Saturday, February 28, 2009

Game Night!!

I hosted a game night last night and it was a huge success! I sent out an invite via email (standard in our group of friends) on Tuesday. Three people responded immediately with RSVPs and then I heard from no one else. I figured, hey, five or six people is a good number for a game night, increases the variety of games available, that it would be fun, but I thought it was weird no one else responded.

Friday morning, the same day as the game night, the RSVP count rapidly increases. 2 more. 4 more. 6 more. 7 more. As it turns out, out of the 12 people invited, 11 had been planning to come, its just that only 3 RSVPed properly. I think this story is both annoying and highly amusing. I am glad everyone could come and we had an awesome time, just wish I had known sooner!!

Anyways, after a quick round of a game called Rorschach, we ended up playing a giant game of Apples to Apples the rest of the night that grew more and more amusing as the wine, ingredients for Mimosa's, and leftover Super Bowl beer disappeared. It was a lot of fun and we had some brilliant "create your own" cards played. Eventually the game devolved into four of us playing and everyone else wrestling with the dogs (plural because our guests brought Grim a playmate), and then broke into Rock Band. Besides the fact that Gandalf ended up locked in the Sun Room overnight, everyone had a good time and got home safely.

On a side note, during the game, when it was my turn to judge, someone played the card "rappers" on the adjective incompetent and my response was "Rappers are not incompetent! I like Eminem", which produced surprise from the group, so I though I would take this opportunity to openly declare my fandom for Eminem. I think he is a great artist. While a lot of rap is neither musical nor intelligent, and much rap embraces stereotypical themes like sex, gang life, and money, I find Eminem to be a great exception. His music is interesting, the lyrics are clearly spoken and have high poetic value, and he takes on all sorts of very serious topics including things like the love for his daughter, dealing with his daughters mother, growing up poor, and many political issues, and yes I am sure it helps that I agree with his politics. So, I like Eminem. I find his music engaging and honest. With that in mind, here are some select Eminem Lyrics for you:

"I remember back one year when daddy had no money
Mommy wrapped the Christmas presents up
And stuck 'em under the tree and said some of 'em were from me
Cuz daddy couldn't buy 'em
I'll never forget that Christmas I sat up the whole night crying
Cuz daddy felt like a bum, see daddy had a job
But his job was to keep the food on the table for you and mom
And at the time every house that we lived in
Either kept getting broke into and robbed
Or shot up on the block and your mom was saving money for you in a jar
Tryna start a piggy bank for you so you could go to college
Almost had a thousand dollars till someone broke in and stole it
And I know it hurt so bad it broke your momma's heart
And it seemed like everything was just startin' to fall apart"
- Mockingbird

"And as we proceed to mosh through this desert storm.. in these closing statements, if they should argue, let us beg to differ.. as we set aside our differences, and assemble our own army to disarm this weapon of mass destruction that we call our president for the present.. and mosh for the future of our next generation.. to speak and be heard.. Mr President.. Mr Senator.." - Mosh

"Yeah you laugh till your ass gets drafted
While you're at band camp thinkin the crap can't happen
'Til you mess around, get an anthrax napkin
Inside a package wrapped in Saran Wrap wrappin
Open the plastic and then you stand back gaspin
Assassins, hijackin Amtraks, crashin
All this terror, America demands action
Next thing you know, you've got Uncle Sam's ass askin
to join the Army or what you'll do for their Navy
You just a baby, gettin recruited at eighteen
You're on a plane now, eatin their food and their baked beans"
- Square Dance

Friday, February 27, 2009

Book Clubs and Dreams

I went to two book clubs this week!

First, on Wednesday night I went to "Classics and Cocktails" at a local wine bar. The meeting was relatively small, but the company was good and the wine was wonderful. The founder of the book club did an excellent job picking some Spanish wines to pair with The Sun Also Rises. We did not talk as much about the book as I expected to, perhaps next time I will bring or suggest discussion questions to spark conversation.

Then, last night (Thursday), I went to the ordinary book club that I have been in for a very long time. The location was sort of a strange coincidence- a part of Columbus I did not even know existed until I helped a friend move into the vicinity a week or two ago. As I have mentioned, this book club was about David Sedaris' Engulfed in Flames. I found myself being much more amused when remembering certain stories than I was when I first read it, a sign perhaps that the reason I did not fully enjoy it was because unreasonable expectations. Anyways, the food was delicious and the conversation was a lot of fun.

Very strangely, and somewhat amusingly, last nights book club lead to a very strange dream. Very strange indeed. I dreamt that my family (parents, siblings, and I) were moving, and when we got to the new house it was in the same neighborhood as bookclub was held last night, in fact the property we were buying touched the property of the girl who had book club. However, the house was very strangely situated, it was very close to another house and the property did not touch the street - you had to cross other peoples property to get to it! Also, the lot seemed very very tiny, much smaller than we expected. It did not take us long to figure out that the neighbors were using our property - one neighbor had lawn chairs and a TV set up on what was supposed to be our lawn, others had their deck built on it. My Dad took care of that while we went to meet the neighbors. After my dad figured out our exact property lines he started building a privacy fence at random around the property - across the other persons deck, etc. At one neighbor's house we realized that we had left a lot of belongings in their house (as if we had lived their before, though I don't remember living their before!!). We went in to remove our things - mostly random relics from my own history- giant stuffed bunnies, boxes of school work from when we were little, etc etc etc. As we removed these things the people who owned the house, who had never seemed nice, seemed to get more and more aggravated, but we could not figure out why - they did not want this crap in their house, they just seemed really pissed at us for existing. We had a lot of trouble moving stuff out of the house as well - it was very difficult at times either for completely logical (things were heavy and awkward) or completely illogical (the house was tilting so much it was hard to walk into) reasons. There were cats their watching us move things - both our cat Gandalf and these neighbor cats. Gandalf seemed to really like their house. Anyways, we kept thinking we were done moving things and then finding another stash. Eventually we were down to just one closet of stuff, and it was my stuff. We went to enter, and they blocked our way and said enough was enough and they were not letting us back in to get the last bit of stuff. I was so frustrated and furious. We seriously needed like 10 more minutes to get everything out, but they would not listen to reason. Then I rememberd that the book club host had said she hd some crazy neighbors and that we must be living next to them! Eventually we had to give in, it was technically already their house after all, and just made them promise that if they were going to throw the stuff out they would give it to us instead. Thats the last bit I remember.

Yeah. Long, drawn out. Messed up dream! It clearly was seizing on a number of themes from book club - the neighborhood, crazy neighbors, people using other peoples yard for inappropriate activities, people threatening to throw other people's belongings out, cats, strange privacy fences. Book Club - Get out of my head! LOL

So yeah, thats my update. I have some stuff today I am really nervous about, but I can't say much more than that right now. Eventually...

Bis Spaeter!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lent Update

Two tidbits about Lent.

First, I faced my first temptation last night when some girls I went out with decided to split a high-end delicious bar of dark chocolate. It was made slightly easier by the fact that without me eating any of it it divided perfectly into five parts for them.

Second, proof I am not entirely crazy to do lent with no religious reason - or at least that its my entire family that is crazy. Check out my sisters blog: All Creatures Great and Small

Home Again, Home Again Jiggity Jig

Ok. I did not make it. The migraine, the soreness/pain in my shoulder. The potential uselessness of my afternoon class (and therefore of being on campus at all). I called DH and had him bring me home during his lunch hour. It also aided my decision that after a discussion with my Dad we decided I needed a particular type of shoulder rub, and I certainly was not going to find anyone to do it at work.

So, after said shoulder rub, I ate some soup, took some advil, and (carefully) went to sleep for the last three hours, being especially aware of how my neck and shoulder were positioned.

The results? Positive, though not a complete success. Migraine is gone (thank you Advil!), and the shoulder, though still sore, is much less pronounced, less sharp. I can now turn my head right without pain. Maybe if I am careful when I sleep on it tonight I will be able to turn my head left without pain.

I think I made the right decision in coming home!!

Bad Thursday

I woke up this morning with a migraine, got up and went about my business. Showered, dried off, dressed...

Then I went to do my hair. When I put my arms up to do it, a sharp pain started in my right shoulder and neck. I finished putting my hair up, thinking it was a momentary thing, and the pain kept getting worse. I put my arm down. The pain remained. I put my arm up, the pain was really bad. I may not have the highest pain tolerance, but I AM extremely use to pain - having sore muscles, headaches, etc etc. So when I say this pain was sharper/more intense than other muscle/joint pain I have experienced, it means something. Its like the pain you would get if you had a crick in your neck, only its constant (not just when I move a certain way). Moving certainly does make it worse though.

With my pain-filled shoulder and migraine I headed to school. I gave my lecture. I was even planning to go to the Gym (after all, why do I need my shoulder to bike on a recumbent bike?) Now my Gym partner canceled and I am stuck sitting in my office waiting (Yes, I could go to the gym on my own, but that seems like a lot of effort), being in pain. I am supposed to go to class at 1:30, that seems so far off. I do not know what to do with myself. All I want to do is go home and take advil and lie flat on my back and see if the pain goes away (both in my head and my shoulder). But, I have no easy way to get home.

*sigh* Today sucks.

At least if my Shoulder does not improve I have a Dr's appointment next Wednesday. Yes. I finally scheduled a physical.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The End of Carnival

Well, its fat Tuesday, the end of Carnival, and while I have no religious reason to observe lent, I think that giving up a luxury of some variety for 40 days is a good way to practice self control and to remind myself that there is a lot in my life that I do not need, that I just want.

So, that said, for the next forty days I am giving up Chocolate in most of its forms. No chocolate bars, chocolate desserts, chocolate frostings, no Mole for me (the Mexican dish that uses a chocolate based sauce). The one exception I am making is Hot Chocolate, if a drink is chocolate flavored (like chocolate raspberry coffee or something), or I have hot chocolate, it is fine. This exception mainly has to do with the fact I have a number of delicious gourmet hot chocolate mixes from a Christmas present and do not want them to go to waste this winter (I will likely lose them by next winter).

Hope everyone had a drink in honor of Mardi Gras!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Slacker Sundays

Sunday was great. I did... pretty much nothing. I got up, walked the dog, made a ridiculously high calorie breakfast (bacon and eggs in a hole), read my book club book The Sun Also Rises while watching a HORRIBLE sci-fi channel movie, and that takes me up to about 1:30pm. Mmm. Eggs and Bacon. I might have to go make some of that right now. I stop my account at 1:30 because that is about when Aaron and Ben decided to drag themselves out of bed. WoW kept them up until 5am and 7:30am respectively. On a side note, the weather yesterday was so weird! Sunny, but snowy. Very cold, snowing, but no accumulation. It was very pretty at times, the sunny sky and the snow.

After they were up and around I read a little more, and then headed out to Barnes and Noble to browse for a book club read for next month when I am responsible for picking the book. I found two potential candidates and am now letting the club vote on it. Back at the house I proceeded to eat leftovers for dinner, and watch more bad TV. Then I moved the TV from our Bedroom into the office, with the plan of being able to work on lecture notes while watching the Oscars. Instead, it facilitated me playing online games while watching the Oscars.

As for the Oscars, which I really should call by their proper name, the Academy Awards, I enjoyed them thoroughly. Hugh Jackman was hilarious, the scripts for presenters were great. I loved that Ben Stiller made fun of Joaquim Phoenix, hopefully its a sign that Joaquim Phoenix is also pulling a joke. I now had added Doubt, Slumdog Millionaire, Milk, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button to my "must see" list. I hope everyone else enjoyed it!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Something Old, Something New

Last night (Friday) I went out to dinner with a couple of friends, and then we met a couple more people to go see Twilight at the dollar theater (actually, the two dollar theater nowadays).

For anyone who has been living under a rock, or does not have a fantasy fan or a teenage girl in their social circle, Twilight is a book turned movie about a teenage girl who falls in love with a vampire. It is extremely addictive to most people who pick it up and start reading, though not all. There were five of us meeting to see the movie. Of those five, two of us were seeing it for the third time. Two of us were seeing it for the second time, and one, lonely girl was seeing it for the first time. This lonely girl is also the non-addict, of course, because any addict would have seen the movie. I am not sure what makes it so addicting, but it is. It was a lot of fun seeing the movie again, and I want to go a fourth time. Maybe a fifth time, now that its in the dollar theater!! The DVD comes out on March 21st. I am writing that date down!!

Then, tonight, I thought we would try something new. A friend who we have not see much in the last few months came over. After helping us install a new light in our bathroom (the old one made cracking noises that scared me), and eating dinner, we settled in and he introduced us to a Sci-Fi series called Torchwood. It is a spin off from the Doctor Who series, if you are familiar with that. It was a lot of fun, both seeing him and being introduced to the series. The series is entertaining and a good source of conversation. He has left us with the first season to finish on our own, then we will need another tutorial, a Doctor Who intervention, and then off to his preferred season two. I guess that means besides having entertainment that is old and new, I have entertainment that is borrowed too!

Now on to find something blue...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thursday Musings

I woke up in a VERY bad mood around 6:20am this morning. I do not know what woke me up. I believe the cat was clawing my leg or something. When I fell asleep last night, our smallest cat Nox was curled up between my legs (getting just a bit too personal with me honestly). Apparently she stayed down by my legs all night. I think she was resting her claws on my leg and so I woke up. I was being overcrowded by Grim (the dog) on one side, DH on the other, and the cat in my leg space. On top of that, I had a headache, was over heating, and was VERY tired, and therefore not wanting to think about the fact I was supposed to get up in a half hour. After trying to get comfortable despite the cat for a few minutes I pulled her up out of the covers and that resolved the problem quickly. Except the headache. And the overheating. Very luckily for me, despite my horrendous mood at 6:20am, and then again at 6:45 when I actually had to get up, once I was up and showered things felt much better.

The class I taught this morning went very well. We are moving out of theory, and more into case studies, starting with The Asian Tigers (Hong Kong, Singapore, S. Korea, and Taiwan). Of course we had to take care of a bit more theory in order to discuss the cases- mainly the difference between import substitution industrialization and export oriented industrialization. My class was very interested in how exchange rates work (pegged versus floating, undervaluing and overvaluing, the declining value of the dollar, etc). We ended up talking a lot more about how exchange rates work and the position the U.S. is in right now then we did South East Asia, but we can get to that next time. Eh?

Now I am waiting for a friend to be ready to go to lunch. I have been thinking a lot about what exactly friendship is, and more significantly, why we make the friends we do, and what different types of friends there are, and why friendships end. I was going to write about it in the entry, but I started and decided that its worth of its own post at some point when I have more time to write it well. So, instead I will move on to something much more trivial.

A lot of people are talking about new cars in my blogging world at the moment. While a new car would be delightful, its really pretty low on my priority list. My car is mostly something that gets me from place to place, its relatively reliable and gets good gas mileage, so why would I want to replace it? That said, I can't help but occasionally think about what car I would want if I were to get a new one. Even in my dream cars I tend to be overly practical. I would love to have a Toyota Camry, or the cute little Yaris, though I clearly prefer the 2008 Camry to their current model, I think they sort of wrecked it with the redesign. I like the curvy little squat cars, not the lankier sleeker varieties. I also am a big fan of the new Toyota Vanza. Yes. It being featured on Top Chef last night worked on me. (Speaking of which, I was very sad to see Fabio go, he was SO entertaining. I think they should give him his own cooking show, he is MADE for TV.) I wish the website had more pictures of the interior though. The nice thing about a station wagon or small SUV is that we could throw Grim in the back easier, or carry Grim and extra people without worrying about her sitting on them.

DH values cars a lot more highly than I do, despite not in any way being a "car guy". He likes the idea of driving around a nice, fast car. The strange part is he does not like driving all that much. LOL. Anyways, if I had enough frivolous income to buy a frivolous car, I would much rather put it towards things like home improvements, big trips, and a cleaning service.

But, its all a moot point. I do not expect to buy a new car or hire a cleaning service for quite sometime!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Week Ticks On

And so the glorious weekend turned into another week. I had Monday at home, as did DH thanks to President's Day. I would not even know when President's Day was if DH did not have it off. Monday night we went out to eat, and then Tuesday it was back to the grindstone.

Things are chugging along here. I have a lot on my mind, but not much that can be put on a public blog. We finally took my car to the mechanic, turns out its just the battery again. They say I left the overhead light on while we were on vacation (yes, my car has been broken since Christmas). I used to really dislike driving the Buick (DH's car), but when I drove mine to the shop yesterady I was surprised by how much I missed the responsive steering and gas peddle, the wide seats, and the good speakers. I guess I got used to the luxury. Tomorrow it is the Buick's turn to go in for a check up.

Thats about it here. I am off to the gym. Bis Spaeter!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Will you be my Valentine?

For someone who said she was not going to make a big deal out of Valentine's Day this year, who told her husband not to worry about planning or getting anything, who said it was just another day, I sure had an amazing Valentine's Day!

We started off by heading out to dinner at Raising Canes, nothing fancy, just tasty fried chicken and good conversation (and sweet tea of course!). Raising Canes is a local Columbus chain that has really tasty food but a very limited menu - very fresh fried chicken, coleslaw (the best coleslaw every in my opinion!), garlic bread, fries, and of course their secret sauce. That stuff is seriously addictive.

Anyways, after dinner we drove over the the mall, browsed a very packed Circuit City (with its going out of Business Sale), and then checked out the new Barnes & Nobles. It was very nice just casually browsing books. I am looking for something for Book Club next month, I am hosting so I pick the book.

Eventually, around7pm, we headed over towards Louis Center to find an ice rink with an open skate that DH had found. We drove all over Louis Center, Polaris, and Worthington for a half hour. We almost gave up once, and then we found it. The driving around and getting lost was actually quite fun. I like doing that when you are not in a hurry, because it helps to get to know an area. Once we made it to the rink we strapped on some (nice) rented skates and hopped on the ice! I haven't been ice skating in ages! I think the last time I was ice skating was Sophomore year of college during Christmas break, and that was only for five minutes because my skates did not fit and they were hurting me. Before then, who knows when I ice skated. A comment to this effect, that I had not been ice skating in forever, is what prompted DH to find somewhere to take me.

Ice skating is like riding a bike, it comes right back to you. Before long, we were zipping around. Things like Ice Skating are so liberating, and you forget that until you are actually doing it. Once your body remembers exactly how it feels, a sort of fearlessness sets in and before long you are seeing how fast you can go and how sharp you can turn. In general, DH is a much better skater than I am, though the disparity is much less apparent on ice then rollerblading. It helps that I am not all that afraid of falling on ice. Yeah, you can get hurt, but at least you already have the ice right there to treat the injury! lol. Falling on pavement seems much scarier than falling on ice. DH also tried to teach me to skate backwards. There was definite improvement, though I won't be doing it on my own quite yet!

After our legs had grown wary and the open skate started to come to a close, I was not quite ready to go home. We were having so much fun, I wanted the night to last longer. So, we drove over to the dollar theater to see if we could catch any late shows. We ended up going to see The Spirit, a comic book movie. It was, whats the right word, extremely odd? Peculiar? Artsy? It was, however, entertaining in its strangeness, you never quite knew what would come next, and it had some visually stunning elements. I think they were really trying to keep it true to both the spirit and the style of the comic book. I thought it was a lot of fun. Then, as Dairy Queen was closed and we both were exhausted anyways, we headed back home. It was a really fun and spontaneous night!

Adventures with Grim

It was snowing when I walked Grim this morning, but just hardly. I could feel the tiny little flakes hitting my face before I could see them. But then, when you turned the right direction or the sunlight landed just right it looked like falling glitter, sparkling and dancing. Quite beautiful.

Yesterday was a fun packed day that I have decided to break into two posts. Yesterday morning we headed over to a friend's house to help them move. The project turned out to be a bit ridiculously over-staffed. All in all, there were 15 of us there. That huge number of helpers combined with their obsessive and extremely efficient preparations meant that each person carried about three loads out to the truck, if that, and then we were done. Carpool and Caravan over to Hilliard, another 3 or so trips each, and they were in their new place. It was nice seeing everyone. While I have been overly social with some people this quarter, there are others I have hardly seen. That is one of many strange things about graduate school - who you see or spend the most time with can change drastically from quarter to quarter depending on your schedules. Anyways, we hung out at their new place for a bit, which was quite nice, and they fed us all brownies and pizza. Yum!

When we got home from that I decided that I was in the mood to take Grim out. She hasn't had an exciting trip in quite sometime due to the weather. So, I loaded her in the car and headed out. Apparently it has been REALLY long since I took her to the metro park, because I completely forgot where it was and went to the wrong road. After a half hour driving around on that first road looking for it I decided to head back and try a different road. The traffic was horrible! Just packed around 270, and I realized too late I had also forgotten which lane I needed to be in. As I crept forward in my own lane, my attention was focused on the lane to my left as I needed to get over. Then, my lane stopped, but as my attention was elsewhere, I did not. Crash!

Yep. I rear-ended the lady in front of me!! My first car accident. I quickly and carefully got out of my car (no need to follow the accident by being ran over), as did the lady in front of me, and we went to inspect the vehicles. She looked like a Minnesotan, which was a bit of a relief (I pictured the potential for a leather-wearing 6'5" man with tattoos everywhere or a high powered business person who liked to yell...). Very luckily, very very luckily, there seemed to be no damage to her car, just a smudge of my paint on her bumper. On my car, I just cracked the plastic frame that holds the license plate on, and bent the license plate itself a bit. **enter sigh of relief**. I think her exact words were "This car has all kinds of scratches, I am not worried anout it, have a nice day". We did not even exchange names.

Back in the car, I continued to look for the metro park, somewhat cautiously and nervously now of course. It did not take me long to find it this time. As expected, the trail was a complete mud pit. Ok, I had expected a mud pit, but perhaps not as bad as it actually was, at least not on the trail, at least not on the elevated parts of the trail. They seriously need to lay down gravel or wood chips. Dirt, especially not the kind of dirt they used, just doesn't cut it. We did a short loop through the woods. The forrest still thinks its winter, dead and gray and depressing. I am not sure what I expected. Back at the car I did my best to wipe Grim off, then jumped back into the car and headed to the dog park. The dog park was much less disapointing. It was muddy, but a thicker, less messy mud then the trail had been, and there were several other dogs there. Grim ran, Grim played, Grim ran some more. I think she had a lot of fun. Then, back to the car and homeward. At the house I had to carry her up the stairs to the bathroom, lest she truly wreck the carpet with her muddiness. Just so you know, carrying a 90lb, lanky dog up a flight of stairs is no easy task, especially for a weakling like me. I had seen my brother carry my dog when he was here last summer, so I knew it was possible, but he is taller and stronger than I am. But we made it, gave her a bath right off sending massive ammounts of brown water and mud own our drain. Then of course I showed, because you cannot give a 90lb muddy dog a bath without needing one yourself.

That is my adventure with Grim for the week (or month). I think she enjoyed it!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

Do you like my one-day Valentines day theme? Kind of sloppy, but I did not want to invest too much time in it since I am not keeping it up.

I hope everyone has a really good Valentines day. I looked up the history of Friday the 13th yesterday and it was not that exciting. Today (or actually just after midnight...) I am looking up the history of Valentines Day. Who exactly is Valentine? What did he have to do with love? I enjoyed reading this article on the history channel website about it. If you are looking for a more political take on things, check out what the Saudi Arabia is trying in order to not allow the "sinful western Holiday" to be celebrated.

A Valentines Me-Me
Go to google and type in your answer to each of the following questions and find an image. Copy those URLs into the Mosaic Maker and then put the resulting mosaic on your blog. Readers, guess the answers!

What is your favorite love song?
What is your favorite romantic movie?
What are you doing to celebrate valentines day?
What is your favorite thing about valentines day?

A little Valentines Day Poetry (ok, Love Poetry) for your reading pleasure:

The Thing Called Love
I know the thing called Love,
A force so strong,
They say it sweeps you off your feet;
Like a strong gust of wind,
Or the wave of an ocean.

I know the thing called Love,
A feeling so sweet,
They say it melts your heart;
Like crayons in a hot car,
Or chocolate in a child's hand.

I know the thing called Love,
A feeling that pierces so deeply,
They say it is cupids arrow.

They say so many things,
With metaphors abound:
Love is a river,a mountain, a flower;
Love is a scream, a whisper, a song;
Love is light, darkness, a sunrise,
A gentle breeze, a raging storm,
It is sorrow, joy;
It is true happiness...
They say Love is all.
They say Love is rare.
But I know the thing called Love,
And in truth it is indescribable,
Unfathomable, Incomprehensible,
Like a bottomless pit,
Or nothingness.
I know the thing called Love,
And it is Love.


Only in the most honest hearts,
Can true love build a world apart.



How you pull those strings,
twist the words,
and end the sentences.

As if Aphrodite herself
longs for your power.


How it just comes together,
braids into beauty,
and brings the world to an end.

The telios of Isis and Venus.


How we bend into one another,
swirl in the madness,
and rest in our souls.

We have ended them all.


And what would Valentines day be if I did not send my best wishes to everyone? Chances are if you are reading this blog, I love you (to some appropriate degree) So, I hope you all have a wonderful day and take the time to tell everyone you care about that you love them!! Spread the love!

Happy Friday the 13th

I am really excited its Friday the 13th. For some reason I always have liked when that happens. Its like a magical coincidence, and I want to celebrate it. Even better, DH informs me that due to it being February, if there is Friday the 13th this month their will be one next month as well. I checked it out and he is absolutely right, so I sort of get a two for the price of one bit!

I don't really have much to say on here, besides Happy Friday the 13th! So, instead I will give you this "charming" article about a 13-year old boy who is now a father. He looks like he is eight. He will be 25 when his kid starts middle school, 31 when he graduates high school. Isn't that insane? Talk about "sexualization of our youth". This boy did not even know sex lead to babies when he was 12 and helping to conceive this child. Talk to your preteen about sex today!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Hurricane? Again?

Since when is Ohio part of the hurricane zone? The straight line winds last night were INSANE. While it was not technically a result of a Hurricane this time (as it was last September), it felt very similar. I thought (as did every home owner I talked to) that I would wake up this morning to find my roof and siding scattered across the neighborhood, but a quick check this morning revealed no damage.

Little Caesar has become more adventurous, which is great news. He is finally starting to feel at home and safe in our house. He came down stairs for attention for the first time (he definitely is more comfortable upstairs), and also yesterday I managed to walk up the stairs while he was sleeping on them, and he did not run. I know that doesn't sound like much, but considering how flighty he typically is, walking within a foot of where he is laying without him moving is great! Perhaps in another three months he won't run when you reach to pick him up off the stairs.

Not much else going on. In the words of a friend, "its a drifting sort of time". I would try to explain what I mean by that, but I have not quite figured it out. Hopefully I don't get blown away in all my drifting!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Treading Water

I did not intent to sleep in this morning. So when I finally opened my eyes around 9:30, I was quite surprised. I intended to get up at 8am, when DH left for work. I even had him leave the light on. I even turned Mike & Mike on shortly after he left. Then I promptly slept for another hour.

The main problem was that I had nothing in particular to get up for. Normally I know what I want to do with my morning when I plan to get up at a decent time. I think "I am going to get up, walk the dog, shower, then start working on X." But I did not have that this morning. With the midterm done with, for better or worse (most likely worse), and at a strange pausing point in other work, and giving my class a midterm on Thursday so no need to write a lecture, I found myself not knowing exactly what I planned to do today, and in all honesty that is still the case.

I ended up rolling out of bed at 9:30, finishing watching Mike & Mike. (Surprise Surprise, Favre says he is retiring, again. I wonder if it will stick this time. And I am SO SICK of hearing about A-ROD and steroids, its getting to the point where I don't really care anymore), then heading downstairs to watch ER and eat Breakfast, while also reading a bit for pleasure (David Sedaris, amusing, but honestly not as funny as I thought he would be).

Now ER is over. Its almost noon and I still do not know what I am going to do with this day. I came up here to make a to-do list but ended up playing an online game for a half hour before getting to it. The to-do list is quite long, but is full of things that just kind of need to be done, that are not that pressing. Still, we will see if I can't get through some of it - take advantage of the thaw and clean up my garden a bit so there is not so much work to do in May, arrange to get my car to the mechanic, write an overdue thank you note, etc. My car has been out of commission for six weeks now, and we have not really missed it. Perhaps a sign we really can do with one car, but since DHs job situation could be changing at anytime, it is no time to eliminate the option of the second car, so eventually I will get it to the mechanic.

Maybe by the time DH gets home I will have this house sparkling. Or maybe I will just be really far along in this tower defense game... I really have no idea. What a strange mood this is.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Think "The Day After Tomorrow" Bad

My test went badly. Really badly. Think wolves in "The Day After Tomorrow" badly. Have you seen that movie? The so-called "premise" is a global warming disaster.

First, New York floods, typhoons take out LA, etc, etc. That's Bad, right?

Then, everything starts "insta-freezing" to unbearable temperatures very rapidly, being in the eye of this freezing storm is deadly. So, that makes things worse.

Then, the poor innocent teenagers who are stuck in New York trying to survive realize one of their number, of course the main characters love interest, is ill. So, things get worse than worse.

Then, when they go out to get medicine for her, already being threatened by extreme weather, her impending death, and the coming "insta-freeze", they are attacked by wolves.

You may have noticed by now that this sounds like a pretty crappy movie plot. So, now we have these poor kids stuck in this ridiculously horrible situation being attacked by wolves, and to add to how bad all of that is, the movie sucks.

That is how bad my economics test just went. Need I say more?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Recap of the Weekend

First, I am now running around 90%. I can breathe, I don't need to carry around a box of Kleenex, I am not on drugs, and I don't think I am fatigued (we will see about that as the day progresses). I still have a cough, its actually become stronger as the cold as dissipated in other ways.

Second, we are back down to three cats and a dog. I finally am getting around to adding a permanent picture of Little Caesar here at the blog.

Third, I did make it to my Grandma's for her Birthday celebration, and it was packed. Uncle Curt, Aunt Karen, Eric and his kids Kiersten and Brandon, Rachel and her daughter Marin and fiance Joe, and Becky. The house was complete chaos. It has been a long time since DH and I have seen any of the kids and they all have grown, but especially of course Marin who is now almost two years old. Last time we saw her she was just learning to stand/walk, and now she is running all over the place and doing a good job at learning to talk. She is an absolute doll, so curious and happy. It was a lot of fun playing with her.

Here she is:
But of course you can't really tell what a bundle of fun she is without a little of video (dancing with Kiersten):

Since I was unwell, Rachel took over the baking of Grandma's Birthday cake and did a tasty job, making an apple cake with some wickedly good lemon icing. Here is the birthday girl!

And, since we still have not managed to de-Christmas grandma's house (note the table cloth...) and actually Grandma is in no hurry to take down her pretty Christmas decorations, Aunt Karen brought supplies to turn the Christmas Tree into a Valentines Day Tree.

And finally, what account of a visit with my family would be complete without a picture of Uncle Curt making a weird face.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Serious Troublemakers

My visiting cats are some serious troublemakers.

At about 2am I woke up to a "thud thud thud" and then rustling. I knew that they had gotten into my office closet, so I got up, fished them out, closed the door and put a box in front of it.

So, this morning? They managed to get back into the closet despite the box in front of it, and they ate their way THROUGH the treat bag and the food bag to get into them and make giant messes, despite the fact there was food sitting out!! They also knocked over a bunch of boxes and made a big mess that way.

I know this friend always tells me stories about her cats getting in trouble and I have always kind of just blown it off as another cat story, but seriously. These cats know hot to get into trouble.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Among the Living

I woke up this morning feeling almost human! Amazing! Yesterday I slept from 3-5, 7-8, 10-12, and 1-12... so that is 16 of 21 hours or so. Impressive. It was certainly aided by a little Nyquil. This morning, or afternoon I should say, I can breathe through my nose again (ok, only one nostril, but its still an improvement), and I don't feel like I need to just sleep all day, and I don't have that weird stomach ache thing that had to do with the mucus and the coughing. So, I am in good shape, despite still have a slight headache and a stuffy nose and a hacking cough.

Now that I am back among the living, I do indeed have things to accomplish. I have to write an essay this afternoon, its not going to be as high of quality as I had hoped because instead of spending all week on it I will be spending about three hours on it. Such is life.

In non-health or school related news, I am currently playing host to two cats whose owners went on a weekend trip. The brings the total up to five cats and one dog in the house. Welcome to chaos. They seriously are everywhere, at least everywhere upstairs. They all hiss at each other, even the ones who normally live together! They fight over the best perches, over who gets to be near us humans, over who gets to sit by the food. They find new hiding places. It is a good reminder as to why I think three cats is plenty.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Despite my best judgement...

Despite my best judgment I am typing this post from my office. As horrible as I felt when I woke up this morning, as little sleep as I got, I still had to come to work, people were counting on me. I had been assigned the task this week of filling out the paper for, ordering, and picking up lunch for a meeting. And due to bureaucracy, shifting that responsibility to someone else would have been no small task.

When DH was driving me to campus it was quite obvious to me I was in no shape to sit through a formal theory luncheon, and I could not imagine the others would be thrilled to have me sneezing on their food in the close quarters. So, I decided to just drop off the lunch, go to my early recitation session, and go home early.

So I went to sign out the departmental credit card to pick up lunch, only to find that the entire office staff decided today was a great day for a vacation. *sigh*. I KNOW people need a vacation, but there are at least THREE people who could have signed out the card to me and NONE of them were there. In fact, out of about 7-8 full time office staff, one was there this morning. How is that acceptable? This is regular business hours they realize. Anyways, the one guy who was there ran around and tried to help me, but he couldn't find the card and he could not find anyone who would know where it was. I ended up having to spot the department $80 in box lunches, hopefully they will reimburse me. The guy who tried to help me said he would personally reimburse me if the department would not, but the whole thing is just ridiculous.

I walked down to Panera and got the lunches, lugged them all back (9 box lunches make for one LARGE bag). By the time I got back to the department I hardly could breathe. One of the leaders of the luncheon met me on the stair case and took them from me, but when I got to my office I pretty much collapsed into the chair and just sat their trying to catch my breath for several minutes. And that is how I know I really am sick, and that I am making the right decision to skip the meeting.

Now I have what I am sure is a tasty Panera box lunch sitting on my desk, and absolutely NO appetite for it, though I will probably try and force myself to eat at least half of it in a minute here. Then I am off to try and get reimbursed, then to my recitation, then home, no doubt to crash and sleep all afternoon.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Cold, Cold in Misery

I think I have come down with the plague. Ok, more likely the flu, but I prefer being melow dramatic. DH started feeling sick on Saturday night, and by Monday was sick enough to stay home from work for a day and a half, so when I started having trouble getting a full breath of air and coughing more than normal yesterday morning I knew I was done for.

I stayed home today in a lame attempt to try and get over it faster, since I could skip today but certainly CANNOT miss tomorrow. I spent most the day in bed, getting up for a short time in the morning to take care of some school business that could not wait, and then making some matzoball soup. I could do with being a child again, having my mom bring me kaluski suppe or matzoball soup, along with a continuous stream of beverages. My mom is really good at taking care of you when you are sick. But instead I am an adult, home alone with a dog who wants attention, having to freeze my toes to get up and make my own soup. *pout*. Yeah. When I am sick I am a big baby. And actually, the dog and cats were really sweet and spent the whole day in bed with me.

The reason the attempt was lame of course is because I don't feel better this evening, not one bit. If anything, I feel worse. DH brought home spicy Chinese food to try and clear my sinuses and I stuck my nose right up in it and still could not smell it. Wow. But, I have to go tomorrow. People are counting on me. I just hope I don't sneeze all over them.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

New Years Resolutions in Review

After a month, how am I doing on my New Years resolutions? I actually thought to post this because of my friend flaking AGAIN on the gym. Seems to happen 1-2 times per week. I clearly need to not rely on other people to get myself to the gym.

So, how are my resolutions going and is there anything I would like to add?

(1) Menu Planning: D
This is by far the thing I have done the least. I have not even attempted (sat down with pen and paper) to make one menu and shopping list in the last month. I just could not get myself to do it. On the plus side, the main point of menu planning was to eat out less, and we have improved on that front, just not via planning. So perhaps I want to change this resolution to be "eat out even less"

(2) Work Out: C
I have not maintained or increased frequency of my gym visits. I have been going about twice a week, last quarter I went 3-4 days a week. As mentioned in the intro, I have been far too dependent on friends to get me to the gym. I guess I was spoiled quarter when I had a work out buddy who rarely flaked and liked the same cardio machines. Unfortunately our schedules do not match and I am stuck trying to turn a much less reliable colleague into a work out buddy, and its not working. Starting next week, no more excuses. No more counting on work out buddies. I will go to the gym when it suits me, and I will do it on my own if necessary. On the plus side, when I do go to the gym, I have lengthened and instensified the cardio!

(3) Read more for Pleasure: A
I read "The Help" for pleasure in January. This month I am reading something by David Sedaris and The Sun Also Rises.

(4) Stop Chewing my Nails: A+
I have not chewed my nails hardly at all! I have actual long finger nails! Last week I broke a nail and had to call my mom to ask what to do about it, since I have never had a broken nail.

(5) Figure Out what I am Doing with my Life: B
Perhaps this is something that only time will tell, but I feel like certain things become more clear everyday.

Is there any other resolutions I would like to add for February? Nothing comes immediately to mind.... but perhaps

(6) Do a daily chore. Do something to keep the house clean everyday.

Wish me Luck!!


Yesterday was a bit annoying.

In the morning, I taught my class. The topic was "Do institutions matter for economic growth?" Included in this topic was a discussion of how coordination or cooperation is a conundrum for rational choice theory. When you assume people are rationally self interested and always pursue their self interest, it becomes very hard to explain most forms of cooperation. In order to illustrate this, I introduced my students to the most common game in Game Theory - the prisoners dilemma. Its not very difficult and really gets the basic ideas of game theory and of coordination problems across in a efficient manner.

Three hours later, I was sitting in my own economics class. ECON 805 is the second quarter of the economic graduate microeconomics sequence. These are people who mostly have undergraduate degrees in economics. We "started" game theory. Guess what he "introduced" us to? The prisoners dilemma. That is right. I both taught and was taught the same model in the same day.

It is absolutely ridiculous. Someone who has never been introduced to the prisoners dilemma has no business being in a graduate level economics course for Economic PhD Candidates. This microeconomics sequence is turning out to be quite useless - a lot of work for not much return in terms of what I WANT to be learning. I expected to be learning advanced game theory and formalization, not the prisoners dilemma.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fountain of Doom and Gloom

I am a fountain of doom and gloom this morning. Yesterday morning as well. Yesterday morning I had a depressing, stressful dream. Not much happened in it, but mainly I ran around being stressed, unsatisfied, bored, and feeling trapped for a while. When I woke up I was so happy that it had been a dream, but also little remnants of the dream remained with me. I mean, those feelings have got to come from some where, right?

So that slight tinge to my mood carried on all day. I tried really hard to be productive yesterday. REALLY HARD. I know some people say "there is no try, there is do and don't do". That quote always annoyed me. Of course there is try. But you know that whole motivation thing, the feeling I had that it would be on the upswing now? That things were looking up? Yeah. I was completely wrong. I have no motivation what so ever. The so-called "upswing" lasted for like 2 days, and even though I am trying all my mental tricks and doing my best to focus, the fact remains I have no motivation and so nothing will get done.

Then, this morning, DH ended up staying home sick with a cold. It is good he has these sick days to take, and it sucks that he is sick, but for me the implication was I had to get up 45 minutes early to drive myself to school (i.e. to find parking and walk from said parking to my building instead of being dropped off right by my building). The result is not enough sleep. Combine tinge of frustrating/sadness still lingering from the dream with not enough sleep and you get FOUNTAIN OF DOOM AND GLOOM.

WAY to many of my posts recently have been about bad moods and unhappiness. I need to do something to correct that. The question, as always, is what.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Super Bowl

This weekend was of course one of my favorite weekends of the year- Super Bowl Weekend! There are four major reasons I LOVE the Super Bowl.

1. The Football! Of course this is the first and foremost reason. Its always fun to watch a good game of football, and the Super Bowl tends to be a good game, with emotions running high. While I would have preferred a different match up this year, I was very happy that Pittsburgh made it. I know this kind of puts me out of the cold in Ohio, but I have cheered for the Steelers since I was in High School, placing their success secondary only to the Vikings. I am not sure why I chose them. I think I liked their gritty, lets-get-to-it style and their hard core determination. I also LOVE scrambling quarterbacks. QBs like Roethlisberger, who dodge sacks and get the ball off in the nick of time are so much fun to watch! So, needless to say, I was very pleased with the outcome, and to put the icing on the cake, Santonio Holmes, the MVP wide receiver of the match, is from OSU.

2. The Friends! I love having people over, and the Super Bowl is one of the rare events where it is both socially acceptable and socially comfortable to invite a wide swath of friends and acquaintences without worrying about who will actually come and what they will think about the party. I sent out 30 invites that were very broadly open. (i.e. - bring your self, your significant others, insignificant others, friends, and feel free to forward this invite to anyone whose email I missed). We ended up with 20 people coming, and it was so much fun!! The scheme of setting up a table in the kitchen (where people can still see the TV) for those who really were not there for the football worked out beautifully. They could sit there and talk about talk about whatever while still being able to see the game and the commercials and be part of the same party, without annoying/frustrating people who actually wanted to concentrate on the game. Complete success, everyone had a good time!

3. The Food! I go way overboard on cooking for parties in general, and especially for the Super Bowl! For Arizona I served tostido chips with salsa, taco dip, and jimmy crack corn dip. For Pittsburgh I served kielbasa bites with plenty of Heinz products to dip them in, and IC Light beer. DH made little mini sandwiches on Hawaiian roles, and for something sweet I made two kinds of cupcakes. Then, people brought peanut butter fudge, two kinds of meatballs, brownie bites, crackers with herb spread, rice krispy treats, potato chips, and I am sure other things I am forgetting! We ate like kings, and have leftovers to get us through the entire week if we want.

4. The Commercials! I puffy heart Super Bowl commercials. To watch this years you can go to Fan House. I thought that they were WAY better than last year. I distintly remember being underwhelmed last year whereas this year there were probably ten or twenty that either made me laugh or I thought were really cute. The website I linked to has its own top ten, but here is my top ten. I have listed then by the same title they are listed at the website.
  1. Monstor "Moose" (Q3)
  2. Careerbuilders "Hate Work" (Q3)
  3. High Life's One Second Ad
  4. Audi "Transporter" (Q1)
  5. E-trade "Babies" (Q2)
  6. Bridgestone "Mr Potato Head" (Q1)
  7. CocaCola "Picnic" (Q3)
  8. Bud Light "Conan" (Q1)
  9. Cash4Gold "MC Hammer" (Q4)
  10. Priceline "Shatner" (Q3)
There were three OK Budweiser Clydesdale Ads, they were cute enough but they have become so predictable in my opinion. Anyways, hope you enjoy those!

Only 370 days until the next Super Bowl Weekend...