Thursday, July 31, 2008

Realizations

1. I've come to realize that my boobs...
...are one of my greatest assets, even though I don't like them.

2. I've come to realize that my job...
...is truly difficult to explain!

3. I've come to realize that when I'm driving...
...I'm either singing or wishing there wasn't anyone in front of me.

4. I've come to realize that I need...
...at least fifteen minutes of solitude and silence each day in order to function.

5. I've come to realize that I have lost...
...any hope of receiving a proper massage in the near future.

6. I've come to realize that I hate it when...
...people refuse to see the other side of an argument. You don't have to agree as long as you look.

7. I've come to realize that if I'm drunk...
...I've had entirely too much to drink, sheesh.

8. I've come to realize that money...
...is nice, but it's not everything. (not original, but honest)

9. I've come to realize that people....
...like to categorize things in order to deal with them.

10. I've come to realize that I'll always be...
...female. What did you expect?

11. I've come to realize that if I drunk dial people...
...wait, hold on a second. Who says I've done this?

12. I've come to realize that my mom...
...is usually right. Usually.

13. I've come to realize that my cell phone is...
...an electronic leash, a communication device, and a very crappy camera tool.

14. I've come to realize that when I woke up this morning...
...the blankets surrounding me were not, in fact, some wonderful boy holding me. And I was sad.

15. I've come to realize that last night before I went to sleep...
...I should not have stayed up to read that "one last chapter" (which became three four).

16. I've come to realize that right now I am thinking about...
...beads, rosaries, and bigger questions than my night has time for.

17. I've come to realize that my Dad...
...needs to get a G-mail account so I can send him cool things I find through StumbleUpon!

18. I've come to realize that when I get on MySpace...
...which is rare, I only check Scott and Dave's page for new music.

19. I've come to realize that today...
...was a fantastically unproductive day, but I learned a ton!

20. I've come to realize that tonight...
...inspired me to continue my journey.

21.I've come to realize that tomorrow I will...
...not be eating any more chicken (else I grow feathers and a beak).

22. I've come to realize that I really want to...
...finish my list of big questions so I can get answers.

23. I've come to realize that the person who is most likely to read this will be...
...Grandma, but Sis, Jenny, The Boy, Mom, MissKris, and Jeff are all likely candidates.

24. I've come to realize that life...
...doesn't have to be understood to be lived.

25. I've come to realize that this weekend...
...I'm going to be swimming in the estrogen ocean without a life preserver.

26. I've realized the best music to listen to when I am upset...
...is silence.

27. I've come to realize that my friends...
...are always and only a phone call away.

28. I've come to realize that this year...
...has been a big year of personal/spiritual growth and learning.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How to Park on a Hill

They cover this in the driver's manual, in Driver's Ed classes, and in the driving test. How hard can it possibly be to park on a hill? I know I'm getting picky and ranting about this, but improper parking is one of my pet peeves. In case you didn't know how to park on a hill, I'm going to break it down for you:

1. Parallel park next to the curb, likely on the right side of the street, but on the left if the street goes one way only. I know parallel parking is hard for most people (not my favorite, but I can do it), but let's imagine the street is vacant and you can just slide right in to that spot, okay?

2. Stop the car, but before you turn of the car, TURN THE TIRES. The direction to turn them is confusing unless you think about how the car might roll if you turn them the wrong way. If you are on the right side of the street, turn the steering wheel to the right (clockwise). Doesn't matter if you're headed uphill or downhill. If you are on the left side of the street, turn the wheel to the left. When in doubt, just remember to turn the tires pointed TO THE CURB (or ditch, or whatever might stop you from rolling downhill).

3. Apply the emergency brake. DO IT.

4. Turn the car off and exit the vehicle.

5. Don't forget to turn the tires back before you decide to drive away, otherwise you'll drive up on the curb, possibly ruin a tire or two, take out a mailbox (or worse), and maybe feel embarrassed.

This is not a hard thing to do. Learn it and do it!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

So the porta-potty walked down the street...

It's okay, I'd never seen anything like it either. We were just sitting there watching the parade when all of a sudden, zoom! here comes a porta-potty down the street. Not only that, but the thing was poppin' wheelies. H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S!

I've seen a few parades, and I've been in several parades, and this little advertisement of an entry has to be the most unique and daring piece of art/transportation I've ever encountered. Pretty dang awesome.

Yeah. A wheelie-poppin'-porta-potty. :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Here's Your Sign

I'll admit it: I'm a bit of a smartass. I talked back to my mother from the day I could say "no," and I never really grew out of it. Sure, I wizened up and figured out when I might get a laugh out of her instead of a whippin' (no, Grandma, my parents never actually whipped me. Mom did slap me a few times, though. I'd tell you to give her a talkin-to, but I probably deserved it).

My smartass tactics changed over the years. I was into puns for a long time, and a clever pun is golden. Dad hits some real smart puns once in a while, subtle and satisfying. I also like dry comedy at times. Unless you know me and understand when I'm being sassy, I sound like a snob much of the time. I've worked hard at keeping a straight face, not giving away my humorous side, and I can deliver sometimes without a twinkle in my eye. Once you get to know me, though, I'm pretty open about my smartass-ness.

Comedy is one of my favorite things in life, and I loyally follow a few awesome comedians: Jeff Dunham, Kevin James, Bill Engvall, and Eddie Izzard can keep me laughing for hours. Of all of the comedians, though, I think Bill Engvall and I have the same outlook on life: the world is full of stupid people, and they should all wear signs that say they're stupid. I ought to have one, too, I suppose...

In case you don't know how Engvall's "Here's your sign" bit works, it goes something like this:
Person 1 sees Person 2 doing something and asks a question stating the obvious. Person 2 then responds with an opposite answer than Person 1 was expecting. An example would be today at lunch when I pushed my empty rice carton away from me and my friend questioned, "Did you eat all that rice?" I responded with my usual smartass tone, "Nope, poured half of it on the floor and ate the rest." While my friend is anything but stupid (hi!), I really did want to hand her the "I'm stupid" sign.

Don't know who Engvall is? A little bit of observational comedy to hold you until tomorrow:

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Jaggy's First Wedding Dress

I know that title is going to throw a lot of people, but I can explain. *cue music, awkward silence* No, I'm not getting married (yet). No rings on my fingers, no boys on their knees, and I'm not hearing wedding bells in my head (much).

Yesterday, Rachel and I went up to Emily's bridal shower. The shower was nice, and it was great to have the three of us united again. We talked, ate, and gifted before heading home. Nothing huge, just a nice afternoon with the girls.

When we arrived at the house, though, Emily's uncle came up to me with a question, "What is your dress size?" I've been asked several odd questions by strangers, but his was certainly the most forward and direct. He quickly explained that he'd acquired a wedding dress as part of a storage unit purchase, that the dress still had the tags on it, and that he thought the dress would fit me more than the other girls. He wanted a model so that he could get pictures of the dress and later sell it online. Good plan, I thought, and agreed to at least look at the dress. The tag stated the dress was a size 10. I'm smaller than that, but what the heck, right?

Emily stayed in the room with me to help me put the contraption on. I'd never worn a wedding dress before (in fact, I think I can count the number of dresses I've worn since I was ten). Putting it on was an adventure. I slid underneath the train to the top opening, my arms extended to the sky. The fabric wouldn't even bend with all of the bead work on the bodice. Emily pulled, squished, tucked, and pulled some more until she had me effectively corseted in what I can only describe as the itchy-est, ivory-est, heaviest, poofy-est dress I've ever worn. OY!

As you can see in the picture, the dress is beautiful. While it's not the style I'd pick for myself, and it's not the color (or even correct decade's fashion), it is a pretty wedding gown. I'm glad I was able to help Emily's uncle get his pictures. But I'll tell you, when Emily unzipped me and I was able to take a full breath, holy crap did that feel good. I'm never going to wear something like that again!

Is it a faux pas to get married in jeans?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sharing a Sentiment

I'm not a card person. I don't give cards, and I don't care to receive them usually. Why waste the money and time to go pick out the "perfect" message someone else wrote instead of just telling that person how you really feel? And when I do get cards, I don't really read all the words. The longer the card, the less I read. Unless it's from my mother. In which case I just feel bad for not reading every word.

Last weekend, my boyfriend gave me a card. As I was opening the envelope, all manner of things went through my head: "What will it say!?" "Oh, I hope it's not too long and sappy." "Isn't this how Rachel's fiancé proposed...?" Yeah, I went there. I got nervous. The front of the card simply read, "Thinking of you." Good so far. The inside contained the shortest inside message I've ever seen: "I ~heart~ U." (That's when I melted.)

Profound. Thoughtful. Direct. Perfect. I was elated to find that my boyfriend shares the same card-giving mentality that I do. Well, okay, I wouldn't have given the card, but the sentiment was great. Serious bonus points for hand-cutting the heart shape out of shiny stuff, too.

In an effort to not make this post longer than it needs to be, I feel the need to finish writing now. I don't like cards with lots of words in them. Now you know.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Un-Striking a Balance

Have you ever stopped to think about the phrase "striking a balance"? There isn't really any 'striking,' is there? It's not a sudden thing. Finding the perfect balance to anything takes time and effort. Even physically balancing something doesn't usually happen on the first try (especially with those yoga balls, sheesh!). Doing the 'balancing act' is hard work. I know: I'm still learning it.

When I was in college, my time was divided among classes, homework, work, dancing, social time, sleeping, and everything else. The balance tended to tip more heavily toward work and dancing most of the time, and sleep and homework took the back seat. The balance wasn't easy to find: four years of practice yielded mediocre grades, a small social circle, and no money. Still, those four years of practice are helping me find my balances today.

Work is a constant balancing act. I struggle to meet deadlines at times, and other days I try not to get bored with the filing and 'busy work.' Sometimes I work for one person, and some days I get assignments from ten different people. Each day is a complete change from the last, and the work rotates with the seasons. I love it: there's always something new to learn.

I have to be physically balanced to be a decent dancer, so when I'm not gliding across the ballroom, I need to be exercising in other ways. Exercise is one of the dirtiest words out there to me, and I refuse to go to a gym. I truly struggle each night to find a balance between being lazy and at least taking the garbage out... going up and down my apartment steps is exercise, right?

And balancing my time isn't easy either. After work, I enjoy spending quality time with The Boy. We see each other often, nearly every day even, and finding that balance of together-time vs. alone-time has not been easy for me. I value both things. He's important to me, but having time to decompress and entertain my own thoughts is also something I treasure. We're learning and growing together in this challenge.

When I was little, adults told me I needed to learn to strike a balance with the things in my life. I always thought it would be easy. If only I'd known...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I'm Just Not That Into Yogurt

I tried, believe me, I tried. Food should not taste that bad.

After doing some research online, I realized I might need to start eating yogurt for it's supposed health benefits. I don't drink milk, and cheese disagrees with my gut, so I don't have a steady source of calcium. Green veggies are great, but I can only eat so much broccoli, spinach, and kale before I sprout leaves myself.

I looked into the different brands of yogurt to see which had the best benefits with the least amount of sugar. I also wanted to find a brand that doesn't have chunks or pieces of fruit in it. That's the other thing: I only eat three or four fruits, and I only like them raw and unadulterated. Even worse, the fruits I do like don't make for good yogurt flavors apparently. I love apples and watermelon, kiwi fruit and grapes. I will also eat bananas and strawberries. Sure, every brand of yogurt comes in strawberry flavor, but they all contain bits of strawberries (which is gross).

Yoplait's whipped yogurt was my first trial. Zero chunks, but it has the funkiest texture ever for yogurt. It wasn't bad... I'd eat it again if I have to. Lucerne Light strawberry-banana was pretty nasty with the strawberry pieces and almost no banana flavor. Yoplait's strawberry cheesecake wasn't much better. The cheesecake flavor covered up the nasty yogurt tang nicely, but again, chunks and bits of strawberry killed it for me. Fred Meyer makes yogurt smoothies (which, like most yogurts, has pieces of fruit), and the smoothies taste horribly. It's more like thin (reject) yogurt instead of a smoothie. I still have three different kinds in my fridge to try: a key lime, a vanilla, and another whipped strawberry. If nothing else, I can put frosted flakes in the yogurt and choke the rest down.

The health "benefits" of yogurt are due to the cultures in it. I found that I can buy the same cultures in pill form at the grocery store, so even if I'm not sold on yogurt, my gut flora will be great! I've been taking Viactiv calcium chews for a long time (because chocolate-flavored calcium and vitamins are awesome), so I guess I don't need the yogurt quite as much. At least I can go out saying I really gave it a shot.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I Survived Meeting the BIG Family

It wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting. In fact, I rather enjoyed it. Last Saturday, I went to meet my boyfriend's extended family at their annual get-together. The day was long, but I'm very glad I went.

I used to think I had a social phobia, and I was a shy child, but over the years I've realized that I'm just not into crowds of people. Even dealing with my own family can be exhausting (it's not that I don't love them, but when they're all together (and drinking), it can be an overload). The Boy comes from a large extended family, probably twice the size of my own big family. I only remember a few names from Saturday... ten at most. Everyone was nice, the food was great, and the atmosphere was comfortable. I couldn't have asked for more.

The day started too early as I had to be in Salem by 8:00ish to meet Kevin for the trip up to the Hubbard Hop Festival. We went to the parade and had a nice time watching all of the cars and floats. The weather was perfect for a parade (trust me: I have parade experience). After that, we walked back to his aunt and uncle's for the family festivities which included a gift exchange and a dessert contest. One of his cousins took it upon herself to give me the standard grilling while we were eating lunch. Later, Kevin and I stole off to a bench swing under the shade of a tree where we could watch the dessert judging and talk slightly more privately.

While we were sitting there, another cousin of his wandered over. She is a Geocacher (woot!) (sorry), so we had lots in common from the start. In the course of our conversation, she told me she lived in the town where I knew my grandfather worked most of his life. When I mentioned that, she asked me where. I told her, and she could actually give his name without prompting. I was floored. dumbfounded. befuddled. The world keeps getting smaller, I tell ya!

By 4:00pm, both of us were sunburned and partied out. We left Hubbard and headed back to Salem for dinner. Yay for the Olive Garden! A fantastic dinner later, we were ready for naps. No time to sleep, though, as we sailed to the movie theater where Kevin had already purchased our tickets to see The Dark Knight. His brother and some friends joined us for the movie. Heath Ledger's performance stole the show, and his riveting portrayal of the Joker was truly haunting.

After the movie, it was time to go home for good. Kevin informed me as we were walking out of the theater that his mom had sent him a text message regarding my car. His father washed it for me. Stunned, I tried to question the motive... I couldn't get the words out. My car wasn't that dirty, but his kindness moved me. He'd even waited up for us to return--which allowed me to thank him in person. Wow!

Though the day was long, the experience was unforgettable. I'm told if I go back to another family gathering that I'm in. Hope that's not some sort of mafia reference, because I thought everyone I met was pretty cool.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Jaggy's Trip to the Devil Doctor (or Why Men Should Never be Allowed near a Speculum)

I experienced what can only be described as a nightmarish adventure Friday night. The ordeal lasted about five hours, cost me about $40, and scarred me for life. (Oh, and my thoughts are italicized later--you'll understand when you get that far.)

The Backstory:
I don't like going to see doctors. They are often condescending and rude, and I really don't like being treated as a child when it comes to my own well-being. I haven't had a proper doctor's visit since I was little, partially because I've remained in good health, and partially because I don't feel the need to have someone else tell me I'm fine. I have, however, seen the same doctor a few times for immediate-care-type injuries. I have always been insured, and I will go to see a doctor if I have to (I'm not afraid, I just don't like it). Since I was probably ten years old, I've gone to the same doctor's office for every visit, and I've always listed the same doctor of record.

Last weekend, I began to feel a bit odd. I found an OTC drug that I believed coincided best with my symptoms and self-administered it. Within two days, I felt great. Score one for self-diagnosis! But after a few days, the icky feeling returned. I called a phone number provided by my insurance company that connected me to a live human being (shocker, I know). The nurse told me I was probably correct with my diagnosis and that a full "cure" to my malaise would likely have to come from a doctor. Stubborn me, however, decided to wait a few more days. By Friday, I was feeling pretty bad again. I decided a trip to the doctor was in order.

The Devil Doctor:
I arrived to immediate care at 8pm, one hour before closing time. The waiting room was full of children who, with every cough or sneeze, seemed to be filling the room with their vile germs. Bored parents stared off into nothing, and no one took notice as I, the only one between 10 and 50 years old, walked up to the make-up-tattooed woman behind the glass. She took my name and looked me up in the computer. No record found. She took my social security number. Nothing. The only place I've seen my doctor in the last fifteen years has no record of me existing. Beautiful. They made me fill out chart after chart, sign and date pages upon pages. My quoted hour-long wait extended almost twice that long until I was the only person left in the waiting room. Even the security guard near the front door was drifting to sleep. Finally, that magic door opened and a rotund nurse called my name.

The nurse was nice enough, though not too chatty at first. She took my vitals (all good) and asked me those generic questions. "No, I'm not pregnant. No, I don't use intravenous drugs. Yes, I like to pour bleach on myself and dance naked in the kitchen." She took my medical history. "Didn't you look at the purple sheet I just filled out?!" She explained to me that a doctor would be in to examine me soon. Oh really, I thought I was here for the circus show.

After ten or fifteen minutes, a tall grey-haired man briskly walked in. Without so much as a 'hi' or 'how are you tonight,' he demanded, "What's wrong?" I explained to him my symptoms, and he took my medical history as well. Do you people not talk to each other? I tried to tell him something once, but he cut me off. Then, after a minute, I tried to ask him a question, but he walked out of the room. Just... walked out and closed the door behind him. So I waited.

The nurse came back a few minutes later to say that the doctor would come back in again to finish the examination. She got a few things ready for him, and then he stormed into the room. "Take off your pants," he boomed. The nature of my complaint required a pelvic exam. Wonderful. Not exactly the way I wanted my "first time" to be. I stripped and climbed up to the table. No gown, no sheet, no drape... all my girly bits out for the entire world to see. The doctor grabbed the speculum, positioned it, asked, "Are you ready," and then went for it without waiting for a response. I felt the end of the plastic scraping at the back of my nose before I realized how much pain I was in. I tried to breathe... I couldn't. He did his thing, withdrew the torture device, shucked his gloves, and strode out without another word. The nurse looked at me, and I at her. Silence. She packed up her stuff and left me to get dressed. I have never felt so violated, both physically and medically, as I did that moment. I almost cried.

After yet another long wait, the Devil Doctor came back in. He presented his diagnosis, handed me a prescription, and left for good. That's IT. His diagnosis was the exact same as my self-diagnosis. All that waiting and examining was pretty much for nothing. I let myself out of the exam room, snaked back to the door where I found a zombie for a security guard, and walked stiffly to my car. The nearest pharmacy was closed. In fact, all of the pharmacies in the mid-Willamette Valley were closed after 10pm. Shit.

Salvation in a Basement:
I called my mother to tell her my story. She sympathized. I asked her to do an internet search for local pharmacy hours. Nothing was open. Mom suggested I go to a hospital--they have 24/7 need for an open pharmacy. I didn't think I could waltz up to any ol' hospital pharmacy and demand drugs... that's illegal or something, right? Well, it was worth a shot. I drove over to a hospital and found the emergency room. Empty. After looking around for a minute, a woman finally asked if she could help me. I queried, "Is there anyone in this hospital who can fill a prescription?" She replied that my odds were grim. Possibly, someone in the basement's pharmacy could help me, but they weren't likely to help. I told her I'd give it a try. She gave me directions to the basement (take the staff elevator, turn left, maybe turn right again or else go around the back way, hop three times, and say the secret password). I did take the staff elevator, but then I just started looking at door signs and followed the gurney-lined corridor until I came to a smallish door that said PHARMACY. Bingo.

I tried the door and found it unlocked. It led into a closet with a window on the opposite wall. A man appeared in the window. I handed him my prescription slip and asked if he could help me. He asked what floor I worked on. Whatever floor makes you fill prescriptions! I told him the truth, that I was not associated with the hospital. He said he could fill the prescription, but that it would be considerably more due to a service charge. I'd have to pay in cash. A quick scan of my wallet yielded exactly $2. Dear God, why must things be so complicated in emergencies like this?! He took my name, prescription, and other information to begin processing it. After twenty minutes, he came back to say that my total cost would be $14 and change. He also said there was an ATM upstairs, and that he'd hold my prescription until I came back.

Hospitals aren't my favorite place, and wandering around them looking for an ATM in the dark of night kinda freaked me out. Nobody thought to ask me who I was, and no one questioned my being in the basement (a mostly no-patient area). Nobody told me to get off the staff elevator. I wandered the "upstairs" looking for the elusive ATM for several minutes before finding it glowing in the corner. Of all of the banks in Oregon, it happened to be my own bank's ATM--hooray for no extra fees! I snagged my cash and flew downstairs. The nice man had been replaced with a nice woman. She took my money and began explaining to me about the drug she was giving me. Super helpful, and the lady even answered all of my questions that the Devil Doctor wouldn't. Though I had to pay cash instead of going through my insurance company for something they'd definitely cover, I was able to talk to a real pharmacist who was nice.

Four hours after my ordeal began, I found myself at home. I like doctors even less now than I did before. I don't appreciate how rudely the mean guy treated me, and I can't say as though I'm going to return to that immediate care center again (since they obviously didn't have my files anyway). But, I'm feeling a ton better! Guess that's worth it, right?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Random Questions X

1. Ever kissed a brown eyed and brown haired person?
yes

2. Can you see a phone right now?
yes

3. What are you listening to right now?
wind, faint talking coming in from the sidewalk, construction noise

4. Where is it coming from?
my window

5. Last thing you ate?
sandwich and crackers

6. What was the last thing you saw on TV?
How it's Made

7. Who was the last person other than family you saw?
Jenny and Eric at lunch today

8. Are labels/stereotypes good?
no

9. Favorite flavor of lip gloss:
no flavor kind! the un-sticky, un-glossy kind! ugh, can't stand it.

10. Song stuck in your head?
"Best Days of our Life" --Scott Grimes

11. Acoustic or electric guitars?
I think electric guitars are more versatile, but I appreciate the craftsmanship of high-end acoustics.

12. Do you dance while getting ready for whatever?
I dance getting ready to dance. Yeah. I'm that kind of dancer.

13. What are you wearing right now?
my emotions on my sleeve

14. What is the greatest number of people you've preformed in front of?
thousands! Hooray for performance highs!

15. Have you gone skinny dipping?
I've never done any dipping let alone skinny dipping... I'm not a water person.

16. Have you ever taken a shower while you were drunk?
no... but I think I've consumed while in the shower... just not drunk.

17. Do you believe in magic?
...in a young girl's heart, you betcha! Really, though, I am not so sure. I think there are things beyond explanation, but I don't know that I'd call it "magic."

18. Favorite city?
I'm partial to Lebanon out of family history, but I like Salem's size and location better. Albany has a special place in my heart as well. As pretty as Corvallis is, I find the inhabitants to be rude and self-centered (I'm not talking about the college students either).

19. Have you ever made out on a plane?
no

20. Would you eat human flesh for money?
I think I could eat human flesh under the "right" circumstances, but 'for money' doesn't qualify as an appropriate situation ever. In a true life-and-death moment, I honestly don't know. Maybe. But never for money.

21. Do you have leadership skills?
I like to think so... I'd like to hope I inspire people or show them how they can be better... the best way I know how to lead is by setting an example and going into battle first.

22. Can you play an instrument?
yes

23. Have you ever sat on a roof and looked at stars?
no, but I've sat on the tops of mountains and looked at the stars...

24. Ever done that while talking on the phone to a boyfriend or girlfriend?
He was there with me.

25. Favorite type of sock?
white ankle-high, but not the no-show socks

26. Have you ever shoplifted?
nope, not worth it

27. Do you like tongue twisters?
twist away, I can do it

28. Have you recently gotten someone pregnant?
Well now, wouldn't THAT be something new to science!

29. Do you have a boyfriend?
yes

30. What scent are you wearing right now?
um, none other than my deodorant

31. Are there any animals around you at the moment?
I certainly hope not

32. Drinking anything at the moment?
Diet Pepsi

33. Ever thought you were going to get married?
it has always been in my mind that I will someday, but I haven't been so committed to someone to make that kind of step

34. Would you ever go rock climbing?
with my phobia of heights, it's pretty unlikely

35. Last person who told you they loved you besides family?
nobody

36. Have you ever pulled an all-nighter?
yes, I pulled a three-nighter once. BAD idea.

37. Would you ever have plastic surgery?
after an accident or injury, I would consider it; otherwise no, I like me :)

38. Favorite food?
Mom's Cream-of-Wheat bread, hands down.

39. Favorite comic strip?
Get Fuzzy, but I'm a sucker for lots of comic strips

40. Cat person or dog person?
Cats rule, dogs dool, 'nuff said.

41. Got a job?
Yup

42. Is there something else you should be doing at the moment?
Nah, I'm ready for bed, so maybe sleeping, but that's my decision.

43. If you could have one wish, what would it be?
I gave this question too much thought. There's nothing in the world I'd ask for myself right now, so I'm going to go with the oldest answer in the book: world peace. I think that'd be pretty darn neat.

44. How is your hair right now?
Wet, but drip-drying, just like it is every night after my shower

45. What type of phone do you have?
LG Trax

46. Biggest regret?
I have no regrets. I have made bad choices, but I don't make regretful ones. I own up to every mistake I've made. No sense regretting them now.

47. Favorite girls name?
Lilian, Alli

48. What do you want the most?
A month where I actually stay inside my budget

49. Do you want children?
Yes.

50. Are you a lover or a fighter?
I'm a "discusser" followed by a "kiss and make up"-er... whatever that is.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Further Proof that NO Subject is Taboo on my Blog (yes, it's about farting!)

I once had a boss who was a very powerful lady. She had influence with important people all over Oregon. She could turn from a politician to a professor and get them to agree on issues they'd otherwise squabble over, and neither one would dare fight her on the matter. I don't know if it was a diet thing or a body thing, but my boss also had gas. A LOT.

The first time I noticed it, we were all in the office minding our own business. From the next room, I hear *pfffff, PFFFFFF.* She let 'er rip loudly. As a college student, I was well-aware that my giggles needed to be suppressed. I held my laughter back until my eyes bulged. For the next hour, my boss alternated between high and low trumpeting. The smell eventually reached our office, and we all sat in agony until our day ended at 5pm.

The next time I realized my boss might have a flatulence problem was when we were walking from one building to another. She got the "walkin' trots" and let little bits of gas slide with every step. Again, my giggles almost got the best of me. How do you even say something about that to someone? I didn't know, so I just kept my mouth shut.

After a few months of experiencing the woman letting it all go, I began to realize she simply didn't care if people noticed. She went for it. She would let 'em slide in big, professional meetings with important people she needed to impress. She'd pass gas while having lunch with foreign dignitaries. She just didn't care what people thought.

I used to have nightmares about farting in front of people. Of course, it was always okay to try and out-do my sister (we didn't have brothers for competition, and we set the bar high), but a proper lady wouldn't dare admit to such things (because girls don't actually smell bad ever). I get gas. Dairy products do it to me. Beef is awful in my system. Beans, eggs, the usual culprits... it's all going to cause gas. Even wheat and rice! It's not that my digestive system is fussy (rarely), but the simple fact that I am human and I fart, okay!? And like that boss I once had, I'm not going to apologize for it. Feel free to "cut the cheese" or "blow the horn" or "trouser cough," I won't laugh. No need to apologize, there likely wasn't anything you could do to stop it anyway. Maybe if we all learned to let go a little, life would be that much easier.

So yeah. I never thought I'd be so desperate for a blog post that I'd write about flatulence. I was wrong. I'm sorry. Okay, no I'm not. But I will try not to let it happen again.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jaggy's WinCo Rules

1. If it takes you more time to bag your groceries than it would to eat them, you are not allowed in the store.

2. If you can't fit your shopping items into one cart, you're buying too much.

3. There is no such thing as a "quick trip" to WinCo. You will wait in a line inversely proportional to the amount of time you want to spend in the store. If you want to be in and out of the store quickly, the line will be long. The bigger your rush, the longer the lines.

4. The more you plan to purchase, the farther away you will have to park.

5. Just because you've been putting off taking your cans and bottles back to the store and finally take the time to do it means that everyone else is going to do so as well. If you have six cans to return, you'll be the first one in line. But because you have six bags to poke into the already-full machines means you have to wait for three other people who have even more cans than you do.

6. Inevitably, your cart will not run in a straight line. You will fight it through every aisle.

7. Someone will have parked their cart (overfilled, mind you) directly in front of the one item you desperately need, and you will have to wait several minutes for them to realize they are in your way. And they'll take it personally when you ask them to move.

8. Your fruit or meat will be mangled from being handled so much by grubby paws and little kids.

9. There is no such thing as a clean WinCo store.

10. There are no baskets, no way to move about the store unencumbered, and no way to avoid the lines. Not even at 3:00am when nobody else is in the store. You will wait in line behind seven other people in the one open checkstand. And the woman in front of you will smell funny.

(This is supposed to be a humorous rant--I actually do like WinCo and shop there often.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

It's not THAT bad... really!

When I was little, I thought people who had allergies were mutants. They were freaks who produced too much snot and sneezed all the time. They were always identifiable by their kleenex box and red nose in the late springtime. I loathed these diseased people. As luck would have it, now I am tormented with the slimey grossness that is allergies.

Isn't it funny how we develop these preconceived ideas about a particular affliction? For one reason or another, we think of something as being much worse than it actually is. Chicken pox is a good example: it's awful to experience, and yes, it can have some bad side effects, but in reality, it's rarely deadly. It's not that bad. At least pox sufferers don't turn into chickens!

Athlete's foot is another icky thing to deal with. It hurts, it itches, it burns, and it makes you think cutting off your feet would be a much better solution than waiting for the anti-fungal medication to work (or so I'm told). But, like chicken pox, it's not likely to kill you.

And yes, I do realize that any disease can be deadly under the right conditions, so don't think I'm being unrealistic. I know people have died from seemingly harmless cuts on their finger. What I'm also saying is that we've all had cuts on our fingers, too, and we're obviously still tickin'. I don't want to belittle the lives of those who died. I'm just giving examples.

When I come down with a cold or the flu or some other nasty bug that makes me think staying in my nice, warm, clean bed would be better than slaving away at work, I sometimes reflect on the many diseases I'm not likely to face. Thank God most of the really bad stuff isn't part of our daily lives.

As an Oregonian, I'm not likely to ever contract:
Measles, Mumps, or Rubella (thanks to my immunizations)
Diphtheria or Polio (again, shots as a child)
Cholera
Dysentery (I know you just went all Oregon Trail there, didn't you?).
Bubonic Plague
Typhoid
Tuberculosis (it's around, but not too prevalent)

Well, now, wasn't that an uplifting post for a Monday? Aren't you happy to be alive now?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Another Milestone in Dating

Today, I left my boyfriend alone with my father for two hours. They did guy stuff together. In a wood shop. A stiflingly hot one. And there was no beer...

It's not as dramatic as it sounds, but still, the idea of leaving any of my friend unattended with my parents is a new idea for me. It's not like my parents are horrible or anything (not at all!)... I've just never done it before. Mom and I went to Rachel's bridal shower today, and my father made The Boy a custom-turned pen while we were gone.

When we arrived home after those two hours, the Men were still out in the shop working away. They were... talking. I don't know what about, and I'm not sure I will ever know the full truth about what happened during "Guy Time."

I'm overjoyed, though, that they were able to have that time together, getting to know each other a little better and creating a really cool pen in the process. Still can't believe I left them alone together though...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Pumice is COOL!

This featherweight piece of pumice fascinated me so much I almost couldn't put it down. The strands of glass in the rock were incredible. Wish the picture did the rock more justice, but you can get an idea of how it looks if you click on the picture for the large view. Pretty neat!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Overcoming this week's Bully

If you are going to criticize me for not appearing happy, then don't tell me I have low self-esteem, aren't pretty, and later mock me in front of other people. Really, not helpful.

For some reason, people associate practicality and logic with low self-esteem. Example: if someone tells me I'm smart, and I then deny such claims, I'm automatically assumed to have no confidence in myself. In truth, I may be knowledgeable about the subject at hand, yet I realize in the long run I'm no smarter than anyone else. I know my limitations, and I respect other talent. Intelligence is relative (most of the time).

Sometimes people aren't mean in person: they hit hard with comments online. Who I am on my blog and who I am in person are pretty much the same (except the name). I own my comments and stand by what I say both here and elsewhere on the vast Internet. Once in a while, I'll leave a comment on another blog, a short little note with my opinion. Later, the response will be scathing or questioning, as if my beliefs somehow conflict with all sense of morality or are opposite some great political stance. I seldom comment on other blogs for that exact reason: I won't take the time to respond to someone who is mean to me about a comment (unless it's really deserving).

With all the negative energy flowing toward me this week and the horrible allergies I've been dealing with, it's a wonder I'm not playing with knives or something. I'm going to take this weekend to rebuild myself, to recharge and reflect on my life without outside or bad influences (pollen included). Seriously, I know I'm not perfect, but I don't need you to trample my ego while proving it.

Oh, and I'm sure someone is going to pop back with a comment about how this post sounds like a whiny fifteen-year-old's tantrum. I don't think teenagers are the only people who occasionally let their self-esteem slide a bit. Perhaps my rant is juvenile, but I bet it resounds with several generations. Nobody likes to be picked on. I'm just saying something about it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hail Mary, Full of Grace

I've been studying Christianity, specifically Catholicism, intently for six months. My life has changed, my views have changed, and how I study even changed. I've warmed up to ideas I didn't know existed, and I'm growing more each day both in faith and in how I view my world.

The journey hasn't been rosy and perfect all of the time. I've been met with some harsh criticism from my non-Catholic friends. They tell me that I'm looking into a church that doesn't even align with the Bible. They don't understand sacred tradition, and I've noticed a lack of respect or even anti-Catholic sentiments at times. My family doesn't know much about Catholicism (mostly Lutherans or Methodists). I haven't gone out of my way to include them in my learning. My father hasn't been terribly supportive, but nobody in my family has actively encouraged me either.

That said, I couldn't be happier with my own progress or the amount of information I've covered. Some of the more interesting subjects included mariology, the virtues, the Church's views on homosexuality, and understanding what faith is (both through reading and seeing). I love what I've learned, and I'm actively engaged in my own education. I get to decide what I learn and when... that's the best kind of learning. I can't say that I'm truly converted, but I am really enjoying the new information and seeing why people believe what they do.

In studying Catholicism, a huge part of my effort has been actually living a few of the beliefs of the Church. I didn't feel I'd be doing myself or the experience justice if I wasn't actually experiencing the religion. I didn't go to church every Sunday, but I went most of the time. I made a point to learn what the different parts of the Mass are. I memorized several of the prayers (okay, just the easy ones), and I'm working my way up to some of the longer ones. Even if I don't understand them completely yet, memorizing them will help me to understand them later.

The perfectionist in me wonders if I could have done more to make this experience and journey better. I don't know. I'm still living it, and I can change how I do things at any point. It's been fun, and I really like how I'm growing in faith and as a person. I'm doing it for me. That, in itself, is a huge thing to realize.

My next steps include looking at Protestant churches, differentiating the Protestant faiths, and likely continuing my Catholic education by speaking with a priest or two. I might also venture out into other religions at some point (it never hurts to learn, if only to understand and respect someone for their beliefs). After that... time will tell.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Misadventures of a Geocacher

They weren't exactly misadventures, but they were odd. I went 'caching with my cousins, uncle, and father last week (all rookies except me), and we nabbed two more near La Pine. I'd tell you which one the picture is of and how far away the cache location is, but I don't want the owner to get mad at me. This one is a .30cal ammo can (my personal favorite), and it contained the standard log book, some trinkets, and some genuine calling cards (which are back in style thanks to Geocaching!).

The first 'cache of the day was a doozy with multiple coordinates leading us all over the Oregon Outback before we finally had to turn around and walk half a mile in the opposite direction from our location to get to the final big 'cache. The picture is of the second adventure we had, and the GPS took us for quite the run-around before we could find the correct trail and get close to it. At La Pine State Park, the Deschutes River always seems to stand between you and whatever you're looking for, and the bridges are never nearby. Curses!

We had a fun trip, and we found the treasure we set out for. Can't ask for more than that.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I need to buy stock in Kleenex

Oy, what a day for allergies! I'm miserable, and I'm running out of Kleenex. Somewhere under this pile of half-used tissues is my nose... I think it came off once when I sneezed for the seventeenth time in a row. My pill bottle of Zyrtec is laughing at me. Even the Benadryl openly mocks my sedated stupor.

I hate allergies. I hate sneezing and blowing my nose until I bleed. I hate the burning eyes and sore throat, the tight chest and headache from sniffling so much. I hate the fact that I can sit at work miserable, capable of thinking and yet incapable of pushing my pens to initial my papers. I hate the constant grogginess. I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

Soon, I'm going to attempt to dance while hopped up on antihistamines (and by "hopped up" I really mean "half asleep"). There is going to be a battle in the end, a great battle between my body and my spirit, a fight to see who can win the rights to my sinuses. Many a great dance partner will be sneezed on. My apologies in advance. Note the white flag that doubles as a tissue... no, wait, reverse that.

God? I surrender. Can you pass the Kleenex?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Paulina Creek Falls

For some reason, every time I go hiking a waterfall seems to be involved. My camping trip this summer was no exception. We made a stop at Paulina Creek Falls, and the view of the summer runoff was simply divine. Two side-by-side waterfalls each drop about eighty feet to a jumbled mass of car-sized rocks below. The picture I have is of the left side (viewer's left). After the water leaves the main falls, it tumbles down over the rocks below creating a loud noise that can be heard well before even reaching the parking lot. I'm told the view from the top is good, but I like to get to the bottom and get pictures looking up. I highly recommend stopping to see the falls if you happen to be near the Newberry Caldera.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Paulina Lake Panorama

I'm back from central Oregon, and I must say... it feels so good to be home. I don't really understand what draws people to a place so dusty and barren. Give me my green grass and wheat fields, the beautiful streams, and the moss and mildew any day. In the short time I was there, I was able to see family and a few new places. My parents and I visited the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. I took this panorama while standing on the shores of Paulina Lake. The obsidian flow is spectacular, and it offers some good views from the top. Paulina Falls is stunning in both scope and viewpoints. There is plenty of camping (both dry and places with hookups) in the La Pine area, and even though I'm not a fan of central Oregon, I did have a great time while I was there.

Well, okay, I had a great time until it was time to sleep. I had planned to spend two nights in my parents' trailer with them, but after listening to them snore for four hours, I gave up. I ended up sleeping in the front of my dad's truck (and by sleeping, I mean sitting there staring into my uncle's bug zapper for another two hours before going blind). Between 10am and 8am, I believe I got three hours of poor sleep. I ended up coming home Friday night instead of Saturday morning just so I could get some real sleep. I did not know humans could actually make that much noise while they slept, but it's possible.

So many more pictures... they'll appear here over the course of the next few weeks when I can't think of anything exciting to write. It feels so good to be home!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Roughin' It

As you read this post, I'm exploring some part of central Oregon. Most people would consider spending time in the "great outdoors" camping, especially considering that we're staying in a "campground." But really, no, I'm not camping:

There is no tent.
I'll have filtered hot water.
I get to sleep in a bed nicer than the one I own.
My meals will all be prepared for me.
The campfire will miraculously be the perfect size and temperature for marshmallows.
And I get paid to be there (paid holidays are glorious).

Tell me, how is this considered "camping"? Whatever it is, it's pretty awesome. I'll have plenty of pictures from my adventures this week when I return to the valley. Hug a tree for me... I'm probably missing them right now!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Claritin + Zyrtec + Benadryl = No Sneezing

I've taken Claritin daily for probably four years. Until about two months ago, it worked perfectly. I rarely sneezed, and I could breathe easy through the entire spring. This year, however, the Claritin stopped working. I switched to Zyrtec as soon as it was available over the counter (as a generic), and it seemed to work pretty well. Around mid-May, though, either my body stopped responding to the Zyrtec, or the pollen was just too much, but I entered what can only be described as the biggest snot-fest on earth. I sprouted Kleenex boxes in place of hands. My nose bled from being blown, stuffed, drained, and sprayed so much. My eyes burned at the thought of contacts. What happened to the days of simply breathing?

When things get really bad, I can take one Benadryl pill. One little pill is usually enough to clear me up right away. The only problem is that I essentially turn into a zombie. Seriously. I could take my own brain out of my head and start eating it without knowing the difference. Benadryl is a cruel mistress, but it works.

Somewhere in the mess of not being able to sleep, work, or think, I came up with a brilliant plan: if one drug works okay, and the other drug works okay, what happens when I put both drugs together? Now don't go thinking I'm some pill-popping nutjob: I did my research. I know how the drugs affect the body, and I know how they interact. I also know that it's pretty much impossible to overdose on low-grade antihistamines. (Yeah, if you're ever trying to kill yourself with pills, don't pick Claritin.) One morning at work, I was miserable, and I didn't want to deal with Benadryl's zombie-inducing side effects. I decided to take a 2nd Zyrtec. After two hours, I was still sneezing and snot-ing. I took a Claritin on top of the Zyrtec. Within half an hour, I was sailing smooth again. Oh the relief!

The current regimen of one Claritin at night and one Zyrtec in the morning is working pretty well. I have 24-hour coverage by at least one drug at all times. It's not exactly a doctor-prescribed way of doing things, but it does work. I can breathe easy again!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

"One mo' fo' eighty-fi' cents?"

No, Panda Lady, not "one more for eighty-five cents." Put the ladle back in the chicken, I don't want it. Really. No. Put the spoon down. No soup, no sauces, just give me my rice and take my money.

I had to have Panda Express for lunch today. It was my own fault: I was too lazy this morning to make my peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and I've grown a bit tired of them lately. Because everything else on campus is so expensive and since Woodstocks left the MU, I suffered through Panda.

No orange chicken, though... I learned my lesson on that stuff long ago. Ugh!

Today, I waited patiently in the long line as it wound toward the food. When I was finally able to place my order, the Panda Lady stood there with a confused look on her face. "One box of fried rice." How hard is that? So the Panda Lady found a box and put two spoonfuls of rice in it, filling it about two-thirds full. I stopped her and asked her to fill the box. She added about half a spoonful, and there was easily enough room in the box for another full spoon of rice to fit on top. Has Panda Express become so cheap that they won't even fill boxes of rice? Is a box of fried rice such a pricey commodity in the Panda World that they have to make me ask for a full box?

And! There were two large guys in line in front of me that ended up getting extra portions for free! Why do these men get special treatment and extra food, and yet I order just about the cheapest thing on the menu and get less food?

Panda Lady, I am not pleased. You can take your "eighty-fi' cents" and wok it.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I've got style, yes I do, I've got style, how about you?

Personal style is inherently unique. We all like clothes that make us feel comfortable and good about ourselves. Some people have a personal style that relies on trends, labels, and high prices. Some people enjoy wearing things made locally and with organic textiles. Some people are true bargain shoppers, some go for the vintage look, and yet others are comfortable in whatever is clean-ish on any given day.

I am not one of those people.

As we were shopping this last weekend, my boyfriend realized that my personal style and current fashion trends don't exactly coincide. We could see rack after rack of ugly shirts that make every wearer look pregnant. Aisles upon aisles of clothes that look like they were made out of curtains. Mannequins with body shapes so alien that they looked more machine than human.

My personal style is a mix of just about every possible style. I wear darker colors, tons of simple lines, and generally form-fitting clothes that accentuate my curves. On a typical day in the winter, you'll find me in jeans and a fleece pull-over. During the summer, I more likely to be in jeans and a plain t-shirt. If I'm home alone, I'll probably be in pajama pants and a fleece (pretty much year-round). I'm not afraid to show a little skin now and then, but I tend to be conservatively dressed. I can't stand empire waistlines, and cap-sleeves, 3/4-length sleeves, and double-knit fabric are ultimate no-nos in my book.

Sometimes I look outdoorsy, and other days I'll look downright womanly. I do like the androgynous look for style, though, as it allows for the greatest flexibility through the day. Seriously, blue jeans and t-shirts (neatly kept, remember) can be extremely sexy as well as functional and comfortable. There's something divine about a man with well-fitted blue jeans and a crisp white t-shirt, mmmm...

Oh, right, this post is about my personal style. I have one. It's hard to explain, difficult to give examples about, and impossible to match. That's why it's called personal.