Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Change'll Do You Good

Life is a moving target. Just two weeks ago, I posted this.

Since then, Andy has been awarded a paid internship with the Student Conservation Association, doing program evaluation (i.e., using his education and experience). I have taken several interviews which would get me out of my current work situation. The most recent one (for my number one choice) went well, and I am going in tomorrow to see the site, and make sure I'm still interested. I don't want to jinx anything, but I feel pretty good about it.

Change will be good. In the past few weeks, we haven't been taking very good care of ourselves, and I think I've underestimated the effects that can have on one's physical person. I work in a high-stress environment (ask anyone who works there), and that, too, has been taking a toll on me. I've put on weight, I've been experiencing aches and pains that weren't there before, and my patience with myself and others around me is very thin. Having a schedule that changes from day to day and week to week doesn't help--there is no semblance of a routine in our house. Sleep patterns and mealtimes are subject to change on a daily basis. It's no wonder my body is rebelling. Enough is enough!

So, I'll petition for prayers and happy thoughts tomorrow afternoon. Change is requisite for my physical and mental health.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summertime . . . and the livin' is easy.

It has been hot here lately. Now, any self-respecting Texan would beg to differ, especially in light of the recent weather in my hometown:

Yeah, that's gross, and I am in no way trying to diminish that, but it has been gross here, too. Today's high was (only, I know) 93F, but with 68% humidity, it felt like living in an armpit. It wouldn't bother me so much, but there is no escape! We live in a small third floor apartment, with a window unit (ca. 1988--no joke--I looked up the serial number today) tucked back in our bathroom, which is the only room with the right kind of window to support it. As you can imagine, it gets stuffy very fast. Plus, it's really hard to look professional and well-kept for job interviews when you have a constant greasy film and / or sweat covering you at all times. So yesterday and today, Andy and I have been looking for ways to beat the heat.

1. Ice Pop Molds.
Our mixed berry yogurt pops, which were prettier before I wrapped them in Saran wrap (but we had to make way for the chocolate pudding pops, so we sacrificed).

I was a total skeptic. First of all, Andy and I are both really cheap (i.e., although we've had four lightbulbs burn out since we moved into this apartment a year ago, we have resisted replacing them until just very recently), so the thought of spending money on something so frivolous wasn't high on the list. Secondly, it is a unitasker, and we don't have the real estate to support lots of gadgets like that. However, yesterday, the heat had us both in grumpy moods, so I went on a quest to find an ice pop mold, hoping that would cheer us up. Found these at Kmart for the modest price of $2.99, which was just about my limit. (I found others online, but couldn't justify spending 10 bucks on one, much less $50.) We whipped up a batch of raspberry-strawberry yogurt smoothie, and froze it . . . with delicious consequences. We're currently freezing PB-chocolate pudding pops, and I am VERY excited about that.

We've been wanting a grill ever since the weather started warming up, but due to our aforementioned cheapskatedness, haven't taken the plunge. We just wanted something small, and the Smokey Joe had good reviews. $30 at Target! Still, $30 for us is a big purchase, and again, not justifiable.

Enter our wonderful friends, Hannah & Spencer! We dog-sat for their cute little Pomeranians while they were on vacay in Cali, so for our thank-you gift, we got our own little Smokey Joe! It's just the one we wanted. Are they great or what?? (I swear, we weren't hinting when we invited them over for the 4th of July for hot dogs and burgers cooked in our toaster oven [un-American, I know]! They're just thoughtful.)

Sooooo, basically, what I'm saying is . . . LET THE PARTY BEGIN!

Shish kebabs anyone?
Grilled pizza? (btw, if you've never had grilled pizza, DO IT.)
Grilled fish, chicken, pineapple, peaches, zucchini, CORN ON THE COB?!?!

It is summer now. Just listen to the Fresh Prince . . .

P.S. I know you love this post, because anything bookended by Ella Fitzgerald and Will Smith has to be good.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Who Knows?

Lately, I've been feeling excited and optimistic about the possibilities before Andy and me. We're young, oh-so-attractive, intelligent, and (after a difficult year) more motivated than ever to make our lives full of meaning and worth.

Monday, July 11, 2011

"Allons voir un coucher de soleil . . ."

. . . I am very fond of sunsets.

I went to the grocery store this evening to pick up a few sundries. As I checked out, I noticed the pink glow coming from outside--one of the most beautiful sunsets I've seen in a while. One of those sunsets that makes you wonder what's wrong with people who are going about their daily business as if there isn't a miracle right before their eyes.

Why do I love sunsets so much?

They are so fleeting, ever-changing. Sunsets are a point of transition, and if you blink, you'll miss them. If you're not in the right place at exactly the right time, you can miss out completely.

Part of my route home was spent driving into the sunset--the last lingering bit of daylight--with all the colors before me. As I turned a corner, I was driving into the night, watching fireflies glow around me and cats begin to lurk in the darkness. The sunset itself is neither day nor night, but it's the point of connection between the two.

We rarely give our transitions enough credit. If you think of it, though, they are hugely important. In writing, transitions go a long way in taking a reader with you from idea to idea. In music, it's the transitions that set truly great musicians apart from mediocre ones, those moments that hold the audience transfixed, wondering what will come next. In life, though, transitions are most often viewed as something to be endured rather than enjoyed.

Our time here in Pittsburgh was always meant to be transitory, and we haven't really tried to make anything beautiful out of it (even to the point of avoiding most attempts at building friendships, until recently). As uncertainty looms, and we (like so many other [soon-to-be or] recent graduates, and Americans in general) are left to wonder if we'll be able to "make it" any time in the near future, this transition time seems as though it's just an obstacle--something standing in the way of us and our successful, comfortable life ahead.

Maybe I've been judging our transition too harshly. Maybe I shouldn't be frustrated because I'm in the space between day and night, but I should stop and appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of my every moment of transition.

Tonight's sunset.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


We had some visitors this weekend. My folks came in for a quick jaunt over to see what our life is like in Pittsburgh. They kept us pretty busy; in just three days' time:

1. Went to the Phipps Conservatory. Something must have been funny.

2. Carnegie Museum of Art & Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

3. Duquesne Incline

4. Found "Kewpie Mayonnaise" (in a pouch) at the Asian market in the Strip District.

(More Strip District. I love my Daddy!)

5. Went to see Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. (I can't post any pictures of the actual place, so here we are at the Visitors' Center . . . )

6. Ethiopian Dinner

7. Andy got his PhD!

Look at those crazy kids and their iPhones . . . my parents are so much cooler than me.

Other events (not pictured): Shakes at the Milkshake Factory, Breakfast at Pamela's, Lunch at Uncle Sam's Sub Shop, visit to the Andy Warhol Museum, visit to the Cathedral of Learning Nationality Rooms, walk at Frick Park, play "special music" at church, and take a driving tour of the city. Also, my Dad bought me a brownie pan, so of course I had to make some brownies.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Sorry to have frightened some of you . . . I'm not as depressed as I apparently seem. I suppose I've just been in an introspective mood lately, trying to look at my life objectively. It's a form of problem-solving. And yes, it is certainly true that my life is not at all where I would like it to be, but I'm not too bent out of shape about it--I'm just really anxious to get to the place where things are better. Figuring out what I could have done better previously can help me not to make the same mistakes in the future.

The good news is that I feel improvement is imminent. The more I think of it, the more I feel like the Rachel that has been overtaking me for the past few years is not the Rachel that I really am. I never used to doubt myself so much, and I don't think it's a coincidence that success used to come so much easier. I never doubted that I could successfully complete any task placed before me. Somewhere along the line I lost that, and I'm ready to find my Mojo again. So there! Don't worry, just send me your happy thoughts and prayers. :-)

Hope everyone has a great Fourth tomorrow. I'll be working during the day (happythoughts), but come the evening, it's time to PARTY.

Grandma & Grandpa Higa, I love and miss you.
This picture was taken on New Year's Eve 2007, but I love it, and it has fireworks in it, so THERE.

(This was actually a New Year's Eve spread from Hawaii, 2007-08. Impressive, yes?)