A Good Relaxing Cuppa Joe

Sparkly coffee
I like this filter on my old camera :o)
Sunday. On what better day can International Coffee Day fall?  Whether you just got back from church or just woke up, it’s the perfect day to make yourself a cup and relax.  Local coffee shops are (usually) already relaxing anyway, but on a Sunday it’s everyday relaxation in its most perfected form.  (Considering that I don’t regard things such as spa days or hot springs as “everyday” relaxation — unless you live in a place like Iceland or Japan.)

Introvert Spotlight: Jim Halpert

–I will say right now that there are several spoilers from The Office in this post.  But come on, the show ended three years ago.–

While I was reading the book Quiet by Susan Cain last year, I was also watching a lot of The Office.  Not only was I starting to evaluate people in the real world to guess/estimate their introvert/extrovert level, but I was doing the same with the characters on that show.

Just like in real life, some were obvious, and some were tough to determine.  However, I think my favourite introvert example on The Office is Jim Halpert.  Quite a master of his introversion, he copes with working in an open-plan office by escaping to chat with the receptionist, and pulling pranks on his desk mate.

I don’t know if his parents were introverts or understanding extroverts, but his big brothers are obvious extroverts who picked on him his whole life.  I’m sure that because of them, Jim learned early on how to sharpen his wit, think on his feet, and deal with difficult extroverts overall.  This becomes apparent when he deals with his co-workers, especially Dwight.  My favourite example is when Dwight finds out that the Michael Scott Paper Company is broke.  Dwight rushes to tell the boss, and Jim doesn’t hesitate to follow him.  The way Jim so quickly comes up with things to say to discredit Dwight, so that Charles doesn’t believe him, just blows my mind.

Credit: wifflegif.com
Credit: wifflegif.com

Parties.  It can be one of the most dreaded and draining things to an introvert.  Jim not only attends and makes the best of it, but he’s figured out the best way to be at a party as little as possible while making sure people don’t realise it.

Though Jim isn’t an INFJ -T like I am (I’m pretty sure he’s an ISTP-A), and he’s a fictional character, I tend to see him as the “perfect” introvert.  He has figured out pretty well how to survive and thrive in an extroverted world.  He did very well as co-manager, for the short time he was one.  He’s not afraid to go for his dreams, whether it be Pam, talking to David Wallace about being manager, or helping to start Athlead/Athleap.  But, he also takes opportunities to leave the crowd.

This particular introvert may be fictional (though he reminds me almost exactly of someone I know in real life), but I think he’s an example of one type of “perfect” introvert — the kind that isn’t swayed or held back by the opinions and ways of the extroverted world.

Here’s to you, Jim. 🍻

Credit: theodysseyonline.com

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“True Stories — We Made Up” (Book Review)


Once in a lifetime a book comes along that will change the course of your life, and shoot you soaring into the atmosphere with your dreams. This is not that book.
(Excerpt from the book’s back cover.)

We’ve all been there.  Something ordinary happens in our life as a child, but our sheer excitement and pure emotions exaggerate it in our innocent minds.  You’re granted a minor confidence boost that gives you bonafide super powers.  Channeling Michael Jordan as you slam dunk into your Little Tikes basketball hoop.  Your favourite toy breaks, and it is the literal END OF THE WORLD.

THAT is what this book is.  True stories from childhood hilariously exaggerated as a child would see them.  My relationship with books is complicated, but this is one book I simply could not put down.

I still can’t get over the part about a seemingly impossible victory in a backyard baseball game where the 11-year-old protagonist bumped chests with his brother, “instantly forming a rippling six pack.”1  I couldn’t finish the story for at least another day (but realistically, five minutes), because the laughing brought me to my knees.

If you want a book to read that will not only hold your attention, but make you laugh and reminisce at the same time, THIS IS THAT BOOK!


True Stories - We Made UpTrue Stories – We Made Up by Michael Johnson, David Beebe II, Chris Johnson
★★★★half star 4.62

“True Stories – We Made Up” is a collection of short stories based on the lives of three authors: Michael Johnson, David Brett Beebe II, and Chris Johnson. There are mention of bears, the mark of the beast, superheroes, and maybe even a few miracles. (read more)

1 Page 181.

Staring At the Sun. Literally.

–First published on kurithevegantraveller.wordpress.com.–

The Great American Eclipse is coming up in August next year (2017).  It’s the first total solar eclipse to touch only the United States in its entire 240-year history as an independent nation.  (First “Brexit,” anyone?  No?  OK…)

The predicted path of the total solar eclipse.

I’d had eclipse glasses in my Amazon wish list for at least a year before I finally purchased them shortly after moving to my current house.  They’ve been sitting in a safe place for the last few months, but I finally decided to try them out recently.

I get creeped out pretty easily with seeing normal things differently in real life.  My first dream job was to be an astronaut so I could go to the moon, but one night when I was about six I saw the moon look giant in the sky and it scared me out of being an astronaut.  (I still have no idea why it appeared to be giant, because all of the usual explanations don’t apply.  It was high in the sky, white, and nearly a week past full.)  So in my back yard, right before I put on the glasses, I braced myself for what I was about to see.

Nothing.  Completely black everywhere.  No reflections, no sunlight, no anything.  The ONLY thing that was shown through the glasses was the surface of the sun itself.

eclipse glasses view
An illustrated representation, but it looks exactly like what I saw.

There it was in the midst of its pitch black surroundings: a flawless, goldenrod, perfect circle.  I even tried taking a picture of it with my phone through the glasses, but the phone’s camera kept insisting that there had to be white somewhere and tried to colour balance.  (Although, it does say right on the glasses that they’re only to be used with eyes, not “cameras, telescopes or binoculars.”)

But I stared at that circle.  That apparent little thing in the sky is the giant powerhouse of the solar system.  Just past aphelion, it was about 152 million kilometres (94.5 million miles) away from me.  From the moment “sunlight” is created in its core, it takes hundreds of thousands of years for it to reach the surface of the sun, then just under 8.5 minutes from there to here.  It’s the source of the horrible heat I was feeling to my core (amplified by the day’s 61% humidity), and of all the life in the solar system.  While it looked like a completely calm and perfect circle in the sky, it’s raging with fission and plasma inside and out, and could easily wipe out life on earth if it really wanted to.  (Though hopefully that doesn’t happen until its scheduled time in about 5 billion years.)

It didn’t make me feel small.  I just took a moment to see the sun for what it is.

The awful picture taken with my phone.

I just want to encourage you to go out and “smell the roses” today.  Stop and find something to appreciate, scientifically or otherwise.  Find something you take for granted or overlook every day, and just take a moment to appreciate it for what it is.  The feel of a leaf, the formation of a cloud, your own heartbeat.  Everything has its beauty.


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30 Day Movie Challenge 2 – Day 24



Day 24: A Movie That Inspires/Encourages Your Dreams


The Secret Life of Walter Mitty


walter mitty
Credit: schuylkillbanks.org


My choice for this category fits in both the sense of life goals, and that of daydreaming!  As an introvert who loves to live in her inner world, but also enjoys a good real life adventure, I couldn’t resist choosing this movie.

Walter Mitty is a man who spends enough time fantasising that it often disrupts his mundane real life.  Eventually, though, when his livelihood is at stake, he goes on a grand adventure to save it.

It makes for a good reminder not only to dream, but to live.


What movie inspires or encourages your dreams (however you want to take it)?


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30 Day Movie Challenge 2 – Day 4



Day 4: Favourite Disney Movie


Big Hero 6


I have several favourites, but the only reason this was easy was because I was able to pair my other favourite Disney movies with other topics on this 30 Day Movie Challenge.

As usual, I like each and every character for different reasons, but honestly, I want a Baymax.  My very own Baymax.  When I’m sick, he’ll know exactly what’s wrong and how to fix it.  He’d be my cuddle buddy — like a walking, talking teddy bear.  Et cetera.

I’ve admitted it before, but I’m glad that Disney bought Marvel.  We’ll cover that in another post.



What’s your favourite Disney movie?


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#TBT – Non-Mummy’s Mother’s Day

This entry was originally posted on a blog I was writing back in early 2012.  I recently had reason to go back and look for something in that blog, and I thought I’d share this again here.  And yes, I wrote this post before I became vegan.

This was quite a busy and fun weekend.  Friday, all of us girls in the family here got our nails done together.  Saturday, I helped retrieve the Edible Arrangement for a baby shower my sister-in-law hosted.  –I’m not a huge pineapple fan, but it’s amazing covered in chocolate 😉–  I then went with my mother-in-law to help in the nursery at a church.

Sunday.  Mother’s Day.  I took my “son” to the Renaissance Festival at the Castle of Muskogee.  He’s only nine years my junior, but he’s always looked at least 5 years older than his actual age.  (He’s not biologically mine.)

Because he looks like an adult, I’ve recently been carded to be sure I was over 16, and it was just the two of us, he got a lot of “girlfriend” comments.  I threw a couple of them for a loop by correcting them with “mother.”  It was hilarious!  One guy suddenly stopped walking, and with an über confused look on his face, was like, “What?”

Another guy selling flowers motioned the basket toward him and said, “Hint! Hint!”  I pointed at Son and said, “Son!”  The man’s first reaction was, “Well, hey, it’s Mother’s Day!  You gave him life; the least he can do is give you a flower.”  Then, our appearances clicked in his head and he said something to the extent of, “Wait, how are you his mom?”  I just laughed and told the truth: that he’s way younger than he looks and I’m way older than I look.  Then, he said, “Now I definitely believe that!”

Sadly, of course, my brain didn’t come up with a comeback to the other comments until it was too late.  One was “That girl in the blue is much better looking than the one you had with you last week!”  Wish I would have thought at the time to say, “I’m flattered that you think his mother is more beautiful than his girlfriend!”

Even in the Elder Scrolls and Fable games, I always stop to listen to the bards.
Anyway, the Ren Faire is always so much fun, even though most of the time we’re just walking around and looking at overpriced items in the shops.  However, there was a small shop we finally wandered into that had items for far less coin than others.  I walked away with a mid-length cloak for $38 (instead of about $180 for a full-length), and we both got awesome-looking hoods for $12 each.  The one thing I wanted to buy for my costume (a ruffled skirt to go over my dress) was $250.  I’d only brought $160 🙁.  At least now I’m more motivated to make it myself, haha.

After walking around in the rising temperatures and bright sunlight for 5 1/2 hours, we decided it was time to head home.  Since it was the last day of frappuccino happy hour at Starbucks, and still 30 minutes left in it, we headed there so I could get my fix.  I was expecting it to be packed, and we would have to be brave among the stares in our cosplay, but there were only about four people inside.  The only one who said anything about the costumes was the lady in front of us in line and we talked about the Ren Faire for a bit.

They can’t even spell my fake name right, haha.
When ordering my drink, I gave them my character name (Amaryllis) to put on the cup.  Just one last Renaissance Festival moment to enjoy before I called it a day.  I was spent… and I so want to go back!

Holiday Traditions

I grew up never really considering my family as having any holiday traditions. I just thought everything we did was pretty normal across the board for other families, at least Christian or Italian families.  (I never really embraced my British side until I got married and lost my Italian surname.)

Later, in my teens, we did start some traditions. On Labor Day and Memorial Day, we would play some sort of calm outdoor sport. Badminton, bocce ball, croquet; that sort of stuff.

Bocce ball. Credit: thedayofgames.com
Bocce ball. Credit: thedayofgames.com

However, now that I’ve been out of my parents’ house, and married for several years, I’ve discovered that everything we did was our holiday traditions.

Christmas Eve, Dad would dress up as Santa (we always knew it was him, and he knew it) and give us one present to open, and later he would read about the birth of Jesus from the book of Luke. When I was a kid, we’d all wake up the next morning and tear into all our presents. Mum took most of the pictures. After everything was opened Dad assembled the toys that needed it, and would likely realise he forgot to buy batteries.

Starting around the time my sister was born, we’d trek to Oklahoma to share Christmas with my maternal granddad. We joined him for every Christmas, Independence Day (his favourite American holiday), and starting with his 70th, his birthday, until he passed away in 2004.


The first Christmas not going to visit Gampa felt weird. It was our only real Christmas tradition, in my eyes, and we’d have to figure out what to do now. It didn’t take long. As Bro and I got older, the presents we wanted got more expensive, so we didn’t have as many as our still young sister. We soon started going one at a time opening our presents.

Oh yeah, and before opening presents, we’d sing a few carols (all Christ-based, of course) and pray, thanking God for our provisions and the ability to celebrate Christmas with gifts.

Long story short (I know — too late), our current traditions (with Hubby’s family) are definitely blatant, as far as I’m concerned. Everyone takes turns playing Black Ops zombies on Christmas Eve as we await midnight.  That’s when we open presents, one at a time.  After presents, we stay up late (anywhere from 2-4 am) playing Apples to Apples, and maybe more zombies.

Everyone’s favourite zombie map in Black Ops 2

What made me think of this topic is that this year will be different again. It’s the first Christmas without my father-in-law, as he passed away in May. It was already decided long before he died, but we’re all going to Dallas to spend Christmas at my brother-in-law’s house instead of Tulsa. While most things will remain the same, especially zombies, we’ve all also agreed that no one needs presents. Everyone’s getting them, of course, from at least one person, but we’re not making it a big deal.

This year, I’ve decided to celebrate my birthday on Christmas Day.  The only reason for this is that I want to celebrate it with the family, and that’s the only day we’re all guaranteed to be there.  I have ordered an epic cake :).  I think it’s epic, anyway, but not as epic as the one I almost ordered — a spherical cake that looks like Mars.  I was never fully set on that, so I changed it to something simpler that I know I will love, and so will others.  At least the gamers will.


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Help Send Teens to Space Camp!

(This post is not sponsored.)

It’s always been a dream of mine to go to space camp.  The one time I was presented the information on the actual program (the last year I would have been able to as a teenager), I wasn’t able to go.  I didn’t know that scholarships existed for anything other than university tuition.

Especially because I was never able to go, I want to give others the opportunity to do so.  You can help by buying a T-shirt or sweater through 18 October, 2015, and/or donating directly to The Mars Generation.  More details in the video; full details via the links below.

The Mars Generation is a non-profit organisation geared toward exciting youth about space and STEM, and spreading the word about the importance of space exploration.


T-Shirt Campaign:


Astronaut Abby on Twitter: @AstronautAbby
The Mars Generation on Twitter: @TheMarsGen


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Historical Stargazing

(This post is not sponsored.)

I’ve always loved to look into the positions of planets, constellations, and other astronomical bodies during certain times and events in history.  When I was 15, I even did a time-lapse representation of how far the planets had actually travelled during my lifetime.

Cyan = Jupiter Fuchsia = Saturn Blue = Uranus Olive = Neptune Grey = Pluto
Cyan = Jupiter
Fuchsia = Saturn
Blue = Uranus
Olive = Neptune
Grey = Pluto

Nowadays, I love to use apps on my iPad. (My favourite is Sky Guide, but the images in this post are from SkyView. Both are linked at the bottom.)  There’s so much info available at our fingertips it’s amazing!  I don’t know if it had been just added, but I didn’t discover until about a month ago that you can set the date and time in the SkyView app!  My first instinct, of course, was to see how the sky looked the moment I was born, from the place I was born.  I found enough irony and coincidence that I wanted to share.

Let me take you back to December of 19*cough cough*, at 0653 local time.  The sun’s threatening to rise as this girl makes her grand entrance, surprising a couple of new parents with the fact that all the blue things they’d bought for me would have to do 😋.

(Note: The red line is the horizon.)

Saturn, my favourite extra-terrestrial planet in our solar system, has arrived just in time to welcome me, seemingly holding the hand of her curious little brother Mercury.  Scorpius, my favourite zodiacal constellation (though not my “sign”), is also making it to the party.  Uranus and Neptune trail close behind; “fashionably late” to make sure they don’t arrive too soon, thus avoiding awkward small talk.  Obviously, the masters of their introversion.

Betelgeuse and Orion have barely escaped my arrival as they set.  I guess The Hunter knew I’d be a vegan one day 😄😜.

Bonus shots:

Quite a spectacle is near its maximum, though far below the horizon at 0653, as Jupiter and Mars would reach the peak of their conjunction the next day.
Meanwhile, Virgo steps on Pluto as Venus watches from nearby.

Download the Sky Guide app from the iTunes Store:
Full version

Download the SkyView app from the iTunes Store:
Full version
Free version

Download the SkyView app from Google Play:
Full version
Free version