Sunday, November 30, 2008

ShopShopShopping

The good news: I'm almost done with my Christmas shopping, and I only had to go to two stores! The bad news: I'm only shopping for four people this year.

Some people might think that I'm being stingy or cheap, but I don't really enjoy getting presents from people (thus, I don't give many). I'm a champion re-gifter, no shame or anything. Candles are my downfall. I can't stand them, and I don't like being fake when people give me what they think is a beautiful tablescape of candles and rocks. It screams fire hazard and waxy mess to me. It's not that I don't appreciate a kind gesture--certainly, gifts are a nice idea. But why do we line up to get people stuff that is likely to be tossed in the garage sale pile within a year?

I also don't like getting gifts because then I feel obligated to give one of equal value back. I can't do that, and I hate feeling obligated to do anything. If I want to do it, I'll do it. But if you don't get a present this holiday from me, please don't take it personally. I do like you, and I shouldn't need to fork over some cheap token to express how much you mean to me. (Oh, by the way Mom, this whole rule doesn't count for you and Dad. Feel free to spoil me. I don't think I'll mind. hehehe)

Last in this mini-rant, let it be known that I DO NOT like shopping in stores filled with crazy people who no sense of how to manoeuver a cart, handle their six screaming children, and price shop at the same time. I've learned to go very early and very late in the day, but it's still not much better. I know stores are tight for money--don't fire your checkers. I hate waiting in lines! (This is especially for you, WinCo... you have the worst lines of them all.)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hell of Sand

One part science, one part general explosion, and one part 'what the heck.' Hell of Sand is a neat tool/game a friend sent me a while ago. People who visit the site apparently fall into two categories: those who find playing with simple ingredients fascinating, and those who don't understand try, try again.

When you go to "game," you'll see four streams of stuff flowing from the top of the window. They are sand, water, salt, and oil. At the bottom of the screen are different tools or ingredients you can use to create different recipes. Sometimes adding two things together will affect how something else works with it. For example, oil floats on water, but oil sinks in saltwater. Salt and water mix, but salt and oil don't. And we all know what happens when explosives are mixed with fire, right? But try creating a box with explosives inside a box filled with water. It's awesome!

I love science. This little simulation game is so entertaining to a geek like me...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful for what, exactly?

You know those sappy blog posts where someone lists every last thing they're thankful for? They always list family, friends, a good job, and some possessions that they really don't need. While I am thankful for all the usual stuff, I don't really feel the need to write out a long and elaborate list for you. The people in my life should already know how thankful I am that they're in my life, so there is no need for a post. And yeah, having stuff is great. I like having my own apartment, and I like having a clean, warm bed each night. I love my lifestyle, my comfort level, and my (limited) wealth. I know any of those could change at any moment--I am thankful for them--but I also know how little I need any of those. They're great while I have them. What does that leave, then? What else is there to be thankful for? What else means enough to me to mention here?

I'm thankful for:

-opportunity: that I am blessed with the opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed. So many people do not have as many or any opportunities like I've received and will see in my life.

-moments: like the first words I heard when I woke up this morning, "Happy Thanksgiving, you're what I'm thankful for. I love you." Or when I called my Grandmother this evening to wish her a happy day, and she told me I was the only person to call her or talk to her all day from our whole extended family (and she has four kids who are married, nine grandchildren who are mostly married, and over a dozen great-grandchildren--that's a lot of people who forgot her). I'm glad I was able to make her smile a little bit.

-the little things: that my headache finally went away today, that I actually might not be bored if I'm home alone for the next two days, and that I remembered to write a blog post today (seriously, I totally almost spaced this).

-character: I like to think I have a good character, but I'm still growing up. I'm thankful that I have the kind of character that allows me to look at my flaws, find room for improvement, and actively seek to better myself.

It seems like such a short list, especially considering how much I really do have to be thankful for, but I don't want to write a standard post. I will say that I'm always thankful for blog comments. But that's shameless promotion. Guess it's a good thing I have no shame... :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Adventures of Rachel and Jaggy, Volume III

It's a little-known fact that Rachel and I have the ability to instant message each other while we're at work. We work in the same place, approximately fifty feet apart, and have the ability to get up and talk to each other face-to-face. Sometimes, though, while sitting at our computers over the course of our 8-hour workdays, we find ways to amuse ourselves and each other. What follows are several snippets of conversations we've had in the last six months. If you don't get them, I apologize. Rachel and I think it's hilarious!

Rachel: Good morning. Is my sticky-tack here yet?
Jaggy: Hi.
Rachel: :D
Jaggy: Shortly. I see a big truck outside on the dock, so maybe!
Rachel: I'm reading about potatoes and am bored already. Really? I was just harassing you because I was bored. How funny would it be to have a job title "potato DNA fingerprinter..."
Jaggy: LOL

Rachel: Repeat after me... "I will be productive"
Jaggy: I will be productive. Maybe.

Rachel: Why do strange people come into my office and talk to me? Just walk through, get your supplies, and leave. I don’t care who you are, who you know, or who you think I am!
Jaggy: Hehehe, what about me? or am I not "strange people"?
Rachel: No not you. Other people. But you are strange.

Rachel: I am pretty sure I have nothing to do all afternoon.
Jaggy: :(
Rachel: I brought my sandwich in my office, and now it smells like tuna.
Jaggy: eew
Rachel: Do we have a weed code for prickly pear? It's in my weed book...
Jaggy: uh...
Rachel: Do you think that they make marsh mallows from musk mallows?
Jaggy: No, and no code for prickly pear.
Rachel: Sad... I should see about adding one.
Jaggy: You have seen prickly pears in fields?! That's nuts! Now I get to copy/paste into form letters--oh joy!
Rachel: I need something to do! Let me copy and paste!

Rachel: I made it through the D's. Small flowered deervetch? Are you kidding me?
Jaggy: What?
Rachel: It’s a weed with a ridiculously long name! Just call it fluffy weed for gosh sakes. I found another cookie. But I'm forcing myself to eat an apple first... then cookie.

Rachel: It’s almost lunch. lunch. lunch. lunch "Hi floor, Make me a sammich"
Jaggy: ROFL [“rolling on the floor, laughing”]
Rachel: You always laugh at me, and I’m pretty sure you aren't rolling on the floor.
Jaggy: I might be, you don't know.
Rachel: Oh, I know. I would hear you fall out of your chair.
Jaggy: hehehe

Rachel: It scares me that he uses pink ink. What is more disturbing is that it comes out of a purple pen...
Jaggy: ROFL
Rachel: Seriously! If a pen is blue, then it has blue ink. If a pen is red, then it has red ink. If a pen is purple, then it should have purple ink!
Jaggy: You should tell him that.
Rachel: I did tell him. I have coffee spilt down my shirt. I'm classy like that...
Jaggy: Well done!
Rachel: :D

Rachel: I’m reading about potato diseases... so exciting.
Jaggy: Makes you want to eat them, doesn't it?
Rachel: Actually... it kind of does. Makes me think of all the yummy ways you can cook them: tater tots, french fries, fried potatoes, breakfast potatoes, hashbrowns…
Jaggy: ...baked, boiled...
Rachel: ...sweet potatoe pie...
Jaggy: ...stewed...
Rachel: …mashed, garlic mashed, red baby mashed, creamed new potoaoes. I can't even spell potatoes! I’ve spelled it like 5 different ways. I’m so hungry now!

Rachel: BRILLIANT! I have an idea!!!
Jaggy: What is your idea?
Rachel: I totally just hit myself in the head with my phone.
Jaggy: Good idea!
Rachel: It hurt. Right on the cheek bone.
Jaggy: LOL

Rachel: I found a four leaf clover yesterday, but then in the excitement of the power outage I lost it.
Jaggy: hehehe
Rachel: It's not funny. It’s very sad. My first step into a clover field and I found a four leaf clover--it was such a good omen!

Rachel: I need to go home. I just tried to take out a photo copied staple. Not once, not twice, but three times before I realized it wasn’t really there.
Jaggy: Wow, you do need to go home.
Rachel: In my defense, they do look really realistic.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mt. Angel Abbey

About a week ago, my boyfriend and I took a morning to visit the abbey and grounds in Mt. Angel, Oregon. After an entertaining drive up (and quick stop for donuts--of course), we found ourselves parked on a hill, cold morning air stirring the trees, and near silence all around. With the exception of a leaf blower across the lawn (okay, so not quite silent), we didn't see anyone walking around. There were no signs to point us to the bookstore or the museum. We simply wandered around outside until we found the chapel.

The chapel isn't your ordinary chapel. The inside reminds me of a princess' castle with the lavender and bubble-gum-pink paint on the walls. It's beautiful! And the pink marble columns only add to the richness of the orange and golden wood pews. Behind the seats and up in the loft is a giant pipe organ that I can only imagine sounds like a whole choir and orchestra at the same time. On either side of the pews are little alcoves with statues or paintings of saints or other people. Beyond the transept, the brothers gathered for midday prayers and chanted their prayers in English (though I only understood about every third or fourth word). We were two of maybe ten people sitting in about fifty pews, so it's safe to say there was plenty of seating. What a cool experience!

The bookstore is small but well stocked. They have tons of great literature, rosaries hanging on every corner and in cases, plenty of medals, and some neat stuff I'd never seen before. We probably spent as much time in the bookstore just looking around as we did in the small museum. Speaking of the museum, I think that's the smallest "museum" I've been in. They had a couple interesting items (especially the liturgical vestments and Asian writing tools), but the eight-legged calf and the two-headed sheep weren't necessary. The pig hairballs were pretty gross. I did enjoy seeing the fine china display, though, and the mounted animals were kind of cool.

We also ventured over to the library. My boyfriend and I love books, so it was a fantastic place to visit. The architecture is pretty neat if one likes modern architecture (lots of natural light, open shelving, and sparse decoration). I had a fun time looking down one shelf and seeing how many languages I could find. We saw everything from Hebrew to Russian there, plus some books dating back to the early 1800s just sitting there waiting to be read. How cool!

I'm so glad we made the trip up there: I learned, experienced, and had a great time!

Doctor #3

I visited the doctor today, my very own personal doctor. I'm not releasing names at this time, nor will I say which department I visited (it's really not important), but she wasn't too bad. We covered my family history, determined I'm genetically screwed when it comes to heart disease and high blood pressure (duh), and I have a fairly significant risk of breast cancer (again, I knew that). However, my blood pressure was excellent. I have to have some blood drawn in the morning for some routine screening, and I will soon make an appointment to visit the glorious OB/GYN department (oh, happy happy joy joy).

Have I mentioned how much I dislike medicine and the industry that it has become? I feel disgusted that people make so much money off of illness and disease. Today's fifteen minute appointment (that I waited forty-five minutes for) would have cost me well over a hundred dollars just for the consultation if I didn't have insurance. Ugh. Just to talk. I can't imagine how much my blood tests are going to cost, both before and after insurance. Double ugh. And my family wonders why I didn't go into medicine... no way.

[Bonus points if you get the Ren & Stimpy quote...]

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm too lazy for my blog

Aside from yesterday's shopping trip, my weekend was entirely uneventful. Mostly. I watched seven episodes of Brothers & Sisters that I've missed this season due to show time conflicts. My one-button-record thingy on my computer/TV chose The Unit over the other show, so I didn't get this season of Brothers & Sisters on "tape." Making up for lost time, though, and I have missed the Walker family drama.

Oh, and I took a two-hour nap this afternoon. I don't like naps, and I rarely take them, but I felt icky and was bored with a headache, so I napped. I consider those two hours well spent if I do say so myself.

This evening, Mr. Wonderful took me out to dinner. We didn't go somewhere expensive or fancy, but it was a very nice dinner that I appreciate so much.

In case anyone was wondering, though, tomato sauce is one excellent way to piss off a canker sore. Owwwwwwwwwwww.

Figured I'd at least take the time to blog tonight, since I've obviously been too lazy today to even get dressed (except when we went to dinner--I did change out of pajamas for that). It's kind of nice to have one of those lazy weekends every once in a while. Makes me actually want to go to work tomorrow and accomplish something. Right after I get to sleep in...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pajamazed

I've been looking for new pajamas lately, and the selection out there pretty much sucks. You heard me, sucks. As a 20-something, I want to wear comfortable, functional pajamas. Sure, little black lacy numbers are all fine and good, but I'm not exactly on the market for that type of thing. Not to mention those lacy things have too many strings for me, don't fit right, and aren't comfortable in the least. I also don't want to wear anything bright pink, lime green, or hospital white (because, seriously, those are not my colors). Most stores cater to the younger crowd, the sleep-overs-and-late-night-gossiping crowd. I don't want cartoons on my pajamas. I also don't want to wear those masculine button-down shirt/pants sets that make every woman look like her father. And then I had to wade through racks upon racks of nightgowns sewed circa 1890. When did seersucker fabric come back in style, and how quickly can it disappear?! Oh. My. GOSH. Between the fifteen-year-olds text-messaging while shopping and the little old ladies pushing their walkers and carts in my way for two days now, I became incredibly frustrated. How hard is a little cotton long-ish T-shirt-like sleep-shirt without ugly colors or patterns to find? Impossible.

After trying Sears, Target, Fred Meyer, K-Mart, Ross (x2), and JC Penney, I finally found cute pajamas at Gottschalks. On sale. I got a long-sleeved shirt, matching pair of pants, and matching shorts all as one set for under $20. They're age appropriate, fit well, are both summer and winter acceptable, and aren't made of chenille, crushed velvet, or eighteen types of microsuede fleece. Plain ol' cotton. Hallelujah!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Night Droll

I wish I had something new and exciting to report tonight, but I don't. The week was long. I'm tired, a bit cranky, somewhat clingy, and in serious need of a productive massage (as opposed to a "feels good but doesn't do anything" massage).

I'm so glad tomorrow is day one of what will be two gloriously relaxing and not staring-at-a-computer days.

Time to make dinner. Oh, and shower. I might want to do that, too.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Quiet Times

I haven't been very good about updating here often, but I have been thinking a ton about what I'd like to write. It's not easy to open yourself up to criticism (and possibly cruelty) regarding your faith. Between Protestant friends that recoil in terror when I show them my rosary (like it's a gang sign or something--just cracks me up) to my frustrations in finding a Catholic Bible that fits in my hands the way I want it to, things haven't been easy lately. I'm still learning and growing, though the path continues to widen instead of narrow. It's good. It's also rewarding. But it's not easy.

Speaking of the rosary, I have to say that I'm totally digging it. After finishing my study of all of the Bible readings behind the meditations (two months of work on that), I understand so much more how the rosary is a Christ-centered series of prayers. The quiet repetitions of the Hail Mary, Our Father, and other prayers quiets my mind and forces me to take a huge break from the world. I haven't worked up the guts to ask anyone to pray the rosary with me yet, but maybe once I can do the whole thing from memory (or cheat using my handy-dandy notecards) I'll do that.

Before I forget, I have to mention a sweet website I think I found through StumbleUpon. Ask Sister Mary Martha makes me laugh so much! She's really a Sister, really has a blog, and has more wit and charm than most bloggers out there. Not to mention she's really smart. And her information is good, logical, concise, and relevant to today's world. Did I mention she's hilarious?

Survey This

A couple months ago, I completed the American Institute of Consumer Studies booklet survey. In exchange (and true to their word, no strings attached), they sent me a check for $40. The in-home study took me about an hour, and I earned $5 for completing it. So I figure after an hour of in-home study and five hours working on the booklet, I was making just under what I currently make per hour to fill out little bubbles all about myself.

Today, in the mail, I received another booklet survey about my TV watching habits. I do enjoy watching TV (hate ads, though, and fast-forward through them constantly since I tape everything and watch it later). This new survey came with a $5 bill already attached, a crisp, clean, brand-new $5. Not bad!

Why, though (I keep asking myself this), do I enjoy filling out these surveys? Why do I want to do them? Money aside, why? Is the information about me somehow better or more important than information about you? Hardly. Maybe it's like voting: I feel it's my civic responsibility to inform the world what brand of laundry detergent I prefer (ALL, by the way, because it's the only stuff that doesn't make me itch). Maybe it's because I feel like I'm making a difference in society by sharing stuff.

Sure, I can do that all from my blog, but filling in the little bubble next to "Have you watched ER in the last twelve months" is such a satisfying experience...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ode to an Oreo

Last night, in what I will refer to as a "momentary selfish craze," I made an impulse purchase. I bought double-stuffed mint Oreos. They are a treat since I don't buy good (or even name brand) cookies very often. And you know what else? I didn't open them right away. I just left them sitting on my counter when I got home. They didn't tempt me or cause me any grief. They waited all night.

I awoke this morning to find an unopened package of minty-chocolately wonderfulness still sitting there unopened. The package yielded when I applied sharp scissors and hacked away at the outer wrapping. Minty goodness trailed up to my nose, a smell of which I never tire. The cookies left their dark cookie crumbles on my counter as I gingerly dropped them into my lunch container. I shut the lid with a sigh and went on with my morning as if nothing had happened.

What was the fate of those four little cookies? Let's just say they were "savored quickly" at lunch. Savored quickly indeed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mt. Angel Abbey

Last Friday, Mr. Wonderful and I visited the Mt. Angel Abbey. We toured the bookstore, the museum, and the library before joining the monks for their midday prayer at noon. I took a couple pictures, learned a lot, and we both had a good time. More pictures to come... when I can get them ready.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

An Un-Lazy Sunday

After last night's pizza revenge, I am taking it easy and feeling better today. I had plain waffles for breakfast (oh, how I miss peanut butter!) and mashed potatoes for lunch. Yogurt is my next step, followed by something squishy and easy-to-digest for dinner. At least I'm a pro at making soft food after five years of braces (and most of them are my favorites anyway).

I went to Albany to fix Mom's computer today. She's had problems with it for quite some time, so I uninstalled some crappy programs and installed some newer, better, free ones (because free isn't necessarily bad in the world of anti-virus and anti-adware programs). Mom and I had a good, long chat while we waited for some scans to run. We also played some games online while we waited.

After that, I drove into Lebanon to get gas ($2.11 at the Southgate Chevron!) and to see Grandma. I haven't seen her since her 90th birthday in September, so I was feeling pretty bad about not going over there. We had a wonderful talk. She's looking good, and she was in good spirits, so I guess all must be well.

The Boy is coming over soon for a haircut and dinner, so I should get stuff ready. Maybe I can convince him to make me dinner... hmm.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

No More Cheese for Me

I know I've talked about a lot of weird stuff here, and this post will pretty much be as far as I'll take things when it comes to insinuated gross stuff. Apologies now. At least you didn't live through this like I did.

For a while now, I've known that cheese and I aren't getting along. I don't drink milk, and I don't eat cheese apart from the occasional string cheese or whatever cheese is on a pizza. Tonight, Kevin and I made a DiGiorno pizza for dinner. As soon as I'd eaten, I started to feel a little weird. He stuck around for a little bit before heading home. Within a minute after closing the door behind him, I realized I'd better head for the bathroom. Ugh.

Twenty minutes later, still nothing. I've waited at bus stops less time. Seriously, my legs went numb waiting for pizza revenge. So I opted to take a shower, relax in the tub, and spend some time deep breathing. Except every breath made my abdomen hurt worse. Even changing positions caused serious pain. I considered calling my boyfriend to come back and take me to the hospital. Pain so bad I cried (and that is saying something).

I crawled to my bed, ready for any physical reaction possible to my cheesy pizza adventure. I tried to get comfortable, tried to stop the agony, thought of dialing 911 myself but remembered I'd have to get up to unlock the door to let the EMTs in and moving that far would be horrible. I couldn't read. I couldn't think. The rumbles started. Oh boy.

I swore. I prayed. I cried some more. I will not describe the experience, but suffice it to say that I am never eating cheese again.

Friday, November 14, 2008

So Much for an Apple a Day

I caved. I finally did it. I called and set up an appointment to consult with my very own doctor. I haven't had a doctor in years, which means I also haven't had a physical in as much time. Kinda scary, I think, but I've been healthy so there hasn't been any reason to have a personal physician. But now I'm reaching those years where "girly visits" and blood tests and other medical stuff ought to be taken care of. I feel like I need to have some of my medical history charted and down on the books at least. I'm also insured and have the time to go to the doctor's office, so I ought to.

There is still this nagging feeling of resentment and frustration with every doctor I've had previously (except the last one, and unfortunately she's not taking new patients). I don't like going, and I don't want to go. I don't think doctors are as necessary for everything as people make them out to be.

Then again, I'd rather deal with preventative medicine than "oh crap, you're dying" medicine.

And since I know you're wondering, yes, I did find a female doctor at the Corvallis Clinic. No I won't say who (unless she really sucks, in which case you'll know after my visit in a couple weeks). I hope she's nice. I have a lot of hope.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I don't know, maybe...

I read recently that an "I don't know" statement automatically means "no." I don't think that's quite true. Sometimes, maybe, but not all the time. I can't exactly sit and lecture people about using non-definite statements (it's not that I don't like to commit, I just don't give definite answers until I'm sure).

Maybe it's okay to wait on giving an answer when you're looking for more conclusive information. Maybe it's okay to wait when you're unsure of your own feelings or how your actions might change someone else's feelings.

For example, when someone asks me on Monday if I want to do something Friday, they will most likely hear "I don't know, maybe." It's not that I don't want to do something with them or that I'm waiting for other plans. I don't know yet how I'll feel or how much money I'll have to do something at the end of the week. It's not personal. It's not about you. It's just me.

Or in another example, my friends like to label things. They like to pigeonhole me into neat compartmentalized boxes of words they understand. So when they ask me to define myself or say what I think or believe in, I usually give an "I don't know" statement. It's not that I don't know who I am or how I feel, but that I'm not sure what words they want me to use to define myself. I don't know how to express to them that I'm not simply X or Y or anything they can brand. Maybe I'm X to them, but I'm Y to myself. That's not fair, is it?

"I don't know, maybe..." shouldn't be taken as the negative statement most people make it out to be. More than anything else, I think it is a question. A plea for more input. A thought more than a statement.

In the end, it doesn't matter. Yes or no will always come. They have to. That's how the game works.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ain't no dainty girl here...

My boyfriend started it, and my coworkers have confirmed it: I am loud when I blow my nose. Not quiet, not even slightly noisy, but elk-calling-loud. I wish I could help it. I don't mean to be so loud. But being quiet and dainty doesn't get the job done.

Growing up, I remember hearing my father blow his nose. He's a normal-sized (tallish) guy, but when he got a-blowin', you'd better hold your ears. He can trumpet with the best of 'em. If I call Mom and Dad blows his nose in the background (and two rooms away), I always tell Mom, "oop, tell Dad hi, I just heard him."

So maybe it's genetic. Maybe I'm following in my father's nose-blowing footsteps. Seeing that he has big footsteps, I'm going to have to up my game if I'm ever going to compete.

But the loud blows aren't just me: my cold was pretty bad. I was blowin' for two weeks solid. I've had nose bleeds due to my nasal passages being so dried out. I'm finally to a point now where I am not carrying a box of Kleenex. Seriously, it's not all my fault.

Genetics or illness, whatever the case, I will never be known as a dainty woman. I might practice being more quiet, but I doubt it will help. So please don't worry next time you think you hear an elk: it might just be me with a cold. Or it might really be an elk. In which case, I suggest you run.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bring on the Rain

The first storm of the season is upon us, and I am excited. I've missed the rain for so long. While I don't appreciate being wet, I do love sitting inside watching the leaves come down, the trees sway (a little, big wind is scary), and the rain drive in from all directions.

I do not, however, enjoy stepping off a curb into a pile of leaves with six inches of water under it so that my entire shoe, half my pant leg, and my foot end up cold and wet for the rest of the afternoon.

Bring on the rain! and the bone-chilling dampness, the grey gloomy wonderfulness, the dark mornings, the everything-is-the-same-color days, and the fat raindrops that splatter up so high they make even more rain.

Can you tell I'm an Oregonian?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Undisirregardless

have You ever read. a paper where some one didnt know how to use? proper grammer.

OH MY GOSH. I know I went to a public school and shouldn't know how to tie my own shoes, let alone know where commas go, but I do. I know all about periods and hyphens and how to not make a crazy-long run-on sentence. I am also aware that sometimes the rules can be broken. I break them. I use em-dashes incorrectly, and I don't always separate out the parts of a sentence with "and," "but," or "or." But sometimes I start sentences with those conjunctions. I am not writing a professional paper on my blog. The point is that I can use proper grammar: I simply choose not to on my blog.

Therefore, I consider myself qualified and able to critique other people when it comes to grammar. Simple mistakes happen, of course, and I'm not railing on someone who mistypes "one" instead of "once." I'm talking about repeat offenders who can't figure out how to make a list. I'm talking about people who don't know the difference between "gone" and "went." There is no reason a college-educated, a high-school-educated, or even an 8th-grade drop-out student shouldn't know what a semicolon is and how to use it!

I propose that the first class any college student takes shouldn't be Writing 121. It should be English Grammar 101. Until a student can write a list, properly cite a source using both APA and MLA methods, exclaim once or twice, and question everything, they cannot move on to science or math. Undisirregardless of your previous education, knowing how to communicate effectively and professionally should be mandatory. Seriously.

(P.S. I think that's the coolest new word I've invented in a long time.)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Researching

I think I get this from my father. Mom's no slacker when it comes to being informed, and she definitely does her research. But Dad goes and goes and goes on something until it's worn out or he gets tired of it.

I'm a researcher. I like to know stuff. Doesn't matter if I'm researching how beads are made or how much a new TV should cost, I want to know what I'm buying or doing so that I can do it most efficiently. As I look toward the future, I'm gaining "intel" from my friends regarding the apparently daunting search for a house. I read up on technology for work in order to keep things moving smoothly and economically. And sometimes I like to know crazy stuff that doesn't mean anything other than to know it (like the fact that Oregon's state dance is the square dance (just like more than half of the other states)(I think it should be Lindy or foxtrot myself.))

The research I do doesn't even have to be for me. I like looking up information for other people to help them know stuff, too. I've helped my boyfriend do research for his grad school coursework. I helped my sister research the Statue of Liberty so that we could correctly drape a sheet over her accurately for a recent dance (she went as Lady Liberty for the "L-theme" we had).

And even more than that, I've been researching religion for eleven months. I started off not knowing anything, and now I'm able to pick out tiny biases and see where a person stands in relation to what they're writing. I know if a website is pro- or anti-Catholic even though they offer generic "Christian" information (because Catholics are Christian, but I'm still holding out on Mormons not being quite with it).

I'm a researcher. I like to know stuff.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Grass is Always Greener

My boyfriend joined me on another "Shopping Adventure with Jaggy" today. Bless him, he has such patience. I was in search of a specific book title, an out-of-print book that I can only seem to find online. Being tenacious (okay, downright stubborn) and unwilling to give up so easily, I dragged him along to every Christian bookstore in the mid-valley. We did not end up finding the book.

The search, however, proved to be one of the most interesting and shocking experiences I've had so far in my search for religious knowledge. Each of the bookstores we went into seemed to have a decidedly anti-Catholic inventory. Of all of the bookstores, Borders had the greatest selection of New American Bibles. They also had the largest area of Catholic-related literature. The Christian bookstores not only carried the smallest number of "full" Bibles (Bible plus Apocrypha), but they had nothing in the way of Catholic literature or study materials. When I asked one storekeeper if he had rosaries in stock, he looked at me with a sneer and stated, "We don't carry that kind of stuff here." Of course, I realize the odds of a non-Catholic asking about rosaries is pretty slim, but maybe I just wanted to buy one as a gift for a friend (okay, I just wanted to see if the ones available commercially are as good as the ones I can make myself).

Regardless of your opinions concerning any version of the Bible or if you agree or disagree with rosaries, that's not my point. I don't understand why any true "Christian" store would exclude Catholicism or the entire customer base of Catholics. Seems pretty stupid business-wise.

As a side note, I have to say how disturbed I am with any literature or material proclaiming or suggesting an "Army of God" or "Jesus warrior." If I'm not mistaken, the entire point of Christ's teaching is peace. The terms "warrior" and "army" don't exactly sound peaceful, nor are they terms I'd associate with Christianity. Honestly, scary stuff. I think it's possible to follow the church without using warfare or hostility, and I'd imagine kindness is far more effective than soul-bashing. Ugh.

So, now I've seen what it's like to walk into a Christian bookstore as a Protestant seeking information for myself, and as someone whom others assume to be Catholic. It's not about picking sides or saying one is better. I'm still learning. That's the whole point of trying to get this book!

But the anti-Catholic sentiment isn't appreciated. We need to be more understanding, especially within the circle of Christianity. After all, we're on the same side. The grass very well maybe always greener on the other side...

Friday, November 07, 2008

Blog Year Retrospective #3

Three years, over 1000 posts, and too many great events to recount in one short entry. I never could have imagined I’d have enough to say about myself over three years, but the words keep falling from my fingertips. How much has happened in the last year?

I’ve been living in my own apartment just over a year now, and figuring out how to balance a social life with work and other responsibilities wasn’t easy. I’ve explored new ideas, met new people, and grown more than I could have imagined.

Toward the end of last year, I created a new website for my job, a task I’d never undertaken before, and I’m thrilled with how well the site has been received. I’ve tweaked it a bit, and I keep it updated, so I feel almost “official” as a webmaster now. Work saw some great changes in the last year as my best girl friend was hired to work at the same agency. Now I get to see Rachel every day instead of once a month! And, within the last few weeks, my promotion and raise have gone through almost all of the proper channels: I should be reclassified by the end of the month.

The turn of the year was difficult for my family as my grandfather passed away after several years struggling with Parkinson’s Disease and other ailments. Even now, so many months later, writing about it is hard. I am reminded of him every so often through family members, through events, and the lack of his presence in our lives.

I’m told that 2008 was the year of the weddings, and my friends did not disappoint me in the last twelve months. Matthew got hitched in mid-December, and Rachel and Jessie tied the knot in August. Over the summer, my boyfriend and I attended a handful of other weddings this summer. We have friends who are recently engaged, some that will soon be engaged… it’s all about weddings this year!

My hobbies haven’t changed much, but I’ve been able to find time to pursue reading, photography, and beading more lately. I’ve blogged about my different book choices, and I’ve spoken about my beading projects here and there. Of course, my photography appears as much as possible. I wish I had more time, but between work and play, some of my hobbies have taken a back seat.

Dancing, that energizing and exhausting bit o’ fun I’ve been consumed with for almost three years, has also waxed and waned in the past months. I managed to get up to Portland a time or two for some dancing, and I haven’t missed the bigger dances at OSU. Last November and December, I had the lucky opportunity to work with another dancer and teach some lessons to a group of adults. The lessons went well, and I can officially claim my status as a “paid professional” now.

Through teaching those lessons and by spending time and more energy than I thought possible going after some guy, I managed to land myself a boyfriend. It took cooking for him, cleaning and encouraging, and outright sneakiness to get him to notice me. In May, we (finally?) became a couple. Since then, I haven’t stopped cooking or cleaning, and he hasn’t left me, so I figure I’m doing something right… ;)

Through all of that, I have blogged endlessly. All of the events of my life have been carefully recorded, each detail labored over (ha!), and every name mentioned. ORblogs shut down leaving me without a community, but Porblogs recently came about, so I'm excited to see who I can reconnect with in the blogosphere. My blog consumes time and probably too much energy, but having a blog that is meaningful and insightful (at least once in a while) is important to me. I have updated the look around here, and I’ve reorganized a few things, but the focus is still all about my life and adventures.

A long chain of events sparked what has been the largest undertaking since I started college six years ago. I began learning about religions, specifically Christianity and the Catholic roots of Protestantism. I scoured the Internet for information, read volumes of notes and people’s opinions. The experience has been both positive and negative, and I know I’ve definitely changed as a result of the project. A summary of those changes and my religious life will be posted in January as I reach that anniversary. However, seeing that I don’t like pushing religion on my readers in any way, I’ve opted to start a second blog dedicated to the topic. Talk about being a hardcore blogger!

The year has been long, but I think it has been a good one. I’ve laughed a lot, cried some, shared great experiences with fun people, and gained an incredible amount of knowledge and some wisdom about life, love, and what it means to live for someone else more than myself.

Happy three years, and thanks so much for coming back to read again!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Zits-Be-Gone!

Every once in a while, I post something that surprises even myself. This is going to be one of those posts. I apologize if it's all too much information, but at least I'm not going to launch into a tirade about that really girly stuff.

I take pretty good care of myself, and I'm neither high- or low-maintenance when it comes to beauty products. I try to purchase products that work with my skin (and that I know are actually safe for my skin). There's no big secret regimen or daily routine beyond washing my face, applying fairly new make-up (after a year I usually toss it), and keeping things generally groomed are about the extent of my work. It's not a huge deal to me. I get zits, I have blemishes, so what.

But I've known about this product for years without having the guts to try it. This week, I made the jump. I bought a package of Bioré Deep Cleansing Pore Strips and gave them a shot. I followed the directions on the box to a tee, waited the compulsory fifteen minutes, and slowly-slowly-slowly pulled that little white strip off my nose.

HOLY COW.

That is one crazy-ass awesome product! I am not kidding: I could see a forest of blackheads and whiteheads clinging to the back of the strip. They were all stuck there, pointed straight up, as if to say, "oh dangit, you found us!" I used another strip on my chin area (get zits there, too). Same thing, but not quite as dramatic. Simply incredible, though, that my seemingly clean face could have such things living in it.

I'm totally sold on the product. It received an excellent rating over on Skin Deep, so I know it's safe even for my awesomely sensitive skin. I paid about $0.50 per unit, which isn't bad considering how smooth my nose and chin are now, and the satisfaction of knowing all that gunk isn't in my face tonight. Yay for cool beauty products that work!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Porblogs!

I'm part of a new blogging community, PorBlogs! After ORblogs shut down this summer, I was left in the lurch without a group of bloggers to call my own. My traffic here didn't suffer, but I wasn't getting local readers like I used to. Hopefully PorBlogs will have the same effect as the last site, the close-knit-community of similar-minded Oregonians (or even totally different people sharing ideas!). I can't wait to see what happens with the site and with my own blog as a result of the new group. Much thanks to the PorBlogs owner/operator. I'm going to do my part to spread the word... join up if you can, and blog on.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Birthday Thanks

My 25th birthday was quiet, but it was definitely celebrated in many places. I'd like to extend thanks to everyone who wished me the best, especially those who took me to lunch or dinner in the last three days. I haven't had to cook since Thursday of last week (with the exception of one small meal of mac and cheese). Thanks to Matthew and Grace for coming to Corvallis and being able to spend time with Kevin and me. Thanks to Mom and Dad for new shoes and clothes. And extra-special thanks to Mr. Oh-SO-Wonderful for surprising me with a dozen red roses that were waiting for me when I got home yesterday from work, the accompanying hand-written (and hand-cut-out) card, and dinner.

I know birthdays don't mean much to some people, but mine are important to me. I like them. I like being able to say that I'm a year older. Age should be embraced. And I feel blessed in my "old" age!

Monday, November 03, 2008

A Quarter-Century and #1000

Happy 25th Birthday to Me!

I've decided that today should be a holiday as it's one of my favorite days of the year. In honor of the day, this birthday of mine, I offer you a short post so that you can get on with the cake-cutting and festivities in your own homes.

Oh, and by the way, this is my 1,000th post!

...a day for cake indeed!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Lazarus, I hope not

I've been an ER fan since grade school. The show has been there from my early days all the way through college and beyond, and I have laughed and cried with Dr. Ross, Dr. Carter, and Nurse Sam for nearly fifteen years. One of the best episodes ever (and saddest) was when Dr. Greene passed away on his own beach in Hawaii. Dr. Greene was a long-standing character, a higher-ranking doctor in the ER, and he was well-liked. To watch his two-season battle with brain cancer and then his death was incredibly emotional for many, many fans of the show. His passing meant fans everywhere lost a friend.

Today, I watched the most recent episode of the show. At the end, I made sure to watch the previews for the next few episodes, and guess what! They're bringing Dr. Greene back. I don't know how, but apparently because the show is in its final season, it's now suddenly okay to resurrect dead characters. Even if he comes back as a ghost, I'm going to be somewhat disappointed in the show's writers for a Lazarus ending. It cheapens Dr. Greene's character, his death, and the rest of the writing. He's dead. Leave him in the ground.

Now if they brought Dr. Ross back... (that's George Clooney in case you don't follow ER) I think I could watch that over and over and over and over. ;)