August 30, 2010

Connection, Wellness, Monterey

So, piggy-backing on the previous post, another post I really like on Hyperbole and a Half is Apparently I am a Failure at Success. It's so my life! Here's a little excerpt.

She extrapolates and her comics make you feel exactly her pain (which I have shared, plenty) ...BUT she does it in a way that makes the whole situation seem hilarious. I love it. In any case, today feels momentous to me. Starting school, in a "new" field feels good ("New" is in parentheses because, as I often have to explain, I went to vet school to be an educated environmentalist, not a cat/dog going to school now for environmental policy is not really a new direction for me, it's just a different path to get the same place). This past weekend, Ben and I volunteered at the Blue Ocean Film Festival and we got to see some inspiring and amazing films at the IMAX theatre.

This one was magical, I have never felt like I was actually snorkeling/diving while watching a video before this movie.
These guys are crazy. And awesome. There's one scene with the Sardinian diver which was so unbelievably beautiful, all I could do was laugh aloud. I don't want to give it away, but if you see the movie, you will know exactly what moment I'm talking about. You, like I, will wonder Is that for real?! And, yes, it is.

The last movie we watched there was Fuel, and the film maker and his wife were there for an excellent Q & A session afterward. I thought this film really hit the mark. It was well thought out, inspiring without being preachy (just appropriately hold-your-handy), and presented at a level and depth that anyone, regardless of political stance or involvement in clean-energy efforts will come away with some new and positive information about alternative fuels. We promised that our next car will have a plug.

We watched some divers gear up on the beach between all the movies.
And at the end of it all, we enjoyed a Thank You Dinner on the beach for all the volunteers. Delicious food, gorgeous setting, good company.... Ben and I could hardly believe that we were experiencing something truly this good in our lives. Ben woke up happy today, and I felt like there was a bit of hope that I might be surrounded by my heroes (and maybe even become one!) for the rest of my life. It all felt so good.


So I've been bingeing on Allie Brosh's web comic/blog Hyperbole and a Half. One of my favorite posts is The Alot is Better Than You at Everything. I highly highly recommend a gander at that last link. In fact, for the rest of this post to make any sense at all, it's required reading. I seriously was crying with laughter at it.
Anyway, so today was my first day of classes at MIIS (yay, fresh start! Sort of. Except for that whole 4 yrs of vet school debt part). During the class, my teacher said, "Have we lost many animals to extinction? Yes, a lot." But of course, my brain heard, "Yes, alot." Thinking about having lost these bear/pug/yak creatures to extinction made me laugh out loud. A very bizarre and inappropriate response to the question about how many animals we've lost to extinction in a class all about Public Policy and the Environment. People glared at me. Nice 1st impression, Alyssum, way to go!

August 29, 2010

Volunteering for the Blue Ocean Film Festival

Yesterday Ben and I volunteered at the Blue Ocean Film Festival, an amazing festival that centers around the importance of great film to encourage the masses to care about ocean conservation. I was set up to help out at the shwag-for-sale table. It was pretty boring, though I did get to briefly meet authors/conservationists Chris Palmer and Carl Safina. Ben, on the other hand, had the best job ever. He was placed in a room with all the festival's films to show to anyone who might have missed the original showing. So he basically got to sit and watch one awesome film after another for hours on end. Lucky.

August 25, 2010

Settling in to Gilroy

We've been stationed at our new apartment in Gilroy, CA for a few weeks now, and it feels more and more like home. We still have some pictures to hang, some clothes to put away in closets, and some other minor figuring-out-where-things-go to do, but it's nice! During our first week there, Ben moved all our stuff (by himself!) into our apartment from the basement, while I attended a pre-requisite Microeconomics course at MIIS. During the next week, I helped set up our house, and Ben started his serious job search. I even got to take advantage of the proximity of San Francisco, taking an impromptu class with Rose Harden one day.
Now, in our 3rd week, I am attending my school orientation while Ben and the kitties hold down the fort. We look forward to when Ben has a job so that our schedules are a little more aligned and he doesn't feel so lonely (and the income'll be good too).
Cappy's favorite stair

Uvas Park Reserve walk in Gilroy

Flora in my new surroundings that I'm not familiar with yet
Gilroy is one of the little towns in the "Salad Bowl"--the part of California that produces up to 30% of the nation's produce!!

I'll post a little intro to our apartment once it's finished being put together. We've also had fun playing pool and bowling with some visiting friends, not a block from our place.

August 12, 2010

Cereal when you're moving

Between living out of your backpack and being moved in, there's that time period when you think, "I'd like to have a bowl of cereal this morning." Afterall, that's why you bought milk the day before. So you open the cupboard, and realize the bowls are not yet unpacked. Not to worry, there's a tupperware bowl in the sink you can use, you just have to wash it first. You found the dishwashing soap the night before, and, Yep, here are the sponges. Not wanting to skimp out on environmental efforts just because you're moving, you realize you need to cut the sponge in half before using it. Now where in tarnation would you find scissors?

First commute

This morning I drove from Oakland to Monterey... over 2 hrs of driving one way. Tonight I get to drive back. And tomorrow I get to drop Ben and the cats off at our new apartment before continuing my drive down to Monterey. I am so glad that my soon to be 45 minute commute is so much prettier and less crowded than this picture. I am just taking a pre-req 1 week course right now, but it is very exciting to be here, at my new school, as a student again. New beginnings!

August 6, 2010

Moving West!

Parsnip taking one last look around our Lexington digs
Cappy annoyed we have to move all these boxes
So in the past 2 weeks, Ben and I have driven from Lexington KY to Oakland CA, stopping in Boulder CO & Salt Lake City UT on the way. We have spent a crazy week trying to find the right spot to call home, and it worked! We signed the lease for a great 2 story 1 bedroom apartment in Gilroy CA, the garlic capital of the world (seriously, it smells like garlic outside they grow so much). We haven't moved in yet, but at least we found the spot!
Here's some visual highs and lows of our drive West.

Family portrait--on our way!
This is a great series of pictures taken at the Mountain Sun, in Boulder, with my sister and her girls.
Everyone enjoying the meal.
Chelsea becomes a jungle gym for Tiger and Phoenix claps her approval.
Chelsea's like WTF
And a second later we're surrounded by like 10 little kids. Freaked Ben out.
As if he wasn't freaked out enough, Tiger wanted to read with him the rest of the night. Cute.

Then we continued our drive through Wyoming, Utah and Nevada. We had a great visit with our friends in Salt Lake, but somehow the wine and food made us forget to snap any pictures.
"Little America" was advertised for 100 miles before we got there. Disappointingly, it's just a plot in the middle of nowhere of about 5-10 acres including a hotel, one restaurant, and the houses of the people who work there.
Cat eyes

First pic in Cali!
Crap day, crap lunch in Watsonville. Our 2nd or 3rd day of terrible house looking. But I think the day finished well: I'm pretty sure that was the day we found our apartment.
Alameda antique show. I love Harpo coming out of the vase.
Santa Cruz! That place is awesome. As long as you don't have to commute elsewhere.
Awesome friends helped us unload our truck! Yummy yummy sushi in Monterey.
Some new shoes!
Mira and Joe's beautiful courtyard. How awesome to be staying here while we iron out all the details!