May 31, 2012

He's the sweetest

I love to read.  
Surely you have gathered that from my many, many posts on books.  
So imagine my glee when I opened this, a birthday present from my brother.

How sweet of him to know what I would so greatly enjoy?!
I'm already filling it up with lots and lots of titles.
My summer reading list may be a tad bit longer now. 

Right now I'm trying out Wool by Hugh Howey, which has received nothing but rave reviews.  
So far, it's intriguing.  
Anyone else read it?

Next up is Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. 
I can't believe I haven't read any of his books with as much as I love his shows.  
I think he has such a fantastic way with words. 

And I'm also into Story Girl, by L.M.
I can't believe there are still books of hers that I haven't read 20 times.  
This one has been on my self for years and I just haven't been able to past chapter 4.
I did love Avonlea back in the day, so surely I'll love it.  

I like to be in the middle of about 7 books at any given time.
This makes reading while traveling problematic.  
I have to have options, which means a tote full of books.
I can see this little gadget becoming my new favorite traveling companion.  

Thank you, dearest brother.
I think of you every time I use it.
Love you!

May 30, 2012

on the radar

I was all ready to post last night and then...blam-o.  The power went out.  Awesome.  Thankfully it came back on about 3 hours later.  It didn't get too hot and humid in just 3 hours.

Anyway, here are a few things on my radar lately....

The Two Towers.  I'm watching it yet again.  I realized this time why I love it so much.  The Rohan.  Edoras. Eowyn and Faramir, two of my favorites, enter the story.  And how  Aragorn and Arwen's story is shown in flashes.  It's so beautifully shot and makes me want to immediately blow all my savings and go to New Zealand.

Snow White and The Huntsman.  I can't wait to see this one.  Chris Hemsworth is quickly becoming a favorite.  (ps...did you know his little brother is Gale from The Hunger Games?  Crazy, right?!)

Valtari.  Came out this week. My copy is on it's way at the moment.  Vinyl addition.

VSCO cam.  I'm addicted to this app.  The website explains it as "less as more" and it is.  The filters are perfect.  And the amount of editing you can do in your phone is just amazing.  I'm loving it and taking lots and lots of photos just so I can play with it more.

Reading.  I've been reading some Story Girl, one that I have actually never read.  I know.  An L.M. book I haven't read.  It's a miracle.  And then reading House of Dreams, or at least the last 4 chapters because I just needed to read the part about Captain Jim finally reading his Life Book.  And then the ending of Little Women.  I never tire of Laurie and Amy's chapter at the end.  

Newsies, the musical.  I think it's hilarious that Broadway is oooooing and aaaahhhing over it right now.  As a crazed fan of the 1992 movie that the critics hated, I just can't get over all the attention the musical is getting.  I want to see it.  To compare, of course.  But I bet it won't be as good as my high school self remembers the movie being.

Bed time.  It's here.  I'm tired.  It has been a long week.

Night, all.

Cottage Girl

May 29, 2012

TV gushing


Last week was the season 2 finale of Sherlock on PBS.  
I just feel like I need to implore you once again, dear readers, to give this show a try.
It's 2 seasons.
Each season only has 3 episodes.
90 minutes per episode.
And they pack a wallop.

I'm going to say that I think it's the best thing on TV in years.
The casting is perfection.
The characters are endearing.
The dialog is snappy and witty.
The story lines are sharp and intriguing.

Benedict Cumberbatch is the best thing since....I don't even know what. At first I wasn't sure how to take him as the famous Sherlock Holmes.  But he won me over before I was even half way through the first episode.  His performance is magic.  His facial expressions and wit make the show.

Martin Freeman, well, I became a huge fan of his years ago when he was on the British version of The Office. I just can't wait for him to be Bilbo this December.  He is the perfect Dr. Watson.  The finale of season 2 was his shining moment.  Wow.

So there's a little TV gushing for you.
I haven't done that in a while.
But this show is too good to just breeze by.
Looking for something fun to watch this summer?
Sherlock is it.

May 28, 2012


(photo found here.  Story behind the photo found here)

I posted this exact photo back in 2010
It still haunts me. 
Tacked onto the forefront of my brain forever.  
I think about it every American holiday like today or the 4th or Veteran's Day.  

Just seemed appropriate that I should post it again, 
since I haven't stopped thinking about it all day.

I am so blessed to live in this country.
Never want to forget that my freedom comes at a great price.
Thankful for the millions who have sacrificed.  
Today, I remember them....

May 27, 2012

Wood Between the Worlds

Remember that part of The Magician's Nephew 
when Digory and Polly found the Wood Between the Worlds? 
Narnia was just a dip in one of those pools, as was a 1,000 other worlds.
One of my very favorite parts from the entire Narnia series.  

One of these days I will pick up my real camera again.
But for now, I'm in awe of what my little iphone can do.
The quality still blows me away at times.  

May 26, 2012

insanity around the corner

This week was one of those weeks that, by the end, felt like a freight train out of control.
Extremely busy days at work.  Interviews/boats/pool/meals/phones/gift shop/decorations.
I've been wanting to blog all week, but haven't had the chance to sit down and actually do it.
It was crazy-cakes.

Then, every evening was busy as well.
All fine, fun things, but still.
No down time to do things like laundry or clean.
I did get to see Battleship (fun summer flick with Tim Riggins in all his short hair glory.  And Landry too!).
I did get my haircut (love it).
I did get to watch a scary movie (actually watched about 15% of it. The rest was too scary to actually look at).
I did get to spend time with friends and have great conversations.

Oh, summer time is upon me.
Crazy, long summer days.
And it's finally hot here.
The pool opens this weekend.
Staff are arriving.
Camp insanity is just around the corner

May 22, 2012


This is the photo on my background on my computer at the office at the moment.
It's California.
Venice Beach, I think. Not sure.
6 or 7 years ago.
I can't even begin tell you how much I just love it.
(must print it out.  must)
I dream about living in California about 30 times a day.

What's your background right now?

May 21, 2012

Where is my Flynn Rider?

My hair is ridiculously long right now.
Too long, in fact.
Because it is so baby-fine, long = too much weight.
It's needs a trim, like bad.

One of the perks though is that I can play with it.
Milkmaid braids. The best hairstyle when you need to wash your hair, but don't have time (or hot water).
Low buns with vintage scarfs.  Also great for bad hair days.  

And then there is always the pencil bun for those hot days in the office when we haven't turned on the air yet.

Since I am outside in the sun and heat all day for the entire summer, I appreciate being able to get my hair the heck off my neck.  It's hot!  I'm all about braids and ponytails and buns every single day.

I really want to master the braided crown, so I can be all Empire Strikes Back Princess Leia.  But I can't, for the life of me, master the backwards braid.  Hours and hours of practice still yield a giant mess.  That regular old French braid is the only thing that comes out every single time.

Hair post complete.

May 18, 2012

The Cottage hot water heater sat in the middle of the kitchen most of the week.

If you are Sherlock, you might have deduced that meant there was no hot water during that time.


After boiling water to take a bath after a hot sweaty run, I was again reminded how often I take the little things for granted.

This week I was reminded to be thankful, oh so very thankful for HOT water at the turn of a knob.

It is a wonder.

May 17, 2012

hear ye, hear ye

I've been running at least 20 minutes/2 miles for the last 2 weeks.

Now, to some of you, like my college roommate who have run (or are still running after having several children) multiple marathons, this may be no big deal.

But to this little 5'2" girl who has always struggled with anything having to do with sports or athletic ability, this a thing of epic proportions.

It is something that I'm immensely proud of for myself.

Proud because I'm not letting laziness and hatred of running win.

My sister asked me when I was talking to her about it the other day, "so do you like running now?"

My answer was a firm and hearty "no way."

It is still not something I look forward to.  It is still a chore.  It is still mostly miserable the whole entire time.


I love that I haven't let my laziness win for 2 months now.  It's more exciting that I'm learning to defeat my selfishness than I am learning to love running.

Now, when that pool opens, I may have to trade my running shoes for my swimsuit because by golly, I do love swimming.  That is something I look forward to, want to do and miss quite a bit when I can't.

May 16, 2012

song and TV

I found out about their new album when I was watching The Vampire Diaries season finale last week.  The last 3 minutes (dear goodness, those last 3 minutes) "Dauðalogn" was playing in the background.  I shouted out loud, as we were sitting on the edge of our seats "It's Sigur Ros!"  I didn't recognize the song, so I went hunting online only to joyfully find out their new album comes out at the end of this month.  Eeeep!

You can see the clip from TVD here. (I've watched it about 15 times....just while typing this).  But major spoiler alert****if you haven't seen the season finale yet, or if you ever plan on watching the show, don't watch it.  It will all be ruined for you.  But if you could care less about TVD (but you really should watch it!), the song is fantastic. It may turn out to be one of my favorites of theirs forever.

Then the other night I was watching We Bought a Zoo and was so excited when I remembered that they/Jonsi did the soundtrack for the movie.  So many great songs.  And they fit so well with the whole mood of the movie.  The red kites at the end...hello?!   

If you haven't ever listened to Sigur Ros, you are missing out.  I first heard about them from another blogger who posted their Glósóli video years and years ago.  And then The Bro let me borrow all their albums, and I was hooked.  And then...I saw Heima one night with him and I was moved beyond words. It's probably the best video I have ever seen in my entire life.

Sigur Ros.  New album.  This month.  Yessssss.

May 15, 2012


My sister sent me the most lovely present for my birthday.  
I can't get over how beautiful it is.  
Anyway, I just had to take a photo of how it was packaged when it arrived in the mail.
Note:  I took these before it knew what was inside.  
It was hard to wait.

Once the box was open, there was this pretty-ness.  
Because I love wrapping presents so very much, 
the whole opening of this was a sheer delight.  
I appreciated the detail and care that went into the wrapping,
just as much as I did what was inside.

Hello, beauties!
They are even more lovely in person,
let me tell you.
So delicate and charming.

Ignoring my wrinkly old lady hand.
Look how lovely they are.
And they perfectly fit my doll sized fingers.

The rings are from the adorable shop Lumafina on Etsy.
The polished sterling silver ring is was a gift from my parents on one of their trips to Alaska.  The gold is a little gold nugget from an Alaska mine.  This ring never leaves my finger.

Thank you, dear sister.
I love them so much.
And I think about you everytime I glance down at them.
They are perfect.

May 14, 2012

read this one

If you've been reading here for any length of time, you will know of my love of all things adoption related.  It's pretty obvious from the sidebar as well.  In fact, I started this blog way back in 2005 because I discovered blogging through Chinese adoption blogs.  True story.  Those blogs introduced me to what blogging was.

God planted the love of orphans in my heart before I think I ever really understood what it was.  When I was little and my brother and sister and I played pretend, we didn't play "house", we played "orphanage."  It's true. I would make them bundle up in blankets and I would be the orphanage director who would go and gather them from the rainy, cold streets.

When I was in second grade, a little boy who was adopted from Korea (which was un-heard of in the early 80's) was placed in my class.  I was fascinated by him. When he did a presentation in class about his heritage, I was riveted when he told his story.

Rambling way off track...let's bring it back around, shall we?

A few years ago, this sweet girl came to work at camp.  Selfishly, I like to think that God brought her here because we were kindred spirits.  He knew what a blessing she would be in my life.  But I'm sure it was because she is so good with kids and fits in perfectly at camp.

I found out a few days after she had arrived that her family had adopted 3 of her siblings from around the world, China being one of those places.  I, of course, begged her to tell me their adoption stories and let me see every photo she brought with her to camp.   To make a long story short, I adore her.

Last year, she didn't return to camp (sad face), but she had a pretty good reason why.  She was spending the summer in China doing some amazing things.  Fast forward one year later.  Her family is now in China adopting a little cutie, who will seriously melt your heart the second you see her.

You just have to read the story of how her family was brought together.  Part 1.  Part 2.  Part 3.  And then keep reading.  They are in China right now, finishing up their adoption.

I asked M if I could share her new little sister's story here because it is seriously one of the most amazing adoption stories I have ever heard.  God was completely in every single step.  It has been so neat to walk along side of her during the whole process and see God open doors and make the most incredible miracles happen.  She and I were texting the other night and she said "It just goes to show that when God has a plan...He gets things DONE!!"  I can't think of a more perfect way to sum it all up.

Love you, M!  So much. Thanks for letting me share your family's story.

May 13, 2012


Love you, Momma.
I'll always ride Splash Mountain with you.
Or Tower of Terror.
Especially Tower of Terror, two time in a row.


Your oldest

May 12, 2012

Summer reading list

(Check out my $1 yard sale score.  I've been on the hunt for vintage clocks for years)

It's the time of year again!  Yes, it deserves an exclamation point.  It does.  It's time for the annual summer reading list.  That glorious list that is a joy to check off throughout the summer months.  The list that is for nothing but fun.  New worlds and characters beckon.

Summer reading list 2012.  

1.  The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester.  Bought this one on my birthday.  One of the B&N employees saw me looking at it and highly recommended it.

2.  Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller. Borrowed from The Bro and started, but needs to be finished.  Also want to read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

3.  At least one book by Lucy MaudAbout this time, every year, I start needing an Anne-fix.  This year feels like a House of Dreams or Island year.  Or maybe Jane again.  Or Kilmeny.  So hard to choose. (bonus:  lots of her books are free for e readers!)

4.  Home by Marilyn Robinson.  I've been wanting to read another of her works since I read Gilead a few years ago.  

5.  Partials by Dan Wells.  Started reading this one at the Black Hole, and I've been thinking about it still, weeks later.  I want to know where the story goes cause it had an interesting start.  

6.  Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.  I'm not an "Apple or nothing" person (although I love my iphone), but I think this would be a fascinating book.  And I love biographies.  

7.  Autobiography of Mark Twain Vol. 1 by Mark Twain.  Still working on this one.  I feel like I should buy it and keep chipping away instead of borrowing it from the library every few months.  It's so incredibly interesting.  But at 760 enormous pages with 1,000's of footnotes, it's going to take a while to get through.  I just don't want to have a 20lb book when I'm all finished with it. Hmmmm...

 Here are the past few summer reading lists 2010. 2011.

May 10, 2012

Best parts of today

The best parts of this long, über busy day included:

Not letting my laziness win, which meant running 2 miles before work this morning knowing I had an insane schedule in front of me. I didn't necessarily love the actually running, but I loved kicking my laziness in the pants.

A 30 minute Sun Tea break on the Cottage Porch with my roommate and friends/co-workers.

Bright sunny day that was semi-warm.

Rain (or water falling from my rain shower head) on tired limbs at the end of the day. (That shower head was the best $35 I ever spent 8 years ago.)

Chocolate cookies.

Scrubs discussions with a friend that is just watching it for the first time.

The Vampire freakin' Diaries season finale. I was literally on the edge of the couch for the last 5 straight minutes. I...I...I would like to have words to explain myself, but alas I am speechless. It continued its streak of "wow" season finales.

A cozy bed full of pillows that I am so grateful for after a day of running around.

May 09, 2012

words and phrases

I hereby acknowledge my absence here.
I also hereby proclaim to do something about it.
The horrible intranets connection that is upon my house shall not disway me anymore.

I have a summer reading list to post.
And then there is oh-so-important summer movie list.

Plus, I haven't raved and blubbered over how eeeeek(!!!) The Avengers was last night.
Wonderful, hilarious, uber-entertaining, it was.
If you go, you must stay for the extra scene at the end of the credits.
No, not that first one, but the one after all those black and white credits roll.
It's so Joss.
It's reminded me of the Scoobies.
And speaking of that Joss, this made me tear up like a giant nerd.
So, yeah.
Go see it.

And can we talk about records for a minute?
Oh, wait, I haven't even told you about my beautiful present from my parents.
Well, there's another post.

Fifthly, I think I'm going to start watching the later seasons of ER again.
I just finished up seasons 1-3 of The West Wing (my favorites) and I need something else character driven.
On a podcast I was listening to recently, I heard Zachary Levi mention seeing Scott Grimes at Disneyland and now I can't get Archie Morris out of my head.
Bet you were wondering where the heck that last sentence was going didn't you?

And since we're on the subject, have you ever made Pioneer Woman's salsa recipe from her newest book?
I made it for the first time about a month ago.
I've made it about 5 times since then.
My roommate made the garlic kale again tonight too.
We love us some PW recipes.

And to end it for the evening,
Here's the song that has been stuck in my head for the last two days.

Hello by Lionel Richie on Grooveshark

Additionally, what should I spend my free $5 from Amazon on?  
That's exactly what I was thinking.  

Signing off....

May 08, 2012

On the agenda for this evening

Considering my love of Tony Stark and Joss Whedon, it would be a slight understatement to say that I'm excited.

My expectations are ridiculously high, which is usually a bad thing (unless you are the Hunger Games movie).

Summer movie blockbusters with things blowing up/planet-wide disasters are to me like romantic comedies are to most other girls.

I heart them.

And I must see at least one or two each summer.

Let the summer movie season begin...

May 03, 2012

God chose

Been enthralled by Moses' story in Exodus the last few days.
How God chose him.
How He called to him out of a bush on fire?!
How He specifically gave him a mission.
How He gave him the tools he needed to do what seemed humanly impossible.
How Moses gave him excuse after excuse, but He reminded him that He is God.
How God accomplished exactly what He intended.
How Israel was saved by a miraculous Father in heaven who loved them.

This is the God that leads and directs me.
This is the Father who longs to speaks to my heart.
This is the Father who whispers His will.
This same God, who loved Moses and chose him...
He chose me.
He loves me.
He died for me.

I can't seem to wrap my brain around that lately.
It's so much and so simple all rolled together.