Friday, June 30, 2006

I had to coordinate catering for a business lunch today, but I wasn't planning on eating any of the food myself. That changed when someone backed out at the last minute and offered their lunch to me. So I am enjoying a jerk chicken salad with pineapple and cucumbers and bell peppers and lime ginger dressing. Ready, and...salivate. It is deee-licious. I love to see what people can do when they get creative with food. I love trying different flavors. I love business lunches. It almost makes me want to go home and cook, right now. Except that it is HOT today.

Weekend plans: go to Casper, enjoy more delicious food there tonight, maybe some birthday shopping for Mike (the man who is 3 weeks younger than me- I am a cradle-robber- that joke never gets old!), maybe a little Superman with my all-time favorite actor Mr. Kevin Spacey (even though I still haven't seen X-Men 3, and Mike gets jealous of Kevin Spacey), and maybe some pictures of a fun-filled weekend to share next week. We'll see. Never can tell what might happen.

Did I mention I also have a fruit tart that I am about to enjoy? This sure beats a ham sandwich and Hershey kiss, I will tell you that.

Friday, June 23, 2006

I am the geekiest geek of all geekdom. For 2 reasons.

#1: Yesterday I went to the eye doctor for my regular check-up, and to get more contacts, glasses! (Life does not get more exciting than when one can buy a new pair of glasses. The possibilities are endless- the statements you can make with the windows on your face are infinite.) Not only did I pick out new glasses, but I picked out some that come with a free magnetic clip-on sunglasses piece. And yes, I am going to wear the clip-on. And yes, it will be cool. It's MAGNETIC!!

#2: I just watched a preview for a documentary coming out this summer. The subject of the documentary? Crossword puzzles! I nearly wet myself. I cannot wait to see it. Just the other day I printed off a crossword puzzle from the Internet to do on my lunch break (oh yes I did!), and I realized that it had been too long since I had curled up with a good crossword puzzle to challenge my geek-laden brain. But now that I know that Jon Stewart is an avid crossword puzzle solver (with his left hand, I might add), I am all the more encouraged to proudly pursue one of my favorite hobbies.

It's a good time in history for geeks.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Birthday Party 2006, Update: a big success. The food seemed to be a hit (even with two experiments that could have gone either way). The beer was plenteous (although I personally did not have any- I had Malibu Rum and Coke). The friends were great fun to be around. I love having get-togethers like this, especially in a new house. And then a few people stuck around to play Hearts, and that made for the perfect end to my evening. I absolutely love playing cards, and I think it's because I grew up playing cards with my extended family every time we got together.

My mom's side of the family loves playing card games, and I think they got it from their mom. So ever since I was about 10 or so, I have been an avid player of Liverpool Rummy. There was a stage when Canasta was popular too, and Poker, but Rummy was always the big game for us. Just recently I figured out the rules to Hearts when I tried playing it on the computer, so I was pretty excited to actually try playing it with real human beings. My friends were much better conversationalists than Pauline or Michelle. (You'd only get that if you had played Hearts on the computer.) I've decided that playing cards and eating together are the top two bonding experiences.

The only problem about last night was that I completely forgot to take any pictures. So much for working on my photojournalistic skills.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I am turning the big 2-5 in less than a week. I never thought that getting older would freak me out, but 25 is worrying me a little bit. I have no idea why, though. I am happy in life, everything is going well. I have just always had a hard time imagining myself at an older age. When I was in elementary school, I didn't really think that I would ever be in high school- it just didn't seem possible. And now, I can't imagine myself as a middle-aged person with my own high schoolers, yikes. 25 is not even that old, I think I am just making this huge leap to a life that is far off in the future that I can't even picture in my head. And that creeps me out a little bit.

I remember being younger, and making these massive birthday wish lists, usually with one or two presents that I just hoped and prayed that I would get. That feeling has definitely subsided, but I still have two things that I would love to get this year.

The first is:

Not necessarily this camera, but a nice digital camera. I thought I would love using a really old SLR film camera, but that thing is not much fun to lug around, especially when traveling. And I really need practice on my pictures, and it's easy to look and see what you're doing wrong on a digital camera. We do have one, but it is older and kind of clunky (plus, it would be nice to have two of them when we are on vacation).

The second thing on my wish list:

I really want a miniature pinscher puppy! This one is definitely just a wish and nothing more, because unfortunately a dog is not in the picture at this point for us. But he is so cute with his little ears and nose and paws. And tough, too! Hopefully someday it will happen.

In any case, it should be a good birthday. We will be having a barbecue and hanging out, and that is a very nice birthday present.

Monday, June 12, 2006

There is a fairly large Mormon population here around the University. The Mormon student association is a very large group in itself. So I am surprised to see so many Mormon missionaries hanging out in front of the Union talking to passers by. I don't know exactly what their system is, but I would think that the Mormon students here would be fairly capable of being the Mormon "presence", and evangelizing and all of that. But I am guessing that the church probably sends missionaries everywhere that they can, including those places that already seem to be thriving. How many missionaries end up going to (or staying in) Salt Lake City and that area? Hmm. I will be in SLC in July, and I may just have to find out.

There have been several times when I was walking home for lunch and saw two guys in the notorious white shirts and black pants, and a sense of panic would come over me when I saw them. I don't know if I really feel hostile to them, I just don't appreciate anyone coming up to me to try and sell me something. And of course I don't really think that I am worth their time, since I am fairly steadfast in my religious beliefs. But so far none of them have come to talk to me. There is a small part of me that wonders why not (do I look mean? do I look religious already? do they think I'm not worth the effort?), but for the most part I am relieved.

I have to say that it is really frustrating to see people try and advertise their religious beliefs in this way. A lot of Christians do the same thing, and to me it sends terrible signals. First of all, it places these faiths in the same category with Pepsi or with Bath and Body Works. Think about it- when you go to a concert or a sporting event, you're more than likely going to see a representative for Pepsi or some other brand talking loudly and passing out coupons to try and convince people to get that product. And if you've ever walked into Bath and Body Works, you know that you are instantly bombarded with some woman (or slightly effeminate man) in an apron telling you that lotions are to the left and candles are to the right. How much of a difference is there when someone is doing this type of thing with their religion?

This is what I have concluded: business can be a religious endeavor in some situations, but religion can NOT be a business endeavor. Sure, a parish should have organizational skills, and budget its money wisely, and all of those things, but it seems to me that the line gets crossed all the time into something that is more about business and less about worship. I make jokes about Orthodox organizations being disorganized and sometimes unprofessional, but in some ways I am glad that they generally stay on that side of the line (although I am sure that it gets crossed there too). But the megachurches and their mall-like establishments make my skin itch.

There is such a sense of urgency and do-it-yourself-ness in the churches that place evangelization above all else, and define evangelization as tracts and 2-minute prayers of repentance. I do appreciate the fact that if you believe strongly in something, you want other people to see what you see. I also understand that when it comes to eternity, it is important to try and show people the way. The thing to remember, though, is that none of us really knows the way, and none of us has got the golden ticket into Heaven. I can't say what salvation is, but I am fairly certain that I know what it isn't. Salvation is not a laundry list of rights and wrongs, and even the most pious of us all is a dirty sinner. I hope and pray that I would please God, but I am more concerned with doing my best than with telling other people what's best for them. They'll see it in me if they want to, or if I've even got it.

The most important thing that has happened in my life to truly help me understand what this evangelization stuff is all about was to meet a monk who lives in Denver. His monastery is just off of Colorado Blvd, in a typical suburban neighborhood. He has to deal with everyday life all of the time, unlike many other monks who live way outside of town. He wears his faith on his sleeve quite literally- he is in a floor-length black cassock even in the middle of summer- and yet he is one of the humblest people I have ever met. His personality, his genuine love for people, is entirely disarming.

I am digressing, but this brings me back to something I have heard several priests and monks speak about before. At the heart of all sin is arrogance. I really believe that. And I think it is of the utmost importance for those who find evangelism to be important, to keep in mind that arrogance has no place in it.

Friday, June 09, 2006

By far the best headline of the day, on

"Want a cheesesteak? Speak English."

Not exactly tolerant or kind, but hilarious all the same.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

This year I am feeling the intensity of graduation season almost as much as I did for my own high school and college graduations. I think because we know several people who are graduating from something, or maybe just because I am especially sensitive to it right now, and my own need to reflect on my past.

I noticed last weekend that it has been seven years since I graduated high school. When I was little I couldn't even imagine being a high schooler, much less being someone who graduated seven years ago. So much has changed since then, since I was 18, and yet certain parts of life really haven't changed at all.

During high school my plan was to go to college, meet someone special during my junior year, get married during my senior year, then go to vet school and have kids during that time (my sense of reality was somewhat skewed). Well, I did meet someone special during my junior year, only we didn't get married until a few years after we graduated, and we have yet to have kids. And I am surely not in vet school...not even close. I always really enjoyed talking about religion and the Bible, but I never would have guessed that I would spend 4 years studying those things. I wouldn't have known what I could do with that kind of degree (and to be honest, I still don't).

Mike finds it very amusing that I wrote in my first study Bible a note about what I wanted my husband to be like. I was probably about 15 at the time. The note was in reference to a passage in Ephesians about how husbands should treat their wives. I wrote that I wanted my husband to "challenge me with the Bible". My perception of what that meant has changed entirely, but the old adage "be careful what you wish for" has never been more true. Mike knows so much and thinks so deeply when it comes to biblical studies, and I have to work to keep up with him- and he loves to remind me that he is "challenging me with the Bible".

By the time I was a senior in high school, I recognized that I was unsure about where I wanted life to take me. I no longer planned on becoming a vet, but I didn't have a good alternative in mind. All I knew was that I wanted to get out of Colorado and meet a guy who would take me sailing in Seattle (apparently, meeting guys was a pretty high priority for me). If someone had told me that I was going to go back to Colorado, or God forbid live in Wyoming someday, I would have scoffed. I was a city girl and there was nothing anyone could do to keep me from some place big and busy. Then again, if someone had told me that I was going to live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan, I would have been shocked. Ultimately, I just look back and realize how little I knew then, and how little I probably know now about what's in store for me.

But I do see certain personal characteristics and certain patterns in life that seem to be mainstays. I still have certain habits that I've always had. I still love to come home and talk about my day, only now it's with Mike instead of my mom. I still feel strongly about my Christian background, even if the specifics of it have changed drastically. And even though life has not turned out at all how I expected, I don't think that I could feel more grateful looking back. I can remember countless periods of anxiety or sadness or even panic, and they seem so small now when looking at the big picture. I can only hope that life continues to be such a blessing.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The other night Mike and I were watching the final episode of the first season of Lost (we managed to watch the entire first season in just a few weeks- envy us and our ability to be couch potatoes). I don't want to give away major plot points to anyone who hasn't seen it and wants to, but there is this dog (a beautiful yellow lab), that has to stay behind when his young master leaves. The dog tries to follow, but his owner tells him to go back. I am actually getting choked up right now just talking about it. And I actually cried when we watched it. I am so embarrassed by this, but I get really emotional whenever anything sad happens that involves an animal in a movie or on TV. Really emotional.

I still can't watch the ending to Homeward Bound without sobbing my eyes out. It is just so wonderful that Shadow makes it home to see Peter again! It's heart-wrenching! Mike thinks I am a complete lunatic. When we watch Braveheart, I get upset about the horses getting hurt in battle. Mike can't understand why the sight of people being mutilated and mercilessly killed does nothing to me, but a horse falling down makes me want to tear my heart out. I think it's because the animals didn't choose to be in that situation, but the humans did. And how does a horse fake a scene like that? It doesn't know what it's doing. From what I know, there are no "stunt-horses", and if there are, they are forced into it. I think they actually explain in the DVD extras how they were able to do this without harming any animals, but it still looks terrifying.

I am so glad that I didn't see the footage of that horse Barbaro getting hurt in a recent race. Hearing about it on the radio made me cringe. But what I really wonder is why I am not a strict vegetarian. I actually ate a pork sandwich last fall after seeing the entire pig sitting on a plate with an apple stuffed in its mouth. I hate to admit it, but maybe I only feel emotional towards the cute animals. I think that makes me an animalist, or a cutist maybe. Or maybe I have just been conditioned by society to think about certain animals as companions, and certain other animals as dinner.

I really hate it when I am conditioned by society.