Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Strike One for Poor Word Choice

The words don't always come out correctly. I know I'm saying what I mean to say, but I also know the words are not being heard as I'd intended. I've fought this battle, trying to figure out how I'm being interpreted, and I'm not sure what to do now.

I don't play games, and I always try to say what I mean. I hope people around me understand that they're not getting some sort of double-speak or code or hidden meanings out of my words. Sure, there might be some witty puns and occasionally a bit of innuendo, but I drip that out heavy enough that a deaf person would get it.

Is it my responsibility to correct people when I feel like my meaning isn't coming across clearly? Or should I allow people to figure me out on their own?

Is this something I should even be worrying about? I suppose I ought to, as it has caused a few small problems with friends, but then again, bending over backward to make sure I'm not stepping on toes or hurting feelings by saying one slightly wrong word is going to render me mute.

If I had it my way, everyone would handle discussions like my Grandma and I do. Get it out straight and to the point. Say your piece carefully and concisely, and move on. Not everyone is like that. I'm learning to be more diplomatic. It's a trait I despise, but I know how important it is (especially when dealing with more sensitive and emotional people).

So, friends, if you feel that you've fallen under my poor and choppy word choices, my frank and (at times) terse quips, please talk to me about it. I realize I need to work on this. I'm learning and growing every day, and your honest communication will help me shape myself for a better tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I'm Unplugged

I hate stereotypes. I especially hate it when I get lumped into a stereotype with people from whom I'm as different as night and day. Today's "youth" are commonly known as plugged-in kids. My generation will give birth to the newest group of bloggers, web surfers, and all-around connected humans. Even "kids" my own age are wired from the instant they wake until the second their heads hit their pillows at night (some of them longer!).

But I am not one of those people. I do not own an MP3 player of any kind. I have a walkman still, and a discman somewhere... neither were used much anyway. My cell phone does not have a camera in it, and I purposely got it because the phone doesn't have that feature. I can't connect to the internet over anything but my computer--and I have a cable running to the computer. None of the electronics in my house use a wireless network. *gasp* I can honestly say I've never used a computer that does utilize a wireless network. And I'm in my twenties!

I've sent text messages, but probably less than twenty a month, and most of those go to my sister about where we're meeting and when. Text messaging does have a purpose, but I'd rather just call the person. It's faster, cheaper, and often more productive.

I walk around on the OSU campus and occasionally see someone tuned into their iPods or yakking away on their telephone-like arm extension. I've been known to walk and talk as well, but I can't stand breathing into the phone or having someone hear my huffing and puffing on the other end.

Not all of today's "youth" are hip, cool, and plugged in. Some of us even turn off our phones on occasion. AND! a few of us go so far as to not log into MySpace more than once a week. Yeah! So there.

Okay, now I have to simultaneously ping Orblogs, check Facebook, and watch StrongBad...

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Night o' The Wind Storm

I've only been scared stiff once or twice in my life, and The Night o' The Wind Storm was probably the most terrified I've ever been. I was absolutely convinced I was going to die.

Either I hadn't looked outside all day, or I missed the weather reports... I don't know why, but I was clueless about the impending gusts. It was a Friday or Saturday night, and I'd gone to bed early because I had to get up at 4:30am for work the next morning. I must have been tired--the next thing I know is WHAM! WHAM! and my bladder decided full was not an option. I didn't wet myself, but I was damn close. My eyes popped open, and I stiffened trying to figure out what on God's green earth could make such a racket. My poor overactive imagination ran through it's paces: car hit the house, bombs being dropped, gunshots... and then WHAM! the house shook again. It was the loudest noise I've ever heard, louder than jet engines even. I was too scared to move. I was certain the end was near. Unwilling to die in the comfort of my own bed, I tried to get up. As soon as my foot hit the floor, WHAM! again. I ducked back under the covers. Outside, I could hear wind roaring around the eaves making a constant groan. Death imminent. I leapt from my bed and ran into the hallway. Emily's door was still closed, though I couldn't wrap my brain around anyone sleeping through such horrific sounds. WHAM! again and again. So loud. I knocked at Emily's door, "Emily, wake up! Wake up! There's something outside!" She didn't answer. I figured she was a goner. I knocked again just in time for another blow to the house, WHAM! Emily opened her door and stared at me. I asked if she knew what was making the noise... or at least I thought I did. Things were fading around me. I slid down her door jamb until I puddled in the doorway. She stepped over me into the hallway as I shook uncontrollably. Fear. Terror. I knew I'd fainted, but I couldn't feel anything. Emily looked down at me like I was on drugs. I righted myself and got up to follow her down the hallway. WHAM! We both stopped, frozen. I grabbed my pepper spray, and she fished a flashlight out of somewhere. We stumbled into the living room at the end of the hall. The noises stopped. I didn't understand the idea of knees knocking before this, but the moment had me convinced of the authenticity of such statements. Emily bravely opened the front door and shined the light on the screen door flapping in the wind. Somehow, the screen door had been sucked open by the wind hitting the front of the house, and it'd popped off it's spring. The door sagged slightly on the hinges, which themselves had nearly been ripped from the door jamb as the door flailed against the nearest wall--my bedroom wall. All the noise was from our glass screen door banging into the house. We pulled it closed and latched it firmly back into place. The spring had exploded and was never replaced while we lived there.

The Night o' The Wind Storm was a bad night for many people. Our shed's lean-to roof was completely blown off, and more than one neighbor lost shingles or worse. Trees were downed all over town. I had a rough drive to work the next morning with trees on or down near the highway, the wind still blowing in gusts as I drove. That was a long night.

I'm not afraid of thunder or lightning. I'm not afraid of snow or hail. But wind... that's bad juju right there.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Once More Into the Forest

I woke up this morning thinking that today should be an adventure. You know what? It was. :)

I had a perfectly relaxing morning working on some blog posts, editing photos, and being generally lazy. A friend asked me to help him teach some waltz lessons, so just after noon, we headed off to teach. Unfortunately, the lessons didn't happen today, but we did make a stop on the way home for root beer floats. I had forgotten how awesome A&W floats are, YUM! We decided the drive and floats weren't enough of an adventure, so I suggested a Geocaching outing.

We were hot on the trail by mid-afternoon, and then rather cold on the trail as we entered what has to be the spookiest forests I've been in. We kept joking about finding gnomes and fairies, and I may have had an eye out for Rodents of Unusual Size more than once. We did see some rabbits, a few birds, and could hear a frog... but wildlife was limited (thankfully). Tons of crunchy leaves in pretty colors, a few hills, and a good amount of searching at the top of the hill left us tired. But we found the 'cache! We also found some incredible viewpoints, and the sunset looking down on Bald Hill was spectacular. I can't believe I didn't take my camera.

After hiking, we were both famished. Time for pasta! We both laughed over Kevin James' hilarious comedy, and then decided to end our day. I took an hour this evening to sit at a piano, and I even spent a few minutes to simply sit still and take in my day.

Never mind how sore I'm going to be tomorrow after such a hike!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Look Ma, No Shoes!

Growing up in my parents' house (and living there after college) meant accepting certain rules. Some of the rules were easy to understand. I liked most of them. But the rule about taking your shoes off when entering always seemed stupid.

Until I moved out and started vacuuming my own apartment where I'd been trudging in and out with shoes on for a week. Guess what! New rule: no shoes in the house. Friends, feel welcome to bring slippers or extra socks--I'm not very good at turning on my heat. I have extra blankets. But you're not wearing shoes in my apartment.

I love being able to set my own rules.

And I really hate that my parents were right about something else.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Whitney's 21st Birthday Bar-hopping Blow-Out

We tried to get her drunk. We really did! But there was too much time between drinks, not enough alcohol, and gosh darnit, we were just too nice.

My sister had a great 21er. She had dinner with Mom, Dad, myself, Grandma, an aunt and uncle, and her boyfriend at Red Robin in Albany. The restaurant staff sang her a silly verse and she got free ice cream (with which to wash down her first drink of the night). Afterward, we all (minus Grandma) went to Wilhelm's on Pacific Blvd. Whitney got another drink, some kind of fruity vodka-ness that tasted like Jamba Juice with a kick. It was pink. It was a Whitney drink. :)

Whitney, her boyfriend, and I decided to ditch the smoke-filled bars of Albany (and lose the adults) and headed into Corvallis. The drive over probably allowed my sister to sober up some, which is good, but not what we wanted. We made a quick pit-stop at my apartment, then flew down to Cloud 9 on the waterfront. Old people bar! It was pretty dead inside with so few patrons, but the quiet room was a positive change. Another of our mutual friends joined us for the night. Whit ordered some other fruity thing with tequila. It tasted good--one of the smoothest drinks I've tried, but that horrible post-tequila aftertaste ruined it for me. I tried to capture as much on my camera of the night as I could, but low lighting made things difficult.

We all decided to move on to another bar, Fox 'n' Firkin, but the bar was closing. At 11pm. On a Friday night. In a college town. WTF?! We tried another bar, but there was no room, no empty tables. Exasperated and growing sober, we opted for McMenamin's downtown. I helped my sister order something the bartender had never heard of, and the guys had drinks. Yay for a basket of 'tots! And yay for better lighting! She was feelin' the alcohol big-time, and we were pushing water into her as much as we could.

The night ended by midnight, a relief for those of us who got up early that morning. Patrick took my sister back to Lebanon where I'm told she slept for a very long time.

It wasn't quite the night of depravity we had planned, but I think it turned out better than we expected. Here's to new drinks, good times, and whipping out your ID in less than two seconds. Nicely done, sis.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wearing Out, but Looking Up

I don't really know what possessed me to do it, but I curled my hair last night before the dance. It was a long process involving much mousse and hairspray, foam curlers and a curling iron. I worked at it for over two hours. And the whole bloody mess fell out in under three hours anyway.

People stared. I don't really understand why people treat me so differently when my hair is up or curled or whatever. The whole thing seems stupid. I looked nice, and I felt all girly, but I can't believe how shallow people can be.

And I still didn't get asked to Lindy for the third week in a row!

Tonight has been a nice break from the going-going-going that is my social life. I turned down several options so I could clean my apartment and focus on myself for an hour. If I don't get a few minutes every day to focus on me, I go crazy. I've seen the downward spiral coming all week, and it hit hard today. I needed this break, if not for me, for everyone else. You'll thank me when I don't whack someone.

Jeff called me just now. I had forgotten how calming his voice can be. In this moment, I find myself wholly relieved and thankful. Jeff: you are missed. You are missed every lunch, every long walk back to work, and every time I look at my ketchup bottle. ;) I can't wait to see you next weekend!

Now I'm going to go settle in for a few quiet moments of reflection, pause, and thought. Last weekend's entirely-too-long conversation with a friend is still wearing on me. I hate it when that happens.

Oh, and I have to get the rest of the hairspray out of my ear. Do you have any idea how uncomfortable that is?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dear Mr. Gas Station Attendant

Thank you for the prompt service. But seriously, what was that? I know you know how to do a better job. I've seen you do a better job. Was today an off day? Are you doing okay? Next time you try to wash my windows that way, I'll beat you over the head with your squeegee.

Washing a car's windshield shouldn't be that hard. You pull the squeegee out of the bucket-dealy-bob and smear the solution on the window--and I mean all over the window, not just a dab here and there like you exhibited tonight. Then you push the soapy water around a little bit in the hopes of knocking loose whatever carbon-based organisms were unlucky enough to fly into my warpath. Still with me? Then you turn the squeegee over. I know you had trouble with that little detail tonight... you had me concerned there for a bit. Next, beginning at the top of the window (not the bottom--didn't they teach you this?), you wipe horizontally from the center out. Effective squeegee-ing takes a little bit of pressure, but don't push too hard. After the first row, begin the second pass overlapping the first by a couple inches. Continue down the windshield in this manner until you reach the wiper blades. Did you know those things move? You can move them yourself even. You... LIFT! and they move. Terribly difficult, but stick with me. One last pass removes the rest of the water and soap from the windshield. Replace the wiper blade gently, and repeat this process on the opposite side of the car. See? Beautiful!

Next time, instead of attempting to quasi-wash 80% of my windshield and leaving most of the water behind, you'll know exactly what to do. So remove your empty head from your lazy ass AND TRY AGAIN!

Thank you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

60 Random Questions

1. What time did you get up this morning?
6:55 7:02 7:11

2. Diamonds or pearls?
Pearls--classy, understated, formal but not pretentious

3. What was the last film you saw at the movies?
Sydney White

4. What is your favorite TV show?
well, I didn't get my nickname "Jaggy" by liking ER...

5. What do you usually have for breakfast?
Eggo waffles... every morning with peanut butter and maple syrup

6. What's your middle name?
Jaggy doesn't have a middle name

7. Has anyone ten years older than you ever hit on you?
Considering I dated a guy 13 years older, I'm thinking that's a "yes"

8. What is your favorite CD at the moment?
Livin' on the Run

9. What kind of car do you drive?
Small-ish, zoomy, and foreign

10. Favorite sandwich?
PB&J or a really good grilled cheese sandwich

11. What characteristics do you despise?
disloyalty, dishonesty, and people making fun of those who cannot stand up for themselves

12. Favorite item of clothing?
it's red and silky and came from a high-end lingerie store... oh, you mean clothing I actually wear? my leather jacket.

13. If you could go anywhere in the world for a vacation, where would you go?
Bavaria, and maybe a week in the museums on The Mall in Washington DC.

14. What color is your bathroom?
white, purple, green, blue... I dunno, the whole theme changes when I switch out the hand towel

15. Favorite brand of clothing?
I'm such a label snob... Merrell and Keen shoes, Levi's, Columbia... hmmm, I can't think of any others right now.

16. Where would you retire?
Somewhere in the mid-valley... I love the grass and farmland stretching to the mountains in every direction.

17. Most memorable birthday?
22nd, although I have fond memories of my 21st

18. Favorite sport to watch?
Karate, DanceSport

19. Do you care if your socks are dirty?
I try to keep my white socks as white as possible, but sometimes there's nothing I can do.

20. The last place you went out to dinner?
my parents' house last night for my sister's 21st birthday. PizzAmoré the day before that.

21. Where is the weirdest place you have slept?
uh... um... the tile floor in a dorm room once... and I never lived in any dorms...

22. Favorite saying?
Seriously! or, in the words of GIR, "I dooooon't knooooow!"

23. When is your birthday?
November 3rd

24. Are you a morning person or a night person?
If you ask me at midnight when I'm exhausted, I'll say morning. When you ask me at 6:55 7:02 7:11am as I'm trying to haul my ass out of bed, I'll say night. I can be either, but if I had to choose, I'd say morning person.

25. What is your shoe size?
9 narrow. very, very narrow.

26. Pets?
My family has two cats. They don't like you. Personally, I have no pets.

27. What did you want to be when you were little?
A writer. Then, a meteorologist, a doctor, a lawyer, and a teacher. Still, a writer.

28. What are you today?
Exasperated, giddy, nervous, tired, and happy.

29. What is your favorite candy?
as boring as it sounds, when I get a hankerin' for chocolate, a plain Hershey's bar does well by me. I adore so many other kinds of candy, but when I just need some chocolate, a Hershey's bar is exactly what I love.

30. What is your favorite flower?
purple fall crocus (which are in bloom! *hint to all the boys*)

31. What's the next day on the calendar you are looking forward to?
um, November 3rd!

32. What church do you attend?
currently, none. I'm still looking for a church where I feel like I fit--and one that isn't cliquey.

33. What are you listening to right now?
computer's hum, clicking keys, beautiful and profound silence

34. What was the last thing you ate?
chocolate cake

36. Do you believe in angels?
I believe there are things I cannot explain. Whether they are ghosts, angels, or the hand of God, I don't know, but I know there are things I've seen and others have seen that cannot be explained by anything of this world.

37. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Green: because I'm constantly being used, but no one ever claims to like me...

38. What is your pet peeve?
waiting in lines, slow drivers in the fast lane

39. Last person you spoke to on the phone?

41. Favorite soft drink?
Diet Coke. haven't we had this discussion already? Pay attention!

42. Favorite restaurant?
The Depot, Bings, Los Dos Amigos, Roadhouse, PizzAmoré... I'm gettin' hungry.

43. Hair Color?
Brown. drab and boring brown.

44. Siblings?
One, thank you, please drive through.

45. Favorite day of the year?
My birthday!

46. What was your favorite toy as a child?
cardboard boxes and markers, although Legos were a close second

47. Summer or winter?

48. Hugs or kisses?
Hugs, please. I love kisses, but hugs seem to be more personal without the romantic ties. I really like hugs. Unless you toss in Jake Gyllenhaal... kisses might be in order then. ;)

49. Chocolate or vanilla?

50. Where do you keep your spare change?
The pennies, nickels, and dimes make it into my ceramic bank. I'm very good at keeping my quarters in the vending machine at work.

51. When was the last time you cried?
over a year ago

52. What is under your bed?
Three large plastic containers holding blankets and pillows and my 200+ episodes of JAG

53. Who is the friend you've had the longest?

54. What did you do last night?
Same thing I do most nights: I sat at my computer working on this blog while watching TV

55. Favorite smell?
Old Spice cologne, the rain, grass and hay

56. What are you afraid of?
Sentences that end in prepositions.

57. What makes you laugh?
intelligent humor, great puns

58. How many years at your current job?
about a year

59. Favorite day of the week?

60. Favorite book?

Now, copy, paste and forward this to everyone in your address book, including those people you've not spoken to since the Eisenhower administration, and you'll get a phonecall from a kid in Michigan who has a rare form of cancer and needs 3 cents for every email you send. If you don't, you will be run over by a burning bus full of nuns. Or something like that.

Monday, October 22, 2007

To my Sister on her 21st Birthday


21 years ago today, some scary nurses dressed me up in a tiny gown, and Dad held my hand as we peered through the glass at some little worm swaddled in pink. From that day on, you were just as much mine as you were Mom and Dad's. I know I've been bossy and mean and generally a bad big sister. We've fought over stupid and petty things, and we've disagreed over larger things. We've conjured a spirit together, an amazing bond we share named Amie.

I've had friends, and I've had best friends... but you, my sister, are leagues ahead of anyone else. You inspire me with your selflessness, your willingness to be there for others when you could use a hug just as much. That you are able to forgive so easily is a trait I've too long taken advantage of--though it is a quality few others possess. Never give up on the wonderful and beautiful woman you've become.

My first memory, my earliest memory is of you. When the whole world has turned against me, I know you'll be there. I hope you know that, no matter what, I will always love you too.

Now, before I bury this mushy post under a bunch of pictures, allow me to offer you a few small bits of hard-earned drinking wisdom:
1. Always watch someone when they mix your drink, or mix it yourself. Preferably, open each bottle or can yourself (although you can pretty much ignore drinks from cans).
2. Always cover your drink.
3. It's okay to not drink, even though you might be laughed at.

Happy 21st Birthday! OOOOOH-WAH!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Mantras: The Good, The Weird, and The WTF?

People have asked me what motivates me when times prove difficult. I am perennially supported by an amazing family and friend network, and I have a few key people I seek out to advise me when I am indecisive or need to talk an argument out. But sometimes... sometimes talking won't help things. Sometimes I have to rely on myself to get through it. In those moments, I hear certain phrases that build me up for the fight.

"Never give up!" seems simple enough, right? I thought it sounded hokey until I attended a leadership camp. Whether it was my stubborn nature to accept this as a mantra or my devotion to whatever I believe in that caused me to own this, I don't know. This is usually the first thing that pops into my head.

Another mantra comes from JAG. In the episode, "Full Engagement," poachers chase Mac and Harm through the forest, wounding Mac in the leg. In one of her weakest moments, Mac feels as if she can't continue running and collapses. Harm turns to her, inspects the wound and tries to clean it again, and builds Mac's drive up instantly with, "suck it up, Marine!" Now I've never been a Marine, but I've been around a ton of gung-ho 'oorah' grunts and jarheads. I know the attitude. I have that attitude. And if David James Elliot was shounting "suck it up, Marine!" at me, I don't think I'd be sitting around to ask questions.

Rarely, those two mantras together fail. I'm left to rely on incident-specific advice I've received from my most trusted family and friends. My 4th grade teacher and my least-favorite person on Earth both told me the same thing: when the going gets tough, Jaggy will do the right thing. I'm always going to fight for myself and the people around me. I've done some stupid things, but overwhelmingly, I'll push through the grey waters and come out the other end looking great. Knowing that others rely on me and look up to me for continuously following my own North Star makes me feel good. Facing the possibility of letting those people down is something I refuse to think about. That keeps me going in the worst situations.

What keeps you going?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Nothing is as it Seems

I am continually amazed at how quickly we jump to conclusions and make false assumptions on imperfect data. It's been a bit of a bad habit lately, giving someone less information than usual and watching as they walk down the path of least resistance. We innately follow our worst fears and skepticism. I don't fully understand why people don't ask more questions when they don't understand something.

For example, I attended a seminar where the students sat around a large circular table. The instructor placed a small candle in the center, a candle much like a tea light. He instructed the students to make observations and write down everything they saw. Then, he lit the wick. The flame started small and grew as the lower end of the flame engulfed the wick down to the wax where it held steady and burned for ten or fifteen seconds. The professor blew out the candle and removed it from the table. Not two seconds later, he popped the candle in his mouth and began chewing as if he was chomping down half his lunch. He swallowed it wick and all. We were stunned. He ate a candle! He seemed to enjoy eating the candle...

I thought long and hard about that candle for the fifteen minutes of writing time afterward. What does candle wax taste like? Can a person digest a wick? How much carbon was on the wick? Didn't the instructor get burned by the hot wax? I hadn't smelled any burning wax. I didn't hear a candle. I saw what I perceived to be a candle. We turned in our papers, and he read highlights off each one aloud. People made the same guesses and questions I did with one exception: I never used the word "candle" to describe the object I'd seen. It was simply referred to as "the object." My first statement was, "We cannot conclude based on evidence presented prior to this experiment that the object is actually a candle."

I've always been that kind of person. I question everything. I question myself more than anything, wondering if I'm making assumptions and presuppositions about people and events. This can, at times, make me socially awkward (among other things). I ask people to clarify more than I ought to. I restate myself more than I should. But I really don't like assumptions.

Then again, stating all of this may have lead you to believe I have no faith in things I cannot see. Even though I am a firm believer in the scientific process of evolution (and studied it both through genetics and philosophy), I am not denying the possibility of Creation. I believe in ghosts and angels. I believe in the powers of Native American healers. So many things I do not fully understand, but I have unending faith in their existence and processes.

That juxtaposition of ideology is precisely what makes me terribly unique. Think of me as you will, but make no assumptions about me. You will likely be incorrect.

For more information about the candle experiment, comment me and I'll send you a link.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

My Mother was Right (Oh, how that stings!)

I didn't believe her. I couldn't have been wrong. It's not true. I am dreaming!

Alas, I believe her now, and I was wrong. And saying that is like sticking little razors under my fingernails. Cleaning a kitchen floor with a small rag and Pine-Sol solution is much more effective than Swiffering or other stick-mopping. ARGH!

I've been using a Swiffer Wet-Jet on my floors since I moved in. It seemed to pick up lots of dirty stuff. The floor, however, never felt clean. Tonight, I decided I'd had enough. I went after my floor with a microfiber towel, hot water, and Pine-Sol.

I kid you not, my floor changed colors. It was amazing! The water was putrid and had a film on the top of it when I was done. I emptied and re-filled my water bucket and went after it again. The floor looks so much better, and I know it's actually clean.

My mother was right: hand-mopping is the way to go. It's cheaper, cleans better, and leaves a shinier finish on the floor. That damn elbow grease is expensive, and my back might ache for a few days. My ego is bruised and battered. But... she's still right.

What was your mother right about?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Yes, I'm still single.

I'm getting tired of being sick. I picked up a cold from one of my friends/coworkers, and while it hasn't hit hard (yet), I'm still pissed I got it in the first place. Zicam is the most incredible thing on Earth, though, and I think I should buy stock in the company.

Apparently, my love life has been a source of gossip recently, as several people have been questioning who I may or may not like at this time. Let it be known that I have exactly ZERO romantic interests. None. Please don't gossip, either.

As much as my romantic life is sinking, my social life is floating along nicely. Last night was the first night in over a week that I haven't been out doing something. Between having my ass handed to me a few dozen times in Halo games to dancing to watching movies, I've been busy! I love being able to say I have friends around that enjoy spending time with me. I adore having my own kitchen and apartment with which to entertain. I especially like boys that bring me chocolate when they come over. ;)

Hey, when did all the leaves change color and fall off the trees? I think the leaves were still green two weeks ago. The wind has taken so many of them down already! It's going to be a loooong winter.

Dishes to do, laundry to fold, and then I'm getting ready for more dancing... such is life.

I hate doing the dishes.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Great Facebook Purge!

I haven't spoken to you since high school, and let's face it: we weren't really friends then anyway. You only added me to boost your friend count. I don't comment on your pictures or wall, and you've never sent me a message. You know what? You're about to be de-friended.

I don't have that many friends on Facebook--seventy-five or so, not many more. Most of my friends are people I talk to on occasion, dance with a few times a year, or even hang out with. A few, though, are lingering on my friend list like tattered quilts (I love them for their sentimental value and nothing else). So, "friends," don't be surprised if you mysteriously drop off my list. It's nothing personal. In fact, since you haven't spoken to me even in the process of friend-ing me, it can't possibly be personal.

To all those applications that I added to check out once and haven't touched since: buh-bye. Friend Wheel, Word Magnets, and Roshambull, I have to cut you loose. You're in my way. I don't plan on replacing you. To my "friends" who continue to send me new group invitations or application invitations: unless the group or app is stellar, I ain't joinin'. Please stop sending me invitations. I'd rather have free gifts or wall posts anyway.

Yes, this is The Great Facebook Purge. Prepare to be de-friended.

P.S. If you would like me to continue not paying attention to you, try my MySpace pages. Comment me your name and I'll add you as an un-friend friend.

Monday, October 15, 2007

We look hardest at ourselves...

...unfairly judging each flaw with a critical and often self-destructive eye. Sometimes that careful introspection allows us a positive change. For me, though, it's a rough and endless process as I continue to mold myself into a better version of "me" each day.

I wrote recently about how I think my friends are judging me. In part, they are. They have their biases and opinions, and they're entitled to believe what they wish. However, in the middle of a deep conversation with myself the last couple days, I've realized I'm judging myself through their eyes. I feel like I'm not living up to the person I think they want me to be. Even worse, I have no idea what people want me to be.

Then, later, I questioned myself again. Why am I so worried about this? Am I feeling guilty over something or ashamed of another thing or have doubts about something else? Is there a bigger force at work here driving me to think about these things?

I love who I am, the woman I've become, and the character traits I exhibit. I could make lists of all those great things, but they are not the reason for this post. I'm tired of people making poor judgments about me when they don't have all the facts. I'm frustrated that I still feel pulled in opposite directions, though I do know it's likely my own thoughts instead of actual outward signals from others.

I refuse to feel guilty for having diverse friends. I don't regret any decisions. Whether you like me or not, I'm a good person. I know that. And I'm not going to stand around wondering what you think of me or questioning who I think you want me to be. I have better things to do.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

First Party and Formal Dance

Saturday was a stressful, exhausting, incredibly fun day. I got up very early and drove to Lebanon to visit my parents and collect another carload of belongings. My sister gave me a TV stand, so I had to drive across town to pick it up (forgot the key to the storage unit the first time--two trips, grr), sat for a while with Grandma, washed my car, and did a bunch of little chores. I was back in Corvallis by noon, and the real work began. I hung a bunch of pictures around my apartment, moved my huge TV all by myself (oorah!), set up for the party, showered and got ready, and made one last trip to the store.

Emily arrived around 2pm, and she provided me some much-needed help with the dessert making. The other guests arrived just after 4pm, and the party started! Now remember, dear readers, I've never thrown a party by myself ever. My college roommates always orchestrated our house parties, and I went along for the ride. I am pretty sure people had a good time--it's hard to have a bad time playing Apples to Apples.

After the party, we went to a formal ballroom dance at OSU. Nothing says uncomfortable like four yards of scratchy dress, sweaty feet, and smelly boys for three hours solid. The floor had recently been waxed so spinning was impossible (or painful if you went for it). I'd love to say I had a great time at the dance, but in truth, the waltzes were about the only fun thing I danced. Not sure what happened, but with one exception, I either wasn't asked or had guys as me to West Coast Swing... and they were *ahem* challenging leads. I so desperately wish to learn more WCS...

If you're reading this and find that you weren't invited to my party, please understand that I wanted to invite you. My apartment is quite small, and I didn't want to have a big, loud party. The six of us that were here created more than enough noise for my taste. Plus, the party ended at 8pm as we all went to the formal dance. Don't take it personally: if you want to come over, all you have to do is call and set up a time to hang out. The invitation is open!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Only true "Saved by the Bell" fans will understand this one...

As busy as I've been this week, I'm starting to understand why Jessie Spano became addicted to those caffeine pills on Saved by the Bell. "No time! There's never any time!"

Of course, I'm already a caffeine junkie, so pills wouldn't be much of a stretch at this point.

The day was long, boring, trying, and rather fun at times... and I'm headed out yet again with friends. So much to do before tomorrow, so many things to remember. At least I don't have a song and dance routine to toss on top--though that might add some interesting moments.

I've been getting to know someone recently, and I'm finding that either our senses of humor are drastically different, or he genuinely dislikes me. I can't figure him out. I'm not sure I want to. Meh and blah all at once.

On a side note, my backless-strapless-bra-invention-thingy isn't working out the way I wanted. More engineering to do. Before tomorrow.

The pile deepens... I must go. Anybody have a drink?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Letting Go of Holding On

I don't understand myself some days. I've seen people die, I've lost friends, and I've thrown away perfectly good ideas. But do you think I could bring myself to toss that report I wrote in 7th grade? Do you think I'd recycle the 8th grade paper on fossils or the first paper I wrote in college? When I moved, I moved everything. I packed every single scrap of fabric and shred of paper into boxes so I could go through them again "at a later date." My two-box pile of old school papers spanning the last ten years has been reduced to a couple inches tonight, mostly report cards and very special papers (like the ones that got me published). I kept a few lab papers, one or two tests, and little else. I don't know why, but sometimes it takes me forever to let go of the smallest things.

Tonight was productive in other ways. I cleaned my entire apartment, scrubbed the kitchen and bathroom really well, did two loads of laundry, had dinner with my sister, and steam pressed my formal dress for Saturday. I finished watching Life from last night, sat through ER tonight, and located a TV stand (thanks sis!) for my newer, bigger TV.

Now, it's time for chocolate. And sleep. Oh, I miss sleep...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Yay for Re-Maturing!

I've been living on my own for a week or so now, and I can't begin to overstate how exciting and special this feels. For the sixteen months I was home, my maturity level decreased, my ability to make decisions on my own nearly went extinct, and I felt like I was missing out on adult experiences. I love my parents, don't get me wrong, and I am deeply thankful they allowed me back into their home for more than a year. I know how easy my life was living with them. Moving home was incredibly difficult, though, and I'm very happy to be out on my own.

Having friends over seems simple enough, but I didn't really have friends visit me while I lived in Lebanon. Very few (two?) friends drove the half-hour over there to hang out. But last night, I had friends over. I watched a movie, made dinner, and had a wonderful time with a friend. Later, more friends came over. Tonight, I'm going dancing. This weekend, I'm throwing a very small party before going dancing again. That kind of thing wouldn't have happened at my parents' house.

I do miss having my laundry done, having my food cooked for me. I miss seeing my parents and sister every night and hearing about the extended family and being five minutes from Grandma. I miss not sleeping alone in my house at night, having a piano, and mail delivered to my desk. I miss waking up to the smell of breakfast or coming home to a clean bathroom. I even miss having cats.

Trade-offs, all around. Expensive trade-offs. But I'm happy to see some of those decision-making skills returning and the stubborn/independent streak lighting up full-force in the mornings. It feels good to be in charge of me. Really good.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Opposites Don't Attract

When I was younger, I had a hard time reconciling the many faces of me, the entirely separate identities. I was one person at home, one person at school, and someone totally different at work. As I grew and matured, my different identities slowly evolved into one consistent identity. By the time I was 20 or so, I was the same person at home that I was at school or work.

But now, as I dance and work and have non-dancing friends and get to know other people, my life is being pulled in opposite directions. My oldest friends are noticing the change. I can't describe it, but I'm splitting up inside, battling myself as I try to reconcile two opposing forces.

On one side, I have my liberal friends, my loud and funny friends, my dearest and best friends. On the other side, I have my conservative friends who are good for long talks and tons of dancing. (Oddly, the conservative ones are the dancers--go figure.) The two sides overlap incredibly little... and as much as I adore dancing, I'm loyal to the end with my non-dancing friends.

It doesn't sound like it should be a problem, right? Why would having both kinds of people in my life be such a big deal? In order to fit in with either side, I have to sacrifice what the other side holds dear. The crazy friends are crass and vulgar, and they consider me boring and juvenile due to my overwhelming inexperience in "adult matters." But because I've kissed boys, the conservative group has all but shunned me for immoral behavior.

One side dislikes that I hang out with so many Bible-thumpers, while the other side can't stand that I don't go to church. One side thinks I dress too conservatively, and the other makes a face when I wear a shirt that's supposedly too tight. One side can't believe I've lived with boys (successfully!), and the other sees no problem with cohabitation.

I can't hope to please everyone all of the time. I don't intend to take sides. Never in my life have I wanted to fit in or be part of the in-crowd. But it would be really nice if there was some sort of happy medium here, some way I could be accepted for both my inexperience and independence and for my knowledge and hard-won life lessons.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Yeah, well, I have a few choice words for you too!

Sometimes, a girl just needs to swear. I'm not talking about smashing your thumb with a hammer or stubbing your toe and falling down in front of Mr. Hottie. I'm not talking about breaking a nail or dripping coffee down your front.

Sometimes, a girl's gotta swear. Like when you're running late to work and end up behind Mr. Slow-as-Molasses on the freeway. Like when you remember that thing you knew you were forgetting. Like when you just put on clean socks and walk onto a puddle on the bathroom floor, a puddle of who-knows-what, so you have to change your socks again.

I swear. I don't swear much anymore, although you might not want to play card games with me. Card games tend to bring out colorful language. I swear appropriately: never in front of coworkers, grandparents, or children. I understand and respect that not everyone wants to hear every word. But, likewise, just about any word can be used effectively at the right time.

I remember my grandmother swearing in front of us. "Damn" this and "scheiße" that. One time, she was driving us somewhere, I forget where exactly, when out of no where she put together four or five dirty words that should never have gone near each other. My sister and I started laughing, knowing both how foul the words were and how not to use them.

Swearing, like alcohol or cigarettes, is one of those things we try on for size as we mature. I didn't know better when I was little... slipping in the occasional word I'd learned from my parents or friends. Mom was not impressed. Dad was less impressed. But as I grew, the level of "potty mouth" increased. "Crap" and "butt" were about the worst we could get away with growing up. I think I slid in a "really pissed off" once in high school without getting in trouble. Anything else, though, was taboo.

Then, I started college. My parents' sweet, innocent, naïve young woman met some very nice sailors, marines, and soldiers. I hate to stereotype, but when it comes to swearing servicemen, well... I learned to swear from the best of the best. And Mom swears, too. So I had a lot of knowledge beforehand. When I moved out, my poor roommates received what became a year-long blue streak. While funny at times, I know they didn't always appreciate my candor.

Those rough-and-tumble days swearin' with the boys didn't do much for my social life, though. Yes, I can swear, but I've learned that guys don't always like a girl with a mouth worse than theirs. I've slowly whittled down the amount of swearing I produce, or at least the volume with which I say it. ;)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

No Details for You

I went out on a date tonight, a real date with a sweet young man. I hope things went well... at least, I think they did. And those are all the details you get about my budding romantic life.

My morning started off oddly when a friend came over for breakfast. He brought cinnamon rolls and I made him my super-amazing hashbrowns and sausage. A man can't resist my hashbrowns--it's been proven. The cinnamon rolls were a treat. We hung out for a little while until he had to leave for his soccer game.

The afternoon was unproductive, but I did run to Albany to get some sweet LED nightlights and a drainboard for my kitchen. Do you know how hard it is to find a nice drainboard that isn't made of plastic and has a matching base of the same size?

I'm too tired to write anything intelligent tonight, so you get a picture. I tried to be artsy... leavin' that to the pro's next time.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

I have a couch and knives now, so you can stay, but I might eat you.

I have so much to catch up on in the last two days! That's because I actually have a social life again, or at least I think spending two nights out in a row feels like having a social life.

Thursday night was fun: two friends and I went to see Sydney White. I don't think either of them liked the movie, which kind of makes me sad. The movie was funny, light, and maintained a consistent pace. Sure, it was a little corny, but it didn't try to be a big blockbuster movie. I must recommend Sydney White if only for the first five minutes: Jon Schneider's plumbing contraption is hilarious!!!

And Friday night was even more fun. Jenny came over for dinner--that I actually made in my own kitchen--yay! We went dancing, went out to a couple bars, then retreated with the guys to eat cookie dough and play Halo until the little-number-hours. Oddly, being massacred six or seven dozen times in as many seconds hurts much less with a mouth full of cookie dough. It's true. I should know. In my own defense, I think I mastered ice skating with a warthog, and I'm not half-bad at running people over with them either. I'm better at killing people with vehicles than with guns. Yes, yes, you want me on your team. ;)

Mom and Dad called me up this morning (as I was recovering from my late night out) to tell me they found a futon at a garage sale for $65, and it was in good condition. Heck, that's $300 less than I anticipated, so sure! They drove it over to Corvallis and unloaded it for me. The people selling the futon tossed in a free cover still in the package. It looks really nice, and now people have a place to sleep when they come over. Then, I followed my parents back to Albany to go antique dish hunting. To put it mildly, I am not an antiques person (and if anyone ever buys me one of those awful rooster candy dish thingies, I'll break it in front of them). Later, I found a really nice set of Chicago Cutlery knives for under $30, a pillow and some pillow cases and six microfiber dish rags for under $20, and got lunch for free. Mom and I scored some Corelle tableware at Bi-Mart, two 4-person sets (with water glasses instead of coffee mugs) for under $50. SCOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORE! So my kitchen is fully stocked. With knives. Big knives. Sharp knives. Darn, I'm going to need more band-aids...

Rachel and Jessie came over to visit me this afternoon. We had a great chat. Rachel thoroughly inspected my new digs and proclaimed them sufficient. Jessie made fun of me for an hour... all is well.

Now I have tons of reading to do and need to actually open some mail from this week (because putting it in a pile has been so much easier than opening it). Dishes to do, laundry to do... these things don't do themselves. Oh, and then some more blogging--because I have some stuff rolling around in my skull. Unless my social life happens to take over first. ;)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Delurk! or Dance with me...

The Great Mofo Delurk 2007Yesterday was "The Great MoFo Delurk Day," and y'all missed it! So in order to celebrate a day late, DELURK! Been reading here for a while and don't comment? Now's your chance. Even if you comment often, I still love hearing from you. Anonymously or not, I don't care. Let your voice be heard (and come on, you want to make my day, don'tcha?)

I have to admit, I went dancing last night. I was pasty-white and looked like a goth freak. But, in the face of a nasty flu bug, I danced the evening away. Okay, so I danced some... including two Lindy Hops that I should not have danced, two divine waltzes that left me in awe of my partners, and one Cha Cha that had me giggling. Next time I decide to dance while still under the weather, though, I'm leaving the heels at home. Those things are dangerous!

Lunch was ironic, yet still quite enjoyable today. I met up with some friends and shared a fun meal--which made me very happy. But I missed the cute kid stopping at my office to drop off a package and his phone number. That's right, a guy actually wanted to give me his number. I'm dumbfounded! and flattered as he seems like a very nice kid. Maybe I'll give him a call.

I'm feeling much better today, though a nap sounds nice. Too much to do, however, as I'm still decorating and have other plans tonight. Naps will have to wait.

Have you delurked yet? Get to commenting!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I'm not disappointed. I'm not, I'm Not, I'm NOT!

Nothing like a good old-fashioned "get to know you" Facebook quiz to find out that your friends don't know you as well as you think they do. Sure, some of the questions I asked were purposely difficult. Sure, I didn't expect anyone to do that well. Of course I'm not taking it too seriously.

Really, I'm not. *sniff*

I'm feeling better physically as long as I'm not standing up very long. I am almost positive I'll go to work tomorrow. A better question is whether or not I will go dancing tonight. I don't want to push it. But I really want to go dancing. Maybe I'll go for a little while and see if many people ask me to dance. If not, that's fine. I know it's probably for the best if I don't dance much.

A more necessary event is finding a piano somewhere to play. The piano rooms at the MU are open tonight, and I intend to make good use of one of them. If anyone would like to join me, you're welcome. I will likely sound as good as a hippopotamus dancing on the keys, but I'm going to try. :)

Until then, a nap.

Boo to the Flu!

I can't deny it: I'm officially sick. So sick yesterday that I couldn't sit up long enough to blog. But, in typical Jaggy fashion, I refused to accept it and tried to ignore it. I got up and went to work like usual, thinking I'd leave at noon if I didn't feel better. At 9:00am, I was just hoping to survive until 10:00am. Came home, rid myself of contacts and blue jeans and immediately crashed. In the last twenty-four hours, I've slept more than twenty hours. The longest I spent out of bed last night was ten minutes to get a shower.

Yesterday afternoon, my amazing and wonderful sister brought me a loaf of bread and some 7-up. I can't believe I didn't have bread to make toast, but she saved me a trip to the store. Thanks, Sis!

Oh, FYI: fever dreams are seriously weird. From what I remember, I was flying, a soap opera star, a computer genius, and an assembly line worker. Let's just hope that never happens again!

My whole body aches, and my fever finally broke this morning. The chills have stopped anyway. I won't describe some other bodily functions I've experienced, but those have passed as well. The one amazing thing I found with my body (sorry guys, girly stuff here): my period stopped mid-way through. Just stopped. I think my body found more important things to do than tormenting me as usual. However, I'm not sure which I dislike more. ;)

I am feeling better, though, well enough to sit up and blog, well enough to make some toast. I'm contemplating a trip to the store in a while for some necessities (and chocolate). If all goes well today, I might be up to go to the practice dance tonight--though mostly for chatting instead of dancing. We'll see.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The End of Moving

Work was a vacation today from the monotony of emptying boxes this weekend. The cuts and scrapes on my arms and fingers have started to heal, and the bruises on my legs from banging into things have begun to fade. I unpacked the last of my bedroom tonight. The closet is organized nicely, and I even put up some pictures on the wall.

Somehow, within the last year or so, I seem to have misplaced my hammer. I can't find it anywhere. I also had a tape measure that hasn't turned up in the move. Two or three boxes remain unopened, but I don't think tools are in those boxes. I just don't know! Grrrrrr.

I vacuumed and mopped tonight, a much needed event after tramping in and out for three days solid. I also washed another load of dishes, learned how to use my GT Express 101, and organized lots of stuff. Thankfully, the unpacking is almost over now. Good thing, too, the almost finished part: I don't think my back can take much more stooping, bending, lifting, or hunching.

I'd say that I'd put out in exchange for a massage, but it's not true. I'm not desperate. But I'd be very appreciative. And I have some incredibly yummy ice cream that I'm willing to share... Anyone need a study/work break?