Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Subway Meat

Dear Subway Sandwich Artists:
My sandwich is not a piece of art. Why do you insist on decorating the bread with your too-many pieces of lunch meat? Why can't you simply lay the meat flat instead of carefully folding each piece into a meat wave of unevenness? Would alternating the cheese triangles be too complicated for you, or do you need to go back to 1st grade geometry? And how about that lettuce, huh? Can you get it in a nice even line, not clumped up at the ends like you usually do? It's not hard! I know you're all capable...

I'm tired of having to open up my sandwich and rearrange my flavors for even cross-sections every time I buy one. Nevermind that I pay over $6 for one of your delicious sammies: I should get the food the way I want it. Even though I complain about your stupid meat wave tactics when I go, the complaints fall on deaf ears. I am disappointed, Subway Sandwich Artists. You have failed me.

Sincerely,
The pickest Subway customer ever.
Really.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Shaving Incident

I like to think of myself as a generally intelligent woman. Common sense, some reason, and a college degree might also convince you that I'm not a complete moron. But this weekend, I did something I (1) never thought I'd do, and (2) that probably wasn't the brightest idea.

The night before Emily's wedding, I took a shower. I shave under my arms every day, but somehow the only thing I managed to forget was my razor. It was brand new, still in the package, and sitting on the counter with my other stuff... and I forgot it. So I got out of the shower and told my boyfriend that I was having a shaving issue. Knowing that I'd be in a nearly-strapless dress the next day meant not shaving was not an option. He's a smart guy, too, and he wanted to help, so he suggested I use his electric razor to shave under my arms.

Common sense? Reason? Where are you? It made sense in my head: if a guy can use the electric razor to shave thick stubble on his face, I can use the same razor to shave the stubble under my arms. It made sense when we discussed our options aloud: it's still shaving, right?

WRONG. It did, in fact, cut my tiny bit of hair. Well... it cut most of it, but it took skin with it. Even if I had a dull, bent blade in my manual razor, my underarms would not have looked so mauled. I had scrapes, scratches, and all-out cuts.

Then, in my incredible genius, I decided that applying deodorant would help the matter by calming things down. OH NO! It made my armpits burn and itch like nothing else. I was ready to scream. I washed that stuff off and put on some neosporin. That was greasy, but at least it didn't hurt as much.

The Boy cleaned his razor, and I have mostly healed since the Incident. Ladies: never, ever, ever try to use a man's face razor for anything other than his face. Lesson learned!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Traffic School the Hard Way

I am not suited for driving in big cities. Even Salem can be a bit much for me. This weekend, though, I went up to Portland for Emily's wedding. Between her house in Hillsboro, the church in southwest Portland, and the reception somewhere near Tigard, I was sufficiently out of my element driving-wise. In order to get from one place to another, one goes from Highway 26 to Highway 405 to Interstate 5 to Highway 'Something Else' and then a major surface street to the eventually smaller side streets. Where I come from, you turn right at the railroad tracks, left at the end of the road, and poof you're out of town. Even here in Corvallis, the "president streets" go one way and the "number streets" run the other way from the river heading west. The numbers are in order and they generally don't skip or go crazy or anything. The presidents are even in the right order (as far as I can tell, but I don't think they get up to the 1950's anyway). It was insanity. I white-knuckled my way across town three times. Finally, tonight on the way home, I made The Boy drive. I have never let anyone else drive my car, but I felt terrible and didn't want to drive all the way home. He was fantastic and got me home safely.

I do not see myself living in the big city. Traffic is way too crazy up there for me!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Plastic Overload

I couldn't take it anymore: the kitchen needed to be reorganized. Okay, the kitchen didn't need it, but I did. I couldn't get to what I wanted without moving eight things, and the spice cabinet was ready to discombobulate itself. Organizing commenced this weekend, and now I feel like I have so much more space!

What made the huge difference? I save all of my plastic bags after grocery shopping. I'll reuse them to line my bathroom garbage, use them for clean-up as scrap bags when I'm cooking, or use them for muddy shoes after hiking or berry picking or whatever else I need a waterproof sack for. It wouldn't have been bad if I had ten or twenty sacks, but I had three sacks full of other sacks! Apparently I don't use them much. But I couldn't bear to throw them away (they're plastic, after all), so I just kept saving them and piling them up until I ran out of room for them entirely.

The good news: they're out of my kitchen, and their space has been filled with baking supplies so now I can't store that many again. The great news is that the co-op in town will recycle them for me! Safeway also has a drop-off for recycling these plastic bags. I did keep out three or four sacks for my garbage, but there's no reason to keep the rest. My plastic overload is headed for recycling, and I'm so thankful to have my cabinet back.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Car Charts

My parents take excellent care of their vehicles. That careful and diligent attitude was passed along with permission to drive their car. "My" vehicle (it really belongs to them still, but we call it "mine" just for clarification) is approximately thirteen years old, and we have owned it for all thirteen years. Between my parents and me, we can account for every quart of oil, every tire rotation, and every gallon of gas that car has seen. I can tell you which gas station I filled my tank at when the car turned 175000 miles. I can show you graphs and charts of my gas mileage, the gas prices over time, and how many miles/tank I get on average. This kind of detail might seem a bit overkill to most people, but it's pretty cool to know. Furthermore, when my parents try to sell or trade in the car, the potential owner will know that my parents do take very good care of their vehicles. Of course, the potential owner could also look inside at the near showroom perfect interiors, the spotless cracks and crevasses outside the car, or the unblemished paint on the hood. Okay, okay, a thirteen-year-old car has a few nicks, but still, my car looks pretty damn good for its age and mileage!

Last night, I wrapped up my charting for 2008. I was surprised and rather pleased when I saw the trend for gas prices over the year:
This isn't some super-awesome graphic, nor is it particularly useful now other than to look at. I do, however, find the trend interesting. I'll let you postulate why the trend was so high in the summer and dropped so sharply in October and November. Whatever the reason, the lower prices make my pocketbook feel that much better.

I could post more of these simple little graphs, but none of the are any more interesting. It's a bunch of good information to have, though, so I keep plugging along hoping that my car will make it another year in tip-top condition.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Crock On!

My big gift this year was a crock pot from my parents. Now I can let soup or stew sit more or less unattended while I go about my blogging! The good news is that I'm stoked to use it, but the bad news is that I'm not sure what to cook first. Okay, I'm not really sure what to cook at all. I've adapted most of my recipes for the stove top, so I don't even know how to go about this.

Question time! And I would really appreciate some help on this one:

What are your family slow-cooker or crock pot recipes that you find delicious?

I'm willing to try something new as long as there is no fruit, NO curry, and no beans involved. Also not a fan of BBQ flavors, mushrooms, or anything requiring lots of flavors mixed together. Examples of slow-cooked foods I do enjoy include clear-broth soups, beef stew, beef or pork roast (sometimes), lemon-pepper or balsamic chicken, just about anything with potatoes and sausage, and the occasional venison. I love fish, shrimp, and crawdads (if I know where they were caught and how they were cleaned), so I'm thinking a crawdad bake is in the works...

I need help finding these recipes, so anything you suggest might end up on the table (especially if it involves pasta and tomato or alfredo sauce--The Boy and I could live on pasta!).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays, not Merry Christmas

The tree is trimmed, the presents are wrapped, the carols ring out, and I'm a bit confused. What would Christ think of us celebrating His birthday in December when He was probably born in the spring?

"Uh oh," I hear you saying, "hold the phone! Jaggy's losing it." I'm not going to say anyone is wrong for celebrating Christmas. I'm not going to get on anyone's case for believing in the traditions of Christmas, Christ's holiness, or just wanting to party once each year. We all celebrate different things, and that's fine. But before you go off shouting "Merry Christmas" at the top of your lungs to cover up someone else's "Season's Greetings" because you think they aren't celebrating "correctly," I'd like to fill in some information about the holiday.

First, let's start with the name "Christmas." It literally means Christ's Mass. Unless you're celebrating Mass in honor of Christ's birth, you're missing the boat entirely. However, we're not all Catholic, and we go to church but don't call the service Mass. Same thing, different name, right? I could get all nitpicky about how Protestant services don't cut the mustard when it comes to celebrating a proper Mass, but that might make a few people mad. I guess "close enough" will have to work for going to any ol' church service on Christmas.

Next, the actual date of Christmas wasn't set until over three hundred years after Christ's death. The Catholic Church decided to stick Christ's Mass on the same day as the pagan holiday of Saturnalia in Rome and Yule in northern Europe in order to earn converts. Not a stupid move when you think about it: incorporate a few pagan traditions and more people might think the Church is cool. It’s much easier to convert people who "already believe" what you do, than to beat it into them. Not to mention that the whole "while shepherds watched their flock by night" bit doesn't float in December. Sheep aren't out grazing at night in December. They are, however, out in the springtime. (I won't even get into the whole Easter is actually in June, not April, bit until later). Christ Himself would not have celebrated His own birthday: only the pagan gods in His day would have been so selfish. Maybe the Church messed up the date, maybe they didn't... we'll never know. They definitely incorporated pagan traditions, though, without question.

I'm guessing you have a tree in your house, fake or not. Christmas lights hanging in the window? or perhaps you're planning a big feast on Christmas day? All pagan traditions. Sure, Christians like to feast and have done so for centuries as well, but the feast on Christmas was actually the winter solstice feast. The evergreen trees and boughs were symbols of life after winter to the Norse people. Christmas lights are really supposed to be reminding us that the longer days are coming, not reminiscent of the star shining over Bethlehem. And don't even get me started on Santa Claus. Oh Holy Night, that jolly red man is a 19th-century invention!

Okay, okay, barring the facts that the date might be wrong, the traditions borrowed, and the reason for the season largely forgotten in today's hyper-consumption ideology, we're left with a bit of a confused holiday. Great. Tradition for tradition's sake then? Not in this country. The Puritans tried to do away with Christmas altogether. That's right, the founders of this country disavowed the holiday. It wasn't a part of America's first traditions and was even banned in some cities for years. Not until the 1820s was the holiday officially declared in this country, and it wasn't even widely celebrated until well into the Victorian Era.

As a side note, it perturbs me when people demand that Christmas is Christian holiday and that the United States is a Christian country. Christ's Mass is a Christian holiday, but the borrowed pagan traditions pretty much nullify the rest of the season as truly Christian. (I could go into how many Christian traditions are borrowed in the first place, but that would be for more than a blog post.) Our country was founded on the ideals of freedom of religion and the ability to decide who you are and what you believe. We are a majority of Christians, but we are not wholly and exclusively Christian. To forget that citizens of this country rightly celebrate Christmastime without having any part in Christ's Mass is to forget millions upon millions of individuals! (Some might argue that includes Protestants, too, who don't go to a proper Mass, but I don't want to offend anyone…)

Enough blasting. Christmastime is a happy few days for all who celebrate in whatever way they do. Christianity, at its very best, adapts to new environments and changes over time. That's the beauty of the Faith: Christianity can change its methods without changing its message, and it has done so for millennia. (Case in point: in the Amazon, they do not have sheep, so the people spreading the Gospel down there changed all references of sheep to the Amazon sacred animal, the chicken. Jesus is the sacrificial chicken!) The holiday is supposed to be a celebration of Christ's Mass, of His birth. If having a tree, giving presents (also a custom started by the United States in the 19th century), and singing carols makes you feel like you're honoring Christ, I'm sure He doesn't mind. I bet He'd get a kick out of Rudolph and the other reindeer, don't you?

That said, do not, for one second, think that shouting Merry Christmas instead of Season's Greetings or Happy Holidays makes you a better, more correct person. If you think you're standing up for your country by defending Christmas as one of our national holidays from day one, you're wrong. The season is winter. The holidays are Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Boxing Day, the winter solstice, and probably a few more I haven't heard of. It's okay to share glad tidings during this time, and it's wonderful to offer Merry Christmas to others as long as you're not offended when they share a different greeting with you. I’m not trying to make the holiday greetings taboo, and I’m not trying to discourage niceties. I am, however, encouraging people to respect others and keep in mind that not everyone is exactly like them.

As for me, I will be celebrating my first "official" Christ's Mass this year. I get to see the real deal for once, and I'll sprinkle on the pagan traditions for good measure. I have my tree, am giving a few presents, and already feasted. No matter who you are, what your beliefs, or where you're from, I wish you the best this holiday season. Happy new year as well!

For more information about the holiday season, please see The History Channel's Real Story of Christmas or check out Wikipedia's entry on the holiday.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Vacation!

I haven't had this many days off since I was in college. For the first time ever as a working adult, I get more than five consecutive days off paid. I have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off as part of the union contract, Friday off since the university is closed, and Monday off with vacation since Emily is getting married. YAY for vacation time!

What do I plan to do with all that time? I need to write, read, and catch up on several blogs. I want to spend time with family and maybe do some cooking. I might even start a new craft project... who knows. I get more time off the following weekend, so I should be good and rested by the time the new year comes.

Ah, sweet sweet time off. I am one thankful kid today. :)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sorry for the total lack of updates this month...

I know I haven't written here in a while, but don't worry yet! New posts are coming. I really am working on some stuff (in my head) and need to find the time to squish all the words out. I am still trying to stumble my way through the Catechism. I'm reading when I can, but between work and a social life it's hard to find free time.

What's in the works?
-a year retrospective on my journey into formal religion
-a piece about the history of Christmas
-a serious rant about what I'm sick and tired of when it comes to Christianity at large
-answers to questions you submit! If you have a question about religion, faith, or about me and what I believe (specifically), ask! If I don't want to answer, I won't, but seeing how little I've updated lately, I could use some help coming up with topics. What do you want to know?

Snowman

I think I'll call this one "Snowman, by Mr. Wonderful" since The Boy created this little devil next to my front door last week when we had a bunch of snow. The littlest snowman had bark pieces for arms, and it was too small for other features. Though he only stood about ten inches tall, he was probably the cutest snowman I've ever seen. :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Exiled

The Boy and I were watching TV this afternoon when we channel-surfed onto MTV's Exiled. The show is about incredibly wealthy kids in their late teens who do not understand the value of a dollar. The kids are so spoiled and pampered that they demand to be treated like royalty and catered to 24/7. In the one episode we sat through, a boy was exiled to Morocco to learn what hard work means. He had to pick up camel dung, dig for fossils, build walls out of clay and mud, and dig trenches for water in the garden. I have no doubts about two things: the Berber people live hard lives, and the brat took absolutely nothing meaningful about money or the value of stuff away from his trip.

The Boy and I sat in utter disbelief about the "I can'ts" and the "I'll die if I have to's" this kid threw at his host family. It was embarassing to think that someone could be so disrespectful to another person's way of life. The male host that helped the kid through the seven days of his exile was truly patient and gently encouraging, and they seemed to get along toward the end, but I think he was laughing at the kid on the inside. So heartbreaking...

I think the bottom line with the show (beyond the hilarious shock factor) is to teach the viewer to be thankful. Just like my Thanksgiving post last month, I'm not going to list things out that I'm thankful for: the list would invariably be too short. Is it wrong to say I live a life where my 800 square feet is enough and that I'm happy with what I have? It's so much even if the curtains don't exactly match. I don't need to be exiled to know that I have it pretty damn easy.

And no, I don't recommend the show. Spoiled brats being disrespectful in foreign countries is not a good or remotely educational way to spend an hour of your time. I suggest the History Channel instead!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Un-Christmas

Today was my un-Christmas. The Boy and I were supposed to drive to Redmond with my parents and sister today for my mom's extended family's annual Christmas soiree. Due to heavy mountain snowfall this week and a winter storm in the works as I blog, we opted to stay in the valley. While I never wanted to drive that far for the family bash in the first place, I have to admit I'm a little sad I didn't get to go this year. Sure, I could have braved the pass and gone really slow around those twisty-turny roads, but without much blizzard experience, it was safer and probably better that we didn't go.

Instead, Mr. Wonderful and I went to my parents' house and joined them, my sister, and Grandma for one of Mom's elaborate and delicious turkey dinners. Mom has the turkey dinner down to a science at this point, and her nearly fat-free (but exceptionally flavorful!) meals are something I don't get to enjoy often. She slow-cooked half a turkey, mashed the potatoes and yams, made clear turkey gravy (I have yet to understand how she gets it that clear and still have flavor), sugar-free red Jell-o, dry un-stuffed stuffing (crumbly and crusty, not mush at all), sweet corn, and dinner rolls. The rolls were probably the most unhealthy part of the meal, but as always, I think they were the first to disappear.

Dessert made up for the health factor (let's not get crazy or anything). Mom splurged on a cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. I snagged a piece of the dulce de leche cheesecake, and oh my was that ever delicious! Smooth, sweet, caramelly goodness!

I didn't know caramelly was a word, but my spell-checker accepts it.

Today's small family thing was really nice, though, even if we couldn't be with the big family. It was like every Christmas I remember, except no drama, no wine, no gifts, no cousins, and no being banished to the kids' table. Wait a minute... I love little Christmas! ;)

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's just not the same...

This year, Mom let me make the sugar cookies. It might not sound like such a big deal to you, but let me assure you, this is the first time in twenty-five years I've ever seen Mom relinquish her sugar-cooking-baking rights. She didn't exactly "give" me the recipe (it may have been stolen and copied from her super-secret recipe box right before I moved, go figure), but she did point me in the right direction for her traditional frosting.

I labored in the kitchen all last night mixing dough, chilling dough, rolling and cutting and scraping dough, wadding up misshapen cookies to try again, and finally baking cookies (without burning them thanks to about a dozen different prayers). They tasted okay, but they just weren't the same. Too dry maybe? Too much flour? Too much cream of tarter?

This afternoon, on my snow/sick day (a headache and not wanting to drive in the three inches of snow Corvallis received overnight--don't worry, they cookies are not contaminated by germs), I mixed up a giant batch of frosting. We've never iced cookies: they're frosted with a buttercream frosting like none other. Well, okay, the recipe comes right off the box of powdered sugar, but it's sooooooooo yummy. I stirred and mixed and blended and moaned my way through the bowl of thick sugary goodness. Then I divided the frosting into green and red halves and applied it to all of the cookies, a few of my fingers, one of my cheeks, and somehow a strand or twenty of hair. Yeah, I'm that good. Sprinkles topped everything off, green and red ones, and I even dashed in some colorful nonpareils. Or however you spell those little dots.

So the cookies are made, frosted, and taste-tested by two cookie-savvy people. And you know what? They're pretty good. Not perfect, but certainly tasty. They look beautiful! But it's just not the same without Mom's touch. It's just not the same...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Boy Makes Cookies

I'd have a picture of me making cookies, but The Boy didn't get out my camera when I was baking tonight. Instead, I have a picture of him making cookies with his mother (not pictured) from last weekend.

Yes, baking cookies is hard work. ~wipes brow~ But you should have seen how easy it was it eat cookie dough...

Joyeux Noël!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Crackling Christmas Tree

In our office at work, we have a small, fake Christmas tree. It stands about four feet tall and is adorned with little red ornaments and red fake flowers. When we plug in the tree, it lights up with tiny white lights, and it adds a little festive element to the room.

However, on Monday we noticed that after we plugged in the tree, it started making a popping or crackling noise every once in a while. There was no smoke, nor could we smell anything burning, so we just left it for a while and kept an eye on it. After another hour or two of freakish snapping and popping, we opted to be safe and at least unplug the tree. The noises didn't stop. They continued all day. Even on Tuesday, we'd hear the occasional crack or snap, sometimes two at once, but still just as frequent as when it was plugged in. Today, Wednesday, I heard the same noises.

What could it be? We've all hypothesized different things:
-a draft causing two ornaments to click together (too random, and we can't find the draft)
-static electricity (not affecting anything else in here though)
-man-eating squirrels (guess who suggested that one!)
-ghosts or angels (seems unlikely)
-possession (can a tree become possessed?)

As you can see, our ideas have not been productive, nor have we found a solution. We're afraid to plug in the tree and cause more crackling, and we're pretty sure the man-eating squirrels wouldn't be pleased if we moved the tree again. Okay, so I'm stuck on the squirrel idea, but seriously, if your tree started making noises all by itself, what would you think!?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lyrics Without Song

I'm digging deep in the archives lately to pull out posts since I'm too lazy to write anything original. Have no fear, though, as today's rant is just as current and thriving as it was when I wrote it waaaay back in 2006. (Yeah, I can't believe I've been blogging that long either.)

You ever read someone's blog and all they have posted for the day is a song lyric? Drives me nuts. Like I'm supposed to magically decipher exactly what the songwriter had in mind, let alone understand how that's making the blog's author feel at any given moment? When the poster writes, "I'm too depressed to write, so here is a song that's speaking volumes to me at the moment..." and then proceeds to post snippets of a song instead of the whole thing, I just give up. I don't care what the song lyrics say. I want to hear what you have to say. It's called a "blog," not a "copy-paste-lyrics-'cuz-you're-lazy." If your words are exactly the same, then write them, but put the lyrics down as your own words in complete, explained sentences. If you can't write coherently, don't post.

Copying lyrics doesn't take thought. It can be done by a monkey! (slight exaggeration, but seriously, copy/paste could technically be done by robots or a monkey)

When I see lyrics, I usually jump to another webpage as quickly as possible. There's no reason for me to keep reading. The words aren't yours. They aren't about you. I don't want to read something on your blog that I can find on dozens of other websites. How would you feel if I left you hanging with some obscure, completely unexplained song lyric that meant nothing to you?

Oh, wait, that's the perfect end to this rant! or not...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Topics vetoed for today's post...

kissing
dinner
a continuation of last night's milk-capades
how cold it is outside
massages
how cold my feet are since we just went for a walk outside
driving in the snow/ice
my boyfriend's love of sticking really cold things on my bare skin

...and then I got distracted by dinner and other stuff.  I am now going to go seek my revenge for the cold-things-on-skin bit.  Totally not cool.  I mean, totally not hot.  Grrr!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Milking It

I've tried to blame my digestive issues on a potential lactose intolerance. Sometimes I think I'm right, but other times I just can't tell. It's frustrating, too, since I enjoy eating cheese and food with cheese on it. Rephrase: I like a few kinds of cheese on a handful of foods. I just happen to like those select items a lot.

Yesterday, I had The Boy's Mom's homemade macaroni and cheese (which, by the way, was fantastic). Though I was nervous it might make me a bit um, upset, it did not. I didn't eat a ton, and I felt fine all day and night. YAY! The night before, I had cheesy pizza which didn't make me sick either.

While at the store tonight, I was in the cereal aisle. I do enjoy a few cereals on occasion, but I usually eat them plain as a snack or something. Peanut butter Cap'n Crunch is one of those good finger cereals. The boxes were only $2 each for the big boxes, and I haven't had good name-brand (or any!) cereal in ages. I bought one of those plus one store-brand raisin bran crunch stuff. I also bought a half-gallon of milk. Tonight, I had cold cereal for dinner.

And it was glorious.

So far so good. I didn't put in a lot of milk, nor did I drink the milk at the end (eew!). Tomorrow, I'm going to put a slice of cheese on my sandwich and hope for the best. After considering the issues I've experienced, I think my digestive complaints might be related to grease and fatty foods (like beef) more than a specific lactose intolerance.

Regardless of the outcome, the cereal was awesome. I'm not giving up my waffles every morning just yet, but I might sneak in a bowl of cereal before bed some night. *sigh*

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Un-Crazy Weather

It's cold outside, and I'm eating fresh homemade cookies. Mr. Wonderful and I went up to his parents' house today and helped his mom make cookies. By "help" I mean that he sifted flour and I took pictures. I think she was ready to fire us. :)

With a winter "storm" blowing in, I'm laughing at the news a bit. Each station seems to have sent out half a dozen "on scene" reporters that inform the viewers about the current conditions. They all sound the same: "The pavement is wet, but it's getting cold enough that things might freeze. If the rain keeps falling, it might turn to sleet or snow. By morning, we might have an inch of snow!" Oh dear, a whole inch? From rain that froze and turned to snow (that's how that happens... who knew)? I'm just amazed at how funny the "storm trackers" are in the Willamette Valley. It's December. It's winter. The likelihood of a bit of snow or ice doesn't exactly surprise me.

Now if it was a heat wave and they were cracking eggs on pavement to make omelets in December in Oregon, I might be tuning in a bit more. That would be crazy weather!

In all seriousness, accidents happen with or without snow. If you do happen to venture out in the next few days, please be safe. No sense ignoring safety even if you ignore the crazy weather people on TV.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Here's your Friday post...

After a day of being disrespected, disregarded, and generally dismissed, I haven't the conviction to actually post something interesting tonight.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Assembler

I'm hooked on an online game. Assembler and Assembler 2 are a sort of puzzle game (the second game is a more difficult version of the first with more levels). You use blocks, wheels, and sticks to try to get a certain block in a special position. The cool part is that all of the elements you touch or pick up act according to normal laws of physics. If you pick up one end of a stick, the other end might not rise up. Sometimes things get stuck. Sometimes things fall down. It's addicting! Do not play for long: you will dream of a little green box just like I do now.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thump

new, yet beaten
grating and force-fed

a boxing match of
annoying smacks

the weary discourse
in a mendacious storm

weapons aside
a sliver of understanding

a glut of judgment
the smile unbound

rampant apologies
cultivating dread

thump thump thump

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Picky

I've had it. Game OVER.

Until people stop picking on me about my food choices or learn to live with the fact that I'm different, I'm going to flip my lid when someone picks on me about food. It's all the time. I've reached the point where I no longer go out to eat with friends because they'll say something like, "but you always get that to eat. Why not get this?" I don't go to parties where other people cook for two reasons: first, other kitchens usually scare me, and second, because people like to "hide" ingredients in their food. Tell me exactly what you're making before you make it, and I'll let you know if I want to join you. Don't take it personally when I decline. I am not ashamed of my likes or dislikes, nor do I care what people think about my odd diet. It seems to be working well for me so far in any case (I'm healthy at least).

Seriously, nagging at me about this every day is exhausting. It's the kind of thing that would drive someone to an eating disorder. Good thing I enjoy my plain ol' peanut butter sandwiches too much to give them up.

I worked in a kitchen: believe me when I say I've tried many things I never thought I'd eat. I know without a doubt the foods I do and do not like. Harping on me, teasing me, and reminding me constantly that you don't approve of my habits isn't going to help your cause. Let it go. Leave me alone. Find peace in your own foods, and I shall attempt to do so with mine.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Get Those Lights On!

I went to Albany yesterday afternoon to drop off some stuff at my parents' house. To get there, I had to take a couple different highways and chose to take a few backroads as well. The day wasn't particularly foggy, nor was it a story or dark day. As I was headed north on Columbus from Highway 34, though, I realized that I didn't see an oncoming car almost until we passed each other. The car wasn't any special color, just a silvery-tan like any other four-door sedan might be. My vision is fine, corrected with contacts and quite perfect for any standard situations. After a self-status-check and a car-status-check, I realized why I didn't see the car: its lights were not on. Even in the middle of the afternoon, the car blended right in with the road and the sky.

I'm fairly young, a twenty-something with an excellent driving history and no health problems. My reflexes are entirely intact. I, too, drive one of those mid-sized four-door cars, so I don't stand out much. Believe me, when I realized how hard it was for me to see the other car, I made sure my lights were on (and they were already, FYI). But knowing that not every driver out there has my physical or mental faculties scares me.

New drivers, older drivers, distracted drivers, and even your average-having-a-bad-day drivers might not see you right now unless your lights are on even at 2:00pm. It's Oregon. It's rainy, foggy, cold, possibly slick, and definitely not as bright outside. PLEASE do yourself and me a HUGE favor: turn your lights on when you're driving. It really don't cost that much, and any life saved is worth it.

As a side note: if you see someone with their lights off, flick yours on and off once or twice quickly (DO NOT use your high beams!) at them. It should signal them to turn their lights on. They'll probably ignore you, but at least you tried.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Random Questions XIII

A Couple Questionnaire (or 'all the things you never needed to know about my relationship')

1: What are your middle​ names​?​
The Boy and Jaggy do not have middle names. Our first names are fancy enough to not require such nonsense. He might argue his is "awesomeness" though.

2: How long have you been together?​
almost seven months (and we still haven't fought!)

3: Do you have any children together?​
none that I know of... considering the whole "only dating him seven months" bit. I'd be rather surprised to find out I have had one of his children. But I'm definitely not opposed to having his children. Just not this week.

4: What about​ pets?​
None together, none apart. We have pet-free apartments, so none now. I don't like pets indoors anyway.

5: Did you go to the same school?​
No to early education, but yes to college.

6: Are you from the same hometown?​
No.

7: Do you live in the same town now?
Yes, but we're in different zip codes

8: Who is the smart​est?​
Totally depends. He is constantly surprising me with his brilliance, and then there are moments when I'm astounded that I know something he doesn't. He's great with math and figuring stuff out. I'm a whiz at sounding intelligent without having a clue what I'm talking about. In the end, I think we're fairly equal.

9: Who is the most sensitive?​
Good question. His ego is impervious, but I know what grates at him. I'm probably more sensitive, but I'll dig in harder and fight back more. I'll say me.

10: Where​ is the first​ place​ you went to eat as a couple?​
Oh dear, other than my apartment or his, I have no idea. Our first "official" date was to Strega, but we'd been dating a few weeks before that happened.

11: Do you wear matching cloth​es?​
I guess it's possible if we both wear jeans and black jackets. We don't intentionally wear the same thing though. It just happens that we like the same style and type of wonderfully comfortable clothing.

12: Where​ is the furthest​ you have traveled as a couple?​
Eugene, I think. Maybe Woodburn or the coast. Those are all an hour from here, so it's close. We'll be going to Redmond soon, and up to Portland after that. We have been too busy and too poor to get out and really travel much.

13: Who has the craziest ex[​es]​?​
Neither of us have crazy exes. I have more, but they're not crazy.

14: Who has the worst​ temper?​
We don't have tempers! I get frustrated, but I don't explode or anything, and I have only seen him get a bit fed up with stuff a few times. Nothing major. We both have ways of dealing with things, and we've never really fought. It's great!

15: Who does the cooking?​
MMMEEEEEE. Sometimes him, mostly me.

16: ​Who'​s more social?​
HIM. I probably talk to people more, but he is more outgoing.

17: Who is the neat freak​?​
Oooh, a tough one. We're both neat and tidy people, but I think I'm a bit more obsessed with the germ killing (see yesterday's post).

18: Who is the most affectionate?​
Him, mostly. I have moments, but I'm going with him.

19: Who is the most stubborn?​
I am. He can be thickheaded when he wants to be, but he's no match for my stubbornness. Not a chance.

20: Who hogs the bed?
Oh dear. I can't answer this one!

21: Who wakes​ up earlier?​
I do since I have to be at work at 8:00am. He has to be up for class at NOON.

22: Where​ was your first​ date?​
Strega, then home for Lego-building and a movie (it was perfectly sweet)

23: Who said "I Love You" first​?​
He did by about five seconds, and I would have said it faster but he kissed me so I couldn't get the words out. Silly boy!

24: How did you spend​ your 1st year anniversary?​
That hasn't happened yet, so I can't answer it.

25:​ ​Who has the bigger family?​
We both come from a family of four. Our extended families are pretty large though. Person-for-person, probably his, but not by much.

26: ​Who is young​er?​
I am. By about two and a half months, la-de-dah!

27: Who is the life of the party​?​
He is. I'm usually the death of every party, no kidding.

28:​ ​Who do you hope your kids turn out more like?​
Oh my, I have no idea. I hope our kids turn out like responsible, funny, smart people. I don't care if they're more like him or me, and I don't really care if they get his eyes or mine, his charm or my abrasiveness... I pray that my children are healthy. Everything else is frosting (which is so much better than icing by the way)

29:​ ​Who wears​ the pants​ in the family?​
I love this question! Neither of us wear the pants, or both of us wear the pants. We don't answer to each other, but we do consult the other. We trust each other, know the other's strengths, and rely on the other person to make a decision or ask for help. We love to do stuff together, so we're constantly helping. It's not about wearing the pants to us.

30: What's your favorite thing to do together?
Everything. We like shopping together, cooking together, watching movies and reading even. I can't think of a single thing (within reason and common sense) that I'd rather do alone than do with him.

31: Do you have the same political views?
Somewhat. He's a fairly right-end conservative, and I generally tend to be a shade or two more liberal. That makes me a slightly liberal conservative (contrary to how everyone perceives me, that's the truth). I see both sides of most subjects and am more moderate in my views, but I know where he's coming from. Regardless of any views, we respect each other for the views we do have even if we don't share them.

32: What about religious views?
He was raised Catholic, and I was raised Protestant. I attend his church willingly, appreciate most Catholic views, and would consider converting. In the end, even if I don't become Catholic, I know he respects me for my beliefs, and I respect his. Just because we disagree about the Pope (example!) doesn't mean we don't value each other or want to walk away from the other person.

33: Who has the most stuff?
Oy, probably me. I'm pretty well stocked.

34: Who controls the remote?
Totally depends. Generally him at his place, me at mine.

35: Who does the driving?
I think I do, but my car is a bit more reliable. If we have to go somewhere out of town, the person who needs/wants to go usually does the driving.

36: Who takes out the garbage?
Um, we both do at our own places. He has taken mine out a few times though.

37: Who does the cleaning?
We are both fully capable of cleaning, but I tend to do all of mine and some of his because I'm a super-nice girlfriend who enjoys cleaning.

38: Who does the laundry?
We both do our own laundry. He hates folding it, so sometimes I help with that.

39: Who is the funniest?
I wish I could say me, but I honestly can't tell. I think we're both funny.

40: Do you think you will get married?
A girl can dream, right?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

A Cleaning Whirlwind

I am so productive when I set my mind to it! On this Saturday, I have:

-made breakfast (more than just cold cereal)
-dressed and put on make-up (who does that on the weekends, really?)
-went to Staples to pick up ink so I can print our family calendars
-went to the Dollar Store to get cheap cleaning supplies
-came home, unpacked, visited with The Boy for a few minutes before he went to study
-had lunch
-started printing calendars (and continued to print them long into the night)
-wiped down all windows and bleached the windowsills as black gunk was starting to grow
-dusted bedroom and living room (even lifted stuff up instead of just going around it)
-changed my bedsheets
-cleaned the bathroom top to bottom
-cleaned the kitchen (except mopping... I was worn out)
-wiped down my lampshades, desk chair, and other things I don't normally dust
-went to Michael's for more melting candy
-stopped at Arby's for a snack
-sat down for a nanosecond to eat and unpack again
-molded two trays of candy for an upcoming Christmas party at work (more to do still)
-emptied my fridge of food I know I'll never eat (like that two-week-old jar of sauce)
-went to Ross and bought a new belt
-went to WinCo to get food for dinner/breakfast and the rest of my week
-showered
-made dinner
-blogged, including writing tomorrow's post already

I think it's safe to say I'm going to sleep well tonight. PHEW!

Friday, December 05, 2008

How Clean is Your House?

Mom of Three got me started on the show when I read about it on her blog. Now I'm transfixed. The BBC television show How Clean is Your House? reveals the slobs of Great Britain and the United States. The two hosts are comical, sharp, full of great cleaning tips, and are wizards with grime. I'm stunned every time I start a new episode and see just how filthy some people live.

A couple nights ago, I was watching an episode where Aggie (a host) took a swabbing of the countertop and had it tested at a lab. The results were horrifying. I immediately paused my show, got up and went into my kitchen, took everything off the counters, and cleaned the shit out of it. Of course, I'd just wiped it up with a clean rag a few hours before, but since I hadn't used anything but hot water, I knew that bacteria were growing somewhere. I picked up my toaster oven and scrubbed it off. I wiped out my microwave again. Soon, I'll get to the floors, but I just did those last weekend anyway...

My once-every-two-weeks shower cleaning routine just doubled to once-per-week-without-fail. I'll be wiping down my bathroom counter more often. Oh, and that little sponge I had by my sink? No more. I use clean dish rags every time I do any cleaning up. Sure, I could dust more, but how much is too much?

If ever there was a show to inspire OCD tendencies, this show is it. But it's so fun to watch the transformations of the disgusting houses... wow. From "eek" to "whoa!"

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Blogging about Mr. Wonderful

It's no secret around here that I'm dating someone very special. I often refer to him as Mr. Wonderful, The Boy, or simply by name. After looking through some old posts, though, I realized you probably don't know much about him. And seeing that he's such a huge part of my life, I thought I'd explain why I don't write more than I do.

The short version: that's the way he wants it. I respect his privacy enough to not post much more than "The Boy and I went shopping today," or something generic and nondescript. I've dedicated a few posts to exploring how much he means to me, but still, it's not about him as much as it is what I think about him. Even getting him to "allow" me to post a picture of us took some arm twisting (I say "allow" because he doesn't have control over me, but I do respect his wishes when it comes to privacy).

What can I tell you that he won't get mad at me for later?
-He's handsome.
-He has an indestructible ego.
-He's articulate and funny.
(and so on... this list could go forever)

What kind of stuff should I not mention and will get in trouble for later?
-*censored*
-*deleted*
-*removed*

Are you kidding? I have the dirt, but I just don't think it's in my best interest to share sensitive stuff with you. I could try... though I'm working on that whole "filtering" thing. Not always successful. Tonight it's working.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Labels

At the doctor's office this week, I had to fill out some paperwork. One of the questions asked for my religion. As much as I wanted to fill in "yes" and see if they said anything, I didn't. Part of me was offended that my doctor would even care what my faith is, but I understand why they'd want to know. Some religions have a problem with some types of procedures or treatments. Seeing that I'm some weird half-breed between Catholic and Protestant, I refrained from putting down either and branded myself "Christian" on the paper.

It's not a lie. I am Christian, albeit unbaptized and chock-full of sinful tendencies. Medically, this is not an important label. If I need blood, I don't care if I receive Muslim, Jewish, or Buddhist blood. I care that the blood has been tested for diseases and has the right blood type label on it (duh!).

What matters is that I had to label myself something. I have refrained from doing so as long as possible. It's not that I'm afraid or don't care or don't want to claim a side. It's not that easy. I don't want to be a "cafeteria Christian" that picks and chooses what parts to believe and what parts to ignore. If I decide to become Catholic, it will be with full knowledge and in full agreement with the Church and its doctrines. If I end up in one of the Protestant faiths, again, I will have solid reasons for doing so. I'm not going to say that I'm one or the other until I know what it means to be either.

Some might argue that waiting is not a Christian thing to do. To wait and try to understand religion is to not have faith in Christ. I don't think that's fair: my faith is my faith regardless of my label. The church (read: name) I choose will only help me grow in the faith I already have. If I decide I want to call myself "Baptist," then others will know that the faith I've had all along coincides most with that particular church (and, for your information, it does not).

I love the Catholic Church for many reasons. I understand Tradition more and more each week and enjoy learning about the church's history. I'm also stubbornly clinging to my Protestant background, though, and I have a hard time telling myself that what I've always believed is somehow incorrect.

This blog's title is "It's not about the answers..." and, to me, it isn't. I don't need a label to understand my faith. I don't need to be Catholic or Protestant. Just like I marked on my doctor's paper this week, I'm simply Christian right now. A learning, growing, expanding, questioning, and discerning Christian.

So if you want to call me anything, label me that.

Dancing Sunset

I've been dancing almost three years now, and I've had a lot of fun. I've met great people, made some friends that I hang out with outside the ballroom, and I even started dating a wonderful guy who dances. But lately, I haven't been going to the dances. They aren't fun, nor are they even energizing at this point. I leave early when I do go, or else wish I was not there. Many reasons have contributed to my lack of enthusiasm:

1. The music has not been good. It's either inappropriate for dancing or is inappropriate for the crowd (and coming from me--someone who doesn't care very much about music--that says something). I understand wanting to try new music or stretch the inventory of songs, but perhaps there should be a committee for the playlists instead of leaving it up to one person.

2. The maturity level of the officers and their dance knowledge (and ability to convey it) has me scared for the future of our ballroom community. I've helped to teach lessons before and studied education in college as part of my degree, so I feel I have the appropriate background to criticize poor teaching. While I realize it's easier to teach beginning lessons every week, it would be nice if they offered free intermediate or advanced lessons for those of us already in the community. We could use some fresh steps or new ideas to keep our dancing interesting.

3. The cost of dancing isn't insignificant. Between shoes, entrance fees, the occasional costume, and traveling costs, dancing is not a cheap hobby. Even though I only have to drive three miles for the free Wednesday practice dances, it's still costing me money that I could be using for food or other hobbies. And I can't believe I'm going to complain about the time, but I just don't have the energy after working an eight-hour day to dance until 10pm. That's late for me. The $5 weekend dances go even longer and later... no way.

I know they sound like trivial matters to someone who isn't a dancer, or maybe even to those who are dancers. These are just the big reasons why I haven't been going. I love dancing, but it's not my entire life. I have other hobbies and interests, and maybe now is a time for me to pursue something else. I don't know. I do know that my attendance at any upcoming events (whether they be ballroom, swing, or otherwise) isn't likely. It's nothing personal... don't be offended or think you're the reason I'm not going. I simply don't want to go right now. My major reasons are above. So please stop harassing me or begging me to go.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Panda Lady Rant

I know I've ranted about this before, but it's just too baffling to not rant about twice. The woman who works at Panda Express in the OSU Memorial Union is seriously biased. I have seen her not only walk from the register back to where food is being served and add food to a person's plate, but then she won't charge for the extra food. Many times, my boyfriend has received either a free drink or a free/reduced price meal. The lady will give OSU athletes generous portions. She gives men large helpings of anything they want. Yet, somehow, Panda Lady won't even fill my little box of rice completely. In fact, she has gone so far as to take rice off of my plate before charging me full-price for the order. I'm not the only one who has seen the blatant bias: my female friends (and some male ones, too) have seen the extra food being served to guys or athletes. My female friends have encountered the 'scowl of doom' as we present our money to Panda Lady. She's not only rude, but her business ethics are shameful.

Why not eat somewhere else, you ask? I do. I take my own lunch most days. But when my options are scary burritos, Carl's Jr, overpriced "ethnic" food, or Panda Express on those few days when I don't make my lunch, I have a hard time saying no to the lure of cheap rice. I don't have a problem with most of the food (beware of the orange chicken), and I don't mind the other staff who are, in large part, fair and generous people.

Why, Panda Lady, why do you hate women and refuse us the extra free servings that you give so many other people? What did we ever do to you?