Thursday, April 10, 2014

In Which I Don't Really Understand Blogging Awards

But answering questions and linking-up with other oh-so-hip bloggers? That I can totally get with.

Kendra over at Catholic All Year tagged all of us (even lowly little bloggers like me with only 3 readers) to answer her 11 questions and link with all the other lovelies. So yay!

1. Where do you live? And why do you live there?

     I live in a suburb of the coolest city in the world - my beloved Los Angeles -  snuggled up against the Foothills between the San Gabriel Valley and the border of the Inland Empire. It's a tiny little town no one's really heard of but we do have a university affectionately called the Teacher Factory.
      I live here for many reasons. Partly because I like being close to my parents, because it's close to both my jobs (my day-time office job and my weekend nanny gig in LA), because it's so familiar and comfortable, but mostly because I live with my disabled uncle and can't afford to move out.
      *My favorite thing about living here, though, is this time of year. The jacaranda trees are just about to burst with lavender blooms and I cannot wait! It means spring is in full swing and summer is on the way!

2. What are you currently watching and/or reading?

     I just finished catching up on Supernatural (I fell off the wagon about 3 1/2 seasons ago) but CW doesn't have the first episodes of Season 9 up online and I can't get it on-demand because we're not subscribed to the CW. *frustration!!!*  But I am instead getting caught up on Top Gear U.K. while waiting until August for Doctor Who to return.

From Pinterest here

     I am currently listening to The Book Thief and The Thirteenth Tale via Audible and so far I'm really loving Book Thief. It's such a mark of Mark Zusak's genius that he has written two very different novels that are both so very exquisite.  I am also reading Jane Austen's Mansfield Park on weekends and in the bathtub. Because I can't just read one book at a time.

image from this article. I really love this cover!

3. What kind of Catholic are you? cradle, or convert?

     I'm actually a converted cradle Catholic in the sense that I was born and raised (mostly) Catholic, but had a conversion experience in my early teens prior to being Confirmed in which I chose to remain Catholic.

4. Can you point to one moment or experience that made you a practicing Catholic?

     Halfway through my first year of Confirmation preparation, I had a long, intense discussion with my teacher. He knew how much I was struggling with sola scriptura and anti-confession arguments from my Protestant school, friends, and family members, as well as a lot of personal drama and he talked me through all of it. Every time, I tell people that this man saved my soul and is the reason I'm a Catholic today.

5. How many pairs of shoes do you own?

    Far too many.

6. Are you a good dancer?

     I used to be.
When I was in high school I went to dance class a couple times a week and was actually a pretty decent swing dancer. I stuck with it through college, taught my then-boyfriend a bunch of combinations and various other ballroom dances and we danced all the time: in the grocery store, at work, in living rooms before dinner, etc.  But nowadays my dancing involves small people and a lot of twirling.  And I really don't mind.

7. Who usually drives, you or your husband?

     Not being married, it's always me. But when I was in a relationship, I drove the vast majority of the time. I expect that when I do get married, I'll still do a lot of the driving, because I'm a paranoid control freak.  I also just genuinely really love to drive.

8. What's your favorite holiday and how do you celebrate it?

     My favorite popular holiday is Christmas because in my family it's a huge deal. We spend the entire week before Christmas preparing: cleaning the house, decorating, and cooking ALL the things. My Oma and my girl-cousins and I bake pies and make candy and cookies and spend two or three days making tamales. The time bonding with my cousins and aunts and other maternal figures (including my own mother and sisters) is really fun and the source of some of my most cherished childhood memories. Christmas is a big deal in my family.
     My favorite lesser known holiday is Michaelmas. It was one of the first holidays I observed when I started paying a lot of attention to the liturgical year, and I had a tea party with a dear friend to mark the occasion. I made glazed carrots and blackberry cobbler and had Michaelmas daisies all over the place. I really love St. Michael so it was a wonderful day.


9. Which is correct? Left or right?


 

LEFT. Left left left left!!! The only excuse to do it wrong is if you have a cat the likes to unroll your toilet paper. Since my cat is not interested in this, it always goes on the way depicted on the left, aka the correct way.

10. Do you have any scars?

    I have three on my abdomen from getting my appendix removed, many on my hands and arms from a mean cat and falling out of trees and eczema, and the majority of my right knee is scarred from crashing my motorcycle into a concrete wall (it was really bad and really scary but thankfully I didn't break my leg). I have scarring on my right arm and right wrist from that same accident.  I used to have a perfectly round scar on the back of my left shoulder from when a fence fell on me and a protruding nail went into my shoulder when I was about 6 or 7, but as I grew and my shoulders broadened, it's flattened and is now all but invisible and I forget it most of the time.  When I was younger, though, every time I wore a tank top people asked about it.

11. What's the most famous thing you've ever done?

     When I was in college, I was a small-time campus celebrity, known as The Free Hugs Girl.

 I had a twitter and a Facebook fan page and was in the school newspaper three times and on the school news channel once or twice.  In high school and shortly after I left college I was still a small public figure in Claremont, where I first started Free Hugging, but never as popular as I was at LMU.


And that's it! If you have a blog, answer the questions and link up with us over at Kendra's in this post. Don't have a blog but still want to play? That's okay because this whole thing is made up and the posts don't matter - leave your answers in the comments either at Kendra's post or right here! I'd love to hear from you.


love,

Willow


*Author's Note: Two of these pictures are my property - the ones that feature a curly-haired blonde. The others are from around the web and I've given credit as best I could.*

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

52 Lists - Week Nine

This year I'm participating in Moorea Seal's 52 Lists project - a new list every week this year! Since I love making lists of things, I'm inflicting them on all of you. Head on over to her site HERE to check out all the lovely lists or join in yourself!

Week 9 - List the Places You Want to Go
Oh, the places I'll go! I have so many places I long to visit: some are specific cities, others are just countries in general (and a few are pure fantasy but can you blame me?). Here's my list:

+ India      + Bali      + Seattle, WA       + Chicago, IL      + New Orleans, LA      + Paris     + Munich     + Berlin      + Oxford      + Cornwall      +Edinburgh       + Monte Carlo      + Greece      + Jerusalem   + Istanbul      + Florida Keys       + Daniel Island, SC      + Amsterdam     + Hungary     +Toronto, Canada     + Costa Rica     + Barcelona     + Seville      + Granada     + Madrid     + Basque Country     + Crete     + a karaoke bar     + tulip fields in Holland     + Neverland     + Narnia     + Hogwarts


I played with photo editing. Believe me, the original was worse.

*Challenge* 
This week I will go... 
To my retreat team meeting! We've gotta keep prepping to wow those teens 
 
Where do you most want to visit? What kind of adventures do you dream about?

May the road rise to meet you,

Willow



For more fun with 52 Lists, click down on "52 Lists" in the little categories section at the bottom of the post, and go over to Moorea Seal's site to see more!

Check out Moorea Seal's entire project at her blog below:
http://www.moorea-seal.com/p/52-lists.html  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

52 Lists - Week Eight

This year I'm participating in Moorea Seal's 52 Lists project - a new list every week this year! Since I love making lists of things, I'm inflicting them on all of you. Head on over to her site HERE to check out all the lovely lists or join in yourself!

Week 8 - List Your Favorite Albums
This was hard! Not because I love music so much it was hard to choose (although that was part of it), but because most of my favorite "albums" are mix CDs my friends made me in high school and college. Things that can never be purchased on iTunes or in the discount bin at a record store.  These albums defined so many big life moments for me and the people that made them put a lot of love and thought and "oh, Willow would *love* this..." into them. But this is the listing of my favorite albums that you can buy on iTunes. I checked.  

+ Fearless by Taylor Swift     + Greatest Hits by Jim Croce     + Blue by Joni Mitchell    + Fly by The Dixie Chicks      + From Under the Cork Tree by Fallout Boy     + Andy Grammer by himself            + American Idiot by Greenday     + Foiled and Amazing by Blue October     + Everything In Transit by Jack's Mannequin      + Nothing Left to Lose by Matt Kearney     + 21 by Adele     + Interventions and Lullabies by The Format      + Third Eye Blind and Ursa Major by Third Eye Blind     + Siren Song of the Counter Culture by Rise Against     + Dudu by Tarkan     + On a Clear Night by Missy Higgins     + We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things by Jason Mraz     + The Piano Guys by themselves     + A Lesson in Romantics by Mayday Parade     + Hideaway by The Weepies     + For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver

you know you love my terrible photography skills

Do you remember your first album? Bet you can't guess which one was mine...

Happy Listening!

Willow




For more fun with 52 Lists, click down on "52 Lists" in the little categories section at the bottom of the post, and go over to Moorea Seal's site to see more!

Check out Moorea Seal's entire project at her blog below:
http://www.moorea-seal.com/p/52-lists.html

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

52 Lists - Week Five

This year I'm participating in Moorea Seal's 52 Lists project - a new list every week this year! Since I love making lists of things, I'm inflicting them on all of you. Head on over to her site HERE to check out all the lovely lists or join in yourself!

Week 5: List What You Are Grateful For
Things I'm grateful for - always something so important. With this list the thoughts just kept on coming, so I tried to be a bit creative. Obviously I'm thankful for my life, for being alive and living in a country where I have so much freedom (it's not perfect but it's better than other places) and having a family that loves me (even if they don't always show it) and so on and so forth. This was all around a really good exercise in looking at things I take for granted - other than having clean, running water and indoor plumbing.  So here's my list:

+ having a nice place to live     + cheap rent (thanks, Mom & Dad)     + living in a beautiful city near a pretty park     + having space to keep my grandmother's furniture and all my books     +my job, with flexible hours, a mostly easy-going boss, and being allowed to bring my cat to work     + getting paid well enough to pay bills and buy food     + having a (mostly) reliable car     + my best friend and resident fuzzball, Gatsby     + having the time and opportunity to supplement my income with babysitting jobs     + having one of those babysitting jobs run for almost 4 years and being treated like part of their family     + the awesomeness of the Vlogbrothers     + being able to count my little sisters amongst my closest friends     + having health insurance and access to health care     + my Catholic faith     + clean water, electricity, internet & telephone access, and other modern amenities     + penpals     + music, art, literature, dancing, and the privilege of growing up with those things     + parents who believe in the importance of exposing their children to culture and the arts     + getting to be part of my niece and nephew's lives     + having a large, crazy, beautiful extended family     + that I got the opportunity to travel across Western Europe with my mom, my best friend, and some awesome tour guides at only 17     + my exceptional education (thanks, Mom & Dad!)     + beautiful days, unforgettable nights     + stars and moonlight     + hope     + a world where there are Christmases


I couldn't get a really clear photos of this list because of a certain furry someone. See below.

So, so much to be grateful for - what an amazing life it is.  Of course this list isn't complete, but I was beginning to run out of room on my paper, as you can see.

What are you grateful for? What are the things that remind you how incredible life is?

Peace love and thanksgiving,

Willow


Bonus take:
Every time I use my phone to take pictures, he needs to be involved.


For more fun with 52 Lists, click down on "52 Lists" in the little categories section at the bottom of the post, and go over to Moorea Seal's site to see more!

Check out Moorea Seal's entire project at her blog below:
http://www.moorea-seal.com/p/52-lists.html

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book Review: Tell the Wolves I'm Home

Stats:
# of pages: 355
Publication Date: 2012
Publisher: Originally published in hardcover in the United States by The Dial Press, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., in 2012
My Copy: 2013 Dial Press Trade Paperback Edition - Target Book Club Pick with Reading Group Guide (6 pages)

 
My January pick was Tell the Wolves I'm Home, the debut novel by Carol Rifka Brunt.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

52 Lists - Week Four

This year I'm participating in Moorea Seal's 52 Lists project - a new list every week this year! Since I love making lists of things, I'm inflicting them on all of you. Head on over to her site HERE to check out all the lovely lists or join in yourself!

Week 4 - List Your Current & Future Goals and Dreams
Goals and dreams: I've got a lot of them.  This list was an interesting way to look at my goals in the sense of small picture and big picture; things I want to accomplish soon with concrete certainty and my someday-maybe pipe dreams. My "Current" list is stuff I want to accomplish by the end of 2014 (unless I specified some other end date), whereas my "Future" list is mostly on the dreams side of things rather than the goals side. You know what I mean. Here's my list:

CURRENT:
+ finish deep cleaning and organizing the condo, and have my room consistently tidy by Christmas (this is a serious goal because I am rubbish at home/space organization)
+ save enough money to be able to cover rent when Gary moves out
+ polish 3 poems to submit to literary magazines by the end of summer
+ organize and catalog the library this summer
+ get into a solid routine of exercising every day (I'm making progress on this one!) 
+ write up a bunch of blog posts and work up to posting every week (the photo says every day, but what I meant to add - thoughts faster than pen! - was to write every day)
+ meet new people and make new friends

those colorful bits of paper are from my Happy Thoughts Jar
FUTURE:
+ be a recognized, fiscally solvent writer
+ own a small house with a yellow kitchen, a garden, chickens, and a library [and a cat] (this little dream of mine has been in place for ages. I can't explain my obsession with having a sunny yellow kitchen, but it's ingrained in the dream. So's the window over the kitchen sink with lacy white curtains that looks into the garden. I'm a dreamer...) 
+ share my life with someone I love
+ have children
+ live in a foreign country (possibly the U.K. or Germany) for at least 6 months or longer
+ see my niece and nephew baptized in the Catholic Church  (ah, we've entered the pipe dream section of this list)
+ have tea with Francesca Lia Block
+ read thousands of really good books
+ start a literacy foundation
+ reform Catholic religious education/catechism instruction across the country (another dream I've had for a long, long time)
+ inspire someone
+ change the world
+ become a saint (formal canonization not required)

So, what are your goals for the rest of 2014? What are your dreams for the future? Do you dream of garden bungalows with yellow kitchens and blue libraries or something different? Let me know in comments....

Peace, love, and daydreams,

Willow


For more fun with 52 Lists, click down on "52 Lists" in the little categories section at the bottom of the post, and go over to Moorea Seal's site to see more!

Check out Moorea Seal's entire project at her blog below:
http://www.moorea-seal.com/p/52-lists.html
         

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

52 Lists - Week Three

This year I'm participating in Moorea Seal's 52 Lists project - a new list every week this year! Since I love making lists of things, I'm inflicting them on all of you. Head on over to her site HERE to check out all the lovely lists or join in yourself!

Week 3: List the Things You Should be Proud Of
Things to be proud of... I have to admit, this list was hard for me. Really hard. In the last few years I've often said (and sincerely felt) that my life is on pause.  But thinking about it, and digging a little deeper, I found that I have accomplished things and that there are things in my life that I should be really proud of. Here's my list:


+ my job      + teaching Catechism
+ I'm coping well with my anxiety
+ I haven't killed Gary yet
+ I manage my money well enough to pay bills, buy food, and put a little away in my savings
+ I'm eating a lot healthier these days
+ my relationship with my sisters has really improved
+ I was brave and went on the Young Adult Ministry retreat in November
+ I was brave and joined the Life-Teen retreat team
+ how much more writing I'm doing this year
+ I'm getting to work earlier and saving up hours for vacation
+ I'm being consistent and tackling big organization tasks at home regularly
+ I'm a much more skilled knitter than I was 3 years ago

I feel like that's a list to be proud of.



So what have you done lately that you can be proud of?  Let me know in the comments or however you like.

Peace, love, and sunshiney thoughts,

Willow  



For more fun with 52 Lists, click down on "52 Lists" in the little categories section at the bottom of the post, and go over to Moorea Seal's site to see more!

Check out Moorea Seal's entire project at her blog below:
http://www.moorea-seal.com/p/52-lists.html