Monday, September 1, 2014

Life According to Svetlana

Full Name: Svetlana "Lana" Kardashian Jackson
Nicknames: Lulu
Her name was Lana when she cam to me, but I lengthened it to Svetlana to emphasize her exotic, aloof, regal demeanor. I still call her Lana, or sometimes just Lulu.
I have never seen Lana more content or sedated than when she watched Keeping Up With the Kardashians. She pretty much wants to be one.

Breed: While I don't know specifically which breed or combination of breeds she is, Lana is long haired and a bit on the larger side (about the size of a raccoon). Research that I have done, points to her being at least part Himalayan, Siberian, or Persian.

Food: Merrick Purrfect Bistro  is what I feed her. When she came to me she was eating Purina One. I kept feeding that for a few months before I started looking for a more natural alternative. When I worked in childcare I encountered a lot of parents who were very particular about what their child ate. Most of the time it was totally understandable, but occasionally it would border on the obsessive. I have to say now, that I understand this desire now that I have Lana. Every time I go to the pet store I  read the ingredients label on everything I buy. I started researching the best dry foods for cats and Merrick brand definitely ticked all the boxes. It's in the moderate to high price range. 12lbs is about $30. One bag lasts Lana about two months.

Fun: Lana loves catnip. I put it in her scratching box. I also want to buy some catnip essential oil not just for her, but because it is an effective insect repellant. She has a basket full of toys which she seldom plays with. But the go to toys are my braided belt and jingle balls.

Hot Spots: Rag rugs are the best things ever. They are durable, easy to clean and low maintenance. Lana like to lay out and occasionally wrestle the rugs. Lana's favorite resting spots are on the bathroom floor, or in the middle of the kitchen floor.

Grooming: Lana is not a fan, but since she is a long haired kitty brushing is a necessity. It's also a huge ordeal for us. I usually wear snowboarding gloves, attach her leash on, and have to hold her down. I have a few brushes for her, but the most effective is the Furminator. It removes a lot of the fluffy undercoat, which reduces trips to the groomer.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Be The Fangirl You Were Always Meant To Be

My last blog post was two months ago.

What happened?

This time last year, I was dead broke working two part-time jobs, and wondering how to get this whole blog thing going. But then the two part-time jobs, turned into one full time job, and before you know it your attention is pulled completely away.

That's what's happened. I don't know when I have last talked about bike advocacy here. I do infrequently IRL, but I cycle every day. Communicating that silent simple message, "Life is better on a bike."

This year has taken another hold on me, the fan girl hold. I've always been an enthusiast for my fandoms. I've become much more open about this, instead of classifying it as "my guilty pleasure" or "this thing I like that I don't really talk about." Why should something you truly love have to be a guilty thing?

Let's talk about how awesome this weekend was. I went to my very first comic convention here in Chicago. I got to meet some great celebrities, Sir Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Levar Burton, Jason David Frank. I passed by Michael Dorn and waved, he waved back. I even walked up to Jonathan Frankes and said hi.

I have a lot of respect for the talent that comes to these events. They do so much for their fans, and I appreciate every bit. My fellow fans were also wonderful. I loved making conversation with them while we were in line for photos and autographs. Even beyond that, some of them offered me tickets to panels that they couldn't make or had extra admission for. The spirit and enthusiasm of my fellow fans created a fun and vibrant environment. These are my people.

This year for me, has been all about Letting Go. Letting go of my fears, my past failed attempts; and being genuinely and honestly open about who I am and what I love. I love Star Trek and I'm so glad that I got to be a part of this amazing event. I'm sure it won't be my last.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Currently in Summer

Today is Monday, my day. This is the day I have to run errands and clean or just to stay at home with the kitty and watch TV. It's my day, and that makes it my favorite day.

Current TV: I haven't had a television in my home since I lived with my parents. I wouldn't count common room TV's in dorms, since they weren't exclusive. But technology has certainly changed in eight years. I love watching TV online through Hulu, Netflix and YouTube. Not only can we get regular antenna broadcast, but I can easily stream shows from the internet. It's really amazing to have that available. Summer shows are on. My roommate and I will watch the Bachelorette, or America's Got Talent. But I still mostly stream.

Currently Reading: The Most of Nora Ephron. I needed a good book to get me back into the habit of reading, and this is a great choice. I love biographies, autobiographies, and a good ol' novel. This is actually a little bit of each.

Current Hashtag: #summer #olaf

Current Color: I love the pink/white combo for summer

Current Kitchen Creations: Since I get a meal at work every day, I try not to over buy groceries at home. I stick to lighter fare, mostly fruits, vegetables and breakfast food. I'm actually having a lot of fun making my own sauces, jams, juices, and dried fruit. I'll do a post about this in the near future.

Current Drink: My summer drink is Steigl Radler. The grapefruit flavor is most common, but the lemon variety just knocks it out of the park. The is a beer/soda, and shandies sometimes get a lot of shade thrown at them for being "girly" drinks. Not Steigl Radler. It's so refreshing and easy to drink, I've seen men go after it just as easily as women. I like my men how I like my beer, egalitarian.

Current Team Sports: It feels odd for me to be on two team sports, but hey. This is my third year with my church softball team #covsoftball. I have moved up from catcher to short center. It's a very exciting move for me to be on the outfield. I also play pick up Ultimate Frisbee with many of the same people from my softball team. I've never been sporty, but I really have a lot of fun this way.

Currently Dating: For the first time in my life I am experiencing what it's like to throw yourself into work. I sometimes find it hard to stop what I'm doing and leave work. This means a rebalancing of my personal life. Not just a rebalancing, I feel like I'm rebooting. But I actually managed to go out a few times this week. How about that?

Current Shame: My face is in front of a screen about 90% of the time. Shit.

Current Blessing: I'm content in the set up of life, and I need to remember that. I'm also finding a place to dream bigger and want to do more. The more goals I set at work, the more I want to achieve. That is a very new feeling for me. I want to know what it would feel like in other aspects of my life.

Current Needs: The sun on my skin and a good belly laugh

Currently Looking Forward: My birthday is coming up, what?!
I'm going to be 27. This getting older thing just doesn't go away. But it also doesn't sway older people from reminding me how young I am. Thanks.

Current Social Media: My name is Naomi, and I am addicted to Tumblr.
#summer #olaf #tomhiddleston #Frozen

Friday, June 20, 2014

My Social Media Life

This week in absurdity... 

Social Media is weird. Knowing that we live in this era is just a little weird. I'm having a moment of realizing this after two events this week.

After watching America's Got Talent this week I decided to exercise my first amendment rights and tweet my opinions. Always a good idea.

Featured on this week's show was an opera singer called Maggie Lane. Maggie is clearly a well trained, professional opera singer. But during her performance she shed her dove gray wrap dress and revolved herself in a barely there red bikini. I mean wow. Everybody was a gasp. Not only could she sing, but she's a total babe. So of course the judges gave her four yes's and sent her on her merry little way.

My only question is why? She can clearly sing, and would have gotten through on that, and should have. Of course AGT provided the hashtag #BikiniOpera, so I did my duty as a proud American and tweeted my opinion. Even more I got several likes and retweets. To my surprise Maggie Lane even responded. Unfortunately her response was just about as confusing as her act.

In other news I received this lovely message from a guy on Tinder.

I should just say that Tinder is a bizarre basket of cats. You never really know what kind of guys your going to meet (It's just like real life!) And this is certainly not the first eye raising opening line I have received. But I do believe that a stupid question deserves a pile driver answer.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Cycling Gospel

I finally went to Critical Mass. The fact that I haven't done the famous bike ride before is quite astonishing, even to me. I've been sharing for years about the benefits of cycling and the lifestyle that it has become for me.

Quite simply, the reason for never doing it rounded out to logistics. I would work until 6pm, and going downtown at 5:30pm is sometimes the last thing I want to do on a Friday night. But excuses aside, my new roommate suggested we go and that's all it really took for me.

That was tough day, I didn't leave work early. So we headed towards downtown a little after 5:00pm and within a few miles I could feel my stride coming on. And when we got to Daily Plaza and saw hundreds of bicycles and people ready to roll out, I was nothing short of awed.

I know that the last friday night of the month is the bain of every motorists existence. And I get it, it's a mild inconvenience having a hoard of cyclists take over a street. The fun part is when the motorists start honking (some out of frustration, some out of excitement) the group turns that into a positive, shouting "Happy Friday!" Really, how could you stay mad when something is so incredible as hundreds of people, on human powered vehicles wishing everyone to be as happy as they are?

Cycling is like the gospel to me.

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[

20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
I have written here many times of the responses I get from people in my community when they find out I'm a year round cyclist.  

"You're Crazy!" 
"How do you ride in the winter?" 
"Aren't there bus lines where you live?" 
To most people cycling is an acceptable fair-weather recreation but, not a viable and sustainable form of transportation. That is foolishness. 
To the person that has only know a car centric world, for one cyclist or one hundred to declare that their way is not only acceptable but even better must sound like pure insanity. But to us, to those that it is saving it is the greatest gift. To a cyclist it is freedom, happiness, unlimited and unyielding. It is pure adventure and refusal to let the world roll over you. 

The Gospel that I know is one that asks us to leave our families, to choose the harder path, to give up our lives, possessions and social status all to follow Jesus. That's not a gospel that allows us to sit comfortably in our air conditioned vehicles, with the the sound of the radio drowning out our thoughts, incubated from the world around us. Cycling doesn't allow you the luxury of ignorance. It doesn't hide behind layers of plastic and glass. You're put right out there. Some would see this as having no protection, others would say that it takes away the blinders. 

I've seen God on the road, I have felt closer to God while riding, and at times I feel even godlike for riding through seas of cars. I've said before that cycling has allowed me to come to terms with my mortality. Accepting the fact that I could easily meet my end at any given moment, on the road or off.  That has a strange way of bringing you closer to your creator. I must rely on God because I simply have no other choice. Suddenly, little else matters. 

I never thought of myself as the evangelist type. I found evangelists to be pushy, off putting and too wrapped up in their own agenda. As a Christian I wasn't comfortable identifying myself that way.  I never felt confident telling people about Jesus, and that always made me feel a little bit ashamed and defeated. It didn't really click for me until a few years ago. After I started riding and my life changed, I wanted to tell everyone. I wanted people to know that they didn't have to be afraid of riding their bikes on the street, that they could go father than they ever imagined and be happy doing it.

Biking just made me happy, so I wanted to share it. That type of evangelism I understood. When something changes your life so radically, reshapes your thinking and impacts your whole life, you just don't stay silent. You want to tell everyone.

That's the cycling gospel, the good news that Jesus is alongside us for the ride; pissing off drivers and wishing them a "Happy Friday."

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Phenomenal Woman Who Can Find?

Today my co-worker told me today that I truly was an eschet chayil

From your mouth to God's ears" I said

Eschet chayil means woman of valor, although I prefer strong woman

Though we have another translation for it in our culture,

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
An excellent wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than jewels.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
She dresses herself with strength
    and makes her arms strong.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,   
The stride of my step,   
The curl of my lips.   
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,   
That’s me.
She opens her hand to the poor
    and reaches out her hands to the needy.

She is not afraid of snow for her household,
    for all her household are clothed in scarlet.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,   
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.   
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.   
Her husband is known in the gates
    when he sits among the elders of the land.

I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,   
And the flash of my teeth,   
The swing in my waist,   
And the joy in my feet.   
I’m a woman
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.

She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered   
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,   
They say they still can’t see.   
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,   
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

“Many women have done excellently,
    but you surpass them all.”
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.   
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.   
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

I say,
It’s in the click of myheels,   
The bend of my hair,   
the palm of my hand,   
The need for my care.   
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me. 
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
    and let her works praise her in the gates. 

Here's to the memory of a true Eschet Chayil. Maya Angelou 1928-2014

Work's Cited:  Maya Angelou's "Phenomenal Woman" And Still I Rise, 1978 and Proverbs 31

Monday, May 12, 2014

Pop Watch: Winter is Coming... to Storybrooke

I'm geeking out all over the place over last night's Once Upon a Time twist ending.

Elsa has arrived.

This is bloody brilliant. I already love OUAT for their re-imagination of Disney Fairy Tales. Albeit, the Wicked Witch of the West was kind of a stretch for me, but ok. But this... this is ingenious and hella good business.

Frozen came out last November and since then has become the most successful animated movie of all time. The fandom is still going strong. I know not only because I follow the Tumblrs and read the fanfics, but because my co-worker's 21 year old daughter sings the songs... every day.

The character of Elsa was originally supposed to be a villain, more akin to how she is portrayed in Han Christian Anderson's story. Well obviously that changed. But in Frozen, while Elsa isn't the villain she also is somewhat of an anti-hero. She embodies an anarchic role all her own, and that's what makes her a spectacular character. For OUAT to recreate her as a villain, unlocks so much story and character potential. I'm beyond excited to see a live action Elsa embody her inner villainess.

Furthermore, Kitiss and Horowitz would be crazy not to capitalize on Frozen's success. Let's face it, Disney does not do anything on a small scale. To introduce Frozen into the Once franchise at this time is huge. This has never been done before. Of course they're cashing in, but they're getting a character and story that is invaluable.

We already know to look out for a Frozen musical on Broadway; and while not confirmed, a Frozen Sequel in the not to distant future is a safe bet.

I cannot wait to see what happens. I'm so excited just thinking about how the Frozen story will be retold. Will Anna and Kristoff be there? Will Hans? Olaf? Will she freeze Storybrooke and build another ice palace. It took me until the third season to watch Once Upon a Time, I should have started watching sooner. I'm so excited to see what this show brings.