Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I'm not sure how long this will be available for viewing online, but I took a picture of all of my siblings and myself from my wedding last year and carved it up and put it in this great JibJab video.  I laugh so hard every time I watch it, I'm cry!  If you haven't tried out JibJab in the past... you simply must check them out, find a picture of someone you know, and have a good laugh.  We all still talk about the JibJab I did a few years ago with my father-in-law in it yelling, "Snowball fight!" in this high pitched elf's voice.  I think that got circulated for weeks!

What are your plans for Halloween?  I'm trying to put together some great costumes for me and David (and our dog, Linus), but I'm running out of time... wish me luck!  I was thinking Lion Tamer, Lion, and Circus Performer after having just finished reading the wonderful book, Water For Elephants. Maybe if I run out of time trying to put those costumes together, in the end we'll just have to find inspiration in this video...

Check it out below and have a Happy Halloween!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Kitty and Maddie

Okay, so I know that I'm biased, but seriously... does it get any cuter?!

Friday, October 28, 2011

World Religions Series: The Greek Orthodox Faith

As promised last month, I started on a journey to better understand the different world faiths that my friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, etc. all belong to and practice.  I didn't give anyone a timeline to finish answering the questions, but I was hoping to begin posting some of their responses by the end of this month.  After a gentle reminder to the various people who agreed to participate, my friend and former Scott Rudin Productions co-worker, Charley Parlapanides graciously answered my request.

Charley may not remember this, but as a person very curious about religion, I asked Charley to take me with him to church once when I lived in L.A.  He agreed and off we went to the Greek Orthodox Church (I remember thinking it was such a fun adventure!)  Interestingly, I remember only a few things from that day: the church was beautiful, everyone had a huge happy smile going in and out of the church, and they were all very welcoming to the obvious new comer in the crowd.  I remember thinking that it felt like a really nice community.  Oh, and after the service Charley gave me the full "Greek" experience by taking me to get Greek food.  I must say, to this day, Dolma is still one of my favorite foods!  My husband and I order from this little mom and pop shop here in Boise called Mazzah about 3-5 times a month, and we never miss the Greek Festival here either... the food is too good to miss out on!

St. Sophia's in Los Angeles, CA 

I digress... I want to thank Charley for allowing me to have that experience with his church and his Greek culture all those years ago in LA, and for participating in my blogging journey into World Religions today.  And so, without any further ado...

In his own words, Charley Parlapanides and The Greek Orthodox religion:
Charley and his wife, Elenie
What religion do you practice, and how did you come to practice it?
I am a Greek Orthodox Christian also known as an Eastern Orthodox
Christian. People will hear Russian Orthodox or Romanian Orthodox
and get confused but it is all the same. We are all part of what is
called the Eastern Church or Orthodox faith, we just do our liturgies in
different languages.
I was born into the faith. Both my parents are Greek and grew up in the
Greek Orthodox Church. Unlike most countries or the US, Greece is a
theocracy, meaning the Church and State are one. Or at least that is how
it used to be...

Tell me about your religion. Describe what the tenants of your relgion
are in your words.
The Orthodox faith is one of humility. Each day we must humble
ourselves in the pursuit of God’s grace. Only through humility can
one grow closer to God. This is accomplished through prayer and
adherence to the sacraments of our church. One of the sacraments I
find most helpful is the sacrament of confession. It is one of the great
mysteries of our faith.
Also, and maybe most importantly, we believe that God has given us a
direct means of communicating with him. That line of communication
is our heart. Therefore, we must strive to not let our hearts be hardened
by the material world or the hardships of life. And sometimes when we
are unwilling to humble ourselves, God does it for us.

What does your religion mean to you?
It means everything to me. It is the foundation of my being. I would be
nothing without it.

What are five things you love about your religion?
1) It’s consistency. The Orthodox faith is unchanging, hence the
name. It is has been this way for 2,000 years and will continue to
be so.
2) I love its humility and understanding. We are taught to never point
the finger at someone else and cast judgment. I remember being at
a Monastery in Greece and a man asking a Monk there if suicide
was a “mortal sin” for lack of a better word. Would someone
who has killed themselves be punished? I’ll never forget what
the monk said. He told us a story about a young woman from his
village. She was only seventeen and had gotten pregnant. She was
unmarried and in Greece, during that time, that was considered
taboo. Everyone in the village was talking about her. She ended
up “committing suicide.” But he said, that girl didn’t kill herself,
the village killed her. God will see that, God knows that. I
thought that kind of absolute, unconditional love was truly moving.
3) The Monasteries of the Orthodox faith. They are a refuge of
silence and tranquility. The Monks there are amazing. They are
filled with joy and laughter, even though they spend all day, every
day, praying, fasting, and performing the Devine Liturgy.
4) Lent, Holy Week and Easter. It is a time of transformation and
rebirth. It is a real gift and a reminder of the spiritual journey we
must all undertake.
5) The Chanting. If you have ever spent any time in an Orthodox
Church or Monastery you will know what I mean.

What are five things you don’t particularly agree with about your
1)  I don’t have five things. My only complaint is that we Greeks
sometimes use Church as more of a social function than a path
towards God. Otherwise, I have no complaints.

What are the most common misconceptions about your religion and
how do you address them?
The Orthodox faith doesn’t evangelize. We don’t go out and try and
convert people. We just try and live the faith. Consequently, I think
people don’t know much about the Orthodox Faith. For example, our
Priests are allowed to get married and have children, as long as they are
married before they are fully ordained. Yet, people will associate us
with some of the scandals other churches have endured. They will lump
us in with other denominations. But it is what it is.

How does your religion affect your family life? Your work life?
It is central to our family life. My wife is Greek and was raised Greek
Orthodox as well. It helps to have that common ground. We are both
working to be better people, spouses, and parents which is part of our
faith. We are also hoping to pass this down to our daughter.
In terms of work, I think humbling yourself each day is key. Especially,
in a crazy business like Hollywood. Plus, it keeps everything in

If you could leave people with one idea that most closely describes the
way you see and understand your religion, what would that be?
Dostoyevsky, who was Russian Orthodox, said “faith doesn’t spring
from miracles, miracles spring from faith.” I think that is the key. You
can’t try and understand the spiritual world with logic. You can’t ask
to be shown definitive proof of the divine, so that then you can believe.
You have to find it with your heart. Once you do that a whole other
world and level of understanding will open up to you.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Anything human can and will be flawed. The Church is run by human
beings, who make mistakes and will continue to make mistakes.
That much is certain. But that doesn’t diminish the wisdom and
great mysteries of the Church. I always ask people, “If a doctor
made a mistake would that lead you to disregard Western Medicine
in its entirety? Would it make sense to ignore that entire body of
knowledge?” No, of course not. Yet people do that with religion.
Because of mistakes human beings make they disassociate themselves
from their faith all together. I think that can be very dangerous because
when they do have a spiritual crisis they no longer have that support or
knowledge. It is like breaking your leg and not seeing a doctor. Yeah, it
will heal but will it heal properly? Or will it be a scar you carry with you
for the rest of your life?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Skyping with Kitty... Halloween Cuteness

If I thought my niece Kaitlin (a.k.a. Kitty) was cute before, you should see her now that she's figured out about dressing up in costumes and Halloween... OMG!  Kitty's mommy got Kitty her favorite Disney-Princess costume for Halloween... Cinderella...

She gets to dress up like Cinderella!  She's in heaven!

Every time I skype with Kitty these days (which is practically everyday, if not more), she starts to tell me about her costume.  And then she runs off to find it, yelling at Gee-ma to help her.  My mom, a.k.a. Gee-ma, inevitably rolls her eyes and says, "We don't have time for her to put her costume on again today."  Meaning she's already worn it at least once.

Kitty then comes back in the room dragging her costume, "glass slippers", and crown and demanding that Gee-ma help her put them on.  I can't help but laugh.  Doesn't stop to listen when Gee-ma tries to talk her out of it... she's got her shirt off and is pulling the costume over her head before Gee-ma can even finish her sentence.  She's so stubborn about it makes me smile.  (I warned Morgan that he was going to have a little girl just like me!)

Showing off her crown!
Blowing kisses to her loyal servants!

Singing a song from the movie

Kitty's also found the mirror.  Do you remember those days when you couldn't stop looking at yourself in the mirror?  I do... I'm not sure they're over!  Haha.  Anyway, Kitty is fascinated by her reflection, especially when she's wearing her costume... I can hardly stop giggling.

Skype has really changed the way I communicate with my friends and family.  I feel so blessed to be able to see Kitty when I talk to her.  We have a relationship even though I haven't been able to physically be with her since my wedding last year, and let's face it, that was such a busy time, I hardly got to see her.

BSU Homecoming V. Air Force

In the midst of house-work central on Saturday, suddenly it was noon and we had tickets to the Boise State Homecoming game against Air Force.  I cleaned myself up in a mad dash and off we went on our bikes down to the game.

It couldn't have been a nicer day for a football game.  It was beautiful, 67 degrees and sunny.  And the Air Force fly-over was so cool... I couldn't believe how loud it was.  I actually plugged my ears!

The game was, for Boise fans, simply frightening.  We're used to blow-out games where we're winning easily, and then at half time we can go party for the rest of the afternoon if we want.... this was not what happened on Saturday.  Although we were ahead by and average of two touchdowns for the entire game, were glued to our seats until the end because Air Force actually showed us some competition.  And alas, because everyone else (aka Wisconsin and Oklahoma) played so horrible, we (BSU) actually went up in the polls rather down as we all suspected.  Keep up the good work Kellen, Doug, and the rest of our BSU Broncos!

A weekend of lists...

What did you do this past weekend?  We were busy worker bees.

Saturday morning we woke up bright and early and got coffee at our new favorite coffee house: The Flying M.  Lately a 1-shot 16 oz. White Chocolate Mocha (so really more like a white chocolate-milk than a coffee) has really given me wings!  I'm a light weight,  what can I say?!  Seriously.  David's been joking that I'm like the Energizer Bunny after one of these... and I have to admit, it helps make me super productive.  (Meanwhile, he drinks a 4-shot mocha to get the same effect.)

I started out my day by replacing and installing a new garbage disposal in our kitchen.  That's right, I did it all by myself, except for a couple instances where I needed David's muscles.  And it works like a charm... and so much quieter than the old one.  I'm so proud!  (Who needs a plumber?!)

Once I finished disposal duty, I tidied up the kitchen and then moved downstairs.

I decided to tackle the basement of our house (aka laundry room/ my desk/ dump area) as yet again, David has decided that he needs a change and wants to be in the basement with me.  This is also because I refuse to get rid of the bed in the guest room, which is also David's office, and he wants more space to work.  I offered to build a murphy bed (with my incredible handyman skills, but he thinks it will end up on my list of projects that take years to finish... he might be right.)  We (I) have gotten complacent about house-work/organization lately and I went-to-town on this particular area of our house that takes the biggest beating: my desk.

Now that we have a new dryer (thank God!  However, that install is a story all by itself for another time) I'm getting laundry done faster than we can get it dirty, so I'm not cluttering the room up with that anymore, however, I'm a person that collects for awhile and then purges, so this is the space that does most, if not all of my collecting prior to each "purge", so it's a job where I really have to roll up my sleeves and dig into.

Believe it or not, I am actually an extremely organized person.  I always know where everything is, and if I don't know, I become a bit obsessed with finding it, because I should know.  It may look like clutter on the outside, but on the inside, it is very organized.

I also have to admit that I'm a bit hesitant to share "my space" with David... I love being with him while I work, but he likes things a certain way in his work space, and I like things a certain way in my work space, and frankly, they are opposite.  I'm sure we'll work it out, and maybe it will be good for us to have to be more understanding of each other's way of working... we'll soon see!

Either way, I its time to start finishing some projects and this is a good kick in the butt to get them done and get them on the way to where they are meant to go... (aka stop cluttering up my workspace.) To do this incredible task, I created lists.  Lists are the only way I get things done... I simply love checking things off my lists.

The first list I created on Saturday was for every project I have either started or is in the queue to get started. Whoa!  As my mom always says, I need to "get my butt in gear."  I have 15 projects in process or in the queue to get processed.  And that is WAY too many.

My next list was a breakdown of each project and what I needed to do to get them finished.  This is a list I love, because I get to check things off as I get through each of the projects, and I get such satisfaction checking things off my list!

My final list was for all of the things I need to accomplish each project (i.e. picture frames, photos, stain, upholstery fabric, etc.)  This is my take-with-me on errands list, and it makes shopping easier and more efficient.

I know, I know... its a bit obsessive, but I find if I have lists I stay on track and get things done.  No list, and I get hopelessly sidetracked.  Only... as a first-time homeowner, I've got to admit, I'm a little freaked by that fact that my list never seems to end.  There's always, and I mean ALWAYS something to do.  How does one manage without going insane?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hanging with Baby Claire aka Playing House

So last week my good friend Dayna asked me to babysit her 4 month-old baby girl, Claire.  She was all, "Pretty Please?"  And I was all... "I've been waiting for you to ask me... get her over here!"
Claire is one of those special babies that makes your ovaries hurt if your a woman, and makes you coo like a big goober if you're a man.  And, she's so good that David was all about holding her and playing with her too.  And he's really good at it (he's going to be such a good daddy someday!)

Not only is Claire super cute, but she's probably the easiest baby I've ever watched.  Seriously.  This is how the night went:

  • Dayna brings Claire over around 5:30pm.
  • David plays with Claire for about 15 minutes so I can finish up a few things.
  • David hands her over to me so he can take our dog Linus for a walk. (Side note: Apart from being very curious about Claire, once we introduced him to her, Linus was like her little protector... it was so cute!)
  • Claire and I fix her a bottle and chill out on the couch and watch an episode of NCIS.
  • She eats, I burp her, we play a little.
  • I swaddle her and rock her a little, and she's out like a light.
  • I rocked her in her car seat for about another 10 minutes and that was it.
  • Dayna got back at 8:30pm... right as Claire was waking up for some food.

Could it have been any easier?  I think not.

I want one!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Standing on Smurf Turf

Boise State Homecoming was on Saturday, October 22nd.  One of my clients, CapEd (Capital Educators Federal Credit Union), was honoring teachers in the half time show, so last week we did a walk-thru, and I got to walk on the blue field!

Some of you hate it... I know, its different, but I think that's what I LOVE most about it!  I wished that I wasn't there for work... I wanted to play like a little kid and run around doing cart-wheels... but alas, I kept my composure.

It was such a different experience standing on the field versus sitting in the stands, and I have to admit, I was a real nerd and pointed out our seats to everyone.  Check it, Section 108, Row A, on the isle:

David is so jealous!  Next time I'll have to bring him too!

October 15th, Real Life "Best in Show"

Have you ever been to a dog show?  Me neither.  Well, I got the chance this month when my very good friend Sheila and her husband Dean told me about the dog show their dog was going to be in here in Boise.  They've had Bichon Frises in the past, but this time they were showing their Standard Poodle.  He's a very handsome silver 2 year-old.

The event was at the Western Idaho Fairgrounds.  And I've got to say, you've just never seen so many dogs before!  All shapes and sizes... it was amazing!  I didn't stay for very long, maybe about 30 minutes, but it was worth checking out, and I had a good chuckle at some of the similarities between a real dog show and the movie, Best in Show.  If you get a chance to check out a dog show, do, its well worth the $5 bucks to get in.

Sheila and Dean giving their boy a treat after the show.

A cool black and white great dane... such awesome dogs!