26 March 2007

The Experiment

I began reading Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus last night. As I have serious doubts in my abilities to be a good wife, I have read a lot on topics akin to this. In the first chapter, Dr. Gray wrote about how men and women are supposed to be different. Fine. I can accept this. Because of these differences, we are going to communicate in different ways. Fine. I can also accept this. He then proposed this first difference: women think that men don't listen to them. What men are really doing, however, is listening but then proposing solutions because they think their women are asking for these solutions. Problem with this is that women don't want these solutions. They simply want their men to listen and to sympathize. On the other hand, men don't want women's unsolicited comments. Unless they ask for help, women should not be giving it. And if the women do give it, we as women are undermining their masculinity by implying that they need help. Bad, very bad. He ended this chapter by giving the following challenge: for one week C is simply to listen to whatever I say with the intent to only understand, but not propose solutions. He challenged me to give no unsolicited advice or criticism during this same week.

By bedtime, I had already had to bite my tongue three times. It had only been 90 minutes. It's going to be a looong week.

23 March 2007

Flashback Friday

This week I will recall two of the most crazy rides on which I've ever been. The first occurred during my undergraduate years when I was a frequent rider of UTA. On my way to school one day, I went to board the bus. Before I could even step on the second riser, the bus driver asked me to pick up a rock that was right next to where the bus had stopped. (Let me describe this rock: it was HUGE. It was probably about 18 inches high and at least 36 inches in diameter. There is NO WAY that I would have been able to lift this rock.) As you can imagine, I was shocked but also disappointed because however was I to lift this rock?! I sighed and turned around to attempt the picking up of the rock. As soon I stepped off the bus, everyone on the bus erupted into laughter. I had been had. So very had. Boarding the bus with my head bowed in shame, I stayed that way for most the ride. But the story doesn't end here. At another stop, another rider who was less gullible than I, was asked to grab a shopping cart to bring to the bus driver. He was not to be had. But boy did the riders get a kick out of that. At another stop, a regular (they must have all been regulars) got on the bus, eliciting a raucous shout of "EL---VIS!" I guessed it was his name. He gave high-fives on the way to his seat. The whole time I was on this bus, all I could think about was the crazy music playing during one bus scene in the movie "Sixteen Candles." (Imagine kazoos and other crazy instruments.) That's exactly the music to be played during this scene of my life's movie.

Crazy Ride #2: When Mark finally plead guilty to Lori's killing, Fox News called and asked if I would do an interview. I said I would. They told me that they would send a car to bring me to their studio, which was somewhere in D.C. The car arrived, I got in, and then was whisked away to the studio. But the car barely had enough time to get into third gear because after less than two blocks, the car slowed, then stopped. The driver then announced that we had arrived. When I got out of the car, I could still see my building. (And it's not because I work in a skyscraper. Remember, this is D.C...our buildings are anything but tall.) The very genial driver stated that he would wait for me to finish the interview and then return me to my building. I practically had to order him to leave, as I was quite capable of going back to my office without the aid of the car. The whole thing felt so wasteful, until I read that Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday took a motorcade to go across the street for dinner. Now that's bad.

21 March 2007

It's a Blog World After All

I guess the blog world isn't as large as I thought it was. A while back, someone named Suzie Petunia posted a comment about my running skirt on my blog. I had no idea who she was, nor how she happened upon my blog. When I went to her blog, I saw she had a link to a blog of a friend of my sister's. I deducted that she must have been visiting Megan's blog, from there went to Emily's blog, and from there to mine. Whoa. I thought it was just bizarre that someone I didn't even know was reading words I wrote. But just wait; it gets crazier. We all know that I have been bored at work lately and consequently, I have been doing some blog hopping. My sister-in-law just started keeping a blog (it's locked for the lucky few, otherwise I'd link to it). From hers, I went to a blog written by her friend Alyssa. Now imagine my surprise when I see a comment from the original Suzie Petunia on Alyssa's blog. Double whoa. I mean, how do these two know each other? Don't you think it's weird that they both "know" me through two totally different routes? You'd think we were all Mormons or something.

And now a question on blog etiquette. Monday's post inspired a couple of people to leave comments. The comment from Gretchen had a question for me in it. So blog readers, what is the best method of response? Should I email her? Call her? IM her (my chosen route)? Comment on a post of her own? Comment on my own post? I was afraid to post the response on my blog, fearing she wouldn't return to see the response. But it would seem out of place to respond on her blog. C thinks I should have responded on mine. So blog readers, do you come back to posts where you've left questions to find responses? Can I answer your questions by commenting on my blog and expect you to come back to look for the answers?

19 March 2007

A Weekend of Firsts

This weekend I did a few things that I have never done before. First, I went to a Starbucks. I donated blood a few weeks ago, and the American Red Cross sent me a 5$ gift card to the coffee chain. C and I were doing some grocery shopping at our local Safeway Saturday morning. This Safeway happens to have a Starbucks in it, so we decided to get some breakfast. Knowing that everything there has way too much fat for fat-phobic me, my only option was a low-fat blueberry muffin. (Being more daring, C ordered a butter croissant and a hot chocolate.) Checking their website this morning revealed surprising results: the low-fat blueberry muffin is not only "lower" in fat, but actually low fat! It had just under 300 calories, but only 1.5 grams of fat. I'm impressed. (C's croissant, on the other hand, packed 390 calories and 20 grams of fat, and the hot chocolate had 450 calories and 24 grams of fat. Wow.) But as a non-coffee drinker and as a person who tries to support locally-owned businesses as much as possible, I don't think I'll be returning.

Later that afternoon, I experienced my second first of the day. I have been experiencing some knee pain which my doctor thinks may be a combination of torn tendons and a small tear in the hamstring muscle. He recommended staying away from long-distance runs, and trying "water running." So C and I went to our local pool (I was too embarrassed to go alone), and I tried out the water running. I had to rent a buoyancy belt, but other than that, no extra props are needed. Basically, you just get in the water and run. I did it for almost an hour, but it wasn't until the last 15 minutes that I actually felt my heart rate rising, probably due to the fact that I actually started "running" harder. It was definitely interesting, and I'm considering taking some sort of water running or water aerobics class just to supplement my running. Thankfully my knee is feeling better today (maybe 70%) so hopefully today's run won't kill all the good that the water running did.

And my last semi-first of the weekend was that during the post-water-running shower, I used conditioner in my hair. I haven't used conditioner in my hair for over one year, thanks to advice from a hairdresser. I was amazed at how easy it was to put the pick through my hair after the shower, but other than that, I saw no benefit. I won't be returning to this.

15 March 2007

An Educational Weekend

I spent this weekend with my friends RNA. (C thought of that...you know, short for "R and A." And since A is a biochemist, we thought it clever.) R just gave birth to their first child, Isaac. As R's mom wasn't arriving until today (more than a week after the birth), I went down last Saturday to help out the new parents until Grandma could be there. I knew it wouldn't be a pleasure trip. However, it turned out incredibly pleasurable. I really enjoyed spending time with little Isaac. But there were certainly lessons to be learned. First, I learned that I actually like infants! They're easy. Well, easy in that I don't have to worry about entertaining them or playing with them, which has always been hard for me with older children. I didn't even need to make ridiculous faces. Basically you need to keep them fed, well-slept, and clean. That's it. Also, I learned that I like the way they sound. They make these cute little noises. I never knew this before. It was really soothing. And third, I learned that when C and I have kids, I will definitely need someone to help us adjust. This person will need to help me keep my apartment clutter free, be able to cook, be able to take orders without offense, and be able to function with little sleep. I'm currently accepting applications.

Related to this new arrival, I have some new pictures on my Google site. On the "Made by e" page, find some gifts presented to the new baby. On the "What's for Dinner?" page, find my car snack. On the "Family Pictures" page, find some pictures of Isaac.

07 March 2007

I Didn't Quit!

Yesterday's post left me feeling a little disturbed about my character. Am I really the type that quits just when things get hard? It turns out that I'm not. Hooray! Last night C and I went to our weekly Tuesday night track workouts as part of our speed development program. I haven't felt very well since Sunday, but thought I'd try to run anyway. Last night's workout was the hardest one yet. We started with a mile warm-up. Then we ran 3/4 mile at a really really fast pace, with a 1/4-mile recovery. We did this insanity FIVE times. That's almost 4 miles at a 8:00-mile pace. That's fast for me. C's run was even faster. Then following the five reps, we did 200 meters at basically a sprint, followed by a 200-meter recovery and then another 200-meter sprint with another 200-meter recovery at the end. Then we finished with a mile cool down. The overall workout was just barely under 7.5 miles. On a Tuesday. At night. In cold, windy weather. It was hard. It hurt. It hurt bad. But, I did it. And not only did I do it, but I did it all alone as my group was seriously slow yesterday. I wanted to quit. I wanted to stop running (because really, who cares if I did?!). But I didn't. And even through my pain today, I feel great.

06 March 2007

I Quit

If this is supposed to be my journal, then I guess I better be honest as well as complete, regardless of who is reading this. I quit my church job on Sunday. I was the teacher for the CTR 6 class. I was put into this calling about six months ago, but I just couldn't take it anymore. I know that we're supposed to accept any calling extended to us. I know that we're supposed to "magnify our callings" and grow with any given calling. But I just couldn't. Not with this one anyway.

Since the new year began, I have been feeling more stress than usual for me. I'm sure this is a result of working two jobs, running farther and harder than I ever have in my life, and the church calling. In fact, the church calling probably contributed more to the stress than all the others combined. Starting Friday night, I would agonize over having to prepare a lesson. This agony would continue until about, oh, 12:05 p.m. Sunday...exactly when church was being let out. Certainly not a coincidence. It was also a slight strain on my marriage as C would have to console me during these times of stress. So I finally decided the added stress just wasn't working for me.

I met with the Bishop during the second hour of church (thereby skipping a little of sharing time!). He said that he could have guessed this was coming, giving my honest report on my calling during December's tithing settlement. He also said that sometimes callings just don't fit, and that not everyone is meant to be able to do everything. I completely agree with this. (Although it makes me wonder how inspired callings truly are; but that's another post.)

But for now, the stress is certainly much lower. However, I can't feel truly great about my decision because I still feel like I failed. I wish I could say that I am one of those women who takes every weakness and turns it into a strength. But I'm not. And I'm not sure why. It definitely wasn't the teaching: I love the teaching. By now, everyone knows that I don't like kids. I simply had no desire to work on this "weakness" and learn to love them. I didn't want to prepare; I didn't want to spend two hours in church being with them. But why I think I'm any different from all the other people who don't like their callings is beyond me.

As a corollary to this story, when he was done meeting with me, the Bishop walked into the clerk's office, where C was working. The Bishop was then followed by his second counselor. The second counselor remarked that he wished he wasn't in the bishopric, but rather wished he was back teaching primary. Understandably, the Bishop laughed and said how funny that was "on so many levels."

02 March 2007

Flashback Friday

I decided to post some things that weren't necessarily current events in an attempt to reconcile my lack of journal writing; here's my first go.

I started running a little more than four years ago. But I'm not sure that many of you know why. Probably you think I was just tired of being overweight, just a few pounds shy of having an "obese" BMI. However, that's not altogether true. I was in my last semester of grad school, planning on making a move back west. I was also hoping to get a job teaching at the university level. Here comes part one of why I started running: The thought of being in front of students in my overweightedness was really not appealing. I didn't want to be the poor, single, stats teacher who was probably poor and single because she was overweight. So I started running and then I wasn't overweight anymore (although I was still poor and single). That part isn't so embarrassing.

What is more embarrassing is part two. I had made plans to do some traveling over the summer (this is why I was poor). One trip would take me to D.C. (where C and I began our amour), one trip to Canada to visit the deported, and another trip to my brother's place in Alaska. Knowing that my brother was constantly surrounded by about a million outdoor boys, and knowing that these millions of outdoor boys are generally quite attractive (nay, I'll say it...HOT), I didn't want to be overweight and out of shape when I was there. I certainly wasn't looking for some summer romance, but I did want to be one of those cute outdoor girls, as much as possible. And I knew there weren't that many girls in Alaska. So I started running. And I haven't stopped since ( but not in the Forrest Gump sense though).

I wish I could say that I started running for health or for some other admirable reason. But nope. Strictly vanity.