My Observations

* Disclaimer *

These are my thoughts; though they may be public domain, please have enough respect and understand that they are mine and are not for the use of your own deviant agenda.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Today's been a very relaxing day! I was able to sleep in, clean my desk and organize paperwork (which has been bothering me for weeks now) and now I'm on my way to go make cookies for the rest of the evening! Can't wait for tomorrow! I love Christmas! And Christmas Eve has always been the big day for my family. :)

So Thursday night my sister came over and we went to Longs and picked out decorations for our gingerbread house... I .... LOVE.... it!!!!

With the help of coconut, sour rips (the roof which I think turned out the best!), nerd rope (great as Christmas lights and a wreath), nerds, dots, candy canes, jolly rancher suckers and rocks, sour punch straws, classic mints, lifesavers, and jujubes... I give you my very first ever decorated gingerbread house.

Thank you, thank you... Isn't it just awesome!? I couldn't have done it without the help of my sister! She was with me the whole time, our creative minds working together! Oh and I also couldn't have done it without Mike helping me find the electric mixer for the frosting! ;) HAHAHA

Either way, it was a blast! I was up WAY too late... I got to bed at 1am and then got up for work at 5:30 the next morning. I was tired. I got to work early because they were letting us leave early. I didn't take a lunch so I didn't really get any free time. The day was full of voice authorization calls. I guess everyone paying their bills at the last minute. But I was able to leave work at 3:30 and finish up my last minute shopping. I got home and wrapped all my presents...

Well I'm gonna go make cookies... I hope to start getting pictures ready to upload tonight and tomorrow.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

*Updated with pics 12/21/2006 12:30am*

Another fun filled weekend pastÖ I love Christmas! It means so many wonderful parties, events and hustle and bustle. I thrive on this kind of holiday chaos! Although Sunday and Monday I was still recovering from my drive up to Bishop and back on Saturday. I woke up at 3am and my friend Brandie and I were on the road by 4:30am! I had gone to bed at 11pm the night before because I went out to dinner with some friends from linkLINE.

This morning has been full of great surprises. I went to bed at about 11:30pm because I was on the phone with a friend. I was able to get up and go for my walk. I am starting to realize that I don't need as much sleep as I thought. I used to think I had to be in bed by 10 to get enough sleep to wake up and walk and survive the day. But I seem to do well with just 6 hours. I woke up this morning and it was a bit more chilly then the other mornings I've walked. The sky was beautiful and the sun hadn't made its official appearance yet. I have a new route that I take. You have to spice it up a bit to keep it interesting, don't you? I said my gratitude list which seemed to come easier then other mornings. I was smiling even though my cheeks were so cold it hurt to smile. I weighed because I had forgotten to on Monday and I wanted to see what damage had happened from the weekend food consumption. And to my surprise I had lost a pound from Fridays weigh-in! How cool is that?! As I got ready I was reminded of all the small blessings I've received over the last few days, even when I was in a funk and dead tired, I was still blessed. I love that I am a changing person. I am aware that I still have a lot to work on but it's been amazing to see the transformation in myself internally and externally!

Well the above was written yesterday and today Iím unable to spend a lot of time so hereís the skinnyÖ ;)

Dinner Friday Night Ė I went to dinner with some old friends from linkLINE. None of us work for linkLINE anymore but we all became good friends while working together there a few years back. My friend Tim came to pick me up from work and we got to Red Robin and to my surprise Carlos, Nancy, Erin and David were already there waiting! We had a good time. Chatting, catching up, and hearing interesting stories about where we work now. Annette was unable to make it which was a bummer but all-in-all a good time. I took lots of pictures so those will be posted along with this.

Bishop Ė My friend Brandie and I had this crazy idea of waking up WAY before the buttcrack of dawn to drive up to Bishop and take pictures! I had gotten to bed at 11pm the night before and woke up at 3am to be ready by the time Brandie got there. I ran a little slow and we were on the road by 4:30am. We enjoyed talking and catching up and realizing we were in the middle of an adventure and how glad we were that we decided to be insane and do this excursion.

The point of this trip was to take pictures so we stopped along the way at different sites we saw that looked interesting. One in particular was a field of horses. These horses were amazing! They were very friendly and came running up for attention, pushing their way by each other to get closer to us. I took a lot of pictures of them. They were awesome! We stopped by on the way back home as well.

Once in Bishop we stopped at Erick Schatís Bakery and had breakfast and went over to a nearby park to take some pictures. It was a nice little park. It was about 20 degrees, possibly colder, but I enjoyed taking pictures. We drove up to the mountains and got as high as they would let us, apparently they close certain roads in the winter. On our way back down, stopped off at the bakery again and had lunch and went over to Mountain of Light Gallery and I was impressed with what I saw but it also inspired me to get out there more, to get my photography site up, Iíll explain more later.

We decided to make a drive up Mount Whitney through Lone Pine and were met with snow! We didnít get that far when we realized Brandieís little car couldnít drive too much further. It was great to experience the snow. Itís been so long and there were huge flakes and it was sticking and before I knew it the ground was white. I loved it!

We drove home and made our stops along the way. Over the course of the day I took just above 500 pictures! I knowÖ Crazy. But most were testing settings and will not be usable. It was a great experience and I will definitely go back when itís warmer!

Christmas Shopping Ė This year has been a downer as far as Christmas shopping is concerned. I think Iím used to picking the perfect gift and sadly I didnít put enough thought into it and ran out of time. I still have yet to find my mom something and everything Iíve thought just doesnít grab me and say ďIím the perfect gift, pick me.Ē Usually Iím the one that goes all out for Christmas. So Iím a little disappointed. *Update* - well on my lunch break I went to go pick up something small that I knew my mom would like, on the way an idea popped into my head, a great idea! And Iím happy with it! So my mom is coveredÖ woohoo!

Candlelight Service Ė Tonight is the Candlelight service at The Place. We have a little kidís performance and then we do our family tradition with the story of Christmas with the use of candles. I love the tradition and love that the church has adopted it. Itís a great visualization of what Christmas is all about.

Gingerbread House Ė Tomorrow night I am going to decorate my first ever Gingerbread house! I bought a kit up at Schatís bakery in Bishop and have asked my sister to join me since she has never done one either. It should be fun. Iíll make sure to take pictures. I have a lot of fun, creative ideas. Heidi is going to come over and weíre going to take a look at the size and then go to the store to pick up little candy add-ons to make the house more fun. Though the kit comes with some, Iím sure it isnít what I have in my imagination.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I have determined I've been on a natural high for probably a month or so now! I have my moments, but that's just it, they are moments, not days, weeks or even months! Life is simply amazing!

I've been hoping to update every day this week and have not gotten the opportunity to. Work has kept me busy and after work I'm working on the Assemble project for my brother. Last weekend was pretty incredible! Lots of parties and good times!

The Place Christmas Party (Friday, December 8, 2006) - The church Christmas party was a lot of fun! I left work early on Friday to get up the hill by 4pm to take pictures of Rachel and her family at the local park. Once that was done, I rushed home, got my hair curled, grabbed my outfit and rushed out the door with enough time to grab a gift certificate from Starbucks for the gift exchange before the party.

I looked good. I felt good. So when I got there I was glad to get pictures with Rachel and Heidi. It turns out velvet was the common fabric of the evening! Three of us girls were wearing it and I made sure to get pictures of us together. They will of course be posted shortly. I may edit this post and add a couple to it.

The Chinese gift exchange turned out to be a good time! I always like it when people are running around stealing gifts from other people. Haha I ended up getting exactly what I was hoping for.

Alliance Christmas Party (Saturday, December 9, 2006) - Saturday I was able to sleep in and then I worked on the Assemble project for my brother until it was time to get ready for the Alliance Christmas party. I drove down to Rancho, before making my way over to Yucaipa, to pick up a gift for my secret santa person, though I was pretty sure he wouldnít be at the party, I decided it wouldnít be good to come empty handed if he happened to show up.

I got there and was impressed with how nicely Keithís house was decorated for the party. It turns out it was all Jessicaís doing. I know the people I work with, and most I knew through linkLINE. But this was the first time I was hanging out with my coworkers outside of the office since starting to work for Alliance. I felt a bit awkward and out of place. I found myself getting in trouble texting my friend too much and Jessica took my phone away! I thought that was funny. Keith was sweet and asked me to join his table. I enjoyed hanging out with Keith and playing the games. I got a $50.00 AMEX gift card! And my secret santa got me a Partylite jar candle! I thought it was great!

The only downer was that something was said at one point in the night that caused me to be extremely insecure. I thought it might be a joke, but it was something I couldnít shake. I tried really hard to just enjoy my time. I figured the party wasnít the time to sit down with the person and find out what they meant by it.

After the party, since I was just blocks away, I stopped by Samís parentís house to say hi. It had been a while since I had seen them and had talked to Robin beforehand to see if it would be ok. It was great to see them. I love that family! Doug was there with a newly bought race car so I got to check that out. I stayed for about an hour and then decided to make my way home.

The drive home was a bit intense. The rain was pouring and the roads were a bit slick. I was still unable to shake the insecurities of that one comment. I called my dad who prayed for me, yet I still wasnít doing well. Everyone I wanted to talk to wasnít available since it was so late. So I just got home and went to sleep hoping that the next morning I would be able to wake up with a new day and new perspective.

Free Hugs (Sunday, December 10, 2006) - Sunday I got to church and found that I was feeling some residual insecurity from the night before. Crazy how one comment can affect your core fear to that level. I had to take a bunch of pictures for the church roster. So I grabbed as many people as I could and tried to take the pictures in different locations so it didnít look like it was all the same place.

After church our Post High School to 30-Something group planned to meet at the Best Buy / Toys R Us parking lot in Victorville to give out Free Hugs. At first I was completely nervous and unsure of what kind of response we would get standing outside a store holding signs that said ďFree HugsĒ. But I soon found out that people were very receptive to it! It was a complete and utter blast. Within minutes the guys that were skeptical of even doing it were having the time of their lives! It was cool to see peopleís reactions to us offering free hugs without any strings attached! People would look at our signs with utter confusion on their face! It was great! Originally we thought we would only be there for an hour, but we were having so much fun and had so much positive feedback that we stayed for 2 hours! It was a perfect location. I was even thanked a couple of times because the person really just needed that hug! It was such an awesome experience! People stopped and got out of their cars to get a hug! We hugged through windows, though I tried my best not to stop traffic because it was a busy location!

We only had maybe 10% of the people have a negative view of what we were doing. But for the most part people were amazed that we were just out there to spread hugs! I gave out sooo many hugs! I would say about 40-50% of the people that I offered hugs to, took me up on the offer! I had no idea that it would be so well received. I was smiling ear-to-ear and in the end felt that I had been apart of a pretty amazing thing! I was so high from the experience I couldnít stop talking to everyone about it! One kid thought it was such a great idea he asked if he could take the idea to his church group at New Life!

After our two hours my arms were tired! I was physically exhausted giving out that many hugs! I noticed when offering hugs that kids were more excited to give and receive hugs then their parents. It was sad when parents wouldnít let them stop to hug. Though I know hugging strangers is probably not the safest thing to teach kids.

But all-in-all it was one of the best experiences in my life!!! And our group plans to meet again to give out Free Hugs, hopefully before Christmas because it seemed to be so appropriate that we were handing out hugs during a season when people can be at their worst! I had someone tell me that they really needed my hug especially after coming out of Toys R Us. So I will keep you posted on any future events! Maybe you can stop by and get a free hug!

Marc & Jessís Family and Friend BBQ (Sunday, December 10, 2006) - After the Free Hug event I drove back down to Keithís house in Yucaipa for a BBQ for Marc and Jess since they were flying back to Wisconsin this week. I wanted to make sure to get in one last hug before they left. I walked in and realized that I knew even less people there then I knew at the Christmas party for Alliance the night before. I wasnít sure how comfortable I would be and how long I would stay.

But before I knew it I saw Rob, Marcís brother, who used to work at linkLINE and we had fun talking about our views of linkLINE. I was introduced to Marcís dad and sister who both said, ďOh *youíre* Charity!Ē haha I just joined into conversations and had a lot of fun. Robin, Doug and Sasha happened to show up while I was there so I got a chance to catch up with Sasha which was nice. I donít believe Iíve seen her since her birthday dinner in early October. I stayed for a couple of hours and then made my way home.

Christmas - I got home early enough to get Christmas decorations up. I love Christmas! Every morning on my gratitude walk I canít help but be grateful for this holiday! For what it means, what it stands for, and what it does for me. When I think of Christmas I think of warmth and comfort, family and friends, beautiful decorations, cinnamon scents, snowflakes (even if I live in California!) and hot chocolate! I love Christmas!

Labels: , , ,

Monday, December 04, 2006

Yesterday I was sick. I rarely get sick like that and it was weird to feel so queasy, I normally have a tough stomach. I didnít even make it to church.

Today, for the first time in a few weeks, Iím not in the best mood. I donít like this feeling and Iím not sure what is causing me not to feel as cheerful as I have been. I am looking forward to my lunch walk. I need time to just relax, let go, and lose myself in my journal. Iím trying to identify what it is Iím focusing on that is causing me to be somewhat down. I have been learning so many wonderful things about myself. I think what I like the most about my new outlook on life, and the new exercises Iíve been shown to change my focus, is that Iím not down for long.

One of the things Iím learning about myself is that I lean too much on what others think of me. I have come to the conclusion that todayís issue is that I want someoneís approval. Approval AddictionÖ sucks. I think at the moment I am either overanalyzing something or someone or wanting acceptance from someone rather then just accepting myself.

Five things I like about myself:
1. My love and passion for Photography and the feeling that it evokes when I am looking at the world through the lens of a camera.
2. My smile, that it completely takes over my face and has a tendency to be highly contagious when itís genuine.
3. My independence!
4. The fact that I put things out there. I am pretty straight forward.
5. The changes in my body! Iím halfway to my initial goal for weight loss and Iím enjoying every step of the process. I am amazed at the difference in how I feel and look.

I love how writing just 5 things about myself makes me a more confident person. I focus less on what others think of me when I do that exercise. I was asked what makes listing the 5 things different then just being told those things. Well because you cause the person to go within themselves to find what they like. At first itís a hard exercise, but thatís because we are taught that if we think good things about ourselves weíre conceited or something. That isnít the case. Anyways, I find that looking within helps you believe it more. People tell me Iím a great photographer and yet I donít see it. I love photography, I think I have an eye but Iím no where near where I want to be with my talent. But as I listed above I do love my passion for photography. Another thing that helps is a gratitude list. Though I find with my personal insecurities the listing 5 things about myself usually has a faster impact. The gratitude list works in the morning when I take my walks. It helps to get my focus for the day set on a positive plane rather then negative.

I have a fun-filled weekend ahead of me. Friday Iím leaving work early so that I can make it to my churchís Christmas Party. It should be a lot of fun. I even have my outfit picked out too. Iím also taking pictures of Rachel and her family beforehand. And Saturday is the Alliance Christmas Party. Itís odd to work for a place where everyone is willing to go to a Christmas party off the clock! With linkLINE no one would be willing to come and not get paid, kind of sad actually. On Sunday my Post High School to 30-Something (we really need to pick a name cause thatís a mouthful!) group will be doing the Free Hug thing that I posted a video about a few posts down. Anyways, Iím sure Iíll be taking lots of pictures and will take a few weeks to post them as usual.

Wednesday is my sisterís birthday so I get to go over and spend some quality time with the family after work. I am looking forward to it, now that I don't live at home I tend to appreciate the time with them all the more. I am also planning on making cookies for Hector at my work. He somehow got me to promise him some chocolate chip cookies and Iíve kept forgetting. I finally bought the ingredients to make them but he took the week off since he got married Saturday. So either tomorrow or Thursday I need to make cookies. I love baking cookies!

Well itís time for me to take my lunch break. Itís amazing how different I feel from this morning! Iím positive again, confident and carefree! I love it!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Weigh In - 12/1/2006

I have lost another two pounds! Go me. Considering I'm dealing with my monthly bill I was quite surprised to have lost any weight! I guess using that as an excuse for why I hadnít lost weight that particular week any other month was not a valid excuse. Haha

Colorado - I got my ticket to Colorado! Iím always so excited to visit a new place! I canít wait to hang out with my cousin and my new friend Jason. I am only going to be there for an extended weekend in January but it should be a lot of fun. I love my cousin Joey to death and from what I gather when she and Jason hang out I will be laughing at them going back and forth pretty much the entire time. Good times ahead. Haha

Update - this was written Friday and I'm a slacker. I was going to write more but just don't have the time or energy so here you go. :)

Labels: ,