Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lazy Weekends are Where it's At

I slept in until 10am for the first time in months. I actually took time to make cinnamon rolls for breakfast (the tube kind, not the 4-hour-homemade kind). The Boy and I made a trip to the craft store to look at wedding stuff. We splurged on some delicious Jamba Juices. He left to do homework, and now I'm beading while watching a movie. Later, I plan to cut my hair and make a really good dinner.

My back is still having spasms: perhaps the pain and my yummy planned dinner might pay off in the form of a massage this evening.

Have I mentioned I LOVE lazy stay-at-home weekends? :)

Friday, February 27, 2009

TGIF and then some

Both of my parents found out today that their hours are going to be cut 20%, each losing a day of work per week.

My fiancé turned in and presented the final draft of his thesis this week for his MBA. While it's not totally over for him--another term to go--it's definitely a huge step in the right direction.

My car's battery is going wonky. It's time for a new one, but sheesh, not when I'm parked in a "service vehicle only" space on campus!

And to top off a really, really long week, now I'm having back muscle spasms. Oh JOY.

Sorry I'm not full of vim this evening... I'm just really glad it's Friday and that I get to sleep in tomorrow morning. Thank God indeed.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Speculating Overload

I know I've been ranty lately, and today's post is along that theme. Just happens that I have good rants rattling around in my head. I also have mushy posts stacking up, but nobody really enjoys reading all the gushy, smushy, sappy, romantic stuff I have to say.

Constant speculating wears me out. I work for a union, for the government, and for a major university. The governor is calling for serious cutbacks right now, and my union is obviously balking. I should mention that I'm not exactly fond of the union in the first place, but that's another story.

Every day, my coworkers try to find the most recent information about potential furloughs, pay cuts, missing vacation days, etc. in the hopes of easing their minds or something. I fail to see how speculating about what other people are thinking would make someone feel better. I'm of the opinion that if we want to make a difference with our voices and votes, we need to join the union and vote. If we're unwilling to be a voting part of the union, then we're just along for the ride. Speculating won't change anything. Worrying won't make anything better. Griping, gossiping, and overthinking doesn't help either.

I'm overloaded by speculation. I'm tired of people asking me what I think about the union's decision to fight the governor, what I think about his proposed plan to cut costs (bullshit), or what I'll do if something happens to my job. I don't know why, but people feel the need to worry me about these things, and I've had it. What am I doing, then, to not speculate or worry? I'm living my life. I'm growing in love to a wonderful man (did you think I forgot the mushy bit), planning our wedding, enjoying meals and squishy new socks... what else can I do?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cycles don't have an ending

Once upon a time, there was a woman. She was female. She had boobs and got her period every month. She was also an idiot. She claimed that she "started her cycle" one day, and that's the day I smacked her upside the head.

Cycles don't have a beginning or end: they're called cycles for a reason! They go on and on forever, around and around the same loop.

For the record: a woman's "monthly cycle" is a cycle that actually spans the entire month, not just the one week where she's having her period. A cycle involves many more steps than simply menstruation. I could go into details, but Wikipedia does a great job already. You can search on your own for more information about what really happens in 28 days inside a woman's body.

I started my cycle over ten years ago... and guess what? Still on the same cycle. It keeps going around and around every month. I will start my period within the next few weeks (ha, nonspecific), but I won't start my cycle again... ever. Until menopause, I'm stuck on this cycle. Sure, I can chemically alter it, and I can interrupt it by becoming pregnant, but a woman's cycle is hers for life.

And, by the way, I was serious about the smacking women upside the head bit. Don't test me!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Grammar Reminder

As much as I try to have patience with people, I'm running out when it comes to poor grammar. Sometimes the papers I see have entire paragraphs without commas. I feel like they all need to go back to grade school and relearn basic punctuation. My biggest pet peeve is with prepositional phrases. In case you were wondering:

The word "Breakfasts" is not pronounced "break-fast-tes-ses."

Commas belong in lists, after prepositional phrases, and usually before "and," "but," or "or." (Did you catch that one? I put a comma before "and" and "or" since they were lists. HA!)

It is not okay to capitalize words Randomly even if you think they are Important.

Run-on sentences are not effective in describing to people how to utilize certain aspects of our website even though you think you can get everything you need to explain out in one long sentences it's actually very difficult to make any sense of what you're saying!

You. Your. You're. LEARN THEM.

Punctuation goes inside quotation marks unless the entire sentence is a question. That's the only exception. Even if you're trying to make a word "special."

The words "query" and "quarry" mean different things. Very different things. You can query information about a quarry, but you can't exactly quarry and query.

And don't even get me started on starting entire papers with the word "and." It's one thing in an informal blog where stream-of-thought writing makes sense... but a formal scientific paper!? Ugh.

That, dear blog readers, is only the beginning with what I see on a daily basis.

Monday, February 23, 2009

On Evangelism

Evangelism (from Merriam Webster online)
1: the winning or revival of personal commitments to Christ
2: militant or crusading zeal

Sometimes they start off with an easy question, "Do you believe in God?" Sometimes they come at you from the side, "Do you go to church?" Sometimes they try to be your friend and sneak in from behind, "What are you doing this Sunday?" Sometimes they wear little black suits and come knocking down your door around dinnertime... (okay, those last ones are a whole different breed of evangelists).

These people are trying to convert you and me. They're trying to get us to think like they do, walk and talk like they do, and to go out and make more disciples just like they're doing. I hear mainline Protestants and even some Catholics bashing Mormons for their evangelizing tactics, but Christians are just as bad as Mormons--and even worse sometimes! Instead of calling during dinnertime and you being able to hang up on them, your Christian friends slowly start to whittle you down until every conversation revolves around your salvation, your beliefs, your thoughts about God and current hot-button issues... and because they're your friends and family, you can't just turn them off. In the act of trying to create a disciple, your friend or family member has suddenly made you dislike religion, especially whatever religion they happen to be.

I understand the Great Commission. I know Christians have been told to go and make disciples of all nations. And I know that sometimes you have to use dynamite to make a point or difference in someone's life. For me, though, one of the biggest turn-offs to Protestantism is the constant evangelizing. People don't know when to let go. Catholics, on the other hand, haven't made a single peep about believing or converting until I brought the subject up. Not once (to me anyway). Maybe it's because there are over a billion Catholics belonging to a church that has been around two thousand years while there are only a few hundred million Protestants that have only been around a few hundred years (and they need to recruit in order to gain footing against the evil RCC). I don't really know what the deal is, but I do know how to handle evangelists: try to convert them to whatever you believe in. It's the most effective way I've found to get people off my back about the whole subject.

Because, obviously, a person with an entire blog dedicated to the topic and purpose of exploring religion and faith needs to be evangelized. That person needs militant and zealous pursuit *dripping sarcasm.*

I'm ready for some positive news!

I know the nation's economy is having trouble. I'm not immune to suffering or having to tighten my belt or worry about whether I might lose my job. My life isn't bad, though, and I'm truly living the best life I can under even tighter circumstances than I was six months ago. No complaints right now... I've been very lucky.

Lately, I've given up watching the news. I am not a habitual news-watcher anyway, just tuning in for bad weather or big headlines every once in a while. The last few weeks have been nothing but doom and gloom though. Every story is about layoffs, rollbacks, and recalls. I don't even hear about firemen saving cats in trees anymore. No good Samaritan stories, no Boy Scout troops having fun campouts, not even a short headline about a great basketball game.

I have formed an idea that perhaps our news sources are the culprits behind a declining economy. As soon as things start to look bad, BAM! "20 things you can do to keep your job" and "5 ways to save money eating out." The problem with our economy (outside the whole banking disaster, people who can't manage their credit, and a real estate blowout) is that people aren't spending money the way the used to. Instead of suggesting citizens spend money, though, news stations add to the fear and cause people to act irrationally.

Maybe if we had some good news, people would trust in their fellow man a little more and be willing to go just a little bit farther to help someone out. I'm not talking about bailouts or handouts or spending life savings. I don't want news stations to lie. I just get tired of DOOM DOOM DOOM all the time, and I think a little good news right now would do a world of good. Literally!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Spins

My sister agreed to spin and spot for me so I could test my camera's ability to capture motion in low-light conditions. It worked... well, the picture kind of worked and her spinning kind of worked...

She's a good spinner.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I almost went Bridezilla on her...

I went wedding dress shopping today with my sister and future mother-in-law. Overall, the day was fun and enjoyable, and I liked several dresses. As of this second, I haven't picked one out yet, though, so if you're only reading for that, you can stop now. However, if you'd like to read about why today was truly an adventure, keep reading!

I won't name names or locations in order to protect the privacy (and safety) of the woman who helped me at a bridal dress store today, so we'll just call her "Ms. Pushy." I should also mention that I've shopped for dresses prior to today and have a very good idea of what shapes and styles look good on me and those that don't flatter me so much. I know my size, my color, and my overall idea. That doesn't make me narrowminded: it makes me informed.

The first thing I had to do upon arriving to my appointment was look through a big catalog and pick out dresses I liked. Even as I was picking out dresses with my sister's help, Ms. Pushy was coaching me on certain styles she wanted me to try on. We found eight or ten dresses to start with, and then moved on to picking out the actual dresses. I chose a few, my sister picked out a couple, and the saleswoman chose several (more or less ignoring what I'd said I wanted).

We proceeded to the fitting rooms where Ms. Pushy immediately forced me into a strapless bra and poofy slip. Anyone who has read my blog before knows that I have a horrible time finding bras since my ribcage is so small and my bustline is normal-sized (I'm not huge by any means, but the small ribcage makes things hard to fit). I put on the bra thingy and had my sister zip me in. Guess what? It didn't fit. No surprise there. The slip thingy was waaaaay too tight as well. Ms. Pushy though they were "perfect" and wouldn't give me a different size, though.

The dresses, one after another, were not working for me. Ms. Pushy didn't understand that a flat neckline on a strapless dress looks goofy on me. She wouldn't take no for an answer, though, and I tried on several of her suggestions. At one point, she even went so far as to ask me where I worked, trying to prove that she's the boss since she works in the dress industry and I'm a know-nothing with whatever it is I do. Ignoring her insults, I kept trying on dresses. She put me in a hideous ivory number that made me literally the same color from my forehead to my ankles even with skin showing. It was AWFUL. After a few more dresses, I'd had enough. We ran out of time (thankfully) and didn't find anything that struck me off my feet. Ms. Pushy didn't help the experience whatsoever. I will NOT be returning to that store. In case you were wondering, insulting my intelligence isn't a way to make a sale.

After lunch and some driving, we stopped in Salem to look at a few dresses. That particular shop didn't have any available appointments, so we were given a little dressing room off to a side and weren't pressured or suggested much in any way--a relief and huge blessing after the Ms. Pushy experience. We found a couple dresses that were stunning, but still, no purchasing. I'm going to see if I can get those online a bit cheaper than in the store, too.

So much thanks to my sister and The Boy's mom for their patience, help, and advice today. I am glad you were both there with me. Thanks for lunch, too!

Friday, February 20, 2009

How do you...

How do you blog about something that is on your mind constantly but you can't talk about online for fear of insulting or offending someone?

How do you complain about shit constantly rolling downhill at work without sounding like a whiny brat?

How do you vent your frustration with someone when you know they're going to read it here?

How do you summarize a week's worth of annoyance without exclamation points?

How do you describe having extreme fear and overwhelming joy in the same instant?

How do you come up with new blogging material when you can't write about the most interesting parts of your life?

Let's just say I'm glad it's Friday, that I'm planning a relaxing weekend, and that I really, really, really want a vacation.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New Dentist, New Cavity, New Outlook

He's much nicer and waaaaaay younger than my last dentist. He's also up on the newest technology trends in dentistry and practices preventative dentistry instead of "don't fix it 'til it's completely broken" dentistry.

The good news: I have actually seen full-color images of every surface of my teeth. My gums are pink-pink-pink (healthy)! The few fillings I have are in excellent condition. My overall oral health could be considered good to excellent.

The bad news: one cavity needs to be filled soon. Three depressions will become cavities if left on their own, but it won't kill me to wait a few months or even a year to get them fixed as long as I continue to brush and floss regularly. And one tooth ought to have a crown (but no root canal) simply because it has two fillings in it and that's not so good.

But the best news: the new dentist explains things! He didn't talk down to me, treat me like I was stupid or a child, or try to sugar-coat things. He didn't try to hide anything or dodge any questions. I felt like he cared about my opinion concerning my oral health. YAAAAY!

Boo to having a cavity though.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I'm a blogging idiot

I couldn't figure out why Ignoregon and PorBlogs stopped pinging my blog and adding it to their feeds. My readership hasn't been hit by lack of either site (and has, in fact, gone up considerably in the last two weeks for some unknown reason), but I was bothered by not being on the sites.

Like all great ideas, this one came to me in the shower: I shut down my RSS feeds. The other sites couldn't read mine because I wouldn't let them. I did something stupid, and my blog is sort of paying the price. Mr. Guy noticed I shut the feed off since he reads my blog through a reader, but otherwise I noticed no difference.

Bottom line: the RSS feed is back up! It's going to take a while to start pinging again, but hopefully Ignoregon and PorBlogs will get back in the groove and I'll see more local folks hanging around.

(And no, Grandma, you don't have to worry about understanding any of what I just said. None of it pertains to you since you visit my blog directly every day.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Yes, I took a vacation from blogging

I've had a few people ask me why I didn't blog this weekend. Like I posted on Friday, I wasn't feeling very well and likely wasn't going to blog for a couple days. Sometimes I need a vacation from this addiction/nightmare/love I call my bloggy, and this weekend the number came up.

I'm feeling better. I still don't have much motivation to blog, but at least I'm making an effort to get something up tonight so that people don't call me asking "why haven't you blogged?!"

So there better not be any complaining.

And if you think it's easy coming up with something to write about every day, think again. I'm constantly looking for topics. Give me ideas and I won't take [as many] vacations. :P

Monday, February 16, 2009

...and I'm back! with a conundrum

My weekend away from the blog was nice. I was able to spend a bunch of time with The Boy, and we did some shopping, eating, and relaxing. On Sunday, my sister accompanied me as I tried on a few wedding dresses. Knowing that everyone wants to know the results of that particular type of shopping trip, I will say that I found a few shapes I like, and we ruled out a few others. I have not made any purchases yet.

I'm having a hard time sharing wedding details. Everyone wants to know every detail just as we decide things. They want to know the date, the colors, the location, and the flowers. People want to know so they can provide feedback. They want to know so they can be one of the "in-the-know crowd." They want to know if they're invited already, and we're not even done with the guest list. I am both glad that people want to share in our celebration and frustrated that they want to share so much in it. At this point, unless you're directly involved in the earliest planning stages (meaning the groom, the bride, or our parents), we are not giving out details. Please don't take it personally. We haven't even informed all of our attendants yet that we'd like them to share in our day... telling you what our colors are isn't exactly a priority.

Both Mr. Wonderful and I are excited that so many people want to help and be involved! The problem is that too many people are trying to be involved. We're overwhelmed. Laying low and keeping things simple right now (especially with our busy schedules) is the easiest thing we can do and not offend people. Like I said, it's nothing personal. Perhaps inquiring about details in, oh, eight months when you receive your invitation, might be better. Thanks to everyone for understanding.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Soupy All Over

I'm pretty sure I'm getting a cold. My bones ache, and I'm tired, a bit stuffed up, and just want to crawl into bed and stay there until this all blows over. Maybe it's the beginning of allergy season... I hope not!

Yesterday evening, The Boy made soup for me. He hasn't cooked for me in weeks due to his busy schedule, and though we'd already planned that he was going to make dinner, it couldn't have been on a better night. The soup was good, too! Even though homemade soup is far superior than anything in a can, there's something comforting about classic Campbell's Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup. It really did make me feel better.

Everyone I know says the condensed soups are horrible for you. They're full of sodium and trans fat, cholesterol, etc. I did a little label comparing while we were in the store. The Safeway brand of chicken noodle soup is marked "low fat," yet it contains more fat, sodium, and cholesterol than Campbell's. It also listed fewer nutrients with more ingredients (which is a bad sign). Though the store brand was on sale and the national brand wasn't, we paid the extra twenty cents for better soup. And we liked it. :)

Tonight, I'm going to make homemade soup for my mom for her birthday (which was yesterday). That was her birthday request as she doesn't really need anything or want gifts. I'm glad I can afford a special dinner for her, especially on a Friday night when nobody wants to cook.

If I don't blog this weekend, don't worry. I'm probably just laying low and not worrying myself over having to post daily. I'll be back soon!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

On Baptism

I've found sticking points with the Catholic Church over the last year, but none so bothered me as how the church handles adult baptism. Though I've often supported the church on this blog, I don't think that'll be the case with this post.

A person can be baptized at any age, though the Catholic Church makes a distinction between infants and adults. Infants, once baptized, are good to go for the rest of their lives. They can attend classes geared just for them and receive their first communion around the age of 7. They don't ever have to be confirmed to continue taking communion for the rest of their lives. Adults, though, are required to go through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), a year-long series of classes and events that culminate in baptism, confirmation, and first communion all at Easter. The adult cannot partake in communion before this, nor can they truly participate in any other aspect of the church (except sitting there on Sunday) until these things happen.

My first big problem with this is that adults are only baptized at Easter. Why? Why can an infant be baptized at any point during the year, but an adult must wait months or more to join the church? The adult has the ability to say "Let me join you!" while an infant has no knowledge of the sacrament. The Bible says that it is a sin to postpone baptism for any reason, yet the Catholic Church purposefully makes adults wait and go through classes in clumps with other adults.

The second issue I have involves the RCIA process itself. A child can experience each sacrament as an individual thing. They have time to absorb the magnitude of each grace as they move from baptism to first communion to confirmation. They have years to prepare for each one, and they can fully participate in the church without being confirmed. Adults, however, must go through the entire RCIA process and experience all three sacraments at once whether they're ready for them or not. One can take the classes as many times as one wishes without partaking in any of the sacraments, but if an adult wants to be baptized, the other sacraments follow within days. The church sets up these cohort-like programs so that an individual will hopefully feel connected to the church community. Once a person is in the program, they are pushed through the system until they squeeze out Catholic on the other end.

A baptism where the Trinity is invoked is a valid baptism, whether it's by a priest or an ordinary person (even an unbaptized person in an "emergency"). If one were to be validly baptized already in any faith, one would move through the RCIA process at a different level, more of a conversion-to-Catholicism level than a conversion-to-Christianity level. The baptized individual would be confirmed and receive communion at Easter (and apparently no other time of the year).

As my fiancé and I have expressed our wishes to get married, a common question to me is, "will you have to become Catholic?" Short answer, no. The church will let us marry as long as I sign papers saying that I allow my future husband to try to convert me to his faith and that I am willing to have our children brought up Catholic. Neither of those are a problem for me. My concern is that I'll be signing paperwork that isn't true. Mr. Wonderful and I don't often disagree about matters of faith. The only difference between us is that he's been dunked (or sprinkled, whatever) and I haven't. He is in full communion with the church and I'm (obviously) some sort of wretched creature from Hell or something. No matter how many times someone tells me that isn't true, it still hurts. The only way I can avoid those papers is to become Catholic myself, or at least be baptized anything. As I was raised Protestant, I'm not sure how my own family would react to me "crossing the Tiber," and while they don't have to agree with my decision, I would appreciate it if they supported me in that decision. I don't necessarily want to be labeled "Catholic" if it's possible to be baptized by anyone and simply be "Christian" while still maintaining the sanctity of baptism. According to Catholic.com, as long as I'm baptized anything validly and have been instructed in the Catholic Church's traditions (check and double check there), I should be able to enter into communion with the church at any point.

If it means going through the RCIA process, you can count me out. I don't want to experience everything all at once. I don't care about making friends or finding my place in a community I realistically won't be living in for many years anyway. Baptism is an outward sign to the world saying, "I believe!" Baptism only requires belief (and waiting months, going to classes just to make sure you really do believe, and participating with lots of other people so that you can have witnesses say you were actually there in case something happens and you get stuck at the pearly gates... or something).

I'm sure some people will read this and say that I'm not speaking maturely or with full understanding of what the process really is. Each RCIA program is different. I'm not trying to say it's a bad idea or that the Catholic Church is wrong to want it's parisoners to understand their faith, of course not. I am saying, however, that rigidly forcing me to go through classes two-by-two in lock-step isn't how I'm going to grow in my faith. I will have a full lifetime to live in the community of Christ. Can't someone toss me in the river, pass me the Jesus Cookie, and let me experience God on our time table instead of the church's? They let children do it...

Moisturizing and Marinating

He's constantly picking on me about my hands; not in an annoyingly bad way, but in a loving and reminding way. The Boy has smooth, soft, slightly callused hands that fit so neatly into mine. I, on the other hand (sorry), have sandpaper skin and cracked, peeling, sore knuckles. My hands look alligator-y most of the time. I do have a good reason, though...

I can't stand lotion!

I absolutely can't stand putting anything on my hands that makes them feel greasy, slimy, or wet for longer than five seconds. I don't like smelly crap on me either. For a long time, I simply went without any lotions, but I finally caved and bought some really nice dry Olay facial lotion and Eucerin calming lotion for my hands. Eucerin has almost no smell, and it dries pretty fast.

My secret weapon is Aquaphor by Eucerin. Its horrifically greasy (seriously, you could lubricate an engine with that stuff), but it only takes one treatment to do the job. But because Aquaphor literally slimes everything, once you put it on, you're done for the night. I use a Q-tip to apply very small amounts between my knuckles when things get too cracked for me. Still, it's annoying to stick to my pillow or sheets due to the lotion. I have tried gloves--not good.

People have suggested Aveeno products, but I break out when I use them. Jergens and Lubriderm products seem overly fragrenced and are too thick for me. If the Eucerin fails this time, I might try some Neutrogena stuff... Some people say that the natural lotions are the best, but I keep finding that they're just as greasy. I also don't have a fortune to spend on lotion, so if you have suggestions, please bear that in mind.

Time to go marinate in lotion... Mr. Wonderful better appreciate this.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Things That I Can't Say

These things are little pieces of conversations to specific, different people, but I'm not naming names. Some sentiments are nice and some are not so nice, but these ten things are on my mind today and just about every day.

-I miss you. I don't know why: you never returned a phone call or wrote me back. You refused to look at me for so long, and once you did, once you saw me and accepted me, you left. That moment seems like eons ago. I hope you know that I've never given up on you...

-Sometimes you smell so bad that I have to gag into my elbow when you walk by.

-I wish you'd treat me like I'm me and not an extension of you all the time. Who I am inside your head and who I am out here are two different people.

-I want you to finally say that you're proud of me.

-When I hear you talk to yourself, I wonder if anyone (including you) is listening.

-Every time you leave, I pray that you forgot something just so you'll come back right away.

-Your complete lack of basic hygiene disgusts me. I stand away from you so that I won't be contaminated by your Pig-Pen-like swirling filth cloud.

-When I waltz, I remember your smile and easy laugh. I always dance a step for you.

-I know you're intimidated by me, and I think it's funny.

-Every time we argue, I have the urge to squish play-doh in your face just to punctuate my point (obviously that I'm immature, but wouldn't it be hilarious?).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Telemarketers from Hell

Every morning I arrive to work, set my stuff down, and check the voicemail. Every morning, a voice greets me from Debt Eleven Solutions wanting to rid "me" of credit card debt. What DES fails to understand is that they're calling a major university. They're calling a department that has zero debt (and we're not even taxpayer funded!). They're taking up my time each morning, taking up the time it takes for me to listen to and delete their 30-second messages, and then taking up the time it takes for me to call them back and firmly tell them to never call again.

When I do call them back, a nice woman answers with her thick fake southern accent. If I tell her the truth, that I have no debt and want her to stop calling, she hangs up on me before I can get the third word out. If I lie and tell her I have "lots of debt and want to speak to anyone else," she'll hang up on me. I think I've called more than fifty times (conservative estimate, no joke) in the last two weeks trying to get them off our backs.

Today, I'd had enough. I arrived to work to find two messages from DES over the weekend. I lost it. I dialed their 866-number and gave the nice lady my information: "Hi, yes I'd like someone to help me reduce my credit card debt. Yes, I have $30,000 of debt on my credit cards. My name? Um, I don't think I should give that to you... oh, you're going to verify my debt using my name, oh, okay. My name is Sally. Sally Smith. Oh, you can see I do have that much debt, that's fantastic. You're going to transfer me to an agent--great!"

So whatever-her-name-was transferred me to Emmanuel. He took my info again and verified my debt. Well, he verified Sally Smith's debt... and then I let it fly. "Emmanuel, my name isn't really Sally Smith. My name isn't important because I'm calling from a debt-free department at a major university. I've sent four complaints to the FCC, and our phone number is on the Do Not Call registry. Do you think you could see to it that we are never called again by your ilk? If we receive so much as one more voicemail from 'Bill at Debt Eleven Solutions,' I'll be informing the FBI, the Texas Rangers, and maybe even the Canadian Mounties. Do I make myself clear?"

"Sally... we're very sorry to have taken your time, but we cannot remove your name..."

"Excuse me?! What part of 'my name isn't Sally' and 'we have no debt at all' did you not understand? Emmanuel, what part of the Do Not Call registry did you not hear? The FCC will be hearing from me personally... oh, oh, you can take our number off your list now. Ok, no more calls? Good. Have a wonderful day."

It remains to be seen whether that worked or not, but at least I know how to get through to an agent. Sally Smith and her load of debt win again!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Cooking for Two (but Eating for One)

When I first moved out of my parents' house, I had to learn how to cook for myself. That is, I had to learn how to cook for one (as I already knew how to cook for many). Soup recipes got halved, roast and slow-cooker recipes became obsolete. I don't like leftovers, so I had tons of salad, one chicken breast at a time, and sandwich after sandwich.

But since I've started dating The Boy, I've had to relearn how to cook for more than myself. Where one box of Rice-a-Roni would last two meals, it now acts as a side-dish to something else. My waffles only last half as long. My peanut butter disappears twice as fast. I actually buy produce and bulk items since they won't go bad before I get around to using them (yay!).

The Boy does his part to help me shop, and he always pitches in on the cost of food since I pretty much cook dinner for both of us every night. We go through a two-week rotation of our favorite foods, and we're both happy with the schedule. Plus, I always know what food to buy and make (pasta, pizza, rice, bread, etc.). It's getting easier...

I really do enjoy cooking for two. However, I'm not so keen on doing dishes for two. ;)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Firm as Jell-o

Mr. Wonderful and I had a great weekend. We were able to get out and visit lots of family and show off our (my?) engagement ring. We have contacted a church and will hopefully have our officiant lined up this week. After noon, we grabbed my sister and went crazy in Target with a scanner adding things to our registry. And we've finally narrowed down our color choices.

All these things might seem premature considering we don't even have a firm date yet, but due to The Boy's busy schedule in graduate school and my job during the day, we don't get much time to plan and talk together. Getting big decisions made without pressure from other people can be difficult, so we definitely took this weekend's opportunities.

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, the whole registry thing is not nearly as much fun as people make it out to be. Registering for gifts is a time-consuming, decision-making, what-are-we-forgetting headache. We aren't even close to being done and already we're tired of looking at things. At least most of the rest of our lists can probably be done online... phew! Those scanners get heavy after a while.

I am not sharing any of the details, dates, or other information at this time. Please know that we're beginning to feel the burden of compromise, celebrating each successful decision, and rejoicing in our love every second we can. That's pretty much all we have time for!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Truncated Stellated Octahedron

Yet another of my many modular origami boredom-busters.

I used 12 sheets of single-side colored origami paper, 156 folds, 24 bits of adhesive tape, and about 2 hours to create this piece.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Ways People Find Me

People find my blog in a variety of ways. Recent keyword activity has ranged from funny to scary. These are some of the search terms people enter into Google to find my blog:

1. cow bacon
2. duct tape corset
3. sore knees during ballroom dancing
4. help my smoke alarm goes off when its cold
5. hell of sand
6. andes mint cake
7. normal house
8. perfect man list
9. history of handwriting
10. random questions (of course!)

Never in my life did I think I'd be the authority on a duct tape corset, any cakes, or the history of handwriting. I wonder how many times that handwriting paper has been plagiarized...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The mandating has begun...

Mr. Wonderful and I, as we move from friendship to engagement to (hopefully!) married, have seen traits and habits in each other that we each think need to change. We're not trying to change the other person, not trying to make them be someone they're not. We just have a few tiny things that we'd like to alter slightly:

I have mandated that (barring natural disaster) he is not to use my toothbrush for any reason. He is not to touch the wrong end to his lips even. I will not share my toothbrush. Sonicare toothbrush heads are expensive to replace anyway! And I don't think this demand is too crazy either.

He suggested that if we are marrying, my first task will be to put the toilet lid down. As a girl, I leave the seat down and the lid up. Since I live alone, there's no reason to ever move either one. I suppose I'll learn eventually... I'll have to. It's not a huge deal, and I can learn. Maybe it'll help me not drop stuff in the toilet (which has never happened yet). And I'm told it's more hygienic.

As long as he stays away from my toothbrush, I'll put the toilet lid down.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Long are the days when you have nothing to do

Today was one of those days. My head hurts from lack of stimulation. My body aches from not moving from my chair all day. I'm just glad I'm finally home.

I'm also glad that my car is completely fixed now. Well... other than still needing new tires.

In other news, I seem to be the most boring person on earth lately. Outside of trying to plan the next year of my life and figuring out what load of laundry to do next, I haven't done much. Sorry today's post isn't exciting... I guess I'm not feeling a lengthy rant or exclamation tonight.

Until tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Love Your Neighbor...

... as yourself. But what if my neighbor is being a complete pain-in-the-neck? I guess the answer to that is a question: what would you do to yourself if you were getting on your own nerves?

Changes things, doesn't it? I get on my own nerves sometimes. I worry too much, harass myself over little things, admonish myself for every mistake, find overwhelming joy in the most incredibly stupid thoughts, and constantly beat myself up. I'm going to go out on a limb when figuring you probably experience some of those same things.

Now what if you really treated your neighbor like you treat yourself. Would you worry about them, harass them over little things, admonish them over every mistake, and beat them up? Worry, sure, and occasionally harass, perhaps... but really? If my neighbors treated me like I'm guessing they treat themselves, I'd get frustrated quickly. I will never live up to the standards they set for themselves, and I hope they're not setting standards for me.

What about that pain-in-the-neck neighbor? Treat them as you'd treat yourself. Admonish them for every mistake. Harass them over little things. Make sure you're very clear that they've gotten on your nerves. Take them drinking or running or out to a movie... do whatever you'd do to yourself when you get on your own nerves.

I think I missed something in the translation...

Engagement rings don't come with instructions...

You might think it's easy having an engagement ring. What fiancées aren't telling you are some hilarious things I'm only beginning to learn:

1. Do not rub your eye with the back of your hand. There's a ring there now, and diamond is much harder than eyeball.

2. Do not sleep on your hand. Ring dents take hours to fade from a cheek.

3. People will ask you to take the ring off so they can see it better. Don't. They will also rub the top of your diamond with their thumb. This increases their luck of... getting fingerprints on your jewelry. They also might try to put it on their own finger: it will get stuck.

4. It doesn't matter if the diamonds are huge or tiny, flawless or imperfect: people want to know if the rocks are real. If you answer anything but "yes," they give you a disapproving look. I suggest switching things up every once in a while with, "no, they're not real, they're made of super-compressed animal furs and toothpicks we found in the jungle, and it glows under orange light."

5. You will be caught staring at/into the ring.

6. The ring will come with unsolicited advice about engagements and wedding planning. Get used to it early. If you really don't like someone's unsolicited advice, it's always fun to reply, "well, my grandma/aunt/mom really wants us to have dandelions and ferns as flowers," or "actually, I was thinking about having my niece cater the reception. She's only seven years old, but we think she'll do a great job at flipping burgers someday."

7. Memorize your engagement story so that you can spout it in ten seconds. Everyone will ask you to tell the story from the beginning even though you're halfway through it talking to someone else. Keep people on their toes by changing minute details, like the location or the guy's name.

8. Now you not only have to worry about accidentally keying your car in the dark, but you need to be careful not to scratch it with your ring. Diamonds will quickly shred car paint.

9. Be careful when having spontaneous bursts of excitement. Fiancés don't appreciate being gouged as you flail your hands and attempt to tell a story in one breath. They're less receptive to any idea if they're bleeding and in pain.

10. People will tell you to enjoy your engagement. What they don't tell you is how much work it is to plan a wedding, prepare for your more-exciting-and-imminent-than-ever future, and actually have time for your relationship in the process.

I'm enjoying it, really, I am! :)

Monday, February 02, 2009

Jamba Slushie

I discovered tonight that freezing a Jamba Juice smoothie for a week yields the most amazing Jamba Juice slushie. I just ate it frozen solid with a spoon, shaving off the top section little by little as I watched TV. My original intent was to thaw and drink the leftovers ('cuz who can drink a whole original-sized smoothie?), but I got impatient and just hacked away with the spoon. Soooooooo yummy! It's like ice cream, but it's fruity and icy instead of creamy.

Although I have to admit that maybe a week is too long in the freezer. A couple hours or even a day would be plenty. I just forgot it was there...

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Ring

Everyone wants to see the ring. That's the first thing they say, "ooh, let me see the ring!" as if our love can be summarized by metal and sparkle.

Mr. Wonderful bought me a 2.11 carat conflict-free diamond ring. The center stone is 1.03 carats, and the six side stones make up the other carat. The stones are set in 14k white gold with intricate scrollwork around the diamonds. We picked out the ring online together, then went ring shopping around the valley, always coming back to this same ring. I couldn't be happier with our choice. :)

As you can see, my life is changing in some huge ways. I strive to keep my blog relevant and current, but I'm not sure how much to blog about our engagement or wedding plans. At this time, I'm opting to keep the details out of my blog. It's not that we don't want you to know stuff, but really, who wants to hear what kind of flower deliberations we're having? If an adventure pops up, I might blog it. Otherwise, sorry, it's probably going to be the same ol' blog around here.