Drive. It was great fun, and we went in various shops (Dolce Gabbana was awesome!), took pictures, and generally enjoyed in the sights. Unfortunately, we also made a couple of mistakes...such as parking in the first garage we came to and being way overcharged. It made perfect sense. Instead of wasting time driving around looking for a decent rate only to realize we should have parked at option #1 we decided to save time and just do it. It took us less than 30 minutes to discover we shouldn't have been so hasty. Then, we did the same thing for lunch. We found a cute, but as we discoved later mediocre cafe and stopped to eat. If we had kept looking we could have found a more satisfying option. We did stop in Sprinkles cupcakes (after I left directions in the car) and had to guess at how to get there. (yes, I know we could have just asked someone, but that would have been far to easy) I couldn't recall the name of the street Sprinkles was on and vaguely remembered surrounding streets. So, I guessed at which way to go and ended up taking us the looooong way around. Our feet hurt so bad by the time we left! However, I am happy to report the cupcakes were delicious, particularly the dark chocolate. :-)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

In honor of those who served

Remembering Normandy

Today marks the 65th anniversary of D-Day, forever immortalized as the date that altered the tide of World War II's European Theater. We honor the countless individuals who served, who suffered, and who died on this day in and the 2 1/2 month liberation campaign known as Operation Overlord. I salute you and thank you for your sacrifice made to the betterment of mankind.

Below is an excerpt of Pres. Reagan's 1984 D-Day speech:

Something else helped the men of D-Day: their rock-hard belief that Providence would have a great hand in the events that would unfold here; that God was an ally in this great cause. And so, the night before the invasion, when Colonel Wolverton asked his parachute troops to kneel with him in prayer he told them: Do not bow your heads, but look up so you can see God and ask His blessing in what we’re about to do. Also that night, General Matthew Ridgway on his cot, listening in the darkness for the promise God made to Joshua: “I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.” These are the things that impelled them; these are the things that shaped the unity of the Allies.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

High Flight: A Poem

I rediscovered this poem at work today while editing an oral history interview, and even though I've heard it before, for some reason it really touched me. Most of us probably recognize it from President Reagan's eulogy for the crew of the space shuttle Challenger, and I had always associated it with that time. However, somehow today it took on a new meaning, and I wanted to share it with you.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Summer Fun: Go Angels!

(I won't mention the fact that they lost!) Last night I engaged in a good 'ole American past time of going to a baseball game. As those know me can attest, I'm not the biggest sports fan in the world and usually only get excited around playoffs. (GO LAKERS!!) But, I decided that since it had been around 10 years since my last game it was high time I went to another one. The game itself was okay. I was completely lost half the time and never did figure out what was a ball and what was a strike. Let's face it, television puts you much closer, and even then I can't figure the game out. :-) However, despite my lack of knowledge, the game was great fun, and I enjoyed getting into the spirit of baseball, singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame, and cheering for no particular reason. And I must say, the fireworks were spectacular. (see next post for a snippet of the finale)

Final Score: 5/2, Mariners.

Seth and I.

It took four tries to get this picture without the people behind us adding rabbit ears!

Yeah for fireworks!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Anij: Have you ever experienced, a perfect moment in time? Captain Picard: A perfect moment? Anij: When time seemed to stop, and you could almost live, in that moment. Captain Picard: Seeing my home planet from space, for the first time. Anij: Yes. Exactly. Nothing more complicated than perception. Anij: ...We've discovered that a single moment in time can be a universe in itself, full of powerful forces. Most people aren't aware enough of the now to even notice.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Deer's Cry: St. Patrick's Breastplate

I ARISE TODAY through a mighty strength, the invocation of theTrinity, through belief in the Threeness, through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.

I arise today through the strength of Christ with His Baptism, through the strength of His Crucifixion with His Burialthrough the strength of His Resurrection with His Ascension, through the strength of His descent for the Judgment of Doom.

I arise today through the strength of the love of Cherubimin obedience of Angels, in the service of the Archangels,in hope of resurrection to meet with reward, in prayers of Patriarchs, in predictions of Prophets, in preachings of Apostles, in faiths of Confessors, in innocence of Holy Virgins, in deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through the strength of Heaven:light of Sun, brilliance of Moon, splendour of Fire,speed of Lightning, swiftness of Wind, depth of Sea,stability of Earth, firmness of Rock.

I arise today, through God's strength to pilot me: God's might to uphold me, God's wisdom to guide me, God's eye to look before me, God's ear to hear me, God's word to speak for me, God's hand to guard me, God's way to lie before me, God's shield to protect me, God's host to secure me against snares of devils, against temptations of vices, against inclinations of nature, against everyone whoshall wish me ill, afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.

I summon today all these powers between me (and these evils): against every cruel and merciless power that may opposemy body and my soul, against incantations of false prophets,against black laws of heathenry, against false laws of heretics, against craft of idolatry, against spells of women [any witch] and smiths and wizards, against every knowledge that endangers man's body and soul. Christ to protect me today against poison, against burning, against drowning, against wounding, so that there may come abundance of reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me,Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right,Christ on my left, Christ in breadth, Christ in length, Christ in height, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in the Threeness, through confession of theOneness of the Creator of creation. Salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is of Christ. May Thy Salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.

W. Stokes / J. Strachan (eds.):
Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus,
vol. II.Cambridge 1903, p. 354-58

Friday, April 24, 2009

Photos from the Reagan Library

Air Force One from Reagan's presidency. (yes, I got to go inside!!)

Piece of the Berlin Wall - West Berlin

Close-up of the artwork

Berlin Wall - East Berlin

Informational Panel - This piece was made possible by Carl and Margaret Karcher