Friday, December 29, 2006

"Down in the west Texas town of..."

I had to work today, even though most of my office mates were out for various reasons (which all translated into either "I'm AT the football game" or "I'm watching the football game"). The four of us left turned up the radio and kept an ear on the OSU game today. The thing that struck me most was the announcer. Where did OSU win it's game today? "Down in the west Texas town of El Paso!" Where were they broadcasting live from today? "Down in the west Texas town of El Paso!" Could the announcer say that he was in El Paso, Texas, just once without quoting Marty Robbins' song? I grew up listening to Marty Robbins, and while I'm not into country music on the whole anymore, there is some that I do like. As for the announcer, well, I really wanted to yell out, "Down in the west Texas town of shut the fuck up already!" ...but I was at work. And the Beavers won. I guess I can't complain about that. :)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Life Goes On

Life has been good lately, if not a little repetitive. Work is work... mostly good. I might be more satisfied right now if I weren't so burned out on doing the same thing for eight hours straight every day. Not like I get tired of being there, but just typing numbers, tabbing to the next field, and then typing more numbers--definitely not glamorous. I can't complain, though, because I'm learning a lot in the process.

Lebanon recently lost a valued citizen. Dee Carter passed away late last week. He lived a stone's throw from my family's Century Farm. My father and grandmother attended the funeral, and Dad's cousin acted as a pallbearer. You can read a neat story about him here and read the obituary here. -- A quick but neat story: I took a pre-education course for my option (like a minor) in college and met a nice girl. While driving to a teaching opportunity, I mentioned I was from Lebanon. The girl told me her grandpa lived here. I don't know very many people here, but I asked who he was anyway. When she mentioned that her grandfather was Dee Carter, I literally gasped out loud. I ran home and called Grandma to have her explain again how we are related to the Carters. After some diagramming and careful thought, I learned that I was actually related to a girl in my class, third cousins once removed. How weird is that?

In an effort to spend more time on myself this week, I cut my hair last night and actually did my nails for the first time in eons. They're all shiny now, but no polish. Nail polish is icky.

I haven't been sleeping well at all this week, just a few hours each night. I will get in bed and lay there, tossing and turning, tangling up in my sheets. I wake up unrested and cranky. I'm very tired now.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Puddle in the Road

Apparently, this road is closed. Note the giant puddle in the middle of it...

I spent my lunch hour taking pictures of water today. My first adventure took me to where Tangent Drive crosses the Calapooia River, or, well, where the river crosses the road now. I did indeed drive past the "road closed" sign, and I might have even stuck my toes in the water to get a better picture.

After that, I hurried out to Jackson-Frasier Wetland. I absolutely adore walking out there, and today was really neat with all of the wetland flooded.

But this high water stuff... it's all fine and good until I have to swim to work. Do I get "flood days" as a temp?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Two Girls + Two Drinks = Giggling!

Rachel came over tonight. I mixed us some drinks. We giggled and talked and gossiped and stalked people online and maybe got a little tipsy. I don't really like being tipsy, but I love those little moments shared with special friends.

And then Rachel explained to me how "they" got the glitter stuck to the popcorn-style ceilings in the 70's (because apparently some houses have glitter on the ceilings). Her onomatopoeia-ically graphic description involved an air compressor. She is not allowed to do any home decorating for me. Ever.

In other news, my route home tonight was blocked by high water. This makes me not happy. And then I got to see a few fields completely under water. That was pretty cool... seeing lake where I expected to see grass. I always wonder if the water hurts the grass. I'm told water is good for living things though... like me... like me, especially after drinking... a whole... one drink.

I'm such a cheap drunk. :)

Sleepy.

Quiet Holiday

World's Fastest Holiday Update: I had four days off from work, Friday through Monday. On Friday, I ran a bunch of errands for my mother, then quilted a 20"x20" Sudoku game quilt for her for Christmas. Saturday was spent cutting the Sudoku numbers out of 1/8" foam stock, watching movies, and wrapping presents. Sunday, Christmas Eve, my parents, sister, grandmother, and sister's boyfriend joined me at a small feast much like the one we had for Thanksgiving. Monday was quiet with Mom, Dad, sister, and myself exchanging presents, and then a quick visit in Albany with Mom's parents. I watched five movies and a ton of DVD extras. I was very much ready to go to work this morning.

That's all I have time for tonight... a friend is on the way over, and I really need to be social. With no dancing for three weeks, I might forget how to talk to people. I won't forget the dance steps... just how to talk to people and not sound like a moron.

I miss my friends.

Oh, and if you're looking for one of those Christmas letter thingies where I tell you all about my year, check out the Blog Year Retrospective at the left. That's the best I can do.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

I Don't Like Candles!

While some people love the flowery and fruity scents, the warm glow, and the soft light, I freakin' hate candles. They just sit there. They collect dust. Or else they take up valuable shelf space hiding away avoiding dust. I take special joy in watching a seemingly beautiful candle wilt and fold under slight heat. Allow me to expound...

1. Candles don't actually provide much heat value. One candle does not provide enough heat to warm a house, let alone a tent. If you do have enough candles in your house to heat it, you also have a fire hazard. And if you have a candle in a tent, well... good luck with that.
2. Candles don't actually provide much light. Unless it's a hundred-wick candle completely ablaze in a small room with seventeen lamps, it's not going to give off much light. Eating by candlelight? I actually like to see my food before I eat it, thank you.
3. But they're so romantic! I fail to see how something burning, something so faint and short-lived can be romantic. Put up some mini lights and call it good, seriously.
4. What about when the power goes out? Wind-up LED flashlights and lanterns are a lot safer and reusable than a candle. I might concede just a little tiny bit about how candles are an option here, but there are definitely alternatives that don't create as much smoke.
5. Candles smell good and are relaxing. Umm... they give me headaches. I've only ever smelled one candle that did smell good, but it was also burning the pumpkin up at the same time. (Okay, Jack O'Lanterns are one positive use of candles.)

You know what my favorite thing to do with a candle is? Re-gifting. Especially those intricately carved ones that people automatically assume I'll love because they're art. I'd rather watch the artist carve the candle than ever own one... the art is in the process, not in the burning. Some people love them, but I don't like candles!

If someone can accurately capture the scent of Oregon rain and mildew, of a summery grass field, or of a good book... maybe... or "fresh-showered boy..." now THAT would be sweet!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I Collect Pencils

They're small, sturdy, and cheap. They're also useful. And sometimes, they're pretty.

I started my pencil collection in Kindergarten. During the weekly school assembly, the teachers announced students who had birthdays recently. Each student went forward and selected a prize. Prizes varied from balsa airplanes one week to yo-yos the next. I happened to receive a round, white pencil with Garfield and Odie on it and "Happy Birthday" down the side.

The picture here is a few of the many hundred pencils I have collected. I have sparkley ones, shaped ones, fancy eraser ones, and even some plain ones. A few are duplicates, but that's okay. Every time we went on vacation, Dad made sure a few pencils followed us home. My aunt and grandparents faithfully sent pencils from wherever they happened to travel. The State Fair and home or expo shows are particularly good for collecting (free is always a good price). I have a friend headed to Europe soon, and he's promised to bring me back my first "overseas pencil." I'm pretty excited about that. :)

Do I have a favorite pencil? I have several... and I think I remember where I got each one still... which is pretty good with hundreds of memories! I do prefer unsharpened ones without barcode stickers (that leave a residue). I'd been collecting pencils for several years, a decade perhaps, before I got my first plain yellow #2 pencil.

The irony: I use mechanical pencils almost exclusively, even over pens.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Naked in the Shower

I shower naked. This might come as a shock to some of you, but it is the truth. Naked. No jewelry, no hair ties, not even nail polish. Now before you start picturing me naked, allow me to offer one tiny bit of information. No, I will not take a camera with me and take photos next time I shower.

Do not fear, though, my male friends: it is not impossible to see me naked. You just have to jump through a few hoops, treat me really well, and be worth me taking my clothes off for.

I'm sure my mother will read that and grimace or something. See, the thing is, Mom, I have enough self-respect to know that I'm not going to take my clothes off for just anybody (as much as every guy I know wishes I would).

I guess I don't know what the big deal is... if you want pictures of naked women, I bet you can find some nice ones online somewhere. As for seeing me naked... well, I do it every day, naked in the shower, and I'm nothing special. No, people, no naked shower pictures.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Slippery Floors

My mother Pledged my bathroom woodwork today and got Pledge on the vinyl floor. The woodwork looks beautiful and shiny and bright. The floor... also... looks shiny and bright. Until you set one sock-encased foot on it and slide with enough velocity to ricochet off the tub, toilet, and cabinet at the same time. We have some rugs in there, in front of the sink for example, that have a "sticky" rubber backing. When the floor is so freakin' slick that the sticky rubber glides effortlessly, you know you've got OCD issues. There are ice rinks with more friction than my bathroom floor. I could practice curling in there, I swear! My favorite part: stepping from the slick floor into the shower. Once your feet pick up just a tiny bit of that Pledge and you step onto a hard, already wet flooring... oh, it's all over. I think I took dancing in the shower to a whole new art form. I really appreciate that Mom was trying to make things look good. I'm not very swift most of the time, so the slick floor is kind of adding insult injury to injury.

Otherwise, today was pretty good. I called the friend that I had dinner/dancing with earlier in the week and asked him to go shopping with me. We met, wandered, talked, laughed... even had a fantastic lunch. I really don't like shopping, but I'm almost done anyway, and the day with him was nice. :)

*NOTE* a link has been added in the "Posts of Note" section to another blog post that links to my MySpace music profile. YOU CAN LISTEN TO ME PLAYING THERE!

After inspiring the "Nick Names" post by 'Mr. The Guy Who Writes This' over at Astoria Oregon Rust (a totally cool blog), he had this to say about me (more shameless self-promotion to boost my already bursting ego): "Jaggy, I read you every day. Even if I don't comment very often, I'm still a devoted reader. Some days you inspire me, and some days I'd just like to take you out for ice cream and tell you everything will be OK." --- I like ice cream. :) Thank you so much for the kind words and thoughts.

I'm smiling. :)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Back to the Blog!

It may not have been the black plague, but it was still a nasty cold. I ended up taking Tuesday off of work, hoping that I'd be able to work Wednesday. I went in on Wednesday, but I was sneezing and generally not well enough to work, so I left at noon. I crashed hard Wednesday afternoon and evening, and took Thursday off to really recuperate. I probably could have worked yesterday, except that my post-nasal drip caused me to gag constantly, and I couldn't really keep food down for long. Is that too much information? I don't care. :) I survived another cold.

My weekend plans have all disappeared, been canceled, or changed, so I'm kinda left wondering what to do. I'm healthy, happy, and bored. Which only leads to trouble. Or a whole lot of solitaire. Somebody? Anybody...?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

*sniffle*

I have a cold. A nasty, awful, taking-the-day-off-from-work cold. Yesterday, I felt like my nose was awfully drippy, but sometimes it's just like that. By the end of work, I was sure I was getting sick. When I got home at 10pm (after dinner and just a little dancing with a very nice guy), I was dead. I don't think I slept much last night, and this morning's nap wasn't much better. But I discovered the Vicks Vapor Inhaler: it's a stick that you put under your nose and breathe in... instant relief. IF you can inhale through your nose. Hmm, poor planning? Anyway, I have used it, and it's pretty neat. I think I'll go to work tomorrow.

I'm not exactly known for my hydration skills... but, by golly, I'm doing really good today! I've had four or five glasses of water/juice/diet pop already, and more is on the way. Mostly because all of my meds say "take with plenty of water." I might argue with one med box, but not six or seven. Propel is my friend. :)

Now if only I could get warm and stay warm...
I might need some help with that...
Any handsome boys willing to lend me some body heat?
Oh, right, sick. Darn.

Back into bed I go...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Dancing in Portland II

I danced through blisters, through pain, and through some weird songs...

Friday night, Emily came into Corvallis, and we went out to dinner with some friends. The event itself wasn't too exciting, but I really enjoyed spending time with Emily. I miss my old roommates terribly. I never thought I'd be able to live with other people, and sure, they drove me a little nuts at times, but I miss them every day. Mostly, I miss being able to hear them giggling down the hallway, just a few steps if I needed to laugh or talk.

While at dinner on Friday, Emily mentioned that there would be a dance up in Portland on Saturday night. I knew I had a big project at home to complete this weekend, but I really wanted to go dancing. After some persuasion, I convinced a friend to drive up with me, and probably ten or so of us from OSU were there, including Emily. We danced. And we danced. Mostly West Coast, but some Nightclub Two-step and Foxtrot as well... three and a half hours of dancing. I think I only sat down through one song. I was really happy that I danced the whole time -- but holy crap, between my sore feet and aching knees, I was limping back to the car at the end of the night. The crowd shifted to Shari's, where we waited a decade for ice water, laughed over some insanely good french toast, and then laughed some more. I didn't get home until 3:45am and finally slid into bed around 4:15am. My WCS skills improved dramatically over the course of the night. I got to dance with some very cool guys, especially one kick-ass Lindy with a great lead (from OSU, of course). I danced with a couple strangers... some of the guys were a little too clingy if you ask me, but maybe that's just how people up there dance. I'm used to the polite, respectful guys at OSU that don't run their hands in my "no zone."

The only obnoxious part of last night was the spinning. I love to spin when I'm dancing! I do not, however, like it when a guy sends me out for a spin and yanks my arm back before I'm done with the rotation. I know I hurt my shoulder dancing last weekend. I'm even more positive I didn't do it any good this weekend.

BUT!!! Whiny as I may be, those sore muscles are looking awfully good again. I need to work out or dance or do something before that secretarial "spreading ass disease" takes over.

Got up this morning around 11am, motivated enough to clean my car (detailed the inside), and did some laundry. That's enough for one weekend, I think...

Yeah, time for food, heating pads, blankets, and sleep.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Most Disgusting Grapefruit on Earth

Fire? No... worms? No... exploding fruit? No... just the world's worst hand model. :) Okay, so Dad doesn't have pretty hands, but they do some of the most beautiful work.

But what is the pink stuff?







I think it's a tongue. This has to be the most vile, disgusting, horrific looking fruit on earth.

This is why I don't eat fruit. Nothing that looks that bad can possibly be "healthy."










It. Has. Hair.

And is... juicy.

And... *swoon*

ew.

Snowy Bench

I thought for a minute that I might like to sit down...



...not a bad way to spend a morning break at work.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Red Light!

You know those red laser-like motion detectors that you wave your hand in front of and the door magically opens? Those are not the same as barcode readers. I know. Just trust me...

No, no, just trust me.
I know the truth.
I have seen the light. :)
The light is red.
And it told me my pop was not worth what I paid for it. :P

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest came out on DVD this week, and I've seen the movie twice since Tuesday, one more for sure tomorrow when I listen to the commentary track. I pretty much have it memorized already, after a total of three viewings... :D

I took my colorful kusudama into work to help brighten up my desk a little bit, and I've had so many comments on it! It was absolutely never my intent to attract attention to myself or my paper-folding hobby/talent, but being recognized feels really good. People stop by my desk all day long, picking it up, holding it, looking at it, wondering about it, asking questions. Maybe I'll make something else to take to work now... like cookies!

And somehow, in the méleé of it all, I think I did something to my shoulder dancing last weekend. I remember hurting then, but I don't know if it's muscle or nerve damage. I've had a tingly arm/hand at randomly during the week, different than when my arm goes to sleep. Plus my knee is hurting a lot more lately, probably because I'm not as active as I used to be, and the muscles that keep my kneecap from grinding on my femur aren't pulling correctly. My right side is just falling apart... sheesh!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Battle Scars

I finally had the motivation to confront my ex and ask him why he broke up with me. I feel better hearing from him that I didn't do anything wrong. I also feel better now about walking away from the friendship he claimed to want. His definition of friendship obviously differed from mine, and once I realized I wasn't really losing a friend so much as letting go of something I never had, I felt a lot better.

I think I started this paragraph ten different ways, each one more cruel than the last... being mean won't help. It's over, and I'm moving on without a friend. I am sad that he doesn't want to live up to being my friend, but I refuse to tarnish the friendships I have to keep someone who hasn't earned the title 'friend.'

Not to totally put myself up on a pedestal, but I deserve better, and I can do better. My friends are telling me this, too. Eh, his loss. :)

~*~*~*~*~*~

I wrote this poem a while ago, not really about one person specifically as I combined several experiences into one idea. I wasn't going to publish it, but in an effort to keep things here open and honest, I'm working on emptying out the "drafts" folder.

too many unanswered
..........questions
too angry to
.......... see through
.................... unsaid lies
always too busy
.......... to stop your
.................... vaguely important life
too eager to forget
.......... what you had
.................... and never wanted
too idle the conversation and
.......... false the kindness
too many passing glances
.......... followed only by
.................... callous indifference
too often jumping
.......... to wrong conclusions
...........blaming myself
.................... for your foolishness
too quickly I played the game
.......... buying into your
.................... boyish smile
too late did I realize
.......... your power to hurt
too many lies and
.......... unanswered questions

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Bad Cherries

There is an individual in my life that makes me feel awful about myself. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do to change him or the situation, save removing myself from it. Even worse, I knew this is how it would end a long time ago.

It all started with a different person (let's call this person 'Henry'). Henry and I met under some unusual circumstances but became friends quickly. We dated, sort of, and throughout our friendship, he lied to me, used me, and even failed to give me common courtesy at times. I thought I could be a sense of direction for him, the light that helped him find himself, find a better self. In the process, I lost part of me: some innocence. It took everything I had to walk away from him. Henry and I parted ways quietly, and as much as it hurt, I'm so very glad he's not my friend now. Still, I cannot escape Henry--he is friends with some of my friends. The worst part of it is that, when we do talk, I feel as though I'm making a pact with the devil. He makes me not like me.

Fast-forward about a year to "Adam." Adam and I were really close for a few months, and then without warning, he turn-coated. He claims to want to be my friend, but the pattern seems to be repeating itself. The dropped phone calls, the avoidance... through his actions, words, and overwhelming disloyalty, Adam makes me feel the way Henry used to make me feel.

Many people place a high price on different virtues, but loyalty, to me, is most important. I've surrounded myself with truly good people. My friends are amazing, wonderful friends, loyal to the end. I suppose I only have a few very good friends for that reason... the loyalty I demand is hard to stand up to. I don't know what I'm doing to push these boys away. They claim to want to be my friends, and I'm absolutely willing to be there for them. But I will not stand here, again, to be trampled.

Sometimes I think being married or dating is easier than being friends, because as "just friends," we think we can back out at any second and not be friends anymore. Friendship, just like any other relationship, takes time, loyalty, and commitment. Henry wouldn't give me the time. And now Adam...

Martin Luther King Jr. probably said it best, "In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." I don't want to lose another friend. But I won't sacrifice myself to keep one either.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Punk Dance

I had a great weekend! Saturday morning, my parents and I went to Eugene and did some serious shopping. I didn't buy much, just some beautiful black gloves so my hands won't freeze in the mornings while I chip the ice off my car (plus the gloves were 55% off!) and two shirts. Saturday evening, I finished up the calendars for the family, a huge yearly endeavor that leaves me stressed and frustrated trying to out-do myself every year. But they're done and they look really good, so I'm happy with them.

Today has been great as well. I cleaned a ton of stuff out, getting rid of some crap I've had for years and never touched. I finished my costume for the dance tonight, and then I visited my grandma for a while. Later, I went to a friend's house and watched Departed on DVD. Not sure exactly how he got a DVD of a movie still in theaters, but I didn't ask and he didn't tell, so that's okay with me. The movie was good... though I still think Donnie Brasco is a much better film of that genre. Then I went to the last "formal" dance of the term.

The dance theme this time was "punk." I definitely went punk. I had on a tight black shirt that I'd put safety pins all along the bottom edge, a pair of parachute-style pants (kinda) that were strategically safety-pinned, dance shoes, and a safety pin choker. I had black lines on my fingernails, and I'd tattooed myself earlier in the day with black ink (my name in elvish, and a pirate symbol). OH! And my make-up was soooooo good. Eyeliner and dark eyeshadow... I was as close to being a goth punk as one can get, but the pants were dark green so I looked more punk than goth. And to all the people out there that say "punk is a way of life," no, I'm sorry, you're wrong. Buddhism is a way of life. Vegan is a way of life. Punk is a fashion mistake gone trendy. Punk does not define you, rather you define your level of punk. Tonight, I was punk. :)

Got cornered by a weird guy tonight for about ten minutes. Was really hoping somebody would come along and rescue me, but nobody did. I'm going to have to find a wingman or something... I do owe a special thanks to a very cool guy for cleaning up my Viennese waltz tremendously, and thanks to another sweet guy for letting me hijack our WCS to the point of being distracting. :) I love that dance...

So the night was really fun! I'll try to see if anybody got pictures, then post links/pics for y'all...

Friday, December 01, 2006

So Why "Jaggy"?

The reason to watch JAGIt all started one Tuesday night in seventh grade. Dad suggested I join him for an hour while a military law show aired on TV. He turned the TV on, and adjusted the channel to the show. A few people stood there on the screen in dark uniforms, and I distinctly remember them standing in a rose garden. The rest of the episode is a blur, but addicted might be an understatement. JAG changed my life. That smile... the handsome David James Elliott kept me watching JAG for the rest of the show's lifetime. I taped every episode I watched, usually while I watched it. There was a time in eighth grade where I'd watch the original airing, then I'd rewind immediately and rewatch the episode, then I'd go to bed and get up very early to watch it again before going to school. I have seen a couple episodes so many times that I've memorized the order of the commercials. I tried writing a fanfic once, but it never turned out--I couldn't write the courtroom scenes very well as an eighth grader. My friends eventually refused to listen to me babble on about my show. They called me "obsessed." None of my friends or family understood. I tried explaining that JAG was more than just a TV show. Character chemistry, dynamic plots, consistent writing, good photography, cheap/cheesy special effects stolen from movies, and some killer one-liners lightened my life for years. I literally grew up with JAG. I learned my geography, the phonetic alphabet (useful, surprisingly), how to figure time zones, military ranks and insignia, plenty of courtroom terms, how to evade poachers in the woods, and how to crash an F-14 without killing myself.

By high school, I earned a nickname. My friends started calling me "Jaggy." I hated it. The name didn't fit with the online terms, and I really wanted to have a better nickname. Time has passed, and I've accepted the nickname, though no one calls me that anymore. I'm pretty sure there are three people out there that don't know my real first name, because they always called me "Jaggy."

JAG ended its glorious ten-season run in 2005. I guess I know how people felt when M*A*S*H* ended: someone could have burned the house down around me, because there is no way I was going to miss that episode. I didn't cry, but it was still the end of an era for me. I was there for the rose garden, crashed planes, "the kiss," "the deal," trips to Russia, promotions, kidnapping, births, a wedding, and dozens of courtroom moments. LOL, I'm still a huge fan!

Watching and growing up a die-hard JAG fan wasn't a bad thing. From a young age, I was exposed to many things. I understand more and am interested in knowing more about history, politics, diplomacy, foreign countries, law, the military, and airplanes. JAG helped to shape the individual I am today, without question. I think it made me more thankful too, of the liberties I have and the people protecting them.

Of course, I will always have a special place in my heart for a tall, dark, handsome lawyers in dress whites and gold wings... and I still think Tuesdays ought to be declared holidays.

That sounds like the long of it... of why I'm "Jaggy." Any questions?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I'm Un-Growing

Ever have one of those days where you see someone or do something early in the day and then the whole day just sucks? No matter what I did today, after my drive to work, it was not a good day. The drive itself wasn't terrible. I nearly slid off the road once in town, but the highway was tolerably slick. I definitely think people are overreacting just a little...

Mom is breathing down my neck about the Praxis test and finding out whether I really needed to take it (rumor has it that I didn't need the last part of the last test that I just retook). I love leading, love showing people how to do things, and I do enjoy teaching very much. I don't know what I want to do with my life, and I don't know how to convince her that I don't know yet. I don't know what to say to anyone to explain that I don't know what I want to do with my life. I have goals and aspirations, sure, but they are not "must haves" as much as, "you know, that would be really neat if it happens." I recently found out that I'm qualified to be a forensic scientist for the State of Oregon. Not a pretty job, but definitely something to think about. But I feel like every time I mention, "hey, I might want to try doing that," my parents force me into and won't let up about the subject. Just because I think about it or explore the idea doesn't mean I want that to be my only life. Do I want to teach? I know it would be a great opportunity, but I know I don't know enough yet to be a good teacher (because I refuse to be a bad one). Do I want to get my license and teach next fall? Honestly, no, I'd rather work for a while. Mostly... I just want to earn and save up enough money to move out, to live on my own, to make my own decisions.

"My friend/coworker/mother/brother's wife's ex-husband's cousin's daughter is a teacher, you should talk to them about teaching." Somebody, please, get me a gun! I realize people mean well, but if I feel the urge to talk to a teacher, I know teachers. I, too, went to school and learned from teachers, just like everyone else. I have friends who are teachers, and my mother is more than willing to get me talk to every teacher she can find.

Another thing I've noticed since I've moved home is that I find myself identifying less and less as an adult. I don't make my own decisions. I consult my parents about everything. If I'm going to stop at the store on the way home, I call and tell them, even if it is for a quick stop. If I have a question, or if I need something, or... sometimes I forget that there was a time when I would have solved the problem myself. I'm forgetting how to rely on me for things. For a while, I was an individual with an opinion (a respected opinion), but I can't say that I am as much an individual now as a child that works instead of plays.

I realize I'm supposed to have this huge store of faith in myself, some confidence to get me through the rough spots, the ability to look at myself in the mirror and say, "you're okay." But the truth is, I'm not that strong all the time. And that makes me sad.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Free-Range Twinkies

I'm so tired of eating! I'm not sure if this tradition is national, cultural, or familial, but I've been eating constantly for four days. Great food, don't get me wrong, my mother has kept me up to my neck in homemade goodness. But it felt really nice this afternoon to actually feel hungry.

My coworkers were making fun of me before the holiday because I don't eat mayonnaise, mustard, salad dressing, or gravy. Apparently that makes me weird. They almost died when I told them I put applesauce on my macaroni and cheese. Just a little bit, and cold applesauce with hot mac and cheese is one of those flavor/texture combinations you have to experience to understand. TASTY! I do like ketchup, and I'll put ketchup on pretty much any meat, from chicken fingers to steak, and almost always on potatoes (except hash browns). And ranch dressing is tolerable in small quantities. I won't eat any side-salad thingies like potato salad or macaroni salad or that awful Top Ramen cabbage nightmare. No BBQ sauce, no cream sauce, no teriyaki sauce, no special sauce, not even soy sauce. I like my sandwiches dry. I like my bread and rolls plain, especially day-old cornbread. All of my meat must be fully cooked, either beef, venison, fish, or chicken--no pork. I will not eat tomatoes or citrus fruit. I do not like olives, any legumes, or peppers. I only eat vegetables raw, except broccoli and green beans which I'll eat just about any way you can cook them plain. My cheese must come from cows, but I'm not terribly fond of drinking milk. And "ethnic" food is pretty much out of the question.

"Wow, you're so picky! You must be horrible to take out!" Actually, I'm a cheap date. :) I generally order the same things no matter where I go, and they're often the cheapest things on the menu, so I'm great to take out. Same thing goes for eating at home. Grandma always told me it was bad to be picky. I like cheap food more often than expensive stuff, and I don't need extra flavorings, so my food is less expensive to begin with. I'm not blindly picky either: I've tried a lot of different food, and I'm totally okay with not liking some foods.

I don't necessarily try to buy organic foods, but I will definitely try to buy local food if I can, especially produce. I swear, if somebody came up with a "free-range Twinkie," I'd be set, LOL!

Do you have any weird food habits, likes, or dislikes? (Anonymous postings allowed!)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

I Miss Play-doh Smell

Holidays really take the blogging out of me! I've been home most of the break so far, leaving once Thursday and once Friday, but only for a few hours each time. Thanksgiving came and went, not very exciting but still good. And yet my blog has been neglected. :(

I worked half a day on Wednesday, a very busy half day. Somehow I finished my work by noon and managed to walk all the way across campus in the pouring rain to have lunch with Jeff. My sister joined us, and then she and I carpooled back home on the backroads, spying very wet and flooded fields and ditches. Kinda looks like we're a bunch of rice growers here instead of grass farmers.

Thanksgiving Day was spent at home. Mom, with some help from each of us, created a very healthy feast. We had slow-cooked turkey breasts, mashed potatoes, a super-dry stuffing made with cornbread and obviously not cooked in a bird since we just had the breasts, green beans without a nasty cream sauce, and a fruit salad thingy (for my sister). She did make crescent rolls from scratch, and while those were probably the most unhealthy part of the meal, there weren't hardly any left. No cranberry sauce, no butter or sour cream, a very light gravy, and it was one of the most amazing Thanksgiving dinners I've ever had! After dinner, we drove to Albany to my grandparents' house for dessert and to visit my cousins and their 2-year-old, Brock (more about him later).

Black Friday indeed. The day had not yet dawned when I got up, ready to shop with Mom. We didn't leave until 6:30am, had a quick stop to Dutch Bros., and made it to Fred Meyer, Target, and K-Mart for some crazy shopping. We didn't really buy anything for anybody else... a few toys and some socks. :) I expected the stores to be filled with people, but they weren't bad at all. I kinda rebelled against the consumerist propaganda and faux-sales... right up until I spied a Nerf gun I couldn't live without. I'm such a kid!

My cousins went to the OSU/UO game, so Mom and I babysat Brock for them. He's growing like a weed, although infinitely more loved. Since the camping trip, his vocabulary has gone crazy! He's totally into Disney's Cars, and I got to hear all about Mater and Lightning McQueen and Doc Hudson. Dad popped the movie in and the four of us watched it, Mom and Brock sleeping through most of it, I think. CUTE movie!!! After the naps, we played with Play-doh (mmm, I missed that smell!) and shot Nerf guns and played with a wind-up Mater truck. The day was really fun.

Except now I really want kids. NOW. I can't even explain it...

I had a nice conversation with Emily on the phone, and later in the day, Matthew introduced me to his girlfriend and then we visited for a long time. I think I'm doing something with Rachel tomorrow... so good to talk to these people. :) And SO great to have a social life!

And the Beavers won the Civil War. Can't complain about that! :)

So that leaves today, a long day already, but I think it will be good. I've been designing custom graphics to use in this year's calendar. I'm primarily working with Fireworks, and I think I have thirteen done with two or three left. I am also using my own photography as the background and image again this year, perhaps with two exceptions (since I don't really get out to take snowy pictures for December or January). The calendars should be done by next weekend.

Upon checking my stat counter, I've noticed much traffic from someone registering an ISP in Albany, Oregon. I don't know who you are, but you're here quite often, lurking... hi. :)

I woke up to homemade, still-warm cinnamon rolls this morning. How yummy is that? :P

Thursday, November 23, 2006

"Out for a Walk"

Sizzling rain sounded
upon the dark, steep-banked creek,
an undertow visible against
the weathered surface current.

I pushed back my hood to
better listen,
the force of tugging on my jacket
causing tiny droplets to fly off and further soak the
slimy grey-brown bridge
upon which I stood.

Lingering a moment, I spied
a puddle forming in the grass
in a low spot where the wooden bridge
joined the road.

The grass seemed as if it were enjoying
the mud, the shower, the inevitable flood,
turning green and standing straighter.

Then, chilled by the cold and
noticing a fog
forming in the area, I headed home
along an undefined path,
traversing streets and sidewalks, puddles and streams alike.

My jacket collar rubbed on my cheek,
cold and wet, stealing every
degree of heat from my face.

A bird called; I am not sure
what kind of bird, but it made
a beautiful ‘cree-ee’ and
followed me for a while.

My feet took me out of the way
to displace the water from a
shallow pool, and then
back to safety out of the street.

Rain dripped
from my hair and face,
rivulets running down and
off my nose.

Both crunchy and soggy
leaves were stomped,
indifferent to the age or size of shoe,
a childish gesture not yet lost.

Gurgling water
in the gutter called to me, and
splashing did ensue.

I finally pulled myself
from the showery wonderland
to the dry confines of a patio,
shaking water off of myself,
and pausing one last time
to listen
to the rain.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Green Bean Horror!

Sister: "Why am I peeling apples?"
Mom: "For the fruit salad I'm making for you; you wanted it for Thanksgiving, and everybody gets one thing they want."
Sister: "Oh... *pause* ...does that mean we are having green beans?" *groan*
Dad and myself: *snicker, snicker, snicker*

Yeah, sis, if I have to eat some of your whipped-topping covered fruity crap, you have to eat a green bean.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Lesson Learned, kinda

Monday came and went. I had a horrible Panda Express experience that shall remain undisclosed, but to say that I could not finish my meal will suffice. "Orange chicken" my ass... so I didn't really get lunch. After work, I picked my sister up from the on-campus clinic--she'd gotten sick in her lab, a result of hypoglycemia and nasty smells--and drove her across campus to her car so she could drive home. I spent the next few hours with a friend, losing a game of cribbage and generally being unhappy about life, then went dancing. So until 8pm Monday night, I'd pretty much only eaten breakfast and some granola bars that weren't even close to filling me up.

Dancing was a very trying experience. I'm a confident Lindy Hopper, especially with the traditional savoy style. This week, the "instructor" focused on Hollywood-style Lindy Hop, a very smooth and newer version of the dance. I thought I'd give the new style a try. And I did, I swear, I did. The instruction for the leads was hurried and choppy, lacking explanation of footing or the movements beyond, "watch this, do what I do." For follows, we merely got a, "try this, this, and this, ready, GO!" We endured frequent interruptions and what appeared to be a total lack of organization. Furthermore, the "instructor" had his choice of three females to use in his demonstration of steps and completely disregarded one of them: me! I was just as able and willing as the other two girls to show footwork, yet my talent went ignored. Ordinarily, I'd be happy to sit out and work with guys individually, but I'd been asked to help teach too. This just pissed me off, especially when the other two girls walked off the floor for a moment. So the lesson went on, and being a circular dance, we spun around and around hundreds of times. I became exceedingly dizzy, compounded by my empty stomach, rather significant dehydration (I'll never learn), and overheating. Thankfully, the lesson ended before anyone ended up on the floor. Well, until I got outside and the cold air hit me hard... then I sank onto a bench for a few minutes. Took a few more to gather myself and drive home.

While I do not like the newer style of Lindy Hop and will probably never use it (seeing that I never really understood it due to poor explanations), I'm still proud of myself for sticking it out and trying to get it.

My Tuesday has been busy. I wrapped up the big final report I've been laboring away on all of last week and yesterday. I sorted through another file box of field applications, entered more data, gathered information about some people, had lunch with my sister, and counted and entered a box of tags. Not bad for a day...

Not to mention that I'm sore from dancing, mad at myself, and mostly unhappy. Guess if you want more than that, e-mail or call me.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Praxis II, Running out of Letters

I can't wait for Monday. This was not a good weekend.

Friday night was not fun. I got roped into stripping caulking out of two bathrooms, and while I enjoy fixing house stuff, this was not exactly what I'd intended. I went to bed fairly early, sleeping poorly for about the fifth night in a row.

Saturday dawned far too early, a wasted morning working on the blog and accomplishing nothing. I left town around 1:45pm, drove to Monmouth/WOU to take my Praxis II: General Science Content Essays. There were only three people taking the test. One of those examinees also attended OSU, and she informed me that the State of Oregon does not require the essay portion of the General Science Content Knowledge exams. Well, fuck! I passed everything else already, this was the last part I guess I didn't really need to take. The good news is that I had the experience under my belt from last time, so I kinda knew what to expect: one solid hour of writing as fast as possible. I scratched out my three essays, takin 58 minutes to do so. I absolutely could not write another line when it was over. Guess I'm not supposed to tell you what the questions were about, but... I will anyway! The first question was a chemistry-oriented lab write-up involving vitamin C, orange juice, starch, and iodine. I had to design an experiment using these things, then write a hypothetical lab report. The second question was two-fold, the first part about how one type of rock becomes another, and the second part about how a pebble of gneiss (metamorphic rock) ended up in a river. The third question was about the carbon cycle and how burning fossil fuels affects the carbon cycle. I guess a background/degree in General Science prepared me well, because I had answers (right or wrong) for every question. I think I wrote six or seven solid pages, plus some diagrams. Hopefully I passed, not that I needed to... grrrrrrrrr.

My day began later today, finally a decent night of sleep, although overheated mostly. I think five layers bedding including an electric blanket, flannel sheets, and a down comforter might be a bit much. I accomplished very little until 3pm, laundry and a movie being the extent of my exertions. The movie was excellent! I've wanted to see "The General's Daughter" for quite some time, and only today made the time while it was on TV. John Travolta is one of those actors I can't make my mind up about... he's one weird dude, but he's one hell of an actor.

I went for a walk this afternoon. That made me feel good, walking down the street in puddles and in the rain... I have some poetry coming up about that.

I was in the middle of this post when I ran out of letters. I got eleven lines written when all of a sudden, the letters stopped appearing on the screen. My keyboard... died. No more letters.

And then I found more batteries. I have letters again. Lucky you. :)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

On Erasing People

Ever get in a fight with someone and then casually saunter over to their Facebook/MySpace/personal website/blog/corner-of-the-web and find that all traces of you have been removed?

I don't understand this phenomenon. You can't erase a fight, delete the past, or pretend things never happened when they most certainly did happen. It's one thing to change your status from "in a relationship" to "single" on Facebook (because, as we all know, Facebook is so "the real world" -- *dripping sarcasm*), but to wash your hands of an individual so hastily is perfidious.

Furthermore, I recently left a relationship (not sure I had a choice in it = very dumped and slightly bitter about it). I'd blogged several times about the guy, but when we broke up, I didn't run as fast as I could to remove every trace of him. In fact, the only things I've deleted on my blog have been by request. I can't imagine deleting information like that! If another guy comes to my blog (which I'm hoping for), he'll be able to read all about the last relationship. He'll see that I had a great time while it lasted, that I am honest about my life, and that I don't try to hide things. "Shouldn't some things, like past relationships, be kept private?" you ask? Sure... but I have nothing to hide. If the guy ends up being important in my life, he'll probably find out about everything (which is really nothing) eventually anyway, so then there are no surprises.

Why do we (you) try to remove our fights, our mistakes, our enemies from our lives? I'm all for walking away from bad situations and bad people, then learning from those things. I'm not, however, in support of childish maneuvers and dishonest acts that hide history and truth.

You cannot change the past. You cannot make what happened un-happen. You cannot take back a thought or sentiment, and you cannot erase an action. You can, however, learn and grow from your past and embrace a new self, changed by that past.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ex-Boyfriend Oddities

A few more behind-the-scenes changes here at Uniquely Normal. My blog is now operating under a Creative Commons License. No fair stealing my pictures without proper citations, and now I have the law on my side. Okay, I didn't really need to do that, but I wanted to protect myself just a little bit in case I become famous or something...

I've added a less-obtrusive photo collage at the top of the page (it used to be down at the very bottom, but I'm pretty sure everyone ignored it). Please let me know if this is as distracting as the funny/violent blogging dude.

I switched to Firefox 2.0 today. Not sure if I like this or not yet...

Work is still crazy. I'm invested in this spreadsheet I started Tuesday that has over 11,000 lines in it, approximately ten columns of data. I didn't make the spreadsheet, that's for sure; no way anything of mine could possibly be that disorganized!

Visited with Grandma tonight - nice chat, short, but nice. She heard all about my boy drama, my work woes, my life frustrations, and offered her shiny gems of wisdom. There are very few people that can cut me down and build me up as fast as she can.

Speaking of boys... I was walking today, just thinking about ex-boyfriends. All... six of them. Get this: I'm not only on speaking terms with all of them, but I regularly see all of them as friends. Two of them live together (coincidence?), two of them are in the same (small) degree program, two of them dance, and I really can't get away from them if I wanted (which I don't). Is that weird? Is it me? Because I still like them all as friends, wish none of them harm, etc. I guess it's a good thing. Perhaps it's a way of saying, "Keep your friends close and your ex-boyfriends closer." Or... maybe I just have good friends...

That might be frustrating or hard for new guys in my life to understand: my very best friend (whom I have never dated) is a guy, and I'm still good friends with several ex-boyfriends. BUT, we are just friends. I know that when I come to a point where I intend to dedicate my time to a special guy, these other relationships might drift away. But until that point, there's no sense in shedding great friendships with truly awesome people that inspire me and make me laugh.

I've not been sleeping well the last few nights, so I need to wrap this up.
Chocolate.
Yes, I need some chocolate.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Haircuts Rock

I love the fact that a haircut can change my perspective on life so quickly. :)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

80's Dance

Big hair, neon colors, and spandex: welcome back to the 1980's! Tonight was one of the bigger "formal" dances at OSU. My day actually started much earlier, perhaps around 6am when I initially woke up with another horrible headache. I dozed as much as I could until 9am, then crawled out of bed in misery. Hoping food and drink would cure me, I had breakfast, but retreated to my bed not long after. Rachel called to say she was in town, so I met her for lunch. We talked for a good two hours, a much-needed diversion from my life lately. At 2pm, I felt well enough to drive a windy twenty miles back to Corvallis to take a Lindy Hop lesson from the Frankie Manning. Mr. Manning is 97 years old, a legend, and pretty much the guy that invented the form of Lindy Hop I know and do. How cool is that!? I learned some neat new moves, danced with a ton of guys, and smiled more than I have in several days. The next couple hours are kind of a blur between dinner and crimping my hair in a public bathroom. I crimped my hair with a real 1980's crimping iron (because Mom used that on my hair when I was a little girl), chopped a t-shirt just below my bustline, and cut out the neck. I had on big hoop earrings, make-up to my eyebrows, and with the big hair, I was... "stylin'" ... er, something. Part of me really hopes there are no pictures of this. It could come back to haunt me later.

Many friends asked about my recent break-up, and I felt very loved knowing that so many people care. Thank you to those people. :)

So much great dancing, so little time... gotta wrap this up because I could lose power at any second with the wind howling outside like it is. YAAAAY! for dancing!

Gleneden Sunset










Sunset at Gleneden Beach, Oregon
November 11, 2006


















Storm coming in, tide going out.













Serenity











I was hoping for a stormy day at the coast, and all I got was this beautiful day of sunshine, frothy waves, a few Geocaches, and sunset on my favorite spot in the whole world. :)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Monsoons and Singledom

Welcome to monsoon season in Oregon! I wanted rain, I wanted HEAVY rain, and I finally got it. *big smile* I'd love to have more sympathy and compassion for people losing their homes along flooding rivers, but if you built your home next to a river in Oregon, I'm really not all that sorry for you. The view might be worth a million dollars... something tells me a stable foundation and security might be worth a bit more. Just a thought.

Officially, I'm single. again. and I'm okay with that. I've vented some anger into an unpublished blog-poem, so if you really want to read what I've written, you'll have to ask me for it. I didn't cry or anything, no heartbreak, just a lot of bitterness and unanswered questions. Introspectively, I looked for reasons why I could have led to the downfall of this relationship. I tried to make it my own fault, to blame myself, to make it easier to accept that I caused the failure. I know I'm not perfect. Looking back with hindsight and without the blinders of love/lust, I honestly can't find fault with myself as far as our relationship went. I did everything right... I could not have been a better friend, girlfriend, or individual without severely altering my core sense of self. I guess that's the most frustrating part of this breakup: I didn't do anything wrong, and yet I'm still losing.

I would rather spend every day of my life companionless than spend one day with someone that doesn't want to be with me. I respect myself enough to believe in that.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Emotions Suck

I hate the fact that, no matter how hard I try, I cannot outrun my own emotions. I'll bury, I'll fight them, I'll work myself into a corner, but eventually, they defeat me, and I surrender to the angry waves beyond escape. Emotional torment vented in physical anguish, a tireless fury that ends in a pile of me heaped upon the floor. Sometimes I don't like being human.

Aging and Thanks!

At first, I didn't feel 23. Turning 23 felt no different than being 22. But now, I feel like I've aged a whole year in a matter of two days. I previously mentioned that I felt my boyfriend was pulling away from me. As much as I didn't want that to be the case, he did confirm it. I can't say as though I was devastated. The reasons he gave me, the understanding I still lack, none of it belongs on my blog. At the moment, I'm not sure if we're together or if I'm single. Those are all the details you get.

I didn't sleep very well Monday night, and Tuesday was a long day. I woke up Wednesday feeling fairly good, but by 11:00am, I was going down. A headache came on suddenly, a horrible and nasty headache unlike any I've had. I finally realized when I was staring at the paper on my desk as I tried to push a pen across the surface and couldn't move the pen because my fingers wouldn't cooperate, it was time to go home. I don't know how I made it home, but I did, and then I slept hard for two hours. Feeling much better after a shower, I went dancing. Dunno if I got enough rest in the two-hour nap, or if I was on a dancing high, but I slept about an hour last night and had plenty of energy all day today.

My sister gave me Beyond Band of Brothers for my birthday, and I've been reading some every day. A fitting book, seeing that this Saturday is Veteran's Day, and I'll be the first in line to thank a veteran for their service. In a day where our leaders seek to limit freedom, I continue to support United States servicemen (and women, to be PC) that fight to uphold our Constitution. A big "THANK YOU" never seems like enough... but I do wish ALL of our veterans just that.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Birthday Dance

My boyfriend convinced me to have a birthday dance. Birthday dances are peculiar, the recipient standing on the floor and then leads (in my case, since I'm a follow) line up, each taking a turn with the recipient. I'm not a great dancer, not very well known in our little dance community, though I have danced with several guys. The DJ announced that I "requested" the birthday dance (which isn't true, I didn't ask for one at all--my boyfriend requested one for me, partly to force me into it, partly to be a gentleman). At first, none of the boys lined up. I was fearful, but within a few more seconds, a line of sorts had formed. I danced a nightclub two-step with eight or ten guys to "Ride of Your Life" by Oliver James. And, yes, the dance was truly awesome. I'm so glad I did it!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Blog Year Retrospective

*Links are scattered throughout this post, just in case you can't see them, they're there!

One year ago, I hardly knew anything about the blogosphere. I was taking an English course that incorporated a blog as part of the curriculum, and my life has changed more than I ever anticipated in this last year. First, I BLOG! This blog is small and has few loyal readers, but it's a voice, an honest voice, and updated almost every day, a total of 275 posts in one year.

What has happened to me in one year? I found thirty Geocaches, learned to dance, and graduated college. I made friends and lost others. I quit two jobs, joined the "real world," and experienced amazing and wonderful things beyond my wildest expectations!

My social growth hit a new stride this last winter and spring as I began dancing. I decided that my college education wouldn't entirely revolve around science and lab work, so I took Ballroom I, then later a few other dance courses. Meeting boys, talking to people, forcing myself into these social situations... I'm a new person! I am more confident than ever before, plus I can dance. Emily would go dancing with me, and she created the most awkward situations sometimes, but we had a great time wherever we went. We both made it to Portland Dance Festival one evening, a long night! Blogging, too, allowed me to open up more than I ever thought possible. AND I meet other bloggers online. That's pretty cool. :)

One year ago, I was convinced I was going to become a teacher. I did two terms of student-teaching/observation in an elementary school and a middle school. One day, I did all the teaching when the teacher and her substitute didn't show up for school. I love the work, the feeling I get when I'm teaching. I'm good at it. But the graduate school at OSU didn't see things the same way, and I was not accepted. I took my state tests anyway, and passed all but the very last part of the last test, and I'm retaking that in two weeks. (If my grandmothers ask me one more time about that damn test, I swear, somebody's going to lose an eye.) I haven't given up my hope of teaching. I am, however, learning to be realistic. Perhaps I was not meant to teach. Perhaps I will be happy doing something else. I just don't know still...

I graduated college this last spring, immediately quit both of my jobs, and moved back home with my parents. That was hard, but it was a "now or never" situation. I spent all of July, August, and September looking for work. I don't have any idea how many résumés I sent out, but I went on ten or fifteen interviews, even an insane trip to Portland, before finally getting hired where I wanted to work in the first place (to a place I never even directly applied to). Now that I have a job, I get about one call a week from someone trying to set up an interview. I'm still living with my parents, a love/hate situation. I know I have it so easy, but every ounce of me doesn't want to have it this easy and wants to move out on my own again. Months to go, but only a matter of months.

A friend instilled in me a bit of a passion for riding motorcycles this last spring... I don't know if I'll ever forgive him. ;) Now, I hate to say it, but there are plans waaaaaay down the road to learn to ride by myself. Like, when I'm retired. Or in my late twenties... ;) I think I'm going to have to learn more about cars first--like, how to drive those weird "non-automatic" ones. Hmmmmm. I also learned how to fire a rifle, something I never thought I'd do. "Fun" isn't the word I'd use, but I'd do it again... target practice only.

I finally felt like a true photographer when I won two ribbons at the county fair this year. :) My photography appears everywhere on the blog, and I hope people enjoy it... yes? no?

And then there are the boys. February saw a brief relationship that I maintain didn't count, seeing that the boy didn't want to be a boyfriend for three of the five weeks. March through July saw some sparks, but mostly of clashing and not of passion. My social life dwindled through the summer as dancing Monday nights became my only outlet. I wasn't seeking a boyfriend, but found one anyway, and I'm pretty damn happy about the one I found. Now I'm just taking things one day at a time. :)

The little lessons I've learned, the moments I've shared, and the adventures... so many words. It's all here on the blog. WHAT A YEAR!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

"Jaggy's Slush Fund"

I'm in the middle of writing a year-long retrospective for my blog, and I just have the urge to post about my day yesterday. Mom and Dad took me to Salem for dinner and to go shopping. JC Penney is having a huge blanket sale, so they bought a new blanket for their bed and gave me the second one (buy one, get one for $0.99) as a birthday present. Since I have a twin bed, they suggested I get a twin-size blanket. They got a king-size blanket, so I could have anything of "equal or lesser value" for the advertised $0.99. HELL YEAH! I'm getting a huge blanket! Okay, so I only ended up getting a full-size blanket, but it's HUGE. And it's a double-weight flannel that I'm currently all wrapped up in, toasty warm.

Did I ever mention that I LOOOOOOOOOOVE blankets? Uh huh, I do.

We also spotted a great sale on some fleece pullovers (yes, I know they're, like, SO last semester), so Mom tossed those on as birthday loot. At least I'll stay warm this winter (hopefully, because it's really never happened before).

In the 18 months I lived on my own, I wasn't paying my parents for my car insurance or cell phone bill. They offered to help me out with those while I paid for my day-to-day expenses and school (because my parents almost never helped me out with school--that was my responsibility). BUT! Now that I'm out of school and working, I have to pay them all of the insurance and cell phone bills. I'm okay with that, I really am. Well, I was. Until last night. Mom came in to show me the "grand total" that I owe (there's nothing grand about it, let me tell you), and I spotted her title. "Jaggy's Slush Fund." Seriously, Mom, WHAT THE ??????? That's an awful name for that particular debt. Can't you call it, "What You Owe Us" or something grown-up? It sounds like I'm paying for snowcones or bad weather. I'm sure I'll look back on this someday and laugh. Like tomorrow. :)

We were coming south on I-5 when all of the OSU/UO traffic was headed back north. Dad slowed the car to a stop just as we turned from I-5 onto Hwy 34. As far as you can see south on I-5, the northbound lane was a parking lot. As far as you can see west on eastbound Hwy 34, another parking lot. My favorite part? There was hardly a car visible on Hwy 34 east of I-5. Lebanon isn't on the main route, and I'm okay with that. No traffic is DEFINITELY okay with me!

My boyfriend has been alternating between sick and not-so-sick this week. I've been up and down myself, though not nearly to the same degree (temp pun not intended). After some searching, I realized that we'd been "officially" dating one month exactly on my birthday (though I only celebrate full-year anniversaries, because "anniversaries" only happen once per year, duh). I think he's pulling away a little bit, though I could be totally wrong. He'll read this and probably mentally stutter, but I'm just thinking out loud. I'm okay with space, and I know guys need their time and space too. When he's ready, he'll come back. :)

Blogging while eating whoppers and sprees... after a breakfast of donuts. *twitch*

Friday, November 03, 2006

Birthday Blogging

Yup, now I'm "officially" 23 years old. My birthday has been pretty good, even had a good commute this morning. I received several text messages and telephone calls that all made me smile. My coworker's birthday is tomorrow, so the women in the office (four of us) all went to Big River for lunch to celebrate. I'm not usually one to eat fancy food, but my halibut was delicious. The mashed potatoes had crab in them (weird, though very tasty once you get past the stringy texture). And the Big Boss let us leave fifteen whole minutes early! Other than that... I got a headache, a stomach ache, and think I'll go to bed early.

I did receive a wonderful gift from my sister: Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters, an autobiography by one of my few true heroes. Haven't read it yet, but I'll work on it. I think that's my plan for tomorrow. Piano, reading, and working on my family tree. Oh, and going out to dinner with my parents, and maybe some blogging... of course. :)

SO MANY THANKS go out to the friends who posted birthday wishes on my Facebook profile, to my e-mail, or by telephone. THANK YOU ALL!!!

Happy Birthday to Me!

How will I spend my 23rd birthday? By going to work, by being taken out to lunch by my coworkers, by going out to dinner with my parents, and by purchasing those Aris Allen dance shoes like I said I would. Finally! :)

Other than that, I'm out of ideas. How did you spend your last birthday? What do you think I should do with mine?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Blaaaaahhhhhhh

I hope I'm not getting sick. My boyfriend has been sick the last couple days, and my birthday is this Friday. If I'm sick, I'm going to be mad. The day started off okay. My parents got their bedroom back together last night (new carpet and paint this week), and I didn't stab myself with too many staples today. That said, I think I drank too much pop at lunch. While I only drink diet pops, I think the caffeine did me in. I was really shaky all afternoon--could hardly focus on work. They seem to give the whelp all the *fun* projects like looking up random statistics and unfiling things they told me to file yesterday. I couldn't keep warm all day either. I wore long, heavy pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and a thermal fleece inside my office and couldn't get or stay warm. But, on an up note, I did make dinner tonight: spaetzle and sausage together -- sooooo tasty! Quite an experiment/experience that turned out beautifully. All those notions about me being bad in the kitchen have gone unfounded. However, I'm the first to prove that the kitchen is the most dangerous place. Now... off to bed early. Right after I work on some of this leftover Halloween candy... :)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Bullets of Alcatraz

About.com has an article about the ghosts of Alcatraz. I read it and couldn't resist posting the lines that made me laugh.

"One of the areas which some claim is the most active with paranormal activity is a utility corridor where inmates Coy, Cretzer and Hubbard were plummeted with bullets after a failed prison escape. It is there that in 1976 a night security guard reported hearing unexplained eerie clanging sounds coming from inside."

Yes, that's right, the men were plummeted with bullets. The bullets fell on them and the men died. Just coming down from the heavens, bullets raining down, plummeting to earth. Methinks the author meant pummeled. I'm still laughing!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

More Autumn Pictures







"Silver grandeur"













"Leafy"













"Confetti carpet"

Still Growing Up

Sometimes I have a hard time liking the way I look. Ordinarily, I do a pretty good job of standing at a mirror and saying to myself, "You know what, I look pretty good today. I like who I am, and I'm healthy and happy. That's good enough for me today." But then there are those days where someone says something or an event occurs that makes me think twice. I recently encountered one of these events, and while it seemed harmless and trivial at the time, it kinda stung and really sunk in later. People tell me to think better of myself, of the way I look, about my body, etc. I realize what they're saying. There are just those times when *I* don't like me regardless of other opinions. Is this wrong? Is it okay to want to change the way I look when I know I look okay in the first place? Sure, I'm no supermodel - two inches too short for that. I'm no mud fence either. I never really felt the push to conform to societal standards before now (and I'm in my twenties), so I'm feeling a bit out-of-place, depressed, and wary of the unhealthy ideals I face.

I've always lagged behind in my emotional development. Part of me is a little scared that some "teenage" things are finally catching up to me. Physically, I think (hope, pray) that I'm done with adolescence and those awful years of not knowing who I am. Okay, I know who I am, just not what I want, or how to afford that. :) It is a little scary though, knowing that I'm emotionally not up to par with other people my age. I don't really know how to change that. It's weird, I tell ya! Mentally, sometimes I feel like I'm much older than I am. People tell me I talk like I'm older, relate much older than my age. Physically, well, I'm right on target with my slowly-aging body. Spiritually, I'm a mixed bag of knowns and unknowns, but I don't think that ever has or will change... the more I know, the more I know I don't know. And I'm okay with that. But emotionally, I fear I'm missing something. Compassion? Fear? Risk? Love? Trust? More growing up to do... still, and again. Bear with me.

Unexpected Publicity

The people at BlueOregon tapped my blog and quoted me! Thanks for reading, for seeing the humor in what I write. I'm getting that *warm and fuzzy* feeling again. ;)

Link from BlueOregon about this post on my blog.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Congrats! and a question

Mom's blog link has been added to the blogroll on the right. Somehow, I fear I'll end up doing all of her codes too. But it'll look good (or whatever mine looks like).

Congrats on your first post, Mom!

Nov. 7th will mark my one-year anniversary on my blog. Any suggestions on how to celebrate?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Not Your Mom... MY MOM!

My mother wants to start blogging. I'm going to help her set one up, and then I'll link to it from here, so now you can all enjoy my mother's ranting in addition to my own. Oh yeah, forget the "your mom" jokes... it's MY mother! I'm proud that she's becoming tech-minded, happy that she feels comfortable enough to let other people hear her voice. I'm a little worried for the blogosphere though... this could be fun. *insert evil grin here*

I mean... wait... I don't have an evil grin!

Work continues well, saving that they run out of things for me to do all the time. If I knew more about the service or could convince them that I know more than they think I do, I might be able to keep myself busy a bit more. However, I'm still the peon, so I slave away at the menial tasks and try to focus on the positive: things could always get worse.

Went dancing last night, had a nice time. Thankful for the many compliments I received on my attire -- feels so good to be noticed in a positive way every once in a while. My ego grew swiftly with a fantastic set of Lindy Hops and a super-fast Hustle. Then, the WCS squished my poor ego flat. I ended up leaving a little early to go visit my boyfriend.

There is nothing quite as awesome as a hug when you really need one. :)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Special Me

I'm so special, I managed to trip walking next to a vertical wall. Uh huh, you heard/read that right, I tripped on a wall.

In other news, the squirrel attacked my car today after I washed it.

And my mother wants to start blogging.

What, did I miss the memo or something? SHEESH!

Hurting, but Rested

I'm falling apart again. But at least I got a night of great sleep. Hmm, let's see, my knees and back hurt, my head hurts, I have a wicked papercut on my thumb knuckle, and I feel like I need a day of vacation. Tonight, I could go dancing. And risk permanent injury to my body. But... it could be fun. Dancing with friends after waiting around with nothing to do for three hours after work, vs. coming home and doing things I need to do (like laundry and a haircut). Ugh, I don't want to think yet today. I'll try to write more later... if I don't go dancing. :)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Fall Colors in Pictures






Wild Rose near Richardson Hall,
Oregon State University











Education Hall, Oregon State University











Willamette Floodplain from Hwy 34
(I wasn't driving, don't worry)












Trees behind Women's Building,
Oregon State University













The tree outside my kitchen window












Trees in the Memorial Union quad,
Oregon State University












Not sure what these flowers are, but they looked like they wanted their picture taken.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Paintballing Politics

One last political rant before the elections are over: Driving down the road, I keep seeing these little signs like the old BurmaShave signs, "Vote for..." "John Doe..." "not the..." "other schmoe!" I really want a paintball gun. I want to hang my arm out the side of the car as I zero in on the name, then *pop pop pop* at the signs. I'm all for free speech, but I'd rather be seeing the beautiful fields and trees and not the obnoxious neon yellow or green signs that probably won't be picked up for months upon months. Please, somebody, give me a paintball gun!

I'll post the pictures soon, but I spent this afternoon on the Oregon State University campus taking pictures of the fall colors and Geocaching my way in a huge circle. The Pirate Boys helped me gather up four more 'caches. But right now, I'm eating spice cake (delicious!) and working on a heavenly diet coke as my boyfriend discusses his Fantasy Football league. He's losing a game he's not even playing... or maybe he's winning... I can't tell. Nobody's striking up the band to tell me which way things are going.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Voting, Frustrations, and Family

I voted today. I voted "yes" seven times, "no" six times, for two republicans and two democrats, and for the only person listed several times. I studied the voter's pamphlet cover-to-cover, finding the wording very difficult, but highlighting much and understanding most of it. My opinion of politics is pretty simple at this point: the idiots on one side balance out the idiots on the other side, and then the few people that actually take the time to reason their way through things make the decisions, or else the rest of us really just fuck things up for everybody. And I get frustrated because I don't want to vote "yes" or "no" sometimes, because the ideal answer is really a mix of the two black lines. Yet another political rant from someone that refuses to blog about politics.

Les Schwab pisses me off! I took my car in to get the tires rotated and specifically told them quite firmly and several times, "do not use the power wrench on my car." They rotated the tires and used the power wrench to get the lug nuts back onto the car and tightened them down by hand. After they ran them tight with the power wrench. UGH! My car shudders just a little bit when I slow down with intent (not slamming on the breaks but more than just slowing gradually). I went driving tonight on some familiar back roads to test the car and see if it handles differently. It does. I get so angry when people mess with my car, thinking that either I don't know anything about cars because I'm a girl, or that I don't know how to drive a car because I'm young. I know how to drive my car, and I know that tightening the lug nuts down hard causes my car to shudder when breaking. I'm angry that people don't listen to me when I know what I'm talking about, especially when the outcome means damage to my car. *CURSES!*

My birthday is coming up in the next two weeks, a glorious and grand event marking 23 years. My sister and I will be doing something great for our birthdays (which are 12 days apart), and I think I'll spend an evening with my parents or something, but that's about it. My boyfriend and Rachel conspired to dragging me out in Portland on my birthday or a week after. Honestly, I am not a huge fan of Portland or any big cities. Furthermore, I am a bit distressed that they made these plans right in front of me. Now I'm not one for surprises, so being there is preferable to not, but still... I like to make decisions for myself. Especially considering it's my birthday. I appreciate them trying to get me out or show me something new and exciting, and Rachel is so good about pushing my comfort boundary. Perhaps the method could have been better... it just makes me nervous and worried and frustrated when people tell me what to do or make plans for me without consulting me.

Tonight was a big event at my aunt and uncle's house. Their daughter just reached her one-year survivor point from breast cancer, and their son reached his one-year survivor of a traumatic brain injury. The family was definitely celebrating some amazing milestones and moments. I'm so proud of my cousins and their parents for all they have survived and overcome. I had a great chat with cousin Matt about his recovery and plans--I'll post a link to his website as soon as he sends it to me. HUGE bonfire, biggest one I've ever seen, put off enough heat to warm an acre sufficiently for quite some time. Good food, good conversations with family, and some catching up that I needed to do. And they let Dad play with the fire... which is like giving me fire, only with a better imagination and the knowledge to apply it. :)

After the night of talking and burning things, I stopped in to see my Grandma for a long while. I haven't seen her in about two weeks, and the conversation we had was amazing. She really knows how to ground me and center my thoughts where they need to be. Ran into another friend there (hi Rene!!!) who reads my blog, and made it home just in time for a spider to crawl across my car windshield and scare the bloody hell out of me.

Plans tomorrow include Geocaching at OSU, taking pictures, and otherwise enjoying a beautiful autumn day. And maybe going dancing. Or just sleeping the day away... who knows!

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Evil Grin

I'm told I have this evil grin sometimes, though no one will describe this evil grin to me. Not really sure when it happens either.

Are you guys talking about my "Geocaching Grin" or the smile I wear when I am standing in the rain? Is this the goofy teeth-bared wide-eyed laughing face of someone plotting world domination? Or are you suggesting another evil grin?

Which is it? Describe me, please, and thank you. Otherwise, I might have to use that grin against you. :D

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Here, TAKE my money!

I'm such a moron. Not like a little bit... but a whooooole lotta moron.

I played into the phishing scam targeted to OSU students/staff and OSU Federal CU members. Well, sort of: the fuckers already had most of my information anyway, and their phoney website was authenticated correctly (I'm not stupid, I'm just... stupid), so I wasn't really doing much more than telling them it was okay to take my money. Immediately sensing that I'd done something wrong, I called and froze my account, then later went to my bank and closed the account. Now I have no bank. And I cheated the money-grubbing fuckers out of a whole $75. Way to go, thieves, you really know how to pick the rich ones, targeting college students and such...

I'm so mad, but then again, I'm the moron. Ugh, take my money, you dumbass fuckers! "...you want my blood, TAKE MY BLOOD!"

(Brownie point/shoutout to the first person to identify the actor/movie from which I stole the quote!)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Age Limit

God? Will you please put an age limit on technology? Can the Internet cap be 40? Can the "ask me how to do something trivial" be 35? How about the "you're young, you can fix my computer" limit be six months older than me?

Because I'm really starting to lose it. Having to write out instructions that include: "to click the mouse button, place your right index finger on the left-most mouse button and depress it ONE TIME YOU STUPID MORON" is getting a little old. Explaining that the mouse wheel is not, in fact, something the mouse sits in/on, but rather a feature inside the mouse allowing the computer user the ability to scroll... or how about this: "to open a program (that I've previously installed a shortcut icon on your freaky desktop for you), drag (no, that's not a literal term, stop pointing at the monitor) your mouse cursor over to the icon and click twice. We've already covered how to click. Now do it twice in rapid succession. Faster. Unless the icon is a shortcut on your taskbar, then only click once. ONCE! I SAID ONCE! Damnit, now you've opened the same program twice and Windows is going to crash since it can't handle opening that much at once."

MOVE OVER AND LET ME DO IT FOR YOU. PLEASE. BEFORE YOU HURT SOMETHING. Like... ME!

AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!! *blogger has encountered the blue screen of death, flatlined, and may need professional help*

God? Can you do that? Can you put an age limit on technology? I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.

Lunch and Politics

I had an amazingly wonderful weekend full of rest, movies, and great conversation. Words will not do my weekend justice, but readers should know that it was very fun and relaxing, the way weekends ought to be spent.

My Monday was pretty good too. Got a full night of good sleep (three nights in a row, it's nearly unheard of!), plus work went well. I managed to stay busy all day and didn't have to ask for work or a new task. That's 'cuz I have 'initiative.' And also because I have another box of tags to count. It's the Turquoise Nightmare.

But lunch was very good! I walked over to the MU to get a pop, and along the way, I spied one of my undergrad program classmates. We exchanged updates and mentioned a few things about how frustrated we are with OSU's Science/Math Education undergraduate program. We are both having the same problems with the advisors and requirements (like, six different advisors for our program in four years, zero consistency in the curriculum, random classes and class changes, and no one to tell us what hoops to jump through to get a useful licence or degree). I have my degree, but I still need to retake that last part of the Praxis (next month). Then...? I'm not really sure. Nobody will tell me anything helpful, except that "you need to talk to my friend who is a teacher!" It just felt really good to know that I was not alone in my college frustrations.

So I got my pop (suffering through a Diet Pepsi while dreaming it was a Diet Coke), then walked over to another building to eat my lunch. I ran into a dance friend, then another, and we three girls sat together talking for a few minutes before I had to head back to work. I don't like other girls on the whole, but these two are pretty neat. I enjoy talking to them.

It was a lunch well-spent, some conversations worth having, and some nasty pop consumed.

Looking for a political rant or for me to explain why I'm supporting Candidate A over Candidate B? You won't find that here. I refuse to blog about politics except for this one paragraph which I am about to post (I have a feeling I'm going to get it for this one):

"Why don't you blog about politics?" -- I don't blog about politics or political issues because I don't feel it is my place to tell you how to think. I don't subscribe to a political party or side of an issue. I'm often on both sides of the fence, seeing things both ways, understanding two points of view at once. For example, I think conservation should be a much bigger issue than it is. Natural resource policy ought to be at the forefront of our minds, not merely a footnote in legislation. However, I'm also in favor of selective logging, green building practices, and mineral mining. -- I support candidates that lead by example, not by how they look or what they write or promise. I refuse to vote by party line, and I have voted for candidates and measures across the spectrum of conservative to liberal. -- I vote with an educated mind, considering outcomes and inevitabilities. I think for myself. Isn't that the notion this country was founded upon?

So there you have a political rant. I'm going to go... do... something... yeah. Take that.