Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Apocaplyse Now

I was thinking today.  I have a bittersweet relationship with myself.  In music, literature, and movies I always like the dark stories with an antihero.  Someone who breaks the law to do good.  For example, my favorite graphic novel is The Hitman because he only kills the bad guys.  He does kill...violently, but only the evil people.  Does that make him bad or good?  I don't know, but I like it.

I like to pretend I'm tough and could be like that.  But I'm not.  If I had to describe myself it would be cute, cuddly, giggly, nice, giving, and can never say no.  And I hate it!  But I could be no other way otherwise I would be constantly racked with guilt.  I cannot manipulate in any way and I always try to make everyone happy.

On the way home today I figured out why I hate this about me.  It's because no one who is nice and cute and cuddly can survive the apocalypse.  I like to think that I could survive it, but I couldn't.  I would instantly trust the wrong person and they would make me their sex slave or zombie bate or something.

If I had to choose the apocalypse, it would be a Dragon Apocalypse like Reign of Fire.  I wouldn't mind death by dragon.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Today Things Happened and I Bought Groceries.

I went to the zoo today with Josh.  We received a membership to the zoo from Nate and Lianne for Christmas.  I of course used it as soon as I could!  We can get into the zoo now for free whenever we want for a year!!

Not all of the animals were out because it was cold and there was snow.  The ones that were out were much more active than they were in 103 degree weather.  The tigers were walking around.  The cloud leopard was running around and trying to escape.  I saw 6 zebras and before I had only seen 2.  The koi fish were not active and looked dead....they were very active in the summer.  The red panda couldn't relax enough to poop even though he really wanted to.  He ran around and climbed his tree a lot.  The cougar meowed at us, and I had a conversation with it.  Bet you didn't know I speak Cougar.  I asked her to leap 30 feet from a sitting position like the sign said she could.  She said, no.

In the Bamboo Trail I was attacked by intestinal problems for the third time today...that's when I realized I was sick.  My mom called me later, she says that half the people at Oma's got sick like me.  There was probably 60 people there!  That's a lot of sickness.

On the way home from the zoo I asked Josh if we could stop for chicken noodle soup, and he said, yes, here's Krogers.  We ended up doing a full grocery shopping trip on the spur of the moment.  I guess that's okay.  We got a pecan pie.... I ate half of it before the soup was done.  Don't yell at me mom.  It was delicious and I did show self restraint...I had seriously contemplated eating the whole thing.  I told Josh that Ackbar had helped me with eating it.  He licked up the crumbs left on my plate...I think.  He may have just sniffed them.  Josh  made me chicken noodle soup from scratch.  Not the broth, we bought that, but he boiled all the ingredients together.  It's delicious.

I think we heard gunshots outside of our apartment this evening.  But I'm not sure...it didn't sound like gunshots, but I can't imagine what else could make a noise like that, unless someone was exploding things outside.  Which is much less likely than gunshots really.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Best of Both Worlds

When Josh and I decided to go back to Michigan for Christmas, I was worried because I wouldn't be able to relax and enjoy the Christmas atmosphere...which I look forward to doing every year but never ever accomplish.  When I was in school there was always exam weeks right before hand, and no time to prepare properly for Christmas because I was so stressed out.  Then when exams finished I had 1 week to buy presents, wrap them and prepare and send cards.  Then in Graduate School it was even worse if you can believe it.  I had my own exams, I had to grade the exams from the labs I teach, report the grades, continue doing research, prepare a poster of my research and then fly out to San Fransisco to present the poster for the week before Christmas.  The week following Christmas I usually had to fly out to Stanford to use their super large microscope ironically called the SHRIMP.  Huh...I can't believe I did all that.  No wonder I went insane.

Then last year I started my new job right before Christmas, but had to stay at one of the mall jobs up until Christmas day.  That meant 65 hour weeks.

Plus Josh worked Christmas day every year.

This I was really looking forward to relaxing with Josh and doing nothing with him for several days in a row.  Instead we are driving to the snow and cold and planning on driving all around the state, GR, TC, MP, and Freakmont.  With our luck it will blizzard and we will be stuck in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Well I was wrong!  It's true...I do not know everything!  Starting with my birthday (which by the way is the Official Start of Christmas), I've been relaxing and enjoying everything!  I had all of my friends over Friday night for a potluck dinner and everyone share their Christmas traditions.  I loved hearing about them!!  Ever since I learned that my family's way of doing things isn't the only way, I love to see all the different ways people do things....there's always a chance their way is better.  We stayed up to 3:00am talking with Shann and Rory...some of my favorite peoples, and then got to sleep in!  We had a lazy lazy Saturday where we didn't clean, and I didn't even think about cleaning. 

This is where I should mention that Sarah and Heather got me Cataclysm Deluxe Edition!!!!!!!!!  Shiza!  It's fricken amazing!  It comes in a sweet box with trading cards, a book of artwork from WoW, a mouse pad, a behind the scenes dvd (which I need to watch!), the soundtrack (which I am listening to right now) and the Cataclysm Expansion disk.  For those of you who don't know, Josh and I play the World of Warcraft (WoW) with Sarah and Heather and a few other people we know here.  Cataclysm is the new expansion to the game and really provides a large change to gameplay.  In some ways it's like it's a whole new game, in some ways it isn't.  Josh, Sarah, Heather and I (and Merritt and Thomas now) are all in a guild called I Am Your Face.  I guess a guild is sorta like a team.  It always us to chat with each other and quest together and share rewards.  Let's just say getting this present was one of the biggest surprises I've had in a LONG LONG time.  It tied up there with the $500 Christmas bonus I got.

Back to Saturday, I played WoW all day and relaxed.  Oh, in the evening Sarah and Heather took me to the Cat Shoppe with them where I got to pet lots of homeless kitties they foster at the store.  There was one female who reminded me of Megan's childhood cat, Snuggles.  This Snuggles Look Alike came up to me in the store and asked me to pet her.  Her tailed wiggled weird when I did...it sort of vibrated back and forth really fast. 

Sunday Josh worked and I went to Sarah and Heather's to play WoW...in my pajamas!  They had a large fire going and I fell asleep playing.  Miss Bridget, their elderly kitty, took a nap on me while I slept.  Then the fire alarms went off and everyone was awake.  The fireplace flue had shut...due to poor design. 

It snowed Sunday and everything froze and Heather had to drive me home because my poor truck couldn't make it up the icy hill.  In its' defense, the sand bags had slid to the front of my truck last week and then froze there.  My fault.

Monday we had a two hour delay for work, and Josh was able to drive me in.  Once home we sat in the living room and wrapped presents.  Ackbar slept on the couch with us. 

Tonight we are doing the same thing, only Josh is studying and we have a fire going!  Oh, and we cooked delicious pulled pork sandwiches yesterday and ate at the table.  Tonight I made a potato cabbage italian sausage soup which we are about to eat.  I've also been heating up spiced cider to drink and add to the Christmas atmosphere. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Title Goes Here

Buffalo Wildwings.

That's where Josh and I go now to get out and have fun.  Especially on Tuesdays because it is Wing Night and wings are cheap.  I get 6 medium wings and 6 Caribbean Jerk wings.  Josh gets 6 hot wings and 6 other flavor wings.  Tonight it was spicy buffalo.  Then the entire time we play trivia.  Tonight I was able to come in second, but Josh always comes in first.  He's super good at trivia.  He beat everyone in the restaurant by about 3000 points.  I was behind him by about 2000 points.  Maybe less because I got the last question perfect, even though I don't remember what it was.  We also drink beer, and I drink slightly more because he drives.  It's our favorite place to go.  This time though I beat him by like 6 wings in eating them all.  I don't know how, but I inhaled all of them.  You have to be able to eat and play trivia at the same time...I guess I'm super good at that.

At work I totally submitted data to WQX Web in 2 hours!!!  Last time I had to do it it took me three days.  They changed the program around though, and it's easier to use, but no one told me about it.  My fault really, I didn't attend the last conference call that discussed the changes.  The guy I was submitting for watched the whole time on a web conference (he could see my screen) and was so happy I was able to help him.  He said there was no way he could have done that himself, and I believe it.  Not because he's dumb but because it's soooo hard and confusing and tedious and he has so many more duties than I do.  I doubt he could have sat down and given it the attention it needed.  Plus the website (part of the EPA, sigh) is not helpful.  Neither is the User Guide.  It does NOT answer any questions.  It is not complete in its details.  I only had to call the help desk once this time, and actually they didn't help.

The guy I worked with is from southern Alabama, and he had the cutest accent and kept on saying "No Ma'am" or "Yes, Ma'am."  which I loved.  I highly doubt I could ever say "ma'am" or "sir" in a serious way.  I would only say those words to accentuate what I was saying like "NO SIR!" or No Sirrey Bob!" or something like that.  It's because I'm from the north and we don't have manners like that.  Plus, we lack the accent.  I think it's the Southern Accent that helps pull it off.

It's been snowing here lately.  Surprisingly no schools are closed and no one seems to care.  Not that the snow is sticking or anything.  It's closer to frozen rain than snow in consistency.  It's not soft and fluffy but more like hard white balls.  There isn't enough coming down either to build up if it wanted too.  We don't have our heat on, and it's no colder than my parents house.  I would even go so far as to say it's still warmer than their house in the winter.  Ackbar loves it!

On Black Friday Ryan (sister-in-law) took us shopping at Kohls and we got a memory foam mattress pad.  At first I was thinking we didn't reeeeaally need it, I just wanted it, but now it's amazing!  It holds the heat like nothing else, so now I am warm underneath and above at night.  I've never slept so well at night.  Well, except that some medication I'm on raises my body temperature, so I'm not ever as cold as I used to be and sometimes I wake up because I am waaay to hot.  I think I even came close to night sweats last week.  The bummer is I used to cool off  by putting an appendage outside of the blankets and have it hang off the bed, but Ackbar sits there all night and waits for it, and the second I stick even an elbow off, he attacks!  With teeth!  He does not like the new mattress pad, but that's fine because now we don't get kitty litter in bed.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Florida

How I know Florida is full of old people:

1.  At the Nashville airport I chose the wrong line on accident to be felt up or viewed naked, and was behind only elderly people.  I kid you not b/c I was enviously watching everyone in the otherlines speed on, it took me twice as long as it should have to get through that line.

2.  The funny smell on the plane.

3.  How long I had to wait to get my luggage.  Old people like to wait and are sloooow, so the airport doesn't have to hurry at all to get the luggage unloaded.

4.  People merge in traffic when there is clearly not enough room for a car between the two cars it's merging into.  (Though recent events have shown that I am not allowed to talk about bad merging.  I NEVER miss my exit).

5.  FANNY PACKS!  Two out of every three people on the beach boardwalk are sport'n them.

6.  The hotel food is bland.  Old people like bland food I'm sure of it.

7.  Not old but relevant to Florida, as I was walking into the hotel, there was a couple unloading their car out front saying that they were from Michigan. 

8.  Wrinkles.  Lots of them.

9.  No rock or alternative radio stations to be found.

10.  Finally....the Marriott On The Beach does not offer wireless internet.  I must plug my computer in.  This is so that I am forced to use slllloooowwwww internet.  Old people can't handle the speed and mind blowing technology of wi-fi and so the hotel caters to them by only providing plug in internet.

Calvin is exempt from all old people stereotypes.  He prefers efficiency and speed...especially when it comes to making lunches in the field.  He he he, that was the only time we ever fought.  And Calvin doesn't wear a fanny pack....  I suspect he merges poorly, but so do I.

Want to hear my merging story?  After leaving Memphis I worked on my paper for Calvin some more (I'm gonna be published!  Sphene is on it's way to making me famous!) and then took over driving the last 2 hrs.  As I was entering the freeway, I noticed Josh's lights were on in his car and thought the brights were on too (it was daylight), so I tried to turn it off.  At the same time as I was merging and I wasn't paying attention and Josh yelled "Aaagghhh" and I looked up and I was merged before we even got to the dashed lines.  Luckly no one was coming.  Josh swore we got air when I "merged".  My first reaction was to press in the clutch, which wasn't there.

I drove the rest of the way home safely.  Which was easy because I am a safe driver.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Happy List During An Angry Time

I'm in a piss poor mood today, despite the fact that it's Wednesday before Thanksgiving and there was no traffic on the way in today, so I actually got to work on time!  No one noticed though.

I don't know why I'm so angry, but I probably wouldn't talk to me if I were you.  It's not going to be optimistic.

Ackbar lays all out on the table in the mornings, but only the mornings right before we leave.  He knows it's against the rules too, but he does it anyways.  I wonder if it's for attention so that maybe we will stay with him, or if once we leave, he lays up there anyways, and now he's just doing it earlier.

Josh weighed him yesterday, we think he weighs about 15 lbs. now.  That's a one pound increase.  I'm pretty sure it's one pound of fur that he grew in for the winter.

Oh man I'm angry.  I will try to make a picture list of stuff I like to counteract this:











I got this far and then I was distracted by a horribly boring Alumni website from my high school. It had my engagement announcement on it, but not an announcement that I graduated from Vanderbilt with a Master's in Geology.  Not that anyone in my hometown knows which state Nashville is in, let alone that Vanderbilt exists as a place.  I kid you not.  Well, my parents know...now.

Sprinkles are on there twice because I love them the most. 

This list didn't particularly make me feel better, but instead, reminded me of everything I do not have and that I am at work.  Without sprinkles or a volcano.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

More Science

I'm getting a sinus headache.  I blame Vanderbilt.  I had to spend 4.5 hrs there today working on figures for the paper Calvin and I are getting published.  He was there too, with his dog, Bosco.  Josh said it perfectly the other day, when you think of the word "dog" you think of Bosco.  Bosco is just a regular dog.  He's bigger and good for hugging.  He's happy, he barks when people come over, and he generally obeys commands.  He's blond with short hair, but he's not a specific type of dog.  Bosco is my favorite dog in Nashville.  Bosco would sometimes wander from Calvin's office and visit me in the computer lab, then wander back.

On Friday I took my personal day I got for working one year to work on figures then too.  I also got to see a good speaker talk about supervolcano eruptions/formation.  That night Josh and I were invited to Calvin's for dinner with the research group and the speaker.  I ate 1 sausage and 2 pieces of lamb.  I only eat lamb with Calvin, and I only eat that much with him too.  He always overestimates how much food people (girls) can eat, and then hates to see food going to waste.  He also cooks lamb a lot...therefore, I have to eat all of my food.  I had a really great time there.  I told everyone this story/scientific fact that Josh had told me that morning.  With Josh sitting there next to me.  This was the story:

"Josh told me that when babies are born premature...before 6 months and after 4 months...doctors have a hard time inflating the baby's lungs" *Insert air pump motions* "because the baby hasn't formed lung surfactant yet, so there is too much surface area and the lungs stick together.  What they do is get some lung surfactant from the mom, put it in the baby and give it a little shake!"  Which is pretty much a quote from what Josh told me that morning.  Maybe you don't find it that amazing of a story, and I certainly didn't' that morning, but then I realized it was the perfect story to tell scientists.  It was science-y so they were learning, it involved the word "surfactant" which is apparently is amusing to scientists, and it had baby shaking.  Yeah...maybe you need to be a grad student and slightly crazy to get it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Geologist Benefits

I love Criminal Minds.

Tonight I made delicious Lentil Soup.  Onion, carrots, celery, celery leaves, 1 c lentils, 8 c water, bay leaf.  Simmer uncovered for 50 minutes.  Add spices, garlic and salt.  Do not forget the salt.  Simmer for 10 more minutes.  Eat deliciousness.  I added frozen meatballs we bought too and a beef bullion cube.

While it cooks, drink a bottle of wine.  If you're lucky your husband won't be studying for an organic chemistry class.

Once a man who got his finger cut off at work and was stoned told me that I thought organic chemistry was hard because I was a girl and girls aren't good at chemistry.  Then he showed me some arrowheads because I'm a geologist.

Geologists find arrow heads but do not study them.  I have found one arrowhead, one cutting tool, and one necklace bead in the desert.  Being a geologist has it's benefits.  I will also never buy a house in a 500 yr flood plain.  Yeah, I'm that awesome.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Be Nice On The Internet...You Never Know Who's Going To Read It

This morning I was late to work by 12 minutes, which disappointing me.  I like to get to work earlier on a Monday...start the week out right and all.  I just lost track of time while blow drying my hair. 

Then I checked my email, and someone had commented on a picture with me tagged in it.  The picture is from 4 or 5 years ago, and I haven't talked to the girl who posted the picture since then.  She also posted it then...it's just been hanging out, forgotten on facebook for years and years.  Then someone, I don't know who, found it and left this comment, "LMFAO!  Ewwwww!"  and it was sent to me because I was tagged in it.  Granted I was in my bathing suit, and my personal reaction is ewww, but I usually just try to tell myself I only think that because everyone is overly critical of themselves. 

My fall coat I loved so much last year no longer can be buttoned up because my tummy is even larger than 5 years ago....13 lbs larger.

Anyways, I got two separate compliments today on how pretty I am, which makes up for what that other girl said, and none of them were from Josh...well, he probably complimented me before he left too.  I know I told him he was super cute despite his incredibly greasy dirty hair.

I also dreamed that tons of people from Fremont invaded Nashville and were making all the lines to my favorite places extra long and I kept on trying to avoid and not talk to anyone.  Does that mean I'm avoiding something from my past that is crowding out my life right now?  I have know idea what that could be if that's it.

What I mostly think about:
1.  My trip to Denver and visiting Will
2.  Cleaning my apartment
3.  If a new Criminal Minds will be on
4.  Driving my truck and how I could make it even more awesome
5.  Ackbar
6.  Dinner
7.  How happy I am now compared to before
8.  What it would be like if people visited me
9.  If this sometimes cough is allergies or something more serious
10.  Holiday Plans/Christmas Letter


That's a pretty short and lame list.  I should focus on thinking about better things. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dinner Parties

Two dinner parties in one weekend!  We sure are busy people.

The first was one of our friend's birthday celebration.  We had fondue, which was amazing, homemade pizza, and homemade cheese cake!  It was a lot of cheese.  Luckily, I love cheese.

The birthday girl chose to play Challenge The Zodiac, a game I picked up at the Goodwill for 2$.  It was made by a woman to be fun and educational at the same time.  It teaches you about the astrology and the planets.  Everything in that game is WRONG.  Josh and I played it once and had to add several rules that were left out.  They mostly involve the set up.  First, you must drink a beer. Yes, we did turn it into a drinking game, but for this one, that's necessary.  Just compare the level of fun being had between the people not drinking and the people who were drinking.  Then second, and most important,  I can't emphasize enough how important this rule is...make sure you decide when the game will end before you start it.  There is no ending to the game built in.  There is no winner.  So if you don't want to play it all night and get wasted, decide the end first.  One of the players never got off the first square, ever.  And not do to his failing at something.  There are just about 3 different squares that you land on that send you back to the first square in the first row.  If you are luckier than him, you get to answer poorly written questions about the zodiac and planets.  Sarah and I (the geologists) were outraged, OUTRAGED!, when one of the cards said that the Earth was 4.6 million years old.  Wrong.  Oh so wrong.

Then we played charades, which I haven't played I think since Easter when I was nine.  I loved it!  I totally got them to guess Shawshank Redemption b/c I was shanking imaginary people.  Josh got Bonanza, and kept on making us guess boner.

Last night we went to a Thanksgiving dinner at the leader of my Christian group's house.  Several girls in my bible study had wanted it and helped plan it.  They are new girls that I don't know very well.  They are first year education master's students at Vandy, and I know at least 2 or 3 or maybe all, of them went to Vandy for undergrad.  They are very happy, very Christian, and do not yet have their souls and love of life forcibly crushed out of them by grad school.  Since they are education students, maybe they'll get lucky and it won't happen to them.

It was a little awkward for Josh and I b/c I thought some of the people I've known for longer at the bible study would be there, or the leaders, or someone, but they weren't.  It was just super optimistic younglings with very strong hipster tendencies, and Josh and I.  One girl documented the whole thing and took pictures of all the food...she used to document all the food she ate and put in a blog.  Hipster.  I only document some of the food I make and how I make it.

We played a game called Cranium I think, where you have a song, fad, movie, or tv show and you have to either act it out, sculpt it with clay, draw it, use dice with letters, or hum it.  And depending on what you do, those are worth different points set by the opposite team.  I got the song Rocket Man, and they made humming worth the least amount of points b/c they didn't know I can't hum at all.  I acted it out.  First I did man, which involved me referencing my chest.  And they got man, then I became a rocket and took off.  They totally got it.  Referencing my chest is something I try very hard not to do when I am at a Christian Group gathering.

Next we played Pictophone, which I love!  Everyone gets a piece of paper and rights a sentence down and pass it to the right.  That person draws a picture of the sentence and folds the sentence over and passes it.  The next person as then to write down the sentence based on the drawing and fold the drawing over.  And so on.  I got one sentence, and it was "The cat is high." I wasn't quite sure what sort of high this was referencing, so I drew a bad pot leaf, a cat, a joint with smoke, and I put it all on a tall table.  The next guy was sooooo confused and thought the cat was smelling a sausage.  The host saw it and thought it was hilarious.  He totally recognized what I had drawn.  I was a little worried for a while that this was all too crass and inappropriate for a Christian gathering, but it wasn't.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bluegrass Style

The rest of my week in Denver was also awesome.  My cousin, Will, picked me up on Friday afternoon and brought me to lunch.  There, he told me about how much he loves bacon and how he cooks it all the time, once he discovered how easy it was to make bacon.  The amazing part is that his love for bacon is pure and not contaminated by pop-internet-hipster culture.  He didn't even know about "press button, receive bacon".  This is because he hasn't had the internet for the past 5 years because he literally lives on a granite pluton. 

Oh I tried to explain to him LOLCats and how pictures of cats with funny sayings are taking over the internet, but he didn't get it.  Can you imagine life without Caturday? Or basement cat? Or ceiling cat?

Then he showed me his new house in the city he purchased and gutted.  He's going to completely redo and rebuild the inside of the house.  It's quite the project but I think it will be fun.

Then we did what I've been wanting to do all week...we went hiking!  He thought I was going to die I was breathing so heavy...but I assured him that's just me, the weakling.  We got to see an amazing view of the town he works in and the surrounding mountains. 

For dinner Will played music with a friend at a cafe while I watched, ate food, and drank the last of the Hoptober fest.  I had a gorganzola cheese linguini pasta.  At first I was a little disappointed because the sauce was kind of thin, and then I ate a cheese clump and it was amazing!  It was so salty and delicious with a great texture.  That pasta won me over!  The place we were at was in the mountains, but really full of people.  Everything was hand cooked and as healthy as they could get it (organic, local, etc.).

The next day Will made sausage biskets and gravy for breakfast.  I've never made sausage gravy before, but now I know how. :)  We then hiked around his property/on the pluton.

He lives next to what is probably miles of exposed granite pluton.  It's stereotypical granite too, pink k-spar, large plagioclase feldspars, lots of quartz, and some biotite.  It was perfect for a granite.  The foundation of his cabin and coal house were made of giant blocks of the granite.  I wish I had so much granite laying around I could build a house out of it!  He showed me a pegmatite vein, that had meter large quartz and k-spar/plag feldspar mix chunks.  I think something happened in the formation of the pegmatite that caused the potassium feldspar and the plagioclase to form as one mineral instead of separating out as two.  I think I remember learning that that can sometimes happen, but I can't remember what it's called.

In the end, we pushed boulders of pure quartz down the hillside to see the pure power and force of them rolling.  Geologists who grew up in the mountains and out west love to roll boulders down the hill like that.  Geologists from the east don't.  I think it's because they don't want to ruin anything or mess with the rocks b/c outcrops like that are rare to non-existant in the east, while western geologists take the boulders and outcrops for granite (PUN) b/c that's all they know.  That's my theory anyways.  I feel bad about rolling the rocks down the hill, but then I see them rolling and how powerful they are, and it's totally worth it.

That night we went to a bar in Denver where his band had their CD release party/Halloween show.  I dressed as a landshark.  I taped teeth to the hood of my CMU hoodie and made a fin of cardboard and duct tape.   Sometimes people thought I was dressed up as a CMU student if I let my hood down.  And I guess they were right, I hadn't showered and was wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt, and I was drinking.  That pretty much describes me while at CMU.  I think everyone I met at the bar was from Michigan, I kid you not.

Will played until 2 in the morning with his band, Steak Trout Revival, and they rocked the bar with their bluegrass music.  They also played the ghostbuster's theme song, bluegrass style.  Awesome.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Denver's Adventures

I've been in Denver this whole week at the Tribal Energy Program Revue.  I sit in a room all day and listen to what people are doing to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency with the money provided to them by the Tribal Energy Program.  I am learning a whole lot, and doing a little networking, surprise surprise.

I met some weatherization trainers, which is what I was hear to learn mostly about.  They took me out to dinner and got really excited about a possible project with my work and tried to sell me (subtly) their company.  I was a little wary b/c I really have no idea what I'm doing and I never really trust people looking for money.  Even though that's basically everyone.  Here's the ironic part...the guy who runs the company lives in or near Fremont.  He knows and is related in a weird way to the Duers, as everyone is in Fremont.  He camps out at the Hardy Damn every weekend.  So we were able to relate very well in that we both understood our backgrounds and general lack of professionalism.  I also realized that there are Fremont people everywhere.  How can that be?

I went out two nights ago with Jonny Knapp my friend from college.  He's always an adventure.  Always.  His car was in the shop, so I took a taxi, alone, to downtown (yeah, my hotel is out in the middle of no where) and met him there for dinner.  He had already made friends with people from Michigan.  Then his other friend from MI showed up, and we went to another bar.  This one was very small and sort of 50's themed and there was great live Jazz music.  On my way to the bathroom, I stopped by the singer and danced to the song.  When it ended I went to the bathroom.  She was so impressed that I danced before I peed, that she bought me a shot.

Oh side note.  I went to the bathroom at the first bar too, and there was this guy talking to the waitress outside the bathroom door.  I had to ask him to move, and he was all "Go do your thing!" While I was "doing my thing" someone tried to get into the bathroom (unisex), and when I left, it was that guy that saw me go in there!?!?  And while at the Jazz bar while I was "doing my thing" and the jazz lady was talking to the whole bar (10 people tops) about how I was peeing, someone tried to get in!  Really?  Twice in a row?  I'm telling you, these Denver people are something different.  I won't even get into all the weird and super random conversations I've had with strangers so far.

So, in the Jazz bar, Jon makes friends with this boy who introduced himself as Tiger.  Tiger is 20 yrs old.  He moved to Denver in August and 2.5 weeks ago his girlfriend broke up with him.  Now he is staying in a hotel and living out of his car.  But that was great because he wasn't drinking and offered to drive Jon and I around.  We went to Jon's friend from MI apartment for a few minutes to collect his brother, then we walked to the Thin Man bar....there were hundreds of Jesus pictures in there looking down at you drink.  It made me happy, but I think it freaked Tiger out a little.  He's out there "learning about life" instead of going to college.  Basically he's doing something I was never brave enough to do.  He asked me all kinds of questions like what it's like to be married as apposed to single, and what it's like having a real job, and how have things changed for me now that I am older.  Yeah, to him I was OLD. :)  I still get carded though!  He also asked me how I managed and what it was like when my parents stopped paying for things for me.  I think it surprised him and shocked him a little when I told him they haven't paid for things for me since I moved out.  Which is slightly untrue, my parents would help out here and there in the beginning of college before the other siblings needed help out too.  But nothing like paying a car repair bill or cell phone bill or anything...just maybe car insurance once in a while.  Tiger's question about parents paying for things made me think that his parents are probably helping him out a little here or are threatening to cut him off if he doesn't move home.  He's probably got a pretty good parent safety net going, so I thought it would be good for him to see that not everyone has that.  Then, this was the dangerous part, I let him drive me back to the hotel.  But is that more dangerous than taking the bus for 1 hr, if it was even still running that late at night, or more dangerous than a taxi alone?  At least I knew I could probably beat Tiger up.  Heh, he was just a very young boy trying to figure things out.  It makes me happy to be this old now.

So those are my adventures so far.  It's not living out of a car or anything, but I'm a hell of a lot more comfortable. 

That's a lie, I've got a sleep number bed at the hotel and I hate it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Emerald Ash Borer

In 2002 an ex-boyfriend and I were trying to get into Canada to go camping and see a Shakespeare play in Stratford.  Because he was half mexican, we got search at the border, in immigrations.  The mounties took all of our fire wood we were transporting with us.  (Side note:  I almost got arrested for having drugs because they thought my mom's 2 yr old baggie of venison jerky was pot.)  Everyone there was mean. 

Then in college, Elliot, and other people around, had bumper stickers that said "Don't move my fire wood, it BUGS me!"  I didn't know what it meant, and that bugged me.  My mom, or someone, told me that it's to prevent the movement of invasive species (bugs).

Through the years I've been aware of different bugs, fungi, and sicknesses that are killing different trees in our forest.

Once I moved to my new place in Nashville with a fireplace, I asked my parents to bring me firewood so I would have to purchase it.  They would not b/c they were not going to move firewood across state lines.

All this to tell you that Emerald Ash Borer (and other invasive species) outreach is working!  I told that to the speakers we had last week at my work's Annual Meeting, and they were happy to hear it.  I was excited to see how their outreach and work has affected me and changed me through my life.  Pretty neat to think about really.  The speakers talked to the Natural Resources Committee about what the Emerald Ash Borer looked like, what it did, what they were doing to stop it, and the best way to stop it from spreading...stop the movement of firewood by humans.

Below is a paragraph stated far better than I could from the above linked website:

"Emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, is an exotic beetle that was discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002. It probably arrived in the United States on solid wood packing material carried in cargo ships or airplanes originating in its native Asia. Because ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) in North America have no immunity to the insect, EAB has the potential to wipe out more than 700 million ash trees in Michigan. Since 2002, it has killed more than 30 million ash trees in southeastern Michigan alone. State and federal agencies in Michigan, and researchers in Michigan universities, are working to stop EAB from spreading. This includes the initiation of quarantines to stop the movement of infested ash wood and wood products, research to understand the pest's life cycle and what methods and strategies can control or eradicate it and development of educational and informational materials to help communities detect and deal with EAB infestations."

I was able to get one of those bumper stickers for my truck that was magnetic, so I don't have to worry about sticking it to it.  I also received a key chain with an actual Emerald Ash Borer beetle in it!

Now, why is this interesting enough to write about?  Well, doesn't it speak for itself...who wouldn't find this interesting?!  

Well, there is another reason beside pure deliverance of knowledge...it was mentioned on my favorite tv shows last week (but I didn't watch until last night), Bones.  Bones is a murder mystery drama show that is lighthearted. The entomologist (Bug Scientist) on the show located the murder site by finding "the Emerald Ash Borer, a rare bug only found in parts of high elevations of Virginia" on the body.  RARE BUG!?!?!  I am outraged!!! Outraged!!  I heard that and I grabbed Josh by the collar and shook him, yelling that they're wrong.  How can Bones let me down like that?  It's like they weren't even trying!  The least they could do is make up a bug name, like they did on Avatar and The Core with Unobtainium...not a real mineral, but didn't ruin things for me.  Not like this.  The government is paying good money to get rid of this bug and my favorite tv show is doing nothing to help!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Work Work Work

Work is hard this week and last week.  We are preparing for the Annual Meeting and things are getting busy.  I spent all day learning Corel...which I think is better than illustrator/photoshop, but I don't really know.  I am having a real issue getting the graphics to remain clear and not pixallated.  Pixallated is a word I don't know how to spell and neither does word. :/  Failings of modern society really.

Soon (as in directly after posting this) I will be working on making figures pretty for a paper Calvin is having me help write to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.  The paper is on part of my Thesis Research, the sphene part.  And really, the coolest and most interesting part.  Basically, I am showing at what temps sphene forms in a cooling magma body underground and which Rare Elements it sucks up so that other minerals can't use them.  In the future geologists can use this data and findings to estimate magma temps and composition just based on the presence of sphene or not.  I promise you it's awesome.


Another good thing is that Josh found all my thesis research on his thumb drive the other day!  I didn't really know where it was, and this way I didn't have to look for it.  Poor Josh was unable to use his thumb drive though.

Ackbar Fun Fact:  While Josh is sleeping, Ackbar will clean him.  While I am sleeping, Ackbar will nibble on all of my exposed bits (toes, elbow, calf, etc.)  No cleaning for me!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lazy Weekend

The Gorillaz have come out with a new record!!  Plastic Beach.  There's a new video out for the song Stylo, and as usual, the Gorillaz have not only read my mind, but have read my soul.  Not only is it a Gorillaz song, not only is it dark and hopeless, but it also contains Bruce Willis driving a red El Camino, and he is bad ass

This weekend turned out to be a lazy weekend.  I had hoped to go to Cedar's of Lebanon and do some hiking, but like I said it was a lazy weekend.  Friday night we were watching a movie off the internet that Josh picked out.  I was really hoping he was going to pick Law and Order, but he picked Thunderbolt with a younger Jackie Chan.  Generally I would love a Jackie Chan movie, but this one was about car racing and that doesn't interest me so much.  Luckily (not really) Josh's computer stopped working in the middle of it and I didn't have to watch the whole thing.

Today one of our new IT friends helped Josh fix it.  All that had happened was the power cord had blown out, so it was easily and cheaply fixed.

Yesterday around 9:30 or 10:00 Josh was on the phone with a high school friend discussing his computer problems and I was reading.  Then I got really tired and my eyes closed and my head fell to the side.  I decided I would stay like that and pretend I was asleep and then when Josh got off the phone he would come over and wake me up to tell me about the phone call and I was go "Surprise" and grab him quick because I wasn't really asleep.  Then it was 2 hours later....   Josh never came over because, duh, I was asleep, and we all know it's bad news to wake me up if I don't want to be.  I sat up and was like, Josh ...  What's going on?  And Josh was like, you've been asleep for hours.  I told him, no I was just pretending. 

Great recap.

We  then went to another friend's house for a game night where I preceded to fall asleep with my eyes open, but just for 4 minutes or so.  Then we played Trivial Pursuit Millennium Addition.  This was the most fun I've ever had playing this game.  Josh and I were able to answer so many questions right!!!  I think it's because we grew up during the time period that most of the questions focused on, and that Josh had just taken 2 history questions.

I watched America's Taste Kitchen or something, and I learned how to make chew chocolate chip cookies.  I melted 10 tablespoons of  butter and browned it on the stove.  Then I poured it into a bowl and added 4 more tablespoons of butter.  Then I dissolved the brown and white sugars into it and added the other ingredients.  They turned out damn good for the type of chocolate chip cookies they were, but I prefer my chocolate chip cookies to have oatmeal in them and to be thicker and not so sugary.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lazy Saturday

What a Saturday.  I've been feeling nauseous pretty bad all week, and today I was mostly better, but I'm still trying to take it slow. Heh.

I recently got a prescription for a sleeping medication, but I'm not so sure how much I like it.  I mean, I like sleeping and all, but it pretty much ruins me for the whole next day.  Even if I take half a pill, which I did last night.  I fell asleep instantly and didn't wake up until morning and according to Josh I didn't move at all all night, but snored a little bit.  Cute ones.  So I got up and fed Ackbar and I swear to you the stove said 9:20.  I went and woke Josh up and laid in bed a for a while because it was so comfy.  He got up, shaved, got ready for the day, and then I got back out of bed.  We lazily made cereal and ate it.  Then we puttered around the house for a bit.  Then we looked at the clock and it was 9:35.  I kid you not.  Either I'm going crazy or when we think we are moving slowly we are really moving at warp speed, and when we move quickly we are really moving at a snails pace.  So we gained several hours to our day.

Josh had to run an errand in Murfreesboro, so I went with him so we could stop at the JC Penny's there because I had a gift card from Christmas.  We went in (avoiding the rest of the mall) and turns out JC Penny was having a doorbuster sale that ended at 1:00!!  Good thing we move at warp speed right?  So I was able to get a new pair of work pants, grey corduroy, that fit me p.e.r.f.e.c.t.l.y.  I'm skinny skinny in them.  I also got a red and grey Aaaaarrrgyle sweater to go with them.  Then I saw this jacket...it was dark plum coduroy, and it was exactly what I've been looking for for weeks now. It was all on super sale and I saved 66$ and with the gift card it was exactly in our price range.  But all of this isn't even the amazing part.  The amazing part is that I accidentally stumbled into the petite section, and all of these clothes are petite!!!

It was a very sunny warm day, upper 80's I think, so we had the windows in Josh's car open and the sun was shinning in.  I am almost positive, due to several experiments, but the warm sunshine activates the sleeping pill during the day.  I get huge yawns that hurt they are so huge and I get a little sick feeling if I don't lay down and take a nap in the sunshine. So the entire time we drove around I had the seat back and was just laying there relaxing and watching the tops of trees, signs, and light posts from the windows.  Following, I cannot tell you when the last time was that I was that relaxed.  I used to lay back and watch the scenery in the sky in cars a lot when I was little, but haven't in forever.

We ate lunch at this restaurant that looked to be (from the inside and the outside) one of the most fanciest places I've been to in a long long time.  Josh promised me that they had an amazing blue cheese dip, that he read about in his school's paper, and I've been craving blue cheese.  Well, it wasn't a blue cheese dip, but it was just as amazing.  The waiter described it as spinach dip on steroids, and he was right.  For 5$ we got enough spinach dip appetizer for 4 or 5 people easy...  meaning, it was a much larger portion for what we paid than we were expecting.  Then for being so fancy, the lunch sandwich prices were very reasonable...and those portions were HUGE too.  I got a side of broccoli (for health and b/c my sandwich was mostly a cheese log), and the bowl of broccoli was easily twice as big as I was expecting.  Josh says it's because Murfreesboro is a college town not full of rich kids.  They wouldn't get any customers if they priced it higher....unlike Nashville restaurants.

We sat at a table where one side was a booth and one side was chairs, and I thought Josh was going to sit in the chairs, and we accidentally both sat in the booth at the same time, so we sat next to each other and watched the going on's in front of us.  Which wasn't much, there was no one else eating in that section.  But we did see a server clearing off a table outside and when coming in he dropped and broke a glass.  Then the hostess was cleaning the door to the outside there and he flirted with her.  Then another couple came in and they were going to be seated in a middle table, but they chose to sit next to each other in a booth/chair table directly across from Josh and I.  So we were all sitting there staring at each other.  But not for too long, because we soon left.

We got home at 1:30 and both fell asleep.  Next thing I know it's 5:00.  Yes, a 3.5 hr nap.  I woke up, rolled over and realized my arm left itself behind.  I grabbed it and shook it and my hand wobbled.  I could feel nothing in that hand and I almost freaked out because I thought it had died.  The weird part was that it barely tingled at all like it was asleep as I was regaining feeling in it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Last Sunday evening/night I was driving home from my friends apartment.  They live maybe a mile or two away by back roads!  This really makes me happy because it is also one of the most beautiful back road I've ever driven on.  It's is very narrow, with hills and twisty curves.  There is also zero shoulder and the woods grows right up to the side of the road and has to be cut flat, so it looks like a giant leafy wall.  The locals see no reason to go slow on this road. When I say locals I mean the impatient crazies that can't afford to live anywhere else, not the locals who live in the giant old school mansions that populate this back road.

So I was heading home, and up in front of me was the moon!  It was a perfect crescent shape, the same as when you stereotype the moon shape so that everyone knows what it is.  It was also glowing pure white.  The truly amazing part was that it was HUGE!  A normal moon is the size of dime, this one was the size of a half dollar or larger.

I only saw it for a second before it slipped farther behind the trees, and I wasn't even sure it was the moon.  After a while I doubted what I saw and thought maybe it was a porch light.  That moment I saw it though, it was like I was in a Neil Giamen story, like Neverwhere.  There were definitely fairies and redcaps about.

The whole rest of the way home I drove slowly sure I would see the moon again after the next turn.  I even drove past my apartment complex and down to the gas stations to see if I could see it down there.  But I couldn't.  I was a little sad because like I said, I wasn't positive it was the moon.

Monday I was driving home from East Nashville around 10 o'clock from visiting some other friends...and I came upon the view of downtown Nashville with it's bar lights and the tall Batman building and there it was!!!!  The GIANT crescent moon!!!  I got to look at it all I wanted until I went down a hill and it slipped behind the Nashville Skyline.  And get this...War Pigs was playing!!!  It's only one of my favorite bad ass songs to listen to while I drive my truck!  It was one of the most beautiful and perfect moments I've experienced in a very long time.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

More Money More Problems

Less money, bigger problems.

I just realized today that if Josh does research with a professor, he will not have time for a job.  This is okay with me because I always put school and research first, even for Josh.  His education is technically more important than mine because he's going to need a very good job to support the non-working lifestyle I want to live.

So I'm trying to think of way for me to make a few extra dollars here and there.  I know I can do it because I have more free time than I have ever had before.  I'm just out of practice of using it productively.

Here are my ideas:

1. Dog walker
2. Tuter
3.  Plant sitter
4.  Secret Shopper
5.  Personal shopper
6.  Car washer/oil changer where I go to the hospital/rich person work place and they pay me to do it right there...I'm told that some coworkers pay $200 to have someone come and wash and detail their vehicles while they are at work.  Biggest.Waste.Of.Money.Ever.
7.  Muffin maker and seller...I make damn good muffins.  You know that to be true!  I can even make them mini!
8.  Advertise to make something to bring to a potluck for people who don't want to cook something but also don't want to bring something store bought.
9.  Teach kids in my apt. complex how to cook
10.  Make posters/signs/flyers for people!  I can totally do that!

I did not put babysitting on the list because I can't stand to babysit kids I don't know.  Not that I've ever really done that, but lets say, you should sell your talents, and babysitting is not my talent.  Unless it's an actual baby...I think I've matured up enough to be able to do that.

Most of this I'm only going to advertise around my apartment complex, and maybe the one next door.  This stuff is time consuming, and it would be easier if I lived close.

What do you do to make a little extra money?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Camping

Josh and I went camping yesterday.  Just one night...we tried to bring as little as possible.  I feel we could have done a better job, but we did play both games we brought.  Mostly we brought a lot of extra food...

We didn't buy any food though for our lunch today.  I am pretty proud of that...we were going to buy Ritz crackers and fruit, but we ran out of time.  What I did instead of just gather all the little bits of snack food and half empty chip things we have and brought those.  Then we didn't even eat lunch!  What we forgot was eggs and coffee for breakfast.  I brought two potatoes though because they are so delicious (Yukon Gold Potatoes) and I just wanted to eat them at some point.  This turned out perfect because we had them for breakfast!  I sliced them, added some beef jerky, butter, salt and pepper, and left over red pepper and onion we had cooked up the night before as hotdog topping.  I wrapped all the food up in tinfoil and Josh made a little fire to cook it over.  It was amazing!!  Josh and I have decided that any food cooked over fire is the best.

We stayed at a campground that's about 10 min from where we live, half way to my work.  It was built by they Army Corp. of Engineers, and it is by far one of the best campgrounds I've ever been in.  It only has 36 sites, and each one is fully surrounded by trees and brush, so you are about as isolated from your neighbors as you can be for a campground.  Several sites are right on the lake.  I would call it the beach, but it's a man-made lake and there is no sand.  We did not get any of those sites, but next time we will.  You can make reservations online.  The only down part was the bathroom...there were way too many daddy long legs on the ceiling for my comfort.

This morning we went to the swim area/beach part, that costs 4$ to get in or free if you are camping.  Except on the day you plan to leave, then you have to argue with a mean old old woman with a blow horn and gold cart, and she says that we have to pay unless we leave before 2:00 when check-out is for the campground.  And then she highly disapproves of you going in for free promising that you will leave before 2:00.  We left before 1:00!!

The beach/sand part was very narrow (3ft) and the sand was separated from the grass by a sidewalk.  It was all silica sand and must have been shipped in and placed there.  You could only swim out about 30 feet, and if you swam past the floating orange tube, the mean old lady would drive by in her golf cart and yell at you with your blow horn.  We also suspect she highly disapproves of making sand castles and digging too much into the sand as well.

Besides all of this, it was wonderful to be finally swimming in a lake again.  I wish we had been going all summer.  It wasn't even cold like Lake Michigan or Superior, but perfectly cool.  It's a very large, long lake because it is formed from the back up of a river by a dam. 

Finally, another interesting part, is that I think Josh and I were the only white people there, everyone else were hispanic.  There were large families all hanging out together and having picnics and hanging in hammocks they brought.  I wish a little, that my family was like that...but then we would all have to live near together, and my parents should have had a few more kids, and Nate and I should have had kids as well already.  Family oriented, etc.  But we are not...I would feel trapped.

I missed Ackbar a lot and all the butterflies I saw reminded me of him...because they are so beautiful like him.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Risking the Pickles

Now that I am done with school it's up to me to teach myself new things.  I find it a lot harder to do now than when I was in school.  It's a risk to learn new things because you might fail.  Which is funny because of course you WILL fail.

So far I have learned how to knit cables, drive a stick shift, and make pickles.  The first cabling project I made I had to restart about 7 times, but I didn't care.  Knitting mistakes bother me very little, the only thing you waste is time, and I don't feel it's too much wasted because I knit for the act of knitting, not for the finished product.  I was very worried and scared of making a mistake while learning to drive a stick because I was afraid a mistake would lead to an accident and then death.  There were some scary moments, but I made it through, and I'm much more confident in my driving now.  I'm not so sure what my mistake of making pickles was...maybe that I left the cinnamon stick in the jars so I think I have 4 or 5 jars that taste like Christmas.

Making pickles was the most mystifying.  I didn't know really what I needed or what to do.  Turns out just some equipment and very expensive spices.  I think pickling is one of the easiest things I've ever cooked.  Far easier than pie, and more fun than cookies.  I even bought and installed a shelf in the laundry room to store all my bread and butter pickles in.  I only made that one kind because they are my favorite and my Oma used to make them.

First to make pickles, you cut up the cucumbers and the onions and mix them with canning salt and let them set in the fridge for 4 hrs (or over night).  Then you drain and rinse them.  Next you combine the spices in a big pot while waiting for the larger pot full of water heat to boiling with the empty jars in it.  This is to sterilize the jars.  You also boil the lids too.  The spices include sugar, cinnamon, allspice, clove, mustard seeds, and turmeric.  Turmeric is the worst...all my white tea towels are now stained yellow.  No big deal, they were bought with possible stains in mind. 


Then you add white vinegar and apple cider vinegar and heat to boiling. I think that at this point is when I would remove the cinnamon stick.  The cinnamon, clove and allspice are all added in berry/stick form as well as powdered form.  I think the cinnamon stick may be left out entirely.  Of course, early (but not too early) in my college career, I had several bad experiences with cinnamon liquor, and I've never really felt kindly to any cinnamon flavor or scent since.





Then the cucumbers and onions are added and the mixture is reheated to boiling.  This is one of my favorite parts, I like watching the bland, sorta-lame-in-comparison cucumbers change color and texture into delicious pickles.




In the mean time, take out the sterilized jars and set them on a towel and prepare all your tools.  You DO need the wide mouth funnel, it is worth the money to buy.  My mom and my pickling friend never heard of the measuring stick, but it came with the pickling kit I bought, and I found it quite helpful.  You rest it on the edge of the jar to help measure how high the pickles are filling the jar.  There is also a magnetic stick to pick the lids out of the boiling water.  I feel this wasn't too necessary and made it harder because it kept on grabbing two lids at once.


Finally you fill the jars with the pickles.  First you put in the pickles and then add the syrup sauce after until the jars are full to about 1/2 inch from the top.  Then the lids are put on and the pickles are put back into the larger pot and boiled for 10 minutes.  My favorite part of it all is next.  When you remove them and let them set you can hear the lids pop in and that's how you know you did everything right.  If they don't pop in, there isn't a good seal and you have to eat them right away and not store them in your pantry, or laundry room in my case.

The scariest part of all of it is the very large pot of boiling water.  I bought the cheapest one I could find at Kroger and I kept vividly imagining it bursting open and spilling boiling hot water every where.  I don't think I could ever be brave enough to use a pressure cooker!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

There is no such thing as a free lunch...but there is a free breakfast!

Just read my last post.  It annoys me.  Please disregard it as a lapse in my judgment.

Stay tuned for future posts of backing, cooking and pickling which will include pictures!

I received a free breakfast today from my apartment complex as I was leaving.  My first reaction was "What do you want for it?  Do I have to listen to you talk about God or donate money or promise to vote online for your cause?"  But no, I think I just have to spread the word of my happiness of a free breakfast to everyone I know, then you will want to live at my apartment complex as well.  Phew.  I almost named it for you, but then I remembered that you are The Internet and according to stereotype and common belief, there is a 97% chance that you are a rapist or child molester.  The other 3% are people who look at funny cat pictures.

The breakfast was orange juice (which I'll save for my smoothies this week), an apple, and a muffin.  I won't eat the muffin, it's a prepackaged thing, and I don't like mass produced prepackaged and free baked goods.

Oh my new favorite website:  Evernote.com 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Damn Hipsters

I go back and forth about whether or not I am a hipster.  They are ironic, therefore I think that no matter what I'm screwed.  It just so happens that I love irony.

I met a new person the other day (friend's cousin) and she is in college still.  She is very nice and pointed out that many of my interests such as steampunk and Rock-a-billies make me a hipster.  Though I want to make it clear, I do not like rock-a-billies, I just like some of the stuff they like, such as Roller Derby and Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band.  Though I think the Rock-a-billies that make up Roller Derby are not the same as the typical ones, they are tougher and more into blood and fighting.

When I went to the last Roller Derby bout of the season last weekend, I felt at home in Nashville for the first time since moving here.  And not because these people are just like me, but that there is such a variety of people and types that there is no feeling of "why are you not like us?" going about.  Plus Roller Derby is a good cause (all proceeds go to charities) and so people go to have fun, not be seen.

Seeing and being seen.  That is something that definitely goes on here in Nashville.  Probably due to the fact that there are so many start up artists AND hipsters.  Hipsters all about being seen.  To be cool you have to go to all the coolest things, nonchalantly of course, and then be seen by all your friends there.  Maybe you smoke a cigarette outside between sets and start up a convo with the bass player from Cheer Up Charlie Daniels. Maybe you sport your newly grown molester stach to the viewing of the newest indie film at The Belcourt.  See, I do none of those things.  In fact I avoid them mostly.

I saw a video on a website I just discovered that isn't supported by google or anything.  I think it's called Dramatipedia or something like that. Dramatica Wiki?  I don't remember now.  I think it's a homeplace for trollers, but you are going to have to wiki what an internet troll is because I don't really understand it yet myself at all.  Though I do know it doesn't mean a really ugly girl sitting at home trying to sex chat.  I figured that much out.  Anyways, there was an article to go with the video, and I really really wished I had read the article first before watching the video, then I would have been spared the shock and disgust.  The video took place in a crappy undecorated apartment in Chicago and it was filled with hipsters, and they were way less cool than the ones in Nashville, and there were maybe 40-50 of them sitting and standing, and in the corner cubby area was this girl doing her "performance".  First she took 2+ min. trying to open a can of spaghettios which was irritating and boring, then she put it in a pot.  Then it was black! and she smeared it all over her chest and tshirt. Again, pretty boring.  I didn't have any sound, so I don't know what the audio was like.  Then...out of no where she whips out some scissors, cuts a hole in the crotch of her pants and stick her spaghettio fingers way up into her cooch.  The End.

Yeah...I hate hipsters a little more now.  I can never unsee that.

I only clicked on it the article because I wanted to get a feel for the website and Spaghettios seemed innocent enough.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Tickler

I was reading a blog/webpage thing today called 43 Folders that is a blog but is so much more than a blog.  It's about how to make the most of your time and to get shiza done.  So of course it's going to be more than a blog, this dude knows how to do things! 

I was reading his post on what he thinks makes good blog.  He's upfront about how it's all his opinion and we are free to disagree with him...and I like that.  I hope you, my following, feel the same way.  You can always disagree with me.  Becker, the 90's sitcom that is either funny or uncomfortable with Ted Danson, precursor to House, is a lot like that too.  Full of opinions and he don't care if people agree with him or not, he's just going to spew what he thinks.  Anyways, what makes a good blog, or part of what he says, is that the blogger is obsessed with something.  That they have all these thoughts and words inside of them that just spills out and that's why they write in a blog.  Well, that's how I feel, sometimes I have so many words inside of me they just have to come out.  Sometimes I don't have enough people to talk to, and after I call my mom for 45 min., write pages long emails to my friends, to my siblings, to my other family members, and talk to all my coworkers, I still have more and more and more and more to say.  But what am I obsessed with?  All I can come up with is my own thoughts.  Or my own life.  Or just life in general and everyone in it.  I like that answer the best, but I don't know if it's true or not.  I'd have to go through all my posts and categorize them and then do some sort of statistical curve with it and find the mean, median and average.  Maybe there'd even be a derivative or two.  Yeah right...I've never understood derivatives!  A derivative has no unit, and I have a very hard time comprehending the point of unitless numbers.

Did you know I've been blogging for 6 yrs?  This is my third format and the first truly public one.  It's a sign of me growing older and more mature.  Yeah, I'm holding things back now...just imagine what it was like before!  Mostly I used to use other peoples names and complain about different people a lot.  Now I don't complain about people unless they are true strangers or belong to this list:
1.  Kathy Griffen
2.  Al Roker
3.  Woody Allen

They are my three least favorite people of all time.  I have a hard time deciding who I dislike more, Al Roker or Kathy Griffen.

Do you know where the term 43 Folders comes from?  It's a filing/organization system where there is a flat folder thing with a file for each month and then a file for 31 days which is 43 files total.  It's called a Tickler.  I own one now for work.  A tickler!  Because you put papers and reminders in it for the correct month, and then when it's that month you move the reminders to the correct days (1 through 31 files), then you look at the correct day file everyday and it tickles you to remember what you need to do.  Or something like that.  It just reminds me of a professor I had at CMU where he had nightmares as a young child where a monster that I suspect looked like a banana with arms would tickle his feet when he was in bed and he called it the Tickler.  I'm actually apart of a facebook group about that.

The last thing the guy said in his post about good blogs is that it's okay to break your rules every once in a while, and he proved it by making that post a list, and apparently he doesn't like list posts.  Which I, of course, disagree with.  But in the spirit of things, I broke my rule with this post.  I don't like it when bloggers discuss their own blog in their post!  I read their blog not to hear about their blog but to hear about their life...but sometimes they just sort of intersect.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day to day

I had what I would call an anxiety attack today.  And I can't really say what started it off.  Actually there were several events that could lead anyone to an anxiety attack:
1.  I payed bills before I left for work and once again will not be able to pay off the credit card...BUT we are moving to the positive and not falling into the negative.
2.  Then I went to the dentist's.
3.  The ridiculously expensive dentist.
4.  Then when I got to work I was asked why I didn't just take a sick day.  Because I'm hardwired to work no matter what.  Them cows aint gonna milk themselves!  That's what my family always says.
5.  Then I had to call the insurance company and found out something unsettling that I still have to fix.
6.  Then I called my mother.

See?  That would do it to anyone.

Only I really freaked out a lot, bad enough to justify going home sick.  I had to decide what would be best for me, and I decided to stay at work.  Work doesn't stress me out in the least (ironic huh?) and if I focused on it as hard as I could, it would keep my mind off everything I worry about and the looming black hole.  Only if there truly was a real black hole I'd be scared and very excited to see what was through it.  Not what I feel about this proverbial one.  If I went home instead of working, then I would just sit there and my list of worries would grow. 

But now, when I'm slightly more rational, I'm like, what was I worried about? And I honestly couldn't list to you anything worth stressing about.  I couldn't really even tell you one big one.  This is different than when you are busy and overwhelmed with stuff, this just sneaks up on me and then leaves me feeling exhausted, heartburny, and depressed.  My outlook on life is pretty bleak right now because I have no energy or drive to accomplish things that I worry about.  So I worry about them more.  Like...I should be working on my knitting, or my mosiac coffee table, or cleaning the bathroom, or organizing my closet so that my clothes are lined up by color and style.  Actually, I would have to do it by color first and then decide if that's what I wanted and then try it by style later.  BUT first I would have to hang up a lot of clothes and probably steam the wrinkles out of the ones that need it and maybe iron that one shirt I love way in the back that the wrinkles won't steam out of.  And while I'm at it, laundry should be done. 

And where is Josh during all of this?  AT SCHOOL DOING WHAT HE"S SUPPOSE TO BE DOING AND NOT STRESSING ME OUT!!!!   That makes me pretty happy actually.  Oh and he vacuumed today.  He vacuums a lot.

I lie a little though, I did accomplish one thing today at home, I made another batch of bread and butter pickles.  That makes three so far and I'm super fast at it.  After the cucumbers are cut and cured with salt for 4 hrs it only takes me 45 mins. or less to do it all and most of that is just waiting for the pick pot of water to boil.  I think I have 3 or 4 batches left to make (I bought a lot of cucumbers last weekend), so I need to buy more jars.

The weirdest thing I worry about is Ackbar.  I worry simultaneously that he is getting too fat and that I am starving him.  He weighs 14 lbs.  But 3 of it has to be from furr because he sure is fluffy!

I bought my life planner to help with my worries, and it does for the small day to day stuff.  But what can it do for this? A worry that has no name?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Pick On Lindy Day

What will I talk about today?

Josh and I ate at Famous Daves for dinner tonight.  It was okay...it was no bbq from Elk City or anything, but it tried to be.  Once in Detroit my car over heated 2 blocks from the wedding I was going to at a Famous Dave's and I had to go to the bathroom soooo bad that I went in there.  We didn't know it was overheating that caused my car to stop running, we just knew that it stopped running.  It wasn't until the next summer, or maybe even 2 summer's later that we figured it out.  On the way down to Nashville.

Sometimes I miss my car and am always happy when I see other Ford Taurus's on the road.

Today, on the way into work, at the gate (yes, my parking lot is gated), some one had already opened it, so I sped up even faster than what I was going to get in, and then decided to keep the speed up and I took the short way to the back of the parking lot (it's technically, a one way, and I went the wrong way, but I looked first to make sure no one was coming or in the way, AND it's a very small very empty parking lot).  When I got inside the security guard told me that the camera's have speed reading meters on them and that I was going too fast and as building policy he was going to have to give me a 25$ ticket!  I was all "WHAT!  This place never tells me the rules until it's too late!"  Then Harrell stepped out of his hiding place and started laughing because it was all a joke!  The security guard was super good at pulling it off though...it was the most believable thing I've heard from someone bs'ing.  

Then I went into my office and my coffee mug and water cup were missing!  I was sure it was Pick-On-Lindy Day and I couldn't find them at all.  A coworker asked me if I checked the cealing because he sticks things up there in my office (I have a firetruck and a penguin up there).  I already had and they weren't there.  I knew I left them in my office bc I hadn't washed them the day before, and was going to do it first thing.  Well I think the janitors had picked them up and washed them and left them in the dish drainer.  They've never done that before and I don't know why they started now.

And yesterday as I was leaving work...in a hurry (which is why I didn't wash my cups), I stopped in the bathroom, and as I opened the stall door, I almost stepped on a large leggy spider.  And before I stopped myself, I screamed, grabbed my stuff and ran out of there.  Lots of people heard but not because I was terribly loud, but because the bathroom is echoes terribly.  The other security guard went in there and killed it, which was very nice of him.

I spent some time this week learning about task management and organization and I'm pretty excited to start seeing how it works on Monday.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Things in List Form

A List Of Things:

1.  Just Click Here  And no it won't bring you to a music video of Rick Astley, I promise.
2.  Go ghetto, drink Orange Kool-Aid and vodka - it's sorta like a screw driver!
3.  Freak your cat out, put him in the bedroom and then remove the couch from the house
4.  Read Pride and Prejudice and then watch the movie!  Decide which character you are most like
5.  MSG:  The Flaaavaaa Enhancaaaa!
6.  If you like good Adult Swim shows, watch Archer on Netflix play it now, now.  If you don't like Adult Swim due to it's language, adult situations, and violence...don't watch Archer.
7.  My truck is awesome... and it's attracted a Narcissistic bird that likes to smear poop all over the side mirrors. Yay.
8.  Deep Impact is just like Armagedon, only it lacks action, a love story, and that funny scene in Armageddon where they ask to never pay taxes again.
9.  Despite the fact that Deep Impact is clearly a 90's movie, Morgan Freeman plays the President...making it more relevant to today than you can imagine.
10.  Deep Impact also has Frodo in it 
11.  If you fear the apocolypse (or hope for it!) I suggest you stock up on Slim-Rites.  Trust me.

(Side note to the list here:  Deep Impact for some reason unknown to Josh or I was at the top of our Netflix Que, and sent out to us by 8am the day after I mailed the old movies out...that's why we had it)

12.  Harry Reid is the Senate Majority Leader and from Searchlight, Nevada.  I've been there.
13.  I prefer an older Robert Downey Jr. (Ironman) to the younger one from the 90's (Heart and Souls)
14.  The movie Heart and Souls, which you should watch! definitely left an impression on me and I think about certain parts of it during specific situations and has influenced my life, and caused me to expect many things from life that did not actually happen.  But that's fine...I never became a business woman and I did not marry a business man...and my expectations were based on a movie I saw when I was like 12.  But it is a hilarious and heart warming movie...even if Robert Downey Jr. has 90's fluffy hair. It's on my list of Comfort Movies.
15.  I've also always disliked Hugh Grant's fluffy hair from the 90's as well
16.  I need a haircut or something
17.  Ackbar trips out to Jimmy Hendrix and some other techno music too
18.  Ackbar thinks he's all indifferent and "cool" but really he's kinda nerdy and not very good at being agile.
19.  The Yarn Harlot is my favorite blog to read.
20.  For dinner I had a fried egg, fried delicious potatoes, and a tomato.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

For Organization

My mom called me today!  I haven't talked to her in forever, and we caught up.  I may have mentioned to her how sometimes I get very stressed out at home because there is always more to do, and I may have mentioned how Josh isn't always the most helpful when it comes to chores.  Well I was WRONG.  When I got home not only was the house clean(er), vacuumed, and the toilet washed, but the dishes were done!!  And he wiped down the counters and stove the way I like it.  I didn't even know he knew how to do that!  All of this because I made him a sandwich this morning for his lunch.  I'm only made it because 1. I'm his wife (wifes make sandwiches right?) 2.  I leave 30 min. after him so I have time 3.  He made my lunch all throughout grad school, it's really the least I can do.  And I told him all that this morning, but he still cleaned.  He's the best.

I've recently realized that even though it's been a year from when I finished my thesis, bought 2 used cars b/c mine died beyond repair and moved, all without a job, my stress levels have not gone down to where they were before grad school.  That period I mentioned above I call "The Thesis" and it was the worst time of my life and I went crazy with the stress and anxiety.  I thought if I relaxed for even one tiny little itty bitty moment I would forget EVERYTHING and have to start over.  Oh and we would die because our lease was up, we had no car, and I didn't have a job.  Well maybe not die but become lost in some black void without food or a bed.  HA!  That's right, I really was convinced we were going to have to sell our bed for food and I didn't think I could survive without my bed.  I didn't remember that until right now because I blocked that period of time of my life.  The only things I remember from April to July 3 was grilling outside for dinner every night, talking to Bob and Jacque, crying in front of Calvin that one time, the sound of Ayla's mouse clicking as she played Minesweeper, walking to the grad student office to turn in my thesis, and waking up more exhausted than when I went to bed bc of my acid reflux.  I am still not sure if getting the Master's degree was worth it... ask me in 5 to 10 yrs.

We grilled because hotdogs are cheap and so I wouldn't have to be inside my apartment stressing because if I'm in there, I could be working.

I still feel that way sometimes.  That if I'm home there is stuff to be done and if I don't remember to do it, if I don't think about how it needs to be done, if I don't ponder when it should be done, and then gather the energy to get Josh to help me with it then the black void will come back and we will probably die.  Home does not relax me.

I thought making a list would help, and my mom told me I should do it.  She has one.  But a list wouldn't help (even though I do love them!) because things can get lost in a list.  Just because it's on there doesn't mean I'll do it, and I still have to worry about when I will do it.  Then my mom gave me the best suggestion of all...use a planner!!!  If there's one thing I love more than lists, it's big fancy planners!!

So I stopped at Target on my way home and bought the one I loved best and didn't even look at the price.  That was freedom right there, let me tell you.  And now since I love it I'll be more likely to use it and not always wish I had the "better one" if I had gotten the cheap one like always.  Anyways, this isn't a school or work planner, this is a life planner...so I needed one different than any other I've had before.




So there it is!  Josh says it looks sort of Dutch.  I love it.  I even use a large bag/purse thing now because it's finally practical for me to due to my job, and it will fit in there perfectly!  Right next to my umbrella.






As an interesting side note, the month before Josh and I moved to Nashville we were at Blissfest and I had my palm read.  The girl looked at my hand and looked up at me and said "You don't need to worry so much!" and I was confused because at that exact moment in my life I was the most carefree, happy, and unstressed I have ever ever been.  But now I know...she got it a little wrong...I was going to start worrying in the near future. 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Just An Update

Josh and I helped pick up and move a couch today.  We took the "back roads" the whole way, meaning no expressway.  It was down in Franklin, and I thought I've been to Franklin before, but really I haven't.  It was a beautiful drive full of the largest houses I've ever seen.  Some of them were definitely old plantation houses and some were newer.  Downtown Franklin was very nice and upscale with a lot of little boutique stores.  I really liked it, but there was tons of people and families out walking around.  Too many for me.  I'm getting tired of strangers.

The drive was quite wonderful because it was just Josh and I and all the windows down in my truck (no AC), and the radio on.  I love singing loudly in my truck!  I even got to tease Josh b/c he was driving and I don't like how he drives my truck.  There are always extra noises when he does so.  OH and I did something super smart.  He was holding his drink so he asked me to shift down, so I shifted it from third gear to second gear b/c that's shifting down.  I didn't taking him literally, which I do a lot when people ask me things, and it gets me in trouble.  Unfortunately, he was being literal and wanted me to physical move the shifter down to the fourth gear position.  I felt so smart for doing it the other way...  sort of like if I was able to get my left and right correct without having to think about it.  Which I can't do.

The couch was on the second floor and we had to remove the door to get it out.  But then when we got to it's new home, which was on the third floor, a very nice neighbor offered to help Josh carry it up, so I didn't have to help.  I liked that!

Don't worry, this was for a friend, not for us!  We do not need any more couches. 

Let's see, yesterday we didn't do too much.  We made lasagna from scratch with Josh's mom's recipe who got it from his Italian grandma.  Josh boiled the sausage in the sauce for hours before I even got home.  It's probably some of the best lasagna I've ever had.  We even cleared off the table and ate at it with a cloth napkin and wine.  I'm going to make the lasagna next and I'm going to boil bacon in the sauce and then lay that down with the noodles.  I wanted to do it this time, but Josh was all about doing it authentic style.  That's the problem with marrying an Italian really,  we can only eat Italian food if it's superior...no going out to any old Italian restaurant, ever.

Tomorrow we are going to wake up early and help some friends (the one's who go the couch) move more of their stuff.  I'm kind of excited because there will be donuts.  Good ones.  Also, I will be moving and exercising and working hard.  I don't actually do much to feel like I accomplish things any more, so I'm excited to do so tomorrow.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Stay Away From My Tots!

A good example of life when I live at home with my mom.  The ironic part:  My dad's name is Carl.



Of the fights that I started, most were about how my mom put my food/ketchup/whatever in the wrong spot on my plate.  Sometimes I would be so angry I wouldn't eat dinner.  It wasn't until college when someone asked me why she just didn't let me do it myself.  Common sense really right?  Yes, but I'm ultimately lazy and there probably was JUST enough food cooked for us all and she had to portion it out correctly...I'm not sure.  What I want to know is, why didn't she ask me first where I wanted it.

See, the problem (if you want to call it a problem, I call it an adorable quirk), is that I picture things in my head really really well, and then expect them to be like that in real life.  So if I'm making two identical sandwiches for me and Josh, one is mine, and if he isn't thinking and grabs that one and eats it, the other one is tainted and does not taste as good to me.  Things go in a very specific place on my plate, but I can't tell you where that is because I don't know until I see the food, see the plate, and look deep inside myself for the proper place.  I feel where it should go.  I feel which piece of food I should eat.  I feel, in my heart, all of these things, and it's very very upsetting to me if it gets messed up.  I have a very hard time eating at family style restaurants and avoid them at all costs if I can. I DO NOT SHARE MY FOOD, unless I choose to on my own without people asking or influencing me.  If I decide to share it, then I really do want to, and do not mind in the least if you take me up on the offer.  Luckily Josh understands this and is very patient with me and allows me to pick which sandwich I want and is actively precise at dividing things equally in half.  To repay his kindness, I usually give him whatever I feel is the better half or piece. 

This also carries over to bagging groceries and packing things.

Once in college, there was this boy douchebag, and we were sort of interested in each other.  Really he was interested in getting a girlfriend of any kind and I was interested in making out.  But he was also a douchebag (hence the lack of girlfriends) and the most emotional crazy sad angry person I have ever met.   Yay college! Right?  Anyways, we were in the dinning commons with all of our friends (Josh included) and it was Tator Tot day!!  Which doesn't happen very often and is always good when it does.  So I had my Tots and was sooo happy, and the douchebag ate 3 of MY tator tots before we even sat down.  I was so mad at him that I made sure to eat them all even though I was so incredibly stuffed and did not really want them any more.

Josh really likes that story.  I tell it to him more as a warning than as a form of entertainment.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Eeepaahhh Eeeeepaaahhh!

This may be the nerdiest post I ever post...but it's going to be all about how much I L.O.V.E. the EPA Website.  It's truly amazing.  You go to the home page, you look around, clicking here, clicking there, discovering the blog, the Tribal Portal, the lists of different Acts and Laws regulated by the EPA.  There is so much and before you know it you've fallen down the rabbit hole shouting:

"EeeePAhhhh! EeeePAhhh!"

Very similar to Grandpa in The Simpson's Movie...which if you haven't seen yet you should.  Even Calvin's seen it and he doesn't watch movies.

I've been working on learning a specific Microsoft website hosting software (software that makes websites) and let me tell you, this EPA website is one mighty complex beast!  The blog, Greenversations, is in part an internal blog and in part a business blog.  That just means that part of it is written for people who are concerned with and frequent the EPA regularly (sort of a very specific brand of the public) (Business) and to help communication with in the EPA (internal).

In college I took an environmental geography (NOT geology) class that was by far the most annoying, interesting and blow off class I have ever taken.  Everyday we learned about something different that made my undergrad adviser sooooo angry because it wasn't "real" science.  All I know is that I got to find water with a stick, allowing me to check another life goal off the list.  Anyways, one day two EPA representatives came and talked to us about chemicals and getting rid of them, illegal landfills, and which fish we should and should not eat.  Hence why I do NOT eat bottom feeders, and maybe why southerners are so crazy?  All that catfish?  My dad caught a catfish once when we were all fishing.  It was the first time any of us had ever seen a catfish, and let me tell you it was the freakiest and scariest and whiskery-est thing ever experienced by my family.  We didn't eat it and I doubt any of us ever will. 

Even though these visiting EPA people were from the government, I trusted them.  I'm thinking the EPA is the black sheep of government programs.  But it's not perfect, don't get me wrong.  I have also experienced a bad EPA member, but he was a lawyer, so maybe that doesn't count?