Thursday, December 24, 2009

I probably shouldn't mention this...


but Jessica is doing...


HER FiRsT GiVeAwAY!!!!!!


I sort of hope nobody else enters because I want to win. But aren't they so cute?

(And doesn't it look like they're from a picture out of a magazine? I think Mitch's camera has Photoshop built in. Like he takes pictures and the instant they're taken, things are posed perfectly and everything is edited. It's just a theory, but I'm pretty sure it's true.)



Hm. Now I need to do a *-GiVeAwAy!!!!!-* too.
J and I have had a lot of *-cRaFt NiGhT!!!-*s, so I'll need to think about what I can make two of next time. I think my next cRaFt!!! will be to install some linoleum tile as part of sUpEr FuN cRaFt. I'm pretty sure I'll have some extra, but my craft is versatile, (ha! punny!) you know, so I'll have to decide whether to take pictures of it with sparkling cider (for a New Year's giveaway), or with pictures of Presidents (for a Presidents' Day giveaway), or with little hearts (for a Valentine's Day giveaway), or what.
I guess it might be a little while before my giveaway is ready, so I you can enter Jessica's in the meantime.


My goodness, I have so much to blog about, it seems kind of crazy to finish a blog post and not mention anything else. Here's a quick overview (from the document on my desktop "To blog about."). I'll blog more soon, now that I'm FINALLY done with this semester.
1. I have been SO busy with school this semester. I should have taken one fewer class than I did. And not been so sick for so much of the beginning of the semester, which caused me big problems.
2. J and I went to CA for Thanksgiving.
3. I interviewed J's dad for my Folklore/ life story class. I think it ended up being like 9 1/2 hours long, in 3 interviews. I'm still working on that project. I have neat stories to tell from it, though.
4. We've had a couple exciting chicken incidents worth mentioning. I think all of the birds were laying until a couple weeks ago. We got a bunch of the green eggs before everyone stopped laying. That was fun.
5. I'M ENGAGED! Seems kind of funny to mention it like this, but when J first proposed, it took a few days before all of the family people knew. And by then it seemed kind of weird to set my status on Gmail or Facebook to that, so I just didn't. And I've been trying not to think about it too much anyway, because really, no, really, I had too much school stuff. So I promised I would Really Try not to think about wedding plans at all until after my school stuff was ENTIRELY done. Because otherwise I would pretty much for sure be repeating a class or two, and I just really don't have time for that if I still want to graduate in May. (Which I do.)
6. Another neat thing is, we had an awesome sacrament meeting in church a couple weeks ago, which I took really great notes about because I wanted to share it. It was a Christmas talk, so I'll try and post about it tomorrow.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Halloween!

While J and I were apart, I heard about Halloween at Chipotle. A guy from Jessica's student ward told us about it. Basically, if you dress as a burrito, Chipotle will give you a free burrito. The guy said that you don't actually have to dress as a burrito, you just need to wear some aluminum foil (because Chipotle wraps their burritos in foil). ANY foil. He said that last year he went as an Indian. He made a headband with a feather out of foil, and went in and got his free burrito.

I decided that if J and I were dating again by then, we would definitely need to go. J and I used to eat at Chipotle all the time!

So, when J and I started dating again, I told him we should go.

And then, we went to Chipotle together and they had little papers advertising it. And we decided we would for sure go. I told J we could wrap him in foil and he could be a burrito, and we could take a box and cut it in half, and add green tissue paper and pieces of red and brown paper (tomatoes and steak), and I could be a taco.


But as we talked more about it, J was worried that our costumes would suck. He wanted us to Google it to see past Halloween costumes for Chipotle. BEST IDEA EVER.

We did not find many pictures, but we did find a few that we used to inspire our costumes.

We decided to both be burritos. Foil was going to be a disaster (it would tear if we put it on ahead, and it would be difficult to assemble at Chipotle), but online people were using emergency blankets instead. Brilliant!

For our tortillas, I used duck cloth, which I already had. We bought thick yellow yarn for cheese. We used green tissue paper and red and brown paper for steak and tomatoes. J constructed them while I got ready to go.


Everyone loved our costumes. It was fantastic! In the parking lot we put our costumes on, and people pointed and grinned at us. These people near us who were wrapping themselves in foil told us we each deserved five burritos.


In line inside, everyone commented on our costumes. We were the coolest people in the restaurant. People took cellphone pictures of us on the sly. We loved it!


While we were eating our burritos, a girl who was working at Chipotle came out and told us we had the best costumes of the evening, and asked if it would be all right for her to take our picture. (Sure!) They also gave us chips and guacamole for free, since it was closing time.

Very short update

It's been almost a month since I last blogged. I've tried to write blog posts a few different times, but things are complicated. I start writing, and then I have to explain things, and in no time at all I have six pages, and I'm still not done, and it all seems wayyy too detailed and personal to post online. So, instead I'll be very brief:

J broke up with me earlier this month. I wanted to fix things and felt like a lot of our problems were really just stress from non-relationship things. J was done. I was really sad about it. A lot happened. He started asking me on dates, but he was also dating other girls. More happened. The non-relationship things settled, and the relationship things were fixed. He began to wonder whether he had made a mistake in breaking up with me. (He had.) This past Friday he canceled his date with another girl, and brought me roses and a card, and he apologized and asked me to be his girlfriend again.

So things are back to normal, except that our time apart actually strengthened our relationship.

Monday, October 05, 2009

I took the LSAT

I should also mention that not this weekend but the weekend before, I finally took the LSAT.

I suspect I did very okay.

I took LSAT classes off and on from February through late August. I didn't do much of the homework, though, because I kept being busy and had a hard time paying attention to it.

I thought about re-scheduling it again (which costs like $80), but decided I definitely wasn't going to have more time to study for the December test. Or the February or June tests. I'm not even really sure I want to do law school anymore. If I do, I suspect I'll want to re-take the LSAT sometime after I've finished my undergrad. When I'll actually have time to study and do all of the homework.

My test-taking experience was all right. The LSAT administration on the U of U campus is in the engineering building, which is actually pretty nice. My room didn't have the door open when everyone was supposed to be checking in, so a lot of people waited outside instead of just coming in, and our group got started later.

I was a little nervous because I usually use the timer on my cellphone to keep track of my time on each section. For the LSAT you are allowed to bring an analog watch, which I have, but the morning of the test I couldn't find it. I went just hoping that my room would have a clock. It did. And that was fine.

It was kind of interesting to see how people approached the test differently. You're allowed to bring a gallon bag with a few things in it: 3-4 pencils. Erasers. A highlighter. An analog watch. A juice box or drink in a bottle no more than 20oz. A snack, ONLY FOR THE BREAK. Your ID. Your wallet and keys. Medical items, for those who need them.

It was funny, though, because some people had like a dozen pencils. Seriously, though. Like, the bottom of their bag was full of pencils. I would love to watch someone take a test and actually use 12+ pencils. What, do you use each pencil for one answer bubble? And then there was this guy like, diagonal from me. He had ONE pencil with one of those bigger pink erasers that you can put on the end of a pencil. And that was about it. Most people had watches. A few other people didn't. Most people had gallon bags. This one guy had his stuff in like, a grocery bag. A few people didn't bring bags at all. I felt really weird not having my cellphone, but I think if it was OFF and in my pocket and I left it alone, nobody would have cared.

There was kind of a funny/awkward moment at the beginning. The girl who was administrating the test said: "It's hot in here. Are you guys hot in here?" And I never am, but a bunch of other people agreed with her. She adjusted the thermostat and then walked across the room and muttered, "Maybe I'm just having hot flashes. I haven't had my period in a few months." But like, she muttered it loud enough that the whole room (70-ish people) heard. And we all kind of looked around, like, did she just say that? And she had.

Also, she had a lisp. Which would not be such a big deal except that when we got to the writing Sample teSt aSSeSSment she kept having problems reading the instructions. She put her head down and was like, sorry guys, and told us she was just not with it today. Poor girl.

There were a lot of questions I didn't get to. I think that's partly because I hadn't studied recently. I'll get my results by e-mail about 3 weeks from my test date.

I'm hanging onto my test prep materials in case I decide to try again in a year or so, but it feels good to (kind of) be done.

Welcome Ella! (part three)

Paley stayed missing. We didn't see her at all on Saturday.

I visited Ella a lot. I held her and rubbed her, and we played. She really loves chasing ribbons.

It was kind of sad because I would go outside and call Paley, and she wouldn't come. "PAAAAALEY!!!" "WHEEEEERE'S PALEY?" (We used to play this game in my Salt Lake apartment. When I couldn't find Paley, I'd call her. "Paaaaley! Where's Paley?" while I would look for her. Occasionally she would be in plain sight when I'd do it. When I'd call her, though, she would come to me, wherever she had been, and meow meow meow urgently so that I would see her and could give her attention.) "KIIIIIITTTTTTTTY? WHERE'S PALEY?"

Nothing.

Once I saw her run across the backyard, but it wasn't her. It was a mostly-black cat that is skinnier than Paley and that I've caught in our garage, eating Paley's food two or three times. It always runs off.

And sometimes Ella would hear me calling and know that I was nearby, and she would start meowing. Which would sometimes make me think for a minute that I had found Paley, except that it wasn't Pae. I'd go pet her anyway. Ella gets a ton of attention from us.

Paley has her collar and tag, and she's microchipped, so I hoped that she would come back from her adventure soon, or that someone would call or e-mail saying that they had found her. I knew she wasn't thrilled about Ella, but I didn't think she was so upset that she would leave!

Sunday between conference sessions, we were pulling out of J's driveway and he stopped for something, and he called, "Paley?" "Paley!" I thought maybe he had seen the other cat run past. He said he'd heard a meow, but he wasn't sure from where and he hadn't heard it again. The neighbors all have cats, so who knows.

AND THEN! Sunday night we were back at J's house again and I was calling for her: "PAAAALEY! WHEEEEERE'S PALEY?" and I heard meowing. I tried to follow where it was coming from and I thought maybe she was under one of the cars in the front driveway. It was raining, so that would have made sense. But as I leaned down to look under the car, I couldn't see her, and I could tell the meow wasn't coming from there.

It was coming from an irrigation pipe that was blocked with a big brick. Paley was under the driveway. There's no way she could have gotten in there, so she must have gone in one of the irrigation pipes somewhere else and seen the light from that end in the driveway, and kept trying to get out there. Poor kitty! The pipe is about 6" wide, too, so there's no way she could have turned around.

I was so relieved to find her. We brought her stuff into the hallway between the garage and J's house, and she was HUNGRY. Ella ran out to greet her. They sniffed each other for 30 seconds or something, and then hissed. It was for sure progress, though, because Paley would not have sniffed Ella or let Ella sniff her before. So they're still not best friends, but they're warming up to each other. Good.

Next step: Sometime in the next few days we need to get Ella a collar and tag. (I know that for the tag we want a nice silver one like Paley's. But what kind of collar do we want? Ells is white and orange and gray. What color would match her?) It is also time for her booster shots. And then she should be ready to start going outside. She wants to. I've seen her chase a couple flies and they FASCINATE her. She has also tried to run outside a couple times.

Anyway, that's about the end of the cat update. The kitties are getting along a little better. Paley is found. Ella loves loves attention. (She purrs so thoroughly that sometimes when I'm holding her I think my cellphone is vibrating and it's actually not.) I think she's adjusting pretty well. She seems happy.

And we'll all live happily ever after. The End.

Welcome Ella! (part two)

So, on Tuesday, BJ and Tianna brought Ella over!

We were pretty excited about it.

Something kind of funny is, we started talking about how Ella would be J's cat. Jess and Mitch have two cats, and Annie really decided she was Jessica's cat, and Alley decided she was Mitch's cat. So they each have a cat. I told J that I already had Paley so we should let Ella be his.


I asked him if he liked the name "Ella" since Tianna mentioned on the blog that Ella probably wouldn't notice if her new family changed her name. J said he didn't. I asked him what he thought we should call her. He said "Kitty," which I thought was funny since that was what they had called her anyway, but J didn't know. (Her name is still Ella, and we sometimes call her Ella and sometimes call her Kitty.)


So, anyway, BJ, Tianna, and Kessa brought Ella over to meet Paley and see Ella's new home. They thought Ella would really have fun climbing trees. They brought Ella in a carrier that they had borrowed and I had Paley in her carrier, so we faced the little cages towards each other let them hiss at each other for a little bit.


And then BJ, Tianna, and Kessa left. Ella was mad. She hissed, and growled, and batted, and scratched, and bit me, and J wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. He'd never seen a cat so mean. Ella is still pretty small, so I was still able to hang onto her, but it became really clear that she needed to go back into Paley's carrier. I reminded J that Ella was scared. I reminded him that a week ago she had been left somewhere strange (maybe for the first time) and she had ended up with shots and surgery, which are not very pleasant. J agreed that it made sense. She would feel better later, I told him.


And she did! We left her and Paley in one of the garage rooms, with the door closed. Paley was out and Ella was in the cat carrier. We came back in a few hours and let Ella out. It was a difference of night and day. She purred and purred, and rubbed up against J. Ella loves to be held and loves to be rubbed and scratched.


Paley and Ella are becoming better acquainted. At first they always hissed and growled at each other. And then Ella stopped being hissy and became curious. Paley opened the door and came out into the main garage, and when I brought her back (for food and the litter box) later, she was still not excited about Ella, but Ella followed her around. I put Paley's food/water/litter on the workbench area, and left Ella's on the ground. Ella wanted to watch Paley, and kept trying to get closer to her. Paley growled and hissed. Paley tried to leave the garage room again, and Ella followed her to play with her tail. Paley growled and hissed. So Ella hissed back.

The next day, Paley had somehow gotten out of the garage. I went into the backyard and called her. "PAAAAAALEY!" "WHEEEEEERE'S PALEY?" and she came running! She was excited to see me. The door from the garage to the hallway (where she usually would go out) was closed, so I don't know how she got out of the garage, but I took her back inside for food, etc. She let Ella get a bit closer, but they were still hissy.


And then the next day, Paley disappeared. I called her and called her, and she didn't come. I had been planning to blog about getting Ella, but it seemed kind of weird and sad to blog about how WE GOT ELLA!!! (and by the way, Paley is missing.) ...to be continued.

Welcome Ella! (part one)

Welcome Ella!

On Tuesday, J and I had the privilege of welcoming Ella to his house.

Jess was actually the one who suggested it. She texted me on 18 September.

Jess: Do you want another kitten?

Me: I don’t think so. Thanks anyway.

Jess: Paley likes friends. And besides, they’re outside.

Jess: Remember, you wanted a friend for Paley.

[At this point, I remembered signs that were up at the Humane Society when I adopted Pae that said stuff about how having two cats is better than one. And I remembered how I had seriously considered getting another cat because Paley gets lonely. Whenever I’m home she thinks I’m there to entertain her. At the time, I decided my apartment was too small for two energetic kittens and got I Paley a fun cat tree instead.]

Me: A canine friend, though. J is super allergic to cats. How old is it?

Jess: Farms can have lots of pets. She’s six months.

Me: Is she spayed? What does she look like?

Jess: Yes, I think so. She’s a calico and actually really cute. She’s still kitten-ish size.

Me: Why does she need a new home?

[Remember? Jess and I had Abby, and she was beautiful, and she had good manners, but she was a terrible cat.]

Jess: Ugh. Her family had a baby.

[Totally understandable. Also, at this point I was thinking it was one of Jessica’s co-workers or cohort people, or something since they’re always getting married and having babies.]


Me: Oh. I’ll talk to J about it, but most likely no.

Jess: Also, she loves water like Pae!

[Paley does love water. Silly cat.]

Jess: Mmkay. You should also see pictures of her and read about her. They’re on BJ and Tianna’s blog.

[I thought about this for a second and at first thought they were advertising a cat for someone else, and then it dawned on me: BJ and Tianna have a kitten. And they had a baby fairly recently.]

Me: Ohhhhhhhhh. It’s BJ & Tianna’s kitty.

Me: I read their blog, so I know her.

Jess: And like her?!

Me: Yeah. I don’t know that they would want her to become an outside cat, though, would they?

Me: Huh. Jeff actually said yes.

[He did! I was pretty surprised. And then I worried that when I asked him if it was okay for Paley to have a friend he might have not realized he was agreeing to us getting another cat. But it turned out he did know.]

Jess: Really?! I’m not sure they’d care. As long as you love her.

Me: Huh. I guess I’ll call them.

Me: Or maybe just e-mail. [Tianna was on Gmail chat, so I just talked to her there.]

(a bit later)

Me: Looks like Paley is getting a new friend.

Jess: Really?! Paley likes friends!

Me: Yeahhh, Paley will like it.

Jess: Well, you did say she thinks you need to be her friend all the time.

Me: Oh, I didn’t tell her that.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Something Fun To Do

I just discovered something amusing.

I am reading Bless Me Ultima, which is about the most boring book I've ever read. I remember being pretty bored when I read the beginning of it in high school, too.

The group leading our class discussion asked how we would have felt reading it when we were younger, and I told them I didn't like it and couldn't relate to it, and that even though I took Spanish in high school, the frequent Spanish words made it hard for me to connect with the story.

Well, it was true, and I remember none of the rest of my class liked it either, but this class cares more about diversity than I do. They think it just excellent. And relating to something that we can't relate to teaches us even more than reading about white people. It teaches us that we have things in common with other cultures. Because all cultures have myths and we all care about culture prejudice and self-discovery. And wandering through a boy's dreams and stuff is deep and inspiring to them.

I am insensitive, I guess. But there are more interesting ways of bridging the cultural gap, I think.

So to feel better about it all, I Googled "I hate Bless Me Ultima" and read things other people had written. I am not the only one who thinks this book is boring.

AND THEN! I had a brilliant idea. I started reading the ONE STAR reviews on Amazon, right here in class. Okay, I agree that there are some nice things about this book, but reading bad reviews made me feel much better about not just loving every page.

Here are some of my favorite parts:

1.0 out of 5 stars Slow, slow, slow, December 18, 2008
By Dr. John Laughlin (Glenn Dale, MD) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
This is a rather long work tha plods along like a melting glacier about the story of a youg boy, his family and his attachment to a healer known as Ultima. You expect the book to pick up steam on the next page only to contiue in this slow, endless march through blandness and bordom. How it won awards is beyond me.
John, author of Reading Thomas Merton



1.0 out of 5 stars WORST BOOK EVER WRITTEN,
June 30, 1999
By A Customer
I'd have given this book negative five stars if it were an option. This novel has a mind-numbingly boring storyline, with almost zero plot, characters you couldn't care less about, unrealistic scenes, cheap symbolism and dumb 'plot twists'. Why anyone would want to read about a stupid little boy who follows an old con artist around 'curing' people with 'curses' that are probably nothing more than the flu is beyond me. I found it difficult to care about Tony's family and their problems. I felt that it was a quasi-noble effort to represent a struggle between good and evil, considering that no one in the story was pure good or pure evil.

1.0 out of 5 stars Let me wake up from my deep sleep,
December 10, 2001
"Bless Me Ultima" was a story that always put [m]e to sleep. If I needed a nap, this story never let me down. It took me hours to read just a few pages. I would sit down to read the book and then after a few minutes my eyes would get heavy and dry and the story never helped me wake up. I would rather sit around looking at the ceiling and counting how many holes there are in it. Or maybe even see how many fibers I could count in the carpet. Any of those things were more interesting than "Bless Me Ultima".
...
Another annoying thing about the book was the frequent use of Spanish throughout the dialogue. I don't speak Spanish so this put a real hamper on my pleasure of reading the book (if any at all). The Spanish always ruined the mood of the events happening. It made you stop and think, "What is this person trying to say."

I was waiting the whole book for it to get interesting, but it never did. There started to be a little bit of action towards the end of the story, but then it stopped with the end of the book.

Another thing I didn't enjoy was the frequent use of symbolism. I am not a fan of symbolism. I wish that writers could just tell it as it is without having to show it as something else.

The only reason why I gave this book one star was because that was the least that I could give it. If I had a chance to, I would rather give it no stars. I guess you could say that that one star was for giving me long nights of great sleep.

Thanks everyone for hearing me out.
-MACKEY


1.0 out of 5 stars badnews, March 8, 2002
By STEVE (Walla Walla, WA USA) - See all my reviews
there is no adjective in the english language to describe the horrors of reading this "book". PLEASE, don't fall victim to reading this atrocity.

****

Weren't those great?!

I should probably finish this post and start paying attention to class again...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Another craft.


HOLY SMOKES!!!

How am I so crafty?*

I made a fall wreath. Do you like it?

I've never made a wreath before.

Michael's is having a huge sale right now (50% off all of the leaves and stuff, plus grapevine wreaths are $1.99 instead of $3.99), so I went and bought a bunch of stuff. I didn't really know how much I would need. I just looked at the pre-made wreaths and picked stuff that I wanted, and kind of combined it all. (I think I got about 3x as much stuff as I needed. Oops.)

It was pretty simple. It took about 1 hour to make it. It has nice big leaves, smaller leaves that have glitter on them, big flowers, small flowers, little leaves that don't have glitter on them, and then a few gourds to add something. Plus a bow and then I used the same ribbon to tie it to the hook thing on J's front door. (His front door needed something because it is actually a back door, so I think the wreath will help people feel more like they are in the right place, instead of at someone's back door.) (I am also making him a sign with his last name on it, to put outside near the glass door that people need to go in to get to the back-front door.)

Now I want to make a wreath for every month and decorations for every season. Also, AUTUMN letters like Jessica's SUMMER and SPRING ones.

(P.S. I rotated the picture and saved it, soooo, not really sure why it's still sideways.)

* I'm not very good at being crafty, actually. Not yet. I decided I would use the glue gun to keep the ends of the bow from unraveling. You know, kind of like nail polish on nylons. So I put a line of glue on the bottom of one of the ends, and pinched my thumb and middle finger together and pulled them along the bottom, to spread the glue out in a pretty line and make it absorb into the ribbon and also remove the excess. Of course, right? Just like nail polish. Exceeepppt, hot glue is hot. So it HURT. And I peeled the glue off of my finger as soon as I could so that it would stop burning, excepppt, my finger came off with the glue. Ouuuuch! And gross! So I didn't pull the glue off of my thumb. I just left it on. And when it finally came off, it had a big blister beneath the glue. So no wonder my finger came off when I pulled the other glue off. I'll get better. I will. I'm learning.

Monday, September 14, 2009

*-cRaFt NiGhT!!!-*


J and I keep having SO SO many cRaFt NiGhTs, it's hard to even keep up with my blogging!

SO!


We've had this problem lately, which is, the roof leaks. J was thinking he needed to have the roof re-$loped, but we ended up deciding that the real problem is not actually the valley between the front and back of the house. [Actually, it's that the flashing (metal stuff) around the chimney is totally not up against the chimney right, so water can get in. (SOLUTION: put tar inside and use a special drill bit and special screws and uh, I forget what else, to reattach it better.) It's kind of confusing, but it will be wayyyy cheaper than having the roof re-sloped. We can do it.]


And then we had ANOTHER problem, which was, part of the skylight over J's part of the house flew off the roof a few days ago. (Whoops!) It's just the extra covering, but the actual skylight is cracked, so it is important.


So, it's not that big of a deal unless it rains.


And it's September, so no problem, right? Right?


We were on our way to church yesterday (on time!) and it started sprinkling. Like, sprinkling
big drops, though. So I said a prayer while J drove us back to his house so that we could put painter's plastic up. (Faith promoting story: It stopped raining right after I prayed for time to protect the roof! Neat. After we had the plastic up we went to church for the last two hours, and sometime during church it started raining again.)


We put plastic over the skylight and plastic around the chimney. We thought the whole thing was pretty funny. It looked pretty bad.




And then later in the afternoon, we replaced the skylight cover (because it's supposed to rain more today.) J mostly did that. I re-tarred the roof. I'm going to go back and finish it up, but I got a good start. There were a few cracks in the sealant they had used before.






We were up there for a little while, so Paley came up on the roof to check things out and see what we were doing.


Sometime later I'll blog about our FeNcE ~~~cRaFt NiGhTs!!!~~~









Monday, August 24, 2009

Swine Flu!

Since I am trying to rest before my class and failing miserably, I decided I would do some research on the Swine Flu.

I was reading the CDC recommendations for institutions of higher education, and I found this:

If close contact with others cannot be avoided, the ill student should be asked to wear a surgical mask during the period of contact. Examples of close contact include kissing, sharing eating or drinking utensils, or having any other contact between persons likely to result in exposure to respiratory droplets.

HA! So if you can't avoid kissing or sharing utensils, you should wear a surgical mask while you're kissing or sharing utensils? Uhhh, so...how does that work exactly? How do you share eating or drinking utensils if you're wearing a surgical mask? Like...Wouldn't it just be the other person using it then?

Life Update


School

School is starting again today. I had two classes this morning, and I have one more tonight, and two more tomorrow. This semester I am taking:

- English 5730: Studies Early American Literature - This class seems like it will be a lot of work. The professor seems very demanding, but seems to be a pretty nice guy. I've heard good things about him. When I went in to see a counselor for my graduation papers, she told me that if I go in for his office hours he'll love me to death, and I think that's probably true. This class will be a lot of reading early American documents (like the Constitution, or Pioneers, and Rip Van Winkle, which he says is the most under-read important novel). It's about new Americans defining Americanness. Cool.

- Philosophy 1250: Reasoning & Rational Decision Making - I'm not just crazy about this class. It meets my QB math requirement, so it is basically a class instead of "Statistics". It also seemed like a good idea because I'm about to take the LSAT. Here's the only problem: It's taught by a grad student. Why are 80% of all grad students so pompous?! Seriously, my impression of this guy so far is that he thinks he is a god and everyone should bend to his whims. DO NOT BE LATE. It is reasonable to expect people to be on time, but SRSLY, if I have another class that ends 15 minutes before, which I do, and that class goes over, which it does, you're really going to count all of my assignments late if I am not in my seat when the class officially starts? Give me a break. He is also a brat about e-mail. He will not e-mail about grades unless you are using your official university e-mail address. Does anyone even know their password for that? [No.] And what, are my parents going to pretend they're me and find his e-mail address to e-mail him or something? Really?

- English 3702: Intro to Literary History 2 - I think this is going to be a lame class, because the Literary History classes are all miserable and used to be required but are not any more. (But they still double count for requirements.) HOWEVER! It is taught by an amazing professor who knows her stuff and prepares like crazy and makes classes awesome. It will probably become my favorite class this semester, just like the Darwin class that I thought I would hate and actually loved, which she taught last semester.
- English 5885: Adolescent Literature - Very highly recommended professor. At graduation counseling, the lady said this class would be a riot. THANKFULLY, this class is not about the Holocaust like my Children's Lit class was, and includes Catcher in the Rye, which I haven't read since high school but remember liking back then.

- English 5110: Folklore Genres - This class has a big project attached to it, which is writing the life story of an old person. I am really looking forward to it. I can either interview a grandparent or other relative, or the professor will match us up with hospice care people. NEAT.

So that's what I have going on. I am also still preparing for the LSAT, so I have prep classes for that on Monday and Thursday nights.

Work

I quit my job so that I will have time to actually do my homework this semester. And so that I will have much more time to study for the LSAT. (It was really weird. My boss said they had 65 applications for my job. Holy smokes! And they even lowered the pay rate with budget cuts... She interviewed seven applicants and hired a guy last Thursday. I'm going to miss my coworkers since they were sort of my only friends.) I think I am also going to quit volunteering in Preservations, because: 1) I just feel too busy. 2) It doesn't feel very altruistic, so it isn't as rewarding as I had hoped. 3) They treat me like an actual employee and kind of glare when I announce that I will be missing days, but really, who has time to volunteer 10 hours every week? 4) The block of time that I was volunteering before is not free time for me anymore.

So I feel kind of like a quitter, but it's okay because it's really just a re-balancing of my schedule and life and priorities, and all that. And that's good and healthy.

Speaking of good and healthy, I am not. I'm sick today. And yesterday. I have a cold. The grad student said that the University is making accommodations for people with the H1N1 virus (he called it the "piggy sniffles"), which made me wonder if I have that. All of the symptoms are normal being-sick symptoms, so who knows, but I doubt that I do because I'm not vomiting or having diarrhea or anything like that, and I'm not enough of a hypochondriac to actually be concerned about that.

The Race

I am also sore, sore, sore, because my body is broken from running a half marathon this weekend. I ran the Hobble Creek 1/2 Marathon on Saturday. It was an adventure for a lot of reasons. The first reason is, even though I have been driving for a few months now, I have never driven anywhere near Provo. I one-time drove to J's new house in South Jordan, but I insisted upon taking State Street. Sooo, when J decided his move would be the same day as my 1/2 marathon, I realized I would have to drive to Mapleton alone. So far! I decided I would take State Street, since I had heard it goes all the way from Salt Lake to Provo.

Uhhh, it doesn't. I got to the end of State Street and took some road to like, Bangerter, to like Alpine Highway, to somewhere. I ended up in Bluffdale and Saratoga Springs, and eventually Lehi, and then I was okay. But I swear, with all the detours I totally went to like, every city between Salt Lake and Provo. I don't know how long it took. I had to change lanes a lot of times, which makes me nervous. I made it to Jessica's house safely, though. And then I had to take the freeway at like 5am on Saturday to get out to Mapleton. And the exit I needed was supposed to be closed, but it wasn't, so I took it. BUT THEN! The streets after the exit were closed! So I drove all around hoping that I would somehow find State Street and going in the direction I thought it was, until the street I was following ended. Uh oh. But I saw a few people who seemed to be going the same way and I followed them, and made a little loop and somehow ended up on State Street. And somehow got there.

And the race was fine. EXCEPT! Know how after I hiked the Grand Canyon in one day in May my left knee hurt for like 3 weeks? And then it finally got better but I could only use elliptical machines for awhile and then finally I could use the treadmill again? At mile eight, my left knee started hurting again. Badly. I found a way to kind of run by swinging my left leg instead of running on it, but it was lame. (hah. Literally.) I mostly walked the last five miles. So instead of improving my time this race, I was a few minutes slower than I was in the SLC 1/2 marathon. Too bad! At the end a few people (separately!) thanked me and told me I had been their pace girl and that I had kept them going. I told them they were mine, too, which was true. When you run, a lot of times you're running with the same people, so you push yourself to get ahead of whoever you keep passing, or to get ahead of the next person in front of you. Everyone inspires everyone else. And when people pass you they call out, "Good job! You're doing great, just keep going!" and they encourage you. It's pretty neat.

I was not last, but there were not a lot of people to finish after me. The race registration closed in two days, and who registers within the first two days of registration for a race?! Hard core people. So I was for sure one of the least-fit, least-trained, least-slim, least-fast people. But that was okay, because I was there. And I finished. And running 13.1 miles on a Saturday morning is much more awesome and healthy than not running. So I feel good about it. I don't think I will be ready for my full marathon next month, though. My cardiovascular system was fine, but my knee had a lot of problems, and if it's been 3 months since the hike, I don't know that 1 more month will make a big enough difference. We'll see.

Relationship

J and I have been dating for about six months now. It's still going really well. I am very happy. After we were dating exclusively, he asked that I please drive his other car, because he was driving a lot. And since he is quite allergic to Paley, and since my house is tiny, and since I don't have air conditioning, it made sense for us to spend more time at his house than mine, but that meant he would drive from his house to my house to his house, and then drive from his house to my house to his house again to take me home. And he was already paying to insure the other car, he told me, so me not driving it was costing him.

I didn't mind taking TRAX and was really afraid of driving because of my accident in...2002? So I was not crazy about driving at all. Plus driving is expensive. He said he would pay for my gas and insurance, and any repairs, etc. So I started driving when we would go places. Sometimes. And he was patient and confident in me. I was really nervous. But I became comfortable driving between our houses, which made dating me more pleasant, I think. I started driving his white car every day. And then one day I Stopped for Gas! Which was an exciting new challenge. And another day I Switched Lanes! And one day I Went to Walmart! And now I've been driving every day for a few months and I am pleased, because I knew I needed to start driving again eventually, and I can't think of a more ideal set of circumstances for re-learning to drive than the ones that I've had. So that's been good. I took the freeway back from my race this weekend. Go, me!

J moved this weekend. He bought a house in South Jordan, which I absolutely love. It's kind of ugly. Actually, it's the ugliest house in the neighborhood. But he got a smashing deal on it (he paid $30k less than it appraised for!) and it really is in a great area. It's a neat house. It's divided into two separate living areas (with a shared laundry room in between), so he's renting out the front (which is bigger and nicer), and he will live in the back. It is on half an acre, ag-zoned. It has a pasture that is already fenced off [perfect for goats!], and barns [we put the chickens in part of one!], and a big open backyard [perfect for gardening!], and mature fruit trees, which delight me. It has apricots (we ate like a billion of them and fed like a billion soft ones to our birds), plums (they're next), pears (!!!!!), and apples. The trees need to be pruned so so badly. There is also a ton of storage space. The garage is huge (it has a basketball court in it), it has two storage rooms built into it, plus an above space that is almost like another living area except that it has no water to it, and another area above that that is like a little secret clubhouse for kids, or something. It is an attic area, where the ceiling slants, but it has hardwood floors, and a desk built in, and windows that overlook the yard. It has a bed up there, which I don't know how they got it up there because the hole to climb up to the room is tiny. The neighbor kids said they used to spend the night up there. Fun!

So far we have painted the front kitchen (which was hot pink) and we've done a bunch of yard work. (Actually, J's dad has done a TON of yard work.) We've been getting the front unit ready to rent. I lowered the price on our ad yesterday and J has gotten 4 more calls about it in the past day, so I think it's probably about the right price now and I think it will probably rent soon. (I want to paint the barn, because it looks way run-down, which I think makes the whole property look more run-down, but whatever. We'll get to it.) I think so far we've shown the house to like...4 or 5? people? We had one applicant, but they were just way too risky, so it didn't work out. So this should be good.

Since J and I spend every day together and South Jordan = a lot of driving for me, his wonderful parents have offered to let me stay at their house whenever I want. It is 6 blocks away from J's new house, so it's really convenient for, say, Friday and Saturday nights. We are talking about driving up to Salt Lake in the mornings, and then I would stay there even more. I have my own bedroom and bathroom which are new and gorgeous, and I have drawers and a walk-in closet, and my own nice kitchen, as many cherry tomatoes and fresh garden vegetables as I can eat, etc. (Last night they served us fresh watermelon. It was yellow inside! It tasted delicious.)

The only trouble is, poor Paley can't move in with J or his parents, so she will become an outside cat at J's new house. I'm sure she will love, love, love living there, because the CHICKENS! are outside and they are SO MUCH FUN to watch. And there are grasshoppers! And rodents! And other fun things to catch. But I know she will be sad when I am inside and she can't come in. At least for a little while. The barn will keep her dry and warm, though, so she should be okay. For now she's still at my little apartment by the U of U, but she misses me since I only come home to sleep.

My Birthday

Last week was my birthday. I turned 26. Jess and Mitch celebrated with me the weekend before, and Jess wrote me a nice blog post. J and I went to Red Lobster for dinner. He gave me a little hymn book (in English! Which I have wanted forever but never want to spend the money on.) and socks (which I have needed more of forever but never want to spend the money on.) So that was nice. I like useful presents. (Jess also gave me useful presents. She gave me plates, silverware, pans, and kitchen stuff. Plus six Sees Butterscotch Squares, which I ATE, which I had been in the mood for for a long time since no Sees is near me.)

Hm. What else? I don't know. This is a pretty long post and I need to get some LSAT study in before my next class, so I think I'll stop here. (And hopefully update more often so that my posts are not as long.)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Paley!

Remember how I adopted a teenage kitten from the Humane Society in January?

I still have her.

Paley turned ONE! this July. (She's still a little cat, though.)

I haven't posted pictures of her in a while, so I thought it might be nice to take some. It is always a challenge to take pictures of Paley because my iPhone is not the best for action shots and she does not sit still enough. To get two reasonable photos that kind of look like her, I had to take about 20 pictures of a black blur.

Does anyone remember Abby, the mean (but pretty!) cat that Jess and I had? ... Paley is totally the opposite. She is the type of cat that everyone hopes they will have when they decide to get a cat.

Paley is friendly! She is an indoor cat, but she becomes interested in people near my windows. She plays with them through the window. My neighbors all love her. She is also nice to people that come over; if they're interested in her she's interested in them, and if they're not, she's interested but then she'll leave them alone.

Paley is well-behaved. She doesn't jump on counters, beg for food, ruin things, or get into any kind of mischief when I'm not home. Her worst habit is that she used to bother computer cords, but she knows she's not allowed to and she only does it when she wants my attention, and she doesn't actually hurt the cords.

The best thing of all, though, is this: I am convinced that Pay is not just an ordinary cat--she is a Domestic Shorthair Retriever! I think Paley is secretly part dog. She plays with water. She comes when I call her. (Every time!) She waits by the window for me to come home, and greets me at the door. She wakes me up in the morning by climbing onto me and licking my face (which is kind of gross.)
AND!
SHE FETCHES!

The game is a little different than it is for normal dogs because she's an indoor cat, so we play fetch indoors. Also, instead of throwing a ball or a stick, I throw a toy mouse. She knows it's a game, though, and it's her very favorite thing. I hurl the mouse across my apartment and she runs and 'catches' it and brings it back. She drops it at my feet so that I can throw it somewhere else. She keeps fetching for as long as I'll throw the mouse. Occasionally it gets lost and she has to look for it, but she always finds it and brings it back.

Sometimes she wants to play when I don't. I often wake up to discover I'm sleeping on top of a mouse--she sets it next to me while I'm asleep in bed and I guess when I roll over it ends up beneath me. Funny cat.

Anyway. Happy (belated, since I'm kind of a slow blogger right now) Birthday, Paley!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

"WAHOO!!!" or "It's about time!"


Lately our girls have been slackers. We've been getting about one egg every other day lately.

Today I went out to check for eggs and there were two. One large one (from one of the Delawares, since they're in their second year of laying) and one small one.

HOORAY!

Someone laid her first egg today! You go, girls!

(This is exciting because it's our first surprise egg.)

Selling through Television

When I came in for work today, one of my coworkers showed me this advertisement. It's from "Advertising and Selling," December 1946, page 57. It is a storyboard for a commercial advertising Trushay, which is a lotion.

ANNOUNCER...This is the story of Arthur the Automobile...
Arthur was no ordinary auto--he had feelings--and he was feeling bad right now...

So was the girl who owned Arthur

It seems this little pretty could never get together with a man!

That made Arthur so unhappy that even his horn didn't give a hoot!

And the reason for his sorrow? Well look at our little lady's hands!

And when a fellow holds a girl's rough and unromantic hands--so long, brother!

It was up to Arthur the Automobile to do something, so he stalled one day in front of you know what! [A Trushay billboard.]

Our gal took the hint and bought some Trushay, the Beforehand Lotion!

So she used it before she did her dishes--

Before she did her light laundry--

'Cause Trushay guards hands even IN hot soapy water!

And it wasn't long, thanks to this--

That she got this! [A man in her car with hearts around them.] And what about Arthur the Automobile?

He was so happy that after they filled him with gas he went flying up the street. You would too, if you had a tankful!

So the moral to our story is--even if you haven't an auto--you aut-to try Trushay!



Wow. I would pay money to see that commercial.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Volunteering at the Library!

Earlier this year, our campus had hardcore budget cuts.

Which meant the library had major budget cuts, too.

Some things changed. The entire department on the other side of mine was outsourced to save money. (It was weird, because it was kind of like how in The Office that one guy was fired, but nobody really knew what he did or that he was in the show. Same idea. We all heard that they were losing their jobs and we were like... "uh...what do they do?" "I'm not really sure..." We didn't even know who they were, except that there was one lady who had a little rubber statue-toy-thing of a monk on a cellphone that always made us smile when we would walk past.)

Also, our schedules changed. Instead of firing people, we took reduced schedules for a month or so, until another guy got a job that actually had something to do with his major.

And another thing was, before, when there were books that were falling apart or torn, or having big problems, we would always send them to Preservations. After budget cuts, I would tell my like, supervisor (kind of?) about books with problems and she would say "hmmmm. I don't really know that Preservations will be able to do anything about it now..." "Well, before I would have taken it to Preservations, but after the budget cuts, he may just leave it..."

I felt bad for the poor, broken books.

I thought of my grandma, and my mom, and how they've taken torn hymnals home from church and fixed their bindings and brought them back. The church sells a hymnal repair kit, even.

I pictured a dark room in the library with a desk that had tall stacks of books on both sides, waiting to have their bindings fixed. Maybe before budget cuts someone else had worked there too, but after budget cuts, there just were not enough work hours to fix all of the books that needed help.

I thought about it a bunch and decided that I would be willing to volunteer so that more could be done. I could just spend a few hours on, like, Friday afternoons and tape up the bindings. Or, you know, whatever. It would be nice to know how to do that, anyway.

I always thought it would be nice to be able to take a bookbinding class, but those classes are always like 4 hours long and never fit into my schedule of classes that I actually need. Too bad.

So I told my boss I was interested in doing that. And she went off and talked to the guy who is in charge of the Preservations stuff, and told me I would not be binding books right away--he would train me just like a new part-time person. She said she would show me after I was done working.

So after work she took me over to Preservations and the guy in charge gave me a tour. It wasn't a dark room with a desk and stacks of books---it looks like a laboratory or art room! He showed me the different things that they do, and told me I would be doing fancy, exciting sewing on books because they just do standard, practical stuff. He said sometimes people come and want to volunteer and they have delusions of grandeur because they think they'll come right in and start doing fancy stuff. But you start with things like dust jackets.

And, well, I don't know anything about fancy sewing on bindings, so that didn't bother me at all. He asked if I was still interested, and I said that I was, and I told him I would come in for an hour every morning. He said he wouldn't be able to teach me much in an hour. So I agreed to come in for 2 hours. He starts work at 8:30, and I start work at 10:30, so now every morning I volunteer at Preservations from 8:30 to 10:30 am.

So far I have learned how to put plastic dust cover jacket things on, and I've done a bunch of those, and then I have also learned to sew pamphlets into protective cover things. (See my second photo-- doesn't it look like book acupuncture??) Today I learned how to remove stickers/tape from books with a heat tool and fancy eraser.

Also, today I was added to the who's-here white board (my name is on a magnet!) and I got a name plate thing at my work area. I share a workspace with a guy who [allegedly] volunteers on Thursday afternoons.

Anyway, that's all I have to say about that for now.

Monday, July 27, 2009

July Utah Co-op

I know it seems like I just blogged about this because I was so slow about posting for June, but this Saturday was another co-op Saturday.


This month I got another Standard Share.

Standard Share ($23)

1 lb. lean ground beef
2 lbs. split chicken breast
3 lb beef back ribs
4 zucchini (from East Farms)
2 green onions (from East Farms)
5 pears
1 cauliflower
1 package cherry tomatoes
1 bag potatoes (5 lbs)
1 bag of cherries (2 lbs, locally grown from Tagge's Fruit)
8 apricots (Tagge's Fruit)
Stone Ground's Artisan Wheat Loaf
16 oz. rice (white or brown, depending on the whims of the fates)

Plus I added a Stone Ground's Artisan Sourdough Loaf for a few more dollars.

The bundles of green onions were HUGE, and really, what would I do with that many green onions anyway, so I traded one bundle of green onions for a small potted cilantro plant. Which was perfect for me because my herb garden is thriving EXCEPT for my cilantro, which died after Paley knocked it from the window.
(The picture is of the stuff. Notice how full the box of cherry tomatoes is! Notice that we're having RIBS sometime soon. And notice J bought me flowers again, which you can only see the bottom of, and which were not included with the co-op order.)

Every month I am just so amazed by what a deal it is! This month, for extra fun, I saw someone I knew for the first time. Turns out, this awesome girl that I work with orders with the co-op too! She was surprised to see me there, but we see each other outside of work pretty regularly, at Trolley Square and places.
In case you're curious, the things for the other shares were:
Harvest Share (= without the meat)
6 zucchini (from East Farms*)
3 green onions (from East Farms)
1 package of carrots (from East Farms)
6 pears
1 head of cauliflower
1 bag potatoes (5 lbs)
1 bag of cherries (2 lbs, locally grown from Tagge's Fruit)
1 package of cherry tomatoes
18 (yes, 18) apricots from Tagge's Fruit
Stone Ground's Artisan Wheat Loaf
16 oz. rice (white or brown)
Half Share
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. lean pork cubes
3 zucchini (from East Farms)
1 green onions (from East Farms)
5 pears
1 head of cauliflower
1 bag of cherries (2 lbs, locally grown from Tagge's Fruit)
1 package of cherry tomatoes
8 apricots from Tagge's Fruit
Stone Ground's Artisan Wheat Loaf16 oz. rice (white or brown)
I think those shares are $12-$14ish each.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Another Utah Co-op Saturday!

At the end of June I had another Co-op Saturday (they're always the last Saturday of the month). I blogged about it a few days afterward but couldn't upload my pictures, so I'm finally just now added the pictures and finished the post.
I decided to take pictures of the process so that you know how awesome it was. Except, we kind of slept in, and we may have gotten there during the last 10 minutes.
My Standard Share was the last one left, so they collected it for me (so that they made sure I got everything I was supposed to) and put it in a box with my name on it. And called to remind me to pick it up, in case I had forgotten. Nice.
Everyone was delighted to pose for pictures when I asked them, but the pictures don't really show much food, because almost everyone had already picked up their food. Oops.

Standard Share $23

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 lbs. chicken thighs
  • 4 6oz. boneless center cut pork chops
  • 1 lb top sirloin fajita strips

  • 6 peaches
  • 7 plums
  • 6 oranges
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 bunch broccoli
  • 1 romaine lettuce
  • 3 bell peppers
  • 1 bag carrots (2 lbs.)

  • Stone Ground's Artisan Wheat Loaf
  • 16 oz. red beans

So here's how it works on pick up day:

1. You walk in and go to the first table. This lady asks your name and looks to see what you ordered. She gives you a colored piece of paper that corresponds with your share (Standard, Half, or Harvest), which lists the items that you get. If you ordered any of the extras (I ordered a like, 2lb thing of honey for June, and a Nutty Guys Sampler Pack for May, and for August I'm getting a loaf of sourdough bread), she gives it to you.

2. Then you go to the line of tables that matches the color of your paper. Everything is in order. Your little paper tells you how many of each thing to take, but there are also signs in front of each thing. You add all of the stuff to your bags. (Which you already brought. When they call, they tell you to bring bags. If you really wanted to, you can include reusable bags as part of your order. They sell them. But theirs are spendy.)


3. The table behind me is for exchanging stuff. If you don't want something included, you can trade it for something else! Since I was like, last the only thing left is a bag of beans. Usually there is a whole lot of stuff to choose from. Also on this table, you write down your volunteer hours. You can bank them if you do more than 2 hours.

4. Then you check out. You tell the lady your name, she looks it up and repeats the things that you should have gotten. ("Standard share and honey?" "Yep!" "Okay, initial here.") Then you initial to say that you got your stuff.



5. You take your stuff and go home. You make tasty meals.

(There is an eggplant on top of my food! One lady there was getting the Harvest Share, which has extra vegetables, and it included 2 eggplants. She didn't know what to do with them so I made some suggestions as we were grabbing our stuff, and she offered me one. Nice!)

So, anyway, it's too late to order for July, but I thought it was still worth posting so that you can see what it's like to go pick up food from the co-op. It's seriously still my favorite thing. I'll blog about it again in a week when I get my food for July.

Soap's ready!

Well, I guess it probably seems like the only thing I ever blog about is our chickens. They're my favorite. I actually do still have hobbies other than chickens, though.


J is allergic to something in some brands of commercial soap, so he either has to buy the $6/homemade-style bar soap from Whole Foods or we get to MAKE soap. Guess which choice I picked.


This weekend the soap is finally ready! It's pretty exciting. We made it a month ago. J told me to pick a recipe and we would get the stuff. So I did.


We made the soap here, because it's called easy homemade soap, and having never made soap before I wanted to make a kind that was simple. For the scent, I chose lavender, because that's pretty much my favorite. I also like oatmeal vanilla soaps, and J said mint ones are nice as
well. This recipe called for olive oil (which he had, but we needed to get the cheap kind so we got more at Walmart), grapeseed oil (Amazon!), coconut oil (J already had this), and lye (which J also had).


We got some soap tools from DI-- an immersion blender ($3!), a glass bowl to mix the lye in (which ended up being wayyyy too small), a thermometer for comparing temperatures of oils (although, we were never really sure if it actually worked right or not. We did eventually get the lye and water mixture to match the mixed oils temperature).

We were both a little concerned that it was going to be a way harder project than it ended up being. I think we expected the lye and water to crackle and have terrible fumes. J stirred it out on the back porch with a wooden skewer and I think it did burn the wood, but that was really it.
And then all of the recipes warn us to DEFINITELY, FOR SURE, CERTAINLY wear safety goggles, or you would most likely go blind because it would splash into your eyes and lye is used to clean drains, not eyes. Buuut we didn't have safety goggles so we improvised by having J wear my sunglasses while he slowly combined the stuff, and I backed far away so that it wouldn't splash into my eyes...yeah. Totally nothing happened.

We used the immersion blender to mix the oils and lye to "trace", which is a special time where it's the right consistency and could harden at any moment, but that was uneventful also.


We poured the soap into our mould (a plastic box), put the lid on, and left it in a cooler for a day (because the site said to wrap it in blankets but J didn't want to accidentally ruin any of his blankets). The cooler worked out. It kept the mixture warm longer, so that the reaction could occur. The next day we used dental floss to cut it into bars, just like cinnamon rolls (but less tasty). I wrapped them in paper because they were supposed to sit somewhere cool, on brown paper, separated nicely. And then we piled them back into the plastic box and put them in a cool closet for two weeks. At two weeks we flipped all of the bars. And now that it's been a month, we can start using them. For fun, for fun!


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Joe Brainard?

Today at work our library is loaning someone a book called Selected Writings, 1962-1971, by Joe Brainard. I'd never heard of him before. He has a website. It's in his memory, because I guess he died of AIDS induced Pneumonia. Sad. He was a famous artist, and he has a bunch of stuff at big famous art museums. He wrote a bunch of books, too.

Anyway, I like this book. I almost want to not send it out to the patron so that I can sit and read the rest of it. It's just little bits of writing that are random. Not random like the stuff from my modernism class last semester; this stuff still makes sense. It's just kind of wandering thoughts, which reminds me of my own.

Here are a few bits:


TREES (pg. 37)

Have you ever stopped to wonder what the world would be like without any trees? Just a big brown ball.

Do you know how many trees there are in the world? Nobody does.

There is nothing I love more than trees. Except people and flowers. (Some people, and some flowers.) Of course, not all trees are perfect either.


SICK ART (pg. 39)

Mona Lisa's smile often causes observers to overlook the fact that she has no eyebrows.

One skin specialist offered the suggestion that Leonardo da Vinci's model was suffering from a skin disease called alopicia. Alopicia is a skin disease in which one has no eyebrows.

On the other hand, many women in those days shaved their eyebrows and Leonardo da Vinci's model may have just been following the fad.

There is no doubt, however, that Rodin's "The Thinker" has bunions on both feet.

Today, with modern art, it is not so easy to spot diseases and physical disorders.

Many doctors, however, have noticed a strong relationship between various skin diseases and the paintings of Jackson Pollock.

Fungus infections are very common in the art of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.




from the section WHAT IS MONEY? (pg. 65, 66)

What is money? Money is what you buy things with. Today we use paper bills and metal coins to buy things with. But what did people of long ago use to buy things with?

Cows.

From the stories of Homer we learn that the ancient Greeks used cows to buy things with. "How many cows is this house?" a Greek man would say.

Cows, however, were not the only things people used to buy things with. The Chinese used fish. "How many fish is this house?" a Chinese man would say.

The American Indians used colorful beads to buy things with. "How many colorful beads is this tee-pee?" an Indian man would say.

Then as time went on people got tired of carrying around cows and beads and stuff and so they invented the metal coin much as we know it today.

Metal coins were fine for buying little things, but if you wanted to buy a house, or something expensive, it was very impractical. "How silly it is to be loaded down with all these heavy metal coins" they said. And so they invented the paper bill much as we know it today.

Even today, however, the natives on the island of Yap use large stone wheels to buy things with. Each stone wheel weighs 1000 pounds and will buy 10,000 coconuts.

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There is an old saying that money is the root of all evil. I would say that the root of all evil is money...and bad women.

And sometimes even good women.

I once read about a pastor's wife from upstate, a good woman, methodist, who won a cereal contest, bought a little printing press for Sunday school bulletins and song sheets, and ended up a counterfeiter. Rather than face ten years in jail she shot her husband in the head and jumped off the steeple.
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Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, founded the first bank of the United States. It was called "The First Bank of the United States".

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bird Update #2

Okay, this is a real update, with pictures from today.


The chickens are all doing really well. They are all still alive.
We've been getting 1-2 eggs every day. We ate that first egg, brought our second egg to J's mom, and I think I used one egg in a recipe that we made, but mostly they've just been accumulating in the fridge. On Sunday when we went to J's parents' house for dinner, his mom gave us a stack of egg cartons which she had been saving for a while, I think because she wanted chickens. (I think his dad is way happy that we got hens, because now his mom doesn't need her own.)

So I think we've had 18? eggs now. We're looking forward to when the other two hens start laying, because we have a long list of people we want to share fresh eggs with! We want to share with our families, J's neighbors (because we're not totally sure that it's exactly, technically legal to have chickens here, heh heh. BUT! Shining ray of hope: we were outside with the birds like, the day after we got the laying hens and the neighbor asked us through the fence if we had chickens. We of course said that we did. He said "cool." AND THEN! like a week ago, the same neighbor told J that someone down their street has a pig. So. We don't think he'll tattle.), our coworkers, our friends, etc.
This is Maude.
These are our four original chicks. They don't really look like chicks anymore; they just look like little hens. Gladys is the biggest. Gertie is the lighter of the dark ones. Maude is the darker of the dark ones.
They all get along really well. I often let the Delawares out to catch bugs and eat grass and do other fun things like that, and they really enjoy that. Occasionally I'll pull one of the chicks out and when the Delawares see that someone else is out and not them, they stand at the door to the chicken coop and peck at the wire. They can't stand to miss out. The dark Delaware does really well in the yard. If I come over to her, she sits down. So it's easy to catch her. The Araucanas do the same thing. The Buff Orpingtons (two blonde chicks) and the Barred Plymouth Rock (speckled black and white one) are slightly harder to catch. They don't sit down or totally cooperate with being caught, but they're not hard to collect, either.


The light Delaware and the little red hen (Red Sex Link), are the most difficult to catch. They run! I caught the little red hen to put her away today, and in the process I got my first chicken-related wound. She carved a 5" gash into my hand, and a 2" cut on my foot. Mean bird.

I wanted to take a nice, pretty, up-close shot of the little red hen, since she looked really dark in the other pictures on my phone (on the computer they look fine), and instead I ended up with an action shot of the carnage.

After I cleaned it with peroxide:


(Also, that's kind of a funny picture because it looks like I'm cupping the doormat in my hand.)

So anyway, in conclusion, the birds are doing well. We like our fresh eggs. The Delawares are laying pretty well, and the little red hen and the Plymouth should start laying sometime within the next couple weeks, we think. The chicks are feathering out very nicely and they're pretty calm, which is nice. They should start laying this fall.

They kept scratching at the food containers, so last weekend we got them a big automatic-filling dog food thing, and it works like a charm. We have it and the big automatic water dish on containers and now they're the perfect height to avoid being kicked/dumped/filled with wood pellets, etc.

Every time we go to IFA, I want ducks. They're adorable! Also, I want 40 more hens. This is becoming an addiction. I keep telling J that eventually we need to build a big chicken coop, and have a whole lot! of birds. He can't see any reason to. We will already have way more eggs than we need when our whole flock is laying.