Thursday, January 31, 2008

Don't talk to me about your New Year's diet

I found this article, and apparently can't reprint it. But I did. I mean, if I can email it to someone, surely this is fine.

MSN Tracking Image

Haiti's poor resort to eating dirt
Cookies made of dried yellow dirt become sustenance, livelihood, concern
The Associated Press
updated 5:43 p.m. CT, Tues., Jan. 29, 2008

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - It was lunchtime in one of Haiti's worst slums and Charlene Dumas was eating mud.

With food prices rising, Haiti's poorest can't afford even a daily plate of rice, and some take desperate measures to fill their bellies.

Charlene, 16 with a 1-month-old son, has come to rely on a traditional Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt from the country's central plateau.

The mud has long been prized by pregnant women and children here as an antacid and source of calcium. But in places like Cite Soleil, the oceanside slum where Charlene shares a two-room house with her baby, five siblings and two unemployed parents, cookies made of dirt, salt and vegetable shortening have become a regular meal.

"When my mother does not cook anything, I have to eat them three times a day," Dumas said. Her baby, named Woodson, lay still across her lap, looking even thinner than the 6 pounds, 3 ounces he weighed at birth.

Though she likes their buttery, salty taste, Charlene said the cookies also give her stomach pains. "When I nurse, the baby sometimes seems colicky too," she said.

States of emergency
Food prices around the world have spiked because of higher oil prices, needed for fertilizer, irrigation and transportation. Prices for basic ingredients such as corn and wheat are also up sharply, and the increasing global demand for biofuels is pressuring food markets as well.

The problem is particularly dire in the Caribbean, where island nations depend on imports and food prices are up 40 percent in places.

The global price hikes, together with floods and crop damage from the 2007 hurricane season, prompted the U.N. Food and Agriculture Agency to declare states of emergency in Haiti and several other Caribbean countries.

Caribbean leaders held an emergency summit in December to discuss cutting food taxes and creating large regional farms to reduce dependence on imports.

Dirt cookies become bargains
At the market in the La Saline slum, two cups of rice now sell for 60 cents, up 10 cents from December and 50 percent from a year ago. Beans, condensed milk and fruit have gone up at a similar rate, and even the price of the edible clay has risen over the past year by almost $1.50. Dirt to make 100 cookies now costs $5, the cookie makers say.

Still, at about 5 cents apiece, the cookies are a bargain compared to food staples. About 80 percent of people in Haiti live on less than $2 a day and a tiny elite controls the economy.

Merchants truck the dirt from the central town of Hinche to the La Saline market, a maze of tables of vegetables and meat swarming with flies. Women buy the dirt, then process it into mud cookies in places such as Fort Dimanche, a nearby shanty town.

Carrying buckets of dirt and water up ladders to the roof of the former prison for which the slum is named, they strain out rocks and clumps on a sheet, and stir in shortening and salt. Then they pat the mixture into mud cookies and leave them to dry under the scorching sun.

The finished cookies are carried in buckets to markets or sold on the streets.

An unpleasant taste
A reporter sampling a cookie found that it had a smooth consistency and sucked all the moisture out of the mouth as soon as it touched the tongue. For hours, an unpleasant taste of dirt lingered.

Assessments of the health effects are mixed. Dirt can contain deadly parasites or toxins, but it can also strengthen the immunity of fetuses in the womb to certain diseases, said Gerald N. Callahan, an immunology professor at Colorado State University who has studied geophagy, the scientific name for dirt-eating.

Haitian doctors say depending on the cookies for sustenance risks malnutrition.

"Trust me, if I see someone eating those cookies, I will discourage it," said Dr. Gabriel Thimothee, executive director of Haiti's health ministry.

Marie Noel, 40, sells the cookies in a market to provide for her seven children. Her family also eats them.

"I'm hoping one day I'll have enough food to eat, so I can stop eating these," she said. "I know it's not good for me."


Please remind me to not make a big deal about getting stuck behind people trying to turn left in rush hour traffic.

Snow Day?

Probably not. It's still raining here, but I think the wind has slowed down at little. Any kind of moisture will probably freeze tonight, though. Since the weather at seemed inclement this morning, I wore jeans to work. Watch out!

So last night Cody and I went out to dinner with one of his old roommates, and his wife. They were kind of an odd couple in college, and then kind of grew apart because of one's alcohol-soaked debauchery. I'm not even dramatizing it--that's just kind of what happened. But Robert spotted Cody at a stoplight a couple of nights ago, and followed him. I'm told he was also honking his horn and yelling his name. His wife, Cheri, was worried that Cody would call the police or something, but Cody took it in stride and was pretty happy about making dinner plans. (Cody? Unperturbed? Imagine that.) The two roommates seemed happy to be back together for a night. We had a good time catching up and just talking about our weddings, jobs (past and present), people from school, and stuff. We may have agreed to have a game night with them. That's right, kids. Robert no longer drinks himself silly and really enjoys Scattergories and Taboo, but not Scrabble because his wife won't let him cheat. Board games. I'll give you a minute to compose yourselves. But, yeah, aside from the gay overtones of the evening (Robert kept telling Cody how glad he was to see him, and I half-expected him to crawl into Cody's lap and snuggle with him. You know he's small enough to do it.) and driving home in sleet, it was a fun time. And Robert swears he never disliked me. That made me laugh a lot.

In other news, my youngest siblings are rocking out in terms of employment. Sara was recently named head teller at her bank (I wonder if she gets a nameplate now--nameplates are so cool to me!) and Levi should be making some really great stuff official next week. I really kind of don't want to talk about it for fear of jinxing him. But let it be known that I'm superexcited for Levi, and can be declaratively superexcited for Sara since her good news has already happened! Yay for those kids! And yes, "declaratively" is a real word. Firefox's spell check recognizes it and everything.

Cody's giving blood after work today. I want to walk on the treadmill tonight. And do some laundry--I want to have all of my underwear clean for when we lose power, which I'm pretty sure we'll do at some point tonight. But if I have clean laundry, it probably won't be out as long as it would if we had nothing but dirty clothes to wear. Don't laugh, you know you've applied this kind of 'logic' to other stuff.

But yeah, I really enjoy exercise. I don't like to run or do aerobics, though. Any kind of bouncing wreaks havoc on my not-so-great knees (thanks, Dad! I'm really grateful for getting your thighs instead of Mom's, too. Genetics are mean.) and my asthma (we can blame Mom for that one). And it just tends to make me cranky. But I miss walking. I miss feeling in shape. I'm still standing by my avowal to never do a stomach crunch again, which was made in the heat of hating Sally Wood's Body Sculpting class, which would have been all semester long because I couldn't move properly. I was rock hard all over, but I was so sore I could barely move. That was the worse class ever. Worse than Spanish II with Kristianson, worse than Biology, worse than Algebra. As hard as those classes were, none of them involved jogging or doing lunges or crunches until I almost cried. I also never had people in those classes asking that the teacher give us more work because they'd only been able to jog 50 miles that week and desperately needed more exercise and would love it if the rest of us weren't such big slackers. But yes, back to my love of being able to admire myself in a mirror. Our apartment has a little fitness center, and I've gotten on a treadmill twice this week and walked a couple of miles or so and felt happy. I can't wait for the weather to get a little less horrific so I can't walk and actually go somewhere because I kind of have a hard time not falling off the treadmill. I'll think I'll just stop writing on that note.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Blog... which I make it look like I don't love Cody (a collection of not-flattering photos).

Here are some great reasons to doubt Cody's awesomeness.
In this picture, he appears to be checking out my younger sister after she tried on a bridesmaid's dress. For our wedding. Smooth move.

Here, he's not being very good around animals. This dog clearly wants to bite his face. You know what they say about a man's character when animals and children don't like him.

This child doesn't like him. Cody doesn't appear to like the child, either.

Okay, this is a big one. You notice how the guy on the right looks a lot like Cody? Of course you've noticed--they're twins! I'm a little creeped out by clones, which is what identical twins are. Why did I go ahead and marry such a horrific distortion of nature? Because when we started dating, he told me that he and his brother had completely different personalities and were totally different from each other. He lied. By the time I'd gotten attached to him, I met the twin and realized that they had the very same gestures, ways of speaking, sense of humor, etc. And while they hold different views on some important things (like meat and God), they're pretty similar when it comes to other important things (like having the same frightened squirrel-like reaction to the mention of eye-drops). They're also both big fans of stuff like getting married, Saturns, pacifism, blondes, their family, and not being pet-owners. Their younger brother is in the middle and is also pretty similar. Craziness.

Now we get to the big stuff. You've already seen him with my sisters (he's always saying stuff like, "They're cute girls." Just what does he mean by that?!), but now here he is with my friends. For some reason, none of the pictures of him being too friendly with Kayla are at my disposal right now. We'll just have to make do with these.

Do not be distracted by Kelly's serene smile. I don't trust Cody's smile. Just look at him. He so wants to cheat on me.

Here, he seems to be checking out Jessi. Granted, everyone's done it at some point in time, but you'd think he'd learn to stop when people have cameras out. But no, not the presence of cameras, bridal gowns, nor deeply cherished childhood games will stop his lecherous gaze. He holds nothing sacred.

And despite the fact that you can nearly see his wedding band, it appears that Jessi holds nothing sacred either. Here she is, apparently about to feed him fudge with her bare hands. This looks like the kind of flirtatious, picnic scene that would befit an illustration in a Jane Austen novel. That quilt that's covering Jessi is ours. We registered for it together for our wedding registry at Bed, Bath & Beyond. [Begins to cry.]

She knows she has won and shoots me a look of skanky triumph as he passes out on her shoulder on New Year's Eve in our very own living room. This is just too much. I can't live like this. Cody is a jerk.*

*Cody's not really a big jerk. This was all just for fun. I am joking. I also do not worry about the affection Laine, Sara, Casey, Spencer, Kelly, Kayla, or Jessi have for him. Jeff will forever remain under my suspicion, though.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Music news

It's a standard Monday. I hope your weekend was nice. Mine was. Work is slow. We can't go down to IT at the moment, there's nothing more by way of replacement volumes that I can do, and I don't feel like putting my pictures back on the wall just yet. So I decided to mess around on google and look for more new about My Morning Jacket, the most awesome and hairy band ever. I had heard that they were releasing a new album on June 10, which I hoped and prayed was true because that would be amazing. I had also heard that it would be title Evil Urges, which I hoped and prayed would not be true, because it sounded like a Rob Zombie spoof. While that would hilarious and long overdue, that's not really what anyone would want to wait for for over two and a half years. So to google I went, and discovered that both things appeared to be irrefutably true. Okay, fine. Then I saw some pictures.

Some of you may remember my inconsolable heartbreak and dismay when Jim James (and, apparently, Two Tone Tommy, the bass player) cut his hair. He went from looking amazing to looking like an average, un-rock god with a nice beard. Now, the beard is gone. As I have discovered from my many guyfriends with beards (this distinguished category includes nearly all of my guyfriends--even my best guyfriend of all, Cody the Husband!), facial hair is good at covering facial fat. *Disclaimer: I am in no way advocating that thing that some particularly big guys do when they grow that line around their faces trying to create the illusion of a jawline. You're not fooling anyone. Please stop.* But a beard can do a great job of covering the fat. Everyone knows it's still there, but they don't have to look at it. And beards just look cool. I never figured I'd like them as much as I do now, but I'm a pretty big fan.

But there's a downside. When you get used to someone having facial hair--especially if you even like it and consider it a wonderful complement to his appearance--it's really weird when it's suddenly gone. It's worse than when someone takes off the glasses. When you go from bearded to barefaced, it's like your face is stark naked! And that's just awkward. Please note the terror and unhappiness in my face when Jeff shaved without warning.

It is with that in mind that I must tell you to brace yourself as we get into the picture portion of the blog. I'll try to go gradually so it won't be a shock to your system.

Here is a delightful picture from either 2006 or 2007. It's one of my favorites. Lots of hair, lots of beard, and a flying V guitar.

This was from Lollapolooza 07. No hair, but the beard's still there. Okay. That's workable. He still looks like a description of him I read in an article about the band. I don't remember the exact quote, but the author said something about with his flowing hair and beard, Jim James had the cherubic face of a cult leader. I thought that was great.

This is from October 2007. Oh wow. Double chin, mutton chops, and what appears to be the beginnings of an almost pompadour! How far the awesome have fallen!

This will not do. Seriously, not even insanity and poor taste could lead to something this grotesque to just happen. I can only take something this awful as a sign from God. America must stop buying albums from people like Amy Winehouse and Toby Keith and mopey little boys wearing girl pants that even Audrey Hepburn would find to be a little too constricting around the ankle or God will strike down even the most awesome of our rock heroes by giving them Grand Ole Opry hair (and not in a good way) and the facial hair patterns of 70s porn stars. We have done wrong. Please, please, please turn your hearts and minds back to what is right.

I'll just be over here, waiting in my sackcloth and ashes.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The More You Know

I moved back into my little cubby this morning. Having an office(and with it, a door. That I could close.) was fun, but now I'm back to my normal spot where I can eavesdrop on everything. I can hear stuff in all 4 offices next to me as well as anything happening in the reception area. I'll spend this afternoon rearranging stuff and putting up my pictures. But the computer is hooked up to everything once again, and Reta's printed out and distributed the new phone number list. The new attorney will be here Monday. I can now watch all of the ambulances and fire trucks out my window again. Cody and I had planned on having a little Barnes & Noble date tonight, but I don't know if it will happen now that the weather's a little ugly. If it's still icy tonight, I don't want to take the 40 minutes to travel the couple or so miles to get there while I ride my brakes behind some moron who should be at home, but must make the mad dash to a grocery store to get milk and bread. But we'll see. I really want to clean out the fridge and rearrange the coat closet. Don't judge me. Everyone has their hobbies. This just happens to be mine. I forgot what we planned to do tomorrow. Probably avoid the ice, if it's still existing. Maybe go to the store, assuming there's milk and bread there. Do laundry. Possibly take care of some paperwork, and try to compile receipts for tax deductions if I'm super ambitious (which means I'll probably just take care of some of those library books). Why am I trying to squeeze all of my weekend activities into one day?, you may ask.

Because I am going to the bridal fair on Sunday! Try not to be jealous. This is my third consecutive year to go, and this time it's for Alana's wedding! My second-ever bridesmaid experience is now scheduled for May 17, by the way. That's going to make planning a little more exciting. I'm pumped. I stopped putting pictures of my bridal self as a profile picture after about 6 months. I wish I'd done it a longer now, because I looked so good. That was such a great time. Weddings can be so exciting. I'm excited.

Okay, I just got a mass-email sent by the director saying all offices are closing at one. So I guess I'm going home, slowly making my way there behind the crawling people. Now you know what I'm doing this weekend.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Weekend

On Friday, Cody made some black beans and rice and Kayla came over and we watched TV and knitted. I got a headache, took some night-time Tylenol and slept for 14 hours. When I woke up, the dishwasher was running because I slept longer than Cody did on a weekend for (I think) the second or third time ever in our marriage. We eventually got ourselves up and about and went to Sarah and Robert's wedding shower at the Whole Hog Cafe. We played Present Bingo and ate barbecue. We got them a stock pot and a potholder. We saw Jessi's new car. I took no pictures because I forgot my camera. Then we went home and I took a nap for about 2 or 3 hours. I'd had a long week, and apparently it was Cody's turn to be the super-ambitious and productive spouse for the weekend. So I let him. He made a grocery list and worked out and put gas in my car while I, drooled on myself. We got groceries and rented Ocean's 13, which was fun. Then I slept about another 12 hours or so.

On Sunday, we ran some errands (dropping off film, obviously) and went to the Bennett house so Cody could use the Internet for downloading podcasts. We ate some chili, talked with Mrs. Dicy, discovered why Spencer's friend Dillon has so many stuffed animals in his closet, and then we were off to the Rumble in the Rock roller derby at Skate World (yes, they apparently still have skating rinks. That makes me incredibly happy.). We parked in the mud. Number of friends in attendance: Jen, Cody, Kayla (this was her birthday party, by the way!), Jeff, Alana, Brooke, Christina, Bryan, Brad, and Jessi. Jessi even made a sign for her friend, Amandamonium. Brad and Jeff also knew one of the players, Cocoa Booty. The team we were cheering for got beat. Brutally. The final score was something like 150 to 45. I still don't understand the rules of roller derby, but we all had fun. And I do know that you can cheer, but you shouldn't use a lot of language because a lot of the roller derby-ers are moms and their small children are usually sitting with the grandparents 5 feet from the suicide line (sometimes, the girls fall. Sometimes, the girls come flying at your face. If you sit on the suicide line [which is just tape outside the 'field'], you have to be over 18 and you're not allowed to complain if someone inadvertently rollerskates over you) . We saw a lot of, um, underwear. And ate lots of nachos with fake cheese. One girl hurt her ankle and got carried away by the EMTs on a stretcher. There were also sno-cones. It was good, exciting times all around.

Then everyone minus Jessi (she was housesitting) went to Cracker Barrel. Bryan tried to eat like a vegetarian and we laughed because that's rather difficult there. Stories were told. Food was eaten. We quickly ran to our cars when it was all over because the parking lot was freezing.

Another fun fact about Sunday: it was our anniversary. Cody and I have been together for 4 years. I had written it down in my planner, but I completely forgot about until we got home from the roller derby. I told Cody when we were getting ready for bed. (We still like being together, so there was no need to review or anything.) The discussion of our relationship went like this:
Jen: Did you know we'd be together this long?
Cody: Yeah.
J: Really? You thought we'd get married back then?
C: Well, I thought we'd date a long time.
"Because we liked each other."
"You knew I liked you back then?"
"Yeah" [Begins brushing teeth]
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because a guy never reveals his secrets."
"That makes no sense. And yes you do. Why?"
"Because insert plausible reason here." [Spits]

He's a funny man. I'm glad he convinced me to start going out with him. We really do enjoy spending time together. I'm glad I get to see him every day. I wish he would floss, though.

Here he is. My knight in shining armor.


Mom's little puppy. These pictures were taken January 5. He's probably twice this size now.

He's all wrinkly (above).He likes Cody.

He likes treats--look at his big hands!

Sit. Good dog.
He might grow into his ears. Or they just might give him superpowers.

Pictures from Levi's Birthday

Good job, Dallas

This all looks pretty fun, right? It was.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Playing Catchup

Oh, let's see...

Tuesday: I worked quite a bit and started to feel strange. Went home and realized--in the shower, no less--that I was having trouble seeing things. Hooray for my second ever ocular migraine, which was almost immediately followed by a real-live migraine. I camped on the couch for a good long while, on ibuprofen.

Wednesday: I sat in my dark, dark office (I have to enjoy it while I can) and worked in the painfully bright light of the computer screens. Found out that my performance review was good enough to warrant a little raise. A little raise is still a raise. I feel special. And still in pain. Go home to discover that Cody has signed up for some Aflac stuff that is already covered under our insurance. A mild argument ensues. It is settled when we eat frozen pizza because it's a documented fact that frozen pizza makes everything better. We went over to the White-Courington house to watch 28 Days Later.

Jason had told me I needed to watch it after we all went through the horrible ordeal that was I Am Legend (the love children of Gollum from Lord of the Rings and Willem Defoe would jump out of nowhere just to scare you, Will Smith went a little crazy, I had my entire body tensed up for nearly 2 hours, etc.), and I'd been meaning to see it for, oh, about 5 years now. So we watched that with Jason, Alana, Jason's cousins, and of course, Rosco. It was a pretty good movie, mostly because it had British accents and Cillian Murphy, who was naked repeatedly. That was actually kind of gross because he was pretty malnourished, and had been in a coma for about a month. So when I saw him lying nekkid on a hospital bed, the first thing I thought was, "He's not catheterized! He's been peeing himself all this time?!" and then I liked him a little less, even though it was just a movie. [sigh] But yes, 28 Days Later > I Am Legend.

Today: finished one project. Will start another after lunch.

Other stuff:
We're going to a wedding shower Saturday. I need to RSVP and get a gift. I need to RSVP for that wedding, too, now I that I think about it.

We will be having a small birthday party for Kayla Saturday evening.

Some of us are strongly considering going to a roller derby on Sunday afternoon.

I'm off Monday. I think I'll get my oil changed.

I'm pretty sure we have some other plans, too. But I don't remember what they are. I guess I'll be surprised when they take place. So that's what's been going on here. My headache is almost completely gone. Work looks like it won't be quite so hectic next week. Cody is trying out a new recipe tonight. That is all.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Weekend email?

Instead of my usual weekend review, I'm going to let you get caught up with everything through my emails with Laine this morning. Most of it is reproduced with her permission, and I've corrected some of the spelling errors.

From: Laine
To: Jen
Subject: Monday
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2008
08:14:10 -0600

Hello, have a good weekend? We didn’t do too much, but I guess it was fun. I don’t think we did anything Friday night, because I can’t really remember. We’ve been watching Prison Break, so I’m sure that’s what we were doing. Saturday David came over and he and Robert went to pick up the couches while I went to the bank, then we all went to Steak & Shake for lunch. After David left, Robert and I took showers and stuff, and we went and looked at apartments. We went to Mississippi, we found some really good ones. They’re about the same distance from where I work as our apartment is now. And if Robert starts working at Fed Ex, it’ll be closer for him. So we’re thinking about that. We’ve heard that MS has some weird taxes, so we need to check on that. Saturday night we went to Pei Wei, Best Buy and Target, just kind of running around. I got some new button up shirts for work, but I didn’t try them on, and they’re too big, so I need to take them back. We rearranged furniture for forever Saturday night, the living room is looking pretty cute now. Once we take that other couch back to Robert’s mom, it’ll look really good. It’s a little crowded in there right now. Sunday we slept in and didn’t go to church, again. We’ve got to get better about that. We watched the Cowboy’s game, they lost. Then we went to Wal-Mart and did some grocery shopping and that was it.

I would call it a nice boring weekend. Which is good, because this coming up weekend, we’re going to Robert’s, and they’re taking the wheels and tires off his truck and putting the factory ones back on, thank goodness. And I’m going to Jackson on Saturday to get my hair cut, so we’ll be pretty busy. How was y'all's weekend?

From: Jen
Sent: Monday, January 14
, 2008 8:41 AM
To: Laine
Subject: RE: Monday

Our weekend was pretty slow. We slept in on Saturday, ate lunch at the restaurant, visited Cody's grandma, and his family while he downloaded the stuff. Then we went to Wal-Mart and got decongestants, then I took down the hideous door thing I always complain about in front of our laundry stuff while Cody went to clean out his car (why doesn't he ever clean out my car? hmmmm) and when he came back we went to Target and bought a rod and shower curtain for the laundry spot and ran into a guy from school. Actually we'd seen him the entire time and didn't want to say 'hi' because he's the freakiest form of shiny happy exuberance ever, but we were going to have to walk right past him to get out the door so we went for it. Awkward. Incredibly awkward. Like, someone slept together awkward. [I would like to add that neither Cody or I have ever done anything even remotely inappropriate with Kendall Wagner, or his wife, who we'd just met. EVER.] Weird. Went home. I took a shower and we ate pizza and I talked to Levi on the phone and we watched more TV and went to bed. On Sunday we slept in (I took Nyquil the night before because I'm starting to feel sick-esque, but it might just be the cold weather.) and went to the grocery store and ran some errands. Jeff came over for soup. I didn't develop any film, sadly. I will tell you more stories throughout the day, but now I have to actually do some work because it's a replacement volume and I have to get some headway on it. Especially since Darlene gave me a pretty good performance review.

From: Laine
To: Jen
Subject: RE: Monday
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2008 09:07:05 -0600

Yeah, I’ve got work to do too. Sounds like your weekend was about the same speed as ours. David’s coming over for supper tonight, so that’s fun. We’re having poppy-seed chicken, I love poppy seed chicken. I put the chicken breast in the fridge last night to start thawing. I need to clean out my car, but I’m sure I won’t actually do it. There are about 6 or 7 empty water bottles in the floor, because I drink a bottle of water almost every day on my way to work.

Glad you got a good review, do you get a raise now? I’m sure you probably don’t, but that would be nice. Have fun with that replacement volume.

From: Jen
Sent: Monday, January 14, 2008 9:19 AM

To: Laine
Subject: RE: Monday

I somehow doubt it. The replacement volume's not so bad. And it gives me a good reason to sit in the office with the door closed so I can listen to my new My Morning Jacket CD. It's the one from 2001, 'At Dawn' and I've wanted it for a while. Cody got me that a t-shirt of theirs for Christmas, but the office said they didn't have it. We came home Friday to find it in the blue chair in our living room. It had sat in the office for nearly a month because the address on the label didn't have out apt. number on it. When we asked the chick about it Saturday morning, she said she finally looked up our last name in the computer (real detective work there). I was going to tell her to never come in our house again because the office has our cell phone numbers --even a note would've sufficed! Geez Louise. B & E for the sake of delivering a package we've gone without for forever is stupid. When maintenance people do it, they have to leave a note. But she seemed so flustered and scared and was annoying me so we just left. That's our Friday story. The CD's good. And I have attached a picture of the shirt. I have worn it twice.

From: Laine
To: Jen
Subject: RE: Monday
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2008 09:46:08 -0600

That’s a pretty cool shirt, I liked it. I would be crazy mad if the people from the apartment came in our house with out calling first. That’s got to be some kind of violation, even if it is the landlord or whatever. That is nuts. I can’t believe they didn’t even try to call first. That’s a pretty good story though. I wish I had my own little office, instead of being up here at the front. When do you have to move out of your office for the new attorney to move in?

From: Jennifer
Sent: Monday, January 14, 2008 10:08 AM
To: Laine
Subject: RE: Monday

I was freaking out. I thought maybe we had crazy stalker neighbors who were also planting hidden cameras--did I talk about the time someone knocked on our door one night, covered the peephole with their finger and when I opened the door, there was a UPS package that apparently someone had signed for? Yikes. Did that stop me from talking to myself while I was absolutely convinced someone was spying on us from within the apartment? Of course not. Got to put on a good show for the voyeurs. I am eating a new kind of breakfast bar because I found out the ones I had been eating had glycerin listed in the ingredients list. As in the song by Bush. As in soap. As in bombs. GLYCERIN! Yummy, yummy, yummy, in my tummy. Scary. Nonetheless, these new ones aren't that great.

The new attorney comes on the 28th (Monday). I plan to start moving my stuff over on the 23rd (preceding Wednesday).

From: Laine
To: Jen
Subject: RE: Monday
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2008 10:18:45 -0600

Um, yeah, someone covering up the peep hole, period, would really freak me out. I’m probably never going to stop talking to myself at home, so I seriously hope no one ever bugs our house, because they are going to hear a lot of boring stuff that they don’t really care about. And probably nothing pertaining to why they might have bugged the apartment in the first place. The guys that live below us have a lot of parties on the weekend, and we don’t really mind. It’s not really that loud in our bedroom, so it doesn’t bother me, and it’s only on the weekends, and they do always invite us. We’ve never gone, but whatever, they’re nice boys who help us when we have to carry something heavy up the stairs. Well Friday night I woke up at 2 because Robert was snoring. And while I was awake I could hear them outside on the little landing thing, and I’m still not sure what was going on, but it sounded like someone was having a fight, and doors kept slamming and all kinds of yelling and stuff was going one. But I couldn’t hear what they were saying or what was going one. I cannot tell you how much I wanted to get out of bed and go peek out the door. I knew I didn’t need to, but it was a crazy strong urge. I didn’t do it, and I’m still wondering what was going on.

From: Jen
Sent: Monday, January 14, 2008 10:36 AM
To: Laine
Subject: RE: Monday

I always want to get in the middle of neighbors' fights so badly. Mostly because I just want to know what's going on and then make it stop. Ugh. That's very nice of them to invite you guys. You should accept next time and find out the fuss was about this past weekend. I think I'll just repost these emails as a blog instead of doing my usual weekend review if that's okay with you. I'll take out your email address. Now, quick! Say something funny!

From: Laine
To: Jen
Subject: RE: Monday
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2008 10:37:04 -0600

I farted?

From: Jen
Sent: Monday, January 14, 2008 10:43 AM
To: Laine
Subject: RE: Monday

I laughed at that a lot, but still. You disappoint me. I'm going to pretend to work for a while if that's okay with you.

From: Laine
To: Jen
Subject: RE: Monday
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2008 10:53:40 -0600

Yeah that’s fine with me. I’ve been working in between emails. Don’t really put that part of the email in your blogs. Well, actually, I don’t really care if you do, but whatever.

From: Jen
Sent: Monday, January 14, 2008 11:39 AM
To: Laine
Subject: RE: Monday

I'm still debating [about leaving that part in]. I'm just listening to more videos on youtube now. I'm going to do a mix CD for Cody for Valentine's. It'll have to be recorded on tape because of the Saturn of course, but I can do that some Tuesday night when he's in class. Mostly just love songs that will make him roll his eyes. I can't find out who sings that song "Oh How Happy You Have Made Me" you know that one? I was thinking about it the other day and realized a lot of oldies would make the list.

From: Laine
To: Jen
Subject: RE: Monday
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2008 11:50:47 -0600

I don’t know what I’m going to get Robert. I’m sure we’re not doing real gifts, I’ll at least get him a card. A mix tape is a good idea though. I’m not sure who sings that song, but you’re right, oldies will probably be some of the best ones. They’ll prompt lots of eye rolling.

From: Jen
Sent: Monday, January 14, 2008 11:59 AM
To: Laine
Subject: RE: Monday

But they're the best! That's one of the happiest songs ever. Last year, I bought Cody a package of socks because he was almost out and the Shins album. Since I didn't think I'd be able to wrap it before he got home, I put it in the bag of socks. I was in the shower when he got home and he thanked me for the socks, and I told him we could listen to the CD on the way to work and he was totally confused. He thought the socks were all he was getting so he just left the bag by his chair where he could put on a new pair in the morning. Goober. He'll also roll his eyes because I put deliberately bad stuff on there. Usually Nickelback, but I think this time I'll do Avril Lavigne's "Hot." Those Canadians are always good for that sort of thing.

From: Laine
To: Jen
Subject: RE: Monday
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2008 12:01:20 -0600

Haha, that is a really good song. I don’t know though, I could see Cody really actually liking “Hot.” He’s weird like that sometimes. He’s liked some Fergie songs in the past. It's okay though, Robert likes Shakira, “Hips Don’t Lie.”

From: Jen
Sent: Monday, January 14, 2008 12:07 PM
To: Laine
Subject: RE: Monday

Everyone likes "Hips Don't Lie"!!! Jessi said she didn't like it one time and the table got really quiet. Cody's downloaded Avril songs before, but I don't think he likes that one. But it's so good! Ludacris's "What's Your Fantasy" will be put on there in all seriousness, though. Seriously. I've only done this 2 or 3 times, but the last time I included Jewel's cover of Fleetwood Mac's "You Make Lovin' Fun". I am open to suggestions.

From: Laine
Sent: Mon 1/14/08 12:10 PM
To: 'Jen'

Ooh, “Fantasy” is a good one. Hmm, I’m trying to think of some good love songs. And, sadly, I’m drawing a blank. I’m about to go eat my turkey sandwich, I’ll think on it for a while, see if I can come up with anything good.

Okay, well now you're all caught up on both of our weekends and our Monday morning. Any song suggestions? Yes of course I am considering lots of Elvis things even if Cody's not a big fan.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I went to the library yesterday....

....and then I got some books! Never mind that I've renewed Paradise Lost 4 times and still haven't even opened the book, I had some selections in mind and I went to the library after work and it was glorious. This was in spite of the fact that the parking lot is all torn up and parts of it are blocked off due to construction and that you have to drive through the exit because the entrance is really.....just not there any more. On the plus side, parking is free right now.

So. I checked out

  • Dune by Frank Herbert. Okay, I read the prequel trilogy that his son and this other guy wrote last year. It's a new year and I'm ready to start the series. This is very exciting.
  • The Company by Max Barry. About 2 years ago, I read a review of it that sounded pretty interesting and it's been on my 'Books to be read' list ever since.
  • The Biographer's Tale by A. S. Byatt. I love her. I'm just going through her books alphabetically by title now. This is the fourth (?) book of hers that I've read since Dr. Prewitt assigned Possession in British Novel (SP04).
  • A collection of 4 books by Philip K. Dick. Mostly, I just wanted to try out Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It's the book that Blade Runner is based on, and even though I really didn't like that movie at all, and Monica read the book and said it was a little disappointing, I think I'll try it out.
So what did I read last night? A book I already have--On the Beach by Nevil Shute. It's a ridiculously depressing account about what would happen if every nuclear bomb in the world was detonated over some misunderstanding and all you eventually had left were some little places in Australia waiting for radiation to reach them. Whee. I started it, so I finished it. Right before bed. I woke up just before the alarm went off this morning in the middle of a dream and when I realized it might be time to wake up and get ready, I thought something along the lines of "Why bother? They're going to die in 3-5 days anyway." I'm very certain about the 3-5 days part. Who I was thinking about, though, has since been lost. I'm glad that's over with. Because I feel a little nervous about carrying around library books in my purse (but not nervous enough to not bring them on long car trips with hotel stays), I'm carrying around The Golden Notebookby Doris Lessing now. It's slow going (at least for me). Because there are almost no new shows on right now (yes, I know American Gladiator has all new episodes--Cody made me watch part of it Sunday night), and I don't really care about other states' primaries, I think I'm going to be getting some more reading done.

So now you're a little caught up on what's going on with me, based on the books I've been reading/checking out.

Monday, January 7, 2008

In case you didn't know...

As defined by Arkansas Code § 27-20-101(4):

"Street or highway" means the entire width between property lines of every way or place of whatever nature when any part thereof is open to the use of the public, as a matter of right, for purposes of vehicular traffic.
I learned that today.


Here's what we did this weekend:
  • Played with Mom's puppy
  • Played with Levi
  • Drank coffee with steamed milk
  • Saw Grandmother, Mom, Dad, Sara, Levi
  • Went to Hastings
  • Decided to find a different church
  • Saw Mrs. Dicy and Spencer
  • Ate Chinese take-out instead of homemade soup
  • Did laundry
  • Went to the grocery store

I got bored

"How much would you pay for a dating/matchmaking service?"

I think most online sites are $40 a month. Not that I've been looking through these or anything, but I always think about whenever someone tries to lessen the burden of the lifelong debt they (and sometimes their parents) took on to go to college by saying, "But at least I met my spouse there." I've noticed a lot of women doing this, especially. Please stop. You would never spend close to $15,000 for 4 months of, etc. (At least I hope you wouldn't. Please don't.) Seriously, college is an institution of higher education. That's it. Yes, you make friends. Yes, you experience some degree of independence. Yes, you sometimes learn things. No one guaranteed marriagehood in the catalog. Go back and check if you don't believe me. It's nowhere in there. I don't know why I'm thinking about this right now, but I am. I was thinking about the few people I knew who got engaged while they were in college. In my little circle of friends at the time, the list included:
  • Erin
  • Elizabeth
  • Richard/Alma
  • Cody, also referred to as 'my husband.'
Of those four, Cody was the only one to meet his future wife in college. By the time he proposed, I had graduated. Erin met some guy online who turned out to be someone she'd known for years, and then married him almost immediately. (I'm kidding, Erin! But only a little. She did not waste time.) Elizabeth met some lovely guy either just before, or during her freshman year. She didn't get married until after graduation, though. Richard and Alma had dated since before college. I knew a few other people who got engaged while they were in college, but this was usually to someone who either lived Back Home, or went to school Somewhere Else. Now granted, University of the Ozarks has never really had a reputation as a marriage factory. For starters, they had too few prospects to match up. And yes, I do wonder what would've happened if I'd gone to school at Somewhere Else and hadn't met Cody. Would I have met him eventually? (Doubtful.) Would I have married someone else instead? (Possibly.) Would I have been as happy? (I have no idea, truly, but I always imagine that I wouldn't be. Cody's pretty great and I've gotten really attached.) But I remember being in high school and hearing people talking about how you may (should) meet your future husband in college, which was why it was so important to choose a good, Christian college and I just found it so..... creepy. It would be like appraising every new person you meet to see if he or she had the right attributes you were looking for in a spouse. That would be a heavy responsibility to carry around every day--wondering if you're making the most of every future-spouse-meeting opportunity. That doesn't seem fun. Studying and writing papers would feel like a fun break by comparison. Would you feel let down if you graduated with 'just' a degree? I still have no idea where I'm going with this.

My sister married a lovely guy she met in college. My parents met and married in college (although I'm loathe to use them as an example. Mom was 19 when they got married, which is something she always discouraged us from doing. She never acted like she thought it was a bad idea on her part, just that "things were very different back then." Levi just turned 19. I'm pretty sure he'll make it through the year unattached. Great job, Mom!). I know tons of people who met and married in college....just not my college. Oh wait, I just remembered one of my RAs. Sharon was my freshman year RA, and she was also the one to give me (and my entire family!) my first tour of Ozarks. Rattling off facts a mile a minute about the school's dozen name changes, convo credits, and the fact that she was only wearing pajamas because it was Pajama Day of homecoming week, the sophomore mentioned that she was engaged. She hadn't planned to get engaged when she went to school there, but she seemed happy that it had happened. Back in the car, although my parents noted her happiness, they told me I couldn't get engaged as a sophomore. Those strict homeschooling parents and their strict rules--what can you do?

For starters, I didn't get engaged as a sophomore. Or a junior. Or a senior. That showed them! I did meet Cody as a junior, though. I wasn't thinking about getting married. I was thinking about papers. And sleep. And passing my hardest class of the semester--bowling. God put the man I would marry literally right in front of me, from 1 to 2 every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday through the whole fall semester. And sometimes, we ate lunch or dinner together. I just didn't get it. (I may have been prevented from falling in love with him right then and there simply because Cody was sitting in front of me. I mean, directly in front of me. If he's ever sat in front of you, then I'm sure you know what I mean.) We were friends by the time we went home for Christmas break, but that was it (at least for me. I found out quite a while later that Cody liked me even then. Oh. How awkward.). We've been 'together' for nearly 4 years now. Maybe that's why I've been thinking about this. I had just turned 21 and Cody was 19. 19!!! Wow. Okay, he was just a few months away from his twentieth birthday. Poor little guy. Okay, he was bigger than he is now. He's so much more handsome now. Such a strange guy. So funny, so smart, so bizarrely confident, so full and ridiculous and useless trivia. I will be paying off my student loans for the next 10 years. My parents made some big sacrifices for me to go to Ozarks. I worked hard to keep my scholarships. My time there was not always pleasant. I wouldn't say that meeting Cody made it all worth it, but I would be sorely tempted to do so.

Dang it. Let's pretend like not saying it out loud makes me a reasonable person, though.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Various sundries, etc.

I woke up at 4:30 this morning. And then I stayed awake.

This may have had something to do with the fact that I fell asleep before 9. I had a full belly of pizza and ice cream, and then I passed out without brushing my teeth or washing my face. (I feel like a character in a cautionary tale for small children right now.) But I've been going to bed pretty early for the past few nights because it's been cold, which makes me tired, and there's nothing on TV, and I recently got a foam mattress topper thingy and it makes going to bed in our overcrowded bed the best thing ever. So I had about 8 hours of relatively uninterrupted sleep and then I was completely awake at 4:30. Alert, conscious, and worried about the wet clothes still in the dryer. Plus, Cody was snoring a little. So I decided to get out of bed. I used to get up at 5:30 all the time. There were plenty of fun things for me to do before it was time to get ready for work. So I threw on a robe and got up and made a pot of coffee. I switched the clothes over, and put another load of clothes in the washer so that Cody would have something warm to wear. Then I loaded the dishwasher and ran it. Both of those things violate the noise rules in our lease agreement. But I'm thinking if Cody was able to sleep through it in the other room, then surely it couldn't have been that big of a disturbance. (I hope.) The only time I managed to wake up Cody was when I got my camera out of our room. I had raised the lid on the desk and when I turned around, Cody was awake and staring at me. I felt a little silly. I just told him that I was awake and doing stuff and he should go back to sleep. He said he would and then he did.

I needed the camera so I could take a picture of our beautiful Christmas tree, which, yes, is still intact. Or, at least it was around 5 or so. I hadn't taken any pictures of it. So I took one with the lights in the living room on, and two where they were off. Then I started taking the ornaments and lights and garland off. It's a pre-lit tree, but I like to add a little extra. Fortunately, I didn't try to take off the 'attached' lights like I did last year. Ugh. Some of the boxes (like the one for the tree itself, and some of the ornaments) were in the storage closet. I briefly considered going outside and getting them but worried that the noise would wake up Cody. And I was wearing a robe and fuzzy houseshoes, which are great, but don't do a lot to protect one from below-freezing temperatures. So now all that's left is the tree itself and 4 or 5 ornaments. And I'm going to put the wrapping paper in the closet. I drank lots of coffee and folded clothes and tidied up the apartment a little. I wanted to vacuum because the garland had shed everywhere, but again, there was that noise concern. Besides, I should probably wait until the tree is packed up and put away.

The alarm eventually went off and I woke up Cody and took my shower and started getting ready for work. Those extra two hours were nice. They're not something I plan to make a habit of, but they were nice for doing the majority of my de-Christmasization efforts. Cody griped a little because he thought I had washed some shirt he wanted to wear and I hadn't and then I told him to be nice to me because I'd gotten up and done pre-dawn laundry for him. We both knew that wasn't my motivation, but still. I'm a little sleepy now, but it's just after lunch, which is usual. Aside from taking the wrong exit off of the interstate this morning, everything's normal (and I got to work a little early in spite of it).

In other news:
  • I'm writing thank-you notes. I'm getting a late start on it this time. Normally, I have most of them out of the way by New Year's Eve. I've written one so far. It was to Dallas, and since he's 6, I decided to write in print instead of cursive.
  • Writing in print (legibly) is excruciatingly difficult and makes my hand tired, almost to the point of pain. I can't believe anyone writes in print past the third grade.
  • We're getting a new attorney at the end of this month, which means I'm moving out of my office and back into my little corner. So no more windows I can open or doors I can shut. It was fun while it lasted, though.
  • We're back to working on the scanned acts from sessions before 1987 again. We took a little break for Christmas.
  • I will most likely be going to bed early again tonight.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

First Post of 2008

Well, it seems like I should say something about New Year's.

On New Year's Eve, all bureau offices closed at 3:30. I found out via email at 3:09. When you have that little notice, it seems more like a shock than a pleasant surprise. Good thing I wasn't doing anything important. Or anything at all. I got home early, as did Cody. We met up with friends at Sekisui, which is a hibachi place. I love the food, but I don't really care about the chefs. Yes, they're impressive, but please don't do everything but shout, "Look at me!" while twirling a spatula. A spatula of all things! If Cody called me into the kitchen every time he chopped up something and expected applause.....well, we probably wouldn't be married anymore because life is far too long for that kind of tedium. But the food and company were both excellent. One of the main reason we were getting together (aside from the festivities of New Year's Eve of course), was so that we could meet Lynn's special gentleman friend, Nathan before he saw everyone screaming at the Cotton Bowl on TV on New Year's Day. So we met Lynn's special gentleman friend, Nathan, and her brother, Harry (okay, some people had met him, but some of us hadn't), and his friend, Jeremy. It was a wonderful time, and we didn't want it to end there at the restaurant. Well, Sarah and Robert did, but they had somewhere else to be. So they left, and the rest of us decided to go to Coldstone because it was Jeremy's birthday.

We got to Coldstone to discover that they were closing in 10 minutes. New plan: we buy some quarts of ice cream and a cake and take it back to mine and Cody's apartment, which is so nearby that Cody ran over there--literally--because we realized that we'd left things kind of messy after we invited people over there. So while Cody was hiding the dirty laundry, Lynn, Alana, and Harry bought food. Also, Jeff had once again had a full pitcher of sake, which made him a, and Cody had had two fruity mixed drinks, which led him to give Jeremy a full-frontal hug as a birthday present. We learned two things that night--one drink is apparently Cody's limit (it's really all my CoC personality can handle, anyway) and side hugs really are for friends. So we went to the apartment. Alana put candles in the cake and we sang "Happy Birthday." We ate ice cream and ice cream cake and drank a little coffee and played games and reviewed the good things about 2007. Here's a recap.

Jen: I got a real job and my sister got married to a guy we really like.
Cody: this is terrible. I forgot what he said. I think we told him he couldn't tell us his favorite part of 2007 because Jeff already said it.
Jeff: Bill Mallonee played a wonderful house show in his living room and told him he had great friends. Well, obviously.
Alana: got engaged. We had to look at the ring again. It made our eyes hurt a little. But in a good way.
Lynn: made it through her first year of divinity school at Duke, and started dating her special gentleman friend, Nathan
Nathan: became an uncle, made it through his first year of divinity school at Duke, and started dating Lynn
Jessi: got a job she loves and saw John Mayer in concert again
Brad: quit working at Michaels. Yes, that really is what topped his list
Harry (who graduated from seminary and got a job as a preacher in 2007): saw the headless person who was still alive at the Kentucky state fair
Jeremy: was able to keep his amazing scholarship, has a job waiting for him when he graduates, and got a call about 20 minutes till midnight and found out his family's Labrador had puppies on his birthday. The puppy factor is what convinced us that he was having the best year ever.

We turned on the TV at about 5 till midnight and mocked Carson Daily and, inexplicably, A-Rod. We watched the ball drop and everyone left shortly afterwards because it was late and we were ready to go to bed, except for Jeff. He had to work from 1 till 7. But, yeah, the rest of us went to bed. I left the icing in the carpet for another day.

New Year's Day started out well enough. I woke up, showered, and got dressed. Then I persuaded Cody to do the same. Then we went to the White-Courington house. I missed the turn for their road 3 times. No, it's not the hard to spot. Yes, I have been to their house dozens of times. Once we got to their house, and I filled a glass with just ice and tried to drink it, we realized I may have been a little more tired than I realized and that Cody would be doing the rest of the driving for the day. Jason had gotten a projector with his Christmas money. He said he wanted to buy himself something cool that he didn't need. He succeeded admirably. I want to watch an action movie over there now. So we watched the Hogs lose all blown up on the living room wall. Lynn and Nathan had decided to watch the game with her parents. It was probably better that way. We yelled and were sad a lot, in spite of the food and the always-delightful antics of Rosco. Except for Jeff, who spent much of the game asleep on the floor. Good for him.

So we all left pretty abruptly as soon as the game ended, even though we should have stuck around to help clean up. We went to Cody's mom's house so he could download some stuff. I hung out with him for about 5 minutes and got bored. So I went downstairs and read magazines on the couch and listened to Spencer's band practice in the garage. That wall between the den and the garage really does not block the sound at all. Hmmm, that did not help with my attempts at napping. But yeah, they have a myspace now, so you should probably add them as friends. Just do it. They won't clutter up your bulletin space with that many bulletins or anything. Support local music, etc. etc. etc. They seem like nice boys. That's a lie. I have no idea if they're good people or not. Well, Spencer probably is. He got us a great toaster for our wedding present.

Then we went home. I remember telling Cody I would maybe go with him to see Walk Hard: The Legend of Dewey Cox and then recanting. I hate going to the movies. It's expensive, it's loud, and it's not as fun and cheap as renting a movie. And the refreshments are overpriced. And I'm cheap. And a bit of a germaphobe. And it's cold outside and and the holidays are finally over and I'm ready to just stay home because I can, as opposed to going out every other night and having fun because I have to. But I told Cody he could go if he wanted to and he said he didn't want to go by himself. So please, if you're reading this, make a date with Cody to go see a movie some time. There's about 5 or so out right now that I just can't make myself want to watch. Bleh.

So. We put in a DVD and cleaned up the house a little. I organized the desk in our bedroom, which was pretty much exploding with junk and got the icing out of the carpet (seriously, how did you manage that?!) while Cody made dinner. It was seven vegetable couscous, except we couldn't find some of the stuff at the grocery store, so it was just five vegetable couscous. He chopped up vegetables and did not make me go in the kitchen to watch him. What a pleasant guy. Dinner was great and we had enough left over for both of us to take it to work as lunch. I fell asleep in the floor before 8something. I went to bed and went to sleep at 9:15. Then I didn't want to get up when the alarm went off this morning. Going back through the events of the past couple of days (and the way I wrote about them) has convinced me: I am apparently 78 years old. And a cranky 78 at that.

Which reminds me: I'm really looking forward to my big plans tonight--taking down the Christmas tree and laundry! Wheee. 2008 is off to an amazing start....