Friday, December 31, 2010

Food, Glorious Food!

The most common topic of conversation in my family is food. We not only know how to talk food, but we also know how to make it. Here is a sampling of our holiday eats:
The Portuguese version of Indian Samosas

Bolas de Berlim
(aka homemade Portuguese custard filled doughnuts)

Veggies getting ready to be roasted.

Waiting for the oven:
Mushrooms stuffed with something delicious.

First some gingerbread...

Then some lemon curd and berry sauce...

Makes a trifle!

Mmmm... Christmas trifle.

Portuguese Chorico getting grilled on an asa.

No offense to my friends from Mexico & Hawaii, but Portuguese
chorico is completely different and much better than the
Mexican & Hawaiian versions.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

St. Mary's Glacier

Yesterday, my husband, parents, and I hiked up a glacier located about an hour out of Denver. Although the lake at the foot of the glacier was frozen, the sky was sunny and the weather was mild.

But, as we began ascending the glacier, the wind picked up. The gusts whipped powdery snow at our faces and the inch of water in my husband's water bottle froze solid. The 11,000+ altitude combined with the steep face made our steps slow and laborious. 

Unfortunately, with every few feet we walked, another few feet of the glacier appeared at the top of the hill. When my dad ran up some snow covered rocks to the left of the glacier to scope out how much further we had to go, I snapped this picture. Due to the biting cold and the unknown distance left, we ran, stumbled, tromped, slid, and sledded (on our coats and/or nylon covered butts) all the way back down.

What a tiring, fun, and gorgeous adventure!

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Elephant in the Room

My parents own many, varying Nativity scenes collected from my dad's travels around the world. Within hours of arriving at their home for Christmas, my siblings and I rearrange their ebony Nativity scene from Madagascar making it more, well, Malagasy (def. of or pertaining to Madagascar).

All bowed down.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Socked In

"Seems it never rains in southern California...

Seems I've often heard that kind of talk before...

It never rains in California, but girl don't they warn ya?

It pours, man it pours."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Crooked Christmas Tree

Certainly crooked.
Please admire the power cord within her boughs.

Although my plastic Christmas tree appears to have scoliosis, it holds a special place in my home. 

Three months after I got married, I went for a summer, pre-dinner run. About a quarter mile in, as I was huffing and puffing up a hill, I spotted a lonely, fake Christmas tree sitting on the curb waiting for the garbage man to sentence it to the landfill. I immediately called my husband to share the news. He was just as excited as I was. As I waited for him to swing by on his way home from work, I guarded my prized possession from other crazed, 20-something-year-old newlyweds who would surely fight to the death for a Christmas tree in July. Fortunately, I got into no altercations.

Michael eventually arrived and we shoved the thing into the back of our Honda Accord. If you had been in the neighborhood that hot summer day, you would have seen a gleeful young woman wearing a goofy grin, sprinting downhill trying to keep up with a man driving, trunk wide open with a Christmas tree sticking out the back.

For the next four months, the tree sat in the corner of the bedroom in our teeny one bedroom apartment until it came out on Thanksgiving weekend in all its crooked Christmas glory. That December, while shopping at Target, I saw a display of fake Christmas trees. I spotted one that looked the most like mine and took a peak at the price tag. $100! Christie for the win.

Three weeks ago, we brought out the crooked tree for its second Christmas.

Michael & Christie :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Baked Apples

My day began with the biannual ritual of laying to rest an entire semester’s worth of classes. After organizing/pitching all my files and papers, the upcoming holiday beckoned me out into the dreary weather to make some progress in my Christmas shopping.

My day ended with something yummy: baked apples. Try them out for yourself. They are very simple, delicious, cheap, and healthy as far as desserts go. Sounds like my kind of food.

A recipe in pictures:

Take some apples.

mmm...apples. Heat the oven to 350.

Core them. (To me, "core" is a fancy word for getting a knife and
removing some of the insides. I don't know if that's right)

Get sugar (brown or white) and butter.

Put a little bit of sugar in the apples.
Then a small pad of butter.
Then pack in more sugar until they are full.

Put about 1/2 cup of water in the dish and seal it shut with a lid or with aluminum foil.
Bake for 20 minutes covered and then 20 more uncovered.

Mmm... a great end to a dreary winter day.
Two for me, one for my husband!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Identity Crisis(ito)

I don’t like it when people blog about blogging. It feels too circular. But, I guess it’s inevitable:

I think I am going through a mini blog identity crisis. Here are the three problems:
  1. What should my blog look like? I have made numerous, drastic changes to the design of my blog since its inception about 7 weeks ago. This is definitely a visible indicator of my blog’s inner turmoil. The only constant part has been the name which is so random and noncommittal that sticking to it isn’t too much of an accomplishment. :-)
  2. What is the point of my blog anyway? I was primarily inspired by two friends’ blogs and the way that they make me feel closer to them despite the miles separating us. With friends and family scattered across the world, I thought it would be fun to share scattered snippets of my life with them. Plus, I thought it would be plain old fun to look back over the weeks, months, maybe even years of memories. So, for the past weeks, I have posted whatever struck my fancy that day resulting in a blog that truly lives up to its name. My little snippets are scattered across topics ranging from food to music to faith to school to hobbies. Isn’t that a little too crazy? But, then again, it is a true indication of what goes on in this little noggin’ of mine.
  3. I feel straight up uncomfortable having my stuff on the internet. At first, it was fun to watch my little blog get hits, but as the hits climbed to 100, 200, 300, and beyond, I started to feel uncomfortable not knowing who on earth was reading it! When I see hits in Japan, Netherlands Antilles, and Canada, (I think) I know exactly which friends and family are reading it. But, Denmark?! And the UK?! I don’t think I am friends with any Danish or British people. Correct me if I am wrong.
So all that goes to say: I am not quitting on this blogging thing. I’m just confused. We shall see what this little hobby evolves into…

Please feel free to leave comments, suggestions, criticisms, or advice on any of the above!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Currently Hooked On...

...this video. Check out what these three enormously talented young people did to a mediocre hiphop song. I have watched it about half a dozen times and I still cannot help smiling because they are so musically gifted. And almost 4 million views in 2 weeks! YouTube really is the new American Idol. Enough of my words. Now listen to them:

Friday, December 3, 2010

Why I Do What I Do

If you want to learn more about why I am in law school, check out this essay that I recently wrote for an application for a scholarship offered by the Jesuit community at my school.

"In the United States and across the globe, there is an astounding disparity between the rich and the poor. This disparity affects all aspects of life, especially access to justice. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I am convinced that every human being is created in God’s image and is immeasurably valuable. The legal profession beckons me to steer my career path toward money, prestige, success, and other entitlements. However, I long to model my career path after my hero and savior, Jesus Christ, who knew the truth about the value of the human soul and gave up all of his entitlements to serve the world. As an attorney, it is my desire, and my joy, to give up the usual notion of success in pursuit of truly serving others by providing legal services to individuals who have historically been denied access to justice. Allow me to highlight a few milestones that illustrate concrete ways that I have positively realized this vision for my life.

High school trip to Brazil, where it all began at an incredible little center that ministers to street children.
But, that's another story for another time.

Two years into my college education, I spent a summer in Sierra Leone, West Africa. I lived with a Sierra Leonean family in the country’s capital for seven weeks while volunteering as an intern with the all African staff of the Evangelical Fellowship of Sierra Leone. The Sierra Leoneans I lived and worked with generously taught me their culture and took me along on various trips to different parts of the country where I experienced life in West African villages. I had taken many classes at USC related to poverty and the developing world. My summer in Sierra Leone took my education out of the classroom and into real life as I interacted with the complexities of poverty, war, disease, malnutrition, and development through the eyes of the Sierra Leoneans that I befriended. The experience was truly life changing.

At the end of college, I decided to join Teach for America to continue in my pursuit of social justice. As a middle school Science teacher, I learned about the educational inequality plaguing cities across the United States. By the end of the year, I was well aware of the need for quality teachers in urban and rural communities, but I was also deeply aware of the need for broader societal change. I began to seriously consider studying law.

I joined AmeriCorps to work at an after-school program for homeless children in Los Angeles’ skid row. This job further equipped me for a career in public interest law by exposing me to the myriad social issues that affected my students’ families. I also learned a lot about the difficulties of service professions. I interacted daily with children who had severe behavioral issues and adults with drug addictions and mental health problems. Walking the filthy streets of skid row, avoiding cockroaches and rats was a part of my work day. These conditions stripped public interest law of any glorified ideas of bringing sweeping change to a community. I am well aware that working as a public interest attorney is difficult work. However, my job was also sprinkled with daily reminders of the importance and impact of this work. I remember a mom’s appreciative hug for my investment in her child’s academic and spiritual life. I enjoyed frequent conversations with various individuals living on the streets as I walked to and from my car. Most of all, I was encouraged by my conviction that God cared deeply about the work that I was doing and that He was working alongside me for social change.

It is an incredible privilege to be in the process of earning my JD from Loyola Law School. I have enjoyed applying my growing legal skills to public interest law. I volunteered as a summer law clerk with Public Counsel’s Adoptions Project. For the first time, I was able to combine my legal education with my passion for social justice as I represented parents adopting children out of the foster care system. I am currently enrolled in Loyola’s Youth Justice Education Clinic where I advocate for three clients’ special education needs.

My belief in the intrinsic worth of every individual leads me to conclude that the lack of legal services among those who have been historically marginalized by society is a tragedy. My Christian faith has called me to a career in public interest law and a life of serving valuable individuals who lack access to justice."

THE END! Thanks for making it to the end and learning more about why I do what I do.

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