Sunday, September 30, 2007

Moving, Day 4

Less driving, more unpacking. Today went well, and I feel like I accomplished a ton, but I still have miles to go toward finishing the unpacking. It's hard for me to believe that one week ago, I had not yet signed a lease. Now, I'm sitting in my bedroom which is entirely furnished, though still undecorated. What a weekend!

Between 7:00am and 9:00pm, I:
  • Emptied the kitchen cabinets
  • Scrubbed the insides and shelves of every cabinet, plus the doors
  • Washed three HUGE loads of dishes by hand
  • Organized my kitchen
  • Broke down most of the boxes
  • Visited with a friend who came over to check out my apartment
  • Unloaded the linen closet and reorganized it
  • Cleaned out half of my bedroom closet
  • Rearranged the utility closet
  • Unpacked and filled two bookcases
  • Drove to Albany and acquired a vacuum, a dining table and four chairs, and other stuff
  • Unpacked vacuum, assembled and tested quickly
  • Dining table and two chairs set up
  • Created shopping lists for the dollar store, Fred Meyer, and WinCo
  • Spent over $100 on necessary food stuffs (flour, sugar, eggs, milk, etc.)
  • Bought new shower head to replace older, cracked one (got a WaterPik on sale!); installed new shower head and enjoyed a wonderful and much needed shower
  • Finished cleaning kitchen, save floors
  • Emptied garbages
  • Visited two more friends for a short while
  • Two loads of laundry washed, dried, and folded
  • Bedroom unpacked
  • One blissful hour of TV
And now, I'm going to sleep again. Sleep. Because my fingers are shredded from boxes and dishwater and a smush-injury.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Moving, Day 3 (a.k.a. "Are we done yet?")

I have too much stuff. The day dawned too early, and Dad and I had all of my furniture, electronics, clothes, and bedding packed and on the road by 10:30am. We were unpacked by noon. Granted, we were throwing boxes wherever, but the big stuff is down for good. My back is a ball of knots, and my hands cannot grip anything anymore. I can't feel my feet.

After my last trip of the day around 5:00pm, about six hours ago, I accomplished a ton:
  • Kitchen unpacked (mostly), but pieces are scattered everywhere
  • First load of glasses and tableware (thanks Jenny, for helping me!)
  • Load of laundry
  • Bed assembled and made
  • Desk assembled and organized
  • Computer set up
  • Internet connected (twenty minutes on hold with Comcast)
  • Cable TV (computer) in bedroom hooked up
  • Bathroom showerhead re-plumbed and changed
  • Shower and counter deep-cleaned
  • Bathroom completely unpacked and organized
  • Shower curtains attached, shower rod moved higher (a two-man job, for sure)
  • Food shopping to last until I can actually go stock my kitchen properly
  • Bedroom closet organized
  • Dinner
  • Shower
  • Blog

I am exhausted. But I'm very excited that there was no break in blogging with this move. How's that for hardcore? Tomorrow's plans include tackling the kitchen war zone, the living room bookcases, entertainment center, and linen closet. I need to get some dishes still, and hopefully a vacuum and proper food.

As for housewarming gifts, I truly don't expect or need anything. However, if you feel the overwhelming urge to purchase something on my behalf, PLEASE do not buy me candles or plants. Although I've never had a Chia pet...

So tired. Gotta sleep.

Moving, Day 2

I'm exhausted, and this is only the second day of moving. My thighs hurt from climbing stairs. My back hurts because I am horrible at proper lifting techniques. My head feels like a tornado spun through it with all the thinking and planning I've done. And I haven't even moved the big stuff yet.

Last night, I packed a full trunk and back seat of stuff to take with me to Corvallis on my regular trip to work. My sister graciously accompanied me on my lunch hour over to the apartment to unload. We each took five or six trips back and forth and had the job done in no time. I worked a full day today before returning to my parents' house to start another load. My car was packed, and Dad and I filled the bed of his truck with my bookcases and books, two storage barrels full of stuff, and other odds and ends we stuffed in corners. Mom helped us on the trip this evening. Having Dad's truck sure does make the job go faster! He carries bigger loads up and down the stairs, too, which is nice.

After unpacking the second load, we went to dinner. In case anyone was wondering, this moving thing sure does work up an appetite. We went into Albany to Target and Fred Meyer. Target's selection wasn't what I was hoping it would be... we didn't spend much there. Mom paid for some bathroom things (shower curtains are handy to have), and I scored some T-Fal pots and pans at Fred Meyer. If anybody touches my super-cool 3-qt saucepan, I'm going to beat them with the 2-qt saucepan. That is a promise.

I found some great checklists for apartment stuff at Bed, Bath, and Beyond's website. They've helped a ton in organizing my kitchen. Mom and I went through her kitchen tonight, and she generously donated to my pile. I have all sorts of mismatched wonderfulness now. :)

Tomorrow will come very soon, as it's already tomorrow, but I need to sleep before it's really tomorrow. The computers go with my bed, so I might be away from the blog for a day or two. I'll do my best to get things up and working soon. But now, it's time for bed.

My last night in my parents' house... my very last night.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Moving, Day 1

moving, Moving, MOVING! I grabbed as many boxes of stuff as I could this morning in fifteen minutes to fill my trunk and back seat of my car before I headed to work. Luckily, much of my stuff is still in the boxes I moved it in when I moved home, so it didn't take long at all. I went to work like normal, but left at noon to take care of some much-needed moving in business. I unloaded my car, went to pull some teeth at Comcast, and acquired renter's insurance. My evening included filling more boxes with even more stuff, putting the boxes in my car, and preparing for a very long day tomorrow.

I expected Comcast to be much worse than they were to me. I only need to pay for Internet as cable is included in my rent. Thankfully, because the apartment complex gets their cable through Comcast, my Internet fees are less as I am "a cable subscriber." I even got a good deal (shocking, I know) for six months. They handed me my self-install kit and sent me on my merry little way in under twenty minutes. PLUS! they're not going to charge for service until the 1st of October, so I get the weekend free. :)

Renter's insurance didn't turn out to be so exciting. I snagged a couple quick quotes over the phone before going to see the insurance company with which my car is insured. My mom told me to talk to a specific person there. Unless you grew up in Albany, or know people that did, you have no concept of what I'm about to explain. This woman went to West Albany with my aunts. It's not that she grew up in Albany, but she attended West Albany. She knows my parents. She's on a first-name basis with my grandparents. She works with my best friend's aunt. Believe me when I say, this woman knows my entire life's story. She was very nice and did give me a great quote--much less expensive with better coverage than anywhere else. It was a looooong two hours though, sitting in the bank with her. Oy, as much as I love Albany, there is a distinct reason I am not wanting to live there.

Tonight is the fourteenth season premiere of ER. If you call or IM between 10-11pm, be warned: I will not respond. Unless the house is burning down around me, I am unavailable.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

It's Finally Happening!

I signed the lease, friends. This long-awaited event passed quietly in the apartment complex's front office this afternoon, and they handed me the keys to my very own unit. I couldn't be happier! or more scared...

The list of things I need to buy is growing by the second. The list of people willing to help me move is also growing--thanks to everyone! I'll try to get my stuff boxed up tomorrow night and Friday night so I can move everything this weekend.

Tonight, I spent an hour inside the apartment measuring, drawing floor plans, trying to figure out where to put things I don't yet have... lots of dreams, and maybe a tear or two. I am nearly in shock that this is finally happening.

On a quick side note, I danced a fantastic Cha cha with a nice guy tonight. I haven't danced with him in months, and I've forgotten how much fun his leads are. That dance was great! If only my WCS looked that good. :( And I'm a little disappointed that I didn't get to Lindy Hop yet again. Maybe I'll make the transition to Latin dancing. ;)

I'll do my best to keep bloggy updated in the next couple days, but if I'm without Internet service, I might not get to post. Please bear with me in this transition: I promise I'll be back with lots of stories about moving adventures!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mayonnaise is the Devil

I don't use mayonnaise. Period. I don't put it on my sandwiches, and I don't use it in those funky "salads." I can't stand it. The smell, the taste... *shudder*

Apparently this little fact makes me weird. What about tuna sandwiches, you ask? Surely I use mayo for tuna sandwiches, right? Oh no! I don't eat tuna sandwiches. I will eat shredded turkey sandwiches from that canned turkey stuff, but it is well-drained, and no, I do not use mayonnaise.

I don't eat flavored mayonnaise. I don't dip things into mayonnaise. I don't even like salad dressing all that well. Ranch is the only kind I tolerate, and only then in super small quantities.

My friends don't understand. My family thinks I'm crazy. Their opinions change nothing. I don't eat mayonnaise, and you can't make me.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Where are they coming from?

I don't know what is happening to me. Maybe I hit puberty a second time. Maybe I'm cursed or something. I haven't changed my diet in years, and I haven't started taking any medications. I haven't traveled any new places. I just don't know.

But somehow, I ended up with more zits than I know what to do with.

Which is totally weird because I never had acne as a teenager. I keep my hands off my face, and I wash it often. I don't use much make-up, and I wash the brushes more than anyone else I know. I do love sweets, but I'm sure my sweets habit would have caused this loooooong ago if that were a trigger. I don't have any skin afflictions anywhere else on my body--oh no, the only thing that looks horrific is my face.

As long as my boobs don't start growing again, I won't worry too much. Once through puberty is more than enough.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I won't accept blame I do not deserve.

Sometimes I write a blog post and let it sit in the drafts pile to marinate. Sometimes they sit there for quite a while before I muster the courage to let you see what I have written. Other times, I simply write for myself and leave the post there to become buried in the list.

Recently, I wrote about my hesitancy in having my sister join me as a ballroom dancer. The post sat for two or three days until I decided I needed to get that off my chest. I had intended the post to be more about questions than answers, about questioning my own internal struggles more than stating my case. Unfortunately, either I missed my target, or my purpose wasn't conveyed correctly... but I certainly inspired a post over at my sister's blog.

Part of me feels like rebutting and defending what I chose to say. I didn't leave anything out, and I stand by what I said. However, I also feel wrongly accused of things, and perhaps too much was read into what I was trying to say. At times, I have felt like I have a mime or imitation of me following me wherever I go. Other times, I could not have been more proud to have someone following in my footsteps or walking by my side helping me make the path. I was not, though, placing blame on my sister for my own feelings. I accept that I need to get over myself.

On that note, I will not accept blame for setting a high standard. Her rant about how I considered education as a degree minor, therefore ruining her dreams, is completely unfounded. If she truly wants to be a teacher, why should whatever I do have any bearing on her decision? I will not accept the blame she places on me for "taking that dream away from her."

Other than that, I have nothing to say on the matter. You can have faith, dear reader, that the things I say here are as true as I have the capacity to make them. They are honest feelings and insights into my world. I will not compromise my blog or my writing to make the truth sound pretty.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Houses don't come with toilet plungers... and other necessary things

When I was growing up, there were certain household items I took for granted. I guess I thought houses just came with some things. Then, I moved out. I moved into a house that came with walls, carpets, and a kitchen sink. Mom and Dad weren't there to furnish it or provide those necessary little things that houses don't in fact come with.

Houses don't come with toilet plungers. You don't realize that a house doesn't come furnished with a toilet plunger until you need one. I assure you, this is not a fun lesson to learn. How did three girls find a toilet plunger necessary? Three hot girls tend to attract boys... and not every boy understands not to do his dirty work in a girls' house. Low-volume toilets in a high-traffic area means toilet plungers ought to be had. I have one now. Oh, and FYI: get the red rubber ones. I know the wooden handle is gross and unsanitary, but the plastic ones don't work for, well, shit.

Houses don't come with garden hoses. I learned this when I went to wash my car the first time. Seriously, I thought houses just came with hoses attached or something. Why not? But, of course, why would someone leave a perfectly good hose behind?

Houses don't (but should!) come with a roll of duct tape. That stuff is expensive! But it fixes nearly everything. Apparently growing up in a house where everything is homemade anyway and having a shop full of Dad's tools jaded my little mind.

Houses don't come with shops full of tools. For the first three months, my roommates and I existed with a Phillips-head (plus-end, as opposed to minus-end) screwdriver, an old hammer, and a dull set of needle nose pliers. Surprisingly, we didn't need much else, but when I'd go to fix something and needed a specific tool, we simply didn't have it. Hex-head screwdrivers and mini screwdrivers are two things I'm definitely investing in as I move out this time.

Houses don't come with cleaning supplies. Mom always had cupboards full of chemicals, but they always came out of thin air or something. Soft Scrub doesn't grow on trees--that stuff is expensive, too! Gallons of bleach aren't out under the back step or behind the water heater. You actually have to buy these things.

Houses don't come with vacuum cleaners. Have you ever been in a house that didn't have one? Everybody I know has one... and I know I've used one a time or two (haha), but the hall closet comes empty. It's up to the homeowner or tenant to provide the vacuum cleaner.

I knew about couches and chairs and dishes and food. I contemplated artwork and bookcases and a piano. But I never imagined I'd have to buy a toilet plunger for my own house.

You should have seen the look on the store clerk's face when I went to buy it, too!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Disappointment and Relief

I must admit that I'm relieved. My sister signed up to take Ballroom I this fall term, and has since dropped the class. I'm disappointed, but deep down, I'm relieved as well.

She met a few of my dancing friends, and I know they helped me encourage her to take a dancing class. My life has forever been changed because of dancing, and I was hoping her life would also be enriched. Dancing is great for the body, an excellent way to socialize, and generally tons of fun. My sister doesn't know many people on campus--dancing could have been a way for her to meet wonderful people. The class might have also offered her a nice break from the usual academic droll. She needs to meet new people and have fun.

Then again, I'm not sure I want her dancing. I know it's not up to me, and if she chooses to become part of the dancing crowd, that's entirely her decision. Dancing, however, is the first thing I've been able to do that she hasn't followed me with. I took piano lessons, joined the band, became a drum major, went to OSU, etc., and I've always felt like I've had a shadow three years behind me as she did each of those things in her own time. Dancing gives me one small sliver of a separate identity. I can waltz and tango and swing dance and not worry about having a family member on the sideline waiting to steal my partner away.

I know how selfish I must sound, but having that tiny piece of my life separate from family and work has made such a difference in my life. I love dancing. I love my sister. And I want her to find something that makes her feel as good as I do when I'm dancing. If she chooses to come out with me, that's wonderful. I will support every attempt she makes to put footwork to music. I am disappointed that she dropped the class. I'm also relieved.

Does that make me a bad person?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Oregon Coast Pirate Day Movie

I found and applied for another apartment today, and hopefully I'll be moving in next month. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! On that note, here's a movie of yesterday's adventures:

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Pirate Day Off

ARRRR, happy Talk like a Pirate Day! I spent this day at the coast with my little sister. We got up early and were on the coast by 9:30am. We had to take a quick stop at Cape Foulweather to get beautiful pictures of anything but 'foul' weather. We were in Lincoln City and on the shopping warpath by 10:30.

I suppose I should mention that my sister and I have very different shopping techniques. I'm a much bigger fan of price checking and item comparing before I leave. She's more of the browsing-and-looking-at-every-single-item-in-a-store type. I don't like rushing her along, but we'd never leave a store if I didn't. We hit up the big stores and browsed through some stores with prices high enough that they out to be ashamed to call them "outlets." Since when are outlet stores charging full price for rejects? I thought the point was to go buy mistakes at insanely low prices...

My sister dragged me into American Eagle. Oh how I loathe this store! Every AE store has the most obnoxious music blaring at high volume and smells like women's perfume in a men's locker room. What's with the fake 'n' bake orange skin and platinum blond hair? My sister and I were the only two brunettes in the store. I was afraid one of the sorostitutes in there (in letters and OSU orange) was going to suck some IQ points away or something. Yes, I know I'm judging a stereotype, but to be fair, people choose to go greek and live up to the stereotypes more often than not at OSU.

They had a sign up on their pajama pants, "$10 off lowest marked price," and they had the pajama pants marked down from $29.99 to $19.99 with a sticker. Sweet! I thought to myself, $9.99 pants! WRONG. The woman at the counter explained that the $10 had already been taken off, thus the sticker. We went around a few times, and I finally bought the pants at $19.99. I can't get them cheaper here anyway. ARRRRRR! that pissed me off.

We grabbed lunch and headed back down the coast to Gleneden to sit on my favorite cliff and watch the tide roll in while we ate. A seagull decided to attack the car while we were eating... that was exciting and funny at the same time. He was pecking at the car door expecting us to toss him some food, but we weren't feeding anything but ourselves. He almost looked hurt by our selfishness. Such looks will get him nothing, however, and we shooed him away as we walked down to the beach.

A quick stop in Depoe Bay merited some more pictures and quite possibly the end for my camera. It decided to start freaking out randomly and shut itself off mid-picture several times. I don't want to have to replace it... that camera has provided me more enjoyment and entertainment than any others. Wish me luck as I try to figure out what's wrong.

We scurried home--my sister driving the whole way and making every attempt to kill me in the process. I swear, that girl needs to learn following distance as soon as possible! ARRRR! I slept the whole way home (mostly so I wouldn't freak out as she rounded every turn in the road).

I have a cute video finished and ready to post to YouTube tonight, but my computer has decided to go wonky and not upload. I am displeased.

ARRRRRRR! What a day...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Talking about it doesn't make it better.

Contrary to popular belief, I can be an intensely private person. Sure, I'll give someone more information than they ever needed to know about some things, but when it comes to talking about me, about how I feel, about my goals, desires, beliefs, or mantras... it takes dynamite to get me to open up.

With my work drama finally out of the way, I feel like I've been able to breathe a bit easier. Things have been looking up, and I'm getting back into apartment hunting (which is pretty easy when no one has a vacant closet, let alone an apartment).

But my hope for one single drama-free week was for nothing. My wonderful family has come to the rescue again and provided me enough worry for another month. Just one more reminder that the world, is in fact not all about me. Good lesson to learn, by the way.

My cousin and his wife lost their baby this weekend. She was 8 months pregnant with their second child. Doctors knew the baby would have some kind of birth defect, but either they didn't know or wouldn't say. This is the first child lost in my family.

And then today, my mother woke me with more bad news: her mother went into emergency surgery this morning to repair a perforated small intestine which had also become blocked. The surgeons also discovered a hernia which they fixed, and did some other exploratory surgery. Grandma was in the hospital in July for a double angioplasty and three years ago for a triple bypass. She also has diabetes. There isn't much else left to go wrong in her body! I went to see her after work tonight, and she didn't look very good. They have an NG tube suctioning her stomach contents out. Oh, yeah, remember that gagging reflex? Apparently the sight of half-cooked fecal matter triggers it as well. Anyway, this is quite a setback for her, and recovering from the surgery might take a few months. Not the worst news to wake up to, but still... it definitely wore at me all day.

My friends would ask me how I'm doing or if I'm okay--and in truth, I'm fine. I am healthy and happy. Except for the fact that my family is going through some rough spots and I don't feel like troubling anyone with these facts. I don't rely on my friends for the deep stuff. Because talking about it doesn't make it better. I've never felt like discussing my emotions makes them lessen or get better or change.

Tonight, I went out with some friends to celebrate a very special birthday. I had a great time! Part of me was there, living in the moment, laughing and being social. Another part of me was incredibly unhappy and wanted to leave every second. Stupid emotions.

A friend promised to call tonight, and I'm anything but surprised that the phone has yet to ring. Not that I'd talk about the important things... talking about it doesn't make it better.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Has the Statute of Limitations for cheating on a spelling bee expired yet?

I'm pretty sure I won't get in trouble now. In fact, I know I won't get in trouble. I didn't know I was cheating. The adults made me do it. They gave me the list beforehand. It's not my fault I memorize things so quickly...

I was in 5th grade, and the smart-ass kid who lived down the street from me was finally gone to 6th grade, gone to the next school. When it came to spelling, he was the only kid who could beat me. He was very smart, though his intelligence didn't make up for his orneriness. I didn't lose by much to him the prior year--one word would have made all the difference. But 5th grade... 5th grade was my year to shine.

The class spelling bee was conducted orally. We all lined up on one side of the room and each attempted to spell a word given to us. As people misspelled their words, they sat down in their desk and stared intently at each contestant (in the hopes of overwhelming them with their laser-beam intensity). I forget what the last word was for the other person, but I remember knowing I could spell it right away. No one was surprised by my win.

The school spelling bee pitted me against another 5th grader and two 4th graders. We went to the cafeteria, were provided a pencil and a sheet of paper with twenty lines on it. Each word was said once, used in a sentence, and said one final time. I don't think I missed a word on that round.

Next, I faced the other 5th graders in the city. My principal gave my teacher a list of spelling words for me to study, and instead of helping me learn the words, she handed me the list. I immediately got to work memorizing each word and phonetic structure. I took the list home and had my father go over the list with me time after time. He pulled words from the dictionary for me, and I stumbled quite a bit on many of them. I was 11, after all. A few days later, the principal drove me to the district office where I faced my toughest competition. The boy from down the street was there too, but we were in different categories. His presence comforted me for some odd reason--familiarity perhaps? The district spelling bee was written as it had been in the school-wide bee. Other students got three or four words correct out of twenty. I pulled fifteen and caused quite a commotion among the adults.

On the way out of the building, my principal asked me, "How do you know how to spell those big words?" Um, well, I guess I know how to spell those words because I studied those words all week. My teacher gave me a list of them. He stumbled down the sidewalk, "You knew which words to study?!" Uh... yeah... I guess so. I mean, I didn't know which words would be used, but I had a good idea. He didn't say anything else the whole way back to the school.

Another few weeks passed and I went up to the tri-county level. I spelled against kids from Linn, Benton, and Lincoln Counties. I didn't know which words to study beforehand, and I ended up placing third. The first two places moved onto the State Spelling Bee that summer. Booooo!

You know that kid from down the street? I followed him to OSU, and I see him in passing every now and then. Thirteen years later, I still have a tiny bit of animosity toward him. Just a tiny bit. :)

I'm not sure what the Statute of Limitations is for cheating on a spelling bee is, but I'm pretty sure I can't get in trouble anymore. I didn't mean to cheat. The adults made me do it! It doesn't count, right?


Sunday, September 16, 2007

My Favorite Day of the Year

People ask me, or those silly memes propose the question, "What's your favorite day of the year?" or "What is your favorite holiday?" I'm never sure how to answer the question. Should I say "Christmas" and have people think that I'm fond of large family gatherings, too much good food, and celebrating the birth of Christ? Should I say "Thanksgiving" and hope people view me as a traditional, selfless person that likes dried-out turkey and pumpkin pie? If I say "Halloween," will people think I'm a Pagan out to celebrate evil and horde chocolate?

I do enjoy these holidays, all for different reasons. However, I can't claim any of these as my favorite day of the year. For me, November 3rd is #1. Happy Birthday to me!

No, I'm not into that date because "it's all about me." Birthdays are cool. Some people don't like them because it means they're another year older. I like them because I am another year older. I can't wait to say that I've survived thirty or fifty or ninety years. Birthdays are about making it, about being for one more year, four more seasons, one more beautiful rainy day...

Don't think I'm into birthdays for the presents: I don't really like receiving presents. Yes, I know you probably put a lot of work into that homemade candle or spent tons of money on that gift certificate--your thoughts are very much appreciated. However, I don't like people spending any money on me. I feel obligated to do the same to them when their birthdays roll around, and I am horrible at coming up with gift ideas or surprises. Give me your time and your respect: that's all I ask of people.

I don't have a countdown started, but I'm still excited to turn 24. Birthdays are a big deal to me. Additionally, my blog will turn 2 a few days later (as well as hopefully crossing 50,000 hits). Time for some serious celebrating!

NOTE: I just found out two very big things are happening this November 3rd. First, there is a formal ballroom dance that evening, and I very much want to go. However, the OSU Marching Band Championships are also that day. My sister and I try to go every year and celebrate our birthdays by spending the day freezing our butts off in a stadium listening to kids play their hearts out on the Astroturf. We were not able to go last year. Formal dances happen three times a term, and OSUMBC is once a year, but there's something about dressing up like a princess and waltzing around a ballroom that appeals to this geek. Grrrr, my two alter-egos are going to have to duel.

Aiyee, 24! YAY!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

He makes me run into people. Weird!

I rarely run into people I know when I'm out and about. My few close friends live more than fifty miles away. I don't associate with many people in this town, and I dislike shopping (which makes running into people rather difficult).

But I have this friend. Whenever I'm around him, I run into people I know. I think he has this impression that I'm popular and have tons of friends or something, but I couldn't be farther from either of those. I wouldn't be as surprised to bump into other dancers while walking across campus, but when I'm walking through a store or down the sidewalk with him, I'll run into obscure people from my past that I haven't seen in years.

Mostly, when I with him, I run into other guys I know. I saw a distant relative the first time we went out together, and I have seen two or three guys from high school as I'm waiting to meet him. I was even on my way to see him when I ran into a very good friend I'd fallen out of contact with--which was awesome. It's really weird!

Am I supposed to read into this, or is this just one of those incredibly odd coincidences? You tell me...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Dancing in Central Park #2

Central Park, Corvallis, Oregon

Nightclub Two-Step

Dancers in motion (it's hard to get them to stop moving)

Delayed exposure as people finish dancing to a song

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Humility is an odd thing. In order to appear greater than we are, we're supposed to decline any praise about something we do well in the first place. I didn't understand humility growing up. Someone would mention that I was a good pianist, and at the time, I thought I was incredible. I'd say "thank you" and allow my ego to swell even more. Then I met a guy who could play the piano so much better than I could. I wanted to be just like him. I worked hard (for about ten minutes) at becoming better than him. Eventually, I learned he'd always be better. He still is... and he has an ego to go with it.

Working in a retirement facility, I experienced true humility. What is it to serve someone who truly cannot do for themself? I find it an honor. I cannot begin to remember all the times I sat and had breakfast with the old ladies... so many good memories! and so many lessons. The aging process is cruel at times, and I hope I eased the minds, or at least the frown lines, of many an old person in their last days. One old man--truly mean at his core--would order eggs a special way every morning. If the eggs weren't exactly right, I'd have to re-cook them. Several times, I recooked them. Complaining did me no good... so I served him again and again. And another lady, she was a handful. She threw toast at me more than once (and she had good aim!). Now, she's one of my friends.

The job doesn't seem like it would teach humility the hard way or the right way or whatever, but it did. Serving these people at the crack of dawn until late afternoon was hard. I didn't want to go to work every day and pour coffee or wash dishes. But going to work, going through the motions and sayings of someone who must be humble taught me a great deal. Serving others (food or other things) became a true joy. I'm not sure I would have learned this lesson as well elsewhere.

Now, I'm dumbstruck when someone tells me I'm a good dancer. Who, exactly, have they been watching!? I don't know all the steps, and I often have incorrect form. I find my attempt at Latin dances abominable, although (tee hee) it is fun to try. While I'm comfortable with my body, I'm not often comfortable with how it moves. Hand/arm placement is questionable, and I get dizzy too quickly on a dance floor (even when spotting). People tell me I'm "good," but I don't see it. I'm not that good. It's not fake humility. I'm not a terrible follow, but I'm still not that good yet.

I find humility a bit of a double-edged sword. Yes, it is good to be humble. But I still have to learn when to stand up and take a compliment.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Motion Pictures, kind of...

I've been experimenting with my camera lately to capture motion. Some attempts have been successful, and others have been disastrous. In the end, I've learned a lot more about my camera (including how well it tolerates dropping into grass), and I am enjoying new old shots in new ways.The first picture (left) is of my kusudama project. I set the exposure time to 2 seconds and turned the camera sharply four or five times. The result looks pretty neat, not exactly like the original, but still... something different.

The second picture (right) is one of my parents' whirligigs in the backyard. They have a bee and a turtle each riding a bicycle, and we like to joke that the two are racing. Sometimes the wheels spin so fast that they fly off. Luckily, the wind picked up just as I snapped this picture on a 1/30 second exposure. Go, bee, go!

Lastly, the flowers. These stupid flowers are more fun than you might expect. Not pictured is the yellow flower. Some animal attacked the yellow flower one night, tearing a leaf and part of a petal to bits and pulling the flower off it's stake. The purple and red flowers, however, remain without a scratch. The flowers get to movin' pretty fast sometimes, and like the bee and turtle, parts are known to fly off with too much wind. The red flower seems to move more freely than the purple, so I tried to get a picture where the red one was spinning and the other was stationary. This one is also on a 1/30 second exposure. Not sure if it worked, but I had fun trying. Hopefully I can continue this experiment on living subjects soon.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Only Popularity Contest I Ever Won

My classmates teased me to no end for all fourteen years of my public school education. From pre-school all the way up, they made fun of my glasses, the way I used to run, my lack of curves, everything. Kids are mean. I didn't associate much with people my own age growing up. I didn't spend the night at other girls' houses. I didn't go to the mall or play many team sports or do whatever the "in crowd" was doing. I didn't know how.

For some reason, though, my classmates respected me enough to elect me as a Peer Helper in 5th grade. I was amazed that they thought so highly of me after all the torment they caused, but I wasn't about to argue. Becoming a Peer Helper changed my life in a few small ways.

Before I get into my story, it might help if you know what I'm talking about. A Peer Helper is an individual who assumes the role of a helping person with persons of approximately the same age who share related values, experiences, and lifestyles.

Our training occurred during the school week at a local Christian camp outside Lebanon. We spent three or four days working on communication and conflict resolution skills. This adventure was my first time away from my parents for more than two days, and I couldn't have been more pleased to go. I don't actually remember much about the camp itself beyond the lake and the frisbee golf course, but I remember learning things that made sense to me right away.

When we got back to school, the six of us were made to wear special hats and shirts on the playground. If other students had problems, they'd come to us instead of teachers. I don't know if any of the other Peer Helpers at my school did any real conflict resolution or peer mediation, and I doubt that which I attempted did any good. The training stuck, though, and I still use those skills today.

While in college, I put those few skills to the test in psychology and sociology classes. I rounded out the information and applied it to adults in my life. Now, my friends come to me for advice or use me as a sounding board often. I'm rarely in any sort of conflict with people, partly because I'm adept at avoiding it altogether, and partly because I can diffuse it quickly. Good things to know.

I was never a prom queen or homecoming princess. I haven't gone on many (any?) dates, and I wasn't elected to any offices. But I was given an opportunity to lead my peers at their request--the only popularity contest I ever won.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Clearly, Opposites Attract

On one side, I'm the sweet and innocent friend that hasn't done so much as look slyly at a man. On the other side, I'm the heathen temptress. Ironically, neither of these stances is close to correct.

Last night, I spent some quality time with some friends I haven't seen in a while. These friends are the loud, drinking type, and as much as I adore them, they're the antithesis of my dancing friends. The gathering was nice, complete with a baked salmon (that I ate and liked), salads of various kinds, some odd-looking quiche thingies, and beer. Mind you, they're beer snobs and were drinking some good beer. But, as always, I was the only one not drinking. Lots of laughter, some picking on Jaggy... I still can't bring myself to understand that imitation and joking about someone is a form of flattery. Being the "sweet, innocent, naïve" girl isn't very much fun. I only stuck around long enough to talk to Rachel and Jeff, and I count the high point of my night at the very end with a big Jeff Hug.

I'm really not the spoil-sport they make me out to be. I'm not innocent. The night before, my parents were teasing me because I'd... perhaps... maybe... consumed a bit too much alcohol. I didn't really drink that much: I had one drink with dinner and one during the movie--within about half an hour. Oooh, Smirnoff Ice is good stuff (yeah, I found something I actually like, which means I can't ever drink it again). The first one didn't do anything, which surprised me. The second bottle, though... whee!! I wasn't drunk, but I wasn't about to get up from the recliner. Good stuff, that Smirnoff Ice.

But then there are the other friends that consider anything outside their small, cliquey, church-oriented lives utter debauchery. Dating before marriage is unlikely for them, and I'm pretty sure some of them think kissing leads to babies.

How on earth did I end up in the middle? I'm pulled between my liberal friends and the conservative ones, between the quiet farm kids and the big city yuppies. I have gay friends and homophobic friends. I have friends who dance and other friends who believe dancing is communicating with the devil.

What is it about me that attracts people from such diverse backgrounds? Am I sending out a signal that helps people know that I'm not likely to judge them for their beliefs? Am I doing something in the way I approach people that scares away everything but the two extremes? How did this happen?

I don't mind having friends on either side of the spectrum. I like being able to bounce ideas off the different sides and see what kind of responses I get. At the same time, I don't always know where I fit in. I'm comfortable with me, but I'm never sure whether the opposing sides of me are comfortable with one another.

It's just weird.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Don't hate me because I have perfect breasts...

...hate me because I don't like them.

The whole reason for shopping today was to find nice pants and some cute dressy shirts for dancing. Instead, I ended up with a bunch of unmentionables. And knowing that my brain-mouth filter was never installed correctly, you're going to hear about these unmentionables! :)

You see, I have apparently been gifted "perfect" breasts. Not too large, not too small... guys seem to like them entirely too much. I know because they've told me so. Through whistles, staring, and even some nice conversations. As luck would have it, that "perfect" size doesn't exist in the Land O' Women. Finding a bra that fits me is damn near impossible. Either the cups are too small and I spill out over the top, or the cups are huge and I look like I'm being swallowed by two PacMan creatures. I'd like to find a bra that's cute and fun instead of, well, a granny bra. I have to worry about how well the contraption is going to stay on: does it move when I lift my arms? do I fall out when I bend over? have they improperly engineered the micro-straps so they dig into my shoulders with the force of a freight train? I swear, it would be easier to just go without. AND, to make matters worse, "perfect" breast bras only come in white or "nude." (Why do they call it "nude" when you're clearly wearing something that doesn't match any skin color?) But persistence won out this time, and I spotted The One. Guess what! It fits. It fits perfectly. It was on sale. And it's purpley-pink.

To all the women out there that wish they had larger breasts: fools! Boobs just get in the way. To the women who wish their breasts were smaller: I understand entirely, but I also know it's a lot easier to find a 42DD bra than whatever size I happen to need.

There were other unmentionables purchased in this shopping spree, although discussing panties isn't nearly as much fun as bras. Ever since that lingerie shopping trip last spring, I've been willing to try on all sorts of things. I could get lost in the intimates section at large department stores, and I could spent lots of money.

So there you have it: entirely too much information about me. And my perfect boobs. That I still don't like.

Friday, September 07, 2007


Wandering souls caught
up in the moment
finding a peace that
only two can know.

Walls falling down
as secrets are shared,
years upon years of
memories unfold.

A single kiss,
a stolen kiss,
a second lost in the
darkness of lust,
a hurried and selfish gesture

The perfect transition from
dark to light, from
to answers
and now back again.

Where did all the time go,
the curiosity,
the desire to learn and seek
a new experience,
the drive to understand
and grow?

When did Emotion
leave the table, get up,
and go out for a walk?

Why unorganize the
the perfect chaos
into compartmentalized
unions of inharmonious resolve?

Exasperatedly gnawing
inside, outside a
marble enigma,
a veiled pathos of
grieving emptyness.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

On Friendship

Friends are special people. They are the ones we trust, the ones we share things with, the ones we are comfortable being ourselves with. We love them unconditionally, and hope they respect us enough to tell us when we're doing the wrong thing.

I've been lucky enough to have a handful of truly amazing friends. Of course, we all think our friends are cooler than everyone else's--and mine are no exception. That's because my close friends are exceptional. They are the most loyal and honest people I know.

More than anything, though, the one trait I look for in a good friend is someone who doesn't judge me. Friends are the people we should feel comfortable enough around that we can be insane and not have to worry about a weird look. They are the ones we bounce crazy ideas off of and expect honest responses in return.

My friends are the kind of people that invite me along on short trips and long journeys even though I turn them down time after time. They include me in their lives, and I share mine with them. They are the kind of people that want to experience adventures and learn new things with me instead of before me. My friends rely upon me in times of crisis and know that I'll be there for them even if it means walking to find them in another state. Likewise, those exceptional people support me in moments when I know they're sitting on the other end of the phone wanting to throttle me.

Secondary to not judging me is time. Building and maintaining friendships takes time. I don't trust someone overnight, and I wouldn't expect anyone to trust me that fast either. My friends make a point of contacting me regularly (if I haven't done so first), and we do our best to see each other as often as possible. I can't build friendships out of nothing--they take time.

In order for you to break through that last layer and have me consider you a true friend, I need you to not judge me. The benefits are great, well worth your time and effort. I'm willing to step up and give it a shot.

Will you be my friend?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Power of a Compliment

When I was very young, someone told me I couldn't sing well. From that moment on, I avoided singing in front of others. I honestly have no idea whether or not I sing well now, but I'm not about to give someone the chance to tell me what they think. I sing every day, while driving mostly... loudly, openly, freely, and sometimes not even with music. You'll never hear it. Because someone told me I couldn't sing.

A little bit later in life, someone told me I had weird feet. Not being particularly fond of feet to begin with, my task became hiding my feet as much as possible. They're not really weird: they're proportional, narrow, feminine feet. But come the middle of August on a 110° afternoon, I'll be the only one with socks and shoes on. Because someone made fun of one little part of me.

Kids teased me on the playground for my lack of coordination.
I don't remember not being the last one picked for a team in PE.
The guys in high school made fun of my flat chest.
Friends teased me because they didn't understand all the words I used.

I've even had my blog be a point of ridicule in public--not because it is bad, but simply because someone enjoyed being mean to me.

But I will never forget the first time I heard someone tell me I was beautiful.

Please remember the power of a compliment.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A Serious Case of the Blahs

I haven't been able to shake this depressed feeling for a couple days now, and I'm not sure why. My weekend couldn't have been better. Aside from getting too much sun yesterday, I'm healthy. I still have a job, and I've talked to most of my friends recently. But even in the middle of a great geocaching adventure, I was missing inside.

I continue to blame myself for certain things happening in my life. Some people blame their parents or teachers or friends, but in this terrible maturing process, I'm learning to blame myself for my own shortcomings. Additionally, I'm blaming myself for other people's shortcomings. This trait isn't one of my more positive ones.

Sometimes I think people take me for granted. I'll do anything for my friends, including spending more time and money than things are worth, and a few people have figured that out. I show up on time, always present, always focused on the task at hand... sometimes I wonder what would happen if I simply stopped going to dances or didn't answer my phone or didn't get online at night. Would people notice? Aside from those three or four people that know one way to always reach me, would anyone else care?

I wonder if I'm having the right kind of impact on people. I wonder if I'll ever meet another person that is willing to look past the odd sense of humor and not make judgments about my word choice. I wonder why people decide to give me second chances when I can't get a guy to give me a second look.

Some might tell me that I lack faith or hope. I would agree with them, except those are two of the few things I seem to have in abundance right now. My self-confidence is quivering down the hallway somewhere... my ego is bruised and moping. Faith, dry humor, and a bottomless pit of hope keep me on the edge of sanity.

I wish I had some great inspirational quote to leave you with, some bit of intellect, or even a funny saying. I'd rather shut down now and crawl back into my cave. Until tomorrow...

Monday, September 03, 2007

Geocaching Camp Adair

Four friends, one GPS, and six geocache finds made today a beautiful Labor Day away from the office. We assembled early and were on the hunt by 10am at Camp Adair north of Corvallis. Throughout the day, we could hear people shooting guns--a feature which both made me nervous and reminded me what Camp Adair was made for. The area is overgrown with blackberries, sweet peas, wild apples, and poison oak. The weather was warm, much warmer than I'd anticipated. We often stopped in the meager shade available to rest, and I could tell the pace quickened between shady spots.

The first cache we found was through some sunflower fields abundant with honey bees. While I didn't trust the GPS, my caching comrades found the cache and began the day with a bang. We filed back through the sunflowers to the main road and headed across a terribly uneven field to the second cache. Many stumbles later, we found what we were after: a very large geocache with a pirate theme, ARRR! I did some adventurous trail blazing to get us back to the road, and off we walked a full mile to the third stop. That mile was a very long, hot, boring walk, and I'm glad I had friends there to keep me company. Cache #3 would have stumped me, but for some reason, the geosenses were dead-on. I didn't even have to look for it. Another short walk to #4 put us in another field with the GPS bouncing all around. I nabbed my second find of the day and glorious #100! Plus, we found ourself at the foundation of an old building. Neat area, interesting things to see. More walking, more looking, more sun beating down on us... #5 was definitely a challenge for the boys who went into the blackberries and battled a ferocious geocache-guarding snake. I know both of the guys suffered minor flesh wounds today, and I'm so happy they stuck things through to experience the day. If you notice the second picture, the guys were feeling a bit silly and started skipping on the path to the next cache. I'm not sure what they were thinking, but the girls thought it was really funny. Yay for silliness! #6 was a challenge, although we did manage to sneak our way into finding it. As long as the trip across the base was earlier in the day, our walk back to the car wasn't nearly as long, or at least it didn't feel as long. We kicked a rock back and forth the full half-mile. Six geocaches in total today, and we each found at least one.

We lunched up at Lewisberg Saddle and spent the super-warm afternoon inside playing games and having fun. Even though I felt pretty icky most of the day and now have a wicked sunburn to go along with my general icky-ness, I had a great time geocaching with friends. What a perfectly delightful (if not overly warm) Labor Day.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Meteors, OMSI, IKEA, and Other Adventures

I'm so thankful to be home. That thought is echoed every time I return from the big city, and this day is no different. Portland is huge, and true to the popular slogan, it's pretty damn weird as well. The day was an adventure top-to-bottom, and I learned and experienced more than I could have imagined.

My day began before dawn as I stumbled out to the backyard at 4:30am to see the meteor shower. The Willamette Valley was supposed to be the best area on Earth to see this shower of up to a thousand meteors an hour. I don't know if we missed the peak shower or if the city lights were too bright or what, but I saw four shooting stars in about fifteen minutes. I did manage to catch one on film! The view is looking due west and about 20° from horizontal, a 30-second exposure with the lens wide open. Still very tired, I fell back into bed by 5:00am only to not fall back asleep. Stupid internal clock.

If you've been keeping up here on the blog, you'll remember that I've been having some trouble with my gag reflex. I don't want to get all "too much information" or anything, but it's frustrating. For some reason, the first thing I do in the morning anymore is start gagging. I don't throw up because of it (nothing to come up), but I'll gag. Drinking anything carbonated has been causing lots of problems lately. I've been using chewing gum, reflexology, and two or three other tricks to keep things calm. Sometimes, though, there's nothing I can do. This will be important later.

Dad, Mom, my sister, and I left for Portland just after 7:30. We made great time up and were at OMSI early enough to hit the gift shop before our movie started at 10:00. Since my father gave me syphilis, a cold, and mono for Christmas two years ago, and I've been looking for more microbes since then, I was elated to find that OMSI's gift shop sells the giant microbes. They had eight or nine microbes that I didn't have, and I settled on four of them. I'm proud to say that I was infected with ebola, hepatitis C, E-coli, and flesh-eating disease today. My sister got a red blood cell and a white blood cell, so now she has blood on her hands. ;) Wow, I'm such a geek.

We watched The Human Body, an IMAX movie, which was fascinating (and dizzying). The Body Worlds 3 exhibit included almost the entire building. I've worked with cadavers and have dissected all sorts of animals, but plastination is awesome. I saw more anatomy today than in both high school and college put together (and more male anatomy that I ever need to see again, sorry boys!). The literature included with each display is helpful to read, and I took more away from several of the smaller displays than from the full body forms. I found it somewhat curious how the exhibit creators interwove science and faith. My only two negative points about Body Worlds 3 were that they allowed too many people in at one time--seeing things without feeling like a herd became difficult; and the crazy lady that wouldn't stop talking like she knew everything about everything. If I wanted an anatomy lecture I'd go back to school!

Okay, you remember how I said the gagging thing would be important? OMSI has a rule about not allowing food, drinks, or gum into the exhibit. There was no way I'd be able to get through two hours of walking around looking at guts in front of and around other people without gagging. I snuck in gum. I chewed gum the whole damn time. I chewed like my life was going to end the second I left the building. And you know what? I'm pretty sure I bit my tongue gagging one time hard enough to draw blood--but nobody saw anything. I didn't want to look grossed out (because I wasn't!), and I didn't want to start a chain reaction or something. Of all the bad places to get one of those fits... Yes, I chewed gum where I wasn't supposed to!

The one thing I enjoyed most about the trip to OMSI was how it rekindled what I believed when I started college. My first degree plan was a bit of a stretch, a self-invented degree, and one that I more-or-less stuck to through college (though the name changed a bit). I call it my "miracle of the human form" degree. From who we are at the molecular and cellular level to what we do as people and a society, I attempted to study the range of what it means to be human. I took tons of biology, organic chemistry, sociology and psychology, development, and history. Seeing the bodies, seeing how amazing the human form is and can be... it feels weird to say that the more I experience science, the more I feel closer to God. VERY cool.

From there, we made a quick run over to Woodcrafter's for Dad to pick up some more woodshop tools and supplies. If you don't know Dad's work, you're missing out. I'll try to get a picture on my blog of the pen he just made me. Talk about skill!

Pushing 2:00pm, we found ourselves on the road up to IKEA. None of us had ever been to an IKEA before, and I had no idea what to expect. The only thing I knew about IKEA before arriving was from an old Hal Sparks Comedy Central bit where he described assembling some weird-named furniture. I don't know if the Snoofle bedroom set goes with the Klupte kitchen crap, or if I'd ever buy anything named the Difwan... seriously, did someone draw letters off a Scrabble board or something? The store was a freakin' ZOO. We wandered around upstairs in the displays for an hour solid listening to screaming kids being towed around by their zombie parents. By the time we got downstairs to where we could actually buy stuff, we were exhausted. I snagged a few things for friends, and my parents found some really cute glasses for the kitchen (which they do need). If only I'd known how long the lines were at the exit. Let's just say that IKEA was truly a once-in-my-lifetime experience: once was more than enough for me.

4:00pm came and went, and we headed south again to Tualatin to the always-delicious Sweet Tomatoes restaurant. I put a serious dent in their chicken noodle soup and blueberry muffins, as well as doing my part at the salad bar. What more could a kid ask for? I suppose more food would have fit in me, but keeping it down would have been ugly. Soooooooo good!

- Being able to tell my friends I have hepatitis and flesh-eating disease: $20
- Wishing on four different shooting stars in one night: $sleep
- Experiencing the big city on a holiday weekend: $gas, $nerves-of-steel
- Spending 12 hours in Portland with my family and not having anyone get cranky: ...a miracle.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

TV on the Brain

I've long been a fan of television. To the millions of people out there that believe television "rots your mind," look at me. My parents allowed my sister and me to watch TV all day long during the summer, unsupervised, on our own (we were at least in middle school, if not older, but not yet working). There would be days when I'd have my show and movie hours planned out, my mealtime entertainment scheduled... ten to twelve hours a day. Sounds pretty boring right? Hardly! Television was how I explored my world when I couldn't leave the house. I'd go to class with "Saved by the Bell," learn how to cook interesting and foreign treats on the Food Network, hone up on my medical terminology with "ER," and find new things to read on "Reading Rainbow." Travel Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, and The History Channel left me fascinated with my world. I'd write things down to Google as soon as I got online that evening. I'd have thousands of questions for my parents when they got home.

Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) was probably my favorite evening station. I watched orchestras and plays, saw people in my own town and state doing amazing things, and learned about Oregon's history and landscape. Talk about close to home! Chihuly's glasswork, Riverdance, the Oregon Ballet, great specials... and my favorite, Oregon Field Guide. Great programming--if I'm ever in a position to donate money to a deserving organization, OPB will definitely merit some funds.

I'm not one to have idle hands though... I can't just sit and watch TV. My parents always had craft stuff around, and if I had money, I'd buy my own supplies. I'd teach myself to knit, tat, sew, stitch, fold paper, sculpt, construct, and glue projects out of both new and recycled materials. I'd draw or paint or write. Anything to keep my hands busy. Reading happened too, so much reading... books upon books from the city library every week. Dad would take us after he got off work, and I'd stock up and read all week long, the other hours of the day when I wasn't watching TV.

It probably goes without saying that, when I'm motivated to learn, I learn well. Television presented new ideas to me in a visually appealing way, so I learned from it faster than I might have in a classroom. Granted, the thirst for knowledge is probably what kept me watching things that were "educational" instead of mind-numbing... and not every child or teen has that kind of attention span.

The advent of "reality" television did little for educational value. Shows like "ER" and "MASH" and "Little House on the Prairie" fell into syndication as they made room for "American Idol," "Survivor," and "Big Brother." Primetime Television contains more reality TV now than actual sitcoms or dramas... a sad day for TV networks. Now that my favorite shows have ended, I doubt I watch more than two hours of television a day, even on days off when I have nothing to do.

While programming has changed dramatically in the last five years, there are still some redeeming shows out there. Mythbusters is technically "reality" TV, but it's an incredible show! During any week, you might also find me tuned in to Brothers & Sisters, The Unit, and ER (entering it's 14th season as the most Emmy-nominated show ever).

I am a big fan of TV and movies, and will encourage my future children to watch TV if there aren't ways they are more able to learn the same knowledge. It won't be a babysitter... moderation is key in all things, of course.