Lexd's Blog

I write about what I want!

On Mountains February 9, 2011

Filed under: other,rant — lexd @ 11:33 pm
Tags: , , , ,

So, it’s been 6 months since I moved back here, and I am still stoked. Not just because of beautiful days like today (it’s cold but NO CLOUDS NO RAIN BRING ON THE SUN) … for a lot of reasons. One of these is MOUNTAINS.

For those of you who have only lived in the Pacific Northwest (or anywhere with substantial mountainous terrain), you may not realize how freaking awesome they are. While I love the beaches of Florida, it always felt like a little something was missing from the horizon. Having grown up in Washington, THERE WAS SOMETHING MISSING.

BEHOLD:

image from ellie

All kidding aside, this is exactly what you would see on a clear day as you went around your business anywhere in the Seattle area (including the Eastside). This, friends, was a part of the backdrop for me. And, I never realized how accustomed I’d grown to mountains until I moved somewhere without them.

Don’t get me wrong, Florida has incredible sunsets and amazingly lush greenery. But when it comes down to it, I still smile every time I catch a view of the mountains around here. This is a shot up on Snoqualmie Pass, about an hour from my house (I-90 runs through the Pass):

image from starmist1

And this was taken at an unidentified point in the Cascades. I’m sure it was massaged with Photoshop, but do you see what I’m getting at? The greenery and mountains up here are &$^%*#@ epic:

image from christygordon

I am kind of struggling right now, because the photos don’t quite do the views justice. It’s one thing to be looking at a photo … and then it’s another entirely to actually see an incredible view like that in person. Particularly so when you are doing something mundane like driving to the dry cleaner, or the grocery store.

Especially when it’s the big daddy:

image from dizfunkshinal

Every. Single. Time. I see this mountain, it makes me happy. While I’m sure the above photo was also Photo-massaged, here’s one that’s not quite the same quality … but Rainier still looks incredible.

image from jay galvin

Imagine seeing that during your commute 🙂

That being said,  a “clear day” is required to partake in this natural beauty. And I suppose at that point, the joke is on us. According to Seattle’s Wikipedia entry, the city has — on average — at least partly cloudy skies 294 days a year.

Enough with the photo-ing. My name is Lex, and I %^$#@(* love mountains (even though I can’t ski, board, sled, or climb, and I hate the cold). I still love them.

Currently loving (besides mountains): “Panic Switch” by the Silversun Pickups, this columnist’s response to the question “How do I know if she loves me?” (sent it to BF and apologized for never making him a shark-shaped pancake), fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuu comics

 

 

COMMENCE: The best time of the year November 16, 2010

Filed under: food — lexd @ 7:00 pm
Tags: , , ,

Guys? Guys? Guys? Guys? Guys? Guys? GUESS WHAT?

Thanksgiving is in T-minus NINE DAYS. There is no emoticon that can express the size of my smile right now.

Ok, just for the heck of it: 😀

I know I wrote about it last year, but I have to do it again. People, this is my favorite holiday of the entire year. More than Christmas, more than my birthday (especially now that I’ve passed 25). Why? Because a D family Thanksgiving looks like this:

Cooking + eating + beer + football

Have you ever seen a more perfect equation?

As is our tradition, we’re going to shake up at least one of the recipes we always have. (TBH, I don’t know why we do this. Everything usually turns out SO delicious … we just can’t stop trying new stuff, I guess. Some people skydive. My dad and I shake up Thanksgiving recipes. It’s that kind of rush.) I’ve already done the unthinkable and decided on a new green bean casserole recipe, to get that french onion/mushroom soup monstrosity off of our table. Of course, the recipe I chose isn’t too risky … it’s Pioneer Woman’s green bean casserole recipe. I tell you, that woman does with food what Michaelangelo did with marble. To be honest, I am trying to resist copying her entire meal. Kind of kills the fun of recipe-hunting.

We really liked the stuffing recipes we did last year … gluten-free swiss chard stuffing (although I’ll be sure NOT to get any red chard this year. Pink stuffing never looks yummy, unfortunately), and a gluten-free cornbread and sausage stuffing. Over the next 9 days, I think I am going to try and turn my gravy recipe gluten-free … we’ll see what I can make work. It’s SUCH a good recipe, though. Thank you, Sunset magazine.

As far as everything else goes, it’s still up in the air. We generally have garlic mashed potatoes, crescent rolls, this jell-o ring my mom makes every year (I think that might be the one recipe out of my reach, though), sweet potatoes/yams, and cranberry sauce.

As I mentioned above, I am currently recipe-hunting. And, I am feeling sort of overwhelmed. I’ve developed quite the arsenal of food blogs over the last year, and THEY ARE ALL DOING A THANKSGIVING SERIES.

One thing I do want to accomplish this year, however, is to have some more vegetables that aren’t slathered in mini marshmallows, butter, or cream sauce. I know, blasphemy on the most gluttonous holiday of the year. But I’ve been doing a really excellent job incorporating more fruits and vegetables in my diet, and I’m going to be hurting next Friday if I don’t try and keep that up. We’ll see what I can slip by the family. Maybe something from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan?

Also … I want to tell you a secret before I sign off. (I am a huge nerd, I just did shifty eyes after typing that … and there is nobody here but me.) I think I am going to try and replace at least half of the mashed potatoes on our table with …

CAULIFLOWER.

Bear with me, and check out this recipe from Cheap, Healthy, Good. I’m going to lobby to replace the potatoes entirely, but I have it on good authority that you can mix potatoes and cauliflower without sacrificing taste … but saving serious calories. Or, maybe that broccoli/potato/red pepper mash I’ve made a few times?

Now you see the pickle I get myself into the week before Thanksgiving. And this is BEFORE I realize I haven’t even started thinking about Christmas yet.

Currently loving: Pumpkin yogurt, my new running shoes (Mizuno Wave Rider 11s) … they let me run without shin pain!, HARRY POTTER MOVIE RELEASE THIS WEEK

delicious picture by scubadive67

 

Letter writing June 25, 2010

Filed under: other — lexd @ 1:26 pm
Tags: , , , ,

In case you haven’t noticed in the 135 posts preceding this one, I’m kind of a “do stuff” person. I’m not the type to just sit around bitching about something that makes me unhappy.

That’s not to say I don’t do my fair share of bitching, but when it comes down to it, I feel much better having done something … getting involved in some sort of (hopefully) positive change.

I am also kind of an extremist in this category of people. Yes, yes … I am a letter-writer.

As a communications professional (seriously, the job description is “relations with the public,” people), I realize that there are a myriad of ways to get in touch with people and companies. But, also as a communications professional, I firmly believe that few are as effective as a rational, well-thought-out letter.

Of course, it’s way easier to shoot off an email, a Tweet or pick up the phone … but that’s why I like letter writing. Now that there’s a variety of arguably less labor-intensive ways to contact companies, there’s less competition for your letter in the mail bin. And this may be my naiveté showing through, but I firmly believe that someone reads all those letters. It may not be the CEO or even his assistant, but somewhere, someone is reading the letters. And if I am able to calmly and articulately present a rational argument, as well as my desired outcome … I like to think that that someone will pay attention to my letter, and even pass it on to someone who has some decisionmaking power.

I’ve written letters for a variety of reasons. Some have elicited responses, others have not. But you know what? I usually feel better regardless, having stated my case and given the company (or individual) in question a chance to respond. If they respond (even if I don’t get my way)? Kudos to them for acknowledging me.

If they didn’t respond? As a communications professional, screw you. Depending on the severity of the issue and the tenor of the complaint, you’re missing a valuable opportunity to make a customer feel important. And in an age where it’s easier than ever for people to express themselves … don’t you want to make sure that every customer is singing your praises instead of cursing you to the high heavens (*cough cough* Carnival is a terrible cruise line)?

Here’s just a sample of the reasons I’ve written letters over the years:

  • Carnival Cruises’ mangled mishandling of a casino dispute between their casino manager and BF (no response, this was probably the worst experience because it was a customer service issue)
  • Dan Fouts being an all-around terrible college football commentator and hijacking the conversation any chance he got to talk about when he played for the Oregon Ducks (no response, but Fouts was MIA the season after I wrote this letter. I will continue to take credit for this)
  • Subway employee from Gillette, Wyoming holding my wallet after I left it there and drove to South Dakota … and then sending it to Florida on her own dime with all $450+ and credit cards still intact. I wrote a letter both to Subway corporate and the individual franchise (no response back, but I hope she got something. Talk about good karma on her)
  • At the tender age of 12, I wanted to work for Nintendo, so I wrote a letter to the CEO of the company at the time, including a writing sample and a resume (the head of their HR department wrote me a letter back, telling me that my work was fantastic, but unfortunately due to labor laws they couldn’t hire me until I turned 16. I know he was probably just being nice, but this story still makes me happy. I still have the letter)

So, as you can see, I’m not exaggerating when I say that I am one of “those people” … a letter writer. And clearly I started from a young age.

But you know what? I get shit done 🙂

Currently loving: It’s Friday!, Yoga Download‘s “Hip Opening Flow” (got back into Yoga last night yeaaaaaahhhhh), wearing a fun sundress to work today

image from David Spender

 

The Holdout May 28, 2010

Filed under: other,social media — lexd @ 4:31 pm
Tags: , ,

I know that I am not the last person on Earth without a smartphone … but I often feel that way. In fact, I was taking a customer service survey for Mint.com the other day, and I came to the realization that the answers to the obligatory question “What kind of smartphone do you have?” have changed dramatically, even in the last six months. There used to be a couple options, and then the “I do not own a smartphone” option that I had no shame checking.

In the Mint survey, there were more than SIX other options. Clearly, there is enough of a demand for smartphones that not three, not four, but SIX smartphone options hold enough of the market share to be listed on a survey.

I am starting to feel lame when I go places now with a group, and we get lost/need a restaurant or bar or gas station/can’t remember the name of a song that is playing/need an answer to a random trivia question, and someone goes, “Wait let me look on my iPhone!” (longest sentence ever, sorry)

My mind snarkily responds, “Oh, I’ll do it … NOT.” I look morosely at my poor little beat-up slider phone and get that “sad panda” feeling. Thanks, brain. Way to rub it in.

I am not an early adopter by any stretch of the imagination. I usually like to wait at least until 2nd gen items come out (with Apple, I often like to wait for 3rd gen) before making the purchase. The price has often gone down by then, and more bugs are fixed. But, I feel kind of ridiculous at this point.

I held out at first for some legitimate reasons, mostly being price and the whole 1st-gen thing. Since then, it’s been the price. I’m not a heavy cell phone user (I currently have the smallest plan for voice and texts that AT&T will allow me … and it still costs me nearly $60/mo). I don’t particularly want to carry around my work email with me all day. It will compel me to work when I’m not at the office, and I hate that.

But I’ve been wanting an iPhone more than usual lately. I even played with a coworker’s for 20 minutes (and did the worst possible thing and went into the app store swoon) to see if it was fun enough to justify the cost. See, it would be between $100-200 for the phone itself initially, and then an extra $30 a month for the added data plan (bringing my bill to $90/mo).

I may sound lame, but that’s just a lot for my current budget. It doesn’t even come down to value … I realize that there is so much I would use the iPhone for. Maps, restaurant locators, Mint, fitness/calorie tracking, Pandora, email, games …

I guess I just get stuck on the asking price. Call me old fashioned, but I’m used to free upgrades, dammit!

Is it worth it? Should I just bite the iPhone bullet and ride off into the sunset, my wallet a little lighter (and my face glued to my new toy)?

Currently loving: No real plans for the long weekend, my lunch salad monster (spinach, quinoa, shrimp, avocado, tomato, green onion, hummus), my badass teenybopper playlist on Grooveshark!!

Image from Spanination

Image from Gonzalo Baeza Hernandez

 

Just a normal night at the casa de D May 26, 2010

Filed under: other — lexd @ 2:16 am
Tags: , ,

Why yes, that is a fort made out of our couches and some bedsheets. I can claim the design, but BF actually put it together. And yes, we have been shamelessly sitting in there for the last 3 hours, watching TV.

And yes, it is a Tuesday night. And we’re sober. Why do you ask?

 

Boys’ Club May 25, 2010

Filed under: other — lexd @ 5:36 pm
Tags: , ,

I’ve found that I always feel better about something once I’ve taken action. I know some people who are more content to sit in complacency about a problem, but fortunately, that’s not my style. In fact, I don’t know how they can stand it.

That being said, I went to the gym last night (after dinner, which is pretty much crazy for me). I stuck to the trainer’s recommendation of 20-30 minutes of cardio (while watching DWTS, Nicole is on fiyah!) and then proceeded downstairs to get my lift on.

Now, I’ve been a member of a number of gyms, but I have never in my life seen a racking problem like the one that exists at my new gym. The free weight area was packed (even at 8:45 at night!), and nothing under 45 lbs was racked. Clearly, that doesn’t do me a lot of good. I didn’t feel like searching among all the sweaty dudes for something in the 10-20 lb range, so I [grudgingly] vetoed parts of last night’s Summer Shape Up workout.

Instead, I went for some of the machines that targeted the same muscles, so everything worked out okay. I much prefer free weights, though.

I’ve always been the kind of girl who scoffs at girls who are like, “I can’t go into the free weights area, it’s scary and there’s guys everywhere.” Last night was the first time I actually sympathized with them. It was. So. Intimidating.

I don’t really have any workout buddies to go with … anyone have ideas on how to tackle this? We’ll see how the crowd is tomorrow morning, as well.

image from eyeliam

 

Coffeehouses April 24, 2010

Filed under: other — lexd @ 6:53 pm
Tags: , , ,

The past few weekends (and weeks, really) have been outrageously busy for BF and I. I should say this with the caveat that he and I are pretty much homebodies. We don’t go out all that much (cheaper to drink at home and nobody has to take one for the team and drive!), we don’t go out to eat (we like to cook), we like video games and watching movies in our “comfies” (read: jammies).

Both BF and I were pretty hardcore partiers and “do stuff”-ers in college, so while friends of ours would likely be surprised at this … I think we just wore ourselves out after four years.

I really thought I’d have a great weekend this weekend because we had very little planned. There are a couple festivals I wanted to check out (Orlando GreekFest, Orlando HopFest and the Great American Pie Festival), and I wanted to volunteer at Pet Rescue by Judy. I did a hardcore clean of the apartment last Sunday, so besides a quick dusting/vacuuming, that doesn’t need to be done.

And I will never iron. I have come to this conclusion. I might as well as cross it off my to-do list, because it’s not happening.

I woke up this morning, eagerly anticipating a fun day … but for some reason the “get up and go” in me just kind of died. I was informed by BF that his friend was coming over later in the day for some “guy time” (read: GTFO of the house) … but I no longer WANTED to leave the house. Really, a day full of Dante’s Inferno, Final Fantasy VI, a gym stint and maybe some pool time sounded solid to me.

Not really wanting to go anywhere but being forced out of the house, I defaulted to something I haven’t done in a long time: A local coffeehouse.

So, here I am at Barnie’s at Waterford Lakes, remembering why I used to love doing this all the time. I am prepared to entertain myself for several hours, with my laptop, DS, and a couple books. I have already powered through a 16oz iced soy latte and a 160z iced tea.

I had a premonition that I wouldn’t be able to access my work computer from my laptop (I actually have paying work to do), so I took the initiative to download Steam. Braid should help ebb some time away.

What do I love about this? I love coffee (especially non-burnt beans), I love tea, I love being surrounded by people who just needed to get out of the house, like me. I love being surrounded by people who are probably much like me … they don’t necessarily want interaction, but they are nice and content being hooked up with free wi-fi and some sort of caffinated beverage.

I also discovered there are no less than THREE coffeehouses within 1 mile of my house. This could become a habit. Thank GOD I didn’t get rid of my laptop … no matter how much of a dinosaur it is. 😀

Currently loving: Barnie’s iced Ginger Peach tea, Stumbling On Happiness, vegetarian, dairy and wheat free meals

image from DeusXFlorida