Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The "Awesome Cake" Authority

I recently had my first 500+ visitor day. I have been hovering between 300 and 400 unique visitors each day for about a year, but lately I’ve seen a couple 400+ days. That means 500 different people (computers, IP addresses) visited this page in one day. WOW. That’s more than StatCounter will handle!

My average returning visitor count seems to be in the upper 20s each day. Looks like I have about 30 people out there who come back and read what tiny thought bubbles I can pop out before dinner every night. That’s not bad considering I thought I’d only be writing for myself when I started this bloggy.

Keywords haven’t changed much: “random question/s,” “duct tape corset,” and “why does my smoke detector go off randomly” are among the top five. “Most awesome cakes” is one of my favorite keywords. I never thought I’d be the authority on awesome cakes, but I guess I am…

People visit here from Malaysia, Jamaica, Slovenia, Ireland, Germany, Australia, and even nearby Canada. I have hits from just about every state in my log of the 500 most recent visits, so I'm really out there. That's both thrilling and terrifying.

Especially since I'm not exactly the world's best cake-maker.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I Still Collect Pencils

I blogged about this as one of my first posts, but since nobody really reads posts from long ago, I thought I'd share an update. Yes, I still collect pencils. Unsharpened, straight pencils mostly... and I have pencils from all over the world. They're inexpensive souvenirs that travel exceptionally well, plus they're airplane-safe and make it through customs. Family and friends bring me pencils from their travels sometimes. I can recall who gave me each of my five-hundred-plus pencils.

I collect a few other things, small collections at best, but pencils are my primary collection.

No, I do not collect mason jars.

"When did you first encounter God?"

He challenged me on the spot. I didn’t know what to say. Stammering ensued. Embarrassment followed. I could do nothing but bow my head for a few seconds and think. Talk about a smack to the ego!

The Boy and I recently visited a priest in a nearby parish to get some answers about my potential baptism. The priest graciously accepted us into his office and helped us figure out what the path for me might be. As we were talking, the priest asked me a question that I wasn’t expecting. It knocked the wind out of my sails so hard I’m still sort of floating there without a direction. His question was valid. My answer was pathetic. But now I’ve had a couple weeks to think about things. If I could live that moment over again, this is what I’d say to his question:

Growing up without a church to call my own, God wasn’t at the forefront of my childhood. I went to several vacation bible schools and to church on a couple weekends with friends. I knew we had bibles in the bookcase at the end of the hallway, and sometimes I’d drag one out to look at the red letters or the watercolor pictures. I’d occasionally ask questions about church and faith, and my parents answered matter-of-factly without much enthusiasm. It just wasn’t a big deal.

In high school, my sister and my friend begged me to go to the local Mennonite Church’s youth group. Reluctantly, I went once. Then I went the next week. Then I had been going every week for almost a year. The youth pastor was nice. The lessons were good. But it felt more like social hour than anything meaningful.

One night after youth group, I sat in my bed without a book to read. I couldn’t find one to reread, so I went down the hall to the big bookcase. Between photo albums and the dictionary, I spied those bibles. My hand reached out to the dusty cover, pulled the heavy book from the low shelf, and carried it back to my bed. I prayed for a moment asking God to open my heart to any passage he thought I needed to hear that night. I flipped the bible open to a random page and began reading the first words of Acts 2. Luke was talking about the apostles being filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit when I got all tingly and scared. The God of the Bible could send fire from heaven, so surely He is more mighty than I will ever be, I thought. That moment was the first time I understood the term “fear of God.” I always thought people shouldn’t be afraid of God: He’s compassionate and loving, right? But fearing God is not like fearing spiders. It’s so much greater. It’s fear of being separated, fear of disappointing, fear of Hell… it’s eternal and supernatural and bigger than my imagination can ever be. And I realized that all at once. That’s why I was scared.

I kept reading. I was filled with the Holy Spirit. I was on fire (not literally, sorry). It was a big moment for me, one that I won’t forget. To answer your question, when did I first encounter God, well, when I was 18. When I opened myself up and asked for it. And what did I learn? Be careful what you ask for.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

People Wear Me Out

I've long known that being around too many people wears me out. It's not that I don't enjoy being around people or that I don't like the occasional party, but going full-bore day after day from one group thing to another... *sigh*

Wednesday night was awesome as I was able to visit some family I don't get to see much. Thursday included a dentist appointment. Friday was crazy due to our trip to Portland, being stuck in crowds in Lloyd Center, and eating out. Saturday visits put us in Salem and Albany with many, many friends and family members.

I don't know exactly what it is about being around people that wears me out so much. While I'm not always socially graceful, I'm not filled with anxiety either (usually). Perhaps I'm simply not the social butterfly that everyone else thinks all women ought to be.

Given a choice, I'd much rather spend time with one person at a time. I love seeing my sister when it's just the two of us. We get insanely goofy! Sure, I love seeing her other times, too, but it's pretty hard to have coherent conversations with others when 90% of our inside-joke-vocabulary is Invader Zim quotes or other nonsensical sister stuff. Likewise, I like visiting other friends on a smaller, much quieter setting--perhaps over a meal or game between the two of us.

Some people might think it inappropriate if I, a soon-to-be-married-woman, spent even a minute alone with my male and married childhood best friend. While I think his wife is terrific and enjoy getting to know her, it's easier if he and I talk alone. Not secrets or anything remotely romantic (eew from both of us on that count), just alone. We both work better that way.

Today, I'm chilling by myself in peace and quiet. No people asking me questions or trying to prod conversation from my lips. I don't have to worry about watching my words or coming up with interesting topics. Ugh. People wear me out.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

In Which I Find My Wedding Dress

Yesterday, The Boy and I went shopping in Portland. We went into several stores but only one wedding dress shop (and only on a whim). The store was smallish with limited selection. I had no intention of finding the dress in that store. As we rounded the corner, I saw it. I turned and told him that the dress was the only one in the store I wanted to try on. After a bit of a wait, the storekeeper helped me get into a dressing room where I slid into a dress at least a size or two too big. Mr. Wonderful nodded emphatically when he saw me in it. The storekeeper grabbed an ivory dress in the right size just for me to try on, and it fit perfectly.

Without having any pictures to show you, I can tell you that it's snow white, floor-length without a train, straight neckline (not my favorite, but the asymmetrical bottom wouldn't allow for a symmetrical sweetheart neckline), and has a small amount of beading along the top and down the front. It doesn't need a lick of hemming, and if the one I ordered fits like the dress in the store, I won't need any alterations!

The dress should arrive in about six weeks from the manufacturer at the store, and then the store will ship the dress to me, so I might not have it for up to eight weeks... good thing I have over six months until the wedding.

The wait and search is over! YAAAAY!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ice Skating in March

Mr. Wonderful and I took the day off today to spend it together doing insanely fun things. Okay, maybe not insanely, but we did have a good day.

The drive to Portland was stressful and long, but at least parking at Lloyd Center was free and easy. We wandered around the bottom floor for a while before hitting the ice rink for some skating. The Boy's brother gave him two tickets to the rink for Christmas, so the experience was literally a gift. We each rented some skates and laced them up tight. When we got out to the ice, we could see little kids floating along as if they were graceful little angels.

The Boy and I were not, in fact, graceful. We never fell, but we were not graceful. Just like the first time I went ice skating years and years ago, I don't carve my own lines in the ice as much as slip from one person's to another. It's difficult to go straight, but an extra fifty or sixty pounds since early grade school has made a difference (I should add that the weight is proportional the two feet in height I've gained also). We skated for a while, took some pictures, watched the kids zoom along the wall and sometimes crash into it without a single tear.

Fun times. More about the trip tomorrow... there's just too much for one post!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

10 Lessons Learned from Children

I spent last evening with a four-year-old and a two-year-old. There were a few good lessons learned in the course of two hours:

- Small children can produce amazing amounts of drool and will wipe it on everything. EEW.
- Just when you think children are about to calm down, they may suddenly become hyper.
- The best object to throw at someone is any object within reach.
- It is not acceptable to take up the couch space that a small child wishes to inhabit.
- The amount by which it is easy to break any object is proportional to the amount that a child will want to grab the object and send it crashing to the floor.
- Grandma's homemade chocolate chip cookies make both children and adults happier. :)
- "Let's see who can be quiet the longest:" genius!
- Big brothers have nothing on little sisters. Girls win every time...
- The best toys for kids are the most simple: a blanket, a cardboard box, Legos, etc.
- "No" is an incredible tool if use correctly. Wow.

The kids were so much fun! Mr. Wonderful and I enjoyed our visit with my cousins and their children at Grandma's last night, and I hope we're able to visit again soon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Three Things

Stole this meme from my future mother-in-law. Hi! and thanks for tagging me. I definitely needed the inspiration for today's post.

A. Three names I go by...
Jaggy
Babe
Sissy

B. Three jobs I have had in my life...
"Culinary Detergent Specialist"
telemarketer
office drone

C. Three places I have lived...
Lebanon
Corvallis - house
Corvallis - apartment

D. Three TV shows that I watch...
ER
Life
The Unit

E. Three places I have been...
work
The Boy's apartment
Fred Meyer

F. Three favorite foods...
mom's homemade cream of wheat bread
mom's homemade sugar cookies at Christmas
chicken and pasta in alfredo sauce

G. Three friends I think will respond...
Well, I don't want to name names here, but I guess I'll tag Whit-o-roni, JennyB, and Areson.

H. Three things I am looking forward to...
dinner
sleep
my wedding and honeymoon

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Visiting Saturday

Yesterday was a busy day, thus no post. The Boy and I went to Albany and Salem, spent time with both of our parents, and had a great day.

After a lifetime of asking "daddy" if we could play with his hair and put make-up on him (as I'm sure just about every girl does sooner or later), he finally gave in on one count. Dad allowed me to cut his hair yesterday. That sounds weird to say... he gets haircuts regularly, and his hair isn't uniquely styled or anything. He has always gone to professionals. I've been cutting The Boy's hair for a few months now with success (few complaints--I'm still learning). Mom asked me if I'd cut Dad's hair to perhaps save them a few extra dollars and the time it takes for Dad to go to the next town for his regular haircut. I agreed. My clippers and scissors worked hard, and Dad walked away pleased with much shorter hair. Yay!

The Boy and I stopped to visit grandma and wish her a happy birthday. Happy Birthday again! We had a nice chat with her and my uncle who had come into town to be with his mom for the day. Always good to see family.

In Salem, we sorted through some of Mr. Wonderful's belongings that remain at his parents' house. He was able to bring a few more things down to his apartment, plus they donated quite a pile of clothes. We visited for a while before going to Mass and then dinner. Tired, socialized, and very, very full, we drove home. Though it was a busy day, we had a wonderful time with family.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Taste-Testing Tilapia

As mentioned in previous posts, I'm not very good at not eating meat on Fridays during Lent. Technically it's okay since I'm not actually Catholic (yet?), but I'm trying to support The Boy since he is. We've been eating tilapia for the last couple weeks on Friday nights. One recipe didn't work quite so well, but the other was pretty tasty.

When breading fish, I've learned that you can't just put wet fish in breadcrumbs. You need glue. Egg is a great binder, but I guess I forgot that last time. I successfully made soggy fried breadcrumbs on bland fish. Yay me!

My second tilapia adventure was a bit less daring. I put two fillets in a foil-lined baking dish, and then smeared them in paprika, black pepper, garlic salt, lemon juice, and butter. After covering the pan with foil, I baked the fish at 425º for about twenty minutes. The fish ended up moist, flavored, and quite good when accompanied with some cheesy rice.

Tonight's adventure might include some correct breading techniques. I haven't decided yet. I'm pretty new to the whole fish-cooking thing... Do you have any great fish recipes that don't involve a marinade, a sauce, or grilling (tilapia doesn't grill well)?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

When Isabelle Attacked Portland

Long ago, I was in the process of planning a trip to Portland using one of those old fold-out maps that I'm not even sure people know still exist. They're like Google Earth, except on paper and out-of-date. Weird.

I'd just spread the map out on the living room floor when in rumbled The Cat. My parents never allowed pets in the house unattended, so I wasn't exactly expecting HRH Isabelle to amble over to my carpet perch. She took one look at that map and was ON it without hesitating. I am pretty sure her fuzzy butt covered the area between Hillsboro and Gresham, or at least that's how it seemed when she so quickly took over.

Note: she has her eye on world domination. Starting with Dad's recliner. :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fill 'er up!

I went to the dentist yesterday. That marks the second visit to him, the second of three in less than a month. My first visit was a consultation-type visit. No pain, no bill, just a nice-to-meet-you-these-are-my-teeth thing. Yesterday's visit, though, involved a filling.

To most people, a filling might be a routine event in the dentist's chair. For me... not so much. I've been incredibly lucky to only have a few fillings my whole life. My last ones were right after I got my braces off (almost unavoidable after five years in that much metal). So while most people go into that type of appointment a little anxious, I went into that appointment with much greater fear. I'm not used to drilling. I didn't know the dentist very well. I was in a new environment. I just wanted to go home!

The dentist is a young guy. He's nice. He warmed up the novocaine for me so that it wouldn't hurt going in. After the topical numbing agent, he stuck me six different times with the needle to get me good and numb. Believe me, that dentist does not scrimp on the numb-ness. It took him longer to needle me into submission than it did for him to drill out the little cavity and fill it. Not joking, not exaggerating.

I was numb from 2pm until almost 7pm yesterday, but I never once felt pain during the filling itself. My cheek hurt today from all the needle pokes... a mild ache if I noticed it at all.

Why blog about a silly little filling? Because they don't happen every day for me. It's big news. They're scary, and they hurt a bit, and they're necessary. No, it's not as exciting or dangerous as blogging about a girly doctor visit (eek!), but at least that particular tooth shouldn't give me any more grief for a long, long time.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How to Type with Captialized Numbers

He'd never used the internet before. No joking. When he called, I had to explain what a web browser was. I needed to tell him what PIN meant. When he asked where the ":" key was, I got a little nervous. I am not joking. I know it's wrong to talk about work on my blog, but really, this isn't about my job. I'm not naming names. I'm just sharing one tiny little nugget of hilarity from my day. This guy was clueless about the internet. He refused to allow any online connections in his office as he feared his unsupervised employees would only use the internet for "personal un-enrichment" (and we're not talking e-mail or Facebook here). He is one of the very last clients we have to convert to the modern age of online services. When he called today to ask for help, I was more than happy to walk (stumble, crawl, drag) him through the registration steps!

We talked about how to type an address into the address bar. We talked about what "www" stands for. We amused ourselves with his poor typing skills. The guy has a great sense of humor and is willing to laugh at himself, so that helped me a bunch. Still, it was trying. I had to tell him the difference between clicking and double-clicking on links. He said his connection was slow, so I tried to help him optimize his browser. It was truly an adventure to do anything without seeing the screen.

Finally, after several miscommunications, we arrived to where he needed to be to get set up in our system. I asked him to enter the password we sent him in the mail, which he did, and he said that nothing happened. I made him type it again. We went letter by letter. Keystroke by keystroke. I told him what keys to push. He said the password wasn't working. Frustrated, I had him tell me what keys he used in the exact order he used them. (password obviously changed) "a - b - c - shift - 4 - 5 - end shift." What? Sir, why did you press shift before the 4 and 5?" He replied calmly, "Well the 4 and 5 are bigger than the "abc" part, so I made them capitalized."

*smacks head with hand*

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's All About Me

The question keeps coming up: will I have to become Catholic in order to marry a Catholic?

No.

Before I even considered liking Mr. Wonderful, I purposely asked him if he would date a non-Catholic. His resounding yes put me at ease. I asked him if he'd marry a non-Catholic. Again, he said yes. He added that his faith isn't dependent on someone else, but it's easier when two people believe the same thing. His answer is exactly in line with what the church teaches: a Catholic can marry outside the church, but the church does prefer that both people are Catholic. What church wouldn't want everyone to belong to it?

The big question of my conversion is usually laced with a bit of either anger or doubt. People want to know if I'd consider converting because of my fiancé. Anyone who knows me well will say that I don't do a damn thing unless I want to (stubborn much? ha!). Our backgrounds are different, our ways of arriving to the church are very different, and our approaches to faith are even more different. If I decide to formally join the Catholic Church, it will be because my background and path have led me there, not because I'm being forced or coerced into it.

I was on this journey into faith and trying to understand organized religion before Mr. Wonderful and I began dating. We were friends at the time, but we had just barely started spending any time together at all. His only encouragement was to ask me if I wanted to join him for Mass one night. Since then, he has pointed me in the direction of information I desired. As he can't explain his faith to me (cradle Catholics have a problem with this--all of them), he isn't always helpful in a way that he'd like to be. So, truly, my knowledge and desire to learn more about Christianity's roots is almost in spite of him, not necessarily because of him. This is not a problem! It's beautiful that he can support me without me relying on him constantly for help.

To those who have wondered about my "conversion," it's not happening simply because I fell (madly) in love. It's not happening just so I can have a big church wedding. For the first time in years (through college even!), I found a path of study that I enjoy. I like learning about history, traditions that aren't my own, and finding myself in some of the weirdest places I never thought I'd see. I'm learning about my faith for me.

Whipped Topping Discoveries

Grapes and apples taste amazing with a little whipped topping on them.

Low-fat whipped topping isn't nearly as good as the real stuff.

I am just as excited to squirt whipped topping out of a pressurized can now as I was when I was a little girl, big girl, and teenager.

Whipped topping goes well on waffles... but the waffles have to cool down a bit so they don't melt the cream instantly. Soggy waffles are gross.

The absolute best way to eat whipped topping is straight from the can. :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"I got you, babe"

One year ago, I lamented that I'd been single a full year. I wasn't necessarily depressed or desperate about my situation. That full year was a good time for me to realize all of those important things about myself: more of who I was, what I wanted, and where I wanted to go. Sure, being in a relationship is great, but being single a full year did me a lot of good.

It was also about this time, say February or March of last year, that I realized just how much I was into a certain guy. It took me several months to admit it to myself, but when I did, oh how hard I fell! Convincing the guy that I was worth his time, worth sharing a meal with, and even trying to get him to dance with me... all without pushing because I really didn't want to screw anything up. It was difficult to not lose myself as I fell for him. I think what ended up surprising me most was that instead of losing myself, I found more of myself.

And now I'm here, this one full year later, more in love with him today than yesterday. Love. Not just smitten, not just sort of wondering about whether he likes me too... but wholly, fully, and completely wrapped up in this huge-normous bubble of goodness and joy. I never could have dreamed of my life as it is now. Even though landing Mr. Wonderful and working [overtime] to keep him was one of the most trying experiences of my life, I wouldn't give a second of it up.

So there is my mushy, gushy post that I mean top to bottom. I'm happy. :)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I Got Shot: Part 2

Mr. Oh-So-Wonderful accompanied me to get my second Gardasil shot yesterday. He held my hand the whole time, and when the nurse shot me in the arm, he got quite the hand-hold crush from me. Poor guy! But I'm so glad he was there with me. It really did go easier. My arm hurt pretty bad for an hour, but after icing it and moving it quite a bit, today it was perfectly fine. Which is good. Because those shots HURT.

My sister went wedding dress shopping with me again. We found a little boutique in our hometown that had some beautiful choices. However, they don't stock the smaller sizes, so I had a difficult time finding dresses to even try on. I did find one dress that looked pretty good on me, but it just didn't quite work. Too white, if that's even possible. No color on it AT ALL... although I think taffeta is growing on me more and more. Light and fun, though a bit louder than silk or satin. Taffeta dresses are also cheaper and resist wrinkles more than the other dresses. I'm told they can repel water, too! (believe that when I see it)

In other news, I have nothing new to report. I have turkey burgers awaiting a hungry mouth, so it's definitely time for me to sign off.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Being Not Greedy is Not Fun

Mr. Wonderful and I have realized just how daunting creating a wedding registry can be. We've run through Target and JC Penney already, and our list is barely a hundred items long. I'm told that we need to have enough items for every person to be able to pick from two choices, so that means our 250+ guest list requires about 500 items on the registries. I can't even think of 500 items to put in a house. I think we'll end up with maybe 350 items on the lists, but the struggle to 100 was hard enough.

I think part of our problem is that we're not being greedy. I have a decent pot and pan set, plenty of hand-me-down wooden spoons, and a few great casserole dishes. Why would we want to put more pots and pans on the list? Both of us have blenders--albeit not great, but functioning ones--why would we need a new one? I have great Corelle dishes and nice Oneida flatware. He has a nice dining set and some dishes of his own.

Sure, we're putting new sheets, towels, luggage, and a few nice board games on the registries... it's not that we don't need some new things to start a life together! I have such a hard time asking people to buy me something that I don't need though. I want nice new stuff, don't get me wrong, and I'd love it if all of my dishes were fancy-schmancy. Heck, I'd love to not have to wash the new fancy-schmancy dishes! I don't need a new knife block set, but I want one.

Where do you draw the line? Do you register for everything or only the things you need and really, really want? What were some of the most useful or practical things that people gave you (or that you've given) that you didn't register for (or maybe did)?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cop Out

I know yesterday's post was pathetic. I had a busy evening out to dinner and dessert with my sister, helping her with a project afterward, and then entertaining a certain boy until late. Sometimes I just don't have anything new to say either. Don't get mad at me for quick, easy posts... otherwise I might not post at all.

I have been incredibly lazy lately about cleaning my apartment. Don't get me wrong, it's nothing compared to some people. I have only been cleaning top-to-bottom once every two weeks instead of once each week. The Boy has been fantastic about vacuuming for me when I ask... but the bathroom floor, well, let's just say there's hair everywhere and it's grossing me out. Instead of some fantastic blog post tonight, my time will be best spent working in there.

And then there is the matter of my chocolate cake from last weekend. I specifically asked The Boy if he'd help me eat a cake if I made one. "Sure!" he replied. So I made a delicious chocolate cake with vanilla frosting--my favorite. It was, indeed, good cake. I ate 1/4 of it the first day. But as time has passed, the cake has become a bit stale. I'm pretty sure Cake Day 5 isn't going to taste so good. But I still have a half to go, and I HATE throwing away perfectly good chocolate cake. That's a disgrace to cake lovers everywhere. Ugh.

Okay, off to the cleaning, cake tossing, and other chores. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

About The Girl

Okay, The Boy answered all these questions about me.  You can consider it a guest post from him to you. :)

1. She's sitting in front of the TV. What is on the screen?
ER, Food Network, or How it's Made

2. You're out to eat. What kind of dressing does she get on her salad?
Ranch

3. What's one food she not like?
Coconut.

4. You go out to eat and have a drink. What drink does she order?
The same thing that runs in her blood - Diet Coke.

5. Where did she go to high school?
Hillbilly High

6. What size shoe does she wear?
An 8 or 9, is that right?

7. If she were to collect anything, what would it be?
Cardboard cutouts of that one guy from JAG to go along with her stash of pencils.

8. What is her favorite type of sandwich?
plain peanut butter on her plain ol' wheat bread

9. What would this person eat every day if she could?
waffles and peanut butter (with syrup)

10. What is her favorite cereal?
peanut butter capt'n crunch (sensing a trend anyone?)

11. What would she never wear?
Uggs.  Thank God.

12. What is her favorite sports team?
She doesn't watch sports either.

13. Who did she vote for?
Some loser probably.

14. Who is her best friend?
her snuggie bear, me. :)

15. What is something you do that she wishes you wouldn't do?
Breathing my beer breath in her face!

16. What's her dream job?
working where she likes everyone she works with and finds the work important enough to get up for every day.

17. You bake her a cake for his birthday. What kind of cake do you make?
Wait, baking?  You mean buying.  

18. Did she play sports in high school?
geek.  She was an A+ geek in band.

19. What could she do for hours?
Read.  Cuddle.

20. What is one unique talent she has?
She can calm me down when I'm stressed.  "Breathe!"

Monday, March 09, 2009

It's Unbelievable

I'm not very good at explaining things, especially religious things. That's part of the reason this blog exists: it's a place for me to explore my own thoughts without (hopefully) being torn to bits for not having all the answers. In trying to share my faith with others, I have run into a common theme. People don't believe in Jesus because they don't have proof. Trying to convince someone isn't my job... I'll go head-to-head with just about anyone about anything, but Bible thumping or forcing belief is exactly what I've always tried to avoid.

Proof is impossible. I could offer an individual the entire Bible, stories upon stories of God's magnificence. I could show them miracles and hold their hand as I take them through all that is beautiful on Earth. But I can't hand someone God like I could hand them gravel or a toy or a doughnut. I can't show someone a physical God. And that, when trying to help a developing Christian, pretty much sucks. They want hardcore, tangible proof.

The only thing I have always understood about my faith, even before this entire foray into Catholicism, is that I believe without understanding. I haven't been able to explain it, to show it, to prove it, or to fully grasp it, but I've always believed in God without knowing how or why. There are so many unbelievable things on this earth, so many supernatural anomalies, so much hope for something greater... Some say "show me God," and I keep saying in my head, "prove to me there isn't a God."

At it's core, faith is believing without seeing, and it is also seeing without believing. Faith is looking at the world as if God exists everywhere even when we find God no where in our lives. Just as we love our families when they are not with us, faith is loving a God we cannot fully be with yet.

I think that's scary for people. I think it's hard for them to say, "I believe in something I don't understand, something I don't see, something I don't even feel." People are so concerned with science and pushing the "fact agenda" where tangibles and concretes are at the forefront of the "known universe." They don't want to seem soft or willing to ignore science. They're afraid of not understanding. They can't get around the physicality to have faith in the unseen.

But that's God for ya... while you might find Him unbelievable at first, you'll find Him truly unbelievable in the end.

About The Boy

Here's a chance to see how well you really know your spouse/significant other. Cut, paste, and fill in the answers, then forward. The real challenge is to send it to your spouse/significant to see if you are right!

1. He's sitting in front of the TV. What is on the screen?
Video games or a movie, or possibly cartoons

2. You're out to eat. What kind of dressing does he get on his salad?
Ranch

3. What's one food he not like?
Pickles. Sausage. Tomatoes. ...it's a long list

4. You go out to eat and have a drink. What drink does he order?
Dr. Pepper, no ice. Sometimes diet Dr. Pepper... and sometimes a beer

5. Where did he go to high school?
That's classified... why should I tell you that?

6. What size shoe does he wear?
I think 9

7. If he were to collect anything, what would it be?
Umm, he doesn't have any collections, but I think he'd love to collect guns if he had space and money.

8. What is his favorite type of sandwich?
Something with swiss cheese or ranch. Grilled swiss?

9. What would this person eat every day if he could?
Pasta with alfredo sauce or pizza. Every day.

10. What is his favorite cereal?
Cheerios

11. What would he never wear?
Popped collar

12. What is his favorite sports team?
He doesn't follow sports

13. Who did he vote for?
Some guy... beyond that, I'm not sure he'd want you to know.

14. Who is his best friend?
ME! Then Chris. But don't tell Chris that.

15. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn't do?
I bite my cuticles.

16. What's his dream job?
something businessy where he can use his fancy MBA to make enough money to live comfortably and where he can use words like... um... well I don't know big business words!

17. You bake him a cake for his birthday. What kind of cake do you make?
Andes Mint Cake anyone?

18. Did he or she play sports in high school?
soccer

19. What could he do for hours?
video games

20. What is one unique talent he/she has?
He is a fantastic listener!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Wedding Dress Shopping - Again

The Boy accompanied me on my third major wedding dress shopping adventure. We went to Salem to a few different shops, and only one of them was even close to a place I'd go shopping in again. I don't know if different dress shops cater to a different kind of person, but one of the stores was downright weird. The dresses were ugly, the clerks pushy (though not as bad as I've previously experience, thankfully), and the store itself was dirty. Yuck!

My first appointment of the day, though, was fantastic. I tried on many dresses that were stunning, and The Boy was a great barometer for me. He knows my style and what I do and don't like, so I could see on his face instantly my own feelings about each dress. There was a dress there that I still think might be the one... it's growing on me.

Sorry I didn't get around to blogging yesterday. Mr. Wonderful has been so busy lately that we took one whole day off to be together. No e-mail checking, no blogging or Facebooking... we shopped, we laughed, and we held hands the entire day. It was pretty incredible. He made me homemade waffles for dinner (so good!), and we had yummy milkshakes with friends later in the evening. Wonderful days are made of all of that stuff. :)

Friday, March 06, 2009

Fish Friday Is Frustrating

I know I have another blog dedicated to all things religious, but this post isn't about the faith as much as the frustration I'm experiencing due to Lent and Friday abstinence from meat. I love fish--the only allowable meat on Lenten Fridays--and I always thought I'd make such a good Catholic if I could eat fish every day! ...if only it was inexpensive, readily available, and not drenched in mercury or other toxins.

Today, I awoke too lazy to make a peanut butter sandwich for lunch. Mid-morning, I determined that I was craving Arby's fries, and what goes better with those than popcorn chicken? Oh crap, no chicken today. No burgers, no nuggets, no strips, no nothing as far as I could tell. My nice, easy Friday lunch out had turned into a disaster.

I realize that's the point: to give up or sacrifice and suffer in a small way just as Christ did. I'm trying to support The Boy by not eating meat on Fridays since he can't (shouldn't), but there are times when I want to tell God, "Hey, I'm not Catholic, so this doesn't matter anyway!"

That's about the time when I decided that one or two chicken nuggets wouldn't kill me. My fries were delicious. :)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Bedtime Post

Busy day, busy night, and no time to post anything new or refreshing. Sorry! I'm exhausted. Know that all is well and that I am still around. Until tomorrow... happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Right of Way

Dear Old Lady in Boat Big Car:
I know you could barely see over the steering wheel which means you could hardly see me. I know there was quite a bit of traffic on the road, all three cars... I also know that you were trying to be nice. For your patience and kindness, I can only offer my gratitude. But for your complete lack of driving knowledge, I suggest this bit of information:

If you arrive at a 4-way intersection and plan to drive straight through said intersection, you have the right-of-way over the oncoming car that is trying to turn left over your lane of travel.

Now I realize that the intersection was busy. It always is. And I know it was early in the morning--probably before you'd had enough caffeine, alcohol, or whatever it is that gets you going every day. I'm not trying to generalize or marginalize you, just inform you of your error.

Please know that you held up traffic for longer than necessary, thereby making several other drivers upset (myself included, obviously). In the future, I suggest you read the Oregon Drivers' Manual before stepping so hard on the gas pedal. Or brake pedal. Ugh.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

this is not a post

I have a huge headache tonight that Aleve and Excedrin won't seem to fix. I think it's called a migraine. Whatever it is, the symptom is a gremlin behind my eyeball hacking things up with his ice pick. Caffeine, which usually quells my headaches, only makes the little monster work faster. So tonight's post isn't really a post. Well, it is kind of. It's more of a "don't worry, I'm alive, and don't yell at me for not posting tonight" post. Now I'm going to bed. Because the gremlin goes to sleep when I do. Or else.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Well Piss

L.A. County has a no-cussing week? Read the story here.

I grew up in a household where cussing was not a good idea. We couldn't say "you suck" or "shut up" to each other, and "crap" was only for dire circumstances until we were well into high school. My sister and I were taught to never cuss at school or work, nor would we even think about swearing in front of our elders (nevermind that they swore in front of us all the time).

Many moons ago, my sister couldn't get her jacket's zipper unstuck. She ran out into the living room to tell dad to help her "get this piece of $#@! unstuck." He thumbed her lips and told her to ask nicely. "Will you please help me get this piece of $#@! unstuck?" ...I don't think she's asked that since.

In our adult years, we've learned what words do and don't go together, and we've learned the right and wrong times to let those choice words fly. I try not to swear much, but words are words: I'm not afraid to use words that have the meaning I need to convey. Most of the people around me swear little, though like anyone, we all swear more when frustrated. Because sometimes shit happens and needs to be ranted about, right?

I'm not so keen on L.A. County's no-cussing policy. I'd rather have people swearing at me than having to hold their tongue, lack communication, and potentially do something much worse.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Flowers!

Wedding plans keep moving ahead. I called florists this weekend to see what flowers might cost for our wedding. HOLY FREAKING COW! One shop quoted me $70 for the bridal bouquet alone, and another shop was trying to sell me one for almost $100. One bouquet. NO WAY. After a dozen boutonnieres, five bouquets, five corsages, and altar flowers, I was looking at more than $700. AAAAAAACK!

The Boy and I went to the local craft store yesterday to price silk flowers--our other option. It just so happened that the store has all floral supplies on sale at 50% off this week... we figured that I can hand-make all the flowery things myself for well under $75, about 1/10th the cost of real flowers. If people want to throw them away after the ceremony, who cares?! I'm only out pennies instead of dollars. Plus, the store has a 60-day return policy, so if I end up with extra stuff, I can take it back for a full refund.

As a compromise, we agreed that the flower girls will carry real flowers up to the altar (since the church won't allow them to drop petals). Two or three really nice sprays or baskets will look fantastic, plus if they look wilty or something, they won't be in pictures. We might be able to get Safeway or Costco to do those flowers cheaper than local florists anyway. That's something to think about in oh, September... :)

It may seem like I'm jumping the gun in planning flowers this soon, but having silk flowers means I won't have to worry about them dying or turning brown. I can take plenty of time to make them look fantastic on my own. With the help of an aunt or a friend, I should be able to make them look professional, too!

Meanwhile, I crafted another rosary this weekend. Pictures of those projects coming...