Thursday, March 31, 2011

In the Eye of the Beholder

A few days ago, I sought out Gershom at the gym for some advice, and we ended up having a conversation of pretty decent length about my running and cycling. I walked away from him with my usual thoughts of, "I should NEVER talk to him again!!" followed immediately by a contrite, "Waitaminute, Meg. He cares, and he believes in you."

It got me thinking. I think there is a big difference in how I see myself, and how Gershom sees me. I still see myself, sometimes, as a big bundle of flaws, whereas he sees in me the ability to do even more--run faster, cycle harder, lift heavier, etc.

It's time I started viewing myself as Gershom does. Instead of moaning about my flabby belly or my thunder thighs (which are actually quite muscled, with not a lot of fat), or wondering if the muscle tone in my arms will ever be visible beneath the fat that still hangs down, I really should just look in the mirror and see an athlete.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Three Weeks!!!

I can't believe it! Only three weeks 'til the Epic Wall of Sound Adventure. Now I really have to get into crazy-planning mode, mapping out a cleaning schedule so that my apartment looks (and smells) great when Maayan gets here, and planning for what snacks to have on hand to keep us energized. That particular week will be crazy and wild even before Maayan arrives on Wednesday night--I have the Santa Barbara gig with my friend Meghan, Chorale rehearsal, and I'm helping with Adoption Day the weekend before.

In honor of the three-week mark, I will now share three Swimmy pics (that is, pics of Maayan and I with our respective ducks) I hope to get.

1. A pic of Maayan, Meg, Cali and Israeli with Ben.

Whether it's us with Ben in the background on the stage or us meeting Ben after the gig, this must happen.

2. A pic of the ladies and ducks on a California Beach.

Duh, right?

3. A pic of the ladies and the duckies meeting at Sacramento airport on Wednesday night.

Maybe even a video. Because it's going to be EPIC.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Celebrating Stockton: The Embarcadero Loop

Yesterday, I woke up early, had a fantastic workout, and completed my job-hunting to-do list for the whole day by 1:00. The sun was out after two straight weeks of rain, rain, rain, so I decided to go for a walk. Three miles later, I had some great pictures and a great excuse to spend most of the rest of the day on the couch.

Since I've become a runner, I've started using, quite often, a course I call the Embarcadero Loop. I usually start an the intersection about half a block from the entrance to my apartment complex, which is the intersection of Cumberland and Ben Holt. Taking the loop--which is an even 2 miles, takes you down Ben Holt, which turns into Embarcadero, then Fourteen Mile, then Cumberland, which, of course, loops back to that intersection at my apartment complex.

I basically did this route yesterday, except that I veered off to the right onto Swain to head back up Herndon Place (which intersects Ben Holt on the other side of my complex) and pop into Marina Market. I took one little detour to one of Stockton's many marinas. There's a lot of water in this part of the world, and a lot of boating.

The Embarcadero Loop is a lovely neighborhood--one of many very pretty neighborhoods in the North-West corner of Stockton. I took a lot of pictures yesterday. I hope you enjoy them.

Just out my front door--a view of treetops and sky.

Looking back at my apartment--the red-brown building on the right is mine--that near front door is mine, too.

Towards the front of the complex
In the middle of the complex.
At the very front entrance, looking back.

Out on Ben Holt, looking left.

...and looking right, which is the direction I walked.

Just down Ben Holt. More apartments and some condos.

At the entrance to the marina.

Tennis courts

Mt. Diablo off in the distance.

Another view of Diablo.

There was no sign saying I couldn't, so I walked out onto this for some shots.

Down the road a little--a cute mailbox.

Man-made water way on the opposite side of the loop from the marina.


Not exactly modest housing. The next two pictures are the house for sale.

I stopped to play on the swings. They had graffiti. This is still Stockton, after all.

At Grupe Park--the hill in the background is a levee.

Marina Market, just across Herndon from my apartment complex. I do most of my shopping here.
In the same shopping center--my home away from home, where the magic happens.

There's no place like home--this is what greeted me when I opened the front door.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Celebrating Stockton

So, the city of Stockton was recently listed as the most miserable city in the United States by Forbes Magazine. They base their rankings on several factors, including unemployment rates, foreclosures, sports teams (I don't get that one, either), crime, budget and various other criteria. Apparently, Stockton is just swimming in misery.


Okay, I grant you, we have a high crime rate and our share of gang activity. The graffiti in all parts of this city is getting out-of-hand. The school district is faltering with budget and leadership problems. The police force is stretched to the limit. I'm not sure how our sports teams are faring, only because I don't pay attention.

And yes, we have a high rate of unemployment (this is California, people--the whole state has a high unemployment rate!) and a high number of foreclosures (I'll say it again: This is California, people...).

But this post isn't being written to focus on the negative. In a few weeks, Stockton will be having a Celebrate Stockton Day. I won't be able to attend, as it's at the end of my Wild and Absolutely True EPIC Week With Maayan, but I thought I'd join in the fun by posting a few Celebrating Stockton posts here at the LPB.

I'll start tomorrow (or maybe Wednesday--this currently unemployed Stockton resident is going to a Hire Event tomorrow afternoon, and a Chorale rehearsal in the evening) with some pictures I took today on a three-mile walk through my 'hood. It's a nice 'hood. I like it here. I whine about my apartment complex sometimes (though miracle of miracles, I actually had a one-day maintenance response today--HALLELUJAH!) but it's home, and I love my home, warts and all.

I wouldn't be sad to see my upstairs neighbors move out and be replaced with a nice, quiet, single gentleman who is just waiting to meet me and fall in love, but we can't have everything, can we?

Anyway, I plan to post some pictures over the next few weeks to prove that Stockton isn't this miserable hell-hole. It has its problems, and you won't find me in the South-East part of town alone at night, but it's not a bad place to make a life. If I end up staying a while, I won't mind.

Monday Music: Van Morrison

At a total loss for what to post for this week's Monday Music (you all have to be sick of Keane and Mumford & Sons by now--I'm not, but I respect that you might be), I put my iTunes on shuffle and pressed play.

This is what I came up with--a classic, for sure.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Gift For Daddy

In the spirit of unemployed frugality, I offered to make a shadow box of Dad's old Air Force patches and a couple of medals for his birthday (which was  a few weeks ago). I finally finished it yesterday, and gave it to him today. It wasn't a surprise...well, the surprise was that I finally got around to making it. He was happy to get it and will hang it over his desk at home.

I'm pleased with how it turned out.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Random Cat Pictures

I was on the couch last night, watching TV and basking in the glow of the Sweet Spot lamp. Millie and Harley were asleep in the Sweet Spot. I had my camera nearby, so I took some pictures of my sweeties. I love the close-up pictures my camera gets!

"He's a pain, but he makes a nice pillow..."

Pretty face

Another pretty face


Striped (pronounced, of course, "stry-ped") tail

She wouldn't stay still, but I love how this shot turned out.

I adore Millie's dainty white feet.
Tabbies rule!

I have always loved the little stripes by Millie's eyes. She has the exact same mark on the other side, only gray/black.

I save the best for last...My friend the Purple Magpie has pronounced this the "best yawn pic EVAH" on Facebook. It was truly one of those lucky shots!

Chorale Brunch

After spending three hours of a very rainy Thursday shopping and several hours yesterday helping to make quiches and coffee cakes, today I helped out at Chorale's annual Spring Brunch.

I spent hours on my feet. I helped get the food into the ovens and out of the ovens. I helped serve it up on plates and hand it out to the servers. I manned the reservation table so Linda could eat. I chatted with fellow singers who were working, or there to eat. I helped clean off tables when it was over. And I was one of the last to leave.

My dogs, they are barking.

But all in all, it was a great day. I am happy to help out and I love the ladies who run the brunch each year. It's for Chorale, so I directly benefit from helping out. And it gets me out of my apartment on a rainy Saturday.

But yes, tonight I am pooped.

Here are some pictures I took.

I donated some of my Etsy cards and a pretty teacup for a raffle basket.

Someone else donated fresh-cut Delta asparagus from their farm.

Coffee cakes

Betty Ann has a flair for decorating her table.

So does Irene.

I wanted to win this, but alas, I did not.

Nor did I win this.

I had offered to provide a centerpiece for a table. Cheap and cheerful!

It is now gracing my kitchen counter.

We had something like 150 people.