karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
Happy 2010, everyone! :)

We went to First Night tonight, and it was pretty cool, definitely worth going to -- it was really neat going to what was my first New Year's party, the first time I've ever shared in the revelry of a big celebration. We saw a bunch of bands, stopping in the middle for dinner at the Union Grille (pretty good) and cupcakes from Bettie's. Here's what we saw:

Hair of the Dog: Good Irish-rock band, a rollicking way to start the night.

Happy Balky and the Good Livin': We went to this mostly for the novelty, as I went to school with a couple of guys with the band. They had a good sound, but Brittney Kissinger is so over-trained and diva-molded that she doesn't play well with others -- her sound just didn't mesh well with the rest of the band.

Racing City Chorus: Pretty good for what they are, a barbershop-esque men's chorus.

Saratoga Faire: Honestly, I thought I'd be in the mood for slow, old-Celtic music, but I just wasn't. We moved on from this one pretty quickly.

Ramblin' Jug-Stompers: The musical highlight of the night, I think, and this was the one act we hadn't planned on seeing in the first place. They had good music, and they were highly entertaining on stage -- at one point, they even used an old typewriter as a musical instrument. :)

Matt McCabe: Talented, to be sure, but he had a lot of slower folky songs that I wasn't really in the mood for by then.

And then, there were fireworks, begun with a wonderful midnight kiss (and how often can you say "he kissed me and I saw fireworks"? ;) ). I cried a bit, but y'know, it's really nice to happy-cry instead of sad-cry, and that's what it was -- I was just really, really happy in that moment. :)

And now we're back home, having just finished off a bottle of sparkling cider between us (the third toast was "To absent friends" -- I was thinking of you, ladiEs) and some cupcakes I brought home. It's been a lovely night. Here's to a wonderful 2010 ahead. :)
karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
2009 has sure been a full year, full of adventures and happiness for the most part, full of lots of memories. It was a great year, mostly, except for spraining stuff three separate times. Then again, I wouldn't take back any of the experiences that led to those sprains (even the infamous hugging accident).

Happy new year, everyone! :)
karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
At this time of year, with most of the holiday chores done and only a few left (and how much of a "chore" is opening presents, anyway?), I like to stop and remember the true meaning of Giftmas.

It's all about the presents. Well, no, actually, it's all about what the presents stand for. It's about the people I'm thankful to have in my life, about giving them gifts and sending them cards to show how much I appreciate them and how glad I am that they're here (or wherever they are) with me for another year.

On this Giftmas Eve, I'm thankful for my parents, first of all, 'cause there wouldn't be a me without them.

I'm grateful for my friends, my dear, dear friends, who've stood by me and been there for me all year (and even celebrated me on my big 3-0!).

I'm thankful for my bosses, in that I'm glad they're decent people and not nightmarish jerks (I know they're out there).

And I'm very, very glad for my honey, who has helped me make the most of this year (honestly, would I have climbed a mountain without him? or had a real Philly cheesesteak?) and has added a great amount of happiness to my life.

*hugs* all around, and happy Giftmas! :)
karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
It's so hard to be jolly when the roads are a mess and your car's under a foot of snow, isn't it? I started on my holiday spirit early this year, turning on the Xmas music a week before Thanksgiving, 'cause I just knew that as soon as the snow fell, I'd be feeling decidedly less merry.

This weekend gave me a nice lift, after the first snow of the year had me feeling glum, "oh great, here we go again, how long until May?" Sunday, we went to Empire State Plaza and walked around the chocolate festival a bit, then a craft festival in the concourse, and then made our way up and outside for the tree-lighting ceremony. I've never been to a tree-lighting before, but it was nice, a fun thing to do, especially with the fireworks show afterward set to holiday songs. It certainly gave my spirits a boost.

I made cookies Monday and Tuesday, four kinds, three of them edible (bad recipes do happen). One kind in particular keeps earning raves from everyone who eats them, so I think I'll have to keep those in the rotation from now on. Yay.

And then, there was today. There was a foot of snow in the driveway when I left, and despite a half-hour of shoveling, I still got stuck in the driveway, really badly stuck. If it wasn't for a neighbor guy just happening to drive by, then stopping and helping to get me out, I might still be there for all I know. It sucked pretty hard. But on the up side, it's over, and when I got to work, there was the annual holiday auction, and I won somebody a present. :D

I guess where we go from here depends on the weather. It's hard to stay upbeat when it snows. I sometimes wonder if it would be nicer to live somewhere warm, where the roads are always dry. Would I have more holiday spirit then? Or would my cheer still fade because there aren't white-draped branches all around me? It's hard to say.
karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
Last night, I was told by someone who does computers for a living that I, I, am a fast typist. And that's when he told me that he doesn't type with proper technique, which I hadn't noticed before -- he types really fast, but mostly with two fingers and a bit of the middle fingers.

I got to wondering, how many people DO know proper technique? How many people actually took a typing class? It makes sense that he wouldn't have, because he's older than me -- when I was in high school, they were just phasing in a computer literacy class, and they taught two (measly) weeks of typing in that. As it was, that was the one time when I tried to take a class in high school, people tried to talk me out of it saying that it would be a waste of my time, and I ended up being right -- I realized that computers were becoming more and more prevalent out in the world and knowing how to type well would be a good skill, so I signed up for a semester of keyboarding (which, in that transitional time, was actually taught on electric typewriters -- no school full of computers quite yet).

It's served me well -- this wasn't the first time people have noticed that I'm a pretty quick typist. I remember once, at my old job, my boss walked over and asked me to type up something. I started typing, and she went, "no, what are you doing, trying to impress me? Let me see your screen." She actually thought that I was just randomly flailing my fingers on the keys to look fast. She was really impressed when she looked at my screen and realized that no, I was really just typing that fast, all of the words on the screen were words.

I wonder, though, do they teach typing these days in schools? On one hand, it seems like a skill you'd need just as much as handwriting, and they teach that. On the other, when would you teach it, anyway? Maybe middle school, when your hands are about the right size, but then again, by then, wouldn't today's kids have grown up typing already, probably learning to do it in a less efficient way that they're now used to? Maybe they don't teach typing at all, just assuming that you'll pick it up at home. But that would be a shame, really. Sure, a half-year of fff, ggg, fff, etc., was sorta mind-numbing, but it also training my brain and my fingers where all of the keys are under my hands, so now, I can type pretty quickly and never have to look down at my hands. Boring class, yes, but a very useful life skill.
karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
I'm currently AT work, but I don't HAVE any work. Ah, Saturdays.

Hope everybody had a great Turkey Day. I have plenty to be thankful for, that's for sure. Tops on my list? Turkey, and stuffing, and pumpkin pie. To me, Thanksgiving is "thanks for food" day, a day when I'm most thankful to have food on the table, thanks for the harvest and thanks for not starving. Not that I'm not thankful for all of the wonderful people in my life, 'cause I am, but I think of Xmas more as the "thanks for people" holiday. This Turkey Day had the usual delicious homemade spread, plus a sweet potato casserole I made, trying a new recipe. It didn't come out too bad.

Yesterday was pretty nice, too. I had the day off, a nice vacation day. There weren't any Black Friday doorbusters worth lining up for, so instead, I slept in, then went out and browsed around a bit. I bought myself a new purse, steeply discounted and sorely needed. I also bought some Xmas decorations and spent the rest of the afternoon decking the halls (and swearing at garland that wouldn't stay taped where I put it). Later, we went and got Shannon and went out to dinner, then went book-browsing, which was fun, even if the reason for the whole night wasn't such a good one -- she needed cheering up after a really rough day.

And today, well, today's been quiet. We got up, we got breakfast, we sat around, I went to work. It's nice to have two more days off, too -- work today, then my regular weekend. Huzzah.
karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
Looking for something to do today, I went down to the Asian Supermarket to wander around. Here's a tip for you, if you decide to go: Give yourself a good amount of time, and don't go on a Sunday, 'cause last time I was there was a Sunday and I was informed that that's the day when most Asian Americans do their grocery shopping -- it was PACKED. Today, it was just fine, not crowded at all.

One thing I discovered today was that shopping at an Asian market is better done with a guide, someone who has eaten a lot of this stuff before, so they can tell you what stuff is. Some things have English translations on the label, which is great, but even with that, a lot of times, the thing you're looking at is totally foreign, something you've never come across, so you have no idea if it's sweet or savory, chewy or hard, good for a snack or just for cooking, something you might like or an acquired taste. Then, of course, there's the fact that like in any other market, there are multiple brands. I can tell you which kind of brownie mix I like best, or which brand of butter, but how do I know which type of frozen shiu mai is the best one?

In the end, I stuck mostly to buying things I know -- a couple of bags of frozen dumplings, a package of moon cakes, and one thing that I hadn't tried, some sort of sesame candy. It looked like sesame, and it says "white sesame cake" on the label, and the ingredients say mostly sesame, some sugar products. It's pretty tasty, though pretty hard and impossible to break apart. And it was cheap, so if I didn't like it, no real risk there.

That's another thing about Asian markets -- not only do they have a wide variety of things, both interesting and usual (Nesquik, Skippy peanut butter, etc.), and usually fresher than regular stores, but most of the stuff ends up being a really good value -- either it's cheap, it's super-fresh, it's a good deal for the amount you get, or any of all of the above. I wandered around picking up things, and in the end, I only spent like ten bucks. Not bad at all, especially since I probably got enough frozen dumplings to last me all week for dinner, if not longer. I think, given time and experience and a bit of experimentation, this place could become my hypothetical weekly grocery run place. Why not?
karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
Here's something I don't understand:

Why do we get to vote on other people's rights?

Why does the public get to have a say over whether a minority group has the same rights as the majority? Isn't that counter to the spirit of America, of freedom and equality?

This whole marriage-rights thing, I just don't get it. I mean, can we all have a vote to take away black people's voting rights? Or say that Hispanics can't own property? It's the same thing, isn't it? How does the majority get to say that one group can't have the same rights as everyone else? And for that matter, how un-American is that, to say "everyone gets the same treatment, except you, 'cause you're different"?
karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
OMG, I finally, FINALLY got to see They Might Be Giants tonight! I've only been a fan for, oh, what, like 16, 17 years, something like that? (I was enabled with "Apollo 18," which came out in '92.) And every damn time they've come here, there's been a reason I couldn't go -- couldn't get in 'cause I was just barely below the age limit; had nobody to go with me (which stopped me from going to shows for quite a long time, sadly); had to work.

But not tonight. Tonight, I went, I saw, and it was AWESOME.

Actually, first, there was the opening act, which was ... oh, wow. Peter Stampfel is apparently a music industry legend, a folkie who's played with just about everyone, including Dylan, and whose onetime band was the namesake for Rounder Records. But holy damn. Let's just say this: There were a lot of boomer types who did a LOT of acid in the '60s. Clearly, he's one of them. This guy was like a "this is your brain on drugs" ad -- kids, don't do too many drugs, or you'll end up warbling like a drunken wombat, jiggling around in absurd herky-jerky "dance moves," forgetting the lyrics to your own songs routinely, burping into the mic in mid-verse (I kid you not) and other such cringe- and giggle-inducing things. His two "best" songs (and "best" is a relative term, surely) were the last two -- "Stick Your Ass In The Air" (I'm not kidding) and a banjo and warbling version of "I Will Survive" (seriously, I'm not kidding).

And then, and THEN, omg. Just omg. First off, I made some totally kickass line buddies, 'cause not only did we score the perfect spot stage-side, stage Flansy, but when I ended up behind them, they scooted over to make me a spot right against the stage, closest to the center, 'cause they knew it was my first show. Awesome line buddies = WIN. And then, they came out. And I was RIGHTFREAKINTHERE! Like seriously -- they came out, and Linell looked me directly in the eye, and then Flansy came over right in front of me and looked right down at me, and I almost died of OMGTHEY'RERIGHTTHERELOOKINGATME! I was so close! A couple of times, Flansy came over right in front of me, and I literally could've reached out and wrapped my whole arm around his leg, he was that close. And once, he bent over playing his bass and I actually had to lean back, 'cause the neck of it almost whacked me in the head. That's how awesomely close I was. And Linell kept looking me in the eye while he was singing and I was singing along. It was so awesomely awesome. :)

I even got a few pics with my better-than-the-old-one cell cam:Here there be pics )
And the show itself, the show was awesome. They did eight songs of random (including one of their new ones, "Science is Real," which might be a new favorite, and of course, they had to do "The Egg" -- and they did one with hand puppets, which was silly fun), and then they did all of Flood in order. And there was a confetti cannon that shot right over my head during "They Might Be Giants" -- awesomest confetti cannon experience ever, not to mention that confetti somehow got down my bra (not just in my shirt, but wedged right in there) and in my pocket (small pocket, too) and I was still shaking some out of my hoodie when I got home. :) There were two encores after, too, including "The Mesopotamians," "Damn Good Times" and "Alphabet of Nations" (I've totally gotta pick up the kids' albums one of these days -- the only one I have is No!.)

I'm so freakin' glad I finally got to go see Them in person, after all of these years. But was it "worth the wait"? No, 'cause instead, it just made me sad that I've missed seeing them all these years. It was a damn good show, and next time they come, I'll try extra-hard to be able to go again. :)
karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
Things I've learned from "Scribblenauts" so far:

1. Emus are mean. In fact, they can be downright homicidal.

2. Bears can be useful weapons.

3. If in doubt, summon a mythical sea beast.

Nerd porn

Sep. 1st, 2009 11:11 pm
karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
The new Stylebooks are here!!!

This made my whole day. I grabbed it, I hugged it, I took a deep whiff of that new-Stylebook smell, and life was good. :)

I'm going through it now in my free minutes, catching up on any changes since the last time I read one cover-to-cover. Oddly enough, they've added a small index to the front ... but the book is still alphabetical as always, so why the heck would you need an index? I'm puzzled.

Still, I'm so glad these things are finally here. Yes, I'm a big huge nerd. But you all knew that already. :)
karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
Had a lovely time at the rEtrEat this past weekend ... it was cool and rainy half of the time, but it's about the company, not the weather, and it's always nice to spend time with my ladiEs again. *hugs* all around -- and not the injurious ones.

(For those who'd already gone home, which is most of you, I re-sprained my wrist hugging SB. I shit you not. I wouldn't believe it either if I wasn't there, but we lost our balance and there you have it. This year has totally sucked for me as far as physical health, I tell you. Never a break or sprain or anything for almost 30 years, and now three sprains in four months.)

It's nice to have a well-balanced life. It's also nice to be in a healthy relationship built on mutual respect and concern, an equal partnership in which both people are free to pursue separate interests and spend time with friends. Yays. :)
karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
I went to see "Rent" today, with Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp, and it was AWESOME. They're both such talented actors and singers, and I'm so glad that I got to see them both perform their roles live.

I couldn't help but laugh at Anthony during "La Vie Boheme," 'cause I remembered how at the book signing the other day, someone asked him if his moves in the show are choreographed, and he said other than the "Tango Maureen," no -- he asked the producers of the show in the beginning if they were going to give him moves to do, and they insisted no, they wanted him to dance how he really dances, even if he dances like a total dork. And he does, really, but then again, Mark is sort of a dork, so it fits with the character nicely. The only moves he consistently does, he said, are to "going against the grain" and "any passing fad" -- other than that, it's just him being silly and having fun with it.

And Adam was incredible -- brilliant, of course, but also powerfully emotional. During the finale, before he goes into "Your Eyes," his voice was filled with such feeling that I choked up a bit myself.

I think that actually, that's one of the things that shows how amazing "Rent" is, how powerful and well-written. I know what's going to happen: I know the plot inside and out, and I see the sad parts coming a mile away. And yet, I never fail to tear up at least once. Today, it was during "Without You," which usually rolls off of me, actually, even though it's a sad song. It was less the song that did it, though, and more hearing the song in the background while watching Collins tend to Angel. But no matter which exact part of the show it comes in, the tears always flow at least a little -- even the movie version makes me cry.

Overall, today's show was everything I'd hoped it would be and wanted to see for the past 15 years. I only wish that it has lasted longer, 'cause it was over so soon. I wish, really, that I could've saved up more money, taken the whole week off from work and gone to every show all week long, just to soak it in. But at least I got to go once; at least I got to see Anthony and Adam performing their signature roles on stage right before my eyes, and I even got to meet Anthony the other day (meeting Adam was sadly not in the cards, though I did stay after the show and try).
karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
I met Anthony Rapp today!

*hops up and down with as much energy as she can muster while dead tired with a full shift ahead of her*

It was really cool ... I got a front-row seat (what is it about me getting front-row seats to see celebrities all of a sudden?), and he took questions from the audience and answered two of mine (and looked me right in the eye the whole time ... and he has really nice eyes, btw). Things I learned:

-- His favorite parts of "Rent" are "La Vie Boheme" and the second act between "Without You" and the end.
-- His favorite Mark besides himself was Neil Patrick Harris.
-- His pre-show ritual consists of vocal warmups, stretches and a cup of tea.
-- Cameras are banned at shows for a reason: it's not just the flash that's distracting, it's also the little orange light on the front of the camera when you push the button down.
-- He doesn't have plans for a new album of regular pop music, but he's working on adapting his book into a show and that will have a soundtrack (which will also include "Always" and "Visits to You").

Overall, he was really cool, very nice and funny and personable, and when I got up to meet with him, he graciously signed both the book and his CD for me, and we chatted for a moment about the last time I'd seen the show (he'd mentioned during the Q&A that he'd done the show in London and it had mid-week matinees where nobody showed up, and I told him that I was at one of them -- "oh, neat, I don't think I've met anyone over here who's been to one of those," he said, "I guess you can back up my story, then").

I'm totally dead tired now, but it was worth it -- and I even got a few pictures, including some with me in them thanks to the nice people who had been sitting next to me, yay.
karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
Plug of the day: If you've never seen "The State," maybe you're too young to remember them, maybe you didn't have MTV then, whatever, go, get it now -- the whole run is on DVD. They're really freakin' funny, not to mention that they're the minds behind popular stuff today, like "Reno 911" and the movie "Role Models."

Me, I've been watching the DVDs compulsively since they came in the mail, with and without the commentaries (which are really good, btw, very funny and packed full of interesting facts and trivia). I'm amazed how much I still remember from 15 years ago -- back then, I taped episodes and watched it over and over and over again, so now, when a lot of the sketches start, I instantly crack up, 'cause I can remember the funniest lines before they happen on screen (and sometimes even speak along with them).

Some of my favorites (so far -- I've only gotten to watch a season and a half of the DVDs):

"Service With a Smile" ("Chicken SANDWICH, Carl!")

"$240 Worth of Puddin'" ("Awww, yeah!")

"International Signs"
karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
How often does a person get to say that they saw the second most powerful person in the country, live and in person? Awesomesauce.

I waited in line today (first in line, though I dodged the news cameras fairly well) for hours and hours (and got baked -- oops, maybe I DID need sunblock), but it was worth it, 'cause seeing Vice President Biden speak in person was awesome. Rep. Murphy spoke, too, and he was cool, and so was Gov. Paterson, who's always a good speaker (funny AND memorized). But the highlight was definitely Biden, especially since I had the best seat in the house, no lie -- front row center! Biden and Murphy both made eye contact with me numerous times. Sweet.

The speeches were good, but the best part might've been at the end -- Biden came down to meet with everybody, and I got to shake his hand! He looked right at me, "and what is your name?" I told him, and he repeated it back to me, "ah, well, thanks for coming out today." I thanked him back, of course, and then he noticed the bumper sticker I was clutching in my other hand -- "got something for me to sign there?" I nodded, "yes, thank you!" and he took it and passed it back to a Secret Service guy who was collecting stuff for autographs -- I got it back at the end, after Biden had left the room and had a chance to sit down and sign everything. That was it for my brush with fame today, but still -- I actually shook hands with the vice president of the United States! That was pretty awesome. :)
karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
So Michael Jackson is dead, already, at only age 50, leaving behind three children. That was sure sudden.

I have to admit that I hadn't been paying attention to him much, and neither were most of us. As a music star, his heyday ended in the mid-90s. After that, he was more of a curiosity, a mind-bogglingly odd specimen of humanity.

Still, he did have a huge impact on music. For one, he brought black musicians into the mainstream -- he was the first black person to be a true pop star. Not to mention that he got black people onto the fledgling MTV (and in fact was largely responsible for the network's success in the '80s). And he did a lot for the art form of short film, from the mini-movies like the "Thriller" video to the use of morphing in the "Black or White" video, which was pioneering at the time.

It's amazing, too, that his hits have stood the test of time like they have. Now, when everyone's suddenly trotting out his music again, we're reminded that these are still good songs, songs we all know the words to and will sing and dance to. Funny how we don't really have music like that anymore, 'cause the music marketplace has become so fragmented -- we don't all listen to the same pop stations and watch MTV together (back when it actually was "Music Television" -- they've definitely shown more music videos in the past 24 hours than they have in many years). Now, you listen to the rap station and I listen to the alternative stuff and someone else listens to punk or metal or R&B or tweener pop -- we don't all share very much musically anymore. It's sorta sad, in a way.

Was I a Michael Jackson fan? No, I wouldn't say that -- I was never a big fan, never hung his picture on my wall or bought any of his albums. But it was always good stuff with a good beat, something I'd listen to and enjoy alright, and even now, when one of his songs comes on the radio, I'll sing along, and I bet you will, too.
karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
I have my hand back! Well, mostly, anyway. But it's not all enormously swollen and freakishly sausage-fingered anymore. Yay!

The pain in my wrist is finally letting up, too. I'm trying to get back to normal function, and it's not going all that badly -- somewhat painful at times, but not horrible. I've finally turned a corner on this. Hurray. Hope I can keep both hands/wrists/arms fully functioning for a good long time from here forward. :)
karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
I just got back from the early 90s... they want their fashion back.

I haven't seen as much fluorescent clothing (and fabric paint, and jelly bracelets, and acid-washed denim, and giant buttons, for that matter) in years as I saw tonight, when I used one of my birthday presents, a ticket to see the New Kids on the Block. It was freaky, a total time warp.

As for the show, well, they've still got it. I walked in feeling sort of detached, like I was too cool for school, out of place 'cause I wasn't a fangirl wearing a hand-painted "I <3 U JOEY!!!" T-shirt or something (and I saw stuff like that, oh yes, I did, on grown 20-something women). But when they hit the stage, something weird happened to my brain, a temporary insanity that turned me instantly 11 again, when the only thought in my mind was "ZOMG JORDAN'S SO HAWT!!!" I even squealed a little, I think.

Jordan, especially, has still got it -- he can still hit all of the high notes! I was impressed. Donnie chatted with the audience and acknowledged that the last time he was in town, he almost freakin' died, 'cause if he'd fallen through the stage a half-inch differently, it would've been the end of him. And when a few of them did solo songs, Joey did "Popsicle"! I couldn't decide whether to laugh or sing. :) All in all, it was a good time, filled with memories, a lot of silly fun. Am I a huge fan these days? No, not at all -- I'd rather listen to Green Day. But am I glad I went and did I have a good time? Absolutely. :)
karnerblue: Monterey sea lion (Default)
Right now, I am 29 years, 51 weeks and almost 2 days old.

With 30 just a few days away, it's all too easy for me to focus on the bad stuff, how I've gotten so old already. I have some of the aches and pains and grey hairs of a 40-something already. I still don't have my own place. And while almost everyone my age is married and settled down and contemplating or having kids, I have none of that, not yet anyway (though I've always known that I was socially stunted, behind everyone else when it comes to stuff like that). There's so much I haven't done, and it feels like my youth is over.

And that's not to mention the fact that I really AM getting old, certifiably adult now. I listen to '80s and '90s music on the radio, and then I realize that the songs that seem still so recent are 10, 20 or more years old. I think about when I was in college, and then I realize that today's students were born so much later than me; they never knew anything in their lives about President Reagan or the Gulf War, cassette tapes or a time without computers. And I even have some of those generational touchstones like my parents' generation has, like "Where were you when JFK was shot?" I remember where I was on 9/11. I remember watching the Berlin Wall being broken into pieces on TV. I actually don't remember exactly what I was doing when the Challenger disaster happened, but I was alive for that, too (I must've been in elementary school, in class, at the time).

But y'know, 30 years is a long time. And while I may not have done everything, accomplished everything yet, I've accomplished quite a bit. I started out as a fat, awkward little girl with ridiculously long hair, as a bookworm and an outcast. And over those 30 years, I've changed a lot.

I learned that I wasn't the only bookworm out there. I got my hair cut short. I learned a lot in school, got good grades, got into National Honor Society, earned scholarships, became the first person in my family to go to college, got into more honor societies, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, got a full-time job, got into Mensa and Intertel, got promoted and then got another job that paid better for less responsibility.

And I gained weight, and more weight, and graduated from college looking like a total whale... and then I lost some weight and found out that my body really wasn't supposed to be that big all those years after all, it just needed help to find where it wanted to be. And I learned to take care of myself by going to my doctors regularly, all of them. I've also had my gallbladder removed, had my wisdom teeth removed and gotten sunburn so bad on my legs that I couldn't walk for days.

I learned to be a stronger, more independent woman in college and came out of my shell. Then, I learned that I wasn't as strong as I thought. And I learned that I didn't need a man to be happy with my life. And then I learned about what love was like, and also what it shouldn't be like. And I learned to really accept myself, for real this time, and to stand up for myself, 'cause I have value and I deserve to be treated well. And then I learned that life's full of surprises, and you never know when someone will come along who you never really expected to find.

And I've had a lot of experiences, too, enough surely to make up for the first 20 years of doing not much. I've traveled in two countries, on two continents. I've seen Stonehenge, and Shakespeare's birthplace, and Westminster Abbey. I've been to concerts, lots of them, rock ones and pop ones and punk ones and even "Riverdance." I've been to a live improv show, twice. I've touched the Atlantic Ocean on both sides and the Pacific Ocean once, hugged a redwood tree, touched the Golden Gate Bridge and an Arizona cactus. I've flown across the country and back, totally on my own (something I never thought I'd find the nerve to do). I've seen "Rent" in London's West End and "The Phantom of the Opera" here. I've even climbed a mountain, all the way to the top.

On one hand, 30 does still seem old to me. I'll be officially an adult, without question, no more "well, geez, I'm still in my 20s, I graduated from college in my 20s." And 30, well, that isn't so far from 40, and then 45, 50....

But on the other hand, I've grown and changed a lot in 30 years, and in recent years, I've been making up for lost time. And 30 years, well, I should have at least 30 more to go, right? If I've had that many experiences and adventures and learned that much in 30 years, how much more could be in store for the next 30?