Friday, March 30, 2012

the beer virgin

onto a more fun post for your lovely friday afternoon. i've decided to start a short series on this blog called the beer virgin! i'm not much of an alcohol drinker -- wine makes me queasy and liquor makes me pass out cold (as in, black out completely, as in, once I collapsed in a bar after one midori sour).

but beer is fun! beer makes me hilariously weird and happy! I think that's called being drunk, yes?

I don't know much about beer though so I decided I'd try different kinds and sort of rate them according to my perception of taste. Also, recently chris and I were at trader joe's and we saw this big brown paper bag of beer that was stapled shut. it was a mystery bag of beer! I bought the bag and will be blogging about some of those mysetery beers as well (though one was a heineken and one was a heineken light. LAME!)

me super excited about the magical mystery beer bag!
so the first beer i tried from the mystery bag was a liberty ale, which i drank while devouring a chipotle burrito bowl and watching something on hulu (can't remember what)

the beer was pretty tasty during the first few swigs, but suddenly started to turn really thick and creamy feeling and I was quickly turned off by it. It may have been the kind of food I was eating with the beer, but i had to stop drinking it after a while because it felt like a thick mocha latte in my mouth.

it has good reviews on the beer advocate, so I'm guessing this is a good quality beer, but i think i have just really bad, cheapo taste or something :) that's ok, this is a learning process, or a quest to find jeannie's perfect beer so i'm open to trial and error. does anyone out there like this beer?

I learned that the liberty ale was first brewed on the 200th anniversary of paul revere's ride and is considered one of the first american craft beers. pretty interesting. I think i'd try it again if i was just snacking at a happy hour or eating something simple (fries, maybe?). in any case, i'm glad i tried it, but it wasn't right at the time.

stay tuned for more adventures of the beer virgin!


I recently attended an excellent conference at Boston University on narrative storytelling in journalism. first of all, kudos to my employer for supporting a "staff development" trip like this -- I was pretty stunned that the conference was approved, but the fact that i came back re-inspired to put my nose to the grindstone and put out some quality content at work is testament to the value of investing in your employees, but ... i digress :)

at the conference, Jay Allison, a radio producer who founded The Moth and the "This I Believe" series on NPR, told a beautiful account about the fourth of july. his 4-year-old son sat in his lap watching fireworks, but continued to insist on, "story, story." Despite the incredible pyrotechnics going on right in front of his face, Allison's son wanted the fireworks to be narrated, to be told as a story.

something draws us to narrative. storytelling/story listening is in our dna.

not only is that good news for journalists, but it's also a challenge: how do you take an issue, a fact, a situation and retell it in a way that is compelling, visceral, and true? how do you tell a good story?

Stories are our prayers. Write and edit them with due reverence, even when the stories themselves are irreverent. 
Stories are parables. Write and edit and tell yours with meaning so each tale stands in for a larger message, each story a guidepost on our collective journey. 
Stories are history. Write and edit and tell yours with accuracy and understanding and context and with unwavering devotion to the truth. 
Stories are music. Write and edit and tell yours with pace and rhythm and flow. Throw in the dips and twirls that make them exciting, but stay true to the core beat. Readers hear stories with their inner ear. 
Stories are our soul. Write and edit and tell yours with your whole selves. Tell them as if they are all that matters. It matters that you do it as if that's all there is. 
--Jacqui Banaszynski 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

we almost fought ...

but hilarity ensued instead.

Christopher:  yeah 
me:  damnit 
Christopher:  you need to limit yourself 
me:  don't tell me what to do 
i don't judge you for your obsessive compulsion over tech news
or jeremy lin
or whatever
 Christopher:  sorry i was just adopting your stance
i thought you were saying it was bad
 me:  welli would never say
"yeah you need to limit yourself"
judgy judgy was a bear!
judgy judgy had no hair!
 Christopher:  judgy judgy?
what's that?!
 me:  you never heard fudgy wudgy? 
Christopher:  uh 
me:  fudgy wudgy was a bear
fudgy wudgy had no hair
if fudgy wudgy wasn't
oh wait
 Christopher:  jeannie 
me:  it's fuzzy
fuzzy wuzzy
 Christopher:  jeannie 
Christopher:  thank you for waking me up 
me:  i got confused!
 Christopher:  with this hilarity 
fuzzy wuzzy wuz a bear!
that's effing hilarious
 Christopher:  yes
 Christopher:  fudgy wudgy. 

by the way, we started fighting because I told chris I was watching too many old episodes of the office, hence his "yeah, you need to limit yourself,"comment. yes, we discuss very important, life-changingly significant issues. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

how do I look?

natural? unnatural? hehe. I was totally bonding with Clay in this moment. nothing sweeter than holding a newborn.

me, clay, eli. best sunday morning ever!
*** a few more photos from this day just for fun :)

what a sweetie. it's weird, before this time I didn't feel that connected to Clay. He was just this baby that my friend had to hold and I was always gravitating towards Eli since Eli would acknowledge my presence and we would have conversations and etc. But when I got to hold Clay this last visit, we locked eyes, I smiled at him, and he smiled back! and now I'm in love.

Friday, March 16, 2012

can't knock the hustle

there's a lot going on these days between working, making future plans, doing some freelance writing, and trying to stay on top of personal and spiritual care. I woke up this morning and saw my messy room in the light of day and couldn't really handle it so i spent 30 minutes cleaning, which made me 45 minutes late to work, which left me 15 minutes to do some emails before I snuck into a closet to do an interview for a freelance article due thursday, which I will have to turn in on monday. such is life!

which brings me back to my thoughts on fullness vs. deprivation/ happiness vs. sorrow. when our lives are full of joy, passion, activity, "fulfillment," if you will -- then it goes without saying that time can feel limited. how do we fill up our lives without overfilling?

I also wonder about "the hustle." there are so many people out there who hustle to achieve something every minute of every day and I am in awe. i don't have an entrepreneurial bone in my body, so when I work in an industry that increasingly emphasizes "branding yourself," I wonder -- am I cut out for this? can I "hustle?"

that's when i realize i can't make myself someone i'm not. i'm not a brand maven, but i like talking with people and learning about them and writing their stories for others. that's my hustle. what's yours?

Monday, March 12, 2012


my aforementioned friend's first son, rocking number 17

Thursday, March 8, 2012

the birth

last month, I had the privilege of attending the birth of my friend's second child. I got the call at around 8:30 p.m. on a Thursday night. I had just sat down to a nice bowl of fresh spaghetti when Jenny called and said she was having contractions every 15 minutes or so. I scarfed down my food, packed up my stuff, and headed out on the metro. Chris met me at the train station nearest Jenny's house and drove me the rest of the way there.

i have to admit, I was pretty nervous that after so many months of anticipation, this was FINALLY HAPPENING! But I also felt strangely prepared and ready for anything. (It helped that Jenny got me two crucial books to read about birth.) when i arrived, the midwife was already there checking Jenny out. the contractions slowed down so we sat around talking and eating and we even watched the first part of a movie. 

We eventually all went to bed, but around 3 a.m., the contractions started again in earnest, and it was really game time. I won't get into all the details of the birth, but the baby was born around 9:20 that morning, and I watched the ENTIRE THING. it was pretty incredible.

The labor was rather long and arduous, but Jenny was a real champ and I am still sort of in awe of her strength. I also found myself thinking a lot about advent: we'd been waiting so long for this little guy to finally arrive, and, down to the final minutes and seconds of his birth, all of us in the room were truly EAGER for just a glimpse of the little guy's head. when he finally came ... well, frankly there aren't words to describe the deep satisfaction we all felt. he was finally here. here. here. here.

i visited the whole fam last week and it was amazing to see the baby, aware, alert, burping up a storm, and eating voraciously. what a BLESSING! 

I was the designated photog/videographer for the night. Obviously, all of the photos are pretty personal and won't be shared on this blog, but here was one capture that I totally love: mom leaning on dad during a contraction; in the foreground, big brother's toys that will hopefully be generously shared with the new baby to come.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

people, places, things

this past weekend, chris and I headed up to new york to celebrate my friend joanna's 30th birthday, see some friends, visit the empire state building, go to a tennis match ... yeah, we were busy.

i don't know, sometimes our trips to new york are so packed that it feels like work, but i realize that is sort of a "white whine" -- oh boo hoo, poor us, have to have too much fun in new york. eye roll. I know we're lucky, and when i look back at these photos, my heart swells with thankfulness: i'm thankful for friends, for chris, for all nyc has to offer.

christopher at the christopher st. station

according to this subway mosaic, john wayne
was some sort of peace activist/freedom fighter.
can anyone verify this fact?

my gorgeous friends joanna and eric.
joanna can be seen in this commercial
with mariah carey. she is basically a super star :)

joe and niloo, the greatest couple i know!

after almost 2 years of holding onto our
tickets, we finally visited the Empire State Building.
what a view, right?

it was crazy cold and my teeth nearly froze while posing for this photo

chris looking on

can you figure out how we took this photo? :)

chris looked up an image of what our view would
have looked like if the twin towers were still standing. slightly morbid.

on our drive back to DC, we stopped at
Mitsuwa, a japanese grocery store in NJ.
The food court was incredible!

my amazing lunch! I definitely splurged on the calorie count here :)

chris's lunch

these pastries were baked on site and
are filled with creme and red bean. yummy!

kissy fishy!

Friday, March 2, 2012

ain't no sunshine

it's a drizzly, rainy, bill withers kind of day in DC today
(sorry for the cheesy fan video, but just hit play and look at something else on the internet like this, or this, or this.)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

the last time my weight dropped

so all this talk of weight gain and loss reminded me of the ONE time in my life when my weight dropped in an unhealthy way.

i was living with my parents in temecula without many friends or a community. because i was working in San Diego but living in temecula, everything felt very disparate, with some friends here and other friends there, and I was often lonely coming home to a big empty house at the end of each work day. My primary relationship was with my boyfriend at the time who lived in LA.

I remember thinking once that it would really suck if we broke up because I would have nobody to talk to. Like bad foreshadowing in a made-for-TV movie, we broke up just a few weeks after I had that very thought. We were getting ready to celebrate his best friend's wedding and he called as he was driving back to LA from the bachelor party in santa barbara on a saturday night. Out of the blue, he started expressing serious doubts about our relationship and basically tried to break up with me right there on the phone, but I was not having it (you don't get off that easy! haha). We met halfway between temecula and LA to talk it out. There, on a cold metal bench in front of an outlet mall along the I-15, he dumped me.

on the drive back, I called my cousin helen and she talked me through a lot of my emotions. I felt better, but the whole time I remember feeling sick to my stomach. that was a saturday night, and I don't think I ate anything until around wednesday morning. In those few days my weight dropped to 102 lbs, the lowest I've ever weighed since I turned 20. it took me about 4 months to get back to a normal weight again.

In many ways eating is a purely carnal endeavor -- a literal filling up of your bodies' energy tank by crudely shoving food (energy) into your mouth-hole, chewing it to small bits so it can easily slide down your gullet and into your stomach, where it is further broken down by acids and stomach churning until your body gets nutrients that replenish your organs, muscles, etc. it's a basic bodily function!

I remember my friend Jesse once told me he hates eating on first dates because it's just embarrassing to eat in front of someone new -- almost as bad as going to the bathroom in front of them. it's funny, but it's sort of true! eating and going to the bathroom are just two sides to the same story.

but then again, there's something sort of profound and spiritual, even, about eating. How we eat, who we eat with, how much we eat -- all of these point to what's going on inside. for me, heartbreak -- or the vacuum that I felt from the act of someone snatching their love away from me -- was physically manifest in creating an emptiness in my body. it felt wrong to eat, and when I tried, I choked. it's almost as if i didn't want to feel fullness, because I felt so empty inside.

but i know for a lot of others overeating is another expression of pain, a way to fill up some vacancy in the heart by filling up the stomach.

i'm not sure where i'm going with all of this, but I guess i'm trying to say that a cigar is never just a cigar, and a person's diet is never just about what they put in their mouths. why am I gaining weight right now? well probably because I'm pretty freaking happy, and there's nothing wrong with that. I love celebrating with big meals and relishing in the pleasure of delicious food, and I hope I never lose that joy in the process of trying to implement some disciplines in my life. and I think diet and discipline should never become so strict that it results in restricting joy and happiness.

i'm reminded of one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies, Spanglish:
American women, I believe, actually feel the same as Hispanic women about weight: a desire for the comfort of fullness. And when that desire is suppressed for style, and deprivation allowed to rule, dieting and exercising American women become afraid of everything associated with being curvaceous, such as wantonness, lustfulness, sex, food, motherhood. All that is best in life.
all that is best in life. i'm gonna think on that for a while :)

In any case, I've so appreciated your comments on my most recent posts because everyone is celebrating healthy lifestyle changes, but with a strong caution against going overboard, and I completely agree. In my dieting endeavor, I hope to achieve a happy balance between discipline and fullness, guidelines and freedom, temperance and celebration.