Monday, November 8, 2010

"Here's Johnny!"

Ok, I titled this blog post after "The Shining" in part because I watched that movie last night, but also partly because I want to rant about something that's been driving me nuts lately.
I seem to see/meet/hear about a lot of people who seem to think that ignorance makes them better Christian. Anyone who believes in such things as logic and science is deemed not as good a Christian, because naturally you have to reject some parts of the Bible if you're logical and science-minded. And you know what? I don't care. Willful ignorance DOES NOT equal better faith. My faith is strong enough that I CAN reject some of the Bible without it undermining my faith in God. It is through science and my better understanding of how the world works that I deepen my faith in God. Beginning to understand the universe means understanding a bit more about God.
God gave me a thinking, reasoning, intelligent brain and free will for a reason. And yet there are many, many people who see an understanding of the world and the universe as an "attack" on their faith. Why should this be so? Are you so insecure in your faith that the Bible HAS to be true, or none of it is? These people reject facts of all kinds because they don't "believe" them to be true. Whether you believe it or not doesn't change that it's fact. Get over it.
What I find even more insulting than this is that these people, if you disagree with them, will tell you that they'll "pray for you to find the way", or something to that effect. Do they not hear how pompous and conceited that is? The implicit and arrogant idea that their faith in God is somehow better than mine because I actually think about these things, rather than having my faith come from outside of myself, is irritating beyond belief. I want to tell these people to pray for those who actually need it, like the sick and the poor. You know, those people that Jesus urged us to look after, take care of, and pray for. The ones many of these "Christians" look down upon.
So many of these religious people become totally confused when I say that I believe in God, not religion. I've rejected having any major religion in my life not because I think they don't do some good and not because I don't think they perform some services that are necessary in society, but because I don't think they have anything for me. My faith won't be made any stronger if I go to church every Sunday or not. In fact, in many ways I pray more now than I did when I was a regular church-goer, because I don't confine it to Sundays.
I also don't believe in the Bible. At least not totally. I believe in the things Jesus said. Not to judge, but to love. I believe that's what I need to do to lead a good life, and that's what I strive for every day. It's incredible to me how many people who claim to be Christian don't understand that THAT is what it means to be Christian. The Bible is inconsistent, but Jesus never was. And I'll take His word over the rest of the Bible any day.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"He's one bad experiment away from becoming a super villain!"

Well, I had a crazier weekend than I would have liked. Last Thursday night, the cat ran off. Shane was at the Marlin with friends, and I was at home just hanging out. So I had the door open so that the animals could come and go. Zap was outside by himself for less than ten minutes, and when I went to check on him he was gone. No cat in our yard, or in the neighbors' yards or anything. So I thought, oh well. He'll be home soon. By morning at the latest. He's never been gone for longer than a couple hours so I didn't think it was a big deal. I did send a text to Shane, though, and went to bed.
The next morning, Shane hadn't gone to bed. And Zap wasn't home yet. That made me really nervous. Our kitty is a terrible hunter, and not exactly equipped with the skills to live on his own. I told Shane to let me know if he came home while I was at work. He didn't.
I was in a really bad mood at softball that night. And the thing is, I actually batted pretty well, but the other teams defended a little better. On one of my hits, the only reason it wasn't at least a base hit is because their short stop was about eight feet tall. I hit the ball right over second base, but he was just tall enough to run, leap, and catch it in the tip of his glove. It sucked. The next game, I had another great hit, but the second basewoman happened to be a little bit to the right of where she should have been and caught it. Grr! I did field a ball nicely when I was in the outfield, and thankfully Simon put me back as catcher for the last half of the second game. I made the game ending catch there, with a pop up foul. That felt pretty good. But I was so stressed out and worried during the entire evening that I couldn't really enjoy anything. All I wanted was for my kitty to come home. Shane was feeling the same way.
We had a quiet Friday night because neither of us felt like doing much. Plus, most of our friends were busy. So we hung out and watched "The Big Bang Theory" on Shane's computer. That show is hilarious!
Saturday morning, still no kitty. Saturday night I went out to the Marlin with Lucy and some of her coworkers, because Shane and James were having a lan party (all night gaming) at James's house. The Marlin was fun, except for how worried I still was. But several of the girls from Lucy's work have cats, so they were comforting. One girl said she had a cat come back home after three months. That almost gave me a heart attack. Three months?! I can't imagine the wreck I'd be if it took Zap three months to get home to me!
Lucy and one of the girls went home early because they were tired and had to work early Sunday morning. One girl, Nicole, was still there so even though I was tired I said I'd stay with her until some of her other friends showed up. Soon after, Donald, Mitch and Chris showed up. It was Chris's birthday, but they'd partied hard the night before so they weren't really in a drinking mood. So we listened to the bands, and talked. It was fun. The bands were great.
Sunday morning, I woke up alone. Shane was still at James and Lucy's, with the truck, and I needed to get downtown to Ellie's place because we were going floating down the Chena. So I called Shane, woke him up, and started getting ready to go. Shane got home, and it turned out that he needed to get to Adam and Ellie's, too, because the guys were going to play some Star Wars game. Just before we left, I went to the bathroom since there aren't really bathrooms in the middle of the river. While I was in there Shane said, "Um, you should come out here." "Yeah, hold on." When I opened the door, he was holding Zap. "Look who just wandered back in!" Instant relief. Now we just want to know where he went. I don't think he managed to hunt anything because he was super hungry.
I was able to really enjoy the float down the Chena. It was so relaxing. And I'm so tan now! I actually have really funny tan lines on my legs, because I was wearing long shorts (I couldn't find the bottoms to my swimsuit) and I got ever so slightly burned on only the front of my legs. So now I have lines on the front of my legs about halfway down my thighs. I showed Shane that night and he laughed pretty hard.
It's amazing how tiring it is to lie out in the sun all day. Of course, I did kind of get a workout paddling sometimes. It's not easy to paddle while lying on your back. My stomach muscles got their exercise that day, which was good because I didn't feel like doing Insanity that night. (I've finished it, but I'm trying to still do the workouts, at least until we leave for Las Vegas. I don't want to gain any weight back, and it would be nice to lose some more.)
Less than a week and a half before we go! I'm so excited!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"You make him wish he'd never shown that ludicrous head of hair and that nice face of his."

We're leaving for Vegas two weeks from tomorrow, and I am bursting with excitement. I want to start packing already, but that would just freak our pets out. And we still need to find a sitter for them. James and Lucy have offered, but Lucy is so horribly allergic to both cats and dogs that I'd rather not have to make them do that if I can find someone else.
Today I was looking up stuff to do when we go to Vegas. It sounds like there are plenty of great things to do, and a lot of them are even free. Shane wants to go to the Bodies exhibit, and I really want to go to the Titanic museum. But beyond that, we haven't actually planned anything out. As much as anything else, I'm looking forward to sleeping in and being lazy. I totally need a vacation. 4th of July was really fun, but relaxing it was not. Two weeks Outside sounds amazing.
Shane and I have been getting progressively more and more lazy about household chores, and I think it's because of the looming vacation. The idea of not doing dishes is tantalizing. We haven't even wanted to cook! Two nights in a row we grilled bacon moose burgers (which are amazing!!) and last night we made sandwiches and homemade fries. Super good. And easy. The hardest part was my bike ride to the grocery store. (I'm trying to drive as little as possible. With as lazy as I've been feeling, that's kind of tough.)
Our Wednesday dinners are over, since several of the people involved are now a little cash-strapped. So instead, there's talk of having Wednesday bad action movie nights. That sounds great, too. I hope it happens.
Our one summer student has now left. Andrew moved to Washington, so work has picked up a little bit. I'm happy about that. It means I get to move around a bit more, taking care of the shelving and such. Our other student is graduating at the end of fall semester, and we're thinking of not hiring any more students. I'm hoping that if we do that, Katherine and I can negotiate for raises. After all, it's only fair if we're expected to take over all of the student tasks as well as our own. Shane said, "Would you whine about your job less if you were paid a little more?" I said that the extra work would help out with that.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Mom's awesome."

At the moment, I'm watching a Youtube video about how to knit socks. I just finished my first few hats the other day, and I'm kinda feeling badass about my knitting abilities. I mean, I have a long way to go (if I get too sure of myself, all I have to do is hang out with Spencer, who knits the most amazing, complicated things, to bring me back to earth) but since hats weren't as daunting as I was afraid they would be, I know I can conquer anything else. Before I actually start on socks, though, I was going to make a bunch more hats. I want to work on designs, like different stitching patterns (cables and seed stitch) and different designs. I'm pretty excited for it!
I ended up leaving work early the other day because I got a migraine. How awful is that? I don't get them very often, but I can tell one's coming on because my vision gets all blurry and I start to feel nauseous. Eww. When my vision got blurry the other day, I went for a walk thinking that I'd been staring at my computer for too long. When that didn't help (actually, it got worse) I downed three ibuprofen, a bunch of water, and then went home. I was barely able to bike home, but I made it right before my head really started pounding. I then laid down and slept through the worst of it. When I got up three hours later, I was able to eat some dinner and watch a movie with Shane. Pepper napped with me the whole time. She's pretty good about knowing when I'm not feeling well.
We finally dealt with the last of that salmon we'd gotten from Shane's parents after the camping. Most of it went into the freezer, some went into salmon chowder, and a bunch of the crappy parts (and some from our freezer that went bad) got boiled for the dog. Since the stuff for the dog wouldn't stay good enough for long, most of what she's eaten for the last couple of days has been salmon. She's been following me around in hopes that I'll give her more. It's pretty funny. She'll sit where she can catch my eye, sitting up straight as if to prove that she's good, she's worthy. Shane keeps saying, "She's going to go on a hunger strike when we run out of salmon for her." It's true, so it's a good thing she could stand to lose a few pounds. : )
I feel kind of boring lately. Really, the knitting has been about it for the last few days. I'm also reading a biography of Andrew Jackson that's fantastic. I didn't realize that he and his wife were accused of (and probably guilty of) bigamy. (She was married to someone else--who was probably abusive--when they married. They later claimed that there was a mix-up about when her ex-husband began divorce proceedings, but letters from the time suggest that there was no mix-up. Andrew Jackson firmly held the belief that the stress of the accusations that were hurled at them about this during the election contributed to her death just before he took office.)
I have six more days of Insanity left. Only six! I'm so proud of myself. Until last night my motivation was almost zero, but after all the time I took off (accidentally on Saturday I ran out of time, and then on Monday of course I didn't do it because of the migraine) I felt amazing yesterday during the workout. So I'm actually pretty motivated to do it tonight. Yay! Plus, I had three pieces of pizza during lunch. Our student is moving to WA, so we had a pizza party in his honor today.
After working two Sundays in a row, I get to go home early this Friday (can't have overtime) and that means a 3 1/2 day weekend. Woot! I'm very excited. Right now I'm getting to the point where I really need the vacation that's coming up. I know, I just had a mini vacation with the camping, but I came back from that more tired than when I left so it didn't even feel like a vacation. Going to Vegas and then L.A. will be so much fun, and it will be so relaxing to have two weeks when I won't have to worry about how late I stay up or how late I sleep. So nice! Three more weeks....

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"In Africa, babies are passed around more freely than joints at Matthew McConaughey's house."

I am so sore today! And it's all my own fault. Since getting back from the camping trip last weekend, Shane and I have jumped right back into doing our workout. (After finishing out this week, we only have next week left.) But on Tuesday I kept pushing it off and putting it off, without realizing that there were actually two workouts to do. Every two weeks with this program, you're supposed to do the fit test, which is about half an hour long. You do one move for a minute, counting how many you can do in that minute. Well, when i started the fit test (at 10:00) I was already sore and tired from the day before. And then I pushed myself. I was really determined to get as many reps as I possibly could. And it worked! I improved on everything, by a significant margin in some cases. (The jumping-jack pushups, where you jump your legs apart as you press down, went from 14 up to 18. Huge improvement, especially since that's the second to last move and I was already dead by that point.) Anyway, I was flat out exhausted after that. I tried to start the next video, but my legs were so shaky that I was worried I'd actually hurt myself. And I was moving at a snails' pace. So I told Shane that I'd do both workouts Wednesday (last night).
I know that someday I will be proud of myself for having done both of those hour long workouts in one day, and for pushing myself in each of them. But it was so tough. I did one right after work, then had dinner and read for a bit to rest up for the next one. After the second one, my legs were shaking from the effort to hold myself upright as I took a shower. When I crawled into bed to read for a bit before going to sleep I told Shane, "It hurts to be me." It still hurts. There is not a part of my body that isn't sore. Which is good for me, I know, but ow!
And I had to ride my bike up the hill this morning. I had to be here by 8:00, and there's only one shuttle bus that early in the morning. And not only does it not have a bike rack, it doesn't go up the hill. (It's the stupidest thing--it goes from a parking lot on lower campus to a building that takes about five minutes to walk to. And yet, the bus driver on that route--a fat man--felt the need to insult me because I didn't want to bike up the hill one morning when my allergies were really bad. "You have two legs and a bike." I HATE UAF shuttle service! They're dead to me.) Anyway, getting up that hill was rough. But I have to put it into perspective for myself. My brother has biked most of the way between England and Tanzania in the last year, and I'm whining about one lousy hill? That makes me feel like a jerk, but it does help me get over it a little bit.
So does the milk I've been drinking today. Mmmm...milk.
Tonight: Shane's softball games and two more workouts to do. *Sigh* I will be so, so happy when this program is over, although I'll probably just take a short break and then continue to do some of the videos.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"Kiss my ass, Josh Groban!"

We went camping over the weekend! It was so much fun. Instead of going to Seward this year, as we have for the last three years, Shane's parents wanted to go to Kenai Lake. They sold their motor home and bought a small boat earlier this year, so they wanted an excuse to use it. It turned out to be fantastic! I was worried that we'd go to Seward and it would be the same-old thing. So the camping trip was perfect.
My friend Amanda came into town from Utah on Friday night, so I spent the evening with her and her boyfriend. We had dinner at Silver Gulch, and then we went back to my apartment to hang out. After dinner, Shane went out to play one-handed kickball with friends. (One-handed because the other hand had to have a drink in it.) Amanda, Scott and I were going to go out, but that idea got scrapped. Amanda is five months pregnant, so bars were out. Plus, she was tired. They'd been camping in Denali, and I was looking at an eight hour drive the next day, so staying in and chatting seemed really great. James came over, too, and Shane was only at kickball for about two hours. So it was a fun evening.
The next morning, I woke up to the phone ringing at 8:00. My mom was calling to let me know that my grandfather had died. This wasn't a terrible shock, because my aunt had let me know that he was sick the day before, and he hasn't been in the best of health for years anyway, but it was still sad. So I got up and took a shower, then made pancakes and bacon for everyone for breakfast. Amanda and Scott were staying at our apartment while we were gone, and taking care of the cat for us until they left on Sunday. So that worked out well. James and Lucy were supposed to take over the cat duties after that, but we're not sure if they did. When we got home, the bag of cat food was on the floor (he's never before pulled it out of the cabinet) and his bowl was empty. His tummy pooch seems a little smaller. But he's fine. He had water and he obviously could get food. He was just really happy to see us.
Anyway, after breakfast, a few last things to pack up, and stopping for gas we were good to go. At first we were really cheerful and chatty. The dog settled down pretty quickly, so I think she's getting used to these long car rides. I don't think she likes them, but she's getting used to them. And as scared as she is that she'll be thrown out the window, she does like having the window open to smell everything. When I put it back up, her nose goes up with it. So cute!
Anyway, we switched at one point because Shane needed me to drive so that he could take a nap. And in the car, with Shane napping, was when I finally cried over my Poppa.
I drove the leg into Anchorage, and Shane woke up when we were getting into town. As we were pulling up to one stoplight I said, "Hey look, a moose." Shane thought I was saying something about the Moose's Tooth, where we were stopping for lunch, but then the moose walked less than five feet in front of the truck and he said, "Oh, a moose!" He tried to get the camera, but grabbed it too late. All we would have gotten was a picture of the moose's butt, and we already have plenty of those pictures.
The Moose's Tooth pizza was, of course, fantastic. BBQ chicken. After eating a few slices, we pushed on. Shane took over the driving to the lake. We saw a young black bear along the train tracks around Turnagain Arm. That was cool. Otherwise, the drive was uneventful. We got to Kenai Lake just before 8:00, parked, and waited for Shane's parents to come pick us up in the boat. Pepper was quite happy to be running around the parking lot, and we were amazed at how calm she was in the boat. I think after hours in the car she just didn't care any more, because on the other boat trips we took around the lake and then back to the truck she was a bit nervous.
There were about fifteen people at the campsite on Saturday night. Most of them were people I had met before, like Shane's Aunt Liz, her husband Chris, and their (teenage) kids. They each had a couple of friends, and then there were some friends of the whole Tachick family that were there. So it was a big, happy crowd. And it was so much fun! Spencer (whom we haven't seen for six months) was already quite drunk when we got there, and was very boisterous. It was pretty funny. He'd been playing horseshoes with Ryan for a partner all evening, and apparently they'd won every game, so he was challenging Shane and a partner to play and said he'd jump in the lake if he lost. Now, Kenai Lake is glacier water and it was past nine o'clock. So Shane played against him, and won. So Spencer jumped in the lake.
The whole time we were camping, Pepper stayed near me or Shane. She's a little busybody, so she was totally overstimulated and trying to keep track of everyone. Poor baby. But she was so well behaved! It was great. It was like having a toddler around, only one who only threw one tantrum. And that one was because Shane and I went canoeing on Sunday and didn't take her with us. She sat on the beach the whole time we were gone, staring in the direction we'd gone. While she could still see us, she freaked out and wouldn't stop barking. We went around a deceptively large island. Anyway, when she could see us again, Pepper once again started barking. She didn't let me out of her sight after that, even to go to the outhouse.
Spencer had to leave on Sunday evening to go back to his fishing job. But he'd brought some red salmon home (he's allowed three every time he goes home) and it was SO TASTY. We usually have frozen at home, and that's all right (we pull it out when we don't know what else to have for dinner) but fresh is just worlds better. I feel sorry for anyone who never gets to enjoy salmon straight off the boat. (Before we left Soldotna, Sally and Steve gave us the three Spencer brought home that day so we could take them home.) We also ate s'mores with Reese's peanut butter cups and the most giant marshmallows you've ever seen. It was really fun and funny.
By Sunday evening, most of the people had cleared out for one reason and another. Chris and Spencer needed to go back to work, Ryan and Laurie and their kids went back home, Chrystal and her boyfriend needed to go back to Anchorage. So it was just me, Shane, his parents, Liz, and her son Colton and his friend Keith. It was still really fun, though. I played horseshoes for the first three times. The first game, against Shane and Keith, (Steve and I were partners) I scored the winning point. That felt really good. I couldn't do it for any of the other games, though. Oh well.
Monday morning we got up and packed everything up. It had been rainy all weekend, so we were packing up in the rain. We left one of the tarps there because, the day before, when when everyone was out either on the boats or canoeing, it had fallen down right into the fire. Luckily Liz's kids and their friends were just canoeing right near the camp and they noticed it quickly, so we didn't set the whole camp on fire. But the tarp had a hole in it. So we left it for anyone else who came along.
We drove back to Soldotna, and I immediately gave the dog a bath. She was so dirty, all her white parts were gray. When I rinsed her, the water was still coming off black with dirt in some places, but she hates baths so I declared her good enough. I did have to cut some pitch off her butt and tail, though.
Then the three of us wandered down the path to Shane's Grandma Tachick's house. It was fun to visit with her. Mostly she asked what we were up to, and then she and I talked about knitting for a bit.
Since I've been hearing all these stories from Shane about his Great Uncle Melvin, I've been asking him to take me out to his farm. We actually did that this visit. Melvin is the most redneck person I've ever met. Apparently at some point the city told him he couldn't hunt moose on his property, so he built a watchtower so that he could get the ones off his property. There were tractors and cars all over the yard. And rabbits everywhere. When Pepper discovered those, her instincts took right over and she began chasing them all over the yard. But they were way too fast for her and she never did figure out what the holes were, even after stepping in a few of them. So she started chasing chickens, and that made me think of "Lady and the Tramp". We had one happy dog, going home.
Melvin was very nice, and I know his grandson Will from UAF, so I got to meet a couple of his siblings and that was fun too. Shane kept teasing me that he wants Melvin's den, which has moose heads all over the place, and a display of his trophies from a safari he went on in Africa years ago. I told Shane no.
Monday night, a friend of ours came over for dinner, and it was nice to see her. But I was so tired, I was almost falling asleep! Shane took her home at about 10:30, and stayed to chat with her family (he's known them all since he was a kid). I tried to stay up, because Spencer was supposed to be home for a little while that night (apparently a new corridor was opened up, so he came home for about 20 minutes to say goodbye to Shane, then left again) but I ended up falling asleep on the couch. I have only the vaguest memories of Shane dragging me and Pepper up the stairs to go to bed. My poor dog was at least as tired as me, and just fell right asleep anytime she was sitting still for more than a minute. (I even had a hard time waking her up this morning.)
The drive back was mostly uneventful. I drove the first leg so Shane could nap, then he drove after Anchorage and I took a nap. Pepper napped most of the car ride, and I got a couple of cute pictures. We of course stopped at Jersey Subs (best sub shop ever!) and then again at the Moose's Tooth for more pizza. As soon as we got back home (after 11:00) and unpacked the food Shane's mom sent up with us (as always) I did my workout and then went to bed.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Leave the wives at home, gentlemen, you're in Toronto!"

I get points for being a fantastic girlfriend. I mean, more than usual. On Saturday, I really just wanted to sleep in, but there was so much to do that I got up and was going right away. I went to the farmer's market first thing, and bought salad stuff as well as two rhubarb plants. I can't help it! When Shane saw the new plants he said, "Um...I think we need to have an intervention." Apparently I buy too many plants.
Anyway, our friend Fiona (the very first friend I made in Fairbanks) is moving to Juneau at the end of the summer because she got a fabulous internship at a theater there. She's been super busy stage managing for the Fairbanks Shakespeare Theater's performance this summer, "Two Gentlemen of Verona". On Saturday, I knew she was coming over at about 1:00 for what will probably be one of the last times we'll get to hang out for a long while. So I decided to make a big breakfast. I'd only had a peach before going to the farmer's market (I LOVE SUMMER FRUIT!!) so I was pretty hungry. Here's where the girlfriend points come in, though: I tried to wake Shane up because I knew he'd want to see Fiona. But he was so tired, and instead of shaking him awake or shouting at him to get out of bed, I very kindly woke him up with the smells of coffee and bacon. I also made pancakes and cooked them in the leftover bacon juices. So good! Fiona was very appreciative, too.
Her dad is our veterinarian, and they got a new puppy a couple of months ago so Fiona brought Kelty over to show her off. I guess she was rescued from a house in a village and the only reason animal control had any idea she was being abused was because the neighbors finally got sick of hearing her cry and called in the abuse. How awful is that? Luckily Fiona's family adopted her young enough, she was rescued young enough, that she isn't showing any lasting psychological effects of the abuse. She's just a happy, sweet puppy. Zap didn't like having her in the house at all. He went to hide in my bedside table, and when Shane brought Kelty over to try to socialize him a bit more, he started hissing pretty vehemently. We have the most unsocial animals! Pepper wouldn't play with Kelty, and Zap wouldn't come out of hiding. It was kind of sad. Fiona and I took the dogs for a walk, though, and that was great.
Saturday night was James and Lucy's housewarming party. It was so much fun! Of course, I managed to spill all over myself and their new carpet, but luckily it doesn't seem to have left a stain. We were quick enough soaking it up that it should be ok. Phew!
I really want to buy a house.
Sunday was a really lazy day. I biked to Gulliver's and bought some books, but that's about it. I also took a nice long nap in the afternoon because ever since we started the second month of Insanity, I've been exhausted! Eight hours of sleep is just not enough when the body is constantly being broken down and remade.
I can't wait until this weekend. First Amanda gets into town on Friday, then on Saturday Shane and I (and Pepper) have a twelve hour day of driving to look forward to. We're going camping and boating with Shane's family for the fourth. Maybe fishing, too, but I'm not sure about that. It should be so much fun! And relaxing. I'm so looking forward to having a four-day weekend. I really need a vacation right now, even just a mini-vacation.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Kitten mittens!"

I am so unbelievably sore today. We started month two of our workout program, and Sean T. has invented whole new tortures for us. There were several times last night when he demonstrated what move to do next and I said, "You have got to be kidding me!" Yeah. I managed to do most of it (!!), but I'm so tired and sore. I think I needed about three more hours of sleep to recover.
But we bought ice cream last night, and that was my motivation to push myself really hard last night.
I also weeded my garden last night. It totally felt like the weeds had grown about twelve feet since the weekend. Ugh. Shane came out to tell me that he was going off to work and see how I was doing. I told him, "Farming is difficult!" I should have been weeding all along, though, rather than waiting and letting the weeds to grow up really tall.
Still no zucchinis, but my cabbages are looking nice and big, and the potatoes are definitely getting to a nice size. I just need to hill them now, so they'll produce more potatoes. My tomato plant is finally starting to ripen the big tomato that's been on it since I bought it. I had originally kept it inside because I was worried it would be too cold, but since nothing was ripening or even seeming to grow much, I brought it outside the other day. My mom said as long as it stays above 40 degrees it should be ok, and that made me sigh with relief. I'm not good with tomatoes, so I've been really worried. But it's ripening!! This makes me very happy. Hopefully I can coax some more great big tomatoes out of it.
I'm also thinking of buying a rhubarb plant at the farmer's market this weekend. We still have some in the freezer from Shane's mom last summer, but I figure if I don't want all the rhubarb I can always just trade it at HomeGrown Market for meat. Shane's getting anxious for me to produce (haha) stuff for trade. I just want my efforts to finally be validated.
I'm hoping that every year I can expand a little bit more.
I'm getting really excited for the 4th of July. We're going down to the Kenai Peninsula, although we don't know yet what we'll be doing. Seward has been scrapped, because Shane's parents bought a boat and they want to use it. But Steve's mom is possibly having knee replacement surgery, so whether or not we go to Kenai Lake depends on whether or not she's home and needs help. But whatever we do, it will still be fun to see his parents. I always have fun when we go down there. Which makes me so unbelievably happy! It's always good to get along with the boyfriend's parents. And with his, it would be hard not to because they're wonderful.
I also have a friend coming in to town, and we'll only get to see her for a day but it'll be sooo nice to see her! Lots to look forward to.

Friday, June 18, 2010

"All I'm saying is, whoever killed her also murdered the English language."

I have been so hungry this whole week! Shane and I started this workout program called "Insanity" over four weeks ago, and it's really great and, yes, it lives up to its name. Some of the guys we know started it weeks before we did and they all lost a lot of weight and got really healthy with it. So we decided it would be a great thing to do. And it's been great! I've only lost about a pound, but I've gained a lot of muscle in place of fat. I've had several people (most notably Shane) tell me that they can really see a difference. But I haven't really been super hungry, either. I mean, a little bit more than usual, but not that bad. Until this week. It's the recovery week (which still leaves me rubbery and weak by the end), and suddenly I'm starving. Even after eating a huge dinner last night, I was full but still hungry. It kinda sucks.
But we had a little pizza party in the office here today, and I finally feel not hungry. Part of me regrets eating four slices of pizza (and leftover broccoli from last night) but at the same time, it's so nice to finally be satisfied. Plus, pizza is yummy. And it's made the day go by pretty fast so far. It helps that I re-watched the SNL with Betty White, and then a few clips like "Great Day" and "On a Boat". Hilarious.
I'm excited for softball tonight. I've been working on batting, so I'm hoping that I can do a bit better this week. I apparently need to put more twist in my torso. I did have a couple of decent hits last week, but I'm aiming to get on base every time tonight. We're still 10-0, though, undefeated! Woo-hoo!! Let's hope that continues!
It's so nice to have Shane home. Even the dog seems more relaxed now that he's back. Of course, she still doesn't like it when we leave the house, but in general she seems happier. Although, both the animals were driving us nuts last night! Pepper was moving around the bed too much, so Shane kicked her off. Then she started trying to scratch up a nest for herself. On the carpet. So I had to get up and yell at her. Then the cat was walking all over us, purring. He has this way of standing right on my sternum and staying there. It hurts! So when I finally woke up this morning, I had to keep telling myself, "It's Friday, and it's pay day. It's Friday, and it's pay day..." I don't feel as exhausted as I thought I would, though. Must be because of the pizza.

Friday, June 11, 2010

"His relationship with food is probably unhealthy."

I haven't posted in a little while, and a lot has happened.
First, the good. I got to talk to Matt on his birthday for well over an hour (on Skype). That was so much fun! And funny. I couldn't get my webcam to work, and he couldn't get his mic to work. So I could see him but not hear him. He could hear me but not hear me. I got to do stuff like tell him that some guy was staring over his shoulder. At the end of the conversation he said he had to write some e-mails before his time was up, and we said goodbye. But he didn't actually end the call. It took me a moment to realize what was going on. So I said into my mic, "You look very serious." I saw him start laughing as he realized what he'd done, and then he ended the call. It was so good to see him laughing so much, though. We had a blast. I've missed him! I need to get my webcam working, so that he can see me, too. Oh, and another mic because I broke mine. I didn't realize it was tangled around my legs and I started walking away...yeah.
Now the bad. Shane's in Barrow right now. He was supposed to leave last Friday night, but he was getting a ride from his idiot boss, who decided to run some errands even though they were cutting it close, and so they missed the flight. On the upside, we were able to go to the Marlin to hang out with James and his dad and brother. We watched someone getting arrested for DUI, were accosted by a seriously drunken native guy, and then stayed up the rest of the night so that I could get him to the airport at 5 a.m.
Ever since getting there, he's been putting in 12-13 hour days, while never getting a chance to sleep more than about three hours at a time because someone (usually his boss) is always knocking on his door. Yesterday was the first day he "only" worked 8 hours. And he sounds more and more exhausted and defeated every day. It sucks. The only good thing is how much money he's making, with a $95 per diem (food is ridiculously expensive up there, which is why we went shopping and he brought up most of his food) and already over 16 hours of overtime. He was approved for 38 hours of overtime, and I think he'll probably use all of it. Because there's nothing else for him to do. Wednesday was possibly his worst day. One of the guys he works with went home that night because three separate cars swerved to TRY to hit him. Shane saw some guy beating his girlfriend in the street, most of the people he saw were drunk before noon, and some guy went to his neighbor's house to start vandalizing stuff. Most of the population up there is Native Alaskan, so they get checks from the government and a lot of them don't have jobs. They also fall into the category of subsistence hunters, so Shane was absolutely sick at all the wasted meat he sees everywhere. After all, they don't have hunting limits so what do they care about waste? Why should they fix that snow-go or four-wheeler when they can just wait for their next government check and buy a new one? I agree with Shane that to get the money, they need to put restrictions on it. Like, if you don't have a job then you need to put in a certain number of hours of community service. Teach the youth about the rich cultural heritage, the songs and dances and history! But they don't, at least not in the villages. And this has been going on for so long that many of them don't even realize that most people don't live this way, they don't stay drunk all the time and they don't consider it normal to beat your wife and have 18 kids that you can't support and just waste or destroy everything you get. When I said some of this Shane teased, "Are you racist?" I don't think it's racist to know that they could be so much better than this, because the actual Native culture (not what's being lived in the villages) is very cool. But because of some of the government policies (like giving out free money just for being Native, or having no hunting limits so people can do things like slaughter 50 caribou that they have no intention of eating--that happened two winters ago, and there was nothing anyone could do about it because it's not illegal for subsistence hunters) and because of a culture in the villages that is based on defeat (pretty much anyone with any drive gets a good job and gets out of the villages), there's this horrible, distorted view of how life should be lived. Or they just don't care. And it makes me so sad and upset. Plus, there's a LOT of racism on their part, so if someone does go out to try to help people and make the community a better place, it's more than just an uphill battle, it's almost impossible. They view white people with distrust because, somehow, we're going to make their lives worse than they already are. And I get that, historically, yeah, we've screwed up their culture. But I really don't think there's much anyone can do to make their lives more miserable than they already are. I can't imagine living that way.
Since Shane's been gone, I've been spending a lot of time doing stuff like cleaning. I clean when I get lonely or bored. So it's been driving me nuts that the vacuum broke a couple of weeks ago, because I desperately want to clean the carpets. I've cleaned out the kitchen (twice), dusted, cleaned the bathroom, done laundry, and I even cleaned off Shane's desk a bit. I'm running out of cleaning to do. It's a good thing this weekend is going to be busy. I need to finalize some plans for my brother's wedding, go shopping (I need shoes, since I'll be in the wedding and Johanna wants the bridesmaids to wear silver sandals), run a bunch of other errands, and help James and Lucy move into their new house. They bought a house! I'm happy for them.
Shane gets home Monday night. Maybe. They might keep him until Tuesday, but he said he refuses to stay there after that. I think, if only for the state of his mental health, he needs to get out. He's my happy-go-lucky guy, and I hate hearing the depression in his voice. I've never heard him like this before. And he can't even tell me all of it, because of the rules for census workers. Even if he went to someone's house and there were heads in jars, he wouldn't be able to even call the cops about it. So some of this stuff, he's going to have to live with without telling a soul. It makes me very sad for him.
Tonight I have two softball games, and before that some of the guys and I are going to the batting cages because I really, really need to work on that. The first couple of games I got on base every time, and now I can't get on base at all. I'm determined to do better than that!

Friday, May 28, 2010

"See? I am romantic! Just at high speeds."

All I want to do today is crawl back into bed. It's a good thing this is a three day weekend, because I need it. (And because paid holidays are the best thing ever invented.) It's summertime in Fairbanks, and there's everything to do. On top of all of the usual life things (chores, work, etc.) there's something going on pretty much every evening. There have been about five birthdays in the last week amongst our circle of friends, plus BBQs, going out to restaurants for dinner, movies, etc. And softball. Shane and I are playing on two separate nights (his are on Thursdays, mine are on Fridays) with two games each night. That adds a lot to the week. And when we're not doing all of this? Frolf. They've set up a frisbee golf course on campus that's actually pretty nice. So we'll grab the dog and go with friends. I don't play (I'm terrible and it just gets frustrating), but I hold onto the dog and she loves the walk and the people. (I sometimes wonder if this is the kind of thing she thinks we do all day while we're gone.) We get home and she's absolutely exhausted and overheated, but very happy.
It's been such a nice, early summer so far. We've had several days already when it's gotten up to at least 75. I planted my garden last weekend, and realized that it was over three weeks earlier than I planted last year. Not only that, but it's warm enough that I felt comfortable enough to plant everything outside, not just in boxes to bring them in at night if it gets cold. Because it's not getting that cold. Crazy. It was almost July last year before I stopped brining my zucchinis inside at night.
Of course, the bad part of all of this is that we're getting eaten by mosquitoes. I am a slayer of bugs, but there are just too many of them. The other night I slept poorly because I was so itchy, and I finally woke up because there were some that were getting me in my sleep. Ick.
Also, there's the constant threat of wildfires. Last year we had over 3 million acres of the state catch fire, most of it around Fairbanks. (It actually surrounded the town, so whatever way the wind blew it blew smoke into town. Miserable.) We're hoping it won't be so smoky this summer, but it's been such a dry year that it could be even worse. It's dry enough that Noyes Slough has grass growing in it, and people who've lived here all their lives say they've never seen that before. The fire that was in Nenana last summer also was never fully extinguished, it just smoldered under the snow in the bogs all winter. As soon as everything warmed up, it popped out again. I'm hoping that because we've had some summer thunder showers (short ones--yesterday's lasted maybe ten minutes) it will keep the threat of fires down. I just want these little storms to keep coming.
Last night we saw "Prince of Persia", the midnight showing. Of course, this morning I'm paying for only having gotten five and a half hours of sleep, but I'm thinking it was worth it. I was expecting a movie that wasn't so great, but I liked it. There were a few parts that were simply silly ("The shit has hit the fan, but this is the perfect moment for a long lean-in for a kiss that doesn't happen!") but for the most part it was fun. Shane got annoyed with some of the cheesy one-liners, but he enjoyed it too.
As a group, a bunch of us decided to go out to dinner on Wednesday nights. The deal is, we draw a name from a hat, and then that person chooses a restaurant in Fairbanks that they have never been to, and we all go there. And dress up for it, no matter where we go. Ricky was the first one chosen, and he picked The Vallata. It's one of the pricier restaurants in town, and I'd never been there either. Probably won't go there again. The food was good, don't get me wrong. But a basic plate of pasta (with just butter and parmesan cheese) was $13. I got fettucini alfredo with chicken and garlic and it was over $20. Yowza! When we all sat down (and there were twelve of us--missing a few people who couldn't make it) everyone opened the menu and sucked in a breath, trying to figure out what would be good but wouldn't hurt the wallet too much. (People were joking, "Yeah, um, I've never been to Carl's Jr. ...") With such a big party, the waitress got an auto gratuity, and she used that. Poor Adam got the worst service I've ever seen anyone get. Apparently, he was her RA one year when she lived in the dorms. He didn't remember her, and he couldn't think of anything he had done to deserve such animosity, but she was a bitch to him. She almost "forgot" to take his order (and interrupted him to say sarcastically that when he was an RA he'd been a delight), didn't put croutons on his salad, and when he asked for bread she said, "No, it's in the oven so you'll have to wait." It came 20 minutes later, cold. Wow. He really should have spoken to the manager about that, because that's ridiculous that she was taking advantage of the auto grat to be so mean. We left her exactly the amount on the bill, right down to the $.20. And seriously? He was an RA over five years go. Get over it, whatever it was. Shane and I were not his biggest fans for a long time, but he's grown up a lot and he's a really nice, funny guy now. I felt so bad for him. Eric's suggestion was, "You know what you should do? Wait until she gets off work, and then kill her." Lol.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"There's cheese on my comb!"

I had the craziest, most vivid dream the other night. About vampires. It started off with the view looking over the garage roof at my parents' house, and there was a dark, man-sized shape on the roof, which creeped me out even though, somehow, I knew he couldn't get inside and wasn't even looking at me.
Anyway (and mind you, the dream was about vampires) I met this girl vampire and ended up telling her about the creepy guy who was around my house every night. She said that he was a vampire and that he was part of a group who was trying to steal my cat because he's a magical cat. Makes sense, right? So I had to guard my cat with my life. I'm unclear why it would have been so bad for them to get my cat, except that my cat would be in the hands of vampires. I kind of trusted this woman, as far as you could trust a vampire. (Not further than you can throw them! And no, they didn't glitter and couldn't be alive during the day.)
Anyway, sometime later I ended up inviting this chick into my house, and then realized that she was the one after my cat, and the guy had been there guarding my house. She chased me all over the place, but slowly and menacingly. Monologuing, like any decent villain does. I kept her chatting because I saw the guy outside and knew that if I could get him inside without her knowing, he'd kill her. (I did not start thinking about, what do I do about the second vampire in my house.) The problem was, he hadn't been invited in and if I said something out loud, she'd know he was there and the element of surprise would be gone.
That's about when I woke up. To discover my cat curled up in Shane's computer chair, watching me. As if he knew I'd been dreaming about him. But it wasn't creepy at all. I really wanted to find out what happens next in my dream! Maybe I could turn it into a book. Worked for the Twilight chick, right? Since that night, though, I've been calling Zap my magical cat. "How's my magical kitten today?" Shane said, "Um, you know he's not really magical, right?" Yeah, yeah.
I got a new bike! I'm so excited. My old one really was a piece of garbage, and last week the chain fell off for no apparent reason. (Shane told me, "Shift up," and I stared at him like he was a lunatic and an idiot and finally said, "I'm in the highest gear." I was really frustrated, even though it was only a couple of blocks to home.) So I bought a new bike. It's sort of a hybrid, with a light frame, and thin tires that have tread on them. I was told that, in Fairbanks, true road bikes aren't that great because neither are our roads. It's not hard to skid out on them with all the cracks, potholes and gravel. But it's such a nice bike! It felt so weird when I was testing it out, because I was actually getting to ride the bike, rather than fighting against it. And I biked to work today. I wasn't going to bike the whole way, just take the bus, but I got to the bus stop and realized that not only had I planned it poorly (riding with a heavy purse on one arm= bad), I had forgotten my bike lock. So I went back, strapped my purse to the back (I got a rack and a basket--which can easily come off for long rides--so that I can do little grocery shopping trips), changed into a tank top, stuffed my work shirt in my purse, and left again. (Hey, that hill his hard and I didn't want to show up at work all gross!)
Work has been pretty chaotic. Last week, Katherine got sick and then so did I. I thought I'd caught her thing, because we were both sick to our stomachs, but she's pretty sure hers was food poisoning from bad sushi. Mine was also much quicker. She was out all week. Anne left on Friday for a conference, so it's a good thing I was feeling better by then. Monday morning, I forgot my keys and also forgot that Katherine was scheduled to be out that day, first for a dentist appointment and then to study for her one final Tuesday morning. So I called campus security, and it turns out I'm not on their list of people to be let into this office. The only reason they did let me in is because my name is on the directory board in the hallway. I ended up opening up the library, half an hour late on the first day of finals. Great. I had several people waiting with me and I felt terrible. Once we all got in, my computer crashed first thing and took forever to start up, so it was even longer they had to wait to turn in reserves (which accrue fines that I had to forgive, since it was my fault they were there) and check out books to study with. Ick.
Katherine came in yesterday morning after her final and said that she'd caught a cold from her sister over the weekend (probably because she was so weak after the food poisoning, I bet) and would I mind if she stayed home another day? Of course. She said she'd used up all her sick leave and was now into vacation time, so she really wanted to be in today. This morning, her mom called to say that not only has she lost her voice, but she's now got a fever of 101. I hope she feels better! This sucks for her. The only thing that sucked for me was how boring it was to work 9 hours yesterday. And since we don't really have the budget for overtime, I'll get to go home early on Friday, so it's really not bad at all. I just hope she gets better! Anne gets back to work either Friday or Monday, I can't remember.
The other work craziness is caused by an e-mail that was sent out by the administration last Friday to tell us all that the dean has been put on administrative leave indefinitely. It did not explain why, but apparently he had a performance review a few weeks ago and there was a survey sent out to library staff and faculty about what kind of job we feel he's doing. So we don't know right now if he's going to get fired or what. Ouch. I feel bad. I know at least one person who is cheering, but since I only ever saw the dean at the coffee hours he held every month to informally let people know what's going on administratively, I suppose I don't really care about it. He was very nice at the meetings, but that really wasn't enough for me to form an opinion about him professionally. I just feel bad for him personally.
We're supposed to have a meeting with the provost's office next week and they'll explain everything.

Monday, April 26, 2010

"I think that went well."

I have something to admit. I have...become a runner. I know, I know. I never thought I'd say those words, either. After all, I hate running! Really detest it. Running without a purpose is just so boring! But for the last two and a half weeks, I've been running regularly. And actually, it's not so bad. Now that I've gotten used to it I've started pushing myself further and harder. I'm looking at ways to expand my route. And it's not too boring, as long as I have my little companion. Pepper LOVES to run. She starts dancing around as soon as I pull out my jogging shoes. I've figured out that her leash is just long enough that I can wrap it around my waist and we mostly won't run into each other (there have been a couple of unfortunate incidents when she stopped suddenly to pee; unfortunate mostly on my end as I fly over her trying not to kick her, while trying to stop in enough time that I don't yank her from her crouched peeing position) but not long enough that she can throw herself into the road, as is her wont. Plus, I think I was starting to develop some shoulder problems from holding her back, so this works out well. And as I said, she loves it.
I'm trying to get in shape. I've been telling everyone that it's because of my brother's wedding and stuff like that, and that is part of it, but really I'm just sick of feeling out of shape. I used to be so skinny and I don't think I have the kind of frame that holds extra weight attractively. (Some people can pull it off. I am not one of them.) Since running is the fastest way to lose weight (along with eating healthfully, of course), that's what I'm doing. And it is working. I feel so much better and I know I've put on a decent amount of muscle.
Even with all of my new fitness, however, yesterday was rough. I've joined a co-ed softball team for the summer, some of which overlaps with Shane's men's team. So we had a giant practice yesterday, working on batting and catching, etc. Simon (the captain and organizer for both teams) didn't really seem to know what to do with me as far as fielding. I did a bunch of catching, which is fine since that's mostly what I did when I played little league eons ago. But I asked if I could try pitching, forgetting that this is underhand pitching and I've never done that before. Anyway, I wasn't actually doing too badly. Well enough that they could hit the ball, and I was prepared to catch anything that came at me between the waist and face. Not prepared for the line drive to the knee, however. I didn't even have time to react. It got me right in the fleshy area above the kneecap (thank God), then bounced off my left kneecap and to the ground. It actually doesn't hurt as much as other people think it does (I was up batting and running within ten minutes) but it sure is swollen. Even after my prescription ibuprofen. (I have it for my tendonitis.) I iced it all last night, took the dog for a walk to keep it loose, etc. It's not so bad. And it hasn't even bruised up as well as I was hoping for. It will, though.
I'm also sore from Saturday's chores. It's been so beautiful during the days (well, not today, which is cloudy) that I finally went into the backyard to see how dry it is. Since the snow has now totally melted, I decided that it was time to start preparing the garden. (This is over a month earlier than I got the garden started last year. Woo-hoo!) I basically dug trenches to turn over the dirt and get out the weeds where the potatoes will go. I don't think I can plant them yet, since it's still quite chilly at night. But in a week or so, if I get those heat trapping groundcloths, it should be fine.
All of this has made me sore all over, from my neck to my ankles. It's good for me, right?
Friday night was a blast, too. First, I went out to the Blue Loon (a bar that shows movies) because there was a cast and crew party for Sweeney Todd. And a showing of the DVD they made. It would have been more fun if I actually knew most of the people there, but my orchestra people were conspicuously absent. So I talked to some of the cast, and that was nice but a little awkward. Oh well. Anyway, the sound on the DVD was crappier than they meant it to be, because it didn't capture the sound coming out of the sound board, it was all the ambient sound from the theater. The strings were barely audible in most of the songs. However, there was one part when my standpartner Thom and I had a little duet, and everyone on stage was quiet. We nailed it the night they did the recording. It sounded so good, and so professional. I was mentally cheering myself on and swelling with pride. Yay! I will always be proud of that. The cast was funny to listen to, as well, because sometimes they'd do something and ask, "What was that? Why would I do that?" Or cheer or boo themselves. The woman who played the Beadle, when she came on screen, screamed at herself, "You bitch!" When some of the men went into Sweeney's shop to be killed people were yelling, "Die, Adam, die!" and stuff like that. It was definitely not a quiet screening.
After that it was the 80's party at the Pub, so I went there to meet up with Shane and a bunch of our friends. I got to see Fiona for the first time in weeks (she's been so busy with her own plays, being a theater/anthropology double-major) and that was great. Almost as soon as I walked into the Pub, though, on came Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'". Ellie and I ran onto the dance floor, with about half of everyone else in the Pub, and started dancing and singing along. There was almost no room to dance because so many people were on the dance floor and everyone was singing. It was fantastic.
The final thing of note that's happened recently is that I've started eating meat again. I had the first steak I've had since I was about twelve. Can you believe it? I told Shane a few weeks ago that if we could find locally raised, grass finished beef (an important distinction, since if it's just grass fed, it's still been given corn at the end of its life and is still not healthy, since that's NOT WHAT COWS ARE SUPPOSED TO EAT, sheesh!) then I would start eating it again. Well, I wasn't really sure if we'd find a place like that, but I looked. And found a store that's close enough, we can bike over there. I was so nervous at first. I mean, I've not eaten beef and pork for longer than I did eat it. And I wasn't sure if I'd get sick. I think having eaten moose for the last couple of years has helped, though. The guy at the shop gave me a little trial piece of steak when I explained some of this to him, and it was delicious. So Shane and I went back and got some actual steaks and cooked two of them up on Saturday. (Shane, of course, is ecstatic about being able to use beef and pork in cooking again.) They were quite tasty. So now, I've joined the ranks of the meat-eating public again. Very odd. But at least there are more foods that we can make now, like beef stew. Yay! And James and Lucy told us where we can get ahold of some locally raised (as in, James's parents neighbors are raising the pigs) bacon. That I haven't tried yet. I remember bacon not being my favorite thing, but breakfast sausage...yum.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"I'm Dick Tracy's little brother, Vagina Tracy."

Wow, it's been a while since I posted. But I don't feel like that much has happened, other than weird dreams and such.
For Easter Sunday, we had a few friends over for dinner. It was much smaller than last year, but still very fun. And we had a soccer game that evening. After having such a big dinner, we all thought we'd play terribly. But the other team must have eaten more than we did, because we won! Shane played goalie, and he was fantastic. There were so many shots that should have gone in, but he blocked them all. Some of them he just managed to push away with his fingertips. It was beautiful. And I played pretty well, too. I actually still have bruises on my shin from a shot I took. Two of the other girls also got whacked. Casey even had a print of the ball on her arm. Ouch. Didn't matter though. We won!
Our poor kitty, though, has had to go to the vet twice now. We took him in because we noticed that he stopped jumping as much. Instead of jumping onto a chair, he'd put his claws into it and pull himself up. When we took him to the vet (a very traumatic experience--I've never heard those noises from him before) it turned out he was running a fever as well. So Court (the vet--we play broomball with him and are friends with his daughter) gave us some antibiotics for him, and we got him a rabies shot while we were there since he goes outside. And really, the rabies shot is almost unnecessary because it's rare for animals up here to have rabies. They just don't live long enough to spread it. (Most incidents of rabies that have been documented are domestic pets from out of state spreading it to other domestic pets.) Anyway, we took him home and thought he was getting a bit better for a little while. But yesterday we realized that not only is he not getting better, he's been using his hind legs even less, losing muscle and losing weight because he can't jump up to where his food is. And of course we can't put it lower, because then the dog would eat it. Poor kitty! So we took him back to the vet yesterday. Now that it's gotten worse, Court thinks it might be a lower spinal kind of injury. He said that if Zap was an old cat, he would automatically tell us that it's a ruptured disk. But since he's so young, it could be a trauma injury. But he still has the fever, which is odd. So now he's started on different antibiotics (a different class) and a steroid. And he's got another appointment for tomorrow. I'm nervous about taking him by myself, considering the clawing I got yesterday. But I hope he gets better!
Pepper, of course, is totally jealous about all the attention he's been getting. And she's been a brat about eating her kibble. She barks at it, hoping it will suddenly transform into something better. But of course, if the kitty goes near it to drink out of the water dish, she growls at him and puts her face in her dish. She still doesn't eat it, but she blocks him from the possibility of eating her kibble. Stupid dog.
I started running again! Only a couple of times, but I'm excited. And I've gotten to ride my bike several times. I totally want to ditch the truck entirely this summer. But I'll need to buy a cart thing for groceries. I'm not sure yet how expensive those are. But it would be so cool to not be dependent upon a vehicle for the summer.
I killed my blueberry plant by leaving it outside overnight. Now I need to get another one.

Monday, March 22, 2010

"Everybody shaves so there will be plenty of flavors."

I love doing musical theater!!! I'm totally going to keep doing this, because I've been having a blast. Last week turned out to be easier and less stressful than I expected (helped along by Shane, who did things for me like making sure there was a hot dinner waiting for me when I had only 20 minutes to eat before rushing off to rehearsal) and each of the performances has been great. I was actually more nervous for the dress rehearsal than I was for opening night.
Shane is not a fan of musical theater, however, so all last week he kept asking, "Do I have to go?" Well, yes, because you're going to support me and I'm getting you a free ticket. I kept telling him he'd like it, it's not like a Rogers and Hammerstein musical (which I love, but are not Shane's style; but that's what he was thinking of, I'm sure) and it's funny. He was unconvinced, but came for opening night with James and Lucy. And loved it. By intermission he was laughing and telling me how wonderful it was. Yay! If we can get someone like Shane to enjoy it, we've done our jobs well. (It also sparked several debates, such as how many pies our cat would make. Don't ask. It's sick, I know.) I feel like I played my best for opening night, too. Not that most of our mistakes are things the audience would notice. Also, a good rule with performing is to never admit mistakes. Everything is for effect.
I got to go for my first bike ride of the year yesterday, which pleased me. I wasn't planning to, either. I went to Fred's in the morning to get groceries and stuff, and ended up forgetting one important thing (contact solution). Of course, I realized this when I was pulling into the driveway, and really didn't want to drive back over there. But I'd noticed that all the sidewalks have been clearing up (it's been in the forties during the day) so I pulled out my bike. It showed me just how out of shape I am! I'm not sore today or anything (I would be crying pathetically if a 1/2 hour bike ride made me sore!) but it was rather slow going. Of course, that wasn't helped by the fact that my bike tires are almost bald, so I was cornering carefully.
I think I want to buy a road bike this summer. The bike I have is crappy, and I got it for free from a friend who moved. And since I almost exclusively bike during the summer, it would be worth it to have something nice. We'll see how poor I'm feeling, though.
I'm withdrawing from my classes today. I realized last week that I already took one of them, but at the community college I went to. The other, due to missed classes from being sick and Sweeney, I'm hopelessly behind on. And it's turning out to be not that much fun anyway. What's the point of taking a class after I've graduated if it's not fun or worthwhile? If it wasn't for the fact that I'm so behind I would have seen it through to the end, but as it is I'm totally lost and have more work than I could possibly catch up on. Which sucks. Oh well. That's life. Maybe now I'll learn not to over-commit myself.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"'You are what you eat' is a truism hard to argue with...."

I love my weekends!! Have I mentioned that enough yet? Last week was spring break, so it was super slow at the library. I think our average was maybe five or six people per day. Ick. But at least Friday was a holiday, so I had a lovely three-day weekend.
Friday I woke up, ready to get a few things done and then relax. Which I did. Lucy and I went to the gym, then to Fred Meyer to do a little bit of shopping. After putting the groceries away at home, I laid down in bed again and turned on a T.V. show (lately it's been "Good Eats" with Alton Brown, a fantastic cooking show). Anyway, at about 4:30 Shane said, "Hey, what time was Pepper's vet appointment?" Crap! I knew I was forgetting something, and I'd missed it by an hour. So I called them, and got another appointment for this Friday, when I'm taking my personal day off. (The reason for that will be apparent later.)
Anyway, Saturday was the day Shane, Dustin and Al were planning to go to Anchorage to see the Star Wars exhibit that was in town. (I declined going because of the expense--I have some dental work that needs to get done later this month that will be expensive even after insurance. Yuck.) So we stayed up until 2 a.m. with James, even though Shane and the guys were planning to leave at 5. He apparently didn't get any real sleep that night, just lying down for an hour before getting up to make coffee, breakfast, and to shower. I vaguely recall saying goodbye to him when the others showed up to get him. Anyway, when it was just starting to get light (about 6 a.m.) I got a call and thought, "Please don't be Shane." It was Shane. So my next thought was, "Please just have forgotten to do something or turn something off." Nope. "Hey, something's wrong with the car. The coolant is boiling over. Can you come get us?" I dressed as fast as I could, let the dog come with me, and rushed off to get them. In my haste, I didn't really dress for the weather. We're getting into the pre-Breakup weather where it's lovely and warm-ish during the day (10-20 above) and well below zero at night. Yeah, it was -20 when I went to get them. (What could make coolant boil over at that temp?!) The poor guys didn't have the advantage of even our truck's crappy heater (which gets less cold at these temperatures, rather than warm) and had to sit there in the cold, waiting for me. Al had to stay there the longest, because he had to wait for the tow truck. But I took Shane and Dustin back to Dustin's house to get his car so they could keep going. Luckily, no more mishaps. It took me forever to warm up when I went back to bed, though. Pepper, wonderful little space heater that she is, just wasn't enough and I clearly needed an outside heat source. So for the first time since moving into this place, I pulled out the electric blanket. (A couple days later, talking in my sleep, I asked Shane to get it for me. When he asked where I'd put it I told him, "Back in the refrigerator, of course.")
When I woke up again later (11-ish) I was ready to get things done. The night before I'd gotten a new bookshelf from Fred Meyer's (Shane's parents birthday gift to me) so I set that up and re-arranged some of my books. It's actually fuller than I would have expected. Probably within the next year or year and a half it will be full, and I'll be cramming books in wherever they'll fit, again. Oh well. Lovely books!
After that, having a gift card, I went to Barnes and Noble to get some more books to go on my new shelves. I got three books: American Lion, The Omnivore's Dilemma, and In Defense of Food. I also got made fun of by the girl I asked to help me find them. (I could not for the life of me remember the authors.) Anyway, I gave her the titles and, after seeing the subject matter, she told me, "Sounds thrilling." Wow. Way to judge me for buying books that are educational! Whatever. (I actually saw her earlier today on campus. She's a student.)
After that I decided to run to the hardware store next door just to get some small nails. I got distracted by the garden section and ended up buying a couple of new pots and a blueberry plant. They can't overwinter here, so I've potted it inside, I'll plant it outside over the summer, and then bring it back into the garage for next winter. But blueberries! Yum. I'm also going to try to go blueberry picking this summer. My dad warned me to bring bear bells, though. Which are just bells, but you wear them to warn black bears of your presence.
My last errand of the day was to stop at Gulliver's Books (where I have another gift card, which hasn't been used yet) to turn in some school books for credit (the ones they wouldn't take were sent to the literacy council, a nonprofit) and pre-order a book I've been waiting months for which comes out this week.
Unfortunately, I can't read it for a little while because life is too crazy. I am reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma", but that's not as engrossing as I'm sure this other book will be. ("The Girl Who Chased the Moon" by Sarah Addison Allen.) I won't want to put it down, and that's a problem because of "Sweeney Todd". This is Hell Week, which actually hasn't started out so bad. We had four hours of rehearsal last night, but I had time to relax a bit at home and take Pepper for a short romp around the neighborhood (she even got off-leash time!) before I had to go. Tonight will be much crazier, though, because I'm not done with work until 5:00 and then I have to go get my music from my stand partner (he'll be late because he's teaching lessons late) and rehearsal starts at 6:30. I get the feeling I'll be choking down dinner as fast as I can. Ugh. Oh well. This is why I'm taking the day off on Friday, though. I'll probably be dead on my feet by then. But that's when the shows start, and I'm really excited. Last night was the first night we got to see the full cast and all of the props and such. So well done! (If you want to look at pictures, look at And I volunteered for an opera that will be done later on (another paying gig) so that will be cool.
Life is pretty good. If it sounds like I'm complaining about being busy, I'm sorry. It does get crazy, but I love it, too. The only thing is I'm not happy about my classes. They're not as interesting as I was hoping, so I don't want to do the work. I keep thinking, I don't need them for anything. I could just ask the professors to withdraw me, but I'm balking at having a W on my transcript, even for classes I'm taking recreationally. So I'll have to do the work. Ick.
For now, though, I'm trying to put it out of my mind. I have too many other, pleasanter things to think on.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"Nothing's tougher than asking you to hand me my wolverine glass full of strawberry milk."

It's spring break, for just about everyone but me it seems. I've been doing so much homework this week (in preparation for next week, Hell week) and been working all day every day, but that's ok. Tomorrow's a holiday! So at least it's a short week.
My boss had to fly home to Australia suddenly on Tuesday. Pray for her, and her family. Apparently she found out before Christmas that her brother has melanoma, and at the time he was planning to have some treatments. But his cancer has advanced too far, and so she's flown home to be with him for the end.
I feel really bad, because in some ways this has been a boon to me. All that homework I mentioned earlier? I've been doing it at work. There's not much to be done, and since it's spring break it's been quieter than normal. I think, tops, there have been about five people in each day this week. (I'm going to propose next year that we shorten our hours even more, because this is ridiculous.) I've also been getting to watch a lot of Hulu. That, and I've been reading my book a bit.
I'm reading a really great new book, by the way. It's called "Bonk" by Mary Roach, and it's about the science of sex. And in a lot of ways, the history of scientific sex research. Very entertaining, because of her style. She says in the forward that she's sure she's a running joke at the San Francisco library for interlibrary loaning articles about such topics as the use of vacuum cleaners in autoerotic asphyxiation. (When I was working in ILL, the oddest request I remember getting was for an article about belly button lint. Apparently it mostly travels up from one's underwear.) I find it really funny that we attribute a symbolic women's empowerment move--Kegel exercises--to someone who vigilantly denied the need for clitoral stimulation as a means of achieving orgasm. The guy was a product of the fifties, and basically hated Kinsey and all of his research about women's orgasm. He didn't have a problem with it, he just agreed with Freud that any woman who needed clitoral stimulation was "stuck in childhood", and needed to be vaginally re-oriented. (Notice, these theories were put forward by men. It's really sad how many women bought into them, however.)
I also didn't realize that the 20's and 30's were relatively open, sexually. At least as far as research and acceptance of the topic. Then the fifties took a few giant leaps backward, no surprise there.
Lastly, I didn't realize there were so many people on sites like the Yahoo Clown Fetish Group (by her count, 642). I don't think anything, in my entire life, that I've thought about, on any topic, could be quite as bizarre as some of the things that have internet sites and even their own special type of porn. But rather than making it all sound weird, Roach approaches the topic as something silly and funny, which is why it's such a great book.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Mary's like we're in elementary school again!"

I've noticed lately that a lot of big businesses are failing or are having problems with recalls. This is rather interesting to me mostly because instead of seeing the recession as one of the worst obstacles to my generation (which it rightfully is, since it's affecting my generation and those younger than me more than anyone else, at least in the job market) I'm viewing it as a giant restructuring. And really, isn't that what this country needs? Obviously, the system we had in place failed or we wouldn't be in this mess. So, in the short term the loss of jobs is rather catastrophic. But in the long run, if we manage to pull out of this in such a way that we actually learn something (not that people, as a group, are good at that) and we take this opportunity to fix what's wrong or even just not good enough, then in the long run we'll be much better off. I hope that people are seeing what's happening with the big businesses and are doing more local shopping. Small, local businesses have always been the backbone of this country and they are, unfortunately, the ones that get hurt the worst in times like these. But they also give back more to the communities they're in than any showy big business charity ever could, whether it's through buying other local products and industries or through little things, like supporting a little league team. I thought about it, and other than the grocery stores and fast food chains, it's kind of hard in Fairbanks to avoid shopping local. Almost all of the restaurants in town are locally owned and run, as are the bars, craft stores, salons, etc. My favorite bookstore is no longer Barnes and Noble, it's Gulliver's. B&N may be larger and glossier, but I find I actually love the cramped, small feel in Gulliver's. Not only that, but many of the people working there are college students and I know them. They bend over backwards to get the items that people want and even accept B&N gift cards, at a loss to them. I'm very impressed.
Speaking of restructuring, there's been a lot of stuff lately about the UA staff organizing and unionizing. There are two unions that are vying for this coveted spot: one is the Alaska state employees' union, and the other is the UA faculty union. Two union organizers came in today to speak with Katherine and me about what it would mean for us. Which, as far as we can see, is not much. They spoke about re-establishing the cost of living upgrade every year that the legislature got rid of a couple of years ago, which would be great except that pretty much whatever we made out of that would go straight to union dues. We already get plenty of leave time (15 vacation and 15 sick days per year), and it's hard to argue with the benefits. (Free tuition for both me and Shane? Yup, gotta love it.) Even my health care is way less expensive than it would be just about anywhere else, although apparently just a few years ago staff didn't have to pay anything for health care.
The other thing that I didn't like about the pitch was who they sent: Outsiders whose only job is to be union organizers. They couldn't even get people from within Alaska to pitch this to us! I would have felt much better if they'd sent actual union members, who would then have to be living in Alaska. Instead of just giving a glowing report about all these great theoretical benefits they say we'll get, I'd rather have heard from someone who knows both the upside and the downside of the union, or is at least part of it rather than working for it. That irritated me.
So I'm not sure how I'm going to vote. Katherine says no, in part because she's only planning to be in this job until she finishes her degree. But I'm not sure. When I talked to Brad he brought up the point that UA HR isn't the most trustworthy entity, and it might be worthwhile to have a group fighting for jobs rather than just individuals. (He brought up a specific case of someone who worked in the Wood Center--the campus organizing place/student hangout/info center--who interviewed for a job that he'd been working in as a student, then as a temp, and when the first picked candidate declined the position, instead of hiring him [the second choice] they declared it a failed first search and started looking for someone else, despite his excellent record and for no apparent reason. And according to the University rules, this was legitimate. He resigned pretty soon thereafter.) On the other hand, it's already tough to fire someone, and I know quite a few people who have their jobs only because it's already so hard to fire them, when based on performance they should have been fired long ago.
So really, I just don't know how I'm going to vote.
We went to a superheroes vs. supervillains costume party on Saturday, and I dyed my hair red. It's pretty fun and I've gotten lots of compliments on it.
Tied our soccer game on Sunday, 1-1.
Woke up Monday morning with a really bad sore throat and called in sick to work both Monday and Tuesday. Shane wasn't feeling well either, but escaped the sore throat and still went to classes, but not to work.
Last night, after having spent the better part of two days in the house, we decided to go to Pub Trivia. Our team wiped the floor with everyone else, getting the top place by about 20 points. I got four Capri Suns and Shane got Rice-a-Roni. : )
It's Fiona's birthday today, and since her family's out of town I'm making her dinner and a birthday apple pie. I'm not sure what I'm going to make, though, because we don't have much left in the house and Shane's taking the truck (D&D night). The apple pie will be great because we've had some apples for a while now that wouldn't be so great to eat straight, but they're just fine for cooking. But for dinner? I'm thinking spaghetti and veggie-meatballs. (Turkey meatballs with grated carrots and zucchini in them.) Makes me wonder, though, how do we run out of food so fast?
Oh! And I found out today that my grandfather will be honored in a ceremony celebrating some of Maine's elderly, for their life contributions. It will be April 16th, and I'm kind of wondering if I could go. I doubt it, but it would be wonderful. And really, how many opportunities do I have left to see Poppa? He'll be 89 in August. We'll see. I'm just excited for him, though. He deserves it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

"Skool rocs!"

Everyone has to deal with stupid people on a regular basis, but I've been involved in a couple of incidents of supreme stupidity this week that need to be shared. It's frustrating to have--yes, I'll say it--retarded people around you, and the only thing to do is laugh. If possible, publicly.
Shane's taking a course on neurobiology this semester which he said is his favorite class because the professor is so fantastic--and this is a course he dreaded when he first signed up for it. The only problem with it is there is that one student who a) thinks her every opinion/thought is invaluable and needs to be voiced and b) isn't ashamed to interrupt the professor to get these mental wanderings out there. Shane said that they never, ever have anything to do with what the professor is teaching. (One of her recent gems was, "Did you know the brain is a muscle?" Professor: "No, it's not." Her: "It isn't?" Professor ignores her as she continues talking, and continues his lecture over her.) I feel his pain, having taken several different classes with that kind of person. (Most notably, the White Whale.)
Well, I got to meet her yesterday. I knew her right away, based on Shane's descriptions. (I hate to say it like this, but it's a fact that we don't get many black women in the biology library. Especially not ones with key chains that are roughly the same size and weight as my dog.) The first question out of her mouth? "So how does this work?" When I looked at her blankly she continued, "Is this, like, a normal library?" Kind of wondering what other kind of library there is, I said yes. Then she asked for help finding a couple of books. I knew they'd be on reserve, so I asked for the titles, which she didn't know. "Um, something that's, like, about invertebrates?" Yeah, not helpful when we have several books on reserve about invertebrates, for different classes. So she had to look up the title, which took about two minutes, and then the next title. Because I could have looked it up, but she couldn't tell me the courses. It takes brilliance to not even know what courses you're enrolled in. Then, when checking out the books, we require people's student IDs. It ensures that they really do belong to the University, and it's easier than looking them up in the system. Well, she handed me the whole friggin' lanyard full of her key chains! I understand having collections, but who needs to cart the whole thing around every day? When complaining about it, Shane said that she takes up an entire chair with it in class. After all of this, she asked me about buying books. "Why can't I buy these?" "We're not a bookstore." "But, I mean, like, online." "We're not a bookstore. We don't have anything to do with a bookstore." "But, like, on, like, Amazon?" "Well, there's absolutely no reason you shouldn't be able to buy these on Amazon, but we're not affiliated with Amazon, so you'll have to look that up yourself." "Oh."
There's more to the story, but due to privacy laws I can't say it. Rest assured, though, not my favorite patron to deal with.
The other story, which is funnier and less aggravating, has to do with a mistaken text. At Pub Trivia the other night, our friend Keegan received this text: "In 2011 the guverment will be sending all the ritards to a iland. Be shur to bring youre crans." He had absolutely no idea who the sender could be. We spent a few minutes laughing about the spelling, and wondering what to do in response. So Shane replied and said, "Oh, good. Can I borrow your crayons?" The anonymous texter responded, "Yes." "So you have extras?" "I tink I can spar sum." Shane then asked, "Are you drunk, stupid, or illiterate? And do you know that this is a wrong number?" Then came the text, "no, no, yes." I told Shane he should have said, "You still didn't answer my question about the wrong number." But he decided to leave it at that. I don't blame him. Getting texts from a confirmed illiterate just gets kinda sad after a bit. ; )
And at that Pub Trivia, I got the entire first category correct. "Sci-fi/fantasy characters under four feet tall." We took second place, and I won a loaf of bread.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dear Sarah Palin

I would like to ask, what good has she done by becoming a prominent political figure? The answer, honestly, is none. All she's done is to further hate and fear-mongering in this country, and I'm sick of it. I'm sick of hearing about her, and her divergent opinions on who's right and who's wrong. (Emanuel is wrong, but Rush is right? Huh?) I'm sick of her hypocrisy and blatant lying. She'll never be labeled a "flip-flopper", it's true, because she doesn't change her opinions or message no matter how many times she's proven wrong. And while sticking to your principles is often admirable, spouting self-righteous and patently wrong, hateful ideas is not. We, as a country, should not give these people the soapboxes and attention they so clearly do not deserve.
But of course, we just can't help but look at disasters.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"It's kind of a race to the bottom between me and my brother."

This past weekend was so much fun. Friday night, of course, I had Sweeny Todd rehearsal. Three hours this time. When I got home, I was surprised that Shane was still there. The Pub was having a burlesque show, which some of our friends were going to and he'd expressed interest in it. But it was $10, and he wasn't sure he wanted to spend that much money. So he waited for me, thinking we'd go after I got home, when the show would be over and entrance would be free. But I was so tired from work and rehearsal that I ended up crashing out at around 11:30.
Saturday was spent lazily, with lots of reading and only a few chores. Lucy and I went to Barnes and Noble in the afternoon, and I managed to only buy one book. It's a real-life medical mystery about these things called prions, which cause diseases that manifest themselves in different ways. In one family in Italy the disease expressed itself through severe insomnia, and then the insomniac would die within a few months. In one tribe--I can't remember where--it was expressed through uncontrollable laughter and the same fatal timeline. Sounds interesting. Lucy bought "Stiff" and "Bonk". One's about what happens to your corpse after you die (embalming, stuff like that) and the other is about the science of sex. I'm going to borrow both of them after she's done.
Did I mention that I made a list of the books I want to read this year? Obviously the ones mentioned above are on it, but also:
Slaughterhouse Five
Animal Farm
The Help
The Girl Who Chased the Moon
Sizzling Sixteen
Dead in the Family
In Defense of Food
The Omnivore's Dilemma
The End of Food
The End of Oil
I think that's a pretty decent mix of thought-provoking and just fun. And of course, there will be others. (My reading list each year usually has about 75-100 books on it.) Currently I'm reading "The Pickwick Papers" by Dickens. Very amusing. I keep reading little sections out to Shane because I just can't help it. Especially the chapter about hunting, I knew he'd like that. He said, "Oh, God, it's like hunting with Mark."
Anyway, Saturday evening we were just hanging out with James and Lucy when our friend George called to ask if anyone wanted to go sledding. Everyone but me said no (lame!), so I went. Of course, the first run down, we ended up having to call James and Shane to bring a flashlight because George had lost his glasses. So they showed up, and did a couple of runs after we found the glasses. (George left them with some stuff at the top of the hill after that.) Actually, James only did one run because apparently his pants weren't great for sledding (sweats) and he ended up with snow all the way up to his butt. Ha! Shane went down with me a couple of times before leaving. It was so much fun, but I wish there was a fresh layer of powder down. The sledding hill on campus isn't maintained at all, so once it gets packed down it forms bumps and waves that are rather jarring. Still, it was fun. Also, the girl's basketball team from Western was there. They'd beaten our team earlier that night and wanted a chance to enjoy the snow. I had almost as much fun watching them as I did with the actual sledding. All in all, a good evening.
Shane was still hanging out with James and Lucy when we were done sledding, so I went back there and had some yummy hot chocolate to warm up. We played a Mario game for Wii, then Shane and I went home.
Sunday was Valentine's Day, of course. Shane (I'm kind of ashamed to admit this) plays D&D on Sundays with Dustin and a bunch of other friends, so he got up in the morning, started dinner (he made moose roast! <3 style="font-style: italic;">before putting in the pudding. So I had to bake the whole thing. I sprinkled some milk chocolate chips over the top in the hope that those would help it from turning out to badly. It was fine, and the chocolate chips were excellent.
Shane took a nap when he got home, so I got a bit more schoolwork done and then woke him up when dinner was ready. After we ate, we watched the movie "Fanboys". Nothing more romantic than watching a bunch of Star Wars nerds trying to break into the Skywalker Ranch. I love that movie, though, and it was perfect. We were going to watch another movie, too, but our friend Mark called. I asked him when he was going to get a job in Fairbanks and move back up here, because we miss him!, but he said he intends to stay in his current job in Juneau for at least a couple of years. He's talking about buying a boat. At some point, we'll have to go down there and visit him. But it's either a day-long trip, or it's about $500 to fly. So we'll see. His dog, about four or five months old, is now about as big as I am. It's a mastiff, so he'll be about 250 lbs. when fully grown. That's a big dog.
I've kept up with my running, and it helps that every time I go out I can feel how much I'm improving. I'm less out of breath, or I can get up the hills easier, things like that. The last couple of times the only reason I've paused at all was so that Pepper could pee. I still don't like running, but it's good for me. And Pepper LOVES it.
She's getting a badly needed haircut tomorrow. I'll have to start putting her vest on her again when we go out, but she'll be so much more comfortable. I'll have my dog back, rather than a ball of hair.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Baby hit me one more time."

This past weekend was so much fun. Honestly, it's been a while since I had so much pure, unabashed fun in one weekend. Of course, I didn't get many chores done but I can't even be upset about that.
On Friday night, Shane and I couldn't figure out what we wanted to do for dinner, so we decided to go out for Thai food and celebrate our anniversary that night, since I had class the evening of the 8th. We ended up going over to James and Lucy's, first, and inviting them and James's sister Ruth to go out with us. It was really fun. Shane tends to get really quiet on dates (in the car he'll be chatty like normal, but as soon as we get out to dinner he clams up and I have to try to keep the conversation going) so this made the evening more lively. James was really sweet and got dinner for all of us. But we went to Wolf Run to get dessert (best desserts in town) and Shane got that. (I think I owe him a movie, at least, for that.) It was pretty funny, too, because I ordered a chocolate raspberry cake and everyone else got creme brulee. Of course, my dessert was about eight times bigger than theirs. Lucy helped me a bit, and I took over half of it home. Yum...leftover chocolate cake. The rest of the evening was spent playing a Mario Bros. game on James's Wii. So fun.
Saturday night was karaoke at the Pub. So much fun. The evening passed by really quickly. I only sang two songs, "Don't Stop Believin'" with Mitch and a Britney Spears song with a few other girls (not my choice). At one point I was dancing with my friend Dustin and Shane ran up to him and tore his shirt open. Buttons went flying and Dustin kept dancing. I laughed so hard, but found the buttons. Unfortunately, the shirt actually ripped in several places, so it was beyond repair. We'll get him a new shirt this weekend to replace it. Luckily, it wasn't a shirt he was totally attached to so he said it was no big deal. It was really, really funny.
Also, apparently the guys decided to rag on our friend Shanti all night by telling him how gay he is. (He's not gay, and they weren't making fun of gay people. This just seems to be how guys up here, and guys in general, show their affection: making fun of each other relentlessly.) At one point I turned to Shanti and said, "Are you giving off some kind of gay vibe tonight? Because that's all they're talking about." Shanti rolled his eyes and right then, Adam showed up. Only, he came in behind Shanti and started rubbing his chest and saying, "Hey, sexy, how's it going?" It was so perfect. Shanti and I cracked up. I think in part they were doing this to cheer him up (as odd as it sounds) because Shanti and his girlfriend broke up a couple of weeks ago. They also sang "Gay Bar" to him, much to the delight of the other Pub patrons. Actually, that song got the most people dancing.
I even dragged Shane up for a dance. He made some teasing comment to me, so I made him dance. It was fun. Mitch ran up to us like he was going to cut in, but Shane pushed him away. I told him, "Nice defense." "I know, right?"
Spencer leaves for Scotland today, and I know Shane is both excited and unhappy. He already misses Spencer, and with Chris having moved out he's getting bored pretty easily. Luckily, we haven't been spending that much time at home.
We went to the Pub again on Sunday to watch the Superbowl, but there was no one there that we know, so it was just ok. I randomly picked the right team to cheer for. (They were down at the half when we showed up, so I decided to cheer for the Saints. Always root for the underdog.) We were both really tired from the night before, and I'd lost my voice. It was starting to come back, but it's still not great. I must have cheered more than I thought I had at karaoke.
We also had soccer Sunday evening. This is the first game I've gone to since joining the team, and the first time I'd played in about ten years. It was fun, despite everything. I twisted my ankle within the first minute of play. Then, later on, a guy on the other team didn't notice me and kicked me in the back of the leg. I have a nice big bruise on my thigh now. Actually, it might be the second biggest bruise I've ever had. He also managed to make me punch myself in the jaw, due to poor hand placement on both our parts. Then, he tripped me later! Not on purpose, of course, but I really got beaten up during that game. It hurt! If pictures of bruises turned out well I'd totally post one up, but they don't so I won't.
I've also started running a little bit. I hate running.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"You weaponized my cocker spaniel?"

I joined a program called WIN Alaska that's a health and fitness thing for state employees. Really, I'll just be earning points for things that I do normally, like eating lots of fruit and veg, exercising, and even practicing my violin. (For mental health and wellness.) It gives out prizes at two and then at four months, depending on how many points you've earned. At the very least I want the tier three prizes (a yoga mat at two months and $100 at four months), but the tier four prizes would be even better (a steel water bottle at two months, and both an Ipod touch and $200 at four months). I'm not betting I'll get those, though. You'd have to do a lot of stuff for those, like marathons. There aren't exactly a lot of marathons in Fairbanks in Feb. However, I am thinking of doing the Beat Beethoven 5k in April. (There, I've said it on my blog. I have to do it.) And I renewed my gym membership, even though the cost hurts right now.
I've been really stressed about money, because our roommate just moved out and I'm paying a lot more in rent. With his student job, Shane can't cover half, so I'm taking over the bulk and he'll reciprocate after he finds a decent job. (This summer.) So that's not so worrying, but our electric bills have been over the top. As in, there's absolutely no way we used that much electricity. I need to look at the bills tonight and figure out what's going on. I had a sort of crazy idea last night about what might be wrong. There was a lot of activity with our neighbors at about 5:00, then nothing. I went upstairs to ask Helen about something around 8:30, but no one was home. Oddly, the lights in the front hallway didn't turn on, so I went to the back stairs, but those lights didn't turn on, either. Could the electric company have mixed up our bills, and someone's didn't get paid so their electric was turned off? I don't know. I'll have to see what's going on this evening. But it's all very frustrating. I hate our electric company.
So I've been very stressed lately, and tired. Apparently in situations like these, bread is my tipping point. I made bread last night, but the loaves came out almost flat and they stuck in the pans. I managed to bang them out (literally, it took about five minutes of cutting around the edges and smacking the pans down to get each loaf out). Shane came into the kitchen a few minutes later to ask me something, saw that I'd been crying, and came right over to hug me. I know I sounded incredibly pathetic sobbing out, "My bread sucks!" All of my bread has been fairly flat for a little while now, and the last loaves (before last night's) were not only flat they burned. I blame Shane for that one, he distracted me and then held me back when I went to get them out of the oven. Anyway, I need new bread pans, and I think I need to turn the temperature of the oven down. At least in the winter. I didn't think of this before today, but I'm betting my loaves being flattened has something to do with the weather, because they weren't doing this over the summer. Air pressure, or the dryness, or something. It's been pretty cold this week (-28 when I got to work this morning) and it gets very dry when it's this cold. So we'll see. I'll have to mess with it.
My classes are going well, though. Actually, class. I still have two, but I don't yet have the book for the online course so I haven't been able to actually start doing the work yet. It should be here next week and then I'm going to try to get as many assignments and quizzes over with as quickly as possible.
In my paralegal class, I got a chance to impress my teacher. She divided us into groups and gave each group a sort of case scenario to discuss and look up info about in the legal journals in the law library. I just found something relating to our case that even she hadn't. (Apparently it's not only illegal in Indiana to homeschool your kids, but parents can be criminally prosecuted for it. Hamilton v. State, 1998.) It's interesting, and so far I'm really enjoying it.
No "Sweeney Todd" rehearsal this Friday, which is nice. It's very fun, but in my head it's become just one more thing that I have to do. It doesn't feel like my weekend has started until after rehearsal, and since I get home after 9:30 on Friday, that takes away a significant portion of the time I mentally have reserved for fun things. (Sundays are also mainly a loss, because that's my get things done day. Laundry, homework, baking, shopping, etc.)
The most fun thing I've done recently was that we went to Chena Hot Springs last weekend. I wish I could go out there every weekend. But it's about an hour out of town, and $10 each. Still, it was totally worth it. We went with James, Lucy and Devin and we all spent well over an hour in the geothermal pool. Usually we go when it's about -30, but this time it was right around zero and I actually like that better. It's cold enough that you don't really overheat in the pool, but warm enough that your ears and face don't freeze. Plus, there wasn't as much steam as there usually is so you could actually see the people you were talking to. So nice, and incredibly relaxing.
Shane and I realized that--oh crap!--Valentine's Day is coming up. It took even me about half an hour to remember that that means our anniversary is coming up. The 8th, to be exact. (Such an arbitrary date, that of our first real date together. We'd been "dating" for a few weeks before--a.k.a. hanging out in the dorms--but neither of us had a car, so no way to get off campus. We borrowed one to go to Thai food for an actual, real date. And then our second date was Valentine's Day, which was awkward until we both realized that neither of us had any grand, romantic ideas or expectations.) We're going out to dinner this weekend to celebrate our three years, and then Shane volunteered to make dinner for Valentine's Day. I haven't told him, but I'm going to make dessert. Now I just need to come up with something to make. He doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, so chocolate cake (what I would choose) is out, but he loves pie. I'll look up some pie recipes. Maybe tarts? If nothing else, I can always just go with a pathetically easy favorite of his, chocolate pudding pie.