Monday, February 28, 2011

Day 28 - Something That Stresses Me Out

I get stressed when I have to give up control and have to trust others to do what's been asked. A recent example is when I ask people to perform musical numbers in church. I can ask, and they agree. And I have to let them arrange for a pianist, practice times, etc. If I tried to control all aspects, I would go insane, but I have to be able to give them the opportunity to learn and grow, especially those that aren't used to performing. Yet it still stresses me out, hoping that they've done what needs to be done. And I get especially stressed when I have several of these going on for big occasions like Easter and Christmas.

And yes, things usually turn out okay in the end, but it still stresses me out. ^_^

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day 27 - Pets

As you know, I currently have two cats. They are both Siamese, and they are brother and sister. Yuki is the female, and Yanni is the male.

I found them on, and they were exactly what I was looking for -- they were rescues, kittens, Siamese and siblings. Sadly, I missed most of their kittenhood, because they were still quite feral when we got them and so we had to work with them a lot. But, I was told that they might never be lap kitties, or that affectionate.

But thankfully, even though it took awhile, both cats are VERY affectionate in their own way. Yuki isn't a lap kitty, but she likes to sleep with me in bed. She's also incredibly sweet.

Yanni is a lap kitty, and he's extremely vocal, and he has the biggest personality.

They bring so much joy to our lives, and I hope I have them for many years to come.

Here is a favorite picture of each of them (you may have seen these already):

Yuki Close Up w/ color pop

Stretchy Yanni

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day 26 - Picture of My Family

Since I don't have kids, I guess I still think of "my family" as my parents and brothers and sister. However, I have also come to think of it as including my nieces and nephews. So, here is the most recent picture of us all together.

This was actually taken over 2 years ago, and the only person missing is my brother Michael (the one who has chosen to have nothing to do with us).

Friday, February 25, 2011

Day 25 - Put iPod on Shuffle, First 10 Songs

I'm having to use my iPod Shuffle, because I don't have that many songs on my iPhone yet. ^_^

1. "Hope Has a Place" by Enya
2. "World Gone Crazy" by SLEEPTHIEF*
3. "Sublunar (Sweet Angel)" by SLEEPTHIEF
4. "Catch You Catch Me" by Gumi (on the Cardcaptor Sakura soundtrack)
5. "The Tide Is High" by Blondie
6. "Love Fool" by The Cardigans
7. "Rainy World" by SLEEPTHIEF
8. "Smell of Desire" by ENIGMA
9. "Playstation (My Console)" by Eiffel 65
10. "Penelope's Song" by Loreena McKennitt

* Out of this set, this is probably one of my favorite songs right now. The music video is a little strange, but I love SLEEPTHIEF's music (as you can see, it came up often, even though I only have two albums and some remixes).

As you can see, my taste in music varies, although a lot of "New Age" music came up in the shuffle, which is interesting. I would say that's probably my favorite genre of music, but it's sort of a catch all that does contain the artists some would consider New Age, as well as Celtic music, and Electronica, as well as others.

Did you listen to any of these, and what did you think?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 24 - Something I've Learned

I've learned the art of digital scrapbooking. I would even like to say that I'm good at it, though I think I'm still finding my style, as I like to try different things. I think that's validated by having been asked to be on the design team for I picked up many scrapbook things over the years, but never really did anything with it, and then discovered digital. I fell in love. It's a great creative outlet, and also a way to preserve memories.

You can see a progression of my abilities, with some before and afters.

Digital Scrapbooking

THEN: This was done in June 2007, one of my first layouts (LOs) after I discovered this craft.
The Cat's Meow

NOW: This is one of my most recent LOs, and I chose the earlier one because it and this one have a similar subject matter -- my cats!
DigiScrap: My Lovebugs

Hybrid Crafts
(the use of digital and traditional scrapbooking items)

THEN: One of the first hybrid things I did, a birthday card.
Happy Birthday Card to Niece (Black, Cream and Pink) - Front

NOW: Apples and oranges from this and the "then" craft, but I'm now willing to step out of the box and do other things besides cards (which I still love to do).
Hybrid: Stripes Container

So, this is ONE thing I've learned out of the many, many, many things I've learned in my 35 years on this earth. How about you?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 23 - Favorite Vacation

I'll admit, I haven't taken too many vacations over the last years, but I have taken some great ones. It's hard to kind of just pick one. Honestly.

I already mentioned New York City. I've also been to the Florida Keys, where I visited Hemingway's House, swam with the dolphins, and went deep sea fishing (not to mention the many moments in between). I've been to Disney (Land and World) several times each (the most recent to MGM Studios, which I think they renamed, back in 2005 for Christmas Eve). I've been to California for Spring Break (mentioned that here before, as well).

But, I guess I shall have to say my favorite vacation was our honeymoon to Hawaii (to the Big Island). I had been wanting to go for as long as I can remember, and Brian's father and stepmother were so generous to provide that trip for us.

We had so much fun, so many memories, and it was just a great, magical trip.

Besides, not much can compete with the view we had from our lanai:

Love! ^_^

We would love to go back one day. But, there are so many other places I'd love to go to. We'll see. ^_^

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 22 - Favorite City

New York City.

There's just something about it. Whether it's the diversity of the people, or how crammed in everything is, or how cultural it is, it is my favorite city. Now, I'll be honest, I've only been twice, and sadly, both times during the summer. One day, I'd love to go during the fall, or maybe around Christmas time.

The first time I went was after I graduated high school. It was a school-sponsored trip (through the theater department), and a graduation gift from my parents. We did and saw so many things. I have so many funny and fond memories. It was a great time.

I was lucky enough to go the second time, again not on my dime, but for work, for my first real job after graduating college. I was sent there for a week for training. What I loved best is that my flight got there very early on a Sunday, so I had a day to kind of explore (I hit the Met), and then the evenings during the week were mine. Do you know what most of the people in my training class did? Go out to bars. Really? REALLY. A bar. I mean, you can go to a bar at home. So, instead, most nights I went by myself to dinner and to see a Broadway show. I would invite my fellow trainees, but they would pass. That's fine. They didn't get to sit only a few rows back watching Bernadette Peters as Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun, along with Tom Wopat. Their loss. Or sit first row mezzanine, right in the middle, getting goosebumps as I was dazzled by The Lion King. My win!

I agree, I mostly love it for the theater, but there's so much more. There's a feeling, a vibrancy, a uniqueness that's all its own.

I <3 NYC.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Day 21 - Picture of Me

Since the first post of the 30 days had me include a recent picture, I decided that today's picture of me would be a fun one from the past. This was taken on September 24, 2004, at the Texas State Fair. I went that day on a bureau outing with my coworkers, and they saw this face-painting booth and they dared me to get my face painted. Hello! This is totally my thing! Sure, I was the tallest person in line by about 2-3 feet, but I had a blast. The French Canadian girls that were doing the makeup were really good, even working around my glasses. I also like how they incorporated my favorite color with the color I was wearing. Meow! =^_^=

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Day 20 - Nicknames

Well, I guess it's easy to say that "Gabby" is one of my nicknames.

Frankly, I prefer it over my real name only because my real name is hard to pronounce for most English-speaking people. ^_^

However, I do get "Miss Gabby" a lot. Even from people I barely know. It's funny.

Others I have had are Gab, Gabs and Gabbers. I will tell you that I really dislike when people I hardly know call me Gab or Gabs. I already have a nickname, and you feel the need to shorten it even more?? Only people I know well can do that.

The only other one I have, that's from my family, but isn't used often anymore, is "Beets." My older brother Michael used to call me "Gabeets" all the time. I honestly don't know why. A cute form of Gabby? Anyway, my mom took it and shortened it even more to Beets. Okay, really, I don't know if that's the way one would spell it, but ... there ya go. I don't think I've heard her use it in a long time. Oh, and a lot of my family (and other Hispanics) usually pronounce my nickname as "GAHvee" instead of the more American "Ga-be" if that makes sense.

What about YOUR nicknames?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day 19 - Something I Miss

I miss the carefree life I had when I was a child in Costa Rica.

Oh, I know that all children have a certain perspective in life, but where I lived and the things I experienced were so awesome. Truly. I had a great childhood, and perhaps not as many people can say that as others.

I would love to live there again one day, and perhaps give my children a chance to know this life. But, I know it's changed. I haven't been back in years. But, either way, I like the simplicity that the life afforded, and I would like to have that again some day.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 18 - Something I Regret

Whoo-boy! I do have quite a few regrets, but overall, I think those silly, stupid things I did when I was younger helped me become the person I am today. And, I know I will continue to do stupid things, and hopefully learn from those as well.

But, as soon as I knew this was coming up, one regret came to mind. And it actually has to do with a person.

Many, many years ago I became friends with a really cool guy from church, Jade. We actually clicked as friends immediately, and we hung out a lot. So much so, that people thought he and I were dating! But no, we weren't. We actually had this conversation where we discussed how much we loved each other and how cool we thought the other person was, but were in no way attracted to each other. I remember we were having dinner at Outback Steakhouse while having this conversation. *LOL* He actually had one really good girl friend that he hung out with a lot as well, that I actually think she liked him and while not necessarily jealous of me, I think maybe she didn't like that he and I hung out so much.

Jade was an artist, a musician, a free spirit, a little bit of what some would think an oddball -- definitely not one to fit any mold I ever knew of. He was cool, and funny, intelligent, had such a sweet spirit and really got people. He had a great ability to ferret out what someone was thinking or feeling and be able to help them.

I remember once, I'd had some really bad news (about my father) and was struggling with it, and struggled through church, went home, and decided I really needed someone to talk to. You'd think I would have gone to my best friend's, but no, I went to his place (which he shared with roomies). I think that was the first and last time I have ever gone over to somebody's house unannounced (I usually at least call). He welcomed me in with open arms, and then I saw that this girl that I mentioned before was there -- they were cooking dinner. He had me sit on the couch while they finished making dinner, and then he and I could talk, he said. I was so emotionally exhausted that I fell asleep on the couch. (And, if you know me, I HAD to be tired, because I can barely fall asleep in a different bed, let alone someone else's couch.) He was such a good friend.

I had introduced him to Jennifer, and we all three hung out a lot more. She really liked him, and we had so much fun together. Unfortunately, Jade had to move back to Idaho to be with his mom (long story), and I was so sad to see him go. We kept up some through e-mail -- he wasn't the best e-mailer -- and sometimes on the phone (I didn't have a cell phone then, and long distance could be expensive).

Sometime later, maybe about a year, or so, he was coming back for a visit, and of course Jenn and I had him stay at our place. But something had changed.

Things seemed awkward and not quite right. Our conversations were a little too forced, or not quite as they had been before. And, yes, most of the time it was all three of us together. But, for some reason, we didn't address it. Was it because we didn't acknowledge it? Because he didn't see it? Because Jennifer was there?

After he left, Jennifer said that he had changed, that he wasn't the same person, and I agreed at the time. Jade and I didn't really talk after that.

And my regret is that I let that friendship go. Because I think I realize what happened so many years ago. While Jennifer was correct, I think, in saying that he had changed and that he wasn't the same, we both approached it as a bad thing. But the truth is, I think he had probably changed for the better. We hadn't talked about what had been going on with his mom, but I think it somewhat softened that free spirit of his, to make him realize what was truly important. I think he had grown more spiritual and in touch with a deeper connection to God and himself, and I (and I won't say Jennifer, because she did not share our beliefs) wasn't in THAT place at the time. I was just sort of floating through life, having fun and not really trying to really dig into those things that I believe now (that is also a very long story that only Brian knows most about, besides Jennifer, who passed away almost a year ago).

And I think that he didn't know how to tell me that Jennifer wasn't the best influence on me, how I could strive for the best things in my life and not come down to a baser level. I think he had new dreams and aspirations to share with me, and I wasn't receptive.

Oh, I know with him moving away our friendship wouldn't have been exactly the same, but this weird breaking off, I mostly fault myself for it. For not being able to see, to be aware, to understand what he needed then.

I found him on Facebook and sent him a Friend request with an apologetic note attached, but he never responded. Whether it wasn't the right person, or he doesn't really get on FB, or worse, he didn't want to have anything to do with me, well, I can understand that.

That is something I regret.

I am sorry, Jade. I truly am.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 17 - Something I'm Looking Forward To

I'm looking forward to Brian's birthday at the end of this month. He will be 29! Crazy!

We don't really do much to celebrate Valentine's Day, mostly because it's not a huge deal, really -- we share our love with each other every day in many ways -- and because we'd rather take that money and time and do something nice/fun for Brian's birthday.

I have thought about having people over for a Saturday birthday brunch (as his birthday falls on a Saturday, and we love breakfast foods, and, that way people can still come celebrate, but have the rest of the day to do errands and go other places), but Brian hasn't decided if that's something he'd like. Either way, we are going to go to dinner that evening, although he has yet to tell me what he'd like or where he would like to go. That's okay. It's his day and he can do what he wants. ^_^

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 16 - Dream House

Many years ago, I was looking through a magazine of house plans and architecture (I honestly can't remember why, though I remember where I was), and I came across my dream house -- well, almost my dream house. It needed a few tweaks to make it perfect.

Sadly, I didn't keep the page or make a scan, or anything! Argh!

What I loved about this house plan is that it had a music room. Yes, a room completely devoted to music. I envisioned that my friends who play instruments (I have many) would be coaxed into giving small, intimate concerts in my home.

But, let me describe what it looks like (I briefly considered drawing it, but decided it wouldn't even come close to doing it justice).

A two-story house, that, of course, would have to sit on some land (I'm not picky, I'd be happy with an acre or two), and it would have lovely landscaping, and a circular driveway (a must!) in front. It has a double-entry front door -- seems classy and elegant to me, and, of course, easier to fit furniture in (how else will the grand piano get into my music room??? ^_-). To the left of the entry is a wrap-around porch that will have the ability to pull down screening at need (you'll see why in a moment). Immediately visible on the right side of the home, will be a (modernized and stylized) turret (more on that later).

As you enter a grand foyer (with a gallery of sorts running on each wall), with a large, lovely staircase, to the left you will see ... the music room, of course! Instead of windows, this room has several French doors that open onto the wrap-around porch. Imagine sitting out there on the (now-screened-in porch), on a cooling summer evening, enjoying the chamber music that I have gathered in my home. Lovely, isn't it? Mmmm.... (I used to want the music room floor to be an alternating black and white tile, but ... I may rethink that one day. ^_-)

To the right of the foyer is the formal living (or sitting) room. Beyond that, there are French doors that lead into the ... (wait, wait, can you guess???) two-story study/library which is in the turret (ah-hah!). BTW, this library is also accessible from the second floor (oh, and from a hallway on the first floor). Swoon!

I think, if I remember correctly, that hallway also leads to the Master Bedroom on the other side of the turret.  I think. (One flaw you will see with my telling of this lovely house, is I haven't paid much attention to the bedrooms. ^_^)

In the back of the house on the first floor (to the left), is a lovely, large kitchen, with a large space for dining (sort of in the middle). I kind of prefer large dining areas near kitchens, because people tend to congregate in the kitchen anyway (I maybe could change my mind on this, but ....). Imagine a huge farmhouse table, with squishy dining chairs around it? Love! And then, on the right, a large family room. (Oh, and I guess there needs to be a mud/laundry room around there too! ^_^)

Now, I have to mention that in this plan, the garage is somewhat detached, but to the left of the house. It is connected to the main house by a second story hallway. Because, you see, on top of the garage is the media room (see the genius in this? You can crank up a movie's volume and not bother the house). The hallway from the media room (lined by windows, BTW) leads to the house's large game room upstairs.

Then, there are sundry bedrooms and bathrooms on the second floor. (Again, I could move the Master up, who knows.)

In the back yard of the house would be a pool (duh!), and, maybe some sort of multi-purpose court of some kind (not really my thing, but it's a maybe). Oh, and definitely some sort of gazebo, and a garden, and large trees.

Now, I will have you know, that these plans did mention how much this house would cost to build (based on an average). Without land, without tweaks, without the lovely garden and decor and furniture, this house, many, many years ago, would have cost $425,000 to build.

Uh, yeah.

Now do you see why it's my dream house?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day 15 - Bible Verse

Job 19:25
For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.

Took me a little while to think of one, but this sums up a lot of what I believe. And I would also like to think that, while I may not ever have to endure trials like Job's, I will still have faith regardless of what I myself have to endure. If Job could do it, I certainly can.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 14 - A Picture I Love

Happy Valentine's Day! I love that this post which was from a list that was randomly created (not by me), has SOMETHING to do with love.

This is a picture I love:

This is Brian and his Great-Grandma Osborne. Yes, it's another picture from our wedding day, but there were just so many great pictures from it! ^_^  It's just an amazing picture of both of them, and even though his great-grandma was out of it a lot, she was still a sweet lady and understood that she was at a wedding -- even if she didn't remember it was for family. I also love the blue of her dress.

One of the other reasons I love this picture is because it was one of the last ones taken with Brian and his great-grandma. She passed away in 2009.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Day 13 - Goals

There are a few goals I am working on, and one sort of ties into another one.

First, something which I began last year and will continue into this year, is that I want to be more organized AND have been organized. This past weekend we reorganized our master bedroom closet, as it had gotten out of hand. Put a lot of clothes and shoes into a donate pile, weeded out things that had crept into the space (haircare, beauty products, etc. that have somewhere else to be). Several weeks ago, we tackled the entryway closet, making sure the cat toys were organized, as well as coats and sweaters. I even got out an unused over-the-door shoe organizer and used that to put scarves and gloves, etc. (I had not used that one for shoes.)

Overall, we're doing pretty good in this area. The biggest project to tackle will be our office closet (used to be a guest bedroom). It's a scary place. It's not that it's that messy. I mean, I can get in, it's just that it has such a hodge podge of items that really need to be sorted through and rearranged (like the "costume" part of the closet. Most of those costumes I will not be wearing again.)

However, what I like is that things have a place. If I use it, I know where it belongs. I still have a few of the "I don't know where to put this, so I'll just put it here" but that's okay. Rome wasn't built in a day. ^_-

Second, is being more aware of our finances, as to where our money's going and how to better partition it into several different accounts. (I think I have mentioned this briefly.) I decided that while my family is fairly frugal at Christmas with gifts, Brian's family tends to be a little more into the actual gift giving, and I do feel bad when we usually don't have much money to spend. So, I thought that it would be nice to have a Christmas Fund, where a little money gets put into it every month until Christmas. It's not much, but that way we can have that money to use for gifts and for extra holiday things (like baking and food) without deviating from our standard monthly budget. I know a lot of people do this, and it really IS a good idea.

And third, for now, which is tied to the second, is that I am saving for my Masquerade Ball. As with the Christmas Fund, a little is getting put aside each month. For now, it will be a small amount, as I have about 5 years to reach my goal. But, I am finally doing something about it, instead of just constantly talking about it, and that makes me smile!

How about you? Do YOU have any interesting goals?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day 12 - What I Believe

What one believes is probably a long, all-encompassing sort of conversation, which is played out over one's lifetime, with changes as we transition from childhood to adulthood, from hope, to faith, to knowledge in a variety of things. We are ever-learning beings, armed with many truths, but confronted by many more things that one will never be ever to know for certain.

But, this is a small part of what I believe, in regards to those things I hold most dear, most spiritual and often tied to religious beliefs.

I know that we are children of God. That He is the literal Father of our spirits. I know that He loves us far more than we will ever be able to comprehend. I have had experiences that have shown me small glimpses into that love. I know that He loves us so much that He gave us the complete ability to choose. Because of those choices that we all have, sometimes we must suffer -- many times because of our own doing, and many more times because of what others have chosen.

I know that the only one who truly understands our suffering -- every bit of it -- is my elder (spiritual) brother, Jesus Christ, who is my Savior. Even if I cannot fathom how that's possible.

I have always believed that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are real personages, and that we are created in our Father's image. I have never doubted, never questioned their existence. I believe that that is one of the spiritual gifts that I was given. And I feel blessed for that.

I believe that this world, and this life, that was created for us, was ultimately for our joy and happiness -- into the eternities. That this mortal trial that we experience, although it seems quite long and painful for many, is but a short time in the grand scheme. That I will live forever, with loved ones around me, hopefully in the presence of God, as I know that we are His heirs and can inherit all that He has to give us, even to become like Him.

I do not believe in original sin, and know that everyone has the ability to choose good.

I know that I am flawed, yet I truly wonder how I can be so blessed when so many others who are good suffer so much. Yet, I know I will probably be held more accountable, and I know that while I can strive to be perfect, I will never be so. All my Father asks is that I do my best until the end.

I know that no matter the hardships and different personalities, I love my family, and that we will all be together after this life. I am grateful for those things that I know and have partaken in, that will give me a chance for this. But I am also grateful that I know that ALL will have a chance for this, whether in this life, or the next.

I know that things happen for a reason, as cliched as that sounds. Whether we are to learn from it, or to have others learn from it, and everything in between, we came here to experience life -- we asked for this, even if we don't remember it. And while I know that God won't give us more than we can handle, He gave us those people around us -- family, friends, sometimes even strangers -- to help us.

I believe in the power of prayer, and faith. I have seen them work small and sometimes larger miracles (one of those is a very personal story).

I also, as I have gotten older, tried to believe in people. Sometimes I fail at this, but we were commanded to "love one another" and I think it's because not only is it the right thing to do, but as Mother Teresa said, "If you judge people, you have no time to love them."

I believe in the beauty all around us, that so many miss. I believe in the power of good music, that can also be a prayer unto my Heavenly Father. I admire the wonder of nature, even when it means I'm stuck at home because I can't go out on the dangerous icy/snowy roads. ^_-

I know that there is a path my life is to take, although that can be determined by my choices. I know that good things come to those who wait, even if it will take much longer than we wish it would.

I believe that true science and true religion will explain the other one day, but whether we will see it in this lifetime, who can say?


Truthfully, I could sit here for hours and tell you all the things I believe. There are many I believe right now, but may change as I learn, study, grow. But these things I put here, are my intrinsic, core beliefs. Maybe not all of them, but I know for the most part, these won't change. Well, if they do, I can only hope for the better.

But I do want you to know this: I know many of these things because I have thought them through. I have also prayed to know if others are true. And some, as I mentioned, I have been blessed to always hold as a truth in my heart.

This is as open and close to my heart as I have laid out on this (or my past) blog. It's not something I usually share because I don't wish to make others uncomfortable. But, what I have shared today makes my heart warm, and soft tears of happiness come to my eyes, to know that this is me, at least a part. And I hope that you will not mind my sharing some of my beliefs.

Thank you.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 11 - Favorite TV Shows

Well, way down on my sidebar I have a list of current favorite TV shows, and then a list of all-time favorite TV shows. However, it doesn't say WHY they're my favorite, so here goes.

All-Time Favorite:

Alias -- The first episode was huge and totally hooked me in. Hot spy girl wearing red wig that was actually just kind of a nerdy graduate student at heart? Hello! (Jennifer Garner was also my girl crush for awhile. ^_-)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- Angsty vampire slayer that falls in love with hot vampire? How could you not like it? I think there were some seasons that I didn't much care for, but that was okay. My favorite episode was the musical.

Stargate SG-1 -- Overall this series was cheesy and campy, but knew it, making fun of itself and many other scifi shows. I laugh so many times at the in-jokes and storylines with different alien cultures are pretty interesting. And, I heart, heart Daniel Jackson (played by Michael Shanks) -- nerdy guys can be HOT.

The X-Files -- I remember one night, being home alone and watching one of my first episodes of The X-Files, while eating dinner. It was the episode where a guy likes to go out with heavy girls because he sucks their fat out. I vowed then I would never watch the show while eating again. *LOL* A truly unique show with interesting characters, but a kinda screwy overall plot. That's okay. It was a fun ride!

Current Favorite:
What classifies as a current favorite? I watch many shows, but if I set a DVR for it, and get upset if something cuts it off, then it's a fave.

America's Next Top Model -- My guilty pleasure. I really only like it because of the cool fashion, shoots, costumes and makeup they do. Really!

Ghost Hunters -- Lately it has been boring me because they haven't found anything really interesting, but when they do, wow, it makes one wonder what is going on!

Glee -- Makes me want to go back to high school just so I could be in a Glee Club (okay, maybe not high school, but I heard a local university has one, and would consider going back to school for that -- really!). Sometimes I think the storylines are a little out there, but, hey, when they break out into costume and song, I love it!

The Amazing Race -- I would love one day to be able to do this, but Brian and I are in no physical shape to be able to do it! *LOL* It's true. That, and neither of us can drive a stick shift. I love the people doing this amazing thing together, although I do wonder at some of the couples on the show (especially the ones dating) -- they can be nasty to each other one minute, and then the next be all lovey. Whatever. Doesn't work that way.

The Big Bang Theory -- Shows that nerds are cool AND funny. This show really makes me laugh. And the characters are so funny.

The Suze Orman Show -- Probably something you didn't think would make this list, but truthfully, I love her financial advice, and how she doesn't sugarcoat things. My favorite advice from her recently is how she's telling people to re-evaluate their American Dream. Most people think that owning a home is IT, but look at the mess we got into with people buying homes they couldn't afford. She says that the American Dream should now be to live in a place you can afford and it isn't a financial burden -- whether it's a rental or a house, it has to be something you can afford. (She says, if you don't have a 6- to 8-month emergency fund IN addition to 20% down, then either forget it, or keep saving.) It has made me feel better about the fact that several years ago we lost out on a home (we had 20% down, but no other savings), and how it may be awhile before we do own. But, it's okay. I'd rather be somewhere I know I can afford, than worry about how to pay for something because it's about to break.

So, there you have it. What do you think? What about your favorite shows?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 10 - Something I'm Afraid Of

I'm having a hard time with this one, only because I don't really know what I'm afraid of. I mean, I get worried about things, but really afraid? I don't know.

I guess I could be silly and say something like "I'm afraid of roaches." Which I really wonder, if it's just that I'm disgusted by them, and not afraid.

I'm afraid of not being able to breathe on my own -- which is why going SCUBA diving seems like something uncomfortable to do; or being on a submarine only able to escape one way. (But, let's face it, how often will I be in a submarine?)

I could also say I'm afraid of not having enough money to live life on -- I see so many people around me that suffer because they didn't plan well, or they tried, but failed.

Anyway, I dunno. Pick one. *shrug*

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day 9 - A Picture of My Friends

Well, this is a toughie. To begin with, I don't have a lot of really good friends -- the kind that you're always around and take silly pictures and tell everyone to gather around and snap a pic of the group and you remember the good times.

I have pictures of me with friends through the years, but not ONE picture with all of them.

I do have a lot in storage somewhere (hard copies), of the many friends I've had over the years, but one that came to mind was this one, that a friend posted on FB. This just came to my mind quickly, and it has more than just ME and one other person. (This by no means indicate a lack of current friends, just of pictures of them! *LOL*)

This is Emily, Christie, me and Laura, at Emily's parent's house in California. We were all mostly roommates (Christie wasn't, but she was at our house all the time) in Texas, and Em had us over for Spring Break that year (gosh, when was that? 2001?). We had SO much fun! This is one of our first nights there, I think. Maybe THE first night there. We were going to a dance, and it happened to be St. Patrick's Day, so we all stuck clovers in our hair. That was SUCH a fun week!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 8 - A Place I've Taveled To

(Manda, I totally agree about the bad grammar on this title provided by the blog challenge!)

Does it count that I've been BACK to Costa Rica since I lived there??? *LOL* Of course, I've also lived in Honduras, so I guess that doesn't count as travel either. (Although, we did take a vacation to one of its islands, called Roatán.)

So, while I wish I could claim more exotic travels, I shall have to say that I have been to Hawaii, namely the Big Island. Brian and I went there for our honeymoon 4 1/2 years ago. We stayed in Kona and just had a great time and some fun adventures. It really is a beautiful place, although I will have to say it's a tad humid. Okay, more than a tad.

We went swimming and snorkeling. We did some sightseeing and enjoyed fresh fish and produce. We visited quaint little shops (and some not-so-quaint, like this amazing art gallery that we seriously wanted to plunk down a couple thousand dollars on a magical tropical painting, but didn't have the money). We hit the Volcano park, and even were crazy enough to drive around the entire island. Yep, yep!

I would love to go back and visit some of the other islands, one day. But then, I'd love to go to Europe some day, and back to Costa Rica, etc. I think it's sad that my globe-trotting life all happened before I was 12. *LOL* Well, mostly. Ah, well.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day 7 - Favorite Movies

You may question my taste, my sanity, or my age, but truthfully, Disney's The Little Mermaid is my favorite movie. I was 14 when I saw it in the movie theater when it first came out. It was beautiful, magical, heartwarming, cute, funny, and the music! Oh the music! The detail in the animation along with the amazing music by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman brought Disney's golden age in animation back with a force! (Sadly, Ashman died a few years later, and while he contributed some to Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, it wasn't whole and complete. Imagine if they were still collaborating today?!)

I have two copies on DVD. The original one that came out years and years ago, and the platinum edition that came out a few years back. You bet I'm waiting for the Blu-Ray to come out! ^_^

So many people criticized the character of Ariel, doing all this for a man, but I look at it more as her being someone that wanted more out of her life, and she did what it took to get there (even though some of her choices may have been questionable, but she had to deal with some consequences, so it wasn't all happy). Anyway, I think from the moment I stepped out of the theater, it had captured my heart. Luckily this theater was in a mall, so after leaving the movie, I went upstairs to the music store and bought the tape of the soundtrack. Yep. The tape! *LOL* Some years later I bought the CD. When watching, I talk along and sing along. I actually do a pretty good imitation of Ariel (and her singing). ^_^

It makes me happy! (AND, I was so wanting to go to the musical version in NY, but they closed it recently. SO, now I'm waiting for the touring company!)

So, there ya go!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day 6 - A Picture of Something That Makes Me Happy

My "kids" make me happy!

Yanni and Yuki Cute Cuddle

Yuki and Yanni Cuddle

Yuki and Yanni Snuggle

I actually took these Saturday morning. It is VERY rare for them to be even this close together anymore (Yanni -- on the right -- is a bully and Yuki steers clear of him for the most part). But they were all snuggled on our bed, trying to keep warm, and I couldn't resist getting these. I had to, you would almost have to say. ^_^

They bring so much joy to our lives. Last week, we had a scare with Yanni. He got really sick. What really scared me is that this funny cat with so much personality had seemed to lose it all. He wasn't the cat I knew. However, he is on the mend and is back to his crazy ways. It warms my heart. ^_^ And Yuki, on the left, is such a sweet, sweet kitty. I wish Yanni wouldn't bully her!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day 5 - My Siblings

Noel, my dad, Danny, me and Brian, Michael, my mom, and Nydia

This is all of my family on my wedding day. I posted yesterday about my parents, and today I talk about my siblings.

I know I used a wedding photo yesterday, but there's a reason for this one: this is the last picture I have of all of my immediate family together (will explain why shortly).

Nydia: Is the oldest at 45 (or 46, can't remember). She has mental disabilities and still lives with my parents -- and probably always will. Upon meeting her, you would probably not think she was this way, but she is. When I lived at home, I did NOT get along with her. It's still tough at times, but since I'm older, I try to be a little more sympathetic with her mood swings and odd thoughts. She loves me dearly (as I'm her only sister).

Noel: Is the oldest boy at 44 (or so). He's the father of my niece, Amanda, who just got married. He's definitely the older brother, always trying to give sage advice. He's also extremely funny. My mother tells me that when I was a baby, he was the only one that could get me to go to sleep, so she would hand me off to him. Sweet, eh? I adore his kids! And his wife's pretty nice, too. ^_^

Michael: Ah, my older brother by 4 years. Remember when I mentioned that this is the last picture of all of us together? That's because, about 4 years ago, Michael decided to estrange himself from us. We all wish we knew what happened. There was no family fight or drama. No one said or did anything directly (whether he took something we said wrong, that's a whole other issues and we can't control that). He is the self proclaimed black sheep of the family. He's also a genius (yes, his IQ proves that). Out of all my siblings, he and I used to get into the biggest fights. Not just shouting matches, but physical fights, as well. It didn't help that he is a black belt in karate. Yeah. However, as we got older, he introduced me to the fantasy genre, and would talk a lot about our favorite books. (And, even in college, when he would come home, he would never be above taking his little sis to the mall or to a movie.) Some people think he's into alcohol and/or drugs. I couldn't tell you. We miss him. We try to stay in touch. But, it's very one-sided.

Danny: My little brother and the baby of the family. Growing up, Danny was my partner in crime (and sometimes we were partners with Michael in his hare-brained shenanigans!), and since we're just 2 years apart, we were pretty close for a long time. Danny had a hard time speaking when he was little, so I was his translator. He would babble to my mom and she would ask ME what he said and I would tell her. Such a funny story! He and I were at many of the same schools at the same time and he had many of my teachers -- hah! Of course, now we're grown up and he is married and has a family, but every once in awhile, we can still talk about video games or some Sci-Fi show we both watch.

So, those are my brothers and sister!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Day 4 - My Parents

My dad (Manuel), me, and my mom (Ella Mae).

These are my parents and I on my Wedding Day (this is probably the most recent picture I have of both of them where my dad is looking his best).

My dad's name is Manuel, and my mom's name is Ella Mae (yes, it's all her first name, and yes, it's two words). They're both in their 70s and they've been married 40-some-odd years (I forget exactly, but they're not too too far away from 50).

Sadly, my dad's health has really declined in the last 10 years or so, and most in the last 5-7. He has diabetes, is legally blind, and is on dialysis several times a week. My dad has had a lot of different jobs over the years, the biggest being a manager of a rice and cattle farm in Costa Rica for 18 years. The most recent was as a nursing home administrator (though it's been a few years for that). When he was young, he went to SMU on a full scholarship and graduated in 3 1/2 years (which is why all the kids in my family that could have gotten degrees). I could go on and on about the interesting person that he is, but I don't want this blog post to be so long! ^_^ But, I will say, my dad is a very, very spiritual person. He has had some important positions in our church and is very well respected by many in the church. And out.

I don't have a lot in common with my dad, but I still love him nonetheless. And, cool fact: my dad actually got to marry me and Brian. ^_^

Now, my mom -- she's a saint! I'll tell you why in a moment, but I will say that I am very much like her. When I still lived at home, people would get us confused on the phone. We have many similar mannerisms and say things in a similar way. We also have a similar sense of humor. She sews and plays the piano and she loves cats. She also loves to read (though she hasn't done it as much lately).

Now I will tell you why she's a saint. Not only does my mom still work part time as a physical therapist (which, btw, after we came back to the states, she had to go back to work and got her license again -- after being out of that world for almost 20 years!), but she takes care of my dad. She takes him to his appointments (medical and other) and basically has to do a lot for him since he's almost blind. She has to completely devote her time to him and very rarely gets away. (The last time she had a vacation was probably about 5 years ago, when we all went to Orlando to visit and have Christmas with my oldest brother who was working there at the time. Since then Dad's gone downhill.) But wait, there's more. I have a mentally disabled sister, who is in her 40s, and has lived all her life with my parents. She's mostly a functioning individual, and if you met her briefly, you might think she's almost normal, but, unfortunately, she's not. So, my mom has to take care of her somewhat as well (thankfully, nothing medical yet). So, my mom is a wife, homemaker, breadwinner, caregiver, chauffeur, mother with one that will always be with her (most likely), housekeeper, bill payer, and yet she still finds time to do things at church and go to my younger brother's and babysit his children one day a week while my sis-in-law works. Oh, and remember, she's in her early 70s!

I frankly don't know how she does it. And she's so sweet! And kind. I never hear her complain. And she always does for and gives to her children. She never asks for anything in return, and when she does ask for help, it's usually with a thought that she really doesn't want to bother us. I cannot tell you how much I love her, appreciate her and admire her for the person she is and for how she lives her life. Gah! Now I'm gonna cry. So, it's time to POST. ^_^

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 3 - My First Love

Okay, I have to preface by saying that I'm actually going to break this up into two different kinds of people.

1) A first love, as in someone that I really loved, but didn't necessarily feel the same way about me, and

2) A first love that was someone I fell in love with, and who DID feel the same way about me.

So, person 1, people may say that because I was a teenager it was probably just a huge crush, but I don't feel that way. In my sophomore year of high school, I met Aaron G. Getting to know him, I truly came to love him (as much as a teenager can, I suppose). I had never felt that way about anyone. I had had many crushes before, and this was more than that. He and I became good friends, and about a year after he graduated from HS (he was a year older than me, and at that point had moved to another town), we lost touch. I wish I had kept in touch, just to see how his life went. (I finally found him a few years ago, after having searched for several years. I contacted him by email, mostly a sending out into the universe type email, and he responded back. He asked me for my number so we could get in touch, but really, I had said all I wanted to say, and wanted to retain this wonderful memory of the person I knew him to be at that time. I don't regret not getting in touch with him on the phone.) Knowing him led to the second person I loved after him, in my early young adult years (they had that similar "thing" that me me love them) -- though, I would say, that second person was someone I had a more mature love and understanding for. That person and I became really good friends, and at times I thought "maybe," but it wasn't meant to be, because ....

I eventually met Brian, my husband. I would have to say that he was the first person I fell in love with that fell in love with me. He was my first boyfriend, but that's all I needed. ^_^ I know I should probably have so many things to say about Brian, but bottom line: he pursued me (which was refreshing for me); he said the "I love you" first; and he is my best friend. From the moment I met him, I was comfortable with him and could talk to him about anything. Doesn't my marrying him say everything else?! ^_^

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 2 - Meaning Behind My Blog Name

The title of my blog is Nonchalant Girl.

What's the meaning behind it? It's really quite simple. For quite a long time now, since I began to really love reading and words, nonchalant has been my favorite word. I like what it means, I like the way it sounds -- cool and elegant, but a tad mysterious. And, even though I'm in my mid-30s, I still consider myself at many times to still be just a Girl. So, therefore, Nonchalant Girl.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day 1 - Introduce, Recent Picture, 15 Interesting Facts

Yep, that's me -- Gabby. And yes, that's the most recent picture of me. Yes, I know you've seen it before. It's fun! ^_^

I don't know much else to introduce myself with, since it's all in the sidebar there, and I try to keep it up to date. ^_^

As for 15 interesting facts about me(don't know how interesting they will be):

1. I was born in Cost Rica.
2. When I was about 18 months old, I jumped out of my crib and broke my arm. I had to be in a partial body cast for awhile.
3. I have also lived in Honduras.
4. In my family, I am four of five. (Hah, sounds like a Borg designation.)
5. My maiden name (Najera) is from Spain, but has Moorish influences. (There's a famous battle with my family name in it.)
6. I can read, speak and (mostly) write Spanish fluently (those darn accent marks get me every time, though).
7. I sing as a hobby. I'm a first Soprano (which means I can hit those really high notes.)
8. I'm currently the choir director at church (even though I wonder why *LOL*).
9. I can make my nostrils flare.
10. I think chocolate ice cream is gross.
11. My husband is 6 years younger than I am.
12. While I am considered Hispanic (mostly from Mexican descent), I am also 1/8 Irish. ^_^
13. I pretend that my cats can talk to me by being their voice for them (as in, I talk to them and I talk to myself back, in a slightly different voice, as if it was one of them answering me back).
14. I am on the Design Team (aka a "Mint Chick") for (a digital scrapbook supplies site).
15. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka Mormon).

Blog Challenge for 30 Days

I got this from Missy (she's my sister-in-law's sister), and thought it would be fun to do a blog challenge, where you post something specifically outlined for that day. It's sort of like NaBloPoMo, but each day is already set out for you. Who wants to join me? Over the next 30 days, these will be the topics:

Day 1 - Introduce, recent picture, 15 interesting facts
Day 2 - Meaning behind your blog name
Day 3 - Your first love
Day 4 - Your parents
Day 5 - Your siblings
Day 6 - A picture of something that makes you happy
Day 7 - Favorite movies
Day 8 - A place you've traveled to
Day 9 - A picture of your friends
Day 10 - Something you're afraid of
Day 11 - Favorite TV shows
Day 12 - What you believe
Day 13 - Goals
Day 14 - A picture you love
Day 15 - Bible verse
Day 16 - Dream House
Day 17 - Something you're looking forward to
Day 18 - Something you regret
Day 19 - Something you miss
Day 20 - Nicknames
Day 21 - Picture of yourself
Day 22 - Favorite city
Day 23 - Favorite vacation
Day 24 - Something you've learned
Day 25 - Put your iPod on shuffle, first 10 songs
Day 26 - Picture of your family
Day 27 - Pets
Day 28 - Something that stresses you out
Day 29 - 3 wishes
Day 30 - A picture

So, I will post later today with Day 1!!

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