30 April 2007

A Win-Win Weekend

I love weekends. I especially love weekends filled with winning. It all started Saturday night at our ward's lasagne bake-off and no-rules pinewood derby. Knowing that (1) I don't like lasagne and (2) I've never made lasagne before, I thought my best shot at winning would be with an unusual lasagne: a butternut squash lasagne to be exact. C thought that I would be in trouble given that the judges for this bake-off were the missionaries. But when we saw that it was the sister missionaries, we knew I had a chance. I tried to watch their faces as they made their way through the dozen or so entries, but couldn't get a good read. When the awards were read, C thought he had seen our name written on one of them. The emcee for the evening read the third place winner's name (nope), the second place winner's name (not this one either), and at this point C thought I had secured first. But when the first place winner's name was read and it wasn't ours, I was nervous. What prize (if any) had I won? "Best attempt?" That would be bad. "Floppiest?" Even worse. ("Floppiest" was an award my kindergarten-self one for a teddy bear contest.) So what did I win? "Most Creative." AWESOME! Had I even known this was going to be a category, it's the award I would have wanted. I was so pleased with myself. And then, when I was able to finally try the lasagne, I was even more pleased because it was actually good! You can find the recipe here.

But the winning isn't over yet. Now begins the pinewood derby car contest. They split it into two heats: one for the kids and one for the adults. The kids raced their cars and it was fun to watch. Then came the adults. Some of these entries were super creative. Cars with mouse traps on them; cars with a jar of peanut butter duck-taped to the top; cars with a five-pound weight attached to the top; and even a car that looked like a missile with compressed air. But none could touch C's car: a car with a battery attached to a motor attached to a propeller. The car was ingenious. This car was also dangerous, as attested by the man who needed 11 stitches after his attempt to grab it. But it was a winner. C took first place overall; not one car even came close!

But I'm not done yet! Sunday was our RACE. Yes, the one for which we have been killing ourselves training. All the track workouts, all the Saturday long runs--all were in preparation for this one Sunday morning run. We were both nervous all day Saturday. The butterflies simply wouldn't leave us alone. Most of my races have simply been for the fun of it. But this one was different. It meant something. And the results? C finished his 6.2 miles in 46:21 and I finished in 50:49! We both smashed our goals by about three minutes. We are so proud of ourselves and each other. Of course we didn't win our age groups, but C was in the upper-third of the men his age and I was in the upper-fourth of the woman my age. AND we both had the fastest time of those in our training groups. We could not have done this without the Speed Development Program or each other. It was a great experience. But we're glad to have our Saturday mornings back!

27 April 2007

R.I.P Sponge Bob Squiggle Pug Pants

Yesterday I saw a pug listed on our local shelter's website. He was in foster care, waiting to be adopted. After getting the "okay" from C, I emailed the sweet thing's foster mom. Unfortunately, he had already been adopted. We were heartbroken. I already planned where I would put his food and water bowls. I already looked forward to walking him in the morning before work. I already wanted to see his happy little face and wagging tail as I walked into the apartment after work. But it wasn't to be. Sigh.

Being teased by this foster pug has really gotten us thinking: should we get one anyway? It doesn't have to be the little one from the shelter; we could buy one like regular people do. I had concerns about having a dog in an apartment where no one was home during the day. But after doing a lot of online research yesterday, I found that pugs do quite well as apartment dogs. They are completely happy to sleep most of the day and really only need to be walked once a day (of course, they'd need to be taken out more than this, but that's a given). Definitely sounds like Thor.

So should we do this??? I'll post the picture of one of the available pugs just to sway the vote.

24 April 2007

YW Lesson: Journals

In the past, I haven't been so good about preparing lessons in advance. But I am just so excited to be back in the Young Women that I actually want to do a good job. I want to help these young girls who are so adorable. I want them to learn from and enjoy their Beehive experience. I want them to know that I genuinely care about them. So I've made it a goal to at least look at the lesson before Sacrament meeting.

I've already met the goal for this upcoming Sunday. My lesson is on journals. After reading the lesson, I still had a few questions: Why are we told to keep records? What is the benefit? Is it more for us or more for our progenitors? I think if I understand the reasons to keep them, I'd know better what to include. The lesson shares a story about one of Brigham Young's daughters who wrote in her journal about the craziest details about the description of every single room in her house. BOOOORING. Sorry, but really? Am I supposed to tell the YW that they should document everything in their house in the off chance that someday, someone will want to recreate it? I don't think so! But then, how do we all know what to include? And how do we keep it from being so embarrassing when we read it years later?

20 April 2007

Flashback Friday

My first job in D.C. was much like the one I have now. I sat in a cubicle, worked some, chatted with people at work, and waited until I could go home. Also, everyday I ate my brought-from-home lunch at my desk while reading the Washington Post. One lunch sticks out. I was thoroughly depressed by what I had brought. The yogurt simply didn't excited me as much as it sometimes can. As lunch got closer and closer, I got sadder and sadder. It was just so depressing! But then, right about lunchtime, one of my co-workers stopped by my cubicle asking if I wanted to finish a half of a sandwich he had bought and hadn't touched. Did I?!? Of course I did! It turned into one of the greatest lunches ever.

I'm reminded of that now because I'm amazed at how much of an affect my lunches (and breakfasts for that matter) can have on my mood. This week has been awesome for that! I made some wheat bread on Sunday and C and I have been eating that for breakfast this week. I almost couldn't wait to go to bed just so I could wake up and eat more of it. And then, Wednesday night we made baked oatmeal for dinner and I got to have that for breakfast this morning and I'll get to have the remainder of it for lunch today. Oh my, it's going to be a good day.

15 April 2007

Worst Run EVER

Yesterday's run was, to date, the worst of the runs since joining our speed development program.

Badness #1: This run was a preview run of the 10K race for which we're training. We were going to run the race and then run it backwards for a total of 20K, or 12.4 miles. As we did 14 miles the week before, 12.4 miles would be a welcomed change. We started at the race start, a place C nor I had ever been. And seeing as it was a new place, we didn't find it so easily. C and I argued about the location, and I felt sure that that he wasn't listening to me since I have the better sense of direction, of course. (I'm sure it could be said that I was "criticizing or critiquing him." Sigh. I'm still working on that.) So I was a little bitter when we arrived. When I realized we were a couple of minutes late, I was slightly more bitter.

Badness #2: I don't typically drink anything when I run; I haven't quite mastered that technique. I guzzle when I should sip and then the water just sits in my stomach. It's bad news. But I have been getting some grief from those in my group that I should be drinking water during the long runs, so Saturday was my first day trying out my recently-purchased water belt. At the beginning of the race this water belt was extremely annoying. It was bouncy and irritating. Plus, it had to sit right on my waist, a very sacred place where nothing else ever sits. I was now really bitter. (I will admit that this did get better during the run. I didn't even overdrink.)

Badness #3: Here's the worst part of the entire run. At about mile 11.0, my feet got caught in a metal wire loop that I didn't see. I didn't even have a chance: I went down. First the knees (which were thankfully protected by long pants), then the palms of the hands, and then the chin. It hurt. It hurt really bad actually, but I was okay enough to finish the run. Not having a mirror close, I wasn't sure exactly how badly I had been hurt. And because my running partner wasn't C, I didn't feel like I could cry in front of her, although I really wanted to. But you better believe that as soon as I got in that car with C and used the mirror to check my wounds, I was a-cryin'.

Truly, it could have been much worse. I could have broken a jaw. I could have chipped a tooth. I could have busted a knee so that all this training was in vain. In truth, the worst part is that I'm a 29-year old with gravel in my palms and a skinned chin.

13 April 2007

My New Internet Obsession

It's no secret that I don't particularly like my apartment. Obviously it's been fine enough to keep me there for the past two years, and it's fine enough to keep me there for another year or so, but I am still obsessed with owning a real house. The thought of having closet doors that aren't metal, bathroom mirrors in which I can actually see myself, and a real yard is really dreamy. But with the real estate market being what it is here in D.C., I have to obsessed with owning a real house in some place other than D.C. However, my real estate biz mom recently told me about HUD homes. I started looking at them on Tuesday and haven't stopped since. A house in Baltimore for only $20,000?! Are you kidding?! So what if its roof is falling apart, the toilet is missing, and there's no garage door?! Just kidding. I only slightly care about those things. And here's the kicker: if you are a policeman, EMT, or a teacher, you can buy one of these properties in a "revitalized area" and save 50%.

Problem is, I don't know anything about buying HUD homes. I know that they are sold "as is" with no warranty. I know that you have to use a real estate agent to place the bid. I know that some of them have severe problems. But other than that, does anyone have any experience with them? Should I be scared to buy one of them? Or is this an option that we should seriously consider? Help!

09 April 2007

Results of the Experiment

As C and I were in Puerto Rico last week, I was unable to report the results of the experiment. Instead, I decided to continue the experiment for the entire two week span, something I knew would be very hard. The first week was the easier week: we were at home and had nothing special going on that week. We are on such a schedule that it's pretty easy just to go with the flow. However, last week was much harder. Being in a brand-new place, doing brand-new things can lead to much criticism. But I am happy to report that I think I did a fair job. Certainly things still were said that would be considered "critiques" or "criticism." But for the most part, I feel like I tried to bite my tongue. A lot. When reflecting on those statements I wanted to say but didn't, I realized that they were truly unnecessary. So what if he wants to use the water bottle with the loops when saving that bottle for work would be better? I think this experiment taught me that these things that I wanted to say but didn't were, for the most part, your run-of-the-mill "nagging." And because I don't want to be that type of wife, I'll continue working on this.

As far as C's part (thanks, Linda, for reminding me of this!), he did fine. We realized that he definitely does try to solve my problems, when I'd rather he just sympathize with me. However, I learned that I like his input most of the time. So it became hard for him to know when I wanted solutions and when I didn't. I'll just have to learn to tell him when I want the answers. We all know that he has more than enough of them!

Another Reason to LOVE My Newspaper

Need I say more?

Oh yes, and then there's