30 July 2007

Man's Best Friend

Bruno loves C far more than he loves me. I'm fine with this...really, I am. My sister believes it's because Bruno is a boy and boy dogs seem to love human males more than they love human females. Whatever the reason, I know this to be true with Bruno. When C was recently out-of-town for work for three days, Bruno was depressed the entire time. He would position himself so that he was facing the front door, just in case.

And the other night when C had a late night due to a work trip to Hershey Park (his life is hard), Bruno sat in our shoes (which are directly in front of the front door) waiting for C. I'm not sure if this love is cute or pathetic.

26 July 2007

Music Request

From the bonus I was given last year, C and I treated ourselves: he got a Wii, and I got a Bose SoundDock for my iPod. (We did put the rest in savings however. We're not that irresponsible.) The SoundDock has saved my life at work. Podcasts have successfully kept me awake when I thought I just couldn't take it anymore. But I can't wait for the day when I quit this job and can have the SoundDock as our at-home stereo. Before that happens, we are going to need some serious amounts of new music. Given that our current radio listening consists of only 45 minutes of a morning talk show, a smattering of regular radio while in the car later in the day, and "Stained Glass Bluegrass" on Sundays, I just don't know where to begin in this search for new music. I typically like stuff that is more simple. For example, a woman and her guitar are enough for me; I don't need a full orchestra. I also enjoy oldies and classic rock. I like bluegrass as long as it's more bluegrass than country. Obviously, I do not like country, and I think C and I have enough rap to last us a bit. So does anyone have any suggestions?

23 July 2007

Everyone Loves Pugs

Having had a pug already (sniff sniff, R.I.P. Thor), I already know this fact: Everyone loves pugs. Want proof? Yesterday, C and I are in the car with Bruno in the backseat. We have the windows rolled half-way down so that Bruno can put his little pug head out the window. We pull up to a red light, and a car pulls up next to us. Obviously laughing at Bruno, the driver rolls down his window and says, "Beautiful dog. Can I have him?" I honestly think that if we had said "Yes," he would have taken him right there, right in the middle of Georgia Avenue.

These kinds of things happen wherever we go. We have started taking Bruno to our local dog park. We've been there maybe five times and already, people know Bruno. They don't know us or our names, but they sure know Bruno. And they know The Tongue.

Taking Bruno on our daily walks has also proved to be an experience. We once had a girl ask if she could take a picture of Bruno with her camera phone. Of course we obliged. Dang paparazzi.

Being a dog owner is funny. I remember hiking in the Wasatch (or anywhere really) and everyone you saw on the trails suddenly became your friends. This happened especially if you were hiking early or late in the season, or if you were on a remote, lesser-known trail. But it was fairly common to stop and start chatting with your fellow hiker about gear or the destination. Dog owning is the same thing. Owning a dog puts you into a "dog owners subculture." We have lived in our apartment for over two years and never spoken to a gentleman who lives on the first floor, nor did he ever talk to us. But then we got Bruno and suddenly we know Diamond and Diamond's Human. We say hi. We talk dog-talk. We're friends. We understand each other.

19 July 2007

A Tale of Three Stories

Story 1: (This comes from a general authority but I can't remember which specific one. Forgive me.) He tells this story of being in line in an airport. Somewhere else in this line is a woman visibly struggling with her kids. She's alone. The kids are (understandably) whining and possibly crying, enough so that everyone in the line is getting impatient with her and wishing she'd just shut up those kids. Instead of doing as everyone else, the GA offers assistance to this poor woman, who gratefully accepts. The kids are happy, the mom is happy, and everyone in line is happier.

Story 2: A Washington Post columnist is in an airport. He notices a beautiful young woman who is crying. She's alone. He's afraid to do anything because he's old enough to be her father and doesn't want to come across as a dirty old man who is offering aid only because she's a beautiful young woman. He doesn't do anything. He regrets his inaction very much. To make it worse, a young woman who had recently been in this exact situation tells this columnist that she would have been extremely grateful if he had spoken to her. He regrets his inaction even more.

Story 3: I am on the metro coming home from work yesterday when a very large woman is incessantly ratting her keys. And this isn't your quiet key rattling. She's throwing them around and occasionally hitting the window and other objects. She does this all the way from Union Station to Glenmont, about a 25-minute ride. As we approach Silver Spring, the yelling of obscenities begins. She uses every single obscenity that I know, in one sentence. Apparently she wants the train to skip the next three stations and head straight to Glenmont, as if this were an option. Everyone on the train is ignoring at her and the situation, but everyone hears her. They have to. At one point, someone makes eye contact with her because she loudly says, "What are you looking at?" No one tries that again. She continues the key rattling and the obscenity yelling. Of course I am not doing anything to appease this situation, as she's twice my size and obviously upset. But then I remember Story 1 and Story 2 and wonder if I should do something. Should I get up and ask if she's okay? Should I get up and tell her that we'll be to Glenmont shortly? Or do I just sit there reading my National Geographic, pretending that nothing is happening? I don't regret my choice of action, but should I?

16 July 2007

My New Favorite Home Organization Tool

C and I have finally nailed down dinners; it only took 2 1/2 years. We have a solid list of the “regulars” from which we pick, as well as a binder full of things that are “waiting to be tried,” many of which came from the Foodees site. We then use these resources to put together a calendar for the entire month of what we’re going to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This helps me tremendously, as I don’t think well on the fly. If I didn’t plan, we’d end up eating cold cereal for dinner and marshmallows for dessert. Every night. Although, would that be that bad?!

While reading my Cooking Light magazine the other day, someone shared a tip that I now find invaluable. Find a theme for each night of the week and choose your dinners from that theme. In our house, for example, it has become the following: Sunday is “International Night.” Monday is “Pizza night.” Tuesday is “Mexican night.” Wednesday is “Breakfast night.” Thursday is “Grill night.” Friday is “Pasta night.” Saturday is “Soup and Sandwich night.” Most of the things that we eat fell easily into one of these categories, so we didn’t have to add many things.

Why do I like this so much? Normally when doing our monthly planning, I struggle to make dinners as varied as possible; I don’t want spaghetti right next to the homemade mac and cheese, for example. This is totally going to eliminate this. Also, although we now have entrees down pat, we still struggle with sides. But we decided that we’ll pick a side that is particular to that day. For example, the side for pizza night? A green salad of course! And finally, it will help with the grocery shopping. I know that for international night and pizza night, I’m more likely to need fresh produce, so shopping on Saturday makes this easier. No more trips to Giant on a Wednesday just for scallions!

Given that today is Monday, I’m really looking forward to pizza tonight. Thai Chicken Pizza, to be precise. And if it’s good, look for the recipe on the Foodees soon!

13 July 2007

What, Exactly, is That Supposed to Mean? Part 2

My mom (Hi Mom!) is always amazed when two people who were married in the temple are getting a divorce. Similarly she is amazed a man who served a mission has been convicted of child abuse, murder, or any other heinous crime. To me, the only thing that these statements (“married in the temple” or “served a mission”) indicate, is that at some point, those people declared themselves to be worthy of being in the temple. That’s it. We can't know if these people were ever truly worthy to be in the temple. (Remember the one woman who married a man in the temple, only to come to find out six months later that the woman was in fact a man?!)

I love that the Church leadership leaves this question of worthiness to us. I love that when the Stake President asks me if I’m keeping the Word of Wisdom, a simple “yes” is sufficient; no blood work necessary. I love that we're not required to bring our W-2s to tithing settlement. Rather, the bishop asks if we’re full tithe payers, we give an answer, and that's it. But I just want to scream when newspaper articles, items on local news, or stories (a.k.a “gossip”) include the qualifiers that so-and-so was a returned missionary, because really, why does that matter?

I would like to believe that calling someone a “returned missionary” does say something about that person. I would like to believe that saying a couple was “married in the temple” says something about that couple. (This doesn’t mean that I think serving a mission and a temple marriage don’t mean anything, by the way). In fact, it saddens me that these types of statements really don’t say good things to me. But should they?

11 July 2007

Job Opportunities

I think I’m finally ready to start looking for another job. What do you think about these two jobs? (You should be able to click on them in order to read them better, and believe me, you need to read them.)

09 July 2007

Tag--I'm It!

Do you feel like you have more friends just because you blog? Certainly I do. In fact, I recently saw a newly-acquired-blogging-friend and it was as if we didn't even know how to converse face-to-face. Not that speaking with her was awkward, but once we said, "Hey, I'll see you on the blog!" we felt much better. Another one of these blogging-only friends is my sister-in-law's friend, who also knows C. Apparently we were playing a game of tag and now I'm "it." Sigh. I was always "it" because I'm slow. Oh well.

1. Were you named after anyone? I think there was a neighborhood babysitter with my name. And while I don’t believe I was named after her, my parents just liked her name.
2. When was the last time your cried? Yesterday. I cry a lot. Sometimes just to cry. Sometimes because Settlers of Catan truly is Settlers of Satan. (Linda--I know you know what I'm talking about!)
3. Do you like your handwriting? Yes. Print and cursive, although I hate the capital cursive E’s (hence the ALWAYS lower-case e), G (thank goodness my new last name starts with an H), Q, and Z.
4. What is your favorite lunch meat? Pastrami. Although I never eat it.
5. Do you have kids? Nope.
6. If you were another person would you be friends with you? I think so. I hope so.
7. Do you use sarcasm a lot? Nope. I have a hard enough time identifying it, nonetheless using it.
8. Do you still have your tonsils? Yes. And all of my bones are whole. In fact, I have my very own appendix.
9. Would you bungee jump? Would I? Heck yes! Have I? Heck yes!
10. What is your favorite cereal? For the warm variety: baked oatmeal. Of the cold variety: Oh’s!
11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? The only shoes I own with laces are my running shoes, but yes, I untie them.
12. Do you think you are strong? That depends. Strong as in “I can bench press my own weight?” No. Strong as in “I can do anything!?” No.
13. What is your favorite ice cream? Oh gosh, this is hard. Cookies and cream. Cherry anything. Cheesecake. Mint chocolate chip.
14. What is the first thing you notice about people? Teeth. I wouldn't do well in Britain.
15. Red or Pink? Pink.
16. What is the least favorite thing about yourself? If I don’t want to do something, I usually don’t. I wish I’d suck it up and just do it because I’d probably learn something.
17. What do you miss the most? MOUNTAINS. Oh yeah, and family.
18. What color pants and shoes are you wearing? I’m not wearing any pants...(wait for it)...I’m wearing a floral print skirt! (Did I scare you?!) With flip-flops. Yes, I wear flip-flops to work. I’d even consider wearing them to the White House. Take that—POW.
19. What was the last thing that you ate? Toast with cinnamon and sugar.
20. What are you listening to right now? A National Geographic podcast on ants.
21. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Flesh, because I am flesh-colored? And don’t ask “What color flesh are you?” I’m the old-school Crayola flesh.
22. Favorite smells? Freshly-baked bread. Tide detergent.
23. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? My parents.
24. Favorite sports to watch: Football on TV and golf in person.
25. Hair color? Real? Dark blonde. Colored? Light blonde.
26. Eye Color? Hazel.
27. Do you wear contacts? I have been wearing them longer than not.
28. Favorite foods? Again with the baked oatmeal. McDonald’s ice cream. Hot Tamales. French toast.
29. Scary movies or happy endings? Happy endings. Although I do love a good “Tales from the Crypt” every now and then.
30. Last movie you watched? Gosh, I think it was “Match Point.” I tried “Monsoon Wedding” but was too tired and kept falling asleep.
31. What color shirt are you wearing? Plain white tee. Six out of seven days a week I’m wearing a plain white tee.
32. Summer or winter? WINTER.
33. Hugs or kisses? Kisses.
34. Favorite desserts? Most cookies. Most cakes. Rice Krispie treats (aka “Brain”). Ice cream. Candy. What other desserts are there? I’m sure I love them too.
35. What book are you reading right now? I’m rereading “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” I tried it before and didn’t like it, but since everyone else loves it, I figured something must be wrong with me.
36. What is on your mouse pad? I have no mouse pad at work, but the one at home has a pug.
37. What did you watch on TV last night? Do I have to answer this? Sigh. Big Brother 8. It’s summer people! TV is horrible!
38. Favorite sound? This one is hard for me as I don’t think I have ever thought about it. I love the sound of a waterfall. I also love the sounds of my nephews.
39. Rolling Stones or Beatles? Beatles.
40. What is the farthest you have been from home? Europe.
41. Do you have a special talent? I can square tie knots in a Pull-n-Peel Twizzler in my mouth.
42. Where were you born? Honolulu, Hawaii. That's right: I'm Hawaiian. Can't you tell?
43. What superpower would you like? Teleporting. Zing—I’m in Iceland. Zing—I’m in Bora Bora. Zing—now to the Greek Isles.

And in an effort to get these people blogging more, the three people that I am going to tag are: Amber, the Kuhns, and Megan (it's been almost two weeks!).

06 July 2007

Update on our Resolutions

Back in January, C and I made resolutions. As half of the year has now passed, this is an update on how we're doing.

First, the "no TV until after dinner." We're actually doing alright on this. We typically don't run on Fridays and as we're beat from the week, we don't always heed this then. But in general, I'm pretty proud of how well we're doing this. We've actually gotten back to eating dinner at the table. I'm sure when we lose cable soon, this won't be nearly as hard. I'd give us a 7 out of 10 on this.

Second, "regular chores." Again, we're doing okay, certainly better than before the resolutions were made, but there is definitely room for improvement. We're great with the regular vacuuming (thanks to Bruno), sweeping, changing of bed linens, and general tidiness. However, we could improve on the big Saturday chores: car cleaning, thorough kitchen cleaning, mopping. I'll give us a 6.

Third, "spirituality throughout the week." 2 out of 10. That's all I'll say about that.

Fourth, C's limiting of game playing. To be honest, he hasn't picked up any system for a very long time. In fact, it's been so long, I'm not even sure how he was doing when he was playing. I guess that's a good thing! 10 out of 10--way to go C!

And finally, my desire to have more virtuous thoughts. Really, I'm not even sure what this means. Maybe I should figure it out in order to work on it. 1 out of 10. Although I do believe my general anger towards other drivers is getting better; still not good, but better. I'm trying to be more patient with others in general, unless they do things that make it hard for me. Like when the tech at my doctor's office argued with me that there was NO February 23rd. You would not believe how adamant about this she was. Sometimes it's just hard to be nice.

Six more months to go...we'll keep keepin' on.

03 July 2007

A Completely Random, Theme-less Post

I really have nothing to post, so I thought I'd share our latest family picture.

After Bruno's neutering, he developed an infection at the wound site. We thought we were doing a good job keeping an eye on him so as to not let him lick the incision site. But alas, we were not. The consequence is the familiar Elizabethan collar. But he looks dashing in red, don't you think?!

And if you think he's adorable, please vote for him here! We really want that $100! To vote, click on the link. Once the site opens, click on the link underneath the yellow text box. Note: Bruno is at the bottom, #28.

02 July 2007

HELP! (part 2)

Some time ago, I was getting yummy French toast breakfast at Eastern Market (this was actually the Saturday before it was destroyed by fire). At the flea market across the street, there was a vendor selling framed stamps. Being the re-creative person that I am (you can see other things that I re-created here), I thought, “Why pay $15 for this when I can make it for way cheaper?!” But before I make a few of these, I want to make sure that I know exactly what I'm going to do with them. So I created a mock-up of what they would look like: framed stamps in a white mat. Of course, there are many different stamps that I can use, some of my favorites being the quilts, crops, Muppets, lighthouses, and American wonders.

But here’s the problem, once I frame a couple of these, where do I put them? How many should I frame? Are the stamps too small to be seen on a wall? How would you organize these on the wall (randomly, in a line)? In which room should I put them (bedroom, bathroom, hallway, kitchen)? I like them too much to ignore their possibilities, but just can't figure out what, exactly, to do with them.