Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Is there such a thing as too much pizza?

You know you’ve probably had too much pizza when….

1) You’ve only lived in an area for 2 short months, and you already have the number for the pizza place memorized.

2) Your husband goes to pick up the pizza at said pizza place, and they say, “I remember you…you’re in here a lot.”

I wonder if they also remember that we always buy the pizza with a coupon (why pay full price?), so they remember us not just as frequent-pizza-eaters, but as cheap-frequent-pizza-eaters.

This would probably be enough for most rational people to swear off pizza for a while. But, not us. Next time I’ll just have to send Husband out for pizza with a fake name and a disguise…

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Reason to Smile

My mom is not usually the first in line to try new technology. But, once she does give it a try, she becomes an overnight convert, embracing it with devoted fervor.

It first started with e-mail. She was a little reluctant and unsure about it. But when she figured it out, my inbox would never be lonely again. In fact, we communicated almost entirely through my college years through daily (usually multiple times a day) e-mail. (Except for my crisis of the week, which could only be handled on the phone.) I’m not complaining at all about the volume of her e-mail. I think we learned a lot about each other and our lives through them, and she thoughtfully made me a binder with a print-out of the highlights after I graduated.

Then, soon after, she discovered free Blue Mountain e-cards. Though I have no evidence to prove it, I know she became their most loyal customer. She sent cards for the obvious occasions (birthdays, holidays), but she’d find cards for more obscure reasons, too. I passed a test? I had a card with jumping frogs to congratulate me. I was feeling sad? There would be a card with dancing mice that said “cheer up.” Sadly, blue mountain starting charging for their cards. (Maybe my mom drove their costs up? Kidding, Mom!) But her greetings still came in the form of tried-but-true e-mail.

Her most recent technology trick she’s found is courtesy of Smiley Central. Really, I think my dad inadvertently downloaded it, but she found it on their computer. And her e-mails will never be the same again. If you’ve never heard of Smiley Central, it’s a program you can download that has a variety of smile icons you can add for emphasis to your e-mail. And if you think the smiley only comes in the form of the traditional yellow face and smile, you are very mistaken. There are perhaps thousands of smileys, expressing virtually every emotion possible, in every color and shape imaginable. Some are animated, and some even have audio clips saying certain phrases. I joked with her that she could probably compose an entire e-mail with just smileys. (And she did, which made me laugh.)

I love her e-mails and her smiles - those in e-mail form, and, of course, her real ones. I look forward with excitement to the next technology hurdle she leaps. It might very well be adding her comments to my blog posts (she hasn’t mastered that yet). But you’ll know it when she does. You’ll see quite a bit more comments saying, “Bravo!” and “Yay, Tootie!” And that makes me smile.

Not Dying to Run

I’ll admit it. I’m a little intimidated about the idea of running a marathon. But, something I recently read didn’t help.

I picked up a book from the library about marathons. It’s the second one I read, and it has most of the standard stuff: training schedules, nutrition advice, setting goals, etc.

Everything seemed normal until it got to a very disturbing history lesson. The first marathon started in Greece. (I remembered that.) The marathoner was running to deliver a message from Marathon to Athens. (Sounds about right.) Oh, and then he collapsed and died right there of exhaustion! (What?! Yikes!) And, he ran only 24 miles - not the now-standard 26.2!

The funny part was the book tried give a reassuring “don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll be fine” after just explaining how the inadvertent founder of the marathon croaked after his own run.

Well, I can’t say that it’s good to find out that one of your new hobbies has the pesky side effect of death. In fact, if I had discovered that the first blogger died right there in front of his computer, I might still be writing with only a pen and paper. (I’m sure the first blogger is alive and well, though. But, if you don’t believe me on the first marathoner, you can read about his fate here.)

Don’t worry. I’m still planning to run the marathon. The history lesson actually made me laugh – only because it’s probably the last thing you’d want to hear as an intimidated yet hopeful marathoner.

Regardless, I’ll probably stick to reading this book, a very funny book that includes the word “nonrunner” (very fitting for me) in the title and makes no reference to anyone dying. It does, however, mention the side effect of toe nail loss, which is also disturbing but I think I can handle it. At least I won’t have to worry about getting a pedicure!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

You've Got Fan Mail

I love getting our mail everyday. It’s always exciting to see what might be waiting for us in our mailbox. Recently we got the Star Wars videos that I won on eBay (at a bargain price of $5, I might add) for Star Wars 101. The week before we got an unexpected refund check from our old mortgage company. And not too long ago we got a nice note from an old friend.

But nothing quite compares to what was in our mailbox yesterday. Husband got, no joke, some bonafide fan mail! I don’t know who was more excited – me, or me!

It was a type-written note from an aerospace engineer who “read with interest” the story about Husband in an aviation magazine. (Huh? Husband was in an aviation magazine? How did we not know about this?)

He thanked Husband for his military service. And he kindly requested that Husband take the enclosed paper with him in the jet sometime. The paper had a place for Husband to write the date of the flight, and it conveniently had a self-addressed stamped envelope, so Husband could drop it in the mail. The man explained in his letter that he collects memorabilia flown on military aircraft.

Husband shrugged the whole thing off as no big deal. But how often does someone (besides anyone with a Hollywood address) get genuine fan mail? I did once. It was from Publisher’s Clearinghouse saying that I might already be a winner. But I wasn’t, so I guess it wasn’t fan mail.

Husband is planning on taking the man’s (I mean, “fan’s”) paper with him on an upcoming flight. And he wrote a very nice note thanking him for his kind letter. (Ok, so I wrote the letter. But, don’t tell the fan…)

I still think the whole thing is exciting. It’s nice to know that someone took the time to thank him for his service and took a risk in asking for the small favor. And it’s equally nice to know that I’m married to someone that would take the time to honor his simple request.

Really, I’m just excited to find out that I’m married to a celebrity. Too bad that his celebrity status still doesn’t exempt him from having to take out the trash.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

High Five

I reached one of my first running milestones last week. (But not the first - that honor is reserved for being able to stay on the treadmill without falling off.)

I ran five miles!

Running. Five miles. At one time. I won’t think about how running a marathon will be more than five times that amount. (But I will think about how I just impressed myself with that quick math. ;)

My intention that day was to make it only to three miles. But I actually felt ok, so I made it to four. And then to five!

I couldn’t help but let out a small smile. Even though smiling or laughing must clearly be against the rules of the gym, since most people look gloomy fitness zombies. (Strangely, though, grunting and groaning are allowed at the gym, especially for large, obnoxious men.)

I know I’m not the only one. There are plenty of people out there that are walking, jogging, and running their way to meet their own goals. This virtual high five is for you, too!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It's a Deal

I’ve learned lots of new things about Husband since we got married. But, the most recent thing I’ve learned is courtesy of NBC’s Deal or No Deal.

We sat down to watch it, and, like most couples, debated whether the contestant should take the deal. But that’s where the similarities end.

Husband then morphs into a human computer, calculating out loud a stream of probabilities, percentages, and ratios. He scribbles dollar amounts and occasionally uses a calculator for a more precise calculation. I could go on about how I think that any activity that requires a calculator nullifies the activity as “fun,” but for now, I’ll focus on Husband’s newly introduced talent.

He’s usually pretty accurate (almost frighteningly so) at predicting the banker’s offer. If I didn’t know he was a pilot, I would guess that he was a mathematician – or maybe even a fortune teller.

So, now when I watch the show, I have double the entertainment: the drama of the show itself and the antics of my husband turned human calculator.

Plus, I have the confidence of knowing that if I’m ever a contestant on the show, my husband will be there standing by - calculator in hand. Sounds like a good deal!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Running Smoothly

It appears that I haven’t come to my senses, so I’m still continuing with my crazy running plans, that eventually include running a marathon in the fall.

My training is going surprisingly well. Although, truth is, I’m not actually in the real “training” phase yet, but I’m doing a lot of running and sweating. So I call that training. And, I call it a first victory, since I’m actually running (in situations where I’m not being chased).

I’ve already noticed a few small perks from this running thing.

- After I run, I feel energized. I suppose that is the consolation prize for being disgustingly sweaty and stinky. But, I admit, it’s a decent consolation prize.

- I’m toning up a bit. Although, not as much as I originally thought, since Husband corrected me that the “rock hard” ab muscle that I thought I had gained was actually just my rib. (I secretly wonder if it was necessary for him to pay that close of attention during anatomy class…)

- I now can get items that I forget during check-out at the grocery store in a very quick manner. Earlier this week, I realized I forgot the mayo when I was in line. The cashier told me it was in aisle 12, and I sprinted there and back. I got the mayo, and the lady behind me in line didn’t have to wait too long. Success.

- I have a real hunger (and a wonderful excuse) to eat more after burning all those calories. This alone might be incentive to keep me going, since eating might very well be my favorite hobby.

So, for these reasons and more, I’ll keep running. Running after my goals of completing my marathon - and getting my defined abs (or ribs).

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Nanny?

Husband remarked that it would be nice if we had our own nanny, and I agreed. It’s not a bad idea – for people that actually have kids, of course. Though Husband and I have adolescent tendencies, we do not actually qualify as children. We don’t even have pets, and we’re barely sustaining a living plant.

But he mused about how a nanny might make our life easier. The nanny might do some extra cleaning around the place. We might actually eat healthier meals. (Especially since I recently learned that carry-out pizza does not fall under the category of health food.)

For me, I thought that the nanny might tell me with a “tsk, tsk” when I’ve been on the internet too long. Or when I should tackle the laundry basket overflowing with dirty clothes.

Then I realized that we do have a small nanny, in the form of my nagging conscience. She surfaces occasionally reminding me to turn off the TV and turn on the oven, or nudging me to buy some vegetables at the grocery store. But, she doesn’t come around often. And it’s no wonder – I’m not paying her enough. In fact, I think she might be on strike.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Birthday Wishes

Happy Birthday! (You know who you are.)

May your year be full of….cups nearly overflowing with coke (and the appropriate amount of ice), good weather days, hot dogs and/or corn dogs with ketchup, thrilling video games, lazy afternoons (with corresponding naps), clean cars, lots of science shows, a few new CDs, long showers, short(er) work days, many laughs and no worries.

You deserve it all and more!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Going Red

It was something I always wanted to do. And I had run out of excuses, so I had no choice but to finally give in. I went red.

I’m not sure where this hidden desire to be a redhead came from. Maybe it’s from all those sayings I’ve heard about redheads being fiery and feisty. (And what girl doesn’t want to be a little fiery and feisty?)

So I bought a bottle of hair dye (going with a non-committal, “washes out in 28 shampoos” type), channeled my inner redhead (Lucille Ball? or maybe, more realistically, little orphan Annie?), and dyed my hair red.

Or should I say, I tried to dye my hair red. I think, more accurately, I dyed my towel red. And the shower, too, which looked strikingly similar to a scene from a horror flick, with drops of looks-just-like-blood dye running down the sides of the shower.

Amazingly, some of the dye actually clung to my usually-brown hair. And don’t get me wrong, the color was subtle. So subtle, that Husband suggested that we go outside so he could inspect it in the sunlight.

“Wait….turn your head a little….oh yeah, I think I see some red.”

I guess the more accurate synopsis of the whole event is: “I dyed my towel and shower red, leaving some very subtle glints of reddish tones in my hair.”

By the way, I’m not sure how they calculate that it lasts for “28 shampoos.” Were the test subjects actually using water and real shampoo each time?

I figure the red won’t last more than 2 more shampoos (yes, real shampoos with water and suds). I guess that leaves me with the memory of my somewhat reddish locks – and a once-white, pink towel.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Uninvited Guests

Husband and I have had quite a few guests recently. Uninvited guests, that is. So you think they would be on the best behavior, right? Nope.

They go where they please, at times, interrupting our dinner and/or TV-watching. They have no regard for our space. And worst of all, three of them actually bit me!

They’re tiny. They’re quiet. They’re ants.

I never thought too negatively of ants. (Maybe I had seen “A Bug’s Life” one too many times….which now I’m thinking, must be ant propaganda.) Most of them I had encountered were pretty benign.

But, never had I actually had an ant bite me! The bites actually hurt. I yelped when the first unexpected attack hit. And worst of all, they itch for days worse than any mosquito bite. So far, they’ve struck at my feet, helpless and bare most of the time. One bite was so bad (my scratching didn’t help) that my foot started to resemble one of Godzilla’s.

So, in addition to wearing socks, Husband and I are on ant alert. Any we see is immediately assaulted with a book, shoe, or another nearby weapon. We have some ant spray, but I usually feel like it’s doing more damage to our own lungs than the tiny insects that we’re targeting.

The war is on. Yet, I can’t help but feel that they’re still winning somehow. Excuse me while I scratch my foot…

Saturday, January 5, 2008

It’s a Zoo

It was a perfect day for a trip to the zoo. Sunny and really warm - even by summer standards.

We paid our admission, and, with just a few steps, we had truly entered the wild. We were surrounded by squawking birds, jumping monkeys, roaring tigers, plus a vast menagerie of rowdy toddlers and other hyperactive children. Simply navigating around the zoo was a challenging task. We weaved around strollers, and avoided near-collisions with runaway children and the frazzled parents that followed.

The trip was entertaining, though. We watched with curiosity and humor the wild creatures within the exhibits – and the equally fascinating creatures outside of the exhibits, too.

We left feeling satisfied. Yet, simply watching parents chasing after their children made us exhausted – and nearly convinced us that we might sooner adopt a spirited monkey before a spirited child. It might just be more fun than a barrel of…well, you know.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Classes and Books

I think I’m in for some challenging classes this term.

I stacked my books for Master’s classes, and they nearly reach my knee. My brain will definitely get a work-out, and so will my arms from lugging the books back and forth to the library for some distraction-free studying.

Too bad more of my classes aren’t like Star Wars 101. There’s popcorn for every class and no tests. (Oh – and the professor is a total hottie! ;)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Star Wars 101

I decided that it had gone on too long – not knowing who (or what) Obi-Wan Kenobi is or why everyone uses phrases like “may the force be with you.”

Somehow I skipped out on the required viewing of Star Wars – any of the movies – as a child. I don’t know much about sci-fi (nor am I a fan), but I know enough that I was at least missing out on a key part of American culture.

So I enrolled in Star Wars 101 last night. Husband was the professor patiently answering my continuous stream of questions as we watched the first (The Phantom Menace) and second (Attack of the Clones) movies. Some questions required only brief answers (Husband: He’s a good guy – see the light saber?), but others required we stop the movie so he could give a longer explanation to end my confusion (Husband, sighing: See, that guy used to be a Jedi, but now he’s bad. And, no, we don’t know why he’s doing that). Not only did I get a healthy dose of Star Wars literacy, but I also gained a renewed admiration for Husband who never complained during my most-annoying questioning that interrupted just about every scene of the movies.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far: 1) The movies are a little corny, but quite good. They’re definitely well-worth watching. 2) The music is just as good, if not better. 3) Yoda is my favorite character. (Or, as he would say: My favorite character, yoda is.) 4) I’m glad we are watching them at home (instead of in the theater) or I would have annoyed every movie-goer with my constant talking. 5) The stories happen “a long time ago…” (…in a galaxy far, far away…), yet everything seems so futuristic.

We still have four movies left, which equals about 8 more hours of movie-watching and at least hundreds of more questions.

I have faith that Husband will be able to answer all my questions, except this one: why didn’t I watch these movies a long time ago?