Thursday, August 31, 2006

Crap on a stick

Why is it that every evening this week has slipped away, with almost nothing getting done? Thank the Lord that tomorrow is Friday, but really I should have more to show for it. I think that work is busting my butt so badly that I am getting nothing done at home. And right now I am sleepy and completely uninterested in the cleaning list that I just made. Guess what I'll be doing with my Friday night?

I found out that I have to take some time off work soon, because I have accrued too much overtime (our overtime gets paid in time off). Nothing would gladden my heart more than taking tomorrow off, but alas there is WAY too much going on at work for me to ditch out. I wonder if I sound as whiny and poopy as I feel.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Ohhh, back to school

This is certainly a first day of school.

Last night I bought school snacks at the grocery store, even though I'm not really a student.

I woke up on time today- as I always used to one day out of every school year (the first day).

The level of noise outside of my office has drastically increased because of all of the students milling around.

Someone made some kind of food for lunch that caused the entire area near my office to smell like a school cafeteria. Jealous?

In ten minutes I will head to my one and only class- Arabic. This may be like most other classes in my life: I will be enthusiastic about it for approximately one week, then I will just do whatever I can to skate by with a B. (this is not something I'm proud of.) Although this class may prove to be different. The subject matter is different, and I have always enjoyed studying languages. And of course this one will have immediate effects on my life. Now Mike can't ask his mom in Arabic how to make me creme brulee on our anniversary. I will know what he's saying.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Let me take you to the gun show

I've had this picture of myself on my cell phone for the last 3 years:

One of my fellow nanny friends took it for me- we were hanging out in Central Park near a playground in the early stages of summer, when it was just barely nice enough to wear a tank top. (Now I have to wonder why we were hanging out near a playground during our time off from being nannies, but I also wonder why we went to 3 different Mexican restaurants that day, namely to visit Mr. Corona and Ms. Margarita.)

The thing I can't get over is how muscular my arms were! I can't stop staring at them and drooling. I am so jealous of my three-years-ago self. This is my goal- I need to somehow fashion a device that will hang this picture in front of me when I work out so I can get back to sexy muscular arms. The three-years-ago poofy humidity hair can stay in the past where it belongs. But the arms? They're coming with me.

One problem- the arms are mostly due to not eating well, feeling horrible about my life, and lifting a toddler approximately 437 times a day. I usually hung out with my nanny friends on Friday nights, and I can't even count how many times they pointed out to me that I was looking thinner. It was nice to hear, but the road getting there is one I never want to take again. I am so much happier in my life (namely my job) now, and I am happy with my body the way it is. But I do like to stay fit and see results, that's for sure.

I feel no nostalgia for the situation that I was in when this picture was taken, but I always miss New York a little bit. It is like the crackhead loser of a boyfriend that so many girls stay with for no good reason. I love New York, but it used me and took my money and was completely ungrateful. Why do I love you New York? I'm even hoping that we will be near you again next year- what's wrong with me?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hunchy McSloucherson

Life is full of so many mysteries. For instance, I can't understand why people go to the gym to work out, and think that they are doing themselves a service when they hunch over the machine like they are a cat that's about to cough up a hairball. Seriously, I wish I had a picture of this phenomenon, because it really happens all the time.

Of course, I am no expert when it comes to physical training. I'm sure I have my own bad habits. And I have terrible posture most of the time- but I have the wherewithal to keep my back straight when I am working out! It is the most sensible time to be completely aware of your body and really control what it is doing. This is just my humble opinion, but when you work out on a machine you should look like this:

Not this:

Granted, these are only general suggestions- I personally would have to have my hair pulled back when it is as long as that chick's, and I certainly don't look as perky and chipper as her when I work out. But the hunching over the bike or treadmill seems so, oh, I don't know...counterproductive? And so many people do it! They are going to have strong legs and broken backs. So this is my message to America- stop slouching when you are at the gym.

On a side note, my workouts have been really great lately. I have been all motivated...weird, I know. And I saw a guy last night who bore a striking resemblance to Mr. Dewey from Saved by the Bell. What more could I ask?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Things that go bump in the night

One of my favorite stories about my grandpa: he was grinding his teeth in his sleep while he was stationed God-knows-where during WWII. He actually woke up some of the other guys in his tent with the horrible sound, and the next morning when they were trying to figure out amongst themselves what the racket was, my grandpa offered up the opinion that it must have been the palm trees rubbing together, knowing in his mind that it was his teeth mercilessly pushing against each other. And this was a plausible explanation- that's how bad his grinding was.

Is teeth-grinding (or bruxism, as it is scientifically called, which I learned in my recent research) a genetic problem? Because I have had the problem for many years now, and it seems like it might be getting worse. Generally, wearing a "nightguard" while you sleep at night should protect your teeth, and some people even say it curbs the problem. But I think I might enjoy (in some sick subconscious part of my brain) having something to mash my teeth into, and I think it is adding to the problem. Plus, now I am waking up in the morning with a sore jaw, and sometimes even a headache.

It's sure pleasant for Mike too. One time he even compared the sound to a dog chewing a frisbee. Mmm...attractive.

I think a lot of it has to do with stress and with holding in anger or frustration. This is apparently my release for all of it. Except it's not helping. I would like to figure this problem out. Last night I tried a "relaxation technique" before I fell asleep, and I actually slept terribly and still ground away. Now if only I could find some palm trees to blame it on....

Monday, August 21, 2006

Happy one year!

Here's to a very good year.

I've been known to make bad decisions in my life, especially in the relationship department, but this one is proving to be one of the best of my life. I hate to be cheesy, but I (we) have been very blessed. I love my boy.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

How low can you go?

I am ashamed to say that I just watched over half an hour of the Teen Choice Awards. But I can't tell if I am more ashamed that I didn't know half of the celebrities on it, or that I knew the relationship status of the other half.

After seeing this spectacle of materialism and shameless marketing and thinness, I feel sorry for teenagers nowadays. And it's probably just going to get worse. And I am probably going to sound like even more of an old dork as the years go by.

Although Dane Cook was a host, and that was cool....

I am in age limbo! I still want to be a kid and get excited about all of the guys who show up on the cover of Teen Beat (does that magazine even exist anymore??), but now I have a conscience and I think about how easily kids are sucked into this whole pop culture. Maybe it is more of a philosophy limbo, and part of me wishes that I just didn't think about it so much....

Friday, August 18, 2006

If only the rest of the world were as smart as me

I can't help but think, after the last several weeks of conflict in the Middle East, that Israel's government is just a big group of whiny babies. Even now, they are hindering efforts for peace and resolution in Lebanon.

The latest bout of whining is coming from their desire to prevent the inclusion of any UN troops who come from countries that do not recognize Israel's right to exist. Seriously, how logical is it for a group of UN peacekeepers working within a larger organization to start something with a country that just demolished enother entire country? One of the countries that is being mentioned in this argument is Indonesia, and after the last couple of years they've had, I doubt they want to be getting into any wars.

And during the conflict, the reports coming from Israel were often about children suffering from heightened stress because of the bomb sirens. Keeping in mind that almost 1/3 of the victims in Lebanon were children, I don't feel too bad for Israel's stressed-out kids.

And the U.S. administration is full of illogical, backwards-thinking crazy people. They sped up weapons delivery in Israel and vetoed several attempts at a ceasefire resolution for the first several weeks, and now they will not provide any troops in Lebanon. A major reason for this is that there are already way too many troops in Iraq who have been there way too long. And don't even get me started on Iraq. The U.S. has been at least the indirect cause (and direct cause in many cases) of 50,000 deaths there. Our global reputation is becoming more and more of a joke every day, as we try to strike out fascist freedom-haters and spread the contagion of democracy one Middle East country at a time.

You know, if they would just let me do all the work, everything would be fine.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Ode to Saturdays

If today were Saturday instead of Thursday, this is what I would be doing:

Just now waking up and rolling out of bed. Then making a big breakfast with fried potatoes, bacon, eggs with cheese and vegetables, maybe even muffins, and coffee. Then curling up on the couch with a crossword puzzle, a good book, or a movie. Then maybe thinking about getting going for the day.

But instead it is Thursday, and I am at work, fearfully glancing at my to-do list, which has become more of a collage of scribbled notes than an actual formulated list. And I am wishing that the loud trucks outside my window would please go away. And it is going to be a few Saturdays before I can make my big breakfast and be lazy, but that's alright. Students will be back in town soon, which is something I am actually looking forward to, because then the school routine will be back, and we can eagerly await the coming of fall, with the chilly weather, and the fallen leaves.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Surprisingly boring

Things to do when you're home alone on a Monday night, loosely based on my recent experience:

1. Sit in front of your movie collection for 10 minutes and try to decide what to watch, because there is nothing good on TV.

2. Watch Ocean's Eleven.

3. Try to think of old friends to look for on MySpace.

4. Lock all of the windows.

5. Look at your arms in the mirror to see if they are muscular.

6. Go to bed early.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Le Cinema

I have a feeling that the new movie, World Trade Center, is a bust. I just checked out some of the critics' reviews, and they are all lukewarm. It would be my guess that the movie really isn't too great, but no one wants to pan a movie that's about such a sensitive subject in Americana.

I only found out yesterday that the film was directed by Oliver Stone, which sparked mild interest for me. I really enjoyed JFK and Natural Born Killers, even if they do make me feel like I'm watching the artistic spawn of a paranoid schizophrenic. But ultimately I don't want to see how Hollywood can make money off of one of America's darkest days in recent history. Nicholas Cage? I like him, but come on- how much more stereotypical can you get- Nicholas Cage as a New York firefighter hero. Stone should have used actors who have yet to make a name for themselves, in my opinion.

I did just find out that Over the Hedge is in the cheap seats here- I might try to talk Mike into going to see that. It looks like a pretty humorous kids movie. Is it just me, or has the quality of movies lowered a few notches in the last few years? I think it might just be me- I am just more picky. I doubt that Ace Ventura, one of my favorites when I was younger, is really more of a comic gem than Talladega Nights. It just happened to come out at the right time in my life. But I need another movie like The Matrix or Kill Bill to really knock my socks off.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Some stats

Deaths: 998 Lebanese; 102 Israelis

Injured: 3,493 Lebanese; 690 Israelis (not counting over 1,000 who were treated for shock- I'm guessing the number of Lebanese injured does not include this stat)


Lebanese- 6,900 houses/apartments, 160 factories/markets/farms/commercial buildings, 29 airports/ports/water- or sewage-treament plants/dams/electrical plants, 23 fuel stations, 145 bridges and over-passes, 600km of roads (373 miles)

Israeli- 300+ buildings

The sheer numbers are horrific, ludicrous, mind-boggling. All because of 3 soldiers. 64 Israeli soldiers have died in an attack that began to save 3. In whose mind does this make sense?

And looking at the numbers more closely, it becomes impossible to argue that this is a proportional battle, or that Israel is defending itself. In fact, Hezbollah has been the only group so far to be willing to move towards a ceasefire. Why is it necessary to defend oneself against a group that has shown an interest in peace?

I don't understand how people can go so far to justify such horrible acts. Is this kind of political lunacy ever going to end?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Looking forward, and back again

Did you know that you can get a certificate in fund-raising? You can. And I am on the lookout for a program that I can apply to for this certificate (preferably wherever we end up for Mike's PhD). International Orthodox Christian Charities has a job posted on their site for a Development Officer. I am not looking for a job right now, but when I noticed that they prefer applicants to be certified in fund raising, I thought it might be good for me to think about jumping into this development thing with both feet.

It is a wonderful feeling to have some direction in terms of a career. After getting an abstract, head-in-the-clouds kind of degree, I never thought I would be able to decide on one thing and pursue it. And actually make a decent salary. Money was typically not part of my vocational pursuits, but it has become more important to me now that I am married and intending on having a family someday. And now that I have a passport. I can travel internationally if I want to- I just need money. And professors don't tend to bring in much in the way of dough, so it will be nice if I am able to provide some stability and support.

The only thing that makes me nervous is the potential for jumping in with both feet and then realizing that I don't like the water I'm in. As far as I can tell, this work seems really enjoyable, but there are certain things about it that are a stretch for my personality. But I guess it will be that much more enjoyable when I can look back on hard work and difficult situations and feel like I truly accomplished something.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Probably the most round-about way to accomplish our task

Mike and I have had some not-so-welcome guests come to stay at our home this whole summer. They refuse to leave, even when we spray poison on them or try to burn them out. No, I'm not talking about in-laws or some hippy friend who avoids getting a job and just lives on our couch. We have a hornets' nest underneath the back stairs outside our house. At least we think it's a hornets' nest. All we know is that we want it gone.

Last week we bought some spray to try and kill the hornets chemically. It is supposed to be best to do this in the evening when they are all there (probably spending time with their kids, reading to them and making sure they brush their teeth- I know we are horrible, inhumane people). But when you try to spray a nest with clear liquid when it is dark outside, it's difficult to know how effective you're being, or how many hornets you are angering. Unfortunately, we could tell the next day that our efforts had been quite fruitless. There were still dozens of hornets swarming around outside the nest at any given time.

So today, my brother-in-law Roy decided that we needed to try something else. He and Mike got the lighter fluid and some matches. They doused the ground under the nest with lighter fluid. They weighed down a paper towel with a rubber band, lit it on fire, and threw it to the doused ground from the safety of the kitchen window. They added more lighter fluid. Hornets began flying everywhere, and some could only crawl on the ground. I finally went outside to make sure that the house was not on fire. Roy came out to check too. Mike added more lighter fluid. The nest was charred black but it had not fallen yet. I decided that it was time to try to spray the nest down with water. I sprayed for a minute, then Roy took over, trying to defend himself from the hornets that were still able to fly by attacking them with a stream of water. The nest still didn't drop. Finally Roy hit it with a shovel while I continued to fend off angry hornets with water, and a giant chunk came down. We lit the whole thing on fire again. Then I took a couple of pictures, knowing I was going to want to write a blog about our adventures in extermination. This is what I got:

All you can really see of the hornets are little black dots, and in the second picture you can see the remnant of the nest behind the brick. There was no way I was getting closer to get more detail. It turns out that it didn't matter. About 3 minutes after I took these, as we were all standing there in our glory as nest conquerors and destroyers, I felt a sharp pain in my pinky finger and looked down in time to swat away a hornet that had just proceeded to sting me. OW. This was my first time to be stung by anything, and I think I panicked a little. I was so worried that I was going to have this horrible allergic reaction and die within the next 5 and a half minutes, that I wanted to go to the hospital right then and there. But Mike got on the internet to see what we should do, and I spent about an hour with ice on the wound and keeping it lower than the rest of my body (to keep the venom from spreading- boy did I enjoy seeing the word venom on the website that Mike found). Luckily, I am not allergic. My finger swelled and it is still a little sore, but amazingly I am still alive. The stinger didn't even get stuck, at least not that I could find. All in all, it's just another war story for me.

Oh yeah, and there are still dozens of hornets swarming around what used to be their home.

Friday, August 04, 2006

NYC is not the only place with quotable people

Recently overheard on campus at the University of Wyoming:

"It's the, uh...'oh no I'm a samurai and I lost. Son of a b*&%h'."

This is what we in the industry call "Dingus"

I just got an email from my husband:

"I just realized that my wedding ring fits very nicely into my ear."

Yes folks, he is an aspiring college professor.

Don't worry, I asked, and the ring is not stuck.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A few months ago my hubby discovered a great music website called Pandora. It is similar to the system that Yahoo uses, only better. You can create stations based on what you like, and they will play that and music that is similar. From what I can tell, they have a really great expanse of different kinds of music, both mainstream and more independent (although I tend to stick to mainstream, so I am probably not the best judge of the indie stuff).

Today I have been sticking with my White Stripes station (named obviously after the first band that I added to the station), and I have been enjoying it immensely. At first my list of bands only included the White Stripes, Jet, and The Darkness, but then I added bands like The Strokes, The Killers, Weezer, and Radiohead. It's a good thing I have The Darkness on here, because it turns out that the only song I like of theirs is the one that became popular first, and the rest of their stuff makes me want to stab them in the throat a little. Glad I didn't go buy the album.

I'm realizing that I haven't been anywhere near as up to snuff with the music scene as I used to be. I never listen to the radio, mainly because the only pop station we get here is a mix that usually only plays mildly popular songs from the late 90's. And we get no alternative. I love that music has become so accessible on the web, because I don't know what I would do otherwise.

I haven't gotten into the whole scene of Death Cab and Postal Service and all of those bands- most of what I've heard is too mellow and makes me want to fall asleep. But I do really enjoy The Killers and The Strokes- good stuff. I also just discovered that I like Ok Go- I even found a video of them dancing on treadmills that cracks me up, and the more of their stuff that I listen to the more I like. If anyone has any other recommendations for me...please, do tell.

This blog is probably horribly boring for anyone who isn't me.

P.S. You can search for my stations on Pandora via my email address.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I need some wheels

It is certain now: I am unequivocally, without a doubt, way too dependent upon having a car.

We have been without a car for the last week and a half, and it is going to be another week and a half before we have one again. We decided to fix the car that we have now, and shell over a hefty sum to replace the transmission. Partly because we didn't find anyone who was very interested in buying a '95 Grand Prix sans transmission for a price that we found high enough. Also partly because the car we are most interested in getting next is the new Honda Fit, and it turns out that due to popularity and scarcity, we could be on a waiting list until January for one of those. So, the old car is getting picked up tomorrow, but will probably not be fixed until the weekend after next. Suck a duck.

For the most part, I am getting around perfectly well without a car. Work is close by, the grocery store is within walking distance (we just can't get much at once), and I can even go downtown if I want. But we have to get a ride to church, and anywhere else that we might need or want to go that just isn't close enough. And I think that I really don't like having to get rides from other people. In fact, I think I hate it. I don't like to have to ask for things from other people, I like to be independent, and I like to control my schedule. I think I also just feel bad, like I must be putting people out by having to ask for their help.

I can already feel myself over-analyzing this part of me, so I will just stop now. I guess I either need to live in a place where the public transportation is fantastic, or always have a car, or let this be a learning experience for me. I know that I can be pretty self-centered sometimes, and self-deprecating other times, and I guess this forces me to pull out of myself a little bit. Either that, or it's time to take a class on how to fix cars.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Hey flowers, you're real subtle.

So, I am looking at floral arrangements in order to send something for my boss' mom's funeral, and I come across this one:

At first I didn't realize what it was, until I read the description, and found out that it is actually called a "broken heart". Call me crazy, but it just seems a little too obvious, or tacky, or something. I'm still trying to figure out what the green leaves might signify. "When you died, you broke my heart, and then ripped it out of my chest and threw it in the grass!"

I think I will keep looking....