Monthly Archives: December 2010

Resolutions for 2011

I love this time of year. It combines so many of my favorite things — writing lists, looking forward, making plans.

I’ve compiled my newest set of New Years Resolutions. For the year 2011. Never thought it would come.

2011 has always been this far off, imaginary time. The year I graduate from college. Those four digits have been on applications and resumes (and even a red baseball cap gathering dust in my closet) for the last three years, always distant and abstract. But now it’s here and it’s real and it’s kinda freaking me out.

And because the make-up of the next year is hazy at best, my resolutions are also fairly vague. They’ll solidify as we creep into the new decade, I’m sure.

I hope.

I mean, right?

Anyway, here, my friends, are my resolutions for the new year (and in part, the new decade).
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Filed under Future Plans, Lists

Gingerbread Houses and Other Wintery Things

Wednesday I spent the day with Desirae, a good old friend of mine who shared “total nerd” status with me in third grade. We bonded immediately, and we’ve managed to stay in touch pretty regularly since then, thanks to good ol’ snail mail. It’s always nice to see her again.
She invited me over to her house around noon, where we immediately set to work making gingerbread houses. But not just any gingerbread houses. Deluxe houses complete with M&M trees, marshmallow snowmen, and powder sugar snow to cover the rooftops.
My masterpiece had a Skittles fence, candy cane door and windows, and Nerds Christmas lights. I have rekindled my love for making gingerbread houses.
After putting half the candy on our houses and the other half in our tummies, I was invited to be a part of their large extended family bowling trip. So we all piled into cars and headed to the bowling alley across from the cemetery. 

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Filed under Loving Right Now, Montana

. . .

‎”Progress is impossible without change,

and those who cannot change their minds

cannot change anything.”

– George Bernard Shaw

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Filed under Inspiration, Quotes

Readjusting Expectations

Coming back to my hometown always takes an adjustment. The city (does it really count as a city?) never seems to change — same streets, mostly the same businesses, mostly the same people– and yet it all feels different.

There’s now nothing to do.

I have no idea how I managed to stay entertained in high school.

Also, the house I grew up in has since been sold, so when I’m here I stay in a new place with different smells and sounds. I know it doesn’t seem like much, and I guess I’d have hoped that by the time I was getting ready to graduate I wouldn’t need that traditional “home” feeling anymore. But I still do. And it’s not there anymore. A bit sad, in a way.

But I’m not saying that I completely dislike the challenges of a new place. They can be fun. For example, as I’ve stated before, setting up a new kitchen is really a blast.

And I love organizing other people’s stuff. I get this strange satisfaction from looking at a mess and transforming it into a comfortable, livable space. Clutter stresses me out.

So, being the great guy that he is, my dad has pretty much given me free reign of setting up and organizing his apartment. Currently sitting on his kitchen counter is a running list of all the things he needs to get his bachelor pad in good shape for after I leave.

I think that if all my other career ideas don’t pan out, I’ll just become a professional organizer and have people hire me to organize their lives.

I’m reluctant to admit I can think of only a handful of careers that sound like more fun. Writing, producing, and wedding planning are some of them. I think I’m officially adding professional organizer to my list of potential life paths. The more the merrier, right?

Back on the topic of adjustments . . . The other thing about coming back to Billings is that people move or change, or both (which is good). Very few people have stayed the same, even if it sometimes feels like this town is in a constant state of stagnation.

So the list of people I make a point of seeing every break keeps getting smaller and smaller, until I’m at the point where I only see three or four people (though those three or four are very special to me). I spend the rest of my time at coffee shops, writing and thinking of home. Oklahoma is home. Temporarily, at least.

Then I’ll move and make a new home.

Sorry I keep talking about this. It’s been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve termed it “the plague of the petrified soon-to-be college graduate.” Catchy, right?

I’m looking into trademark options as we speak.

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Filed under Future Plans, Musings

Uphill Both Ways in Freezing Weather

I flew into Billings yesterday, leaving balmy Las Vegas behind for the frigid winter wind of Montana — of which Dad and I had ample time to appreciate, as we stood outside for a solid twenty minutes waiting for the taxi to arrive. Just goes to show how small my town is. We probably got one of only two taxis in service that day.

Side Note: Dad is sitting here and would like me to clarify that I was in Henderson, not Las Vegas. He says that Henderson is the second largest city in Nevada. However, since they bleed together and there is only a tiny sign to indicate the change from one city to the other, I will continue to call it Las Vegas. Sounds much more exotic that way.

The last two days have been filled with rearranging/cleaning/bleaching my dad’s apartment, seeing friends, experiencing my small hometown’s public transportation, and walking to the Dollar Tree to buy more utensils for my dad’s kitchen.

It’s actually quite fun to help buy stuff for someone else’s kitchen (using someone else’s money). I’ll probably be over the moon when it’s time to get stuff for my own kitchen (though I am much less enthusiastic about the spending my own money part). But seriously, setting up a house is so much fun. And the dollar store is actually the best thing that was ever created for said homemaking. For example, why would you go to a regular store (even Walmart, the cheapville of them all), when you can get that same vase/oil dispenser/wine glass/measuring cup set for a fraction of the cost at the dollar store? One buck for everything? Yes please.

Then, of course, came the adventure of walking home with my loot. See, Dad’s not-so-trusty, ancient-beyond-belief station wagon finally bit the dust not long ago, and as such, I am without a car. Which means walking long distances to get places (ten blocks to the grocery store — uphill both ways in snow and ice) or taking the bus.

Oh, the bus. See, in small-town Montana, not very many people take the bus. I haven’t been on a bus with more than four people at a time. The city is too spread out, and the public transportation too sparse, to make it very convenient to not have a car. So most people have cars. And no one rides the bus.

Except me.

Five quarters will take me anywhere I want to go — as long as there’s a bus station nearby, of course.

It’s very interesting to see your hometown, the place where you’ve grown up and spent 13+ years, from the back of a bus. Just sitting there, bumping along. It’s a different feeling, though it’s hard to describe. And I kinda enjoy it. I don’t particularly enjoy being limited in mobility or anything, but it’s a new adventure to attack Billings by bus. It gives me a new challenge during my week or so here.

That and keeping my balance on all this ice. I shall consider it an immense accomplishment if I manage to stay on my feet and off my butt while walking around out here.

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Filed under Family, Montana

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas full of joy, love and family.

Mine had a healthy dose of wonder as well. Baby Isabella’s first Christmas was a thing to behold. Pictures and stories to follow.

May peace be in your heart,

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Filed under Nothing in Particular

Today I went to Egypt . . .

… and England, Monaco, and New York City.

It was a busy day.

Evangelina had a hair appointment in one of the hotels on the Strip (Who still cuts hair on Christmas Eve?), so Stan, Dad and I went with her and walked around for a few hours while she got a cut/color.

I guess midday on the Strip is for families. They were everywhere. I was amazed at how many people 1) spend Christmas in Las Vegas, and 2) take their kids with them when they come.

Vegas isn’t really a place for kids. Sure, they have some magician shows and the Excalibur hotel (think mideival castles and real jousting tournaments). But there are more pictures of half-naked women here than in a Maxim magazine, and probably just as raunchy.

The Excalibur

While wandering, we walked through the Luxor, which is a giant glass pyramid and has a little Sphinx inside. Then we walked across a skybridge (all those big hotels are connected) to the Excalibur hotel. Then we went on to New York New York — which is probably my all-time favorite hotel on the strip.

That’s because inside, they have a food area that is made up entirely of “miniature” NYC buildings that stand about one and a half stories tall. The first floor is to scale, holding restaurants and little cafes. Then, above that first floor, they’ve miniaturized the buildings and squeezed in another two or three “stories.” It’s adorable.


Found me that NYC townhouse!

Also, New York New York has a roller coaster. A big red roller coaster that winds around the outside of the building so you can see the Strip from an entirely new perspective. Stan and I rode the coaster on the way back — rather pricey, but oh so much fun!!!

Then we walked through the Monte Carlo (which is actually a huge hotel in Monaco — lots of my friends took a day trip over there while we were at Cannes) and then on to the CityCenter, which is apparently this huge new hotel with the best shopping and gorgeous paintings lining the halls (which the concierge at New York New York said was better than paying to walk through some gallery.

Near one of the entrances to the Monte Carlo.


After walking all the way down to the CityCenter (which was probably at least five super long NYC blocks), we took the free trams all the way back down to the Luxor, where Evangelina was getting her hair done.

We had some time to spare before she was done, so the three of us got fluffy Christmas drinks at Starbucks and sat around chatting (which included, on my part, a complete recount of the plot of Casablanca in an attempt to convince the boys that it was more than just another old black and white movie). Let me just say that while Christmas drinks at Starbucks (with their red holiday cups) already fill me with a special joy every year, they really come through after a few hours of walking around gaudy, expensive hotels. Gingerbread spice never tasted so delicious.

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Filed under Family