Monday, March 31, 2008

The Flashlight Perspective

Have you ever noticed how, on CSI, the investigators never turn any lights on? They miraculously find tiny fragments of evidence using only the beam from a small flashlight in a dark attic behind a bookcase. Yeah right...

My mother always told me to turn the lights on. "We pay the power bill," she'd say. Or I'd get the common, "You're going to ruin your eyesight by watching TV/reading/doing homework in the dark." While my eyesight isn't spectacular (it's genetic, and your fault, Mom), I can still see.

When I was taking photography classes in high school, other kids would stumble around in the dark room. The red lights of the dark room weren't enough for their overstimulated eyes, and they knocked things over or tripped and bumped others... I was always the one that got shoved into my enlarger just as I began my exposure. Thanks, blind people.

I remember having to go into the black room to roll film. When you take film out of the camera, it's inside the canister. To go from there to being developed film, the film has to go from the canister to reels to a jar where chemicals can be added to develop the negatives. Going from the canister is the hardest part: it must be done in complete darkness. No light, not even a flicker, not even the glowing hands on a watch. I was good at it, too. I could generally run two reels in under five minutes, sometimes under four. I used my hands to feel things instead of seeing them, and I knew exactly where everything was by touch.

My apartment has both blinds and curtains, and I rarely open them. The dark light doesn't make me depressed or sad or anything other than normal. I don't care when it's rainy for five or six months on end--in fact, I much prefer autumn and winter to spring and summer (cold, on the other hand, isn't my favorite).

But those dang CSI's... they find evidence in black holes. I have my qualifications and could be a forensic scientist without any more school--my overwhelming dislike of all things dead-and-smelly standing in my way. But never in all my training did I approach a situation from the "flashlight perspective."

I have an idea: how about instead of using flashlights on the evidence, we light up the room and put spotlights on George Eads instead. Mmmmm, now that's good TV!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I'm not cut out for wearing these clothes!

What is it with women's fashion lately? Did they choose the colors for spring off an ice cream truck? Did they choose patterns out of a curtain store? And sizing... since when did small suddenly mean shorter sleeves and belly-baring lengths? How low will necklines go before we give up on clothes entirely?

I have to be the most uniquely shaped woman on earth seeing how hard it is for me to find clothes that fit. I'm not even disproportionate. Depending on the manufacturer, I'm somewhere between a size 6 and a size 8, somewhere between a small and a medium. No feature on my body is overly large, and all of my anatomy is, um, correctly located.

I'm a professional that can wear blue jeans to work, so I try to find casual-but-still-dressy-ish long-sleeved shirts for everyday clothes. Unfortunately, this style doesn't exist. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, makes their dressier shirts with 3/4-length sleeves which I hate. And if the shirts are short-sleeved, they have those awful cap sleeves. Seriously, what the hell are those? If I'm wearing cap sleeves and raise my arms, the whole shirt rises six inches. Not something I want to experience mid-spin in a swing dance.

Don't get me wrong, I'm cool showing a bit of skin. I can do it, too, and will on occasion. But, like all things, there's a time and place for it. I don't consider my professional life or my relaxing-on-the-weekend life the time or place for cleavage. If necklines become wider or lower, the shirts aren't even going to stay on! No joking. And adding a hood to the back of the sweater doesn't help matters, nor does it make the wearer look any more intelligent. UGH!

How thin will shirts become before we cease wearing clothes altogether? I was holding a t-shirt in my hand the other day that was so thin, I could see my own skin through both layers. I won't buy shirts anymore that require me to wear something under them (dress shirts excepted). If I have to wear two t-shirts or a tank underneath a shirt, what's the point of staying cool by only wearing one shirt?

My rant about pants borders on droning at this point, so I'll spare you those details.

Is there a store or brand that manufactures thick cotton long-sleeved t-shirts with full-length sleeves and a hip-length (but not skin-tight) hemline? What about form-fitting clothes that don't have boat necks or those dreaded cap sleeves? Oh, and all for reasonable (read: cheap!) prices.

Is a little bit of comfort and modesty (while still looking sexy) so much to ask?!

Friday, March 28, 2008

They came, we ate, we giggled.

And such is an adventure when the girls and I go out on the town. Rachel and Emily came into Corvallis tonight, and we celebrated Rachel's birthday with yummy food and bowling. Surprisingly, there was no drinking. Both girls had to renew their licenses recently, so they didn't have official ID (stupid paper copies don't get ya drinks, darn it).

Unfortunately, I don't always remember how awesome they are--how awesome we are--when we're together. If a person is valued by the company they keep, then I'm worth billions. Seriously, my face and stomach hurt from laughing so hard tonight.

I'd forgotten how it feels to be in a room with friends and be completely open and on. They are both the type of person that doesn't care where I've been or what I've done. Without question or reservation, they accepted me. Likewise, I can't find anything about either one of them that I'd change. We laugh and talk and call each other out, poke fun, rant and rave, and start all over. There's no talk of right or wrong, no worry about proper or perfect. I'm absolutely unbridled around them. Mostly, I'd forgotten how it feels to go through a night without censoring myself in some way. It felt incredible, like someone flipped a switch or something. I felt on. That's exactly what I needed.

Here's to intensely loyal friendships, unhesitating forgiveness, and laughing about it in the morning (and afternoon and evening...). Oh, and making cake.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Three "NO's" and You're Out!

I love it when someone says something mean to me, something to the effect of, "You're stupid and shallow and not important to me," and then check my blog fifteen times a day to see if I've updated it. Obviously I'm not important--that's why you keep coming back for more. If I'm so stupid, why are you still here?

Two good notes: Happy Birthday to Rachel! and Congratulations to Emily on her engagement! I can't wait to see my girls and go out on the town--yay!

In other news, I'm taking tomorrow off. I have time to burn, things to do, and presents to buy. At least my house is clean, so I don't have to spend good time doing that. The laundry is caught up as well--guess I'm organized or something.

Lastly, I have a good friend who offers me little bits of wisdom about his dating experiences. He's a smart guy, and I trust him. He has this rule about how many times he'll ask a girl out before giving up. He'll ask nicely or off-handedly once, and then maybe in the same way again. The third time he'll be direct about it. If the girl doesn't respond in the way he wants by the third time, he cuts his losses. I like that rule. I wish I could make that the "Universal Dating Rule: Three 'no's' and you're out!"

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tin-Foiled Car

I'm too crass to write anything nice tonight, so you get a picture. Way, way back in the day, back when I actually had roommates, one of them decided to take an afternoon nap. That might have been a mistake. We wrapped the car in tin foil (aluminum foil for you proper types). No tape involved, and yes, we recycled the foil afterward. Probably for more pranking!

Not a good idea to cross me, by the way... this was one of the nice pranks to a roommate I didn't prank very much!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Night Geocaching is Amazing

Easter dawned quietly for me, and I got up and "went to church." The Catholic Church's daily readings are available online in both written and podcast form. Some would call it cheating to attend that way (I'm sure you do, and I don't care). When I can't participate in the Eucharist anyway, don't know the songs, and don't know anyone at the local church, it's about the same for me.

From that point, my day was sloooooooooooow. I ate, snoozed, watched movies, cleaned a little, and tried to keep from going bonkers. Around 7pm, I realized one of my friends was still in town, so I invited him over. We decided to go for a walk around my neighborhood, and on that walk, we started talking about Geocaching.

I'd never gone 'caching in the dark before, and I'm rarely one to go completely paperless. But... we did! I found my GPS, plugged in the coord's and off we went. We were about a block from my apartment when we hit a forested area (which doesn't really narrow it down in Corvallis, sorry). Still, car headlights would find us occasionally, and we stayed low to the ground as much as possible. At one point, we were treading on the edge of private property as we shimmied down to a 'cache. Houses were lit up all around us, but with our flashlights off, we were ghosts. It was really, really cool. We didn't encounter anything that goes bump in the night, and we did end up finding one of the two geocaches we went after, so the night was really fun. An hour, lots of mud, and tons of laughter later, we wandered home. Great adventure, and a fun time. YAY!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

"Caffeine and Alcohol"

Talk about a lazy weekend! Friday night, I went to a party complete with a movie, dancing, and champagne (which I'm not sold on, sorry). Saturday had me busy cleaning and cooking. Since my father's birthday is this weekend, I had my parents and sister over for a nice dinner, some games, and some comedy. I even made a cake. And today, some picture editing and more movies. So much for motivation.

Last night, while we were playing a game, two nice missionary women knocked on my door to sell their church. I politely refused them and sent them on their holy way. When I sat back down, my sister said, "You should have invited them in: we're just about to break out the caffeine and alcohol!"

I can't wait until next time... *devilish grin*

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bullets Flying but Nobody's Dying

I've seen a couple violent movies recently, and I also made some observations. Some of my friends don't like to see the violence. They don't want it in their homes or on their televisions. They live in a rosy little bubble, protected by plastic and ideology and ignorance.

I watched three very different movies:

American History X
: The race-related themes of the movie cut deep with the audience and expose our own issues while telling the story of ever-changing characters and emotions. The movie is graphic with sexual scenes, prison rape, guns, and gangs. I love the movie, and I can't rate the acting high enough. The movie will make you think twice about how you treat people.

Shoot 'Em Up: A movie about... um... shooting people. No real plot, just Clive Owen shooting at the people who are trying to kill him. Oh, and then people being shot... and the two main characters having sex while in the middle of a gunfight... yeah. It's a guy's movie to be certain, and violent as well. It was good for a couple laughs, but in it's absurdity and unrealistic storyline, it was pretty bad.

Young Guns: Hooray for westerns! Yay for men on horses/in saloons/in the outhouse shooting at each other! Billy the Kid and the "Regulators" are heroes for taking the law into their own hands, murdering people, and becoming almost barbaric, but that's okay because it's a western. Nevermind the whole drinking, swearing, womanizing, and more shooting of people...

All three movies have violence. They all involve people dying at the hands of someone else. Gruesome, bloody, and awful. Yet all three movies are from different genres, different time periods, and different settings. They have vastly different characters and plot lines. The violence remains the same.

My friends might avoid American History X while cheering through Young Guns and Shoot 'Em Up. As soon as the violence takes on that historic quality or a slight bit of humor, it's okay. The violence of war, they'd probably say, is fine to watch, too. Why pick and choose? Why allow yourself to see men exploding on a battlefield but not see a gunfight during sex (we had to fast-forward through the sex part because that was "inappropriate"--nevermind the other 90 minutes of the movie). What makes some violence okay and not other violence?

I'm not saying that I'm cool with violence. There is some violence I agree doesn't need to be in movies. But a movie where the violence is the point (such as these three examples), where it becomes the story, I appreciate that the director and editors left it in. It's nice to find a story someone had the guts to share, to write, to make into a movie. Sometimes we have to see the horrible things in life to learn from them and move on.

You have your own thoughts, I'm sure. You might not mind watching heads roll, or you might cover your eyes when bones break. I don't know, and I can't tell you what's right or wrong for you. I want to see the movies, though, see the stories and the pain on character's faces and experience the movie in it's entirety. I will sit through the sex scenes, the gunfights, and the fake deaths. Because, in the end, these movies are about life. We are human, and we have sex, have gunfights, and we die. It's not always pretty. And I don't want to live in a bubble forever.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

That Darn Independent Streak

I think I get it from my father. I absolutely detest relying upon others to do things for me. Rarely have I worked as part of a team and enjoyed the process. My ways are too independent, too focused, to allow someone else in on the methodology.

I am not a clingy girl. From what I understand, most guys don't like clingy girls, but from what I've experienced, they want a woman who will dote upon them every second. I'm not that person. I love to cook and clean for people, but I also love my own space and time. I treasure my independence. For that reason alone, I am hesitant to have children at this time in my life.

I don't have the urge to share every thought or feeling with the world, even though I do share quite a bit on the blog. I don't need someone else to tell me right from wrong, and I cannot stand people making plans for me. My father has always been like that. You can offer ideas or thoughts, but you can't change his mind once it's made. He says what he means, means what he says, and doesn't mess around with unnecessary time expenditures.

So I'm a girl that doesn't like to do girly things all the time. I have no problem doing things on my own, and I don't care if that makes me look stand-off-ish or boring or whatever. I'm not insecure about my independence. Don't confuse that for being aloof, though, because I'm not aloof. I just like being alone sometimes. It's okay.

I'm sure things will change as I age, and I'm sure things will change when I find Mr. Right. Until then, though, I'm not relying on anyone else to get my job done or my life in order. I can do it, so I should.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

You Missed the Meat of my Point

Have you ever written a lengthy or deep blog post that you hoped would make people think about themselves or others in a new way only to find that they got stuck on some trivial point of your blog post and missed the meat? That happened to me yesterday. I wrote a great post about aging and how our perceptions of what "age" is changes as we grow up. Unfortunately, everyone got stuck on the part about how people called me "ma'am" instead of on the other stuff. Short of deleting comments and completely rewriting the post, I can't exactly un-do anything. By the way, I wouldn't do that. It's not blog-kosher.

Have you ever posted a picture or link that you thought was fantastic only to have people leave you obscure comments or send you random, completely unrelated links? That has happened to me several times, and while I won't complain about any comments, I have to say that I'm disappointed when I get those.

Have you ever had people tell you they think you're smart simply because you finished high school or college or some other advanced degree? I have. Coworkers at a previous job used to tell me all the time that they thought I was smart. No complaints, certainly not, but I'm not smart because I went to college. Very little of my college education served to make me more intelligent. I think being smart is more about having common sense and being able to make connections while paying attention. If you take something you already know and apply something new to it that makes sense, you aren't learning something new as much as changing the way you think about something. If you keep doing this, it will become easier and easier to understand the world around you. Then people will think you're smart. But you're really not. You just make sense of things. Unfortunately I haven't figured out how to take making sense into making cents...

Oh, and have you ever wanted people to stop reading your blog? I love readers, and I am keeping my blog public, but seriously, I'm not that interesting. Go outside or watch TV or read a book... unless you're my grandma, really, chill on someone else's page. I'm afraid I'll rot someone's brain around here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

How Old Are You?

At work today, the first four calls I answered were from polite people that called me, "ma'am." Let me remind you: I don't have grey hair, I don't have children, and I am not married. I'm not a ma'am yet. I'm still in my twenties, so I'm hardly even close to ma'am-status. Sure, these four callers were trying to be proper, and they were all easy, friendly people. I'm still not a "ma'am."

It's funny how we all look at age differently. Even individually, our views on age and what age means change. I used to hate it when my parents would tell me, "you're not old enough to do that." As much as I'd beg and plead, they never gave in. Age was always a mark of "can" and I never could. Then, as I grew up, I began to hear, "you're too old for that," as if having a birthday somehow made me ineligible to do something anymore.

After high school and college, the meaning of age has changed for me. I used to believe age didn't matter. I was adamant that age wasn't a reflection of ability, maturity, or intelligence. I'm learning how wrong that belief can be. I have friends who are younger, and as I see them learning important life lessons, I'm reminded of my own trials. I remember how it felt to be young and naïve. But I still am young, and in many ways, I'm still as innocent as I was at fifteen.

Having dated someone more than twelve years older than me, I've learned how age differences (and generational separation) can strain a relationship. Having worked at great length with people more than seventy years older than me, I've also learned how incredible the age gap can be. I can't say that I will never date someone much older than me, but it isn't likely. I also can't say I enjoy having little in common with my coworkers due to a twenty-five year age gap.

Youth has it's rewards. Then again, so does an age of experience. I like to think I'm a good balance of both right now. But I'm still not a "ma'am."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sunrise from my Front Door

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower.
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Robert Frost

You won't often see poetry here, and I don't post pictures with any frequency. But my day was long, my dinner's in the oven, and I don't want to sit at a computer tonight. This popular poem appears in S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders, and I remember that we had to memorize the poem as 7th graders. It always stuck with me. When I got up and saw the sunrise, the poem was the first thing that popped into my head. As I've grown, I've learned the truth in the poem. Dawn is still my favorite time of day.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hold the Holy Phone One Second...

Holy Week has arrived, and the Lenten season is soon to end with Easter next weekend. Five weeks ago, I committed myself to learning about the church for personal enrichment. I have not done well in my effort to study every day--not even every week. No excuses, not even an apology. I let no one down but myself. Conversations with friends and family lately have brought up a few questions that I never thought I'd be asked at this point in my life. Obviously, there have been some serious misunderstandings that I aim to rectify in this post.

"Do you believe in a god?"
After 24 years of life as a believing Christian, a person who strives to do right, and someone who attempts in every way to lead an honest life, I cannot understand where this question came from. Either I've failed in my attempts to explain myself, or misbegotten assumptions have been made about me. Yes, I believe in a god. I believe in the Holy Trinity. I believe there is something more out there, some greater and divine force that I can't explain. And I am dumbfounded that this question even needed to be asked.

"Why did you devote Lent to studying the church?"
Many people have assumed that I set out to become closer to God. While I didn't shy away from that, my intent was more about church history and tradition. While I wasn't raised in church, I was raised knowing God. I never felt like anything was missing, but rather reached a point where I was (am?) questioning what else is out there. The intent wasn't to "get to know God." I already knew Him. I wanted to learn about the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism, and I wanted to know why the church believes what they do (collectively and individually). Just for my own knowledge. No harm in that.

"What have you learned from your church studies?"
Too much for one post, really! I picked up on some important ideas that separate the Protestant denominations, and I've determined what I do and don't like as far as church services go. I've learned, more so than ever, that despite their efforts and doctrines, Christians can be some of the most close-minded, judgmental, and narrow people I've met. Equally, they can be helpful, kind, and selfless. I can't lump everyone into piles, though, and I don't want to seem harsh by my observations. Whether I agree or disagree with Christian attitudes, I am one. My hope is that I can be humble enough to act selflessly and without judgment when the time comes.

"Why aren't you open about religion or God if He's so important?"
Unashamedly, I am not often willing to talk about religion. I don't want to deceive. I don't want people to think I have religion figured out, or that I have answers, or that I have made up my mind on those difficult issues. God is important to me, but constantly defending myself or putting up a front isn't. I don't need you to tell me I'm wrong. I don't need you to throw scripture or sermons or biblical history in my face. I'm not closed to hearing your ideas, but I'm also not going to offer my religious opinions unless I'm directly asked for them.

"So what now? What is your next step?"
I was never in the search for a church or group of people to worship with. I never intended to find a specific version of the Bible, nor did I want to rule out churches or religious viewpoints. I'm in this to learn. I'm in it for the experience and knowledge and fun and growth and all that other important life-lesson stuff. One day, one church, one homily/sermon at a time.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

MAJOR Blog Changes are HERE!

If you're reading this blog through a reader, stop! Click over here! CHECK IT OUT!

In the same way that I just chopped off nine inches of hair, switched to a different brand of jeans, and gave up colored contacts, I changed my blog layout for no particular reason. I have been wanting to do something different with my blog for a while, and I thought I'd remake my banner graphic. As I was redesigning it, I chose different colors, which meant they didn't match, which meant I had to do something else. So I went for it. That, and I think I've grown out of the lighthouse stage. Don't get me wrong, I still think lighthouses are awesome and fantastic, but they're not part of me in the same way anymore. I've moved on.

So! Now I'm workin' the greens, but that's not to say I've "gone green." I'm not envious of anyone ('green with envy'). And I'm not growing anything plant-like. Why green? Because I like green. You have a problem with that? Do ya? Do ya?!

Why all the changes? Because it's time. I didn't cut my hair to impress anyone, and while I can't say I don't care what people think, I can't exactly stick my hair back if someone doesn't like it short. But everyone (literally, everyone) has liked the shorter hair. I needed the change. I needed to change my attitude. I was so excited when it was being cut that I was humming. And I don't hum.

I have a few more changes to make this weekend... the banner at the top is simply a filler for now (it's going to be awesome! I hope). I'd like to tweak the sidebar, too, and maybe change the page width. These changes are going to test my web skills, but I like the challenge and ability to customize my environment.

If you have suggestions, praise, or ideas, comment! Meanwhile, I'm going to go make cookies.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Learning Adult Stuff

I'm not used to this whole "being an adult" thing yet. I mean, I'm almost halfway through my twenties, and I still don't have a clue what the right thing to do is sometimes.

To me, one of the greater challenges has been learning why I do things. Do I always put myself first and try to bend every result to benefit myself? Do I always put others first and try to make everyone happy? Do I constantly seek a middle ground and end up making everyone mad? And when is it okay to put yourself first? When is it not selfish to say, "I need a break, I need to take some time for me"?

How do you tell someone that you don't approve of what they're doing, even though it's not your decision and you don't really have a say in the matter? How do you "lead by example" when you want someone to do the opposite?

I don't know why I do things, but I'm getting better at looking at the whole picture and deciding on the best outcome. I'm trying to see things from every angle. I hope that others are content with my decisions. That kind of thinking, the long-range thought that seeks to understand more than immediately gratify, to me, that's what makes an adult an "adult." I'm learning, and I'm getting closer.

Being an adult means doing things you don't want to sometimes. I don't always want to be an adult... but I'd rather not get my way and understand why than step on toes without remorse.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Getting Down, Getting Up

I admit, sometimes I get a little down on myself. I don't like to feel depressed, but it happens. I worry too much, think too hard about things, and lament over my constant ineptitude at this whole "adult" thing. When I get down, I have my usual list of things to do that make me feel better:

-quality piano time. I love to play, and when I'm playing the songs I love, I generally feel better.
-a favorite movie. They recharge me, but only if I'm in the right mood.
-the Get Fuzzy and Pearls Before Swine comic strips. Because Bucky and Pig make everything better. Unless they mess everything up... then it's hilarious!
-talking to family or close friends, hoping they convince me I'm not that bad.
-creating something, be it a craft or a pot of soup. I love creating. I'm good at it. Most of the time...
-Kevin James, Hal Sparks, Bill Cosby, Bill Engvall... comedians I can't resist.
-And JEFF DUNHAM! I cannot possibly be in a bad mood after watching his comedy. Click on his name and watch his show. You won't regret it.

(Warning: Jeff's comedy isn't suitable for young children or those who dislike swearing, sexual innuendo, or political satire. Yes, he is a ventriloquist and uses puppets, but they're not kid-friendly puppets. They're awesome for me though!)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

And I thought I was honest...

My blog is pretty damn honest. I write things here that even I stop and wonder why I'm telling people about them. But that deep, dark, don't-want-anybody-to-know stuff isn't here. I draw lines. I don't want people to get too close.

I've been reading Boobs, Injuries, and Dr. Pepper for a long, long time. Recently, the author began a series of open, honest posts that put my silly blog to shame. Her story and ability to tell it... wow. I don't do this often, but today, instead of spending your time here, go there. Read Crystal's blog. While I don't know her, I think she's an amazing woman.

And for me to give someone that praise... believe me, the honor is not lightly bestowed. Go. Read now. I'm going to go, too, and rethink my idea of "honesty."

Saturday, March 08, 2008

For not having a plan, I got a lot done!

I have been ultra-productive considering I started this weekend with no plans. From 8am today until now, just before 8pm, I:
-Drove to Lebanon
-Got gas for my car
-Went to the bank
-Paid some bills
-Went to Bi-Mart
-Drove to Albany
-Visited Grandma and my uncle
-Drove to "Joe's" (it's G.I. Joes, c'mon now!)
-Bought new shoes on a major sale
-Went out to lunch with my parents
-Drove to Costco
-Drove to another store
-Took a nap in the car while my parents shopped
-Drove back to Lebanon
-Helped Dad change the oil in my car
-Helped Dad fix the antenna in my car (and by "fix" I mean "disable")
-Paid Mom for my cell phone bill
-Drove back to Corvallis
-Made dinner
-Started a movie

I'm exhausted, and I think I'm getting sick. I've had that funky sore throat thing happening for about twenty four hours now, and I'm not happy about it. Since that tea stuff isn't my favorite, I opted for some hot spiced cider tonight (no sugar, lots of flavor, and way better tasting, plus vitamin C--a total winner!). Mom got some toaster biscuits at Costco for me, and one of those is just perfect with my cider and a movie.

Tomorrow's goal: balancing my checkbook. But since I lose an hour of my day, I vote I shouldn't have to go into work until 9am on Monday. Right? Right?!

Friday, March 07, 2008

No Weekend Plans - Help?

The laundry is almost done, the dishes have been washed and put away, and my apartment is clean. And it's Friday night. What am I supposed to do with the rest of my weekend?!

My friends have all left town for the weekend, and I don't have any major projects to work on... I can't think of any movies I'm dying to see, and I don't need to go shopping. What's left? Since it's considered "unsafe" to go wandering off through the forest by myself, I'm not sure what to do. Of course, I'll find something, but I wish I had a plan. Or at least had options.

Maybe I'll break out the paints, or maybe I'll sew something fancy, or maybe I'll cook something elaborate... maybe I'll dive into my DVD collection, or maybe I'll decorate my apartment walls somehow.

Or maybe, just maybe, I'll do something really cool. Not sure what. I have two days to figure it out. Suggestions?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I'm not a tea person, but I did get a haircut.

I bought a fire extinguisher today. My apartment complex has extinguishers outside and downstairs from my door, but if there is ever a fire, I'm pretty sure if I run outside that I'm not running back in to see a little flame right where I left it. Target sells several models, and after consideration and research, I opted for a smaller kitchen extinguisher. In all likelihood, if I did cause a fire, it'd be in the kitchen anyway. I really hope I never have to use it. Here's to a $15 semi-insurance investment!

In other news, I had nine inches of hair cut off my head today. I went from mid-upper-back-length hair to above-chin-length hair. YAY! It looks great, and I feel so much better. My hairdresser was a bit hesitant, but once I explained my idea and showed her example pictures, she went for it. We had an adventure, and the outcome looks fantastic. Well, at least I think it looks great. My mom really liked it. A few other people seem to like it... :)

And I'm not a tea person. I got some tea recently since it was on sale. I can't say that I'm impressed... the tea would be a lot better if it weren't for that tea flavor...

Oh, and I watched an old Baywatch rerun last night... wow. That show did not get better with age! The plot is awful, the acting is terrible, and the music montages are obnoxious. I can't believe I sat through a whole episode.

Now, for some ice cream. Because I miss good ice cream...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

One of THOSE Days

I woke up in the best mood this morning! Bright, sunshiny day, with birds chirping outside my window... glorious moment indeed. And then I had to get out of bed.

Within one hour of rising, my mood had done a full 180°. I was ready to throw someone down some stairs. No joking, my day started off perfect and went straight to Hell in an hour.

What went wrong, you ask? It started with my dishes. I left them in the sink last night because I was too lazy to put them in the dishwasher (because I was too lazy to empty it)(because it took me three days to remember to start the damn thing in the first place). So the dishes made my apartment smell awful. I hate bad smells in my apartment.

Then, it took me forever, and I do mean forever to put my contacts in. I finally shoved one in and blinked until the burning stopped. Well, lessened, really, because they still burn twelve hours later.

And I got up extra early in the hopes of having time to curl my hair--which is the longest it has been since I was in grade school--and sat at my computer eating my waffles instead of taking the time to do my hair. So I had my curling iron all heated up when I ran out of time. I pulled it over eight or ten strands, burned myself three times, and called it good. Or okay, really.

So I fretted over which shoes to wear next, and took ten seconds to undo a massive knot in my shoelaces--that left my fingernails (which I just cut) sore. Grabbed my bag, threw myself out the door, and ran to my car. I booked it down the hill and scored a green light, but then remembered I didn't unplug the curling iron.

I drove back up the hill, double-timed it up my stairs, sped into the bathroom... and the curling iron had been unplugged. Of course. I'm too smart for my own good, and too obsessive-compulsive about not burning my apartment complex down.

Then I went to work. I was 30 seconds late (which doesn't matter at all, but it makes me mad). Bloody hell! It was one of THOSE days!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A Year of Singledom. Oh joy.

I've officially been single a year now--a surprising and disheartening fact I realized tonight as I was reading through some old posts. While I'm not running from guy to guy by any means, this is still the longest I've been single since high school. The change is nice in many ways. I'm incredibly confident on my own, and I don't need a man to lean on all the time. I know who I am, what I want, where I'm going, and what I need. I enjoy having male friends, and I like not feeling guilty about spending time alone with any of them.

That said, I miss resting my head on a strong shoulder while I'm watching a movie, and I wish I had some nice guy to share a blanket with while I study or read or listen to music. I miss living for someone else, thinking about someone else, and relying on someone else. I miss the give-and-take and compromise that relationships need. I miss the hand-holding, the long glances across a room that draws a corner of my mouth up in a quiet smile, and the e-mails for no reason but to say, "hi!"

A whole year of "getting to know you" without forcing a relationship... I'm either learning and choosing boyfriends (and potential mates) more carefully, or I've suddenly turned into a monster. Both? Neither? I don't know. Just a reflection. I wonder what another year will bring.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Excuse me, Mr. Bicyclist!

Just because you think you're saving the earth does not mean you get to ignore the law. You are not superior in any way for your two-wheelin' tree-huggin' getting-back-to-nature attitude. In Oregon, the laws pertaining to vehicle drivers also goes for bicyclists. In case you were wondering, these laws include:

-stopping at stop signs. I know you can't hear other cars while you're wearing your lame-ass iPod earbuds. I know you can't see other people with that super-bright sun in your still-drunk eyes. But a stop sign means stop, not "casually slide through the intersection and hope everyone else waits for you to pedal through."

-ride on the RIGHT side of the road WITH the flow of traffic.

-if you're stopped at a stop sign and I'm on a street where I don't have to stop at the same intersection that you're stopped at, even though you're on a bike and I'm in a car, I don't have to stop for you. So don't give me that dirty look. You're not a pedestrian. You don't get special treatment. I don't have to stop!

-lights, lights, lights. Unless you're lit up like a Christmas tree, don't expect me to magically see your all-black clothing in the dark. You should have, at minimum, a front and a rear light. I very much appreciate people with a handlebar-mounted light and a headlamp in the front, reflective clothing, and maybe even one of those bells.

-helmet. DUH. If you're not smart enough to wear a helmet, I can't help you. WEAR ONE! Yes, you might look goofy. Yeah, you might have to carry it around. Small price to pay for a bit o' padding on the ol' brain bucket, right?

-use your hand signals! Bicyclists don't get blinkers, and I don't know any mind readers... so if you expect a driver to know where you're headed, you better be telling them. Learn the signals, and then use them. Oh, and flashing a signal for a nanosecond doesn't count. Give me a full five seconds of uninterrupted, "Hey all you car people, I'm turning right at the next intersection, so please don't run me over!" Especially use a signal for left turns.

-distracted cycling: if I'm not allowed to drink and drive, you're not allowed to drink and ride. Same goes for cell phone use, iPods (see above), or eating while riding. PAY ATTENTION: you never know when I'm not.

I'm not anti-bicycle by any means. I have one. I've even been known to use it. But I'm very much against cyclists thinking they're "all that" for not driving a car. And I'm tired of cyclists pretending they own the road and that they don't have to obey traffic laws.

Oh, and to the next bicyclist that slows down for an intersection but blows through it right before I get there... it's on.

Oregon Driver Manual
Oregon Bicyclist Manual

Sunday, March 02, 2008

I finally found some jeans. PHEW!

I've been searching for new jeans for over a year. Jeans aren't particularly hard to find, certainly not. But when you have curves like mine, you'll understand. I'm not curvy in an overweight way, but rather in an "all hips, no arse" sort of way. If I can find jeans (or any pants, really) that fit perfectly around my hips, the pants often have a huge gap at my lower back.

On top of that, I don't really like the super-low-rise jeans. I'm not a size 2, and I like to be able to sit down in my pants, so the super-low-rise look isn't working. But I don't like jeans that dig into my ribs when I sit down either.

AND then I have to deal with tapered, boot cut, and flared pants. Tapered pants must have a place somewhere... maybe... that I can't think of. And flared pants or bell-bottoms have ONE PURPOSE: for sailors. They look stupid on anyone else. (Ok, John Travolta can wear them, but only if he's dancing.) Boot cut jeans are slightly flared and can look attractive, but I'm still not a fan. What happened to straight-leg pants? Not straight-but-curves-out-a-little, but straight-leg pants?

Oh, and my biggest gripe: stretch! When I'm looking for jeans, I'm looking for one thing in particular that separates jeans from other pants: DENIM. Now I'm new to the world of fabric and stitching (ha!), but since when has denim been a stretchy material? I know squeezing your overweight body into pants you shouldn't be wearing requires a certain amount of "stretch" in the fabric. There are those of us, however, who don't want stretch. We want the authentic look and feel of denim.

Fading a pair of jeans is the owner's responsibility, not the manufacturer's. I want to wear the bald spots, accidentally tear the holes, and fray the ends myself. Who, in their right mind, pays for pre-broken jeans?! ABSURD!

Room for my hips and snug at the slightly lower waist, straight legs, and just-past-the-heel in length: is that so damn difficult to make?!

HO! But I found them! I've been wearing Levi's 501 button-fly jeans that had all the features I loved for several years. In my quest for something different, I FOUND SOMETHING ELSE! I found Lucky Jeans. Thankfully I didn't have to pay the full $90 price tag (and scored some for under $30). They fit in all the right places, don't stretch, and aren't pre-faded. Best of all: they look gooooooooooooood. :)

Too bad I got the only pair in my size in the whole store!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

So What if I Know What I Like?

Breaking news: I'm a picky eater! Not exactly something I didn't know already, but I'm glad so many other people find my food preferences to be a matter of ridicule or even gossip. Seriously, if you stoop to the point of discussing what foods I do and don't like with someone other than me, you're hurting for intellectual conversation.

Somehow I've managed to live my entire life on food I like. Obviously if my diet weren't diverse enough or was missing nutrients, then I'd be sick or dead. But I'm not. I'm healthy. Your comments, repetitive and obnoxious as they may be, don't actually encourage me to try new foods. I've tried a lot of weird food, and you should be able to take my word that I don't like something.

Sure, there is a difference between not liking a food and not wanting to eat it. I can't stand mustard, and while I will eat pears, they're definitely not my favorite. You probably like mustard and pears. That's fine. I don't mind. Eat them, please, right in front of me, and enjoy every bite. But don't get on my case for not liking or wanting to eat food.

Another thing I don't appreciate is when I ask someone what they put in the food I'm about to eat and they lie. Sometimes I just want to know what my food is for the sake of knowing. Sometimes I see something questionable and would like to know how it was cooked or what was done to it. I especially don't like it when I ask and am lied to. If you think you can hide a vegetable or spice in my food, you're wrong. Especially if I can see it. Don't lie to me about what you put in my food. Lying is not the way to keep me coming back for more.

I'm a picky eater. I like food cooked certain ways. I'm sure you like your food cooked certain ways, too. We don't have to agree. Food can be interesting because it can be eaten a variety of ways. I'm not picky with expensive taste, oh no. I'm thrifty, and I eat tons of grains and healthy soups and cook often for myself. If you follow the "no sauces, no fruit, no condiments" rule, you'll probably find something to cook for me.

The harping can stop, though. Breaking news: Jaggy hates mayonnaise! I'm over it. Move on.