Monday, December 31, 2007

"Thank God Christmas is Over" (aka: Jaggy's Post-Christmas Rant)

My heart is no longer in the season. I don't care about your Christmas loot, your Uncle Ralph's big fish story, or your fantastic sugar cookies. The whole build-up to Christmas was all about what people were getting for someone else, how much they spent, and how the season was for giving. Two days later, it's me, me, me! "Look what I got!" and "How much did I score!?!" While I did have a fantastic draw--don't think I'm down because I didn't get anything (I made off like a fucking bandit)--I'm so glad it's all over.

When was the last time you saw other people with tasteful Christmas decorations? Seriously. Oh, sure, my house was tastefully decorated. I put up a full nativity scene (including a horse, goat, two pigs, and a boat--WTF?) in the front yard next to the giant inflatable snow-globe, six fake spiral trees, two wire deer, and oversized holiday greeting card. You know what? I long for the days when people put up a simple string of normal-sized lights along the gutter. Easy. Even a string of mini-lights set on the "chase" mode. None of the rope lighting, none of the lawn ornaments, and especially none of the icicles or net lighting. LEDs are cool, sure, but all things in moderation. No need to give your position away to Mars, right?

It's starting to feel like one o' Mr. Guy's rants over here. Whee! Keep reading...

Not all sugar cookies are created equal. True. But your cookie recipe is the best in the world? HA! Unless you spend your days in a bakery or have Super-Granny skills in the kitchen, I seriously doubt the validity of your ultra-cookie-baker status. I know. I've eaten a lot of sugar cookies. Know who's recipe is the best? Not yours.

Did anyone actually find a good deal on anything for the holiday? I was in store after store looking for those über-bargains touted in all the ads. While I did get a handful of stuff marked 50% off, I noticed the price mark-ups to be pretty steep in the first place. They're not sales until I feel like I'm getting my money's worth. That, dear friends, is what a capitalist market is all about: supply and demand. Until your supply price meets my demand price, no sale!

And while I'm on the warpath, what is this BS I hear about Santa being overweight? Some U.S. government agency wants Santa to slim down to promote a healthier image to young children. He's a fat, jolly, IMAGINARY guy in a red suit. Build a bridge and get over it. While I admire the principle, I think there are bigger problems in the world than how far Santa tips the scales.

Maybe if his sleigh wasn't full of so much overpriced, breakable, electronic shit and cardboard-flavored sugar cookies, he'd fly a little bit faster through the air, burn less reindeer gas, and deliver presents to your bratty kids earlier.

Happy New Year! :)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Post that Makes No Sense

I don't blog while intoxicated very often. That's because I rarely drink. But for some reason, tonight, after my fifth Edward Norton movie in a row, I figured, "what the hell?" Sorry if none of this makes any sense. I'm warm for the first time in two days.

I went to the store this afternoon and spent $20 on pop. Just Diet Coke, to be truthful. I'm a hopeless addict. Not sure why I felt like sharing that... but until I met Mom and Grandma for lunch in Albany, it was the most significant part of my day.

No dancing lately. I'm in withdrawal. My mood is growing more foul by the day, although craft projects are helping to keep me sane. I'm told there are a few dancing opportunities in Tigard this weekend, but I don't think I can afford the steep admission costs. First you have to pay to learn the dances in classes or lessons, and then they make you pay to show up and actually dance. Sheesh!

I sat in the tub for a while tonight, just laying there submerged. The world was quiet for a few minutes. No stresses, no pressures, nothing to keep my mind occupied. All the built-up tension left my shoulders finally. It was almost as good as a massage... one of those oily, relaxing ones. mmmmmmmm.

People are trickling back into town. As much as I've felt lonely and bored while they've all been gone, part of me relished the solitude. Even though I love dancing and being around people, the whole gig wears me out. I really am a homebody. With a mean sense of adventure.

Not making much sense in my head... alcohol screws with my emotion-colors. I am probably a mean drunk if I ever get that far. Funny, though, that I managed to get through four years at a "party school" college with frat-boy and sorority-girl friends, two pro-but-safe-drinking roommates, and I've never been drunk. Not once. I've been pretty tipsy, but no puking, no hangovers... I've never bought alcohol for myself at a bar--and only one, then, for my sister on her 21st. I wonder if alcohol makes me a better dancer.

And here I am. Not contemplating the mysteries of the universe with others. Not laughing or playing games with friends. I'm home, alone, neither happy or sad. Wish there was some great purpose in this post, but I don't have one.

In a non-materialistic sense, sometimes, it feels like I don't have much at all.

Friday, December 28, 2007

5 Products that Keep Jaggy Beautiful

In no particular order, the follow products keep me looking my best while at work, in the rain, and while dancing the night away. Oh, and none of these are paid advertisements. I'm just looking to share a bit of hard-earned wisdom from experience. But if you'd like to pay me... ;)

1. Almay make-up. While it's a bit more expensive than the other mega-brand-names, the quality of the eyeshadow and it's ability to last astounds me. It feels like I'm not wearing anything (and just about everything else does). The eyeshadow trios make application too easy. Many friends have questioned why I 'never wear make-up.' I do wear it, but Almay make-up makes me look like I'm naturally this good-looking (er, *cough*).

2. Dr. Scholls Tri-Comfort insoles. With narrow feet, I have to put insoles in my shoes so they stay on as I walk. These thin gems give me additional arch support and heel padding, but the 3/4 length doesn't crowd my toes. I think I have claustrophobic toes. I probably have six or seven pairs of these insoles, and I know I could never dance the night away without them.

3. Sonicare toothbrush. I've been using a fancy toothbrush for about six months, and I can't imagine going back to a manual brush. My gums feel sooooooo much better, and I love the smooth, clean feeling. When I first got my braces off, like every kid, I kept running my tongue all over feeling that smooth, non-bracketed grin. This toothbrush brought back that feeling. I never looked forward to brushing my teeth before I bought a Sonicare. :)

4. Chap Stick. I don't much care for lipstick or lip gloss, especially anything flavored or goopy. Chap Stick is one of those few things I always have with me, though. I go for the plain, unflavored, moisturizing kind... simple. Easy. I like that in a product.

5. Eucerin and Aquaphor lotion. Even though I don't use them often, when I need these two products, they deliver. I dislike lotions. I don't enjoy the greasy feeling of other lotions, and I don't want to smell like I just poured a bottle of cheap perfume on me either. Eucerin doesn't smell much at all, especially the Sensitive Skin lotion. My hands crack sometimes, especially if they've been wet/dry repeatedly all day (like when I used to work in a kitchen). Aquaphor gets the job done the first time. I can put it on when I go to bed, either under soft gloves or without, and when I wake up, *poof* cracks are gone.

What do you use to keep you looking your best? Agree with me? Disagree? No comment? Come on... share your secrets!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Where does the heat go?

Winter is here, and I'm freezing more day by day. My parents always kept their house warm, and I have never lived anywhere with such poor heating. The little cadet heaters in my walls seem to let heat out as much as creating it. They'll turn on below a certain temperature--independent thermostats, of course--but then never shut off by themselves. I must keep the thermostats turned down enough that the heaters don't turn themselves on during the day while I'm at work, and then I run them nearly all evening so that I can feel my feet before I get into bed. At night, I have an electric blanket. That has been my saving grace, although I wouldn't much mind having another [male] body's heat to share... any takers?

Tonight, I discovered that the condensation inside my windows has begun growing some foul, dark mold. Quickly, I wiped down the windows and sprayed them with alcohol all around. Hopefully I've gotten to the beast before it overtakes anything. Nothing more do I detest than things growing or smelling in my house.

Where the heat goes, I do not know. I've put thick curtains over the blinds in the windows. I'm creating draft blockers for the doors leading outside. What can I do about my stove vent, bathroom vent, or laundry vents? Does anyone have any suggestions?

Sitting here, I'm in warm pajamas, a flannel-lined silk robe (amazingly, both functional and attractive at the same time), and a down comforter, and I'm still chilly. It may come as no surprise that I am very much one to steal covers, enjoy snuggling, and generally hone in on guys' warmth. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a guy that sees me as someone he's willing to share that warmth with. Cold nights, but they're anything but sleepless.

And don't ask me why, but I have a sudden urge to eat ice cream.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Studying Religion leads to More Questions

I've been studying on religion lately, and I'm not sure if I've come to any conclusions. I know the internet is not a valid substitute for a lifetime of learning and devotion, but gathering information from friends (especially of the pastoral type), books, and websites, I feel as though I've scratched the surface in understanding some of those foreign words.

Don't worry, I'm not about to go all Bible-thumper on you. I found what I read to be interesting and question-provoking, and I hope to continue learning about the different branches of Christianity and Islam.

Oh, yeah, did I mention that I'm not one of those biased people who believes that anyone that doesn't think like I do is wrong? I don't know much about other religions, and I don't see a problem with reading or learning about them. From what I've been able to discern, most modern religions have similar beliefs, if not even the same God (whatever His name may be): it's not nice to kill people, be nice to your neighbor, the man rules but should treat his wife kindly, and have lots of kids.

Aside from those broad and sweeping generalizations, I focused heavily on the bits that separate out the different Christian denominations. As I was not raised going to church every weekend, my parents did their best to instill good values. I have a hard time buying into certain faiths and don't appreciate other church traditions. I strongly dislike people who have a "pick and choose" mentality when it comes to faith, however, and resisted doing that myself. My faith is hard-won and more than once battle-tested.

So far, all I have is that I'm half Catholic, half Methodist. Which would sorta make me Lutheran, except I don't like the idea of closed communion. Close communion, perhaps, but not closed. I'm not a devout Creationist, but I am not a staunch [human] evolutionist either. I have intensely mixed emotions about infant baptism. While I think I've formed a stance about grace and how we obtain grace (or not), I still have some learning to do. As in all quests for knowledge, I've come up with more questions now than when I started. However, my questions are becoming more specific.

What does this mean for me, a churchless follower of Christ? It means I'm having a damn hard time convincing anyone that, although I don't go about things the same way, my faith is just as strong as theirs. I can explain why, but that's for private discussions. Because I'm not out knocking down doors or beating people over the head with a Bible, because I'm not sitting in church singing songs or witnessing to every person I meet, somehow I'm inferior. While you may not think that's true, I've found quite a few that do--some of them friends.

More questions in need of more answers. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Santa Brought me Spaghetti Sauce

I kid you not, five jars of homemade spaghetti sauce. And plastic wrap. Either Santa got his "Bed, Bath, and way, way, way Beyond" mixed up, or he's been smokin' something.

I celebrated the holiday over several days, first on Saturday with Mom's side, and then today with Dad's mother. Good food, lots of company, and gift exchanging. I tried my hardest to find gifts for my parents that they'd appreciate... impossible as they're impossible to buy for, but I really did try. They overcompensated with gifts beyond what I could have dreamed of--and I'm thankful for each thoughtful gift.

Santa really did bring me spaghetti sauce, though. He told Mom to cook it a few days early so it'd be just the way I like it. Mom even froze it so it'd last the ride down the chimney. I put it in my freezer for one of those nights I can't bear to cook and need some of Mom's wonderful sauce.

Seems like a silly gift, right? Nah, it couldn't be more practical. Hits the spot in more ways than one. Just needs a little warmin' up and I'll be a happy kid all night.

Have you ever had a holiday where you feel so blessed, you can't help but weep? I'm learning about that today. Not quite to the weeping yet. 'Cuz I still don't fully grasp how blessed I am.

That's been my lesson this month. It's a hard lesson to learn.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Unspoken Words Speak Loudest

If you were to meet me on the street, you might find that I communicate quite differently in person than I do on the blog. Of course, this is true of any person. Who we are as humans cannot possibly be contained within the frame of an online journal or even a penned one (although the handwriting is more personal to be certain). At the same moment, our existence without the ability to communicate is trifling. The non-verbal communication of body language speaks when we cannot.

My friends and coworkers have informed me that my body language is peculiar. When the need arises, my "poker face" can win over even the greatest skeptics. Yesterday, I was making a joke with someone, and it took them several minutes to realize my jest. I must remember that some people--strangers--aren't as adept at reading me.

This ability might suggest that I'm a good liar, which is not true. If the matter is of grave importance, I am literally unable to contain a lie. In all things, I've found the truth easier (painful, ugly, and disgusting, also).

These are not masks. They are not false selves. I am always behind the expressions and gestures. Sometimes, though, in the effort of self-preservation or in order to avoid being asked questions, I may pretend that all is well when the contrary is true. Few people, only two non-parental-units in fact, have been able to crack this code. Until very recently, it was only one. This trait, the ability to see through the invisible walls... I find it wholly attractive.

That is, to say, I find people who have it within themselves to do the same, to recognize a front and stare it down, a genuinely delightful commodity. It's more than asking, "how are you?" or questioning my silence. The profound desire to understand and listen speaks more than my body language can overcome.

At times, I am an illusionist, creating the façades people want to see. The misdirection is not to create false hope, but rather to entertain. The emotions are real, and the words are always true. I stand behind my actions at all times. Though I live my life as black and white, make no assumptions about me: nothing is as it seems.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

When Teaching Meets Dancing

As if learning to dance were not enough, I've been teaching some too. For the last six weeks (a total of five one-hour lessons), I've helped a friend instruct about ten couples how to waltz and foxtrot. The experience has been challenging and truly special.

Some of you might remember that my college degree was in Science Education. I adore teaching, but after not being accepted to graduate school, I followed God's plan down a different path. I love my current job, and I am confident that, while teaching brings me great joy, it probably wasn't the right career for me. I have a well-rounded degree, and I can use it in a variety of fields. I have no regrets walking away from teaching science at this time.

When my friend asked me if I'd help him teach, I wasn't sure I would be much help. He said he just needed a girl to stand there and make him look good. Oh, I think I can do that. ;) So I went. We ended up meshing well together in teaching the waltz. My weaknesses in explaining footwork were accentuated by his technical lingo, and his apprehension and organizational skills were (hopefully) compensated by mine.

We held our last class today, and my friend made the "students" fill out course evaluation forms. While I nay-sayed the idea at first, the feedback was very much appreciated. Everyone seemed to like our teaching style and wants us to come back to teach more! YAY!

I love teaching. I love being in front of people, sharing my knowledge and information, and helping them learn something fun. My passion for dance amazes me at times, and being able to pass that on makes me feel very good. If my friend is asked to teach again, and if he asks me to help him again, I would be honored.

Of course, the extra money doesn't hurt... getting paid to dance is an awesome thing.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Dancing Under the Disco Ball

It's 10:45am on a Saturday, and I've already had too much 'weekend.' Last night, I went West Coast Swing dancing at Tigard's Ambassador Ballroom. The night was amazing, and I learned a few new things. I had the fortunate experience of dancing with some very talented dancers, and I enjoyed dancing with friends.

But the disco ball made me sick. Who, in their right mind, puts up a large mirrored ball for "mood lighting"?! The reflections on the floor and walls prevent me from spotting correctly, and every time I look down, the floor looks like it's alive. Many other girls I spoke to had the same problem. First, we're turning in the dance, spinning all over at every whim of our guys. Then, the floor is moving, the walls are moving, and the damn disco ball is moving.

After one particularly over-led dance, I almost lost it. I would have lost it, but there wasn't anything in me to lose. I ate several hours before so that I wouldn't be uncomfortable - surprisingly a good plan. Every once in a while, I'd force myself to sit out and try to focus on something not moving. The disco ball pulled me in. The last Nightclub Two-Step didn't go well, and I owe a friend an apology for the last WCS. I'd already put on street shoes, so I couldn't spin, could barely walk straight, and had zero rhythm left. Awful, awful dancing.

So I was massively motion-sick and still had an hour-and-a-half ride home in a strange vehicle with the stench of corn dogs and wonky pizza and stinky dancers permeating my breathing space. ~retching noise~

I had a great time, I really did! Dancing was fun, and I love the Ambassador Ballroom.

Disco ball: "Someday I think you and I are going to have a serious disagreement." KP? Where's that shotgun?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Oops, Re-Gift!

I pride myself on honest blogging. I'm an open book about all that I'm willing to share (and there isn't much I don't put here). In that spirit, I have one more completely random and entirely "too much information" to say:

I'm a hopeless re-gift-er. And all those candles people seem to think I'll like because I'm a girl... oh, that's right. Re-gift-ed. The wonky candle holders that don't go with any decor... re-gift-ed. If it smells, sits around and collects dust, or is for decoration only (and doesn't get stuck to the wall), oh it's so getting re-gift-ed.

And I have no shame.

In other news, I'm going dancing tonight. I am not exactly thrilled about it since my face has decided to become a nightmarish zit zone again. While my false confidence usually overpowers the fear of social situations, I'm pretty much freaking out. Make-up isn't helping my face. I'm gonna need war paint. Here's to masquerades!

Oh, and four-day weekends. YAY!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Potluck this, you cross-contaminated nut jobs!

I find it difficult to be respectful at a potluck. I have a hard time eating food that other people cook in their home. It's nothing personal--and yet it's terribly personal. No, I won't eat your fried chicken. No, I don't care to try your "super yummy fudge." Nope, I won't even taste it.

Whether it is because I come from a family where the kitchen is sterilized before every use, or because I worked in a production kitchen for five years with the highest cleaning standards of any facility in the state... I demand to know where my food is being prepared. Simple ideas like washing hands and not using the same knives or cutting boards for different things--common knowledge, but uncommon practice. Disgusting.

I'm not pointing fingers or placing blame. Even when my own family gathers, there are certain people's foods I'm leery of, and there are other people's foods that you can't keep me out of. I know a few of my friends have worked in kitchens, and I know that their standards for cleanliness are quite high. I trust Rachel's cooking, Jenny's cooking, and Emily's... although Emily never cooks with raw meat, so I have less to worry about there.

Sometimes I'll even go so far as to not eat at other people's houses. I strongly dislike friends cooking for me, partly because I am picky with my food, and partly because I don't know about their kitchens. One of the first things I look at is the countertop. If there are crumbs or bits of food sitting there, I'm out. If I can, I'll check the can opener. Odd, right? If a person cooks often, their can opener is likely to be handy. That's one of the first things the Department of Health will look at in a kitchen. If the can opener is clean, it means the person took the time to clean other things too. Of course, if the can opener is brand new, the rule is out. But who has a new can opener?

I hate potlucks.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Not your Average Christmas Soirée

Christmas is coming, and my mom's family will gather this Saturday for our yearly feast. Part of me looks forward to seeing everyone and reconnecting with cousins who can't return a MySpace message... but part of me dreads the holiday. Last year, we were all there. Everyone. We talked, shared our lives, and listened to Grandpa make a speech. He spoke of family, and how important family is to us, how much we mean to each other, and the reason we gather and support one another. This year, though, he won't be making any speeches. Grandpa won't be at Christmas. The last twelve months have not been easy as the family has watched him slide into his dementia. On a very good day, he'll recognize his sons and daughters, but most days... most days don't involve much more than eating and sleeping.

Saturday, we will all be there to celebrate Christmas. Except Grandpa. He might even be there physically (if my aunts and uncles have the audacity to move him out of his facility and care for him for a few hours), but his mind and heart won't be joining us.

It's not that there will be one less person--one person in twenty or thirty makes little difference. We won't exchange presents or make any toasts, and there won't be caroling or pageantry. None of that matters to me, especially in the long run. I don't need stacks of pretty boxes under the tree, and I certainly don't care if we sing or dance or play games.

Christmas, for me, for my family, is about being there. Of course, we're there for each other all year long, but this one day is the most important. While so many other families celebrate their holiday with extravagant gifts and pomp and circumstance, too much alcohol, and elaborate prayers, my family will gather in a large living room without enough seating, and we'll celebrate love.

That's right: no gift giving. Probably no Christmas tree. No big sit-down meals. Just a lot of related people sitting in one room together talking, laughing, and being there. Of all that is human, in what better way could we honor the life of Christ than by celebrating love?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"Jaggy" is a conundrum... fix me!

Who is this "Jaggy" person, and why does she go by "Jaggy"?

I have the hardest time trying to describe myself online. Both Facebook and MySpace have sections for "About Me," and I never know what words to use. Do I take the high road and claim that I'm not all that different, or do I go the unique route and try to be witty? Do I use whole sentences, or do I make a list? How long should a description of "me" be?

You've made it this far, and you're reading my blog. Thanks for stopping by! If you're one of my friends, you probably already have a good idea of who I am, and you'll find even more nonsense in other posts. :) But, in the off-chance that you're not one of the six or seven people stalking me from my Facebook profile, you don't have any idea who I am.

And if you're me, you have no idea how to describe yourself.

How do you describe a girl that:
-likes Cabela's as much as J. C. Penney's?
-won't spend more than $30 on blue jeans, but won't spend less than $75 on shoes?
-puts applesauce on macaroni and cheese, but doesn't eat any condiments except ketchup?
-is a science nerd, but dislikes using science as an excuse for things?
-votes and has strong opinions, but doesn't like to discuss politics?
-is just as happy on a farm as in the big city?
-reads music and plays several instruments, yet doesn't often listen to music?
-loves to dance--and does so often, and is as far from athletic as possible?
-isn't really big or small or tall or short?
-enjoys long dresses and cozy pajama pants equally?
-is comfortable in both a woodshop and a gourmet kitchen?
-would never smoke, but chugs Diet Coke as if tomorrow is the last day on earth?
-organizes some things and not other things?
-loves the rain and being in water, but is anything but a capable swimmer?
-grew up in Oregon and doesn't like Nike, salmon, or The Simpsons (gasp!)?

I find myself a perpetual conundrum, or else a very well-rounded (although spiky) person. If anyone can come up with words that describe me better, leave a comment.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Silly Girl, Sideburns are for Boys

Sideburns are for men. Big men. With big, scratchy beards. Not women. And certainly not me.

I have had my hair as short as an inch and nearly reaching down to my lower back. For the last five or six years (since it grew in from the last pixie-cut), I've had it chin- to shoulder-length. My hair is naturally ram-rod straight, and while it will hold a curl with six gallons of hairspray and some glue, it's pretty much useless for styling. Oh, and it's brown. Not pretty red-brown, not light and silky hazel, but brown. Just brown.

For about a year, I've been shaving my sideburns off. They grew in weird, and when I'd get my hair cut, they always looked silly. I'm not talking about hardcore bushy sideburns, but little hairs in front of my ears that were untameable. So I kept cutting them shorter and shorter until finally, one day, buzzzzzz! off they went. I shaved them with an electric trimmer--the multi-attachment one I used to trim my bangs so often.

My mother gave me crap about it. My cousins did too. My friends teased and questioned and teased some more. So last week I gave in. I started to let them grow back. Oh man, what a bad idea! The first four days were a nightmare. I couldn't turn my head against my flannel pillow case, and my ears itched to no end. The last two or three days have been easier, but now I look ridiculous. My hair grows so darn fast that I've already had to trim them to make them even.

I suppose if this is the worst thing I have to deal with, then life isn't so bad, right?

*itch itch*

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My family redefines "odd"

In case anyone needed more proof that my family is weird:

Yesterday, I rode to Eugene with my parents to go to my best friend's wedding. We talked about a variety of topics the whole way down and back, and I'm pretty sure my friends don't have families that talk about such odd things:

-the economic and political state of the antebellum southern U.S.
-"The Talk," and when Mom had that oh-so-special discussion with me
-Oregon's history, specifically of Generals Grant and Sherman in the "Indian Wars"
-the intricacies of sugar cookies and appropriate frosting methods
-the differences between lean and extra-lean ground beef RE: the perfect burger
-remembering the vast number of places we've traveled around Oregon as a family

And if that's not enough oddity for you, we discussed the difference between black pants, dark blue pants, and those really weird blue-black pants that you can't hem because both blue and black thread stands out on it.

Deep, lengthy discussions. You should see us when we get really riled up about something!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Congratulations Matthew & Grace!

My best friend got hitched today, and I couldn't be more proud or relieved. Matthew and I have been friends since third grade--an astounding fifteen years ago--and I don't remember a single fight. We've never been more than friends. Our parents' backyards were separated by only a fence, so it's safe to say we weren't apart very much. We both played the piano from a young age, although Matthew plays much more beautifully than I, and we were in band through high school together. We've always had a special connection, one that goes beyond words. Today, I felt a little bit like I gave him away to a truly wonderful woman.

When we were growing up, Matthew would find a girl, date her for a while, and then introduce her to me. I was his Girl Barometer, though I never knew why my opinion of his girlfriends mattered so much to him. He'd ask my opinion of her, and I was always honest. I can't say that I ever gave him a good review. Last year, late on Christmas day, he brought another girl over for me to meet. She had the biggest smile, the loudest laugh, and she looked at him with more love than a person deserves to be looked at with. Grace beamed when she sat next to him, and I could see his heart sing as he held her hand. For the first time, I gave him a positive review of his selection.

Just shy of one year later, Matthew married Grace. They looked at each other today the same way they did a year ago. I literally know this man's thoughts at times, and I can't begin to understand how much he loves his new wife.

To Matthew: It was an honor to join you today as you celebrated with a wedding to your new best friend. Thank you for including me in your pre-ceremony slide show. May your lives be less Hallmark-y and more blessed than any sappy blog post I can muster. You are amazing, and I'm incredibly happy for you both. Congratulations Matthew & Grace!

P.S. Don't forget to take a moment and change that Facebook status to "Married." I know how long you've been waiting for that!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Another Week in the Life o' Jaggy

You know, if you take Wednesday off, the week goes so much faster. I spent my Wednesday in Salem shopping for Christmas presents. I think I got everyone done with one small exception. Not only that, but I stayed under my budget and got to spend time with a friend while shopping. Not a bad day at all!

Wednesday and Thursday evenings were spent decorating a friend's Christmas tree. A few of us helped her get the tree, set it up, string popcorn, and decorate. The second night was a bit more low-key as I cut out felt ornaments and made the tree look warm and cozy. As much as I dislike the idea of chopping down a tree, letting it die in my living room, and then having to haul it off, part of me misses the tradition in my own apartment.

My own apartment isn't seeing much of the festivities this year. I wrapped the presents I purchased in shiny mylar wrap, so they are all sparkley under my foot-tall fiber-optic tree. It's not much, but it works for me. I got a new scented oil thingy that makes the apartment smell like spicy apple pie. The first night, the whole apartment smelled as if I'd baked fifty at once! After a few days, the scent is more tolerable (and less headache-producing). Why can't they make a scented thingy that never gets very strong and lasts more than two weeks? You think someone would come out with such a product...

In other exciting news, the President of the Portland Swing Dance Club left me a comment! You can click the link on his comment to see a picture of me taking the actual video from the dance. That comment made my day.

Tonight's plans include cooking dinner for boys who are going to take me to a movie. Good plan! Then, probably hanging out at another friend's house. Tomorrow is Matthew's wedding, and more dancing/teaching dance on Sunday. Sometimes I wonder how I survive my own schedule and plans. Other times, I run head-first into my own life. Whee!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

An Uncanny Resemblance

You remind me of
the person I don't want you to be
the things I don't want to see
the life I walked away from

You remind me of
the one I thought I liked
the long tall swagger and
the shameless bravado

You remind me of
the contemptuous world
the bitter ghosts of my memory
the places I can't go back to

You remind me of
the questions I wouldn't answer
the outright perfidiousness
the nights you cried on my floor

You remind me of
the voice that cares not
the voice that mocks with open cruelty
the voice which makes mine weep in jealousy

You remind me of
the buttons pushed in haste
the sleepless nights
the careless kisses and unfelt hugs

You remind me of
the reasons I better myself
the laughter I seek
the love I have to give

You remind me of
the way things used to be
the way things ought to be
and the way I want to be

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I can't think of anything!

We've all used the phrase, but I think it's more true for my family than for most people.

"What do you buy for the person that has everything?"

The Christmas season is here, and my time is running out. I only buy presents for four or five people, and I assure you, they are the hardest people on Earth to buy presents for!

My father is not an outdoorsman, nor does he ever wear dressy clothes. He does not cook, and he does not need any more books, movies, or CDs. He is a craftsman, and I know he has every tool he'll ever need, some of them in duplicate. Dad is a geeky guy, but he's not a tech geek. He doesn't need an iPod or laptop peripherals. He doesn't drink, smoke, or gamble. My father buys what he needs when he needs it, and he only buys what he needs at the highest quality for the lowest price.

Neither of my parents are into spas or fine dining or wine. They do like to travel, but mostly they go around Oregon and stay away from the touristy places. They are not into art, fancy home decorating, or entertaining guests.

Mom is almost worse than Dad. Mom enjoys reading, cooking, and gardening. However, she doesn't actually keep her books (she trades them or buys them cheap and sells them to the Book Bin). She cooks, but she has too many cookbooks already, and she doesn't often make new things anyway. Her kitchen is fully stocked with every imaginable utensil, gadget, or machine, and she even gave a ton of stuff to me when I moved out two months ago. Mom's kitchen knives are great, and she doesn't need any more towels, spoons, or Tupperware. While she enjoys gardening, her raised beds are small and she doesn't grow much. Few tools make up for the time and water she pours into those gardens.

My parents strongly dislike anything that isn't useful. If the object sits around and collects dust, it is usually garage-sale-d the next season. While their home is decorated, the style is plain and simple. The artwork is almost entirely my father's own needlecraft or woodworking.

What do you buy for the person that has everything?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Dancing in Portland III

My weekend dawned entirely too early as I awoke and readied myself for the adventures to follow. First, I scrambled to get my stuff together so I could meet Mom in Albany to get a new cell phone. Our family renegotiated a 2-year contract and got new phones. I upgraded from a phone that was so basic that it didn't have a camera in it at all, and it's text-messaging was basic at best. I'm a bit sad that my ringtone (Mack the Knife) won't be on the new phone... but maybe I'll have something just as cool again. The new phone is an LG Trax. It has MP3 capabilites, a camera and picture messaging capabilities, and is Bluetooth compatible. Quite the upgrade! Mom also generously added unlimited text messaging plans to both my sister's phone and mine--though I have every intention of paying for my part of that deal. It's a luxury to be certain. Maybe we can even get Dad to learn to text message (first we have to get him to use one-touch dialing and teach him how to retrieve voice mails). The phones are actually larger than the last ones, but they're also supposed to be more durable. I'm cool with durable. :)

After the new phone exchange, I flew back to Corvallis and got the rest of my stuff together before meeting my friends to head north. We were out of town by noon en route to Newberg. The ride was uneventful, thankfully. We met another friend at his apartment and decided to go wine tasting. As many of you know, wine is one of those things I can't stand. The flavors of alcohol and rotting fruit do not suit my palate at all. My friends all tasted, though, and I had fun watching them enjoy (or not!) their wine. The atmosphere was nice. After that, we went back into Newberg and watched Beyond the Sea (Kevin Spacey's homage to Bobby Darin), a fantastic movie and experience that I very much enjoyed for the third time. We talked for a bit before leaving town. Hungry, we sought out food between Newberg and Clackamas.

You might think finding a restaurant and deciding to eat there would be an easy task, right? Oh no. We drove and drove. Finally, in a fit of insanity or genius (often one in the same for me), I remembered that we were likely close to Sweet Tomatoes. In the process of calling Dad to get directions, we actually drove right by it. Sometimes I worry about my own mind and how it connects things... anyway, that's where we ate. The line was a bit long, but I did get to see a couple friends from high school while we were there. Good food, great muffins.

Then, on to dancing! We were quite early, but we did get to see a new Nightclub Two-step move being taught. Sunnyside Grange is a weird place. The architecture is early-20th century, and the wood floors are fantastic for dancing. I'm not sure exactly how big the main room is, but I bet 100 people could dance without much trouble. The dance is hosted at the grange by the Portland Swing Dance Club. Everyone is nice, and while I prefer to dance with people I already know, I haven't danced with hardly any creepy men in the several times I've been up there. As the night wore on, the crowd thinned out. The dancing continued right up to midnight, and I know I was ready to drop at that point.

At the very end of the dance, one of the guys from OSU helped me figure out what I've been doing wrong with my West Coast Swing. With very little time to practice, we worked through as much as we could. I'm thankful for his input, and I'm learning to listen to the music slightly differently than I used to. Which is pretty astounding in itself: I know music, and I've spend years fine-tuning my ears to music, and with dance I've heard it even more differently. I adore seeing something old in a new way, and he sparked a new interest for me in dancing. Yay!

Finally, the night came to a close. We drove home--and I may have slept on the way home, but I couldn't tell. The heater in the car dried out my contacts so badly that I couldn't keep my eyes open through all the pain. I've never kept quiet that long on a 2-hour car ride home, either. Crazy adventure, and well-worth the cost of dinner and dancing.

Here's to a dance coma the day after! Zzzzzzz...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Movie: Dancing at Sunnyside Grange

Warning: This movie will likely cause motion sickness. I got motion-sick dancing, so imagine how much fun it looks on camera! More pictures and a detailed account of the adventure to follow.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

No blogging - I'm dancing!

I don't have a witty post for you today.
I am going dancing.
I will update Bloggy tomorrow.
Until then, je danse.

Friday, December 07, 2007

So much for "Have it Your Way"

Not only did I not "Have it my Way," I didn't get what I ordered my way. Thanks, Burger King.

How hard is it to make a plain cheeseburger? Meat, cheese, and the bun. Simple ingredients. I don't want your disgusting special-sauce-of-unknown-origin. I don't need your warm, fake ketchup. Meat, cheese, and the bun. No, hold the pickle. Keep your damn tomatoes off my food.

Perhaps it was the fact that I ordered two of these plain cheeseburgers that threw a wrench in the works. Heaven forbid I complicate things that much... but I tossed caution to the wind and ordered two burgers. With a single smallest portion of fries.

Oh no, you had to give me two extra-huge-mega-ginormous "Fry-Pods" full of cold, limp potato sticks. I can't complain much that you gave me so much extra food for free, but really now, that's some sloppy work. Next time, could you at least put them in the freezer to warm them up? Even put them outside in the rain for an hour to dry off first...

Burger King slaves, I know the orders become monotonous at times, but my order was pretty simple. You weren't busy. There were no lines of angry customers with which to place blame for your mistakes. You messed up. I didn't get my food My Way.

I'm almost sure I didn't even get my food. Bad form!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

"You don't have to understand here to be here."

In a slightly lighter mood today, I was able to smile my way through lunch with friends and actually enjoy myself. My own moments of zen are helping me understand myself better. At times, I actually stand back and realize just how unique and normal I am. Not sure which I wish to be more...

My friends like to joke that I'm all about my blog, or rather that I post too frequently or make a point of updating about mundane details. While I do enjoy posting and love comments, I still feel like the blog is an extension of my thought bubbles. It's the written-down memory warehouse (re: Dreamcatcher).

Lastly, before I close this randomosity, allow me to pour forth a bit of adoration. While I do stick to actors that I enjoy watching, few actors bring me as much joy to watch as Damian Lewis. His new TV show, Life, airs on NBC on Wednesday nights at 10pm. The writing is fantastic, and the story arcs, while not entirely original, are fun and realistic. Lewis created a character entirely his own... and I get a kick out of his moments of zen.

"You don't have to understand here to be here." --"Charlie Crews," Life

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A not-so Haughty Spirit before a Ridiculously Embarrassing Fall

If only I'd had spinach in my teeth... that would have been easier to live with.

Last night, I had a few friends over after work. I have people over a couple nights a week, so this wasn't anything out of the ordinary. My apartment is always neat and tidy, and I didn't think anything would be out of place. I rushed home to have dinner with my sister before she left for her final exam, and then I hurried into the shower before the friends arrived. When I got out of the shower and went to put my undies on, I noticed that a relatively new pair had part of the waistband tear away from the fabric. I relegated them to the mending pile (it bothers me when people mend undies that are old--sometimes you need to let things go. But these are new and really cute!). I flew out of the bathroom and was burning some CDs to my hard drive when the first friend arrived. No big deal... I was clothed and ready.

My friends watched a movie with me. People were in and out of the kitchen and bathroom all evening, and nobody mentioned anything to me. I even went into the bathroom at one point to take out my contacts. After they left, I picked up a few things, turned down my bed, and walked into the bathroom. Staring back at me from the floor were a pile of my clothes. Not just any clothes either: I'd somehow managed to get only the most unmentionable clothing on top. I'm not very shy about my clothing--especially when I'm not wearing it--but it's the principle of the matter! Any one of them could have mentioned it to me, and I'd have swooped in to reduce my further embarrassment. Oh, no, not a single one of them said anything. I didn't exactly need my friends seeing two pairs of undies hanging out on the bathroom floor. God knows what they think of me now, oy!

Thanks, guys.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Calendars 2008

They're done! I'm not sure I like the new format, but they're done.

Every year, I make calendars for my extended family. I do the graphic design and formatting, my mother proofs the calendars, edits them, and sends them back to me, and then one of us publishes the calendars. After that, we obtain a padding press and glue the calendar tops to a stiff cardboard backing. We add magnets to the very back as well. Mom gives these calendars to each of her siblings, her parents, and now to many of my cousins as they've moved out to their own houses.

You might think I'd be fast at this design work after seven or eight years of practice. Oh no. I have to out-do myself again and again. The graphics went from those I found online to pictures I took myself. I used to hunt for days for the perfect background, but now I have a large collection of my own. They have to be landscape (direction), and fairly light in color. I'm quick to recognize what colors will and won't work.

The new format doesn't have little graphics in the "important" day's box: I simply changed that date's color. You can see examples of those in the December 2008 (lower right) calendar.

They work... the calendars, I mean. It's a nice feeling to walk into any relative's house and see my photography hanging on their refrigerator. :)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Stuck in a Book, Finally

I love beings surrounded by words and wordforms. I don't know why either. I see words in my head all the time. When I'm speaking, the words appear in my head like chalk on a blackboard. Each letter, the size of the letters... the shapes of words are important to how I perceive them. Of course I'm not alone in that trait--it's standard word recognition--but words rock!

Growing up, I always had books. I have tons of books now, bookcases overflowing and literally tipping out from the wall due to the weight. I've read some of my books so many times that the spines are worn and tattered. I would read a book a day during the summers home alone as a young teenager, mostly adventures and historical fiction. In high school, I had grown out of chapter books and wasn't ready for adult books yet... so I stopped reading for a while. In college, I loathed the assigned reading and stuck to history and other select pieces. I haven't read a good fiction book in a long time.

The other day, I was sitting at work when this odd feeling came over me. I desired to read a particular book again. Not a feeling to go home, pick up the book, thumb through it for the good parts, and then put it away again... oh no. I wanted to read into the book, to mine the thoughts and words for meaning and emotions. I wanted to learn and grow through the text.

That's a very scary feeling when you're in the middle of some hardcore, mindless data entry.

So I got home and realized I didn't have time to sit and read the way I needed to. I put it off, but the desire didn't leave. It intensified. Now I'm pretty strong-willed, and I have every ability to overcome my own desires, but this! This was intense. I succumbed. The next night, I pulled that book off the shelf and read. I stayed up for hours past my usual bedtime. I read the words and drank in their meaning and was calmed and comforted and the feeling has not yet abated. I need to finish the book. Again.

The words sing to me. They are inspired, perhaps divinely, perhaps not. I don't know. I don't know the history of the author, and I don't much care. The book makes me feel better about my world. Rich histories, vivid imagery... I wish I would have realized this long, long ago.

Gotta go. The words are calling me.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Stepping on my Own Toes

In a few minutes, I'll be headed across town for the last dancing event of the year. How will I survive a month and a half without waltzing or Lindy-hopping? Thankfully, I'll continue to help a friend teach some short weekend lessons. Without those few moments, December is looking grim. I really don't like my friends leaving town, but the nights home alone will do me some good.

I've been rather depressed all week, and I wish I could blame it on the Usual Suspects (boys, money, or PMS), but that would be a lie. I don't suffer from PMS, today was payday, and I'm going to be in some guy's arms in half an hour. Life should be a crazy-fun time right now. It's not, and I'm not happy.

Last night, I had a chat with someone that taught me more about myself than I wanted. He's told me several times this same thing, and it's finally starting to sink in. His words cut deeply. I would have gotten defensive, but I don't owe him or anyone else an explanation. The problem lies entirely within me.

The final blow of the week was realizing that I'm afraid of myself.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

No More Questions

too many questions
that belittle my
intelligence
the smart you say
i am

i may not know
what
i want but i know
who
i am and what
i can do

this lack of communication
is a result of wanting
to be independent
to do things without needing
permission
to become myself
without meddling or pestering or
answering questions

no more questions
that is all
i ask
no more
trivial
useless
mundane
ungratifying
senseless
repetitive
unhelpful questions

instead of
questions
seek
knowledge of me
of the person you
claim
to know
but don't actually know because
you're holding conversation with me
in your head
and i'm not in there
i'm out here

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Get the Lights Right

Christmas lights are appearing around every house, up and down the streets here. I love seeing the pretty colors lit up at night, and I enjoy the originality with each house. However, the icicle lights irk me. Don't get me wrong, they're pretty. But icicles don't grow on gables! Those slopey sides drain, and unless there's something to stop the flow of water, an icicle won't grow there. Icicles grow on flat rooflines where they can drip consistently enough to create the classic icicle.

Just so you know. Your lights are not natural. The colored ones can go wherever you want. The mini net lights... toss those over every bush and tree. But icicles and icicle lights should only go on the flat sections where you'd find a gutter.

Yeah. I'm that picky.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

That's my Name, You Better Wear it Out!

"Jaggy" isn't my real name, but my real name sounds sorta like "Jaggy." Well, if you take off the J, change a few letters, add a couple more, and leave the "ee" sound at the end. Okay, so my real name might rhyme with "Jaggy."

Unless you shorten it. That's what this post is all about. If my name were really "Jaggy," I'd expect people to call me that. My mother has a name that can be shortened, as do all of her siblings. She purposely named my sister and me names that oughtn't be shortened. Nevertheless, a coworker called me by my shortened first name today. It would be like calling someone named "Sarah," "Sare." It works, sorta. I didn't get mad, and I'm still not mad. I didn't know and still don't know how to respond. Is work a place where that's even appropriate?

My parents shorten my name all the time, and that's great! I actually like it when they do. Two or three of my friends do it, too. I don't mind that. My sister can call me whatever she pleases, but we have our own names for each other anyway. Very few other people shorten my name, even among extended family.

I am not offended when people shorten my name. But it jars me somehow. I don't know why.

What do you think? Do people ever shorten your name? Do you prefer to be called by another name? Do you think there is a time and place for full names vs. nicknames?

Monday, November 26, 2007

I'm stupid, but I'm learning...

Sometimes I'm amazed at how stupid I can be. Other times, I just shake my head and laugh at myself. Is that normal?

The mysterious yellow liquid dripping from my range vent hood has not been identified, but the maintenance guy came and investigated the vents in the bathroom and kitchen today for leaks. He didn't find anything. The dripping has stopped. I'm less worried now.

I developed a whopper of a headache last night, which I attributed to a caffeine imbalance (my fancy way of not admitting my wonderful addiction). I had a normal withdrawal headache on Thursday, but usually one day is all it takes for me to get over withdrawal. Between the running around all weekend, the dance lesson on Sunday afternoon, and the time spent in a hot kitchen, I'm guessing I'm probably significantly dehydrated again.

The headache didn't leave after a full night of sleep--and nothing sucks more than waking up feeling as bad as when you went to sleep. I went to work today because I had to attend an annual meeting (that ended up not teaching me anything new). I tried to sleep on the ride up and back but had no luck. My evening has been slightly better as I been forcing myself to drink water often. A bath felt nice. So now I feel like crap, but I'm too relaxed and lazy to do anything about it.

So I'm an idiot for not drinking more water. Again. How many times until I learn? ARGH!

In other news, I'm re-reading one of my favorite books. It's teaching me something new yet again, and I couldn't be happier with it. Such is that gentle grace, though...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Suspicious Yellow Liquid

...is dripping from the range vent hood in my kitchen. The yellow liquid does not smell, nor is it off-gassing. I have not checked for flammability. The dripping is slow, perhaps two or three drips per minute. It began early this morning and has not yet stopped. Corvallis has not seen rain in several days, so the leak is not rain-related. If anyone has an idea or suggestion as to what this suspicious yellow liquid could be, please comment.

-no one lives above me, and there are no plumbing lines running over my kitchen ceiling
-no smell, remember?
-I cooked two large pots of soup two days ago and ran the vent fan for at least three hours, but there was no dripping in the last two days. Could the steam have condensated in the vent and is now dripping out?

Suspicious yellow liquids are NOT welcome in my kitchen. Help?!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ego vs. God: A Prayer

Hey, God? I get it already. I understand that I am nothing. We don't need to keep rubbing it in, do we? Seriously. I get it.

I know you gave me this incredible musical talent that I haven't been all that dedicated at sharing with others, but you sorta left out patience, and that's not really my fault. Thanks for bringing amazing people into my life that have even more of that musical talent! Could you make it so that I don't feel like a musical moron when I'm around them though? Seeing people so effortlessly play kinda bursts my bubble. It's not that I want to be better than them, definitely not. I just wish I could sit down and play one song that didn't sound like a tank creeping over chards of broken glass.

Oh, yeah, and remember all that musical talent? I am appreciative in every way! Though we need to have a little talk about vocal ability. How is it that I can hear two notes and tell that one of them is off-key, and I can hear when my own voice is not correct, but I can't make the correct sound come out? What happened? Were you asleep at my creation and sprinkled on the musical talent at the last moment? I'm not complaining about what I've been given. Honestly, though... sheesh!

So you blessed me with enough hand-eye coordination to play Bach, yet you seemingly passed up giving me the video gaming ability too? That would have been nice, God. I could have used that today when I got my ass handed to me playing Wii with my friends. It's not that I lost once, or even twice, but that I lost so miserably it was embarrassing. I can waltz and swing dance and have incredibly fine motor control, but I can't hold a game controller and make my character do anything coherent. I know other people can't do the many things I can, and I'm truly thankful that I can dance and play music. Could we negotiate about the video gaming ability?

A day for ego-destroying, indeed. What little bits of ego I'd scraped together since the last ego-bashing were all tossed in the wind today, scattered around on the ground. I did have fun with my friends--the day wasn't bad. I'm just a little sore with how much cool they have and how much ultra-dork I got.

God? I get it. Thank you for putting me back in my place. I know I deserved it, but you don't have to be so rough about it. Really, I get it already. If it's okay, I'd like to go to sleep now, and maybe wake up tomorrow not feeling like I'm nothing. That would be appreciated. Thanks.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Leftovers Day!

With a bunch of turkey left after yesterday's feast, Mom sent some home with me. I grabbed some fixin's on my outing today and made two huge pots of yummy turkey noodle soup (recipe at bottom).

I expected today to be incredibly boring sitting around my apartment with nothing to do. So wrong! I slept in late, got up and watched Ocean's Thirteen, made muffins and cleaned my kitchen, and did a bunch of laundry. In the afternoon, I ventured out to get another curtain rod and some sheets to make curtains for my living room.

My apartment has been losing heat somewhere, and I finally got tired of it. I was going to buy fabric and hand-make really nice, thick curtains for the living room. Then, I discovered I could get twin-size flat sheets for about $5.00 at Ross. Guess what: cheap, very nice fabric, some alligator clips on rings, and a $5.00 curtain rod! I have really fun and effective curtains in my living room now, and I have enough sheet material left over to make awesome pillow covers for the couch. Total cost: $20. ~big smile~

I watched Good Luck, Chuck while the soup was cooking tonight. Surprisingly good, excusing the eight or ten near-porn clips. The movie was funny. I can't help but relate to Jessica Alba's character--not because I think I'm anywhere close to being that gorgeous, but because the character is constantly fighting Murphy's Law. As much as I want to be a woman with grace and tact and charm... I know I'm not. I'm comfortable with my status as a geek. Sometimes, though, I wish I felt cool. And I wish I could find a guy that would see this girl that is constantly getting hurt, forever goofy, and completely incapable of saying the right things at the right time.

This is why we don't let Jaggy watch sappy chick flicks.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Jaggy's-Super-Simple-You-Make-Up-A-Shorter-Name-Turkey-Noodle-Soup

1/2 white onion, 3-4 carrots, 3-4 stalks of celery chopped up and cooked 1/2 hour over medium heat in a large stock pot (add 2.5 litres of water after the 1/2 hour). Add garlic salt and pepper to taste (I use a LOT of fresh-cracked black pepper). Using leftover turkey (it's better if it sits in the 'fridge overnight for some reason), shred it BY HAND. No knives. Bite-sized pieces. Add the turkey to the soup. Toss in 3 or 4 bullion cubes--use chicken because I've never been able to find turkey bullion cubes... wonder why. I generally add more pepper and parsley now as well. Cook 3 or 4 hours. Stir every half-hour or so. Taste often. The last half-hour is critical: add Reame's Egg Noodles. They're available in the freezer section, usually next to the frozen bagged ravioli or bagged vegetables. Other noodles break down or absorb too much moisture. Trust me, the noodles are amazing. Finish out that last half-hour, then EAT! Best with bisquick biscuits on a cold day.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Play-by-Play

Thanksgiving Day: up-to-the-minute reporting, mostly because I have nothing better to do...

7:30am: alarm clock sounded, but I crushed the screaming with my index finger. Six minutes later, I rolled my sleepy carcass out of bed for good

7:45am: checked e-mail, Facebook, blog comments, and other blogs for new posts; decided to skip breakfast in order to make it to my parents' faster

7:58am: dozed off at computer while Stumbling

8:15am: decided to get motivated and ready to go; bathroom stuff, and I made toast. So much for not having breakfast

8:35am: left Corvallis en route to Lebanon. Frosty morning and light traffic made the drive easy and pretty

8:45am: Mom called to say she needed me to pick up some last-minute stuff at Safeway.

9:25am: arrived in Lebanon at parents' house with last-minute ice cream in tow.

9:30am: Helped Mom get the turkey ready, including prepping the turkey bag and opening the oven door. Mom really let us help in the kitchen this year, yeah...

10:00am: kicked out of kitchen, eating another breakfast, and blogging...

10:15am: Watched Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with Dad

12:00pm: tried to kill fly that managed to get into the house; had no luck killing said fly

12:30pm: retrieved Grandma and brought her home; attempted to create gravy from turkey drippings and succeeded after a while (and yes, I ate it)

1:00pm: feasted, Feasted, FEASTED!

1:36pm: rolled severely overweight body into living room after clearing the table; attempted to stay awake

1:50pm: copied piano music and assembled pile of "take-home wonderfulness"

3:00pm: dessert; chatted with the family; attempted to stay awake

4:30pm: returned Grandma to her home, drove back to Corvallis

6:00pm: showered and tidied apartment

7:20pm: worked on annual calendar project; chatted online with a friend; Rachel called

8:30pm: watched a movie

10:00pm: began another movie, blogged...

And I think that'll take me through until midnight and sleep. This was the most exciting Thanksgiving ever. Note dripping sarcasm. I'm already tired of Christmas music and the same Christmas commercials as the last three years. I'm not getting up early to go shopping.

No, I don't think I'll be writing an "I'm Thankful For..." post this year. God already knows, and I don't feel the need to repeat myself yet again about the important things in my life. If you would like to know what I'm thankful for, try browsing my "Filed Under" section over on the left.

Of course I'm always thankful for comments--unless your some spammer. Then I hope you had lumps in your gravy and soggy stuffing.

Bah. I'm gonna go turn my left-overs into my wonderful and amazing homemade soup. No sarcasm there. I really do make incredible soup.

Wow, I'm bored. Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Three Childhood Memories

Late at night, before I nod off, I'll remember something vividly, some random and completely irrelevant memory of some odd moment in my life. I don't know what triggers them, or how they happen, but they're interesting. To me at least...

When I was little, maybe four or five, when my parents would take my sister and me shopping, I'd get to ride in the cart. I was far too big to fit in the child's seat by the handlebar. Safeway had the deep baskets, and I could ride in the deep part with my baby sister if I didn't torment her. For some reason, I didn't get to ride in the deep-basket-carts very often or for very long... My favorite store to go shopping in was Roth's. Roth's had shallow-basket-carts. The carts had a large area underneath with a rack in the front like most carts, and the back third was a raised section with another smaller basket under the top basket. The shallow top baskets meant less bending for the shopper, too. The best part about the rack underneath was that I could sit upright under the basket, hiding under all the food in the cart, eating the cookie that the nice bakery ladies would give me. Then, when I got tired of shopping, I could just curl up and sleep as Mom pushed me around the store. Many times I went home with those cart rack lines impressed into my backside. Sometimes, when I go shopping, I wish I could still ride underneath the carts.

I remember the giant maple tree in front of my first house. The tree covered both our lawn and our neighbor's lawn, and it dropped tons of leaves, literally tons and tons. The lowest branch was seven or eight feet off the ground, just high enough that I could never get up, just high enough that I wouldn't have been comfortable. The tree had aphids something awful, and the old lady next door would let the ladybugs go every once in a while. I'm not fond of bugs, but Dad taught me that ladybugs are good bugs. When the leaves on the giant maple turned colors and fell, Dad had to work overtime to keep the leaves off the front lawn. He'd go out after work and rake until the sun went down. Sometimes he'd give me the spare rake and I'd give a hand a raking. I don't think I did much good helping as much as I had fun jumping in Dad's huge piles and tossing leaves in the air. He'd bury me in the leaves, and I'd fly out of them, leaves scattering back across the grass. We'd go in hours later, our noses dripping from the cold, leaves still stuck in my hair, and we'd get warm by the big grey stove where I melted my boots by setting them too close to the fire.

Both of my parents grew up on farms, and my grandparents both had gardens when I was growing up. Dad's parents had a huge farm, mostly growing food crops. They had apple trees and a pear tree, and I remember rows of sweet, sun-warmed raspberries finding their way into my mouth, coating both my fingers and my tongue in sugary goodness. More than once, I walked back into the farmhouse with berry stains. Mom's parents had cherry trees, and we'd get to eat as many cherries as we could right off the trees. Yellow and red swirls on the outside, a pit to spit from the inside, what could be better? Grandpa grew rows and rows of corn that we weren't supposed to play in. We did. We tromped all over the garden through the mounds of zucchini and cucumbers, over the carrots and green beans, and behind the pumpkins and squash. Grandpa had a big garden to feed a big family.

They're little memories, small flashes of a life now gone. I don't fit underneath shopping carts anymore, and I think I'd look pretty silly riding in one. We moved away from the house with the giant maple tree. Dad's parents tore out the raspberries, and I don't know if the apple trees are still there. Mom's parents moved away from their huge garden and cherry trees. I don't have any idea why I'm remembering these things now, but I remember.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I didn't mean it like that...

Have you ever thought you said something one way, but what you said came out totally wrong? I can't begin to explain how often this happens to me. One of the reasons I write, and the primary reason why I prefer to talk to people through written language is that I'm much better at explaining things (and myself) through paper. Writing, as easy as that is for me, contrasts my love of public speaking. I suppose I am careful enough with my words that I feel comfortable telling them to a crowd 20,000 people.

But when you put me in a room with four or five of my friends, the words come out differently than I intend. Sometimes, the words tumble upon themselves and the proper inflections get put on the incorrect words. Once in a while, I'll say something like, "I disagree." I will hear, "I disagree, would you like to open that line of conversation up for discussion?" They hear, "I disagree, you're wrong, and your opinions are all crap."

Of course I don't believe anyone has bad opinions. I am comfortable being around people who have opinions that differ from my own. And I'd never tell anyone they were wrong or bad without also giving them a reason as to why I believe the way I do.

I think people misinterpret my questions as defiance. Always skeptical of people, situations, and what I'm seeing, I ask many questions. If I ask, "Why?" I'm generally asking you to further clarify what you're saying rather than being one of those brats that asks "Why?" just because.

I also think people misunderstand my succinct style for indifference or lacking compassion. I don't like to talk to much, and I try hard to avoid talking too much, babbling on and on for no good reason. Sure, sometimes I get on a roll and the words come out quickly and without hesitation--those are the good moments, and often the funny ones. Other times, I'm quiet and don't know the right words. Sometimes I purposely don't say anything, because nothing I can say can possibly help a situation. I try not to give unsolicited advice, too.

Short with people, yes. Terse, sometimes. Outright bitchy... that takes effort, and while I can do it, I don't enjoy it. I'm working on being less blunt and more wordy, but this kind of growth takes time. I've come a long way already. I still need to work on it a lot more.

But this whole communication thing would be so much easier if everyone stopped making assumptions and started asking more questions.

That's my rant for the day, thank you, please drive through.

Monday, November 19, 2007

So much for Etiquette - Part II

I have never had such a lengthy and thoughtful comment on my blog! And I am inspired. It's not the same as our long discussions at lunchtime in high school--but I've missed his humor and intelligence. Thank you, David! Here's my response (in red) to your comment (in black):

Honestly, I don't know which time period I prefer: the simpler one of the past with its refined elegance or the modern age of convenience. On the one hand the past seems more honorable (on the surface), there is the lack of such a depressing media, and hell, even their writing looks better. Their writing style isn't "better" as much as it is "different." The Victorian Era predominantly saw Spencerian handwriting, while we learned Zaner-Blosser handwriting. The style we learned is far more readable to young people and those with poor eyesight. 'Pretty' isn't necessarily 'good.' As for depressing media, I think we are exposed to the horrors of life differently. We aren't losing our children by having them fall under wagon wheels or trampled by horses. We aren't watching people die of influenza nearly as much. But we see other things more readily. Is this bad? Is it necessarily bad to know what happens in the world? Does this ability to perceive our own humanity (and inhumanity) render us less or more human?

On the other, we do have cars today. And more violence. And nuclear weapons. And a code of honor which leaves much to be desired. For all the social injustices which we pride ourselves in eradicating, it hardly seems like we've made much headway in treating each other kindly in our society. We hardly get a smile or "hello how are you." Instead we live in the age of the bumper sticker: I have no time to speak to you (we say as a culture) but kindly read the ass of my car, which invariably condemns your beliefs in favor of my own. Mr. Meek, you swore! You rock. :) That last line left me giggling. We do have cars, and we have nuclear weapons. I disagree about having more violence though. Our types of violence have changed. Our methods of dominating others have changed. Now, people commit murder, the murder is showcased in CSI, and then people know what mistakes to avoid. Criminals are becoming smarter. In true satirical fashion, I blame Hollywood!

We claim to be so far removed from the problems of the past but I truly feel we've made little headway: our inadequacies have merely evolved from the more easily obvious ones of the past. We point the finger to those who have tread before and say "dead, white male fools" with hardly a notice of our own personal evils. How much easier to point the finger to the past in hindsight than envision a more trustworthy and compassionate posterity for ourselves.

There are endless evils to point to in the past but, if we continue to look back and only blame, what have we really accomplished for ourselves. There are positive things to learn from which would greatly benefit our society today. Something as simple as a modern sense of etiquette or at least a sense of proper behavior may not be a bad thing for a people so far removed from common courtesy and common sense. There is much to be desired in our non-traditional age.

(I'm not trying to argue against anything you said...I read your blog and thought hey, I should write something satirical in response. After writing a sentence or two I got into what I was writing. It's not meant to be totally serious but I do lament some things lost to out modern age.)

Well Jaggy, it has been a long time since I have shared some political thoughts with you. Forgive the rushed nature of my comments and the obvious holes in its logic but tell me: what do you think?

David Meek

I've missed you. :)

You raise several good points, and I agree with most of them. I read through the entire thing not realizing it was a satire and took everything you said at face value. Imagine my shock! I'm not exactly a feminist, but I don't think all change has been bad since those "ancient" times. Example? I have a blog and can communicate with the world at a moment's notice my deepest, darkest, innermost thoughts. ...Okay, bad example. The advances of medicine, aerospace technology, and transportation have drastically changed the modern world. I could talk at length with you about military history (wouldn't that be a conversation!) and the advances in warfare tactics... or we could get into the changing role of women in society (not all bad). We could even talk about moving through the Antebellum industrial age into the post-civil-war era changed politics and economics for the better.

But, we agree. So there's no reason for discourse, right? Right? Oh, yeah, you're a history major. Crap. ~hangs head~ Bring it on...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Learning to Relax

I've never been one to "just relax" about much of anything. It's not that I'm always tense, I simply have a hard time relaxing. I'm not ordinarily controlling or dominant (though sometimes I'll play that role out of humor). And I don't generally have a high-stress lifestyle. I just can't relax.

Last night, though, I think I figured it out. None of my friends were in town or available, and I'd watched enough TV for a week by 5pm... my chores were all done, my kitchen was clean, and my belly was full. I thought I was doin' pretty well, but I still didn't feel relaxed. Grrr.

I tried a heating pad, but the nearest available outlet was across the room. I tried letting go of all of my muscles, thinking about each and every one. I even thought about having a drink but wasn't really in the mood. What to do...?

Water isn't really my thing. I don't often like swimming or being in pools or hot tubs. My apartment complex has both--though they're closed for the winter now. I deliberated. Would a bath make me feel relaxed? Would it help? What the heck, I don't have to pay for water here. I drew a hot bath. HOT bath. Too hot, really, as the first two or three minutes made me feel like I was being stewed. The water was high enough to cover me, and I had room to float a bit. I didn't know how to float until about five years ago... so the sensation is still kind of new to me. Sure, it seems innate, but I'd been a sinker until God decided to inflate these frontal flotation devices. ;)

I don't remember how long I laid in the tub: time was nothing. My ears were underwater, the sounds of my heart beating and breathing were the only things on my mind. I was completely and utterly relaxed. 100%. After so long, I was also medium-well done, but I felt good.

And today, I still feel good. A bit girly, a bit silly, and very relaxed. :)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I Still Look for You

I look for you in the old, yellowing light,
an un-silhouette of your face
when your ghost walks in the room
of the building where we first met.

I hope your eyes catch mine,
that splendid recognition,
but hope is fleeting, and you return
a nod, a faint smile, and a cold shoulder at the same time.

You were the breath and vision
of a young girl’s desire
until you drove away
and drove me away, both of us grieving.

I didn't understand you then,
and I can't hope to reach
you now, but I want you
to know that I still look.

When the night grows dark
and I walk into the shadows
of past lives and long-gone dreams
you're there beside me.

The instant your line
comes into my view, two emotions
tear one another to pieces.
Sometimes I can't decide who wins.

But I still look for you.

Friday, November 16, 2007

So much for Etiquette

Wouldn't life be easier if we always knew the appropriate words to say or the proper articles of clothing to wear? I think that would be nice. Sometimes I struggle with words, and I have a difficult time deciding what to wear to semi-formal events. Etiquette books have been around for centuries, and they delve into these topics at length.

One of my favorite things to read about is "traditional" women's customs, specifically etiquette of the Antebellum and Victorian Eras. That is not to say I fancy being so proper, or that I, in any way, attempt to live that lifestyle. I'm entirely too forward and stumbling to pass for a real woman. Reading about the customs, though, is fun. The early 1900's idea of Eugenics is also intriguing, if only for it's unrealistic viewpoints of childhood.

The ideas about food mealtimes astound me! All the rules about what goes where, how to eat, how to chew, and even how to stifle a burp--oy, I just laugh. Menu cards, place settings, and what the waitress should wear... a waitress or butler. Because every home had a maid or two, a nanny, a butler, a footman, and a cook. I can't fathom allowing someone else to clean my house. Yes, I'm a bit picky about how my house is cleaned, but besides that, I believe it is a matter of pride to clean up after myself. No one else should have to do it even if I compensate them.

I recently found myself pouring over the items with which I must furnish a house properly. Each subsection had a title, "Glass," "Wood," "Silver," "China," and so on. I read through it thinking to myself, "China? I'm supposed to have china!? I can't even afford plastic." There was a detailed section about candelabras and candle placement around the home. I doubt there is a part in the books about how I should display my DVD collection...

A section I quite like of Vogue's Book of Etiquette, 1948, covers "A Girl on Her Own:"
"It has been estimated that young girls, no matter how seriously they may be working, spend at least half their free time thinking about men. And how right they are! A job may not last a lifetime, but it is always to be hoped that a marriage will. What could be more important, or more worthy of the deepest concentration?"
Now I think about men quite a bit, but 50%? I'm sorry, I don't have that kind of time. I have family concerns, work stuff, and a host of other things that take up my thoughts. Maybe 45% on a good day. ;) A list follows on the next page for "A Lenient Set of Rules" a girl should always follow:
"-Never dine repeatedly with the same married man.
-Never drink enough alcohol to be even slightly affected by it.
-Never allow a man to come into your apartment if you are alone in it...
-Never go to a man's apartment after the dinner hour if he is alone.
-Never go alone with a man to his hotel room.
-Never allow a male guest to stay in your apartment after other guests have left.
-Never stay in a man's apartment after other guests have left.
-Never accept a valuable present from a man or possible beau."
Um, I broke all but three of those this week. Whoops.

I wonder what a proper woman of 1890 would think of me today: pants-wearing, swing dancing, spending time alone with boys, driving a car, eating off paper towels (or worse, with my fingers), handling money, swearing, voting, college-educated, and capable of swinging a hammer with grace. How different the times are, sure... and I have the ability to be a perfectly good woman when I set my mind to it. Still, I wonder about these things.

If only there was an Emily Post article about instant or text messaging etiquette... I know a few people who could use a course or two in that!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

What Reality?

I am amazed at what makes it into movies these days. Every story, no matter how small, seems to be dramatized.

I watched the last two episodes of Band of Brothers recently with a friend. Easy Company's story is incredible, and I'm so thankful to understand (in a way) what the 506th went through. But having just watched Zodiac, why was that made into a movie? What significance did a serial killer play in the course of U.S. History? What, from today, will be made into a movie of tomorrow? Will Paris Hilton watch someone play her in a feature-length film? Will I have to suffer through that (oh I think NOT)?

Why are "reality shows" called "reality" when they're not? They're game shows. They're not unlike Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit: contestants answer questions or complete tasks to compete for money. Cops is a reality show. The supermarket security cameras are a reality show. Even the news is skewed or sensationalized, and sometimes a story that's completely untrue slides through.

I think that's why I love shows like How it's Made, Unwrapped and Mythbusters. I enjoy watching things that are important, useful, informative, and help me to understand my world a little bit more.

Okay, anything that involves blowing up a cement truck into a zillion pieces has to be reality, right? :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Scott Grimes: Music that Defies Genres

His music makes me happy. His acting makes me laugh, cry, and celebrate. And he's cute! Scott Grimes rocks my world, and he and his musical partner Dave Harris make some incredible tunes.

I don't like loud music, and I'm not fond of instrumental stuff usually... but I'll listen to anything when the time calls for it. Grimes' music is a fun mix of rock and pop, a little soul, and a peppering of swing. It's fast, modern, and is great for listening to on my drive in to work every morning. I got his first album the day it came out, and I believe it's been in my car since that moment, half of the time actually in the CD player. The other half of the time has been split over burned CD mixes or other songs (likely Bobby Darin or Ella Fitzgerald).

The ballads are smooth, somber at times, and hold more emotion in the lyrics than movies can portray. With few other artists do I find comfort in their music. Scott keeps me smiling on those bad days.

Favorite song: From Livin' on the Run, "Hollywood Sign" or "Rock and Roll Girl;" from MySpace Music Player, "Waiting" and "What Love Is."

I can't wait for the second album, although waiting is really all I can do. In case you missed it, Scott Grimes also plays "Dr. Archie Morris" on ER Thursday nights on NBC (shameless plug).

Here's to Scott Grimes and Dave Harris, the dynamic duo who create music that defies any genre. You two are amazing!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Random Questions V

ANGER
1. Are you currently mad at someone?
- I'm nervously disappointed, but I'm not mad.

2. Which family member has the worst temper?
- We don't have tempers really... though making Dad angry isn't something we aspire to.

3. Have you ever thrown something at anyone's face?
- absolutely!

4. Does your face turn red when you're angry?
- not really. I don't get angry often, and anger is usually a secondary response.

5. When you're mad do you prefer to stare angrily or yell?
- I have a sharp tongue, but I work to curb it.

EXCITEMENT
1. Has anyone ever thrown a surprise party for you?
- nope

3. Which of your friends is most excitable?
- Have you ever seen my sister excited about something? Oh man... LOL!

4. If you won a million $
- house, college loan, OPB (because public broadcasting rocks)

5. If you could have anything right now, what would it be?
- The ability to understand the infinite grey areas of life

YOU
1. Name:
- Jaggy, of course

2. Where were you born?
- Corvallis (about 1 mile from where I'm sitting now, actually)

3. What's your main goal in life?
- to be true to myself, live for what is good, and to ask questions

4. Do you want to have children?
- yes, very much so (right after I find someone to help me with that...)

5. How do you want to die?
- painlessly and with my mind intact

OPINIONS
1. Sex before marriage?
- probably not a good idea, and I can't say that I will

2. Lower the drinking age?
- Why have one at all? I know 10-year-olds more capable of drinking responsibly than some senior citizens. I'm more worried about adults drinking and driving than teenagers drinking underage. The legal limit should be .00.

3. Abortion?
- Personally, I wouldn't. I disagree with abortion, but I also don't feel it's my right to judge someone for having to make that decision.

4. Recycling?
- it's an obligation, not a hip new trend, so get over your bad-ass neo-green self

LOVE
1. Do you have a crush?
- Not really, no. I have guy friends that I wouldn't mind if they looked in my direction, but I'm not holding my breath. I have bigger concerns than kindergarten crushes.

2. Who is the best hugger that you know?
- JEFF!

3. Do you believe in love at first sight?
- Anything's possible... but I won't take it to the bank.

LAST
1. Person you saw not in your family?
- a coworker? before that... two friends

2. Person you hugged?
- hmm... Dad, I think.

3. Movie watched?
- The Recruit

4. Song you listened to:
- Scott Grimes' Waiting

TODAY
1. What are you doing now?
- getting ready to go to "Super Amazing Grunting Manly Guy's Night (for girls only)"

2. What are you doing tonight?
- uh, see previous question?

3. What are you going to eat for dinner?
- whatever the girls are fixing for girls' night

TOMORROW
1. Is:
- a work day

2. What are you doing?
- fixing my website's broken links, replacing old files with new ones

CURRENTLY
1. Currently love someone:
- I love several people, but I'm not in love with anyone.

2. Like someone:
- Same as #1, only less passionately.

3. Do they know it?:
- I'm up front with everyone, and anyone should know where they stand with me at any time.

4. Is it a simple or complicated situation?:
- Oh, I think I'm pretty good at complicating the heck out of relationships... but right now, things are simple. I like simple.

5. Does someone like you:
- I never really stopped to think about it. I guess I only care as far as my family and friends, so if they don't like me still, I'm screwed. Guys? Bah.

IN THE LAST MONTH HAVE YOU
1. Had sex?
- uh, that's a negative

2. Bought something?
- entirely too much

3. Gotten sick?
- just over a month ago, yeah

4. Been hugged?
- yup, I'm sure of it. Jeff was here last weekend!

5. Felt stupid?
- this is only supposed to happen monthly? Try hourly...

6. Talked to an ex?
- Of course, more than one, and we had great conversations.

7. Missed someone?
- Every day

8. Failed a test?
- Nope, and I love it.

9. Danced?
- Who me? Dancing is for weirdos. I would never, ever, ever do that. *note sarcasm*

10. Gotten your hair cut?
- Oh yeah, I cut it every two weeks or so.

11. Lied?
- Sure enough, I've lied. I'm awful like that.

UNIQUE
1. Nervous habits?
- I bite, dig, and tear at my cuticles, sometimes until they are raw and bleeding. I also do this when I'm bored. My piano teacher hated me. :)

2. Are you double jointed?
- Seeing as how that's not even an anatomical term, not so much. But I can bend and stretch things pretty far... so I guess, according to common knowledge of that term, yes.

3. Can you roll your tongue?
- I can do some pretty awesome things with my tongue (and I mean that in a totally non-sexual way, you dirty, dirty people)

4. Can you raise one eyebrow?
- yup, and sometimes I raise more than one.

5. Do you make your bed daily?
- surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, yes, and I have no idea why...

6. Do you think you are unique?
- I've been told by more than one person that I march to the beat of my own drummer. Lucky enough for me, I found a few people in that band... and we march to the same drummer... oh, this is gonna get geeky, so I'll stop. Yes, I'm unique, but I'm pretty normal sometimes, too.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Productivity Inclined

My mom tells me that I can be incredibly productive when I set my mind to it. My father is a "Productivity Coordinator" for his job, so I suppose getting things done runs in my family. I accomplished a ton this weekend:

-Bought keyboard
-Bought new sunglasses (to replace the last three pairs that all broke or fell apart)
-Bought gas
-Assembled keyboard and determined its living arrangement
-Spent afternoon and evening with Rachel
-Bought two t-shirts that look "soooo gooooood!" (Teen Girl Squad, fyi)
-Cleaned bathroom, including scrubbing the entire shower, shower curtain, and curtain rod (that had some funky brown stuff and red stuff on it when I moved in that I finally took care of)
-Cleaned the kitchen
-Mopped all hard floors
-Vacuumed
-Washed four loads of laundry
-Folded three loads of laundry (the rugs are still hang-drying)
-Set up a budget and started formulating my expenditures
-Balanced my checkbook for September and October
-Blogged (twice!)
-Printed four full-page-size photographs, mounted them on foam-core-board, and hung them
-Went grocery shopping
-Cleaned my desk
-Watched a movie
-Made cookies

I need to have more days like this weekend! Unfortunately, my productivity has meant I haven't been able to sit at the keyboard longer than a minute or two. My back hurts something terrible... and I'm starving.

But I got so much done! YAY!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

New Piano, Relaxing with Friends... Life is Good.

I finally relaxed and had a fantastic day with two great friends. K and I went to Albany this morning, and I bought a digital keyboard! Specs: 61-key, touch-sensitive keyboard that comes with a stand, sustain pedal, music rest, and can be connected to my computer. And it was less than $100 on a huge sale. I couldn't be more excited--well, other than that I had enough birthday and housewarming money that it didn't cost me anything out-of-pocket. :D

Then, after K left, Rachel came over. We made cookies from scratch, amazing wonderful oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Rachel and I watched Rent again, and we talked and laughed too. I can't believe we've been friends so long--we're still learning things about each other. The moments with her today made me feel good. I don't have to pretend to be something I'm not or try to put on a mask when I'm with her. I don't have to watch what I say or express my opinions carefully... Rachel would probably be mad at me if I wasn't completely honest. (Though I'm still working on learning what constitutes TMI with her, LOL!)

Today was a treat top-to-bottom, exactly what I needed after the last two weeks. I'm looking forward to tomorrow as well: piano playing, laundry, house cleaning, and more piano playing.

If you don't hear from me in the next few days, you can assume I've become attached to my new keyboard and can't be separated for fear of the music spilling onto the floor.