Tag Archives: memories

Valley Baby

She is a deep thinker, a child prodigy of sorts with an abundance of knowledge and eloquence.  She is a writer, a poet, and spins words on paper as easily as she speaks them.  She is fiercely loyal, compassionate, and a great listener.  She is also a science fiction-fantasy junkie, which is part of what balances the remarkable woman with childlike fun.  She is Valerie, one of my dearest friends, whose life I celebrate today: her birthday.

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Maria Flower

My little sister’s birthday is today.  She was an adorable baby, and always very happy, even early in the morning.

I’ve always been blessed by Maria and thankful to have her in my life.  She got married this summer, and it’s made me quite reflective on our past and our relationship.  I wouldn’t be able to laugh at myself if it weren’t for her.  She introduced me to The Civil Wars and Missy Higgins and Jon McLaughlin.  She shares my passion for 90’s pop culture.  We’ve never been able to share clothes because, well, she is a teeny, tiny person and I am a solid, curvaceous person.  That’s okay, because we’ve shared friends and laughter and tears and we’ve made an abundance of great memories together.  Today, she turns 24, and it’s strange because while she is younger in age, I feel she is more “grown up” than I am.  Regardless, I am so blessed by the gift I was given 24 years ago in my little sister, and I wish her an abundance of all of the great things life has to offer.  I love you, Mimi!!!

*Kristen, I’m pretty sure you took this, and it’s one of my favorite shots from that day, so thank you!

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Before you judge me, know this:

I had this plan that I was going to blog much more regularly.  As with so many other things in my life, the unexpected came up and life got so busy and all of a sudden, too much time has passed for my liking.  The biggest factor has been wedding fever; the disease has taken over the household and isn’t going anywhere.  Don’t get me wrong:  I’m loving it and enjoying all of the fine detail planning.  My favorite part, though, has been the time spent with my little sister, whom I still cannot believe is getting married.

Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve done this, but I thought I’d put myself out there and expose more facets of my personality to you all.  Don’t judge too harshly. 🙂

I love cereal.  All kinds of cereal.  Not Raisin Bran, though; raisins and bran should never be in cereal.  I could eat cereal all the time.  And cake.  Oh my word, cake……

You all need to read The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.  I wasn’t even that far into it before I decided it was one of my favorite books.

I think about my college roomie at least five times a day.  She’s my bestie and I miss her all the time.

The cancellation of the whimsically delightful Pushing Daisies is still a sore spot with me, and I never tire of watching episodes on DVD.

Drivers who go flying around me only to turn in front of me drive me crazy.  So do impatiently angry drivers.  Are you in that big of a hurry?  Leave your house sooner!!!

Currently dominating my iPod:  The Civil Wars, Adele, the Angels & Demons soundtrack, The King’s Speech soundtrack, Sherlock Holmes soundtrack, Mumford & Sons, Ingrid Michaelson, and Coldplay (pretty much always on the dominant list).

I love going out and getting a cocktail.  I’m consistently a martini or red wine girl, but I have no interest in getting trashed.  I much prefer to nurse a drink over a great conversation with friends.  If you’re looking for a hard partyer, I am not your lady.

Speaking of which, I don’t have expensive taste.  I enjoy a great cup of coffee, a sunny day, running around in the rain, a good book, beautiful music, experiencing other cultures, art, films and history.  I don’t need expensive jewelry, fellas:  just give me some fresh flowers once in a while.

On that note:  I really want to be in a great relationship, and with my sister’s impending wedding, the little wish is becoming a nagging itch.  Although, if I had a choice, I think I might like to have a really small, simple wedding and a spectacular honeymoon.

I love local coffee houses and pubs/diners.  My favorite coffeehouse, Firefly, is an eclectic place with fabulous coffee and yummy food.  Local artists can sell their wares there, and you’ll find artists, theater folk, musicians, business people, and opinionated old men all relaxing for long periods of time.  As far as restaurants go, I’d much rather check out a little hole-in-the-wall place with amazing food and a great atmosphere than go to a well-known chain.

My biggest indulgence is a spa pedicure every great once-in-a-while.  My feet feel amazing afterward, and I love having painted toenails.  I can’t paint my fingernails because I’m way to rough on my hands; a manicure is just a waste of time & money for me.

The Liberty Mutual commercials in which people pay it forward by doing little things for strangers get me every time.

I adore babies.  I’m fascinated by their wonder at the world around them and they’re so cute and cuddly.

The Orthodox cross is tattooed on my right foot.  It represents both faith and family.

I’m easily over-stimulated.  I become anxious in big crowds or if I am in a place where I don’t have an easy exit.  I don’t get along with heights at all, though I love flying.  I’m very sensitive to textures as well, from food to clothing to wrinkles in my socks or bedding.  I’m quirky. 🙂

I love the beach.  Love it.  And, after living in Italy for a while, I am extremely anxious to experience the rest of Europe.

I don’t care what anyone says, I love Disney World.

If I had a million dollars, I’d pay off my school loans, help my brother & sister with theirs, and travel a lot more.

Whew, I’m exhausted.  That’s it for this post.  Oh, yeah, I can also be really flighty, as I get bored and distracted somewhat easily.



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The ones who came before…

Every once in a while, my grandparents will uncover things, photographs or letters or small objects, that they didn’t remember having.  A few months ago, they uncovered some old photographs.  By old, I mean that they are of my great-grandmother as a young woman, back when she taught in Bulgaria, before she was forced to flee her homeland for the United States.  I cannot stop looking at these photos.  My great-grandma died when I was 13, so I have no way of finding out who all of these people are or what became of any of them, if she even knew that.  I’ve blown them up and have them framed in my room, and the curiosity will not go away.

My great-grandmother is in the front row, second from the left, with the dark kerchief tied over her hair.

In this one, my great-grandmother is the third from the right, wearing a long, dark gown with her hand up to her chin.  Pretty impressive for early photography, considering how long they all would have had to hold these positions.

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Nature of Remembering

I was devouring a recent issue of the Smithsonian Magazine when I came upon an interesting article concerning the nature of memories.  A region of the brain, fabulously named the hippocampus, stores the memories we make.  An electronic image was shown in the article, in which the microscopic nerve cells had been stained green to make them more visible.  The gorgeous array is where information is encoded and memories are “made”.  Due to my love for painting bright colors on black backgrounds, I took the intriguing image and painted the following: 

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Time for Something Sweet

Holly asked me to go out to the station van and get the Halloween candy out of the back seat.  She told me to use a milk crate to help carry it all in, which turned out to be a good idea.

I’ve never seen such a variety of glorious candy.  Holly had found something to entertain everyone’s taste:  Milky Way, Twix, 3 Musketeers, Snickers, Almond Joy, M&Ms, Tootsie Pops, Tootsie Rolls, SweetTarts, Nerds, Dots, Laffy Taffy, Reese’s Cups, and KitKat bars.  I ripped open bags, my smile growing as metallic wrappers and fluorescent colors reminded me of the trick-or-treating escapades of my childhood.  Danae, the Amazing Intern said she had never seen me “look so much like a little kid.”

Taking two great handfuls from each of the giant bags, I filled a lime green bucket and a sky blue bucket with a more-than-adequate variety to send anyone into a diabetic coma.  The most enjoyable part has been watching staff dig through the buckets like small children, picking a favorite or something one has not tasted in a while, sharing trick-or-treat memories with one another.  As Holly said, “Halloween is the best time of year for rediscovering your favorite candy.”

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I clearly remember the struggle to breathe, the icy fear that was a heavy weight in my chest.  I had assumed that opening my eyes would end the nightmare, but it seemed to be real.  The creature was there, between me and the door, so escape was out of the question.

It was, perhaps, four feet in height, with bat-like features.  The narrow eyes were terrifying:  milky white and softly glowing.  Its teeth were all fangs, the better to gnash with, I suppose.  It may not have been so frightening if I wasn’t being overwhelmed by the waves of demonic evil radiating from this being.  It was immobilizing; I couldn’t move from my bed, even to sit up.  I couldn’t make a sound, no scream or cry or prayer could escape.  It was lunging at me, but it couldn’t quite reach.  Never, ever, have I felt such terror.  I was completely alone in a dormitory full of sleeping people.

I could only think, think of great angels with swords and that my soul had already been purchased with His blood and no demon could take that away.  The creature lunged at me, furious, fangs gleaming.  I squeezed my eyes shut to help focus on the hope I had learned long ago.  When I finally gained the courage to open my eyes again, the creature was gone.

The memory, however, will always be there.

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