Friday, June 29, 2012


spend·thrift  (spndthrft)
n.       One who spends money recklessly or wastefully.
adj.    Wasteful or extravagant: spendthrift bureaucrats.

Do you have a good or bad relationship with money?  I have a bad one.  I used to love to spend it, but now I pretty much just hate everything about it.  I've seen it ruin too many people, too many families.  Almost every fight I can think of between my parents had to do with how money was spent.  One parent was a financial whiz the other not so much, and the combination was explosive.  Actually, for a long time, it was the only thing I fought about with my parents and I remember vowing that I would never... fill in the blank.  Hell, now look, I think it might be the only thing my husband and I ever fight about.  And with David and I, at least at this point, its not so much that we fight about it, but it tends to be at the forefront of every conversation we have.

It's not that I don't understand the concept of being financially viable.  I get it.  It's been pounded into my head my entire life.  So much so that in many respects, its paralyzed me when I've tried to move forward in my life.  What I mean is I was never making the kind of money I "should be," so I started looking for the first thing I could find that would make me more money so I could get to where I "should be" and then go back to what I wanted to do.  This of course took me further and further away from what I'd originally set out to do.  And because I kept getting further and further from what I was interested in doing, I suddenly found myself completely unsure of what it was I was originally trying to accomplish in the first place... with no place to move forward to and no place to go back to... I became stuck.  It's like quicksand... the more you struggle to get out of it, the worse it gets!

Plus, where money is concerned, having Ulcerative Colitis doesn't help.  Doctor's bills and medicines and nutritional supplements are all expensive.  The money adds up fast.  And try as I might, I can never quite get a handle on what is "okay" to spend money on and what isn't.  And just when I think I've got it figured out... I've gone and done something stupid all over again.  IT'S SO FRUSTRATING!

At this point, the very thought of money makes me sick to my stomach-- unless its the thought of winning the lottery so I can be financially free, AND help my family and friends get there as well.  That's a thought that I think about at least 1000 times a day.  God that would be nice!

I used to stress shop.  It started when I lived in New York.  I'd go into all these great shops and try on a bunch of pretty things to take my mind off what ever was bothering me.  I wouldn't necessarily buy anything (okay sometimes I would), but I mostly loved going into stores to experience all the newness and look at myself from a different perspective.  I miss that.  

Now the idea of going into a store, any store-- not to mention a mall makes me have to run to the bathroom.  Seriously, I hardly remember the last time I was able to get out of the grocery store without having to go to the can at least once.  Yes, again, I do have UC, but my doctors tell me they think that is more of a mind-body connection than a UC symptom... Stress creates symptoms.  So I pretty much try to do my shopping online these days.

David and I are trying to find our way to better financial freedom.  It's not easy.  I found this website I want to try out called  Has anyone tried it?  It helps you manage your food budget by creating menus for you based on grocery store sale items near you.  It looks pretty impressive.  I've also found that I do better if I turn over my credit/debit cards to my husband and only use cash... so Bon voyage Mastercard and Visa... it was nice knowing you!  And I also have to focus really hard on setting up office meetings rather than coffees or lunches... those add up faster than medical bills and I am the worst offender.  

More than anything I want to achieve our dreams and goals of having a family and traveling abroad and building our dream home and... the list goes on.  I know we can achieve those goals... it's just going to take a lot of intense determination and focus to do it.  Wish us luck!  Oh, and if you have any budgeting tips I'm all ears!  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiter, there is too much pepper on my paprikash, but I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie...

Last night as I was about to climb into bed, I decided to check my email one last time.  That's when I noticed the latest news headline: the great Nora Ephron has passed away.

As many of you know, I went to New York University to study filmmaking.  Nora Ephron was one of the reasons I was so enchanted by the idea of creating movies.  Her characters and witty dialogue were tangible and her stories made you feel as though you were a part of them.  Just reading her scripts made me want to take part in making them come to life.  You just don't see talent like that anymore.

But, more than just a writer/director whom I admired, I actually had the chance to meet Nora and interview her for a class in college.  The class was called "Women in the Director's Chair," and our mission was to find and interview successful women in the field we were all hoping to break into.  As soon as the assignment was announced, I rushed out of the classroom and called her offices.  I'd been trying to get an internship there for months (but they only took interns during filming, and they were between shoots), so I already had the number.  Apparently, she got loads of requests for interviews each day, but she only agreed to a small number... I was one of the lucky ones.  Persistence pays off!

I was planning to post the interview on my blog, which was transcribed and emailed to Nora for approval back in 2000, but apparently Yahoo! deletes messages after they've been in your archives for so long... there is nothing left from before 2005... no wonder I can't find things I formerly thought were there.  How frustrating!  And I can't remember which disk the file is on, so I guess I'll have to do my best to remember the day.

I met Nora at a deli in TriBeCa.  She was dressed in all black and of course, very composed and engaged.  I was nervous as hell.  I could hardly contain myself.  I felt like a bumbling idiot asking her questions... I remember the worst part was that I suddenly questioned my own use of the word "preceding" in the middle of a sentence... as in: "Preceding my journey to New York to study filmmaking, I ...wait is preceding the right word?" Oy!  I was felt so stupid... She was so polite and reassuring though, and after that I calmed down a bit.  She even turned the interview around on me a bit and I remember doing my "My Cousin Vinny" impression for her... which I think she thought was funny... and brave... thinking about that memory actually makes me blush.  I remember she talked about how much she loved New York, and how she had 1000 bad ideas for every good one.

When the interview ended, she took me with her to her office and introduced me to her associates.  Despite the fact that they were between movie shoots, they found a place for me to do a small internship for a short while... I was a go-fer... getting coffees and making copies, and very occasionally meeting movie stars who would come through the door to see Nora.  And like most powerful filmmakers, avoiding her temper when it would get the best of her.   Her temper didn't compare to that of my next boss, but it certainly prepared me for it!

What I took from my experience with Nora was a great appreciation for a well made script and a deep desire to create films.  Thinking back on those days, I am overwhelmed with memories. In fact, I can't get over how much I miss New York City today, and even more than that, how much I miss working with great artistic minds like Nora Ephron, and all the amazing people she surrounded herself with.

My heart goes out to her family.  Thank you for sharing her with the world.  She will be greatly missed.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Crazy Sexy Life

Months ago I stumbled upon this incredible blog and website called Crazy Sexy Life.  The author, Kris Carr, was diagnosed with a rare, stage 4 incurable cancer in 2003 and given a short time left to live.  To quote her, "This whiskey tango foxtrot moment (that’s military lingo for WTF?!) sparked a deep desire in me to stop holding back and start living like I mean it! I sold everything and hit the road on a deep healing pilgrimage."

She's since proved all the doctors wrong and changed her life completely.  Her inspiring words have even gotten her noticed by the likes of Oprah, and she's just completed her third book, Crazy Sexy Diet (which I'm dying to get my hands on!)

I became fascinated by her journey.  Dealing with Ulcerative Colitis is by no means terminal cancer, but it is something I struggle with, I couldn't get over how positive and inspiring she is, so I just had to follow her progress, and I signed up for her newsletter.  

Today's post was especially inspiring to me, and I hope you will find the message equally worth while.  The title: I am deeply in love... stood out in my inbox, and I had to take a peek.  Wow!  I'm glad I did.

Powerful Pixies,
Lately I've been pinching myself, totally tickled and here's why: Life is good. I mean, really, really good. And it's not because my health challenges magically went away (they didn't) or because I won the lottery (I didn't) or because my year-long home renovation is suddenly over (far from it). Life is good because my attitude is better than ever. I shifted, I dialed up the gratitude, and that simple act created a domino effect of goodness.
To be honest, it's kinda uncomfortable to put my joy jam out there. Like you, I've been domesticated to hide the shine. I imagine mean girls from high school making fun of me, breaking me. "Take it down a notch, sparkle toes," but they would say something much worse, painful even.

Because I like to challenge myself, I decided to let my smiley freak flag fly this morning, regardless of the discomfort I felt. I started by sending out this tweet: "I am totally in love with my life." What a juicy affirmation! Well, guess what happened? The twitter-sphere flipped for it. I could feel the collective ahhh ... "Wow! I want that! Yes, Yes! I am too! What an inspiration! Thank you! That made my day!" Even my dear mentor Cheryl Richardson chimed in, "So good to hear, Kris ..."

If saying it out loud could create such a difference, imagine what meaning it on the inside could do for you. Go ahead, try it. You have nothing to lose. No one is looking. Grab a mirror, and just say it: I AM TOTALLY IN LOVE WITH MY LIFE. If that feels funny, do it anyway! Fake it 'til you make it, or just say "I want to be totally in love with my life, I'm open to being totally in love with my life." Whatever it takes my friend, whatever it takes.

Trust me, your life will appreciate your effort. It will even thank you.

Love is a choice. No darkness is great enough to extinguish it.
Peace + bye-bye mean girls,

The message is so powerful, yet so simple.  AND the important thing she notes is "fake it 'til you make it."  So if you aren't feeling it right now (you know who you are), force yourself (ignore that nay-sayer on your shoulder) to focus on the idea of message... the words themselves. David and I do something similar and have done with each other as long as I can remember- when one of us is grumpy or sad... we force the other person to put on a dopey smile (the more dopey the better) for a whole minute, and by the end of the minute, you actually can't help but smiling for real.  It also reminds me of the scientific research behind the the words... do you remember Project Love?

Try it sometime... it really works.  

I hope you all have a beautiful weekend... I AM TOTALLY IN LOVE WITH MY LIFE!   

Thursday, June 21, 2012

World Religion Series: The United Methodist Faith

I was raised in the Methodist church in a small town called Lodi, WI.  When my parents moved to the community, my mom decided to attend all the churches in the town and she ended up picking the Methodist church because the people there were the friendliest to her.  That's where she met Leslie Evert, who had a big influence on my childhood.

Leslie was not only my mom's good friend, but she was mine as well.  She always treated me like an equal, and was actually the first person to hire me as a babysitter... she hired me to babysit her son Josh- at a very mature 11-years-old.  She was around most of the time, but still... she had confidence in me!  She and my mom taught me how to ride horses together, and they were always sewing and doing projects, so that's definitely where I got the "project bug" from.  She was also the person I chose as my "mentor" as I went through my confirmation class at church.

Years went by and we lost touch a little.  When David and I got married I made sure the Everts were on the guest list.  Unfortunately, they couldn't make it to Idaho for the wedding, but the invitation re-connected us.  Then, last year, Leslie's son Josh, the same kid I used to babysit, showed up on my door at 2:30am with his band the Fatty Acids, looking for a place to crash.  I have to tell you, I could hardly believe it was the same kid... not such a "kid" anymore- 23, tall and extremely handsome and talented.

Well, when David and I were back in Wisconsin in May I posted our arrival and Leslie asked if we could find time for her to finally meet David.  Of course I made sure to squeeze her in, and Leslie met us at a coffee shop on our last day in town.  It was so good to see her after so many years!  While we were together, she also handed me her responses to the World Religion Series questions I'd asked her to answer for my blog.  So... with out further ado, here is my dear friend and mentor Leslie Evert:

As Anabel knows I struggled with this even though my faith is so strong and I am very comfortable talking about it.  But figuring out how to express it on the web was difficult for me.  Also, the word "religion" sometimes brings bad thoughts to peoples minds- religious fanatics and such.  That said, I will try my best to explain my faith and being part of the United Methodist Church Family.

What religion do you practice, and how did you come to practice it? 
I attend United Methodist Church.  I was brought up in a Presbyterian Church,  however, my husband Bob's family was Methodist.  So basically really practice a Protestant Christian philosophy.   However, I also went to a Catholic High School and sat through religion classes and went to Catholic church services with my classmates.  When we moved to Lodi, Wisconsin I started attending the Lodi Methodist Church with my family, and have stayed it ever since.  And, that's where I met my sweet Anabel!
I stayed within the United Methodist Church because of my friendships and love for the members of the church.  I taught 3rd and 4th grade Sunday school for years.  I was also extremely involved in bible studies both inside my church and outside the church.  My thirst for God's word is never satisfied!

Tell me about your religion.  Describe what the tenants of your religion are in your words.
As Dayna said in her response to her Mormon Faith, "Wow!"  There is so much to say without boring you.  This past fall I took a class on the Methodist's Social Principles-All in God's Timing.  Some of this is from that study.  
To begin, the word Methodist came from the "method" 3 young men at Oxford University gathered together to study and read the Bible.  They invited a 23-year-old professor, John Wesley, who was a newly ordained priest in the Church of England to lead their studies. The name came out of their "methodical" pattern of Bible study, prayer, fasting, and service.
United Methodists are first and foremost people who read the Bible and seek to be disciples of Jesus Christ.  United Methodist Christians accept most major beliefs of other orthodox Christians.  We affirm that we are all Christians first, United Methodists second.  
We believe in the trinity God-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  United Methodists practice two sacraments, Holy Communion (Lord's supper), and baptism.  United Methodists also practice open communion which means all are invited to Christ's table if they love Him, earnestly repent of their sins and seek to live in peace with one another.  In baptism, we are initiated into Christ's body- the church, and are members of the family of God.  
I believe the most important thing is "love."  God's love for us is self evident: He gave us Jesus, Jesus so loved us he died for us. The holy spirit lives within us and directs us.  Prayer, is our time to talk with the Lord and let him direct us daily.  The Bible, which to me is God's word.
Through prayer and the Bible I try to live my life.  My personal relationship with Jesus is everything to me.  I love the word of God and for me its a daily ongoing conversation with Him.  Through Christ, I have realized that I can't make the right decisions on my own and need His help and guidance daily.  It is important to me to wake and in the morning have time to pray and do my devotional studies first thing.

What are five things you love about your religion?
Here are the things that come to mind:
  • I love the small groups within the Methodist churches; Bible studies, Women's groups, etc.  I feel that helps people to meet other people and share their feelings and feel more comfortable being part of a worth while community of God.
  • I LOVE that women can be pastors.  One of my best friends is a Methodist pastor.
  • I love the singing and the fellowship of the church.  I feel sad when I'm in a church and people don't sing out and make a joyful noise
What are five things you don’t particularly agree with about your religion?
Again here are the first things that come to mind:
  • I wish everyone would actually open the Bible and read it and let God speak to you through it.  I believe it's God's living word.  I feel like people are scared of it or think its just "stories."
  • I also believe that we aren't supposed to judge others.  Let God do that.  We are supposed to love all people just like Christ loved us.
  • I'm not thrilled with the United Methodist's process of moving pastors.  I know why they do it, but I'm not a fan of it.  
What are the most common misconceptions about your religion and how do you address them?
I wish that older people in the church would love and open their arms to the youth and let them be a part of the church in their own way.  Change is hard. 

How does your religion affect your family life? Your work life?
My faith journey and my love of the Lord is everything to me.  Everyone that knows me and works with me knows it.  I believe its important to live out your faith-which I try to do.  I'm not perfect.  Everyday is a new day.  Everyone at work knows how I feel and respects it.  They are respectful of my feelings.  They also know that I would much rather see the good in people and trust them instead of the opposite.  Everyone at work knows of my work ethic and my faith is very much a part of that.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? 
Love, Love, Love.  I feel like I'm back in hippy times with the Beatles.  But, that's what its all about.  We love because he first loved us.  Sometimes things don't work out the way I would like and I falter, but in overtime I forgive and I'm back to my Love of all.  Just like with Jesus I ask for guidance and His forgiveness daily.  God Bless you all... and thank you for letting me share. 

Thanks again Leslie!

To check out the rest of my World Religion Series click on the links below:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Have you ever heard of the website  One of my bestest girlfriends Blake introduced me to it ages ago and I find myself drooling every time I log into it.  It's a website with limited time offers on designer fashion, home, baby, and even vacations.  During March Madness college basketball tournament they even offered a deal on an Infinity SUV, and the deal was AWESOME!

Today, in fact, I noticed the name Chan Luu in the Gilt daily alert... and when I logged onto the website, there were so many amazing items and incredible deals, I was actually inspired to blog about it.  Here are a few things I was drooling over:

Chan Luu Bracelet

Chan Luu Earrings

Surya Cosmopolitan Hand-Tufted Runner
Be sure to check it out... even if all you do is drool over the items like me!  ;-)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Camping days are here again!

It's finally that time of year again!  This past weekend we broke out the camping gear and headed to McCall for a hiking/camping trip near Boulder Lake.  It was delightful.  There is definitely something about that mountain air. 
View of the Valley just south of McCall, Idaho
Boulder Lake, McCall, ID
The hike was perfect.  We were with some new friends who recently moved to Boise from Seattle, and we had fun talking and getting to know each other.  We stayed at the top of the mountain for quite a while because it was so nice in the sun with the light breeze, but around 5pm we hiked back down to the campsite near the lake in the first picture at the bottom of the mountain, and we hunkered down for the night.

Admittedly, I could have done without the mosquitoes, but thankfully our friends Dan and Kara came prepared with the bug spray David insisted we wouldn't need on the trip.  (Note to self: when packing for any trip, ignore my loving husband,  he always under packs and we are left scrambling... I still love you babe!)

After an awesome gourmet meal prepared by Dan and David, with the food that Dan and Kara brought for the trip, we all chatted for a while and then decided to tuck in for the night.  I was exhausted from a restless week of nightmares, and was ready to sleep soundly on our comfy new-ish camping gear with the sound of the waterfall nearby.

I wasn't sure we'd be able to let Linus sleep in the tent with us, because he's not very good at cuddling... I think he just gets too hot, but David thought we should at least try it out, and if all else fails, we'd throw him in the back of the car for the night.  Well, wasn't I surprised to find out that Linus is a camping pro.  He loved the tent and snuggling near our feet, and all three of us slept until 9am! 

We're so excited because now we have our sights on Stanley Lake in the Sawtooth Mountains for our next trip in a couple of weeks, and on that one, we won't have the car to throw Linus in (it's a five mile hike in up the mountain), so I'm super psyched that we can take him with us.  It's going to be so much fun!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Darling Companion

Last night after work, I met up with my dear friend Sheila and we went to see a movie that brightened my day.  Have you heard of Darling Companion?  I simply adored it.

It's not getting great reviews, which I am completely baffled by because its not only a well written and relevant story, but its got a great cast (Diane Keaton, Kevin Klein, Diane Wiest, and Elizabeth Moss among others).  In a world where we are all bombarded with the most horrific news story of the day (despite the truth or lack there of behind it), I found this to be an uplifting story of hope and faith.  I left the theater with a huge smile on my face, which was quite the change from the Grumpy Smurf I had turned into over the past few days.

If you need something to smile about, or just want to be entertained by a sweet story be sure to go see this movie asap.  It's worth every penny.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I'm grumpy.  I'm not really sure why... except that for the past few nights I've had awful nightmares that have kept me awake for half the night.  The worst part is that I can't remember what happens in the dreams so that in wake I might be able to make some sense of them.  I mean, I remember a tidbit here and there, but nothing substantial. 

For example, last night I woke up at least three times after having turbulent dreams each time I started to doze.  All I remember is the color green, the face of a college friend (Carla B.) and being in Vail, Colorado.  The night before I just woke up angry, and the night before that I woke up terrified.

What gives?!  Any suggestions to shake the bad dreams?  I'm all ears.     

Monday, June 11, 2012

A little bit...

I've been playing hooky from work this morning.  I didn't mean to, but I kept seeing things that needed to be taken care of... first it was the dog.  On a beautiful day like today, he definitely needed a walk.  When I arrived home, I made the bed.  While making the bed, I accidentally spilled over a glass of water.  While cleaning up the water, I noticed I needed to dust under the bed, and when I put the rags into the hamper, I noticed all the laundry that needed to be washed.  House cleaning ensued (including the massacre of about 20 flies- where do they all come from?!)  When I stepped outside to take out the trash, I saw my vegetable garden and decided to take a closer look because I've completely neglected it since I planted it a few weeks ago.  Its not doing as well this year as it's done in the past... I think I need my mommy to fly out to Boise to help fix it.  When I finished piddling around with the garden, I went to my desk and returned some work emails.  Next thing I know its 11:30am and I am meeting my dear friend Sheila for lunch at noon.  Where did the morning go?

Our house in the dappled sunlight.  June 11, 2012

I would probably be more concerned with being late for work, but... Well, let's just say, that's another story...

Do you ever have days like this?   I hope the weather is as nice for you as it is for me today.  Happy Monday.

Monday, June 4, 2012

I'm Back!

Late last night, David and I arrived back in Boise after a 10-day trip visiting family in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Virginia.  It was a lovely trip, and so good to see family and even squeeze in a visit with a few friends too.  If we missed you while we were in your neck of the woods, I apologize, it was hard to fit everyone into such a short period of time combined with all the family stuff we were up to, and I swear we did our very best.  We decided to do the multi-leg trip because it seemed easier and more cost and vacation-time efficient than going back and forth across the country on separate trips to see everyone, and now that we've done it, we've decided that it is officially the best way to do family trips, and it will be how we do them from here on out.  Next time, we're planning to hit up Charlotte too, and make it a Manchester and Lopez family tour rather than just a Manchester family tour. (More on our trip later... I'm waiting for a few photos to share with you!)
We finally got to meet our beautiful niece Madelyn

As many of you know I've been terribly lacking in my blogging efforts as of late and much of that had to do with May being so busy, but let's face it, it was also a case of writer's block.  And it was difficult to get into the groove of blogging without having my own computer.  However, today, David surprised me with a new iMac of my own, and a mission to get my blog back on track.  I'm so excited!!!

Thank you for bearing with me... I'll be getting you up-to-date on everything Kookoobirdie as soon as possible!  

Oh... and belated Rabbit Rabbit!  Have a delightful June!