Archive for October, 2010

October 28, 2010

New things.

In case you haven’t noticed, my series are getting a little bit wimpy lately.  My love hate relationship with running is still a love hate relationship; my garden is frozen and was hauled away by the garbage truck last week.  I’m still a fledgling foodie, but this blog cannot live by zucchini bread alone!  So here I am to introduce a couple of exciting new series ideas I’m hoping to introduce, shortly (I originally typo’d “shorty,” and believe me when I say I was SO tempted to leave it…):

On dwelling. I like the word dwell and all its connotations.  I’m hung up on it because I want my home to be a place where we thrive and feel at home, that’s comfortable and inviting and pleasant and peaceful.  This series will be about the little things I do to make my apartment homey.  My next large home project is my office room, which I’m really hoping to transform into some sort of creativity center.  Its major flaw is that it lacks any sort of functional furniture, so it has become a file and storage catch-all — and my poor, neglected piano hides behind all of it.  Unacceptable.

On writing, or reading, or both. I look over the myriad blogs online about decorating and design and fashion and photography and all those beautiful things, and the truth is, folks, that I just don’t know as much about painting pretty pictures with images as I do with words.  Not that I’m not visual, or that I’m not trying to be better at photography, and so many etceteras, but if I truly want to write about my passions, my passion is writing.  Unfortunately, lately I’ve been one of those writing posers there are so many of.  You know, the kind that say “I’m a writer” and/or “I love to write,” and then don’t write.  Ever.  I aim to change that, and hopefully I’ll like what I do enough to subject it to your collective scrutiny.

On teaching and kids. This is perhaps premature/wishful thinking, but I’m in the active process of finding a job, and I’m most qualified to teach.  That means that the job I do hopefully find will involve kids, and the funny things they do or the brilliant things I find out (ha) will inevitably make their ways here.  I am on two substitute lists now, although I have yet to get a call… so we’ll see.

In the mean time, I do have a question for you.  Who are you? I know people read this thing, because my dashboard tool thing tells me so.  But it’s not smart enough to tell me who you are.  I’m posting these entries as Facebook statuses for the whole world to see, and I don’t consider you a “stalker” for clicking a link in your news feed…. so come forth.  Leave a comment. Say hey.  I’m really, truly glad you’re here.  And maybe I’ll be able to “consider my audience” more that way as I post.  Just a suggestion. ;)

[photo credit]

October 26, 2010

What we’re eating this week.

Last week’s meal plan was…. not really a meal plan now, was it?  But I promised pictures of anything fun, so here are the meals I made an effort with:

Grilled teriyaki shrimp kabobs:

Goat cheese, caramelized onion and artichoke heart pizza (thin, whole-wheat crust):

And the actual reason this became a thin crust pizza…. my utter failure at pizza dough:

The story is…. I created this lovely dough (which really was lovely) the morning of, not sure if I’d be rolling it out that night or the next day.  I suspected we’d be waiting, so instead of letting it rise on the warm counter top, I put it in the fridge to rise slowly.  Only we did end up wanting it that night, and it didn’t rise.  I read some articles online that told me I could speed up the process by microwaving at a very very low power.  Well, that definitely didn’t work, and I ended up with a mostly cooked dough ball aka GIANT, tough yeast roll.  So, so sad.  So I thought quickly and prayed vigorously and made Smitten Kitchen’s Really Simple Pizza Dough, subbing half whole wheat flour and adding a little squeeze of honey, and skipped the rising, which turned out a really tasty thin crust with a great texture.  Definitely recommended for quick pizza in a bind.  If this is even more awesome with rise time, it will be my go-to pizza crust recipe.

I also tried out her zucchini bread recipe this week, and it was killer.

For the shrimp kabobs (above), I marinated shrimp with some variation on this recipe from Bobby Flay (I think) — I added pineapple juice, didn’t use peanut oil, and changed some other stuff, so I can’t even say I used his recipe. Just a guideline. I cut up onions and a green pepper and skewered them with some canned pineapple chunks (so much cheaper I couldn’t resist).  Since I didn’t count out pieces per skewer I wasn’t sure about proportions, and I just went ahead and grilled all the shrimp together and the veggies together.

Today I’m trying out a different teriyaki recipe: oven-baked basted teriyaki chicken, using Ellie Krieger’s highly-rated teriyaki chicken thighs recipe.  I am following reviewers’ recommendations and doubling marinade, boiling and basting the chicken with it as it cooks.  Hopefully this turns out okay since we’re feeding it to people other than our family!

This week, my meal plan isn’t exciting, other than learning how to make teriyaki sauce from scratch and hoping it’s as good as I think it will be (review later!).  But it’s not because I’m lazy — it’s because dinner food just doesn’t sound that good.  Why make a well-rounded meal when I could make Rosemary and Thyme Candied Pecans, and Easy Pumpkin Cheese Danishes, and Apple and Cheddar Scones??  Why??  Expect some baking to go down this week in between my bottled marinara sauce and very Americanized “Mexican” food.  (For sure on the agenda:  Mrs. Fields Peanut Butter Dream Bars, secret recipe from my mother-in-law!)

Monday: Teriyaki chicken thighs, brown/white rice, broccoli

Tuesday: Butternut squash soup (using up half a squash… this might end up being a side dish.)

Wednesday: Chicken Parmesan

Thursday: Soft tacos.  Because refried beans make me happy.

Friday: Pizza! (Because we must have this at least once a week. Maybe I’ll make it fancy for you.)

Weekend: Leftovers, simple pasta, Halloween candy.

 

Happy eating this week.  And please leave comments with any awesome recipes I should try. :)

October 25, 2010

1000 Gifts: Birthday

I lucked out this year — my birthday was on a Saturday, so I was blessed to be able to spend the whole day doing whatever I wanted!

I’m so thankful for….

181. Birthday boots!! (Sorry for the camera pictures… my real camera is in the car and it’s raining.  Hard.)

182. Farmers market samples — who knew there was so much free delicious stuff?!

183. Lavender-infused blueberry jam from the farmers market.

184. Getting to see the Kings for coffee.

185. Getting to talk to all my siblings in a row yesterday!

186. The ability to earn a little money on the side with odd jobs. (Currently writing, sorting photos for a photographer friend, and hopefully subbing in the near future….)

187. My dishwasher.

188. My power drill.

189. A reliable tool kit.

190. Discovering new, inspiring design websites.

191. That we’re not doing the “cash system” anymore.. ha.

192. Birthday dinner at Wildwood. <3

193. People (like our awesome waiter) who know everything there is to know about food and wine and are happy to force delicious things on you.

194. Zucchini bread.

195. The new wooden fence in our back yard that is not yet defiled with the sickly grey-blue paint our apartment managers cover everything with.

196. Foot massages.

197. Sunglasses.

298. Phases of life in which showering often is not at all necessary.  Yep, I said it.

199. The sound of pouring rain outside.

200. My hardcore husband who bikes 5 miles uphill to work in said pouring rain.

Switched things up this week — meal plan tomorrow, friends! :)

October 22, 2010

Wall art extravaganza!

G’day.  Today we are going to talk about wall art.

For the last several months (read: 8) our walls have been suffering from serious nudity.  I’ve had grand ideas of putting up all sorts of various chic and artsy and unique huge art and sconces, etc., but well…. when you’re on a budget you work with what you have. :)  Thus, I present my various nearly free latest creations and finds.

First, a little project I took on a month or two ago in my dining room.  Although my new grey wall is a vast improvement over sickly ivory, I got tired of looking at such a long bare wall. When I came across a blog post that told me I could put spray starch on paper and stick it directly to my wall the day after discovering random cool tissue-thin papers in a scrapbook I brought home (*which I’m assuming I inadvertently stole from my mother, but which have been missing for such a long time I’m sure she doesn’t mind), I decided to take said papers and stick them to my wall.  But not before I took a few of them and printed some line drawings from the intranets.

The splotchiness is because they were still wet when I took the photo, so just imagine those two on the bottom right looking less soggy!

To tell you the truth I’m not as crazy about it as I hoped… This is partly because when the papers dried a couple of them got wrinkled (only a couple specific colors — the yellow stuck perfectly).  But I do still like it, and I think I’ll keep it until I come up with something more awesome.  Anyway, it’s nice for fall/winter because of the tree theme.

Today I went less crafty and more frame and hang route.  I’ve been collecting a couple frames here and there.  So today a clip frame from Goodwill became the new home of this truly cool ad from a pamphlet for Wordstock, a local writing and lit festival.


I’ve been waiting to find a floating glass frame for a papyrus print I bought in Egypt.  I finally found one at a discount frame store — it was still more than I wanted to pay but seriously, I needed it to finally be out of its tube and on my naked wall!!  (p.s. Sorry for the truly ghetto photo staging here…. carpet?? Refrigerator?  I’m waiting for Eric’s opinion — and help — before I put them permanently on the wall.)

Eric acquired this cool hand-painted skateboard deck a while ago from a friend who knew he liked Elliott Smith.  You can’t see the details very well, but at the very top and very bottom it says “Live Fast / Die Young.”  Uplifting, eh? ;)  Not quite our philosophy in life, but we still think it’s pretty cool.  Don’t mind the very noticeable Dan Brown book — it’s not mine.  Pay attention instead to the quality literature beneath it — Crime and Punishment, 1984, The Sun Also Rises…  (I love you anyway, Eric.)  And to his credit, he hasn’t even read that book yet, but he did read the totally huge Anna Karenina directly beneath it.  As yet another disclaimer, yes we need new candles on that thing.  Badly.

I had bought a 16×20 frame at IKEA for my papyrus print, all the while truly wanting a float frame, but it turns out it it fits a Jubelale 2009 poster we picked up from the Deschutes Brewery for hella free last year.  Because I’m very adult and not so much frat boy, I’m opposed to putting beer posters on my walls — unless, of course, they’re framed.  Totally different, right?  I think so. (This might go in the “office” anyway…)

That’s that.  Not perfect and still lots of work to do, but hopefully our home will be looking way less boring in the near future.  If I actually get to the point where a room looks “finished” (ha…) I’ll post entire pictures.

Have a great weekend! :)  It’s someone’s birthday tomorrow, so she probably won’t be posting until Monday.

October 21, 2010

Gumshoe Gardening: Season finale

On Tuesday I put on my little close-toed shoes and ventured onto my chilly back porch to do the tragic, necessary task I’ve been putting off:  ruthlessly trashing my dead garden (with the exception of my basil, which is still living(!) and which I am going to attempt to bring inside).  I’m positively shocked my plants held on as long as it did, and even more shocked that a couple of tomatoes apparently continued to ripen this week, although one of them had a weird bug-looking thing on it (yes, bug-looking, but not a bug) so I was afraid to pick it and just said oh well, it is late October after all.  A little life in the foreground, a little death in the background makes the situation seem slightly less grim when I toss entire plants into a dumpster, anyway.  Um, I mean, I composted everything…..

[The bug-looking thing is on the other side of the big tomato… I purposefully did not capture it.]

Yellowy browny leaves, smushy falling fruit, and (oh yeah), the spinach/fuchsia/pepper that died ages ago, all into the trash.  There must be a more environmentally friendly way to dispose of plants — i.e. not taking totally compostable material, shrouding it in white plastic, and putting it in a landfill — but I’ll tackle that when it doesn’t involve putting large, shedding, buggy plants into my sedan and driving them to who knows where.  Let me tell you, it was cumbersome enough walking this through muddy, slurping lawn to the dumpster across the parking lot.

Goodbye, garden.

And now, the Most Important Things I Learned about gardening this summer:

1.  Gardening is a frivolous, mercurial thing.  The weather matters.  The season matters.  The experience of the gardener seems like it should matter (and does) but when I look back on what I did, I think my spinach could have been saved, but the fuchsia and the pepper were kind of duds to begin with.  I’ve spoken with plenty of experienced gardeners whose _________ did not grow for whatever reason, and I can’t help but think that sometimes gardens just do what they want to.  There’s probably a very good reason that you see so much cat paraphernalia in garden stores.  Gardeners are just masochists who enjoy being held at the whim of various fickle creatures they hope to coax into making it worth their while.

2. Eating what I grow, even in small quantities, is extremely rewarding.  Of course my summer yield left something to be desired in the way of peppers (0), spinach (6 leaves) and tomatoes (about 18 total).  But having a stead flow of cilantro for a couple months and not buying basil all summerAwesome. I like flowers, but if I continue down this garden path I think food is definitely the way to go.  (Not to mention my first flower experience was an utter failure.)  I get happy imagining myself as one of those people with horrible problems like what am I going to do with all this zucchini? (*While I’m on the subject, I sincerely hope canning never interests me, because that sounds awful.)

3. I’m not as bad at caring for plants as I thought I would be.  Is this the same girl who killed a cactus and a bamboo plant?  Remembering to water the plants actually wasn’t that difficult once I got into a little rhythm to avoid over and under-watering. Actually, the hardest part was keeping Kieran inside while I did so.

4. This is learn-as-you-go stuff.  I let my cilantro go irreparably to flower, almost did not catch my basil before it suffered the same demise, had no clue how to pinch basil or prune spinach, possibly gave up too early on reviving my flowers, transplanted stuff too much, bought pots that were too small, etc.  But now I know how to do all those things.  And in addition, I totally destroyed a mean hoard of killer slugs and revived my tomato plant after it completely fell over from dehydration.

Thanks for reading my gardening adventures.  You can bet that if there was a promotion from gumshoe that started with a G, I’d be it.  ;)

October 19, 2010

Multituesday: Purposeful

(From galette and puzzle day with Betsy this summer… <3)

[previous gifts here]

181.  Galettes!

182. Puzzles!

183. Living in Oregon — farms, city, ocean, mountains, kindness, culture, art.

184. IKEA trips and gadgets

185. motivation to transform our 2nd bedroom from its current function as Kieran’s room and junk catch-all into a room for creativity.

186. My latest breakfast invention: eggs scrambled with cream cheese and chives.

187. New tea light holders for my delicious apple cinnamon tea lights.

188. All the tacky horrible irresistible heart stuff at IKEA that I resisted buying… Valentine’s Day already?

189. My birthday week!

190. Beautiful old hymns: Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of his Spirit, washed in his blood. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.

191. The way papas look at their little girls.Library

192. Light.  Sunlight, candlelight, light bulbs.  I’m glad I don’t have to live in the dark.

193. Blankets. I lovelovelove quilts and blankets. (*Not creating them.)

194. Nail polish.  I admit it.

195. That he makes ALL THINGS NEW.

196. Binder clips.  Yep.

197. Floating glass picture frames, although I have yet to figure out how to get my hands on one that doesn’t cost a million dollars. “The Young and the Penniless do DIY Floating Glass Picture Frames,” please?

198. Dreaming about someday creating a floor to ceiling library…. (Image: Karl Lagerfield’s library. You MUST click to enlarge.  Also, I don’t know where the original image is from because someone else didn’t link it… :S)

199. The humbling realization that I know so little of his holiness.

200. Christmas trees.  Yes, I know it’s October.

<3

 

October 18, 2010

Lazy food…

Today I am acutely aware of how little I have to do.  The unemployment bit is beginning to get very boring, although I really do appreciate the time I have to myself and the abundant time to get things done.  Thankfully, my efficiency was put to the test late last week, so I know it’s still working:  I cranked out application essays, work samples, photo sorting for a friend, two short freelance articles, and an in-depth lesson plan.  On top of that I dedicated a whole day to observing at a school, another half-day to teaching at said school, and three hours of my Friday evening to interviewing.  Everything went fabulously and I felt I did as well as I could have, but I came in second to someone with more experience.  I’m disappointed, but not angry.  God will provide. :)

Had I gotten that job, my week (and months to follow) would have been an insanely hectic whirlwind of planning, executing (plans and probably children), grading, playing catch-up, and stressing every evening and weekend moment.  Although I was up for the challenge, I have to also be thankful for the relief from such stress and anxiety and for the opportunity to rescue my home from the tornado that hit it while I was focused on the process.  And by the way, our food supply pretty much consists of bagels at this point.  Good thing we love bagels.

As far as meal planning this week goes, we were blessed with some leftovers (we “won the leftover lottery,” as someone said) after a newcomers lunch at the church we’ve been attending, but other than that I’m looking forward to doing some more cooking.  My plan to save money on groceries last week worked, but mostly because of a lack of time to make meals.  I’m ready to put in a little more effort to feed us a bit better.  But since I’m feeling ADD about finding ACTUAL meals, here’s the compromise:  I will give you a vague outline, and then I promise to blog in-depth about anything spectacular.  Sound good?

Monday: Leftover church pasta/salad

Another day: Shrimp something, probably broiled with low-fat spices fried with butter and garlic.  Actually, some good shrimp tacos sound fantastic with cilantro and limes and white sauce…

Another day: Pizza – GOURMET!!  I’m thinking whole-wheat crust, very thin red potatoes, pears, figs, delish cheese or something else super fancy.

Another day: Something with lots of awesome vegetables, like fresh veggie-stir fry.

And on boring/lazy days: Leftover chili, more leftover church pasta, leftover frozen various soups.

I have a confession.  I really, really am not a huge fan of the vast majority of leftovers.  It’s not that the food actually isn’t good.  There’s just this little something that goes off in my mind and convinces me that it isn’t.  That something new would be better.  I clearly need to get over this and be more efficient/cost-effective, blahblahblah.  Hopefully I’m going through a weird food phase.  After all, when I’m busy I tend to be more in “shove this in my mouth so I don’t starve” mode and less in picky mode….

All this continues to support the idea that I need a job and/or children, which Betsy so lovingly pointed out yesterday do NOT help you save any money (*that was a joke anyway).  Please hire me, or at least let me take your children to the pumpkin patch. I’m not creepy, even though that sounded very very creepy.

Here’s what I kind of wish I was doing right now:

Eating this (via Kam Family)

Playing here (via Kam’s World)

Tickling these (*awkward/amusing idiom), via [Nati]

 

It’s another GORGEOUS cold sunny fall day here in Portland.  Keep it coming.

October 12, 2010

Multituesday: Mystery.

(previous thanks here)

161. a heater to turn on for the first time this season

162. classical guitar music

163. mysteries, big and small: solving some, adoring others.

164. a lifetime to grow, learn stuff, and hopefully become much much more like Jesus.

165. thinking about what my kids will look like eventually

166. the very rare Oregon sunny/clear/chilly day

167. reconnecting with old friends

168. cameras

169. headphones

170. learning (slowly) how to make my house a home

171. sharing Eric’s passion by going to Blazers games with him

172. …and feeling snazzy in our jerseys. :)

173. discovering affordable antique stores

174. words, words, words

175. a job prospect and interview this week

176. sleep

177. fun shoes from grandma

178. new contacts!

179. apple cinnamon candles

180. small feelings of retreat and solice

 

Today I straighten my home, eat lunch with my husband, have a coffee/freelance meeting, and explore a little bit of downtown…  hoping to track down an invisible nose stud, possibly some cheap threads, and if all else fails, a quiet spot to read and soak up fall.

I’m feeling a strange mix of dry and inspired in my posting — my advice post received some good feedback and my highest hit count to date, so I’ll ask you, readers — what do you want me to write about?  Anything you’re dying to read? (Please don’t ask about running.  Please.)

[photo credit]

October 11, 2010

Meal plan…

I’ve got to make this quick, as I cannot believe it’s already almost 1:00!!!


Last week’s meal plan went fairly well.  We had some excellent salmon, and though I overestimated the amount of cooked spinach one bag of fresh would produce and nearly cried over my overcooked potatoes, the meal wasn’t entirely unsuccessful. (Old, cheap white wine always helps.)  I quite liked the goat cheese/squash pasta we had, too.  Although the day after I bought my squash, I discovered that the same store lowered their sale price by another $0.50 per pound.  We didn’t make it to the chili for various reasons, and did purchase a GIANT stuffed Papa Murphy’s pizza with a coupon ($10 for any pizza, any size!) instead. Since I bought fancy things like salmon and goat cheese last week, this week’s dinners will be more economical.

This week at the King house…

Monday: Chili (planned for last Friday… or was it Thursday?)

Tuesday: Un-fancy chicken/veggie stir fry (chicken and veggies from freezer)

Wednesday: Spaghetti and meatballs (meatballs from freezer)

Thursday: Some variation on this (will use up extra butternut squash), or might just do simple squash soup depending on how industrious I’m feeling.

Friday/Saturday/Sunday: Linguine with shrimp, leftover Chili, other leftovers. (shrimp from freezer)

 

Love <3

October 7, 2010

Advice for my 15-year-old self.

Yes, I’m only 23 (24 in 2 weeks!).  No, I’m not in any position to be giving crazy life advice — except maybe to myself.  Betsy and I came across a hilarious chat conversation on AOL Instant Messenger (we were both addicted in high school) between her and a mutual friend, and while we were reading it realized a) how ridiculous the entire conversation was, b) what babies we (and the boy) were, and c) how glad we are that we’re still friends.  Aww.

So here it is: a short, very likely cliche-sounding but very true list of advice I would give my 15-year-old self.  Surely my parents will read this and say, “But we said all those things to you!”  That’s not the point.  I’m not writing this because I would have listened; rather, rest assured that I have learned.

[Betsy and me dorking it up at Universal Studios LA in 2002.]

1. It’s hilarious how much popularity really doesn’t matter in the long run.

First of all, it turns out I have hung out with exactly ONE high school friend in the last year (Betsy excluded, because we lived in different cities and didn’t meet through school), and only two or so the year before that.  And they aren’t who you think they are based on who your friends are now.  All of my high school friendships except with that one person are pretty awkward, because everyone has changed so much.  The funny thing?  The people you’re friends with now are going to stay how they are, and you are not.  Why is that?  Because you weren’t really that much like them to begin with.  This isn’t a better/worse comparison or regrets about who I was friends with — just a little lesson in choosing friends wisely based on who YOU really are.

We use a little thing called Facebook now that’s like AIM on steroids.  It will allow you to stalk almost everyone you could ever want to stalk, including those darn popular kids from high school.  I’m talking pictures, relationships, what they say to their friends…. Guess what?  They aren’t as glamorous as you thought they were. Turns out lots of girls with the “ideal” 15-year-old body (*that sounds creepy) struggle with their weight now.  The fancy rich girls with great clothes?  They would probably trade the things their parents bought them for better relationships with their parents.  The crazy party girls?  Sadly, several people you know or know of will be in rehab in a few years, and a couple will even die from overdoses and drunk driving car accidents.  And even the stories that don’t end tragically still don’t end the way you want your life to look.  Which brings me to….

2. Save close friendships for people who share your values.

This doesn’t necessarily mean faith, although that’s a huge plus because those bonds aren’t easily broken.  What I mean, mostly, is that you should choose to invest most of your energy in friends who have similar goals in the bigger picture of life.  Think about it. If you want to go to college and eventually get married and have kids and your friend thinks she will never go to school and doesn’t really want kids, then in five to ten years you will have virtually nothing in common.  Your friendship won’t have a base to stand on except silly high school stories, and most great relationships just can’t rely on tales that being with “that one time in Mr. Ferney’s ninth grade science class.”  There are people you know right now who you could invest in with a few sacrifices — and when you’re 23, you’ll wish these were the people you could call up when you visit home.

[Slightly more mature in Seattle, 2007.]

3. Don’t date that guy.

First, a disclaimer:  If you are an actual legitimate ex-boyfriend and you are reading this, I don’t regret dating you and you’re a great guy.  However, when I look back on high school under the umbrella term of “dating,” I count a lot of really unfortunate flings in that mix.  Pardon the less-than-flattering, kind of down right mean description, but man I dated a lot of tools.  Here’s some practical, obvious advice: if a guy is unwilling to call you his girlfriend he is not worth your time.  Same goes for if he doesn’t call you when he says he will.  When you are 16 you will meet a guy who buys a long-distance calling card and then kicks people out of his dorm room just to talk to you.  When you are 21, your future husband will stand outside in below-freezing weather trying to get cell service from his parents’ house in the middle of nowhere.  It can be done.  So if anyone you’re hanging out with now can’t find the time to pick up his local cell phone and dial your number, let it go. Just for kicks, here’s some even more obvious practical advice:  if a guy tells you he would rather smoke pot than hang out with you, he’s probably not worth your time.  You laugh (and I laugh!) but really, 15-year-old Brynna (and other girls out there), you will a) not stay friends with this person and b) wish you hadn’t been such an idiot.  Final advice on this topic comes from some hard-hitting, loving words from my dad: “When a guy wants something, he will move mountains to get it.”  This isn’t permission to be a diva (that’s another topic), but ask yourself — what mountains (even small ones) is this guy moving?

4. Do what you love.

You’ve always wanted to be a writer.  You think you aren’t good enough or that you can’t do it.  Pursue it with all your strength.  Find mentors, write all the time, and set goals.  This goes for anything you think you’re good at and enjoy.  Guess why lots of people “don’t make it” in writing, music, and art?  They give up because somewhere along the line they believed that it was too hard, or that they weren’t good enough. You’re going to go to college in a few years and start a major in philosophy pre-law.  Eventually you will change this to English (duh), because that’s what you’ve always been good at.  Don’t try to get fancy, or worry about looking smart, or anything else. Chances are if you’ve been saying you want to be a writer since you were seven, you want to be a writer.  Don’t try to make it more complicated.  And by all means, don’t do something you’re not sure about if it you have to take out a crap load of loans for it (oops).

[Looking wise and supa-fly in 2009.]

In summary, I know you’re finding out who you are right now and if you knew without a doubt who you were you wouldn’t need this advice.  But you do have a good idea of who you are — you know what you’re good at, and you know that you rest in the hands that hold the whole world.  When you’re 23, you’ll be so sure of this that you’ll build your whole life on it according to his grace.  Again, don’t make it so complicated.  Be yourself, find out what’s important to you and do that.

P.S. You’ll meet your husband when you’re 20.  His name is Eric and he’s a stud. It’s probably ok to give up on guys entirely before then.