Monday, August 31, 2009

Can I just eat cold cereal for every meal?

I am not a leftovers person. Maybe it's because I don't remember Mom ever making a dinner and having more leftover than one plate that she took in her lunch the next day. Maybe it's because other people got to the leftovers first. I am not really sure, but whatever the case, I don't really eat them. Soup is probably the only exception as one pot of soup makes enough for days around here (unless The Boy is here, then I might get two days only), and soup reheats perfectly.

Leftover pizza? meh. I will eat it cold. Reheating pizza is awful. Melted, cooled, remelted cheese doesn't do it for me. And while pasta is okay reheated, I'd rather save the sauce and make fresh noodles. Leftover meats generally don't reheat well in the microwave. Sometimes I will poach a whole package of chicken to shred and then fry into fajitas, saving some of the leftover poached meat to flavor and cook again later, but rarely if ever.

Waaaay back in the waaaay back of my mind, though, I keep telling myself, "hey stupid, any of that pre-packed garbage food from the freezer section is basically fancy leftovers." Why does it taste so much better then? This is a quandry I've yet to figure out.

In any case, I hope to make a large enough dinner tomorrow night that I don't have to think about what to cook on Wednesday. Pizza anyone?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Being Sick is Absolutely No Fun

It's Sunday night and I realized I haven't been here since Thursday. Good reasons though... beside the whole I'm-getting-married-and-that-takes-work bit, I was under the weather this weekend. Maybe it was the flu, or maybe it was a nasty migraine that included nausea and vomiting, or maybe something else completely random. I was super weak and pukey and blah including a fever that I think I might have finally gotten rid of. Here's to hoping it's not contagious and that The Boy doesn't get it too. (Migraines are thankfully not contagious, and based on the whopper of a headache I had Friday afternoon, that's my guess).

Um, so yeah. We're getting married in, like, six weeks. Holy shit cow. We picked up our marriage license on Friday, and we confirmed a bunch of stuff with the photographer, the musicians, our deacon and church, and even did a little bit of champagne flute shopping (finally found some we like at a price we can live with). RSVPs are coming in slowly, and we're getting more and more excited to finally live in the same place!

My parents picked up their piano this weekend, so I have a bunch of space in my living room now. Sad to see my favorite instrument go, but it just took up too much space and was here on loan while they built their new house. Bittersweet.

I bought a cordless leg shaver thingy this weekend. They've always made me curious as to how close of a shave I can get. A review should be forthcoming after thorough testing and The Boy's final approval (of course).

Went for a walk out at Fitton Green this afternoon. Nothing exciting there... trees and rocks and sticks and logs along old logging roads. I'm all for exploring the beauty of Oregon, but the whole Bald Hill area really doesn't do it for me. Timberhill's few hiking areas are also lacking, though they are slightly more exciting with cougars darting around. Geocaching is also better on Timberhill. Got most of those long ago.

Gave myself a facial tonight. I could get into that. Forget manicures and pedicures, blech! I can really dig the whole steaming towel, exfoliating, clay mask wonderfulness. Plus it's way cheap to do it yourself using kitchen ingredients and common sense. Since I tend to be super sensitive to most commercial face washes and lotions, a simple sugar scrub or oatmeal mask works incredibly well. A quick internet search yields more than enough info for DIY home facials: give that a try instead of asking me what I'm using (I looked online, you can too).

New shoes arrive tomorrow! That's pretty much enough to totally make my week.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Clean OUT

I might be getting a roommate soon! This thing happens when people get married... they end up living together. Weird!

The Boy may be moving in with me about the time we get married, so I figured I ought to make some room. That, and I started watching Hoarders on TLC and figured I am entirely too much of a pack rat and don't really want to end up with my own TLC film crew following me around. I went through my entire bedroom closet top to bottom, my desk, my dresser, the linen closet, the bathroom, the entry closet, my storage chests, and the several bookcases. In all, I donated more than twenty textbooks (even made some money selling a few old ones online, yay for new shoes as a result). I cleared out enough trash and recycling to fill an entire 50-gallon green garbage cart (over three days, little trips to the bins in my apartment complex). AAAAND I donated a bunch of old clothes that I'm never going to wear again to Goodwill and Vina Moses.

After all that, I have an entire rod free in my closet, a drawer in my chest in the living room, a shelf and part of a cabinet in the bathroom, and can possibly even make more space in the living room by rearranging furniture. Once the piano goes back to Mom and Dad (nooooo!), I think I will really feel like I've purged stuff.

Where did all my crap come from!? Ugh, going to try to not let that happen again.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wedding Guest Photography Etiquette

It bothers me. I'm not really sure why, but it does. Not that something bothering me changes things for the rest of the world, but I'm going to air a continuing frustration that will soon directly impact me.

Wedding guests should not be allowed to take photographs during wedding ceremonies. I'd prefer guests not be allowed to take pictures at all, but that's an impossibility these days with everyone possessing a digital camera. Why is this such a big deal?

The bride and groom typically spend huge amounts of money on a photographer. They've looked at portfolios, reviewed prices, and selected one individual to photograph the entire day. They're resting their faith and trust in this person, and they expect great photographs. The photographer has been briefed about the rules the church or other locations may have regarding photography (something guests wouldn't know).

When guests try to take pictures at weddings, they can slow down the ceremony, create lighting disturbances that affect the professional photography, and may even get in the way entirely. No one wants to have flash bulbs going off everywhere, especially on the most important day of their life. Plus, as the couple walks down the aisle, instead of seeing their loved ones' faces and smiles, they see cameras and flashes. Not cool!

The wedding reception is typically less formal and structured, so people get up and stick their cameras in the happy couple's faces the rest of the evening. Can you imagine how tiring it is to stand through the professional photographs and then have to struggle through even more photography from amateur photographers who often take several minutes to construct the "perfect" shot? The couple often provides disposable cameras for the guests to use. The guests should photograph other guests, not the cake or the couple. Get pictures of things the professional photographer is missing, like your son moonwalking or your grandmother snoozing.

I'm not saying don't take pictures ever. I'm saying be discreet and do so from a distance and quickly. Remember: you are not the hired photographer hand-selected by the couple to photograph their occasion. Unless the couple specifically asks you to help with photographs, keep a low profile.

And never, ever, ever post photographs of the wedding on Facebook (or any other social networking site) until after the couple has returned from their honeymoon and have the ability to untag themselves from your pictures. Just because you think their kegstand was awesome doesn't mean they want their boss to see those pictures. Have the courtesy to respect someone else's special day. It's not yours!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"Comfugly"

I've coined a new term.

Comfugly: something that looks both comfortable and ugly at the same time. Often applies to shoes, especially shoes designed for older people. In a sentence, "Hey, your new shoes are comfugly!" or "Her pants are quite comfugly: I can't believe she wore them in public."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Expensive Camera, Cheap Photographer

Have you ever watched someone take pictures? Have you noticed their fancy camera and their complete ineptitude with the camera? They don't use any features or don't change angles or try to get closer to a subject, but rather they stand in the same general area going "click, click, click" with the same exact shot.

I have to wonder why people spend so much money on a camera that they don't know how to use. Do people honestly think that a $2000 camera will make their poor photography look better than the $150 camera? Will the stock lens add anything that a good cheaper built-in lens wouldn't have picked up? I think it's all marketing. Or control... people think they will have "control" over their pictures if they have a fancy camera.

I've used the same point-and-shoot camera since 2002, and honestly, I bet I use the "extra" features more than most people. Still, the automatic setting is probably the most common setting I use. It's not that I'm lazy or that I don't want to take the time to figure out what aperture or zoom or light metering to use. The automatic setting on my cheap digital camera works really well! For more artsy shots, I know a few tricks with my camera to get the effects I want. Ultimately, I have a few limitations, but my camera fits in my pocket, so taking it everywhere means more shots more times and with pretty much the same results.

Another thing people don't realize is that a digital SLR camera straight out of the box is pretty much just as limited as a standard point-and-shoot camera. It's the add-ons that make pictures look better. The super-high-powered telescoping lenses and the filters (oh I love filters!) that make ordinary pictures look dramatic. Most people want the camera and none of the other things that cost extraordinary amounts of money (seriously, good lenses and studio equipment will set someone back tens of thousands of dollars).

And all that control that seemed so important in the beginning? It can be fleshed out in post-processing. I don't know anyone these days that doesn't edit their pictures in some small way before publishing. Between Picasa's super-simple fixes and snazzy Photoshop tweaks, a point-and-shoot camera's picture can look professional in ten seconds.

WHY, WHY, WHY?! do people spend so much money on expensive camera equipment when they have absolutely no business with anything other than a disposable camera? I want to take their cameras and pour sand in them. Or steal them and use them to their full potential...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Enchanted Forest

For The Boy's birthday, we recently visited Enchanted Forest south of Salem. It was really an early birthday present for me as well (wedding two weeks before my birthday, we'll be partied out!). Neither of us had been there since we were little, maybe grade school ages or thereabout. We arrived early to find a jumble of adults and babies in strollers standing outside the entrance. Screaming kids isn't my idea of a good day, but considering the venue... eh, they weren't bad. We paid our exorbitant entrance fee of $10 each plus $0.80/ticket (and most rides take three or four tickets). We could have purchased the ride-any-ride-as-many-times-as-we-want bracelet for $28 each, but we didn't really want to ride most of the rides even once.

Upon entering the so-called enchanted forest, we discovered some moderately well-kept relics like the Wicked Witch's head thingy and Hansel and Gretel's gingerbread house. Most of the original attractions could use a thorough dusting and paint job. After realizing that we were going through the park backward, we corrected our path and found the Old English city part of the forest. It's a newer addition, and a spectacular part of the park in my opinion. The architecture is quite good for a theme park, plus the many entrances to the little "shops" are fun for adults (ok, adults who are pretending to be kids). The waterfall room diner thing was way too humid while we were there to sit through the water show, but we tried. Tofteville, the new western town addition, seemed decent. The town seemed a bit unpolished and rough, but I guess that's supposed to be character or something.

We did go on two "rides" while in the park: we both went through the haunted house, and The Boy rode the roller coaster. The haunted house was pretty good. I wasn't so much scared by the house itself as by the screaming kids just up the way from us. Every puff of air or thumping on a wall freaked them out. I'd jump when they screamed, not when something popped out at me. Of course, I've been reading a real book about exorcisms lately, so the whole "evil" thing keeps running around in my head, but that's a whole other story. The Boy finally got to ride the Ice Mountain roller coaster as it had been closed for repairs every time he'd been there previously. Maybe that should have been a hint: it was closed for repairs twenty years ago... that means it had problems twenty years ago. He said he wasn't scared by the twists or turns nearly as much as the clanking and clunking of the warped steel wheels on rusty steel pipes. It's an ooooold coaster. Not sure I'd allow my future kids to ride that unless they massively upgrade it. Not talking about adding spirals or making it a fancy Disney-style theme park ride, just some safety checks and some new cars or at least a paint job.

We walked all over the park, discovered everything new, and felt pretty bored in just over an hour. Of course, we probably could have stayed longer if we rode more of the rides, but rides cost money and didn't seem all that exciting. We left and went to lunch. Happy Birthday lunch!

If you haven't been there, I'd suggest experiencing the park. It's going to be a lot more fun with little kids as they'll take in so much more of the stories and little decorations than adults. Though I'm not sure kids right now even know about the Rabbit Hole or the Three Little Pigs or Little Miss Muffet.

Have pictures, may post some later.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Railroading

Maybe it's me. I know I can be a little dense sometimes, but at least I recognize that. One thing I've always failed to understand is how people get killed crossing railroad tracks. Trains are not small furry animals that dart out of nowhere. Trains run on tracks. The tracks pretty much don't move. Ever. So we have a very large, very loud object traveling along a predetermined path. Where's the surprise? Say someone is walking along the tracks (illegal, right? we've all done it) and hears a train approaching from *gasp* behind them. What to do?! Run as fast as you can directly in front of the train, of course.

I don't understand how difficult it is to run thirty feet perpendicular to the train. Ok, maybe there are trees or shrubs or even blackberry brambles. I'd much rather tango with a blackberry bush than a locomotive. And what about train trestles? Let me say this clearly: railroads are PRIVATE PROPERTY. Don't use them. If the trestle is the only way across a swollen river, look both ways as far as you can, listen, feel the tracks for vibration (rarely works), and RUN! Don't walk across a trestle if you absolutely must use one.

Do not park your car on railroad tracks. Do not lie on the tracks sunbathing. Do not play on the tracks. Do not try to beat a train through a road/tracks intersection. Don't try to climb aboard a moving train, and don't try to jump off a moving train (unless you're fleeing captives, in which case jump as far from the tracks as you can). And if you see the train approaching, don't run across the tracks! Sit tight for a couple minutes, allow the train to pass, and once you don't see any more trains headed your direction, proceed with caution. It's that easy and safe.

Having your car die while trying to cross the tracks is one thing, and those situations are unfortunate. I'm not trying to be mean to anyone who has had a legitimate run-in with a train. I am, though, trying to express my frustration with railroad-related injuries and deaths. Trains aren't big, scary monsters that just pop out unannounced. Even Amtrak, for all of its speed, is freakin' loud.

Move off the tracks when a train approaches. It's not that hard.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy 26th, Mr. Wonderful

I'm taking today's post to celebrate my best friend's birthday: Mr. Wonderful turned 26 today! In about eight weeks, I will marry Mr. Wonderful (how lucky am I to become Mrs. Wonderful?). Today, I was thinking a few things about this incredible man and our current position in life. We're a little nervous about starting our life on my one income as he's still hunting for a career. We're beyond excited to finally live in the same place and not have to drive between apartments or houses. And we're hopeful that we'll be able to endure the struggles marriage can bring (because there's no way I'm planning another wedding).

I think I finally had the "oh crap! I'm actually getting married!" moment earlier this week. It wasn't the "aww, how cute" kind of thing, but actual hesitation of what I'm getting myself into. Don't misunderstand: I have zero hesitation about the man I'm marrying. The hesitation was more about realizing the gravity of marriage and making my life into our life.

But I also had another thought tonight: there is no one I'd rather be walking off into the sunset with. I know Mr. Wonderful is going to be there for me if I truly need him. I know he's a man with fun traits, handy skills, and faults and flaws just like any other man, but I realized how much I adore [most] of his flaws. Like when he gets really nervous and tenses up, or when he laughs at me for not knowing how to plug in his X-Box (shuddup). I love how he listens when I'm frustrated (best quality ever!), and I appreciate him when he reminds me I'm being annoying/juvenile/stupid/dramatic/obsessive/stubborn (even though I'm never any of those things, ha!).

Mr. Wonderful, here's to you. I know your biggest birthday wish hasn't come true yet, but here's to hoping you had a great day. More than you know, I love you.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Catholic Apologetics

A few responses to common misconceptions about the Catholic Church. I retrieved and am quoting the black text from the Westboro Baptist Church's website, priestsrapeboys.com. I won't even link there due to the libel. Seriously, I know the people who attend the WBC are in the minority belief-wise, but they take the cake on crazy. My responses are in red.

1. Baptism -The priest baptizes anyone including babies by sprinkling, pouring, or immersing a person with water, thus entering that person into the Catholic Church. Furthermore, by the act of Baptism, one’s sins are instantaneously forgiven and you get to go to Heaven. Babies are unconscious of their duty to serve God, and they can’t talk or think logically about anything when they are born. Therefore, they cannot make a profession of faith or bring forth fruits (that is, works) meet for Repentance. [There is] no [such thing as] baptismal regeneration: Christ’s Blood is the only thing that can cover your sins, so even if you have baptism and still lack His blood, guess what? YOU’RE GOING TO HELL!

I’m not sure I understand what WBC is driving at with this rant. Are they upset about infants being baptized, or are they saying no baptism is valid unless you also share in communion? The whole blood part confuses me. If WBC denounces transubstantiation (see #3), they wouldn’t accept Christ as being fully present in communion, therefore no one can have Christ’s blood but Christ Himself, and then no one can be saved. I know many groups are against infant baptism as it “isn’t biblical,” but entire households including children were baptized in the Book of Acts. Infants have been baptized since the beginning of baptisms, and St. Paul suggested that infant baptism is a substitute for circumcision. I’m also not saying that a profession of faith isn’t important (not a bad idea at all), but simply professing your faith at the top of your lungs isn’t going to cut it salvation-wise. And dare I say that the WBC agrees with the Catholic Church regarding the necessity of works?


2. Confirmation – The priest pours “chrism,” or “holy oil,” on the forehead of a person, symbolizing the spiritual growth of a person and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon a baptized member of the Catholic Church. There is no scripture for this anywhere. It was concocted by liars! If the Lord doesn’t send you the Holy Spirit, then you can’t serve God with courage, let alone believe on His Name!

Um, Sacred Tradition anyone? Even if you don’t believe in tradition, it’s not hard to imagine Confirmation as a prayer over someone to continue receiving the Holy Spirit. Acts 8 and Acts 19 both contain scripture references to hands being laid upon someone who then receives the Holy Spirit (taken in context, of course). I also think the WBC states exactly what they’re against: the Lord sends the Holy Spirit! Of course! This happens at baptisms, confirmations, and any sacrament. The holy oil bit is traditional and smells good, so why even balk at it?


3. Eucharist – In Catholicism, this is the holiest sacrament of the Seven Sacraments where all attendees are welcome to eat of wafers and grape juice, usually available in small packets, at every meeting. Transubstantiation, additionally, is the doctrine which states that, when the priest blesses the wafer and the juice, that these two items literally become the flesh and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Only baptized, walking-in-good-standing members are allowed to eat of the unleavened loaf of bread and wine, and they eat and drink from the same loaf and glass of wine. This is the pattern after which the Lord Jesus Christ established this ordinance, the “Lord’s Supper.” [There is] no [such thing as] transubstantiation, no vampires or zombies here, thank you! That’s a classic Catholic lie, with no scripture whatsoever to support it.

First, there are no packets. I have never, ever heard of communion packets. Catholics don’t go to “meetings,” we go to Mass. And there are NO packets. I might also mention the zero-tolerance policy on grape juice: it’s wine or bust. The wafer bit is true, though, and some taste better than others. The wafers are always unleavened wheat bread in about 1” discs. As far as transubstantiation, well, I could take an entire blog to explain that one, but for the sake of time and space, let’s just say John 6. All four gospels affirm the literality of transubstantiation, not to mention belief in the Real Presence being a matter of deep faith. For your sufferings and lack of understanding, I suggest you offer it up.


4. Penance – Or “Confession,” where a member of the Catholic Church “confesses” their sins to a priest, who will forgive them “in God’s name.” The priest is assuming the office of Christ. There is no mediator between man and God except Christ, you dumb brutes! This priest can’t take away your sins! In 1 John 1:8-10, the words say “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” That’s God, you liars!

Whoa, whoa, whoa there WBC. Whatever happened to God forgiving all sins we are truly repentant for? Why does it matter if we confess to a priest or directly to God? God can’t hear us in the confessional and forgive our sins through the mouth of the priest? Oh, and the asking for forgiveness isn’t from the priest: we only ask forgiveness from the Father. And I think the Bible mentions something about telling our sins to one another… reducing confession to a purely spiritual realm kind of negates the whole church thing anyway. Why even have a church in the first place?


5. Holy Orders – Men are chosen by the Catholic Church to become members of the Catholic Hierarchy and administer these same seven sacraments. These doctrines are taught by, and cooked-up in the hearts of devils, or demon spirits who abide in the bottomless pit. Furthermore, the men who hold these offices are filthy perverts who rape children! There’s nothing holy about it!

Wow, overgeneralization, misrepresentation, and lies. Not bad for such a short pile of words. One, men aren’t chosen to become members of the Church, they choose to become members. A man freely accepts his responsibility to become a deacon or priest. Only higher levels are promoted, and those take votes just like a democracy. The doctrines were “cooked up” by Christ Himself and passed on to the apostles and disciples one-by-one long before your church arrived on the planet. Should I mention that only Christ can defeat Satan, oh, and that he did? About that whole raping children bit: yes, there have been some awful things done to good people by clergy. However, bad people exist just as much outside the church as inside. ALL sins can be forgiven. Even yours (lying much?). My experience with priests and deacons has been entirely positive, and I walked in exceedingly hesitant and skeptical… so I think I can say with confidence that the vast majority of the clergy is outstanding!


6. Marriage – One man and one woman is the standard. They have not yet begun marrying filthy fags or dykes yet, but they will gladly annul your marriage, or, declare your marriage null and void, that it never was a marriage. So, this means that they will let you remarry within the Catholic Church as often as you want to. DIVORCE + REMARRIAGE = ADULTERY. God hates divorce, and he hates all of these liars and frauds who teach you to be filthy perverts. They take the Name of God into their mouth, and they BLASPHEME his Holy Name, telling you that you can live like the very devil himself and still go to Heaven! The Catholics have no authority to tell the fags they can’t marry: the Catholics are hypocrites, saying that men and women can divorce and remarry, breaking God’s Law, and then denying the fags that capacity. It won’t be long now, and then they will bow down and kiss the fag juggernaut; they won’t have a choice.

Aside from the blatant bigotry and endless lies, this one is actually not too wrong. The Catholic Church only allows marriage between one man and one woman. Annulments are difficult and can take years to get (if at all). I won’t even address the rest of the lies here: not worth it.


7. Anointing of the sick – the priest anoints a dying or very old person with oil, a sign of “curing,” and prays that the person will receive the Holy Spirit, be freed from their sins, comforted and strengthened in soul, and restored to health. If you serve God IN DEED AND IN TRUTH, then, and only then, the fervent prayers of a righteous man avail much. This is a bastardized version of James 5:14-15, where the writer James (a close relative to Jesus Christ, according to the flesh) advises the servants of God about what to do if another servant of God becomes grievously ill. However, the Catholic priests cannot administer this function because THEY AREN’T RIGHTEOUS IN THE EYES OF GOD.

Anointing is not curing. Anointing is not curing. Anointing is not curing. Get it through your heads, please. Remember what I said about confirmation being a sort of special prayer over someone? Same thing here with a slightly different oil. It’s a prayer that a person’s soul be found free of unrepented sin at the time of their death (which is usually imminent). It’s not a cure, not a quick fix. If it was a cure or a quick fix, then no one would be dying, now would they?

Okay, Jaggy here again. I actually chopped off the rest of the text after that as the author became too irate and incomprehensible. If you'd like to go read the lies, be my guest. I have never visited a website and had chills go down my spine like I did on these sites. I'm sure the author would argue that I was "seeing the light," but honestly, all I felt was pity and sadness for how brainwashed the author has become. The site delves into other common areas of concern: vestments, mariology, and the oh-so-controversial holy water.

I considered not even responding to the website, but then I realized I'd be missing out on potentially helping one person realize that not everything spread about Catholics these days is true. Think before you speak... that's all I'm after here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Diabetes, NOT Diabetis

I would like to take this blog post to remind the entire world how to pronounce the apparently difficult word "diabetes." Perhaps it is a generational thing where anyone over 40 can't seem to pronounce the word correctly. Maybe it's that the spelling changed sometime in the last three centuries and an older pronunciation lingers (unlikely). Or maybe the super-smart doctors can't seem to remind patients enough how to say this silly word.

Whatever the case, the disease is serious. I'm not trying to make fun of anyone who has diabetes: I'm reminding anyone who can't get the word out correctly. However, I find it exceedingly difficult to not smack someone who has the disease and can't pronounce it correctly.

"DI-ah-beet-ees," NOT "DI-ah-beet-IS." The word only has one "i." How can anyone look at the ending and come up with "-is"? I'd even understand a hearty "di-ah-BET-ess" with emphasis on the -ess, but -is? These two endings sound completely different! Don't fall prey to this awful and unintelligent-sounding trap!

It has to be generational. Please tell me this horrible trend is going to die out soon!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"woop, woop"

I think I'm the only person on the planet these days that does not have a car with keyless unlock or keyless start or keyless hitch-up-the-trailer-and-drive-away features. Today, while walking through a parking lot, I could hear the near-constant beeping of cars being locked and unlocked, trunks opened from afar, and engines turning over with no driver to be seen. Sitting in my apartment, it's an annoying din of beeps and bloops, horns and honks from the parking lot below.

How hard is it to unlock a car door? I've been told that keyless entry is nice if you have your hands full, but even if your hands are full, you still have to reach down and unlatch the door. You still need a free hand to pull a lever or poke a button... how much harder is it to turn a knob?

Same goes for trunks. I've never experienced someone being in such a hurry that they don't have time to manually unlock their trunk. If it's a fast getaway one's after, it's not like they're going to be stuffing their trunk anyway.

"Oh, but the convenience!" ...of what? knowing your car has locked because you poked the key fob button? How about not locking the car until you're out of it with the key? Or is it that you can unlock all of the doors at once? I can do that too: unlock the door, open the door, poke the "unlock" button.

Is it a status thing? Does it make people feel cool? Is it the sound itself that people desire? I'm not saying power locks are bad, but keyless entry doesn't really make sense to me. Still have to have the key to start the car (though that's even changing). Soon it will be retinal scans to enter a car and a DNA test to go down the street.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Finance Lessons

Last night, The Boy and I met with a financial planner. We didn’t go there necessarily to be planning our financial future, but rather we visited to listen to the planner discuss his career and possibly see if that might be a job avenue for The Boy. While Mr. Wonderful didn’t walk away thinking about a career (not quite what he’s after), we both started thinking about our finances.

One thing the financial planner talked about was the lack of knowledge people--particularly young people (but not exclusively)--have of personal finance. Apparently being able to balance a checkbook and keep a budget aren’t the things my generation thinks about. The fact that neither of us have any debt outside our student loans is remarkable. I had both economics and personal finance as required classes in high school, plus I’ve been budgeting my life for three or four years. The Boy manages his money in his own way (not really sure how, but with no debt, I’d say he’s been successful), and he also has two degrees in business administration. Safe to say we’re both familiar with how to pay bills.

Is it that parents don’t understand their finances and aren’t passing on good habits to their children? Is it that students aren’t being educated about finances in school? Is it that credit card companies have targeted their marketing on under-educated people? Where does the fault lie in so many people not understanding finances?

Where did you learn how to manage your finances? Who taught you? What lessons do you think need to be passed on most?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Water Bottle

It seems like such a boring topic, those water bottles people seem to be carrying everywhere. I don't buy bottled water. In fact, I have one of those pretty blue gallon-size jugs that looks like it's from a water machine but isn't--and it lives in my fridge.

Sometimes, though, I want to carry a water bottle or canteen. To say that I looked everywhere for the perfect one is an understatement worthy of an award. Trying to find a metal water bottle that doesn't have a straw or a sharp lip was difficult. Trying to find one where I don't have to touch anywhere near the mouth part was even harder. Trying to get metal, no straw, nothing sharp, and not having to twist or touch near the mouth part was nearly impossible. I persisted, and I found just the size I wanted on sale. Not bad for patience!

It's black on the outside, fits my criteria, and only set me back $7. It even has a big loop on the handle for a clip or a ribbon to hold it to my bag. I can live with that, plus I'm going to start becoming hydrated again and rejoin the land of the thirsty. Finally!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Muffins for Dinner

Slow day. Worked on figuring out where all of my money went last month... budgeting is a TON of work, but I have been keeping a budget for several years now. I find it helps.

Came up with a couple ideas for wedding shower invitations to share with The Boy. He'll help me make the final decisions about those this weekend.

The gift boxes for my bridesmaids went from stupid and cheap to elaborately awesome and cheap, but now I have to spend a bunch of time making them look good. Time is money, but I'm finding my time is often worth very little. I am my own cheapest date?

I didn't want to cook when I got home tonight, so I made some raspberry muffins from the Jiffy box. Satisfied and happy, plus I baked them in my GT Express, so the cleanup is done as well.

Blah, another slow day of little projects, tedious work, and being half-motivated.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Custom Crucifixes

As most of you know, my blog has never been a place for endorsing products I haven't tested and used for years. However, I don't even have to use this particular item to know how great it is:

From a friend on Facebook, I've found that a local craftsman carves or builds wooden crucifixes. A crucifix is a fairly personal gift, so I don't suggest running out to buy one for every Catholic friend (or Protestant, I'm not trying to be exclusive, but they generally don't do the whole corpus thing). Mr. Schaefer retired and spends his time working on these beautiful wall hangings.

I'm doing my part to spread the word. Free publicity never hurts, plus I think he's doing a great thing. I also really appreciate the value of his product for such a reasonable price. He could be charging hundreds of dollars, but he's not. On top of his catalog, he offers to do custom work, and I'm willing to bet he doesn't charge an arm and a leg for the custom work either.

I can't decide between two of them... they're all so pretty!

Mr. Schaefer's website is Custom Crucifix.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The #1 Reason Why I REFUSE To Twitter

I have a life away from these computer thingies. Weird, I know. Nope, won't tell you I just went down the stairs successfully. Nope, you won't be impressed with my grilled cheese sandwich that did not contain grill marks in the shape of the Blessed Virgin Mary. And no, I don't feel compelled to share that I just went to the bathroom or that I'm going to work or that I found a booger or that my dishes are clean.

I HAVE A LIFE. Once a day here on the bloggy is enough. Twitter, Twitter, GO AWAY!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Wedding Detail #40738

Wedding invitations addressed, check!
Invitations in envelopes, check!
Shower dates set, check!
Shower locations chosen, hosts selected, and attendees decided, triple check!
Finally getting my baptismal certificate and last bit of paperwork to the church this week, check!
Flower price quotes, time lines, itineraries, reminding groomsmen about tuxedos, dusting silk flowers, pricing tableware and linens, discussing the budget yet again, and blogging about it all, yup, CHECK!

Don't fret about the shower dates. Everyone invited to the showers will find out the dates when they get their shower invitations. Same with our wedding website. Everyone will finally know the wedding website address when we send out invitations. Until then, consider things under construction--we can't get everything done all at once, nor can we keep every single person updated at the same time. Additionally, this is a very public blog, and I don't feel comfortable releasing our personal wedding website for everyone to see, nor do I want to tell perfect strangers where I'll be when. Suffice it to say, if it's important for you to know, you'll know when you need to know.

Meanwhile, The Boy and I are going to sleep just a little bit better tonight knowing the invitations are almost done! YAY!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Can't Quit Now

I believe I have finally reached a point in my life where quitting Facebook or blogging would be near impossible. It's not because I like them or because I use them every second (hardly!). Rather, I find that I have so much family around here that if I quit, they'd all think the cheese slid off my cracker (if you know what I mean). Between Facebook, MySpace, and the ol' bloggy, I think some people get too invested in this daily dribble.

Sometimes I want to get away. Sometimes I don't want anyone to know where I'm going, when I'll be back, or why I want to visit a place. It's hard to be that open about my life. I also don't think I'm wrong for not sharing everything.

To give an example, sometimes I don't blog on a particular day. It doesn't mean I'm lying in a gutter or heading to Mexico or anything other than I was either too busy spending time with friends or family or I just didn't have anything to say. And seeing that 90% of my weekends are spent with The Boy, odds are that I just don't have anything exciting to say. If I don't blog or update my Facebook status, the world will still spin.

It's an obligation to blog now. I really don't like feeling obligated to do anything. Feeling obligated makes my mouth taste yucky. Updating my Facebook status more than once a month feels like a chore. Sometimes I wish people could just mind their own business and not study my status for hidden messages or think too hard about a clever post title. But I can wish in one hand and spit in the other... quitting now would mean I am being "avoidant" and we can't have that now, can we?

Friday, August 07, 2009

Mouse Hunt

I think it's time to let the world in on a little secret: I play Mouse Hunt on Facebook.

Now that I've said it, I'm going to have to include instructions for Grandma about how to get Mouse Hunt since she'll want to try it too. Log in to Facebook. In the upper right hand corner in the search box, type "Mouse Hunt." Click on the Applications tab. About the third spot down is the game application for Mouse Hunt. Click on the link, and follow the instructions. The game does NOT download anything to your computer: the game can only be played through Facebook. To remove the game, in the lower left hand corner, click on Applications, then click on Edit Applications. Once you find Mouse Hunt, click the X at the end of the row to remove the application. From the Edit Applications menu, you can also adjust how many notifications you get or how many people can see that you play the game.

Mouse Hunt isn't a traditional one-on-one game. It's a click-one-button-once-every-fifteen-minutes-and-walk-away game. Seriously. That's the most you can do. The object is to catch mice in a mouse trap using different configurations of bases, traps, and cheese at a variety of levels for the rewards of points and gold. Points give you status, gold gives you $$$ so you can buy new things like traps, more cheese, and the ability to travel. I've moved up the ranks to Hero, the second from the highest possible level, but I've also played every day since December. I've caught 70 of the 126 possible breeds of mice (the last ones are hard to catch!).

However, I now measure my life in 15-minute increments. I'm getting better at knowing exactly how much time has elapsed so that I can hunt again. That's how you know you're addicted!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Lunge, or not

I made the mistake last night of thinking it would be "helpful" if I did a few lunges and maybe begin to tone some muscle. My legs are displeased and have enjoyed informing me of my idiocy at every stoop, squat, and bend today. I think that means the lunges are working.

Stayed up too late reading. Still haven't learned that lesson. Nothing new to report otherwise. Hope everyone is enjoying the cooler weather and is well. Blah, I'm boring tonight.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Music File Cleanup

One more task I'm taking on for the wedding: playlists. I have some decent music, maybe just enough to stretch a variety of dances for two hours. The problem is that my music files are so jumbled that I have a hard time finding Chopin in my mix of Nickleback and Josh Groban. From James Galway (flautist extraordinaire) to Chicago to Scott Grimes (favorite!), my computer is one huge pile of guitar solos and incredible vocals.

Four hours into this endeavor, four years in the planning-but-never-getting-around-to-it stage, I think I'm actually making progress. I now have each song with the correct title, something in the artist column, and am attempting to assign each song a dance style in another column. That way I will know what songs go with what dances without having to think about it. I hope!

Well, except for the fact that sometimes I get sucked into songs I haven't heard in for-ever so I sit and listen to them while trying to do other things and then I get sidetracked and forget I'm working on my computer project. I'm easly distracted sometimes, and it's hard for me to focus when music plays. Yeah, the inner band geek likes to say hi every once in a while.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Gardasil Re-do, I think NOT

I checked my mail tonight to find a letter from my doctor. Apparently the vaccine I have been given over the last six or eight months wasn't stored properly and may not be effective. Lucky me! I not only had to suffer through three of the most painful injections of my life, but now I have the delightful option of doing them over again. The hospital will offer the revaccinations for free, but I'm not sure that eases my mind any. The original $300 should have worked!

As the vaccination was Gardasil and is used to prevent some strains of HPV, the leading cause of cervical cancer, I don't think I'll be getting the shots again. I'm almost married and have zero plans to ever leave that relationship, so unless either The Boy or I already harbor HPV for some unexplainable reason, I'm not at a terrible risk for contracting it (yes, I know there are other ways of getting HPV, but I'm low/no risk for those as well). If no HPV, I have a dramatically reduced risk of cervical cancer, but there's nothing I can do about cervical cancer that doesn't originate with HPV.

The hospital claims that only my last shot was possibly not effective, so hopefully the first two will cover me if I do ever come into contact with the virus. Considering my lifestyle, I'm not going to worry about it. At this point, the risk of infection from the needle is almost as high as getting HPV in the first place.

Monday, August 03, 2009

75 Days to Go

Wedding plans are swimming along nicely. We have about 75 days to go still, but sometimes it feels like tomorrow. I need to get one last address tomorrow in order to make my guest list complete. The invitations will be addressed by our mothers this weekend, and they will be mailed out in about three weeks. We have made so many decisions, but I fear we have dozens left. I look forward to the decisions though. It feels good to include my future husband in this process--it's our wedding, and he's very much a part of the planning. I feel like we're tackling our first project head-on, side-by-side.

That said, I think the only things I have left to really worry about are still fitting into my dress in just over two months and making sure that I get my hand-tatted garter finished. Everything else should be cake, literally.

My latest pet peeve about weddings is photography. Don't misunderstand: The Boy and I are very happy with the photographer we've selected, and we are thrilled! he's going to be a part of our day. My beef is with everyone else taking their own photos at the wedding and then posting them all over the internet. It just seems kind of tacky to me, as if the people are saying, "look, I was special enough to get invited to someone else's wedding, see, here are the pictures I took." To me, it feels like the digital cameras eat away at the wedding day. The bride and groom selected a photographer, and they don't need additional people flashing and gesturing and demanding pictures too. I also think that the bride and groom should be allowed the first crack at posting pictures from their day on Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, and whatever else people post pictures on. I know weddings are a community event, but the photos of a couple on their special day shouldn't be posted until the couple is darn good and ready. Just tacky to do it before then.

At least let the couple get home from the honeymoon before posting pictures for the whole world to see... that way the bride and groom have an opportunity to see the pictures of themselves looking like dorks and can remove tags or whatnot. Simple courtesy anyone?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Jaggy: Pop Can Slayer

A few weeks ago, The Boy took me shooting. He let me shoot his old .22 rifle with a scope. I put many a hole in several pop cans. The Boy was kind enough to get a few shots of his own while I was shooting. Thanks!

Oh, and yes, we took out every casing or cartridge that we packed in, plus we cleaned up after other people. It's okay to practice marksmanship, just be kind to the planet and other people, k?