Monday, June 30, 2008

Dani California's New Home

To my faithful readers, dear friends and loyal fan base (thanks, mom and dad,) -

After attempting to fulfill the creative need and justify my journalism degree by participating in the blogosphere for almost four years, I've decided to really get serious about this. Well, sort of. But I did buy a domain, and I am going to see where this little blogging adventure takes me. So, please come see me at:

...where I will continue to beguile you with tales of my life and bulleted lists of my favorite things.

Thank you for your faithful readership, your friendship, and for continuing to like me even when I lose the filter and just keep writing past my better judgment.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Hello, my friends. It's Friday. That means that I'm in that crazy-tired, can't-wait-to-go-home, but-still-kinda-actually-have-a-lot-to-do-at-work funk that leaves only one option for my over-caffeinated brain. Blogging is the answer. Always.

Val did a "stream-of-consciousness" blog last night, and I daresay that it was not only entertaining, but I'm sure very therapeutic. So here goes:

On Monday night, Adam pushed me through CostCo on one of those giant flat carts, designed for coffee tables and work-out sets, but also perfect for girls with hurt feet. It was actually really fun. "Turn here! I want fruit! And a gallon of soap! Stop!" He got to have some fun too, riding up and down the aisles on a mountain bike and defending me from slightly creepy old men who asked how much I cost.

While at CostCo, I bought two pounds of shampoo and conditioner. That's right. I have TWO 1 lb. bottles, who are now lording it over the little drugstore-sized containers in my shower. "Ha. We're from CostCo. We could smash with our beauty, cheapness and weight, you little pedestrian hair care products. We were only eight dollars a piece. Beat that!" When I bought these snobby big containers, Adam looked at me like I was crazy. "You're really going to use ALL this?!" Honey. They are EIGHT DOLLARS. For roughly six months of clean, great-smelling hair and bonus arm-work-outs every morning in the shower? Yes. I'll take two.

This morning, when I packed my lunch, I realized that I have a crisis on my hands. I'm OUT OF DIET COKE. Yes. This is a very serious plight, and I don't think I can go on with my weekend plans until it's resolved.

Also this morning, I went to pour delicious, hot coffee into my travel mug, but no coffee came out. I had forgotten to actually put COFFEE in the coffee-maker, (kind of an important step,) so I got a mug of hot water and cream. Ew. I lasted about 10 minutes at my desk before I had to go to Starbucks.

I was informed on Wednesday that I'm moving my desk. I keep expecting an army of IT guys to pop around the corner any minute and move me, but they never do... old desks and monitors and cables and fans and office furniture just keep piling around me. I figure pretty soon they'll forget about me and I can use all this discarded furniture to build a fort. I can even use a rope ladder to get in and out and defend it from the rest of the office with Nerf guns. That's way better than a usable desk, any day.

The other night we went to dinner with Adam's cousins, (Brent, Kim and Jill,) Mom (Karen) and Ashley, and it was a blast. We got gelato afterwards and heard hilarious stories about the Nichols/Zakaryan childhood experience. We also realized that several things are weird about Texas, including, but not limited to: Bridal portraits, wedding/engagement announcements in the paper, Mums, Texas highschool Homecoming in general, and property owners in Lone Oak.

Tomorrow is Adam's and my first-ever Engagement Party.* I'm so excited to get to officially celebrate... BECAUSE WE'RE GETTING MARRIED. I know! Isn't it great? I can't believe it either.

*Thanks again to Brent and Kim for hosting. I'm so excited to get to be part of such a cool family.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Forgetting to Worry

Adam: "It'll be OK. Why are you upset?"
Me: "Hi. I'm your fiancee, who is given to desperate sorrow and vehement proclamations that all is lost."
Adam: "All is not lost, Dani! Hang on!"
To which I laugh, and do hang on, and all is not lost, in fact, it's so very far from lost that I recognize my own propensity for such doom and gloom as completely ridiculous.

I know I'm a worrier. I know it's lame. I know I need to buck up, cheer up, move on and stop being dumb. But sometimes, the best medicine for a stupid illness is just a little distraction. So here, my friends. Enjoy:

Teen Girl Squad - 14

Scantron Armor..... ASSEMBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Curbs with Trees

So, Saturday night I broke my foot. Well, I didn't break it per se, but it gets me more sympathy if I say that. I was walking out of CostCo, so dejected that it had closed moments before so I couldn't buy a box of granola bars the size of a large microwave, that I didn't look where I was going, and totally ate it.

You know those curbs in parking lots, with the tree in the middle? Yeah. I hate those now. I think I stepped in it or over it or something, but whatever it was, it was not successful. The best part is, I fell against an expensive-looking SUV, who immediately started alarming in protest, fell back against Rocky, who just shared some his dirt with my shoulder, and hit the ground, feeling sexy and oh-so-awesome. Then I noticed that my foot hurt. I figured I'd just made it unhappy with all this falling around, and my upbringing has taught me nothing if not the mantra "walk it off".

So walk it off I did. Trouble was, it didn't really "walk off". I was mid-Target, staring stupidly at a display of half-price throws, wondering why on earth I was there and why my right foot was still attached. I finally left with random assortment of pain-induced cravings and nothing that I had originally planned to go there for. For instance, nothing would do but to buy a Towel for Two and some breakfast sausage. I don't know.

Anyway, I made it home on Cruise Control, (stupid me, didn't even think about the Advil in my console, but suffered drug-less,) and as soon as I got up the stairs, fell on the couch and cried.
I called my mom and dad, part of which made me feel better, ("you'll be OK, use ice, take Advil,") but part of which made me feel more alone, and sorry for myself for being alone. Then I called Adam and promptly cried into his voicemail and felt more alone. He called back later and I cried again. It sucked.

The next day it was so much worse that I decided a field trip to an x-ray machine was in order. Thank God for Brent and Kim, who kept me laughing and waited three hours in the ER waiting room without complaint. They even stopped at Starbucks on our way... people after my own heart.

(Oh, side story about the ER. It's inherently dramatic. Seriously. When we got there, an older man with a large bloody bandage around his neck was screaming into the windows that seperate the lobby from the nurses - "There's injured people out here! Come out and see us!" To which an eerily empty back room did not respond. Apparently they were short-staffed and didn't her the buzzer... rather normal - but if it had been a midnight Thursday instead of a sunny Sunday morning, it would have been decidely horror-movie-esque. Anyways.)

I finally got x-rayed by a short Philipino man with a thick accent and a sense of humor. When he asked me for my last name (which is, for those who don't know, great fun to confuse telemarketers with, but on the flip side, tough for the rest of the world, too,) he nodded at my ring. "Bet you'll be glad to trade that name in," he said, smiling at me.

Finally, I heard that it was not broken. (Hallelujah!) but maybe hairline fractured, or maybe just sprained in a way that only a klutz of mythical propensity could accomplish. They sent me off with advice to take painkiller (duh) and ice it.

Kim tried to talk me into a "fashion cane" at CVS, but none of her royal-blue-checkered whiles would fool me. Brent also thought that icing my eyes might be just the ticket, but once again I held firm in my resolve to be normal. (ha.)

When Adam got home, he took good care of me, bringing me anything I needed, worrying as only the famous eyebrows can, and ordering in Pizza and Heineken, which completely hit the spot and healed it by leaps and bounds on first bite.

The moral of this story is:
Look out for curbs with trees in them. Very dangerous.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Just the word itself makes me cringe. Lonely speaks of a silent telephone, entering a crowded room and remaining anonymous, of small joys and unshared hopes. It's one thing to have a dream, it's another to share it with a trusted confidant, and feel the edges of it draw nearer by the encouragement and anticipation of a joint hope.

I don't mind being alone - I am an introvert by nature - but I hate loneliness. Everybody has seasons of solitude, times when they see the world differently because they are actually taking time to see, rather than rush through. I believe that we know ourselves better alone than in the light and sparkle of a crowd, so loneliness has its place.

When we move to a new place, enter a new job, end a relationship... loneliness always follows. It's natural, but made no less difficult by that uncomfortable fact, and some of my darkest times have been the lonely ones.

You might be wondering why I'm writing about loneliness. I've written many times about my wonderful friends, near and far, and I recently got engaged to the love of my life. Those who are in a season of real, daily loneliness are rolling their eyes and mentally calling me names for even bringing it up. I get that. And I'm sorry for being a wuss.

I'm writing this becuase loneliness has been on my mind - more becuase I'm trying to figure out why it bothers me so much than anything. This weekend, most of my OC friends and my fiance (still love that word) are going out of town for a retreat, and I can't go. I won't bore you with the details, but basically they've all been on a ministry team for a while that I wasn't chosen to join, and that team is leaving for a weekend away.

Now, it's not the end of the world, it's one weekend. I promise I'm not completely incapable of taking care of myself for 2 1/2 days. But, despite all that, this forced solitude bothers me. I know there will be inside jokes and memories made that I will know nothing about. And I hate the thought of Old Dani, who gained weight becuase there was nothing better to do, and was too insecure to say hello but didn't want to leave after church becuase she needed a friend but was scared to ask. I know I won't become an emotional wreck in a weekend, but I don't even want to see that side of me. I know that I've grown enough to have left the majority of that thought-life behind, but even the remnants are distasteful.

I know there's a good, healthy part to all this. I know that if I choose to embrace rather than wallow, I can write and design and revel in a few free days to let loose the Muse and treasure the solitude. I know that my friends and fiance will love me regardless of whether or not I'm included on everything, and that my worth is not measured by my popularity or my weekend excitement level.

That's the truth.

So come here, Lonely. Put your feet up, stay a while. I know this isn't the last time we'll hang out, so I better learn to enjoy your company and see what good can come of it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Chillaxin' (in list form, of course!)

My roommate Julie(tte) came into town last week. We had a blast together, going to LA and eating out and laughing and trying on dresses and reminiscing and kayaking and reading Bridal magazines on the beach. She also took some awesome engagement pictures of my hot fiance and I, which I promise I will post soon, along with all our other sweet shots.

However, since I love the Blog List so dearly and I'd rather write about my roommate-vacay than do anything else, here's the abbreviated breakdown, by the numbers:

75 - miles round-trip to Hollywood and back
60 - dollars of fun money, thanks to our very-much-missed Valerie
4 - new shirts for me, thanks to Julie's impeccable fashion sense
2 - trips to In-N-Out
3 - days laying on the beach
300-something - great engagement pictures
1 - fantastic new lipstick, aptly named: "I do! I do! I do!"
11ty-jillion - times we missed our other roommates
5 - delicious forays to JC Beans
2 - fish tacos each from Pedro's
1 - great Italian meal at Sonny's
7 - bridesmaid dresses tried on
3 - favorite bridal gowns
4 - gerber daisies for the Bower
2 - hours kayaking in the sunshine
6 - days with my Roommate

Best line of the weekend: "You're gonna be Adam's wife and somebody's mom (someday), but it doesn't matter - you'll always be Roommate." ~Jules

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Story

I'm sure that most of you have heard The Proposal Story, and if you haven't, you don't want to because you're either disenchanted with the whole "love" thing, totally happy single and thus unimpressed, or just getting along and doing your best to avoid bitter diatribes at "freaking save the date cards".

(No offense, Annie, I've felt the same way in the past and thought it was too classic not to share. :)

Anyways. The point I'm trying to make is this - I realize that this post is probably completely unnecessary, but I'm going to write it anyway, if nothing else, so I won't forget the little things that make it special.

So. The Friday of Memorial Day weekend, I was supposed to be working a half-day from home. It started out stormy, and the workday was matching the weather with all the gloomy-ness it could muster. It was going horribly and because of the storm, my internet kept cutting out. I'm getting more and more upset as I realize that, not only am I running late, I am running late for a CAMPING TRIP IN THE RAIN. I love camping and all that, but I am not a hard-core mountaineer. I am also very prone to being cold, and once I'm cold, I'm very prone to being miserable. So. Adam came over at the appropriate time, only to find me still hunched over my laptop, getting more miserable by the minute. Being the good sport that he is, he assured me it would be fine, let me finish my work and even bought me a latte on our way out of town - a sure bet to make me smile again.

So, we got up to Sequoia, and it was cold. But it was OK, we had a great dinner with the other early birds, hung out by the fire, and I was feeling pretty cheerful about the whole thing. The next day, I kept bugging Adam to go for a hike. He didn't really seem like he wanted to, which was weird, but luckily for him, he was leading the camp-out, so that gave him an out. Later in the day, he mentioned that he wanted to go for a hike "just the two of us" on Sunday. I thought it was weird that he was planning something that he hadn't wanted to do all of an hour earlier, but I just thought he was being weird.

Saturday night, our friends Phil and Kirsten and Nate and Lindsay showed up. Phil and Adam went off on a random hike and were gone FOREVER. Kirsten and I wondered what the deal was, but we didn't think about it too much.

It started snowing that night. Lindsay, Kirst and I all snuggled in my itty-bitty backpacking tent and had girl-talk. They both are engaged, and hearing them talk about their plans with such assuredness made me wonder if Adam and I would have that someday.

(Also, Before we went to bed, Adam asked if I wanted to just wake up on my own or set an alarm. I thought that was weird, too, normally he's so relaxed about that kind of thing.)

The next day (still snowing/raining) we hung out by the fire and had some coffee, than Adam came over to me sort of sneakily and asked if I was ready to go. As we left, I asked if we shouldn't tell somebody where we were going. "I told Phil and Rocky last night," Adam assured me. Again, weird. Also, why on earth was he carrying such a big backpack for a little hike? Where were we going, anyway?

He said it was just some breakfast stuff, and I believed him. Looking back, I just swallowed a lot of things that were definitely fishy.

We hiked for a while on this beautiful trail through the woods. I did turn around a time or two to see if Phil was following. I figured if Adam was proposing, Phil would be in on it with a camera... but he wasn't, and Adam seemed nonchalant about looking around the forest, so I put it the proposal idea out of my head. The whole time it was sort of misting/snowing/raining, but we were working hard and didn't mind. We got to some pretty deep snow and decided that our boots weren't quite up to that (I've worn mine since high school) and we turned around and found a big stump in a pretty area to sit on.

Adam said he brought me out there to tell me all the reasons why he loved me. He pulled out a piece of notebook paper and started telling me all these things and read a scripture. It was very special, and I thought he was just being sweet for our one year anniversary. After he'd finished, we sat there for a minute, but I, being the practical girl that I am, suggested that we break open his backpack o' breakfast.

"I have one question I have to ask you first," he said, at which point it started hailing and I started hyperventilating, saying yes over and over, as he got down on one knee (in the snow!) and pulled out the ring. I teared up and said yes again.

He had packed a whopper of a celebratory breakfast, complete with prosciutto, cheese, fruit, yogurts, hummus, pita chips, crackers, bread, brie and champagne and OJ for mimosas. We made mimosas in our Nalgene, (in his hurry, Adam had forgotten the flutes, which we decided was sort of appropriate anyway) and had an AMAZING breakfast together, despite the cold.

We took some pictures and walked back to camp, where Phil happened to be waiting in the parking lot for us. He got Kirsten, Nate and Lindsay, and us girls did an awesome screaming engaged jumping dance.

All day was euphoric, and even though the weather got so bad that we had to pack up and head home that night, we still had the best engaged day ever, and tried our best to slip the word "fiance" into every possible sentence. Actually, I'm pretty sure we still do that. Or at least I do.

I love Adam because he's my best friend as well as my love. He knew exactly what would make me happy in a proposal, and he did so fantastic at it.

Here's us on our stump, just after he asked: