A new Star Wars movie came out yesterday!!!! So you probably think you know what I’m blogging about today, right?! Amazingly, Rogue One isn’t the topic. I did see it last night and really loved about 80% of it (the other 20% is up for debate), and I’m going again tonight so we’ll see if that number fluctuates before I post about it exclusively.
Instead, I’m sitting in front of a space heater, watching it sleet outside and reflecting on days spent at the beach. For many people, a day at the beach means hot temperatures, warm water and roasting oneself in sunshine. I prefer something a bit more rustic: rocky shorelines, pine-crested bluffs and the fewer people, the better. Foggy and overcast is A-okay by me, and I’m perfectly content not venturing too far into the waters of the Pacific (COLD!). So it should come as no surprise to anyone here that Washington and Oregon are my go-to happy places.
Back in September, I spent a week on the Oregon Coast with my momma; naturally, we had a fantastic time! Temperatures topped out in the mid-60s, and each day boasted a beautiful mix of sun and clouds. One very special afternoon was dedicated to visiting what is perhaps my favorite place on earth, Indian Beach at Ecola State Park. Just north of the bustling Cannon Beach tourist destination, Ecola is a divine mix of old-growth forest and pristine shoreline. Though hikers and surfers and casual revelers like ourselves typically flock to Ecola, this day was blissfully quiet. Our own perfect little slice of heaven, shared with only 4 or 5 other people and their canine companions. As the golden hour fell before sunset, the tide quieted and mirror-smooth water lapped against the shore, create exquisite reflections of the soaring landscape. I wanted desperately to capture the beauty through the lens of my camera, but I found it difficult to concentrate on that task…instead, I let the serenity of my surroundings wash away my self-imposed anxiety over capturing a perfect image, took in as many mental images as possible and left the rest up to my trusty iPhone.
It’s hard for me to overcome the feeling that every moment needs to be documented. Heaven knows I have enough photographs of even the most trivial bits of life stored on my phone, computer and external hard drives. But when you stand in the midst of natural splendor like Indian Beach, sometimes the strongest desire is to simply soak it all in sans camera. I hope you’ll enjoy the reflections I did capture, imagine the salty brine of crisp ocean air and unplug from the bustle of the season for a moment and do some reflecting of your own.
In stark contrast to the peace and calm of Oregon, my husband and I found ourselves in Los Angeles at the beginning of December. In addition to christening our new Universal Studios Hollywood annual passes—Wizarding World of Harry Potter with waaaaaaayyy shorter lines than Orlando!!!—I thought it would be great fun to photograph architecture and Hollywood landmarks and all of the things that make Southern California so different from my beloved Pacific Northwest. And then I got sick. Really sick: a 104 fever yielded a diagnosis of flu and pneumonia from the minute clinic in Burbank, CA. So the first 2 days of our trip included quarantine in the hotel room and even without having cable at home, it wasn’t awesome. The nurse practitioner had instructed me to wear a mask if I went in public, which seemed like a miserable option. Instead, we found a loophole: avoid people. As you may know, this is no small task in southern California. With a little help from Google, we drove an hour and a half north of Los Angeles to a quiet beach in Oxnard and were shocked to discover we were the only people there! A couple of fishermen showed up later, but the majority of the day was spent simply walking the shore and breathing in the healing power of the ocean.
Unlike the ragged cliff faces and thick vegetation that leads to Indian Beach, Ormond Beach is surrounded by flatlands that feature a U.S. Navy base to the south and an abandoned (I think?) power plant on the northeast side. Instead of the fairy-tale forest walk to the shore, it felt more like navigating a postapocalyptic wasteland, complete with signs for rattlesnakes. My illness kept my quest for adventure at bay, so I mostly just sat on a little sandy ridge as we waited for sunset over the beautiful, blustery Pacific. I would have preferred to be healthy for our little trip, but the limitations made me slow down and be deliberate about taking care of myself. If that’s not a worthwhile way to spend a “free” day from work, I’m not sure what is.
I’ve worked for Hallmark Cards 8 years now in various editorial roles, currently as a writer for the e-commerce team. This year, the Creative division decided to start at its core by giving each employee 5 days to use (apart from regular PTO) for finding inspiration and tapping into creative outlets that may not be leveraged in our everyday positions. A couple of days exploring the West Coast were just what I needed to refuel! #My5Days
In a few months, I’ll celebrate 6 years of working in Creative at Hallmark Cards. Not long after I started, there were boxes and boxes of some plastic-y sleeve thingies for free. I didn’t know what they were, I didn’t know what I’d do with them but I knew they were free, and that was enough for me. I am, above all else, a bargain hunter and pack rat.
In all fairness, I was also working part-time at the library and thought we might be able to use them for crafts. Yes, that was justification.
Anyway, I kept a handful of the plastic-y sleeve thingies (PSTs) for myself in the event I had a keen idea one day. I happened across them in a box last week; the planets aligned and BAM! my keen idea hit.
Most of my Star Wars toys came from garage sales and thrift stores when I was a kid. I did, however, get some straight off the pegs at the toy store—my mom had the forethought to save the cardbacks for those figures. Most are worn from handling or covered in clearance stickers, some suffered from an overly excited little girl ripping off the blister packaging to get to the toy and one apparently served as a notepad for said little girl (I scrawled my name across it). They’re in pretty rough shape, but I absolutely love them.
The PSTs looked like they might be a good fit as cardback protectors, so I gave it a shot. Alas, they weren’t a good fit… They were PERFECT!
As I worked my way through the stack of cardbacks, I grew increasingly concerned that I would run out of PSTs. The library recently purged a lot of stuff, so I was certain I wouldn’t be able to replenish my supply there. I pondered how I might post a request on the want-ads at work: “WANTED, plastic-y sleeve thingies that we had here 5 years ago.”
Worry occupied my mind as I slipped the cardbacks into the PSTs. Soon I realized there weren’t any cardbacks left. There weren’t any PSTs left either. I had kept the exact number that I needed—not one more, not one less. That number, in case you’re wondering, was 24 (which also happens to be one of my favorite Switchfoot songs).
Your world view might tell you this was a brilliant case of coincidence, kismet, a stroke of good fortune. For me, it was also a reminder that God provides for even the smallest of concerns.
I’m fortunate to work with a lot of geeks. I never expected there could be such a concentration of us in one company apart from toy manufacturers or possibly IT departments and comic book shops. But here at Hallmark, we are many and we are wonderful.
A tiny subset of us has formed a weekly lunch group wherein we discuss all matter of geekery. We utilize liberal quantities of geeky idioms and quotes in our conversations; I think at times it must seem like we’re speaking a different language. Below are some of my favorites—I’ve provided context/translation and source where appropriate.
They’re jamming our signal
One of us probably has bad cell phone reception
I’ll need to turn on my cloaking device
I don’t want to be seen
Experiencing writer’s block or having trouble speaking
Make the jump to light speed (also Jump to hyperspace)
Get the heck out of here / Star Wars
Take the silvers (also Take the silver stags)
Don’t leave the quarters or nickels / Game of Thrones
A Lannister always pays his debts
What goes around comes around / Game of Thrones
Use the pointy end
Don’t be stupid (also Do it right) / Game of Thrones
Grab your proton pack
Bring your stuff / Ghostbusters
Look at the size of that thing! (also That’s one big Twinkie!)
This is usually in reference to a slice of Costco pizza / Star Wars (also Ghostbusters)
I have a bad feeling about this
I have a bad feeling about this / Star Wars / Indiana Jones
You shall not pass
Nope, not happening / Lord of the Rings
A little too Raph
Not my style / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
I volunteer as tribute!
I’ll do it / Hunger Games
Now you know, and knowing is half the battle
May the odds be ever in your favor
So say we all
It is known
Game of Thrones
Do you have any favorite geekspeak phrases?
I’d love to hear them so I can incorporate into my own lexicon.
Severus brought my doggies to visit me over lunchtime today. I had my doubts about them coming, since they’re not used to being out in public. As it turns out, taking a Scout & Shadow break in the middle of the day is surprisingly great!
Here’s a picture of them during our walk near the Liberty Memorial…
I don’t always tell stories about what an idiot I am, but when I do it’s for your benefit. Consider it an act of public service, my goodwill gesture for the day. Today I present…
How Not to Water Your Plants
Christmas is growing near; like “if you were to slip on the ice and black out for a couple of days you’d miss it” near. As someone who fell on an icy driveway this weekend, I can attest that’s not out of the realm of possibility.
I’m fortunate to be taking a break from the office for an extended period of time between Christmas and New Year’s…starting in a few hours. Excited though I am, this absence presents a dilemma for the plants in my care, those little oxygen-producing beauties that make me feel a teensy weensy bit less like I’m stuck inside all day. every. day.
My cubicle boasts 4 planters and 2 mugs of philodendrons…they’re very hard to kill and thrive in darkish surroundings, which weighs heavily in my favor. Knowing I’ll be enjoying the comforts of home until January 2, I decided I should scour the internet for absentee plant-watering tips.
Multiple sources indicate that one can recycle a water bottle for use as a free dripper alternative to those seen-on-tv globey things that cost money at Walmart. You cut holes in the lid, fill with water then lodge the bottle lid-down into the soil, thus producing a gentle dispersal of water for your greenie friends. If you’re wondering how this is supposed to work without the water all rushing out at once, the theory is that the soil provides the necessary barrier until it starts to get dry and shrinks up, allowing more water to come out. Or some such science-y happenings like that. I’m a writer, people, don’t expect me to understand it.
Given the ample supply of water bottles at my disposal in the recycle bin not far from my desk, I decided to give it a go. I fished out the 4 nicest bottles, cut a slit in the lid of each and set off for the nearest sink. Filled to the brim with tap water that is quite possibly unsuitable for human consumption, I returned to my desk, inverted the first bottle and nestled it into the soil. The water came out a bit more rapidly than I had expected, but I attributed it to the fact that I’d not done a very good job of burying it securely lid-down. I quickly applied the next 3 bottles to their planters.
Just as I stepped back to appraise my work, I noticed the water streaming down from my shelf onto the desktop. The glug-glug-glugging of the first bottle was not an isolated incident, and the overflow trays underneath the pots weren’t enough to contain it all.
In virtually no time at all I had turned my workspace into a splash pool. Mercifully, I’d had the forethought (sheer luck, more like) to pack up my laptop prior to commencing said gardening endeavor. A couple dozen napkins/paper towels and about 30 minutes later, I had finally cleaned up the fail.
The moral of the story? Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.
Except this, you should absolutely believe this.