Friday, December 31, 2010

The Year That Will Be

Welcome, 2011...what do you have in store for me?

It will be fun to see how it rides out. For now, I have some resolutions. All of them are very doable.

1. No more soda.

This shouldn't be too hard. I gave up soda a year ago when I started working with Gershom. I can count on one hand how many times I've had Coke or Dr. Pepper this year, and each time it was unsatisfying. This year, I want that number to be ZERO. No soda--diet or otherwise.
2. No more fast food.

Of course, I have also avoided fast food. But I've slipped a few times and that is coming to an end. It's total crap, anyway. Who wants to put that garbage in their bodies? I'm also going to limit my Subway. I figure if I need a quick meal somewhere, I'll get a protein plate at Starbucks. And tea. Maybe one pastry, if I've been really good.

3. Seventy-five (yes, 75) miles each week.

I set the goal of 75 miles of running and cycling a couple of weeks ago, and I met it and would have left it in my dust if I'd worked out a sixth day (but I had a Chorale gig and instead helped set up with the riser crew). So I know it is perfectly feasible to get at least 75 miles (possibly more like 90-100) in one week, every week. Even if I just have an hour to work out, I can do a couple miles running in under thirty minutes, and I can do, currently, 13-14 miles in 30 minutes on the stationary bike.
4. Twenty pounds.
That's it. It will take longer to lose it, because I'm in better shape than I was a year ago, but I will lose that last twenty pounds and be solidly in a size 6-8.

5. Find a new adventure.

Of course, this means finding a job. I'm thinking I might find myself leaving Stockton this year--I like it here, but a lady's gotta do what she's gotta do. And I'm itching for an adventure. I've started the application process for teaching jobs with the department of defense. We'll see what happens. But I will find a new adventure this year, whether it's staying in Stockton and having some money to travel, or moving somewhere new and exciting.

The Year That Was

When I think back on 2010, I can really categorize everything that happened into three categories: Loss, Gain, and WOW. So I'll do just that.

Things I Lost This Year

Not all losses are bad, really, and this year proves just that. I lost 40 pounds in 2010--in addition to 20 pounds dropped in 2009, and the effect on my health and energy has been amazing. I lost a friend this year, and it hurt at first, but now I realize just how freeing that loss was. How toxic she'd become in the last couple of years, because of her own hurts and insecurities.

And I lost my job. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't fun. I did not gain a job to replace this one, and I've had to learn the realities of living on a tight budget. I wouldn't change anything that's happened, though--it's only made me stronger, more of a survivor. And losing the boss from hell did wonders for my outlook on life. I'm a good teacher. I will come back from this.

Things I Gained This Year

So many awesome new friends...Maayan in New York, Lindsay in Michigan, Sarah in England, Amanda in Holland, Annie in New York. These ladies have helped me stay calm. They make me laugh. They share my love of Keane, Mt. Desolation and Mumford and Sons. It doesn't matter that I haven't (yet) met any of them, apart from Annie, in person. We will, we will.

I celebrated ten years of friendship with Summer, who keeps me sane and humors me in my Keane obsession.

I gained some terrific life experiences this year. I climbed my first mountain. That helped me gain some much-needed confidence. I fostered four beautiful kittens and watched them find homes (still waiting on Lucy, but at least I know she's in a good place). I gained a ton of perspective, being on unemployment. I know now that I don't need fancy clothes and a lot of stuff--the basics are fine and I'm happier not chasing the "must have bigger-faster-better-MORE" mentality that a lot of folks seem to follow.

Moments That Made Me Say, "WOW."

This blog is based on my adventures--big and small, Wild and Absolutely True. I've had so many "WOW" moments this year. For some of you, this is old news. Bear with me.

I found the perfect t-shirt in July.

I met Tim from Keane. Later in the year, I made sure that he got his very own lucky rubber duckie.

I met Richard from Keane, and he said, "I like your shirt." Which was kind of the whole point of the shirt.

I got to see Keane live for the second time.

I met Ben from Mumford and Sons.

I met Jesse from Keane. (Now, if I ever meet Tom, I'll have the whole set!)

I saw Mt. Desolation in concert.

I saw Mumford and Sons in concert.

Three words: Size 8 jeans.

Not bad, really. I'd say that 2010 was pretty damned awesome.


It's easy for me to forget just how far I came this year. Just what I accomplished. So I made a video to document The Incredible Shrinking Meg and set it to my favorite song ever. I'll let the pictures and captions in the video speak for themselves.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 In Music

It was a good year in music--I got to see three amazing bands live, perform Mozart's Requiem, and sing with a hand bell choir. So this video-heavy post will showcase a few favorites.

Earlier this year, my favorite band on the planet put out an EP called Night Train. It was not a true album, with only eight tracks, but it still went to #1 and Keane decided to do a couple of mini-tours in England and the U.S. based on it.

My favorite song from the EP is probably My Shadow...maybe Your Love, because Tim took lead vocals for this one (Tom is the usual singer and no one even tries to top his awesome voice). So I'll post both songs. : )

Anyone who has been reading this blog longer than five minutes knows all about my seeing them in Oakland in July, so I'll skip the oh-my-god-I-met-Tim-and-Richard spiel and stick to the music.

In May, Chorale performed Robert Ray's Gospel Mass, and Yours Truly had a solo, which was thrilling. The solo was the one at the end of this part of the Mass:

I have a much different timbre to my voice than this soloist, but the solo is the same and I think I had some style and soul. There are no recordings of me doing it--that may be a good thing. ; )

In August, I started discovering the magic of two new bands--Mt. Desolation and Mumford and Sons. Mt. Desolation is a side project of Tim and Jesse from Keane, started when they got the idea (over a few pints of Guinness) to make a country album. They put out an album in October (but of course, Keane fans were hearing it on YouTube in August). They were to tour the west coast opening for Mumford and Sons, so I checked out this other group to see if I'd enjoy the show after Mt. Desolation left the stage. Turned out I would. Mumford is awesome.

Mt. Desolation put out a great video for "Departure":

And another for "State Of Our Affairs":

Mumford and Sons, meanwhile, took me be storm on YouTube, and then live. These 20-something British guys are not only talented, they are full of incredible energy and joy. Their music--a sort of fusion of bluegrass, country, folk, rock and indie, is hugely entertaining and addictive.

Some favorites include "The Cave," "Lover Of the Light," and "Little Lion Man."

Yeah. They're that amazing.

With all this Keane, Mt. Desolation and Mumford and Sons burning up my iTunes, it was kind of easy to forget other music, but I still managed to listen to some Muse.

This fall, I spent a lot of time and energy singing Mozart's Requiem, a fantastic experience with the incredible new conductor for Chorale. It was a music nerd's dream. Here is the Lacrymosa, one of the more famous movements from the piece, and a personal favorite, as well.

As Magen told us over and over again, you do not need to be religious to sing this music--the meaning transcends the words, and it's impossible not to sing that high ascending soprano line at the beginning and not feel passionate. What an incredibly lovely piece of music by a genius composer. (From about 1:50-2:00 in this video, incidentally, is another part I absolutely adored singing--so sensitive, so for all Singing Fool types.)

For our Christmas concert, we got to know Velocity Hand Bell Choir, a group out of Oakland that has more fun with hand bells than ought to be legal. Having them be part of our concert was a treat. I'm posting a YouTube video of them performing "Moondance," to show just what you can do with hand bells (I had no idea).

Hell, let's add "Don't Worry, Be Happy" because it shows just how much fun they have:

There's a lot of pop music that came out this year and frankly, I didn't pay a lot of attention. Katie Perry's "California Gurls" was a big UGH and so was that song by Ke$ha that everyone played. My year in music was geared towards British alternative music and a ton of Mozart!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Year In Pictures

I went through my best pics and memories of 2010 and made this video. Pardon the fact that a couple of titles and captions went missing--they're somewhere between Windows Movie Maker and YouTube, and I tried fixing it TWICE to no avail. Still, the video turned out nicely and I can honestly say that despite losing my job, 2010 turned out to be a good year.

British Boys: Ben Lovett

It's been a while since I've behaved like a teenaged fangirl and posted pics of a cute British guy on my blog. Since it's raining outside and I'm bored...well, I'll introduce you to Mr. Benjamin Lovett of Mumford and Sons.

Age: Approximately 24
Instruments: Keyboard and accordion...yes, accordion!
Met him: Why yes, yes I have.

And two pics that are MINE. : )

This post is dedicated to Maayan, who also thinks Benji is adorable and awesome. In her words, he is "full of joy." Right you are, Maayan. Right you are.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday Music: Fastball

I had forgotten how much I love this song, until it shuffled through on my iPod a few days ago while I was out for a run. I listened to it a few times, because I absolutely love it. Now I need to find out what Fastball is up to these days (if anything). In the meantime, here's "Out of My Head."

Sunday, December 26, 2010

We Wish You A Swimmy Christmas

Mr. Swimmy wants me to let you know he had a lovely holiday, and he hopes you did, too. Here are some pictures.

Posing in the tree.

Chatting with a cardinal in a houseplant.

Drooling over the prime rib (which was delicious when cooked).

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Week In Pictures

I've taken some random pics this week. A lot of them aren't great quality shots, but I'm including them because they're interesting or funny. Enjoy! Comments below.

On Wednesday evening, I met my friend Meghan for dinner in downtown Sacramento. Had to get a pic of Mr. Swimmy in the Capitol Rose Garden.

Cool sign.

After dinner, we walked around midtown.

Santa!! Don't jump!!

Full moon

Duchess (l) and Bella (r)


Harley and Millie on Mom and Dad's bed.

Random sign pic.

We drove to Stockton today, so I could (FINALLY) get my check in the mail. It was foggy in the central valley.

On the way home. Glad we weren't driving to Portland!

Dairy farms

Interstate 5

Merging off of I-5 onto I-80.

Random castle (someone's home) on the side of Interstate 80 in Roseville.

Merging off of I-80 onto Highway 65.

In October, this mall made the national news when a guy set fire to it. As you can see, it's (mostly) now open.

We had Christmas Eve dinner here--we love this place.

Mom had tea.

We all shared hummus.

I had chicken kebab and I ate every bite of everything on that plate (except for a teensy bit of the onions).

This is in Mom and Dad's neighborhood--Santa, a reindeer, an elf and a snowman climbing a ladder. Darling!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fashion Smashion...Purple People-Eater

So last week, I went to a Tuesday night Chorale rehearsal in this outfit because all of my jeans were in the laundry hamper needing to be washed. I was self-conscious because damn, the dress is short, but I was told I looked great, so...

I am wearing:

Purple sweater/tunic from Kohl's.
Black tights
Adorable felted flower pin from a craft fair.

It takes some confidence to leave the house in this outfit...and I'm getting there, I really am.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Images From Baking Day

Today was our annual Baking Day with Luci and Morgan, our former neighbors. I'll just let the images speak for themselves, as I'm too tired to write much!

Chocolate biscotti.

Magic Bars

Lemon Bars

Coconut Cloud Cookies

Turns out the "Magic Brownie Pan (as seen on TV!) beheads brownies.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins (my contribution).

Mom's tried-and-true recipe for sugar cookies.

Mini Muffins!


Luci, Mom and Morgan

This isn't even half of what we baked today.

Swimmy in my apron pocket.

Morgan did the cookie decorating.

Mom and Meg. : )

Gingerbread cookies

Bar cookies galore!