Saturday, June 27, 2009

Due Hiatus

The Boy and I helped my parents and sister move into their new house today. Moving went well, although it was warm and exhausting (as moving always is). Dad only drew blood once, and that was minor, so I think it was successful up to this point tonight. My parents should be able to get the rest of the boxed stuff and smaller things tomorrow without any additional help.

I'm not sure if I'll be around to blog until Wednesday. My job is taking me to far off lands for a few days (whee, Portland!), so I'll probably not be blogging. This will be the longest break I've had from the blog in probably two years. Sorry! but then again, I'm not. Life goes on without me blogging.

Now I'm going to go sleep while I still can before church, wedding planning, moving the final load of The Boy's stuff (I am so tired of people moving!), and driving to Portland tomorrow to start work on a Sunday instead of Monday.

Friday, June 26, 2009

180°

It's not always comfortable when God hands down a 180° day. I awoke this morning with a set of expectations for how my day would go. I was completely wrong. While I understand that I don't always get my way (duh), it's quite the royal smiting when the world turns upside down. I can't go into specifics, sorry. At least everything seems to be working out for the best. I hope.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Royal Terrace Falls

Not the best shot of the lower half of the falls, but the flow rate is pretty low right now. The water thunders over the falls like crazy almost making the rocks in the background disappear right after it rains hard.

Royal Terrace Falls in McDowell Creek Park, Linn County, Oregon, in May 2009.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Blog = Mess

Sorry that my blog is a total mess right now, but I'm making some changes. Hopefully it won't look so... BLUE for very long. I couldn't handle the tiny, narrow middle section and cookie-cutter way the green/purple blog looked, so I'm changing it.

You may notice that this blog, like the second (now defunct) one, has text that changes dimensions as you change the window size. Not every screen has the same resolution, so now people should have a better viewing experience around here. I also increased the contrast to black/white to make reading easier on those with poor vision.

Not sure what the new paint scheme will be around here, but I think a little black and white wouldn't hurt things for a bit. Maybe a little red. Maybe some pink, gasp! who knows.

I really am sorry if things look crazy, but that's how transitions go. Bear with me, the content should continue to be exciting and fantastic and stupendous. Or whatever it is you kids like to call my wimpy little bloggy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Combined! (gasp)

I've been making some big decisions lately, and part of those revolve around this here bloggy. I love blogging. I love sharing my life and connecting in some small way with the larger world. I enjoy getting (nice) comments from (nice) people who share my odd views, and I like learning about what else rattles around in the brains of Oregonians (seriously, few people from outside Oregon even find me).

I've been running two separate blogs for nine months now in the hope of not offending anyone who does read this blog. I have always maintained that no one should feel put upon to read about my faith if they don't want to. That kind of forced evangelism drove me nuts, especially getting all cozy in my surroundings and then BAM! religion shoved down my throat.

The other blog served its purpose well. Almost no one visited me there, and no one seemed offended here. I was able to post about once each week some great revelation or idea, and the posts seemed to have some meat to them. I worked on them far longer than I ever spend on posts here. But my arc of learning, my devotion to studying, and my ability to post new topics has diminished. I'm Catholic now. I'm not growing and learning at the same rate--experiencing now, sure!--so having a whole blog dedicated to a month's post or a three-month's post doesn't make sense anymore.

The big news: I'm going to be removing the other blog soon. All of the posts there have been transferred here (Blogger made that slick, lemme tell ya), so if you are a regular reader here and want to catch up on everything I experienced in my Catholic conversion, click on "Religion" to the left. Any new religious posts will be to this blog.

As my faith is a part of me, a significant part of me, I'm not going to compartmentalize my life into two separate blogs. All of me is here on this one space. However, if you (the faithful reader) decide that you want to skip a day or five, that's your decision. I'm not going to force anyone to read this. If you don't like what I write, don't read. That simple.

It was too much work to keep two blogs going, so now I have one. I really do hope you enjoy the occasional religious post here... I promise not to bite.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Directions don't come with directions

I started in on wedding stuff tonight. I printed all of the directions to the church and started cutting them apart. While cutting apart the very last piece of paper, I realized that I had a typo, doh! They've all been very cleverly fixed and shouldn't be noticeable to anyone but my father--he just notices stuff like that. Directions are done, yay! The Boy helped me label the registry cards this weekend, so those are done, too. We still have to print the invitations, the RSVP postcards (or RSVP online thingies), and then address envelopes.

I never understood what the big deal was about having an envelope addressing party until I had to address The Boy's graduation announcements. It took me two days just to get through twenty envelopes. My handwriting is darn good, and I know how sinful it is to even think of printing the envelopes or using labels, so I better start soon if I think I'm going to get a jump on them. Trust me, if I need help in August, I'll ask.

In case anyone is wondering, we're doing a DIY wedding. We're printing everything ourselves--and we're NOT using kits. There's nothing wrong with using a kit if that's your style, plus the kits often include RSVP cards and envelopes that can be used as Thank You cards later (if you think about it, duh). We just found that we could create all the pieces we want more economically ourselves, plus we can give things our own unique style.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Got Stuff Done (at least)

Sorry for not posting yesterday, but we were busy this weekend. The Boy is moving to Salem for the summer before we get married in October. He'll be there at least until he gets a job, and then he might move again to another place before October. It's all crazy right now. But between Friday evening and Sunday evening we accomplished a ton:

-went on a date including dinner and a movie
-took the first load of stuff to Salem
-planned more of our wedding including the guestbook attendant, the bridal party duties, a few songs, delegated a few minor tasks, worked out some details, and came up with even more decisions that still need to be made (phew!)
-cleaned out my hallway closet and reduced belongings in that space by half (finally)
-cleaned out the bathroom cabinets and reorganized them
-packed another carload of stuff at The Boy's apartment
-prepared for more moving out tomorrow by putting things in "truck" and "trailer" piles
-cut Dad's hair (not a great Father's Day gift, but he needed it)
-went grocery shopping
-went to church
-went out to dinner with Mom and Dad
-stole cookbooks from The Boy (he'll get them back when we're married)

Not to mention the driving time, the little things that take time, and preparing meals or relaxing... we managed to take last night off and simply relax together.

I have to say, it's nice to be able to get so much done in one weekend, but I need a vacation now to get away from my weekend. The week is shaping up to be long, so I think it's time for ice cream. The low-fat and stirred up with chocolate sauce in a blender kind of ice cream.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Stupid Rules

I think every kid deals with stupid rules eventually. Not rules like, "don't play in the street," or "don't climb that redwood tree," or "don't play with fire." Those rules have a purpose and, while not always fun to follow, are understandable. Stupid rules are the kind that don't make sense even when the purpose is explained. I grew up with a few rules I thought were stupid at the time and now make sense (no shoes in the house). I also grew up with a few rules that I still think are stupid: not being allowed to shave my legs until 8th grade (seriously, PE with hairy legs in middle school, on top of braces and glasses with no make-up, oh how I got teased!), not being allowed to use the stove to bake cookies until I was sixteen (even with an adult in the house!), and not being allowed to open the window in my bedroom (might let the warm air out in the winter or the cold air out in the summer).

As an adult, I'm finding that stupid rules still exist. We adults make rules for ourselves to follow. However, as I'm learning, the rules we make don't always make sense. I have a rule that dirty dishes should never be put on the counter. The Boy, on the flip side, has the rule that dirty dishes shouldn't go in the sink. We each made our own rule about dishes, but the rules oppose each other. The lesson is in trying to explain why we each chose the rule the way we did. Our final compromise isn't important... the point is that we're both guilty of making some arbitrary rule that doesn't really make sense.

I wish I could tell you about the stupid rules I have to follow daily, but talking about those here isn't appropriate. I don't want some future employer to read this and think I'm all about airing my grievances with work on my blog. Suffice it to say the rules are not only stupid, but they're actually detrimental to my daily workflow and overall productivity. They're annoying, but rules are rules no matter how stupid, right?

Did you have any stupid rules when you were growing up? Do you have to deal with any stupid rules now? Did you self-impose those stupid rules and feel like changing them?


Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Same is Getting Old

A better day today, thankfully. I had a pretty awful day yesterday that didn't get better as the night wore on. One misunderstanding after another led me wanting to crawl under my bed and cry the evening away. That explains the unhappy post. I will be so glad when this month is over, when the summer is over.

Though I still feel in many ways that I'm not doing well enough juggling my different relationships and roles, I'm trying to let go and allow the balls to fall where they may. I don't think I'm alone in not knowing how to manage difficult people, to manage a difficult self.

After long days, it's a joy to be able to sit down with The Boy and enjoy dinner together, sometimes a movie, and even better, a snuggle. I don't know where I'd be without his support right now, and I look forward to our life together more each day.

I'm especially happy tonight since we're planning a date tomorrow night, something to look forward to. Mr. Wonderful said he'd take me to our favorite restaurant for d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s pasta. We'll likely see Gran Torino (again, yay!) after that. Wedding stuff this weekend, plus The Boy is moving out of his apartment, so I will be busy busy again. Still. Again.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Not Good Enough

It's the story of my life lately. Okay, not just lately, it's a continuing theme. Today, though, someone struck a nerve. I had a horrible day. Between being accused of something I not only didn't do but would never do, being teased about becoming Catholic, and being reprimanded for not doing something that wasn't my job in the first place, I had a difficult eight hours at the office.

Being teased or questioned about Catholicism isn't something new to me. I'm fairly well-versed in apologetics at this point. I can answer almost any basic question and most of the odd questions, too, about my new religion. However, mocking the priesthood, making incorrected (uneducated) gestures, and suggesting that I don't understand what it means to be Catholic (!?!) was all too much for me. I knew the cross wouldn't be fun to bear all the time, but one week into being Catholic is a little fast to start the harping.

I won't go into specifics about the accusations at work, but it can be summarized thus: I have too many bosses who are incapable of communicating between themselves. They each yearn for power, each want me as their own peon, and none can figure out why that won't work. So I have to learn, still and again, to manage my managers. And that, friends, is not easy.

It's a theme, though. From those days as a little girl learning to ride a bike to the moment yesterday when I had to tell The Boy how much I love him, it feels like I never do well enough. I feel like I'm stuck not making people happy, not satisfying, not doing well enough to move forward. Worse, I keep telling myself it's my fault. I blame myself. I tell myself that I'm not trying hard enough, that I can do better. I know I can always do better. That just makes it worse. I can love more, work harder, think smarter... still, not good enough. It's never enough.

I grew up being taught that I'm supposed to know when I'm good enough. I'm supposed to be the one that says "I'm proud of me." But when I'm constantly getting negative feedback, it's hard. It's frustrating. Being not good enough sucks.

I've had enough with not being good enough.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Changes Coming

With summer approaching, a wedding to plan, work keeping me busier than ever, and a lack of interest in talking about myself, I have a few blog changes planned. Expect to see some new sights, some old posts, and a few rehashings in the next month or so. Beyond that, I'm not giving any details... we'll see what happens if/when it actually happens.

I'm headed for my third pizza in less than a week tonight, a fact which disturbs me a little. Pizza is good, but all that cheese doesn't sit well in my tummy. Not to mention all that pepperoni sitting on my hips, oy. Tomorrow night I'm planning a veggie feast! No one should have to endure greasy slimy pizza three times in one week. Oh, and to anyone who said Woodstocks makes great pizza, well, I was horribly disappointed (as were my future parents-in-law). American Dream's saucy pucks await, ugh. Whatever happened to fluffy, pillowy crust and light toppings that don't overwhelm the dough?

And then there was a pile of laundry from last week looming ever larger near the washing machine. Someday I will come home and it will have all washed itself miraculously. Someday.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Thoughts of a New Catholic

(Side note: I hesitated with the title "...New Catholic." Just so everyone knows what I mean there, I'm not some sort of quasi-pseudo-Catholic who doesn't see eye-to-eye with the RCC. I was recently baptized, so I am a 'fresh' Catholic. Really fresh. Unspoiled, well, except for that little white lie, the bitten tongue, the angry thoughts, the temptations... darnit, I'm not a week into grace and I'm due for confession!)

My baptism was great. The priest is a funny man, and he made light of me converting from my "pagan ways." The baptism itself was rather funny to me. Father started pouring, "I baptize you in the name of the Father *pour* the Son *pour* and the Holy Spirit." *poooooouuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrr* Water went all over my head and started running down my back inside my shirt. It was really funny when the priest was rubbing the holy oil on my head, smearing my hair from one side to the other, pushing it into my face... all while trying to read the baptismal words from his book. I looked attractive at the end, lemme tell ya!

I also received my first communion that night. I've gone again to Mass and received communion at my regular parish. I must say, not all communion wafers are created equal. My first communion included a sliver of cardboard wafer about a half-millimeter thick. This Sunday, I received Christ as a 1" circle of lightly salted whole grain deliciousness. A little havarti and those things would satisfy for lunch.

Wine isn't my thing. I know I'm supposed to go forth and consume a tiny sip of the precious Blood of Christ, but it's just weird to me still. I don't like the taste of wine at all. Even worse, though, is that everyone drinks out of the same cup. The eucharistic minister has a cloth and wipes off the rim in between... unless that's a bleached rag or alcohol wipe, I am sorry, germs still transfer. I won't even drink after The Boy from a straw or glass, so there's no way I'm going to consume wine after someone else, let alone a hundred. I did it once for my first communion, and the Church (though they recommend both) does not require individuals to consume both, so I'm good now.

My knees haven't become Catholic yet. They're still sitting over on the Anabaptist bench, quietly praying for all the kneeling to be over. Each time I scoot off the pew to kneel, one of my patellas whimpers and shudders as I lower my frame into the kneeler. And genuflecting, forget it. I'll bow. I'll touch my toes bowing, but dropping one knee to the ground while putting all my weight on the other... it's a thing I can only imagine as a horror film. Seriously, the priest would have to step around my prostrate body as he processed (though I would look rather pious, now wouldn't I?). With time, I'm sure my knees will follow my heart in converting.

Probably the one thing I've looked forward to most (other than communion, duh) is actually getting to bless myself with holy water as I enter and exit the church. Totally random, I know, but when you go to church every week and don't get to rightly do the same things other people are doing, it's frustrating. As I had not been baptized, I couldn't rightly use the holy water to remind me of my baptism (it's purpose). Upon exiting the church in Salem last week, I dipped my finger deep into that fountain and gosh darnit, I blessed myself. I had water dripping off my nose. And THAT was a satisfying experience.

UnStrong

I've heard it said many times that people think I'm a strong person. What I think they see is the tough exterior and the stubborn facade, almost a mirage of sorts. What people don't see is the sometimes depressive, sometimes lonely, and often confused person underneath. I know we all present different faces to the world, and I know everyone hides "who they really are." It's worrysome to me, though, that my "intimidating" nature overrules the rare sweetness I can have.

As I move through big projects at work in the next few weeks, it's taking more and more of my strength to deal with frustrating situations and people. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to speak poorly of a coworker on my blog. It's safe to say that I, just like everyone else, can get a little beleagured by certain people who seem to be living on a different planet (or galaxy?).

I know it's more proper to hold my words in and not say things to difficult people. But maybe it takes a stronger person to actually say something to someone when they are being poopy. Maybe it takes a bigger person to say, "Your services could be better used sorting cotton balls in a mortuary." Okay, maybe not, but holding my tongue isn't getting me anywhere, and getting frustrated internally only fuels the fire.

I'm not the kind of person that will fight for something. I'm not the kind of person who will go out on the picket lines or stand up and yell when I'm being trampled. So, to me, the idea that I'm a "strong person" seems unfair. Being strong-willed doesn't make me a strong person. It just means I know what I want. Stubborn isn't the same as strong.

I really wish people could understand that.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Partied Too Hard (doh!)

Between The Boy's graduation party last night and today's party at with his family, I've had plenty of partying. I'm over socialized, exhausted, and ready for bed. Alas, much remains to be done before work tomorrow. My apartment is finally clean-ish. I hit the high spots and gave the bathroom a good scrubbing. Even managed to get the mopping in, go me.

My parents took us out to dinner tonight to celebrate The Boy's still untarnished MBA and my baptism. I think they're a little less wary of the Catholic Church now than what they used to be, or at least they're asking questions and make me feel less like an outsider. I really like answering questions about the Church, especially dispelling myths and helping people understand things.

It feels like we're about to hit our dead-sprint area with wedding planning. We have so many more decision to make and much more money to spend before we are ready to send out invitations, and all of that has to be done by August 15th, only two months away. I know we'll get that far... it's just a matter of when and where we're able to spend time together this summer.

I feel like I'm rambling, and I likely am due to fatigue, so I'm going to rest before posting here tomorrow night. Sleep, sweet missing sleep.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Congratulations, Master!

Today, the amazing Mr. Wonderful graduated with his Master's in Business Administration from Oregon State University. He is officially done with twenty years of schooling, and I'm (for one) thrilled that it's over. We've both put in some loooooong hours in the last year, him with meetings and (literally) insane amounts of homework and projects, and myself with making sure he has everything he needs to succeed.

I just want to take this moment to reflect on a year of more work than I've ever done (not to mention all the work he put in with school work), to share my pride, and to offer (one more time) the biggest congratulations I can muster.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Crossing the Tiber

Tonight, in front of friends and family, I was baptized into the Catholic Church and received my first communion. I have declared to the world that I believe in Christ as my savior, that I desire to follow Him, and that I intend to live my life according to His word.

I went into the process of looking at religion with a careful eye and cautious heart. In the beginning, I only wanted to learn. But now, a year and a half later, I suppose it has all been leading to today. The volume of information I've covered is astounding. Countless days were spent reading books and articles. Months found me questioning my choice to explore religion. More than anything, I was challenged by those closest to me to grow in my faith.

The decision to convert was not easy, nor was it always a happy choice. I know many people who disagree with what I did today. A few are thrilled, a few indifferent... my feelings are still mixed even afterward. Some believe I converted to Catholicism in order to marry into the church--not true. Some are stuck on me converting simply to make Mr. Wonderful happy--absolutely unfounded. It was a decision I made for myself after careful thought and incredible deliberation.

I "crossed the Tiber" as the saying goes, and I can't wait for the rest of this journey. :)

I'm Catholic!

As of 6pm tonight, I am officially able to call myself Catholic. I was baptized and received my first communion in the same evening.

More on the other blog if you desire to read it. That's all for today's news here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

*sneeze* Bless you!

Today was not a good day for my allergies. I think people should be banned from bringing pollen-covered flowers into the office. They aren't even pretty flowers... giant drippy things that stink all day long.

Tomorrow, I will officially become Catholic. You can read more about that on my other blog if you want. I haven't posted updates about that huge part of my life here as I don't want to cause others to think I'm forcing my ideas on them. I respect others and their desire to not read about religion.

Yesterday, after a three-store hunt for shoes to wear to my baptism tomorrow, The Boy and I settled on a pair of white Sketchers. Trying to find white flats that have some kind of strap over the top of my arch was darn near impossible. The shoes we found weren't exactly the ones I wanted, so we may end up taking them back soon (like right after the baptism--I'll just wear them once indoors). The same brand and style comes in a bit more dressy version, and I'm planning to buy those online to wear as my wedding shoes. Unfortunately we can't find the ones we want anywhere around here. Have I mentioned how much I hate shopping?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Pre-Cana Wonderfulness

The Boy and I are almost done with our marriage prep classes. They've been pretty good so far, at least not painful in any way. He and I communicated really well before we even started dating, so we knew much of what we've discussed in class for a long time. The section about conflict resolution didn't impress me, though. Having friends over and discussing their marriages (still new marriages) was much, much more helpful.

Did anyone have to take marriage prep classes (Pre-Cana as it is often called)? What did you do? What did you study or look at?

Wedding plans continue to slug on. I don't have anything new to report on that front. We're both too busy this month to really think much about planning. July and August, though, will be busier with wedding stuff. We anticipate wedding showers in September and then the wedding in mid-October. Scary to think that in just over four months I'll be married!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Dress Whites

The Boy and I went shopping for white clothes for me this weekend (I have to be in white clothes for my baptism). Lemme tell ya, finding age-appropriate and modest white clothing is darn near impossible. And not all whites are equal, so it was a challenge. I did score a super-cute white skirt on a 50%-off sale. My sister was kind enough to loan me a shirt that matches. I still have to find white shoes... that's a whole other saga.

Clothing lines are horrible these days. Mind you, coming from a 20-something with a pretty good figure, that's saying something. Just because I have boobs doesn't mean I want everyone to see them. If necklines get any lower or shirts get any thinner, we might as well all go naked. I get especially frustrated by 3/4-length sleeves or cap sleeves. Both of them look stupid on me and are uncomfortable. Finding a shirt that has non-cap sleeves that is also dressy proved impossible for yet another weekend. And then there are those shirts that have collars but that only button to about my ribs... obviously the plunging V-neck shirt is appropriate for a family picnic, ha! If the shirt buttons, the buttons should go all the way to the collar, not stop somewhere eight inches below. Don't cheat me out of fabric. I won't even get into short shirts, non-fitted clothing, or the nightmare called a full-length skirt.

My blog posts might be short this week: busy busy busy! If I don't get back here, know that I'm living life and should have plenty to post in a week or two.

The Big Deal

I've spoken with quite a few people lately regarding baptism. Most of them don't seem to understand that a Catholic baptism is a pretty big deal. They tell me, "so what, you go under water, you let the few people around you know that you're now a Christian, that's it." When I talk to Catholics and tell them I'm being baptized, they respond with blessings and smiles. (Which group of people would you rather hang out with?)

So I did some research. I knew some of this before, but I wanted to write it down here in case anyone else didn't know. Baptism isn't some little event, it isn't some quick and easy process, and it has a far greater impact on one's life than simply getting wet for a few minutes.

Baptism in the Catholic Church imparts special graces, purification, and a special mark on the soul. It's a big deal! It's a process, a moment, and a divine intervention all at once. Baptism...

...purifies from sins and gives new life in the Holy Spirit. Peter promised his hearers (on Pentecost) that by Baptism they would receive "forgiveness for your sins" and "the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).

...forgives all sins (original and personal) and all punishment for sin. Nothing remains to impede entrance into heaven.

...makes the believer an adopted child of God, a sharer in God's nature, a co-heir with Christ, and a temple of the Holy Spirit.

...seals the Christian with an indelible spiritual mark (the "character of Baptism") which sin cannot erase. Therefore, Baptism cannot be repeated. This sacramental seal consecrates the person for Christian religious worship and requires them to participate in the Church's liturgy and to bear witness by their holy lives.

By sanctifying grace (the grace of justification), the baptized:
-Are enabled to believe in God, hope in him, and love him (theological virtues)
-Can live according to the power of the Holy Spirit (the sanctifying gifts)
-Can grow in goodness (the moral virtues)
Baptism bestows the whole organism of the supernatural life.

By Baptism "we are members one of another" (Eph 4:25). This Body of Christ transcends all cultures, because "by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body" (1 Cor 12:13). (Source: CatholiCity.com)

See? It's not just a dunking and some clapping. Baptism into the Catholic Church as an adult is even more special than as an infant: I'm making this decision to accept the Church's views, ways, and values myself. I'm walking into a life filled with the Holy Spirit, hooray!

Baptism really is a big deal.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

I (heart) Watermelon

Mr. Wonderful and I purchased our first watermelon of the season tonight. We're both stuffed, if that's any indication of how delicious it was. We should have enough for us to both have a full bowl of it each night all week. Not bad for a watermelon that cost us -$0.25 after our bottle deposit returns! :)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Skates

Waaaay back in March, The Boy and I went ice skating. Here's proof that we actually did go out on the ice. We didn't fall a single time, and we barely held onto the wall -- mostly just to get a picture taken.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Hardback Horror

One of my favorite authors published a book early last month, and the first run was all hardback bound. As I refuse to purchase hardback books (unless they're textbooks, and I'm done buying those), I'm stuck in the waiting cycle for the paperback version to come out. In some cases, that takes a year! So I wait.

Why don't paperbacks come out at the same time as hardbacks? Do people really spend the money on hardback volumes of books they're simply going to read one time? Does the author make much money off the hardbacks versus paperbacks? Or is it all a scheme for the publishing companies?

I'm to the point now where I'll wait for remainder books to arrive at the Book Bin in town so I can get the cheaper paperbacks. They're the first-run paperbacks that the big stores don't sell in the first couple weeks, kind of like the left-over copies of movies when Blockbuster orders fifty for the first few weeks but only needs to stock one or two copies long-term.

Not to mention the environmental impact hardcover binding has... oh my. In a day with electronic books and tech-savvy people, we're still binding books with cardboard or chip-board and leather or suede. I find it mildly disturbing to see such a volume of trees wasted on the covers of books that people end up throwing away. A family Bible is one thing, but "John's Great Bathroom Reader" doesn't exactly need to live for all eternity.

I always have a hard time keeping hard-bound books open. They like to "magically" close on me when I set them down. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a book-folder-over... that's just not right. I do, however, like it when my books don't force themselves closed while I'm reading. They're heavy, too!

I know someone could quip back with, "why don't you go to the library?" The library is a great place to find books! However, sometimes I do want to keep a copy of a book I particularly like. In those cases, I seek out paperbacks. Additionally, I always donate books I'm done with, often trading them in at the Book Bin for a little cash--that usually goes toward buying more books.

Still, I'm bummed that I can't get the book I've been wanting in paperback. It's frustrating. Maybe it's me, maybe I'm alone in this quest... do you prefer hardbacks or paperbacks?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Alleriges, Headaches, and Sick Days

Well, it's a little earlier than normal for me to be blogging, but I'm home sick today. My allergies have gone into hyperdrive thanks to pollinating grass here in the valley. I was up for part of the night with a headache. My nose bleeds each time I sneeze now. I am on and off Benadryl... makes the sleeping go better, but it also makes me feel like crap.

The good news is that I'm not contagious! If that is good news...

At least I get sick leave. I only take about one day of sick leave every two or three months, but those few days help so much. I honestly believe that paid sick leave should be mandatory for all companies to provide their full-time employees... at least five whole days per year. Paid vacation is a decision, but paid sick leave really helps out. It sucks to be stuck at home with a cold or the flu and have to worry about money.

Hello Kleenex box, I almost missed you in the last six seconds between sneezes.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Odd One Out

Ugh, these stupid kids and all their credit card debt! They don't have any idea what they're doing when they borrow, borrow, borrow...

WRONG. I am one of those twenty-somethings buried under a pile of, oh, nearly ZERO debt. I am still paying off my student loans from college, but I haven't been late with a single payment, and I'm actually ahead of schedule a bit. My credit card has a zero balance as it is paid off in full each month. I've learned to not spend more than I have--weird!

So much of the time, I hear people complaining that kids aren't being taught proper spending/buying habits "these days." Actually, I think it's more like people aren't being reminded of what credit really is and how the credit system works. My high school, some small-town podunk backwoods hillbilly high school, required a full year of economics and personal finance. Every student I graduated with had to know how to purchase a vehicle and acquire insurance for it. We walked through buying a house. We learned about banks. We even got a touch of Wall Street and how to invest and create a diverse portfolio.

I'm definitely not an expert, but I feel like the odd one out when it comes to knowing these things. Please don't lump us all together. Some of us really can handle our finances!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Total Mystery

I still have so many questions about the Catholic Church. You'd think that after a year and a half of studying and reading so much, I'd be an expert. The more I learn, though, the worse it gets. I crave more knowledge. I stay up waaaay too late reading, hunting for new information. Sometimes I pester The Boy with questions he doesn't know how to explain answers to... so I set out with the mission to help him learn to explain to me how he understands things.

I'm learning that sometimes there are no answers. That's hard for me. I'm constantly in search of answers, but some stuff is just a mystery. The Church even calls things "mysteries." My favorite example of a "mystery" is how God changes ordinary unleavened wafers and wine into the body and blood of Christ. Total mystery. I couldn't understand it at first, how someone would believe that what we see is not really what something is. Crazies, I thought, plain ol' wackos. But one day, I stepped outside myself long enough to say, "You know what, if this God I believe in is really so awesome and powerful, who am I to say that He can't make something look like something else? How come the wine can't be the blood of Christ? God's GOD: He can do anything, even control physics!" Total mystery, but at least I'm getting over myself.

When people ask me why I am choosing to become Catholic, one of the biggest reasons I give them is this: mystery. The Protestant faith(s), to me, have stripped out all of the incredible mystery and unknown that lies within the Church. We don't know some things. We can't explain everything. And that's OK!

As much as I keep telling myself that everything will be OK if I don't understand, I still question. I still seek. It's my nature to want to know more. Maybe that's even human nature. Again, total mystery. The only thing I've been able to realize time and again is that it's really not about the answers sometimes as much as having faith.

Radiators and Road Rage

It's been a long day. Between work and the jerk on the road tonight, I've had a frustrating nine hours. The jerk on the road bit? You remember back to the last few rants I've had about how much people driving and not looking or obeying the law bothers me? Some guy decided that honking his horn, flipping me off, and yelling obscenities at me would somehow make the fact that he was trying to cut me off legal (I had the right-of-way, no question, he was crossing my path).

The Boy did make dinner tonight, his "radiator alfredo" special. He likes to call radiatore pasta "radiators," for your information. All he really did was make pasta and add canned sauce. But it was super yummy! And I am thankful he took time out of writing his final college paper to make me dinner after such a long day.

I have three canker sores at the moment. Two of them rub together all day long. It's fun.

Aaaaaaaaaand I don't have any other news. Because I'm boring like that.

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Weight is Lifting, Pressing Down

The Boy has one more paper and possibly one last test before he's officially done with his MBA. I feel like I ought to get to walk across the stage with him for all the work I've done to support him through the last year, but that's not possible. To thank me for my support, he bought me a necklace that I have been wanting for a while. It wasn't expensive (thankfully!), but really showed his appreciation. The weight of graduate school is finally lifting for us both. Hallelujah!

Wedding plans, though, have cranked into a higher gear. We rounded out our registries this weekend, got those organized into a spreadsheet, and hopefully won't have to add much more. It's difficult for us to think of other things we want to put on them. Maybe our guests will think outside our prescribed box and get us gift cards to places like Home Depot or Columbia Sportswear or Nike. It's not right to put clothes on a registry, but that's really one thing we could both use.

We have a plan for flowers, invitations, and all attire for the wedding party. We're working on the cakes, the food, the drinks, and the seating arrangements still, and we have plenty of work to do organizing our liturgy and music. Oddly, we haven't really figured out the whole dancing thing yet... weird for a couple of dancers.

Oh, and we started the premarital counseling, and we're having loads of fun with that (potentially sarcastic, haven't decided yet--it's not so bad after one round).

Phew! and Ugh! all at once.