Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Good Guesser

Due to the tight budget here in my world, the boy's Christmas present was delayed until after Christmas so that I had a bit more time to save up. I did use the extra time wisely, however, and made sure to confirm that what he wanted could be purchased from amazon.com with the gift cards that I have accumulated from the use of my amazon.com visa I was thinking as a gift was something he would need and use.

(We also did the letters that we exchanged last year. Seriously. Love the letters. You should make them part of your Christmas tradition as well.)

A little background info that I haven't mentioned it here because I was originally joking about it and then realized that my jokes were actually hitting home. The boy? He is having a minor crisis about turning 30 in 2010. I'm treading carefully because this is completely unfamiliar territory for me. I celebrated turning 30. The boy? He seems to be having a mild freak-out that is manifesting itself in several ways. So the jokes have stopped, and I'm just watching to see what happens and offering support wherever I can.

The first major change was a workout regimen that started about three weeks ago and is still going strong. So when I heard about the regular running, I suggested an iPod nano to keep him from constantly borrowing mine so he could listen to music to keep him motivated. He seemed excited about this idea, so I hatched a plot to purchase the gift as soon as possible after Christmas.

Yesterday I purchased the nano and at the last minute decided to save my giftcards and just purchase directly from the apple store. The price wasn't different and I can use the giftcards for textbooks. Also (ALSO!) if you order from the apple store, you can get engraving.

So I placed my order, chose an appropriately disgustingly sappy sweet message to engrave, and threw in an armband impulsively at the last minute. I was pretty pleased with myself.

Which means, of course, that I was itching to tell the boy about it. I mean, I'm the person who gives gifts WAAAAAAAY ahead of time if I have them. I can't keep secrets to save my life. (Except your secret. I can totally keep yours.) Luckily, the boy is the same way and humors me when I get excited. Like last night on our way to get pizza.

"I bought your gift today."

"A nano, right? We discussed this. I can't wait. Woo Hoo!"

"Yeah, but there are four surprises about it that you DON'T know. So take that! Ha!!"

"I'll bet I can guess them."

"Whatever. Take your best shot!" I said confidently. "You can even have one extra guess. Five guesses."

"Hmmmm. Okay. You can't buy them pre-loaded with music, right? Soooo.... you got a green one."

(Damn. But that was easy. Green is his favorite color.) "Yes."

"Oh! And you got it engraved."

(Okay, whatever. The only reason he knew that was a possibility is because mine is engraved.) "Yes. And it's incredibly embarrassing. I hope all of your friends see it and make fun of you."

"Whatever. They all know you. And.... you got me an arm band so that I can start using it right away?"

(Double damn!) "Yes," I said grudgingly.

"And new ear buds so that I don't have to use my old headphones?"

"NO! That is incorrect! Ha! You didn't get all of them!!!"

"I have one more guess."

"Oh....right." (Drat that extra guess. Stupid overconfidence generosity.)

"Hmmmm...." The boy considered for a while, then brightened, "I know! You got me the 8GB instead of the 5GB."

I sat in disbelief. I'm not sure why. We've already established that there aren't many secrets surrounding Emily. I am not the enigma I imagine myself to be. The boy cabbage patched in the seat next to me. I sputtered in frustration. If there's a list titled "Things Emily Does Not Like" losing would be in the top five.

If not second.

Or tied with first.

The boy quickly grew serious and said, "I'm already excited. I can't wait. Especially if it has an embarrassing message because it will always make me think of you."

And that made it all better. Because it really is better to give than to receive., and his happiness was the aim all along. But, you know...I couldn't let HIM know that.

"Yeah, and it will remind all of your OTHER girlfriends that I'm still the queen."

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tannenbaum

Ridiculously enough, I've never had my own Christmas tree before. Never ever. Not because I never thought to purchase one (hello after-Christmas sales. you are my friends.) but because I never found one that called to me. I knew it couldn't be full sized, because Lord knows where I'll be in the upcoming years, and most 4' trees were just...meh. But I also wanted one that required minimal ornamentation because I have a cat, and she likes to play with shiny things.

That all changed at the Lazarus after Christmas sale 2008 where Emily found this awesomeness as the display tree of the Christmas tree area that was the only one left of its kind. If you're wondering whether or not I carried this baby around without a box for 45 minutes while my mother tried to decide whether or not she wanted to purchase any Christmas ornaments and had to fend off questions from three different people who wanted to know where I found it, the answer would be, "You bet your tushie I did!"

I also spent two whole dollars on my four cardinals, and I leave the lights on the tree on in the evenings so that it can be seen through the window while simultaneously running up my electric bill. Funny thing is, I don't regret either action for a second.

'Tis the season!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

This Post is About Writing Utensils

Finals week messes with your head, man. Any, um, peculiarities? Magnified. And I am not without my peculiarities.

I mean, I know I have quirks. But I like to think that I'm a (somewhat) normal person. With a (mostly) logical head on her shoulders. It's not like I believe that there is a huge CIA conspiracy to use mind control on the entire population of America. Or that I believe that if a black cat crosses my path while I'm walking under a ladder I'm screwed. Or that if I break a mirror it's seven years of bad luck. I shrug that stuff off.

Now, SOME people will hasten to mention here that I seem superstitious about things that matter to me. And a bit....obsessive...about the way things are "supposed to be." For example, I really don't like to talk about possible admission into vet school next year for fear I may accidentally jinx myself. And I don't think I'm obsessive (I prefer particular) but I will admit that before going to sleep at night, my bed has to be made "just so." (Seriously, how DOES the boy sleep when there is absolutely no order to the sheets and blankets? I mean, how do his feet not end up hanging out the other end?! And the lumps? I mean, does he just sleep on them without noticing?!)

Okay, so mostly normal. I may have my quirks, but really, who doesn't? But during finals week...man. Finals week does something to your brain. It really really does.

For example. This is my pencil. It wasn't always my pencil. In fact, it wasn't the first pencil that I bought. But since the first pencil that I bought sucked horribly, ever since this pencil swooped in to save the day, it has been my pencil. And since it lives in my backpack, and I always take my backpack to class, I am never without my pencil in class.

My pencil is very important. In fact, since many of the science classes I've taken have been math based, one might say that my pencil is essential. I erase a lot. You might be able to tell this given the lack of eraser on my pencil. Which is why I purchased this eraser to go with my pencil. Only that eraser? Well, considering I've been in school for over two years now, and I've taken 35 hours of classes (all sciences) that eraser was used. It was used a lot. And this year it got used to the point where I had to remove the pretty protective cardboard wrapper that was keeping the eraser all pretty and white (on the parts that weren't being used of course. And let me tell you, this one time I loaned my eraser to this guy and he used the wrong end!! I mean there was very clearly a used end, and a not used end. Why on earth would you mess up the not used end? I lost sleep over this question. If you know the answer, please email me.)

Anyhow. Now that pretty eraser? Well, it looks like this. And though it may look white in the picture, I assure you, it is turning into a dingy grey. And to be quite honest, the dingy grey, no longer sharp angles at the edges thing? It's starting to bug me. It's starting to bug me a lot.

Quirks people! I have quirks!

Besides, having to keep track of both a pencil AND an eraser? Cumbersome. So I decided to get a new pencil. One new pencil. One new very cool pencil that you can not only use by clicking the top, but also by clicking the cool little buttons on the grip portion of the pencil. And it has a new eraser included. Brand new eraser with sharp edges. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Ta Da! Problem solved.

And so I go to my second final last night. And I get out my brand new pencil and begin to fill in the bubbles that spell out my name on the scantron sheet. And something felt... off. It felt... wrong. Like, perhaps I wouldn't pass the final if I didn't stop using that alien pencil immediately.

Seriously folks. I know this blog may not exactly support this claim, but I am logical. I am black and white. There is no grey. I know that my choice of pencil will not affect my mental capabilities enough to cause me to fail my final.

Except... what if it does?

And damned if I didn't open up my backpack, pull out my old eraser-less pencil and dingy eraser and immediately feel much better. One might say I felt like all was right with the world again.

NOTE:
Originally the post ended with that sentence. But I just let the boy pre-read this before posting and he said, "Did you erase what you had already written with the new pencil?"

Immediately worried, I said, "Nooooooo." Internally I was thinking, "SHIT! I hadn't even thought of that!"

The boy responded with a regretful shake of his head and said with complete certainty, "Well then you're fucked."

Is it any wonder I have quirks?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Methinks it may be a tad cold in the mornings...

Please excuse the terrible picture quality (taken with cell phone) but I could not resist the cuteness that greeted me this morning after I forced myself out of bed and into my cold house to turn up the heat. Apparently Casey saw no pressing reason to get up. She's avoiding eye contact because she thinks that will make it so that I don't get her up, outside into the cold, and ultimately into her kennel for the day. It is Friday, and she looks about how I felt this morning, so I had pity on her and left her alone while I showered. She hadn't moved when I returned. I'm pretty sure that if I could have read her thoughts, they would have been something along the lines of "Nothing to see here. Please move along. Only sheets and bedspread. No dog here. Nope. No dog here."

Friday, December 04, 2009

The Death of Me

Have I mentioned my brilliant idea for parental holiday gift giving this year? No? Pity. Because now it can't happen, and the universe hates me and organic chemistry is the root of all evil in existence.

Okay, not really.

But sorta.

Finals week is December 14-19. Since I take night classes, my finals fell on the evening of December 15th and the evening of December 16th. On the one hand - suck! Because I have less than two weeks to prepare. On the other hand - wheeeee! I'll be done early and have more time to enjoy the Christmas holiday.

When I was last in my hometown, not visiting my old band instructor, I was discussing the boy and the paradox that is his incredible ability to clean things meticulously coupled with the complete lack of any cleaning in his own apartment. When I was telling my story, my dad laughed and said, "Well, he can come and clean here anytime."

Which got me to thinking...

The boy hasn't seen my parents in a really long time. To be fair, I generally don't insist that he accompany me on trips to my hometown. This is for several reasons. A) His sanity. B) My sanity. C) My hometown isn't all that exciting and there isn't much to do. D) If I'm planning on hanging out with single girlfriends, the boy would be unhappy if I mandated his attendance. E) He uses those weekends to go camping and I'm happy that he doesn't insist that I go with him and F) If he doesn't go, he always has dinner for me when I get back to Indy. But still. I know he likes my parents. I like my parents. I like the boy. The boy likes me. My parents like me. They like the boy. Seems as though we should all get together soon.

Since I skipped out on Thanksgiving, there was no opportunity for the boy to see my family then. And since he has his own family to see, going to my parent's house for Christmas is out of the question as well.

And so I cooked up this plan. Emily + the boy + short on cash = cleaning my parent's house for Christmas as their Christmas gift from "us."

My mother was elated with this plan. She couldn't stop talking about it and asking what, exactly, we would do for her (just leave us a list, mom) and asking if we do woodwork (?!). The boy? For his part, he thought it was a great idea also. We visit for a weekend, spend Saturday cleaning, hang with the parents, eat real stove-cooked food (for a change,) and spread Christmas cheer. Everybody wins. (Plus, I totally downloaded the newest Stephen King book in audio form so even the DRIVE DOWN will be fantastic.)

So we made plans to drive to my hometown the weekend before Christmas. Done and done.

But then I got this email:
__________________________
The exam key has been posted in the Resources folder.
---- The best answer for the box problem reacting 2 equivalents of HBr+peroxide+heat with the cyclohexylacetylene is NOT drawn. The two bromines should be both on the primary carbon (anti-Markovnikov). We have decided to accept both the drawn answer and the best answer. If your paper has an orange correction reducing your score from 3 to 1 for this problem, bring it to me in class or at office hours and I will give you back 2 points.

The final two electronic problem sets were posted yesterday. The first is due Monday (12/7) and the second a week from Monday (12/14).

Finally, and most importantly, the registrar has begun combining both sections to a common C341 Final Exam time this semester. As the registrar has set the time, we must use it. So, the C341 Final will occur in the Lecture Hall on December 19 at 8 am. This time is different than the time for single section classes that was used on the syllabus.

To repeat: the C341 Final Exam will occur in the Lecture Hall on December 19 at 8 am. Please pass the word.

__________________________

I'm sure it's no surprise if I tell you that the email above was sent by my organic chemistry professor.

I'm also sure it will come as no surprise that I was irate. IRATE. And there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Seriously, do the powers that be WANT me to drop this class? Is this a sign that ochem really is a "weeding out" class and I'm just a weed? Because the urge to go into my professor's office, loudly explain my anger, and then drop the class is almost overwhelming. Is there no end to the misery that this class can bring into my life? Maybe it really will be the death of me?

I knew I had to tell my parents about this immediately as it definitely changes our plans for visiting. However, in order to not shock them out of thinking I am the delicate flower I'm sure they think I am, I called the boy first. And let loose a string of profanity that melted the phone and left the boy frightened for my professor's very soul.

Only then did I call my parents. When my father answered, I told him, "Dad! It's your lucky day!! This is angry-Emily calling and she's a joy to be around. However, I already called the boy and got out all the profanity, so all you get are the tears."

The last phrase trailed off into a wail.

My dad replied calmly, "What's the matter?"

"Myprofessormovedtheorganicchemistryfinalandnowit'sDecember19thateightamwhichmeansIcan'tcomeandclean"

That was said at a decibel that made Casey's ears perk up. My father then did what any loving and supporting father would do.

He started laughing.

I was indignant. "DAD! This is terrible! It isn't funny!!"

He stifled his laughter. "I understand. But if it isn't funny, it's something pretty close to it."

After a day to consider, I have to disagree with him. Still not funny. But at least I gained a tiny bit of perspective. I now have three more days to study so that when I DO take the final (that's worth 38% of my grade) I can kill it. Kill it dead. And then go clean my parents' house like it's never been cleaned before.

Pray for me.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Why I'm not posting today

I'm not writing a blog post today because it would be all angsty and whiny. All full of things like "organic chemistry sucks" and "My God WHY?!" And when I get angsty and whiny I tend to get all melodramatic and say things like, "You think childbirth is difficult? Try organic chemistry." And, you know, people who have actually HAD children tend to get upset with me.* Even though they probably already know me and know that I don't actually BELIEVE what I said.... I'm just full of "woe is me" and "life, as I know it, is about to end" and "OMG HOW STUPID CAN I BE?!"

This is the stuff that the boy tends to tune out. All the melodrama. You have to sort through all of that to find the root cause of why I'm upset and whether or not it's enough to set off real alarm bells. And if you don't have experience maneuvering this minefield, you might become disoriented by the lamenting and wailing. And the whining and the complaining.

This would be why I'm not posting today.

Because if I WERE posting, I would say things like, "Test scores should not be numbers that can be found on the face of a clock." And things like, "I just don't GET why I'm having so much difficulty with this stupid class [ochem] when I can learn new things about QUANTUM PHYSICS and have no problem comprehending them," or "Perhaps people would have an easier time with this class if it wasn't taught by Satan himself," or "You know, I totally SHOULD take advantage of your office hours, Mr. Professor. Why didn't I think of that myself? What a great suggestion! Tell me, what hours do you have between 5:00 and 9:00pm during the week?? On weekends?"

But I would also offer evidence to the depth of my pain. Like how the boy sent me a text last night that simply said "I love you" and called me this morning at 8:30am. This may not be a big deal to you, but please note that communication initiated by him is generally limited to 1:45pm on Fridays and only because I have programmed a reminder in his cell phone that pops up with "Tell Emily that you love her" each week at that time.**

And since both of those kind gestures from the boy occurred after the sad, sobbing phone call that we had last night wherein I shared my latest o-chem test grade (that actually can be found on the face of a digital clock...and not a number near the turn of the hour, either) they pretty much mean that I'm on the boy's radar under "suicide watch."

But it's not really that bad, right? Because I can see a glimmer of humor in studying for hours and creating your own study guide, only to come out of a test with a grade that's close to your waist size. At least it's the pre-ten pound weight-loss waist size, right?

I mean, really - if it's a choice between laughing and crying? I choose laughing. Like when people tell me motivational stories about how other people passed o-chem with grades that start with an "A" or "B" so I should never settle because it's definitely possible!!! That's motivating, right? Right?! Those stories are particularly uplifting when they come from your mother.

And so, since there are people out there who are actually going through difficult challenges in their life, and people who really do need the help and support of the internet, I'm not posting. Nope.

I'm just going to remind myself that 31-year-old women do not cry over test grades. We save our tears for important things. Like Hallmark movies with names like "A Dog Named Christmas."***

*In my defense, my friend Jess actually had a baby WHILE TAKING organic chemistry. She said it was the most difficult thing ever. That would be why she's in organic chemistry again with me this semester. So see, she succeeded with having the baby, and failed organic chemistry. That should tell you something.

**True story. It works too.

***Sadly, yet another true story.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gratitude

Thank you, IUPUI, for taking the majority of my salary each month and forcing me to subsist on a diet of ramen noodles and parmesan cheese. I'll remember you when I'm making scads of money, um....running a low cost animal clinic. Yeah.

Thanks to the boy for putting up with me for over five years (!!!) and still making me laugh on a regular basis. (when he's not making me cry...or want to throttle him...) And thanks again for taking out my trash last night because you know I always forget, and there was no more room in my trash can for another week's worth of refuse. I love how you randomly notice and do things like that.

Thanks to you, Casey for FINALLY chilling out this year. I loved the puppy years, but something tells me that the dog years will be that much better.

Thanks to my mother for only being slightly frosty after I explained that I would not be heading to the homestead for Thanksgiving. I need to relax, mom. I haven't said much (because what's the use in complaining really) but what I'm doing is tough. And while I can handle it, it's only by the skin of my teeth. So I'm tired. I need to sleep and catch up on things at home. The thought of four! whole! days! with no school and no work makes me happier than anything else could right now. Thank you for giving me that gift. I am more grateful for you and dad than I could ever express, and I can't wait to see you at Christmastime.

Thanks to the friends that I won't get to see this holiday season. You guys crack me up on a regular basis. I love each and every one of you, and the worst part of being so busy lately is the lack of time I get to spend with you or talking to you.

Specific thanks to Candy for organizing a weight loss challenge that spurred me to lose 10lbs. I truly appreciate you giving me motivation when I had none but needed it badly. FYI, after the dinner we ate today I'm going to need you to go ahead and organize another one. kthxbai.

Thank you, cuz. You rock. We played Rock Band to celebrate turkey day and I totally thought of you guys.

Thanks, z. There really aren't words. (Seriously still can't believe that you know how to cook turkey. It was fantastic btw.)

I'm going to go ahead and give a tentative early thanks to my organic chem professor for passing me this semester. (ohpleasepleaseplease)

Thanks, Minnesota for beating Butler's basketball team today. Best we get any losses over with early in the season. Hopefully this will be our only one. (and then maybe my bracket picks won't be so ridiculous.)

Thank you for every blog comment that you leave. I love the interaction and that I can keep you entertained. Keep 'em coming and I promise to do my best to write regularly.

What are you thankful for? Leave me a comment. Real or facetious, I would love to know.

PS. It was Casey's birthday yesterday. She turned four. I think I'll keep her. Look at that picture again. She's so cute. In fact, I think I'll keep both of them.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Like LEGOs, only for nerds

There is no good place to study on Saturday nights.

Go figure, right? Had you told me that when I was an undergrad, I would have said something along the lines of "Like, duh! I mean, who studies on Saturday night??"

A non-traditional student who works full time while going to school - that's who studies on Saturday nights.

Apparently we're a rare breed.

Libraries close around 6:00pm on Saturdays. Even the ones on college campuses. Please see the "who studies on Saturday night" comment above. (But they're open until 1:00am on Sunday. Explain that to me. Do students not need to get up on Monday mornings? Because I certainly do.)

Study at home, you say? While that may work for some people, this option most definitely does NOT work for me. I can't focus on homework when there's laundry calling my name, and a dirty floor that needs to be swept, and dishes that need to be done, and a dog that would rather be walking than sitting on the couch next to mom and her laptop and, and, and... Yeah, Emily must go elsewhere to study.

So I head to Starbucks. It's got everything - tables big enough to spread out textbooks, wireless internet, (two hours free if you have a Starbucks card) other people on laptops... just bring your headphones and you're golden. Only the Starbucks near my house? Yeah, closes at 9:00pm. Apparently that's when people no longer need to go to Starbucks.

And you're probably thinking, "Who needs to study beyond 9:00pm?" Well, if I get to sleep in as long as I want on Sunday, and I've got the motivation....why not? It's not like the boy and I get to make weekend plans anymore. This girl has to conquer organic chemistry. (It's not going well. I'll be lucky to make a peace treaty with ochem at this point.)

And then I stumbled upon the Starbucks nearest the IUPUI campus. Apparently I AM a rare breed, and the rest of my breed gather at this Starbucks. To study on Saturday nights. We. Are. Awesome. And the Starbucks? It closes at midnight.

So a couple of weeks ago, I was parked at my Starbucks with my headphones, looking at the following problem. This is a representation of a molecule. 2-butanol if you really want to be specific. It was up to me to determine if the molecule was (+) or (-). (Trust me, you don't want to know. No really.) Basically, I had to take that 3D representation and match it to one of the 2D drawings below. Unfortunately, my brain was just refusing to work that way. I mean, I know that the black spheres are carbon, and the red sphere is oxygen, but for some reason I couldn't rotate that 3D picture in my head. Maybe my brain just doesn't work that way? I was just not getting the right answer.

And so I decided a 3D model might help.

Let's rewind a bit to when I enrolled in school. Back when I had money. Back when I didn't realize exactly how difficult this road was going to be. Back when I was bright eyed and bushy tailed and so! excited! to go! back to school!! Back in those days, when I had to purchase textbooks for the first time, it was "suggested" that we purchase a molecule modeling kit to help with chemistry. Since I was so excited (!!!) and the kit was only $12, I decided that I might as well just buy the kit. It might help someday and, let's face it, it looked like something really cool that I wanted to play with.

I haven't opened it since then. Until now. Until the hell that is organic chemistry. Which is a good thing. Because if I hadn't purchased it back then, and needed it now, I would think to myself, "Twelve Dollars?! For some glorified LEGOs?! Seriously? I could eat THREE TIMES for twelve dollars."

I really need to start playing the lottery.

So I'm at Starbucks (with my headphones) and I pull out my modeling kit. And I build a model. A pretty pretty model if I do say so myself. A 3D model that I could manipulate and determine that the 3D drawing matched the 2D drawing on the left.

I was pretty proud of myself. So I sat back and stretched for a moment. Which is when I looked around. And I realized that I was in the middle of Starbucks. With what amounted to adult LEGOs. And that there were people looking at me.

Great. Just go ahead and tape the "Kick me" sign to my back.

And then I realized that the looks were looks of understanding. Which reminded me that IUPUI has a rather large medical school. And of COURSE med students would understand. They've been there. They probably have overpriced adult LEGOs of their own.

They just, you know, don't pull them out in public.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Why I was late for work today

I got up this morning to the fantastic sight of cat regurgitation on my spot on the couch.

This is certainly not the first time I've awoken to cat regurgitation. But it IS the first time my cat has decided to say "F you" by puking in my couch spot. It's not like that's the ONLY place on the couch that I sit, but it's the spot for optimal TV viewing and laptop using as opposed to optimal lighting for reading. And since I'm in school, let's face it, there's a lot more formal report writing (and mindless TV watching) when I'm at home than there is reading for pleasure. (Side note: Has anyone else noticed the HORRIBLE acting on SVU?)

So my spot. Cat puke. I curse Laney's name, make a mental note to clean it up once I've showered (and the heat has had a chance to make my house less like a refrigerator) and I head off to begin my morning routine.

Can I just mention one thing? The one advantage to living in my very old and tiny living space is the heat. The place is tiny, so once the heat is on it takes approximately 40 seconds to make the place comfortably warm. Fifty seconds to uncomfortably warm, but we don't think about that because in the mornings? There's no such thing. Also, there is a heating vent in my bathroom that takes up approximately 20% of the available floor space. You would think this is an inconvenient thing, but it's not. It's a fabulous thing. What I do is leave the heat very very low at night and snuggle under the covers with a warm puppy. When I wake up, I turn on the heat to about 75 first thing and then jump into the shower. Turning on the heat ensures two things, A) the hot water is SCALDING - just the way I like it and B) the bathroom is a veritable sauna when I step out of the shower. Bliss. In fact, even after you dry off, you can stand over the heating vent in the bathroom (that is fortuitously located immediately above the actual heating unit) and just be warm warm warm.*

Add this routine to the happiness that I already felt because it's Friday (and I don't have to be at work until EIGHT AM!! EIGHT!!! A whole HOUR later than normal!!!!) and I was a happy happy girl once I was dressed, clean and warm. I let Casey outside and decided to check the weather before I committed fully to my outfit for the day.

Another tangent to mention is that I HAZ INNERNETZ IN MY HOUZ!!!! My cheap ass, broke down and went with AT&T for their DSL that is $19.95/month.** (Shameless plug for AT&T! They are not paying me for this endorsement, I am just grateful to have teh innernetz in my house through an entirely painless process even though I don't have a home phone!!) So now? I can respond to emails in the evenings and on weekends! I can watch my tv shows online! I! Can! Check! The! Weather!!!

So I plopped myself down in front of my laptop to check out weather.com.

Right on top of cat puke.

The stream of words that came out of my mouth were NOT words that my mother taught me. Trust. I took off my khaki's, looked at the stain on the butt, looked at my couch, cursed some more and stalked off to find another suitable pair of pants to wear to work on "casual Friday."***

Miraculously, I found another pair of clean khakis. Miraculous because I pretty much LIVE in khakis these days, and laundry is reserved for time between study binges....so pretty much once every two months.

While I'm putting on my second pair of khakis for the day, I decide that the day is not shot. It's FRIDAY for Pete's sake. In fact, the miraculous clean khakis are a SIGN! FROM GOD! It will still be a good day. Sure I have an ochem test on Monday, but I feel reasonably prepared and will spend no less than 20 hours studying this weekend. Maybe I can even squeeze in a good long walk with Casey? In fact, I should go check the weather because I heard that it is going to be a pretty weekend.

So I head over to my laptop and plop myself in front of it to check weather.com.

Right on top of cat puke.

AGAIN!

It's at this point that I decide that I'm going to drink the emergency Coke Classic sitting in my fridge.**** For breakfast. Because really? Twice, Emily? In a span of five minutes?!

Welcome to my life folks. Let this be a warning to anyone else who thinks that taking ten hours of sciences while working full time is a good idea. You will end up sitting in cat puke multiple times as a result of your inability to keep a thought in your head for longer than two minutes.

*I just have to remember to turn the heat back down to "normal" before I leave for work. Total number of times that I've forgotten so far this year? Twice. Boo!!!

**Goodbye morning latte. I'll miss you.

***I'm omitting the part where I possibly briefly considered just wiping off the khakis and wearing them anyway. Because who would think that? Not this girl.

****This post may or not be a result of the high levels of caffeine and sugar running through my veins at this very moment. Please excuse me now, I have to go run laps around my office building for a while.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Since I'm apparently in the sharing mood...

...go check out this article. I don't think I could have said it any better. And if you feel you have enough time on your hands, read her previous article as well. In doing the research for her first article, the author gained the knowledge about pit bulls that she shared in her second article.

It's almost perfectly how I feel about owning Casey. And how I wish many pit bull advocates would think. Because the crazies? They're out there. And unfortunately some of them are pit bull "advocates." And they scare me.

Speaking of Casey, (we were, right?) she's having an attack of allergies that is making her miserable. It happens every spring, but this year it's worse and has lasted longer than usual. Cross your fingers with me, won't you, that the cortizone injection coming her way (the SECOND cortizone injection) works to make her feel better so that mom won't be hit with having to do blood work on her dog-ter and potentially spend money she doesn't have to cure some obscure skin condition...

Yes, happy times at our house these days. If someone could go ahead and make 36 hour days, that would be FANTASTIC. Anyone? Bueller?

While you're at it, if you want to go ahead and clean my house so that I'm not embarrassed when someone makes the perfectly normal request to use the restroom when they're over, that would be fabulous as well.

Oh, and while you're doing things for me, can you go ahead and suggest to the boy that after Emily mentions that she's been studying one particular topic all day long and just had a breakthrough that enables her to understand it, he should not say, after a long thoughtful pause, "My worry is that you're not being efficient in your studying." That might (MIGHT) set off a nuclear explosion the likes of which he's never before seen.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Time is NOT on my side...

...so there is no time to blog. But I did find one of the funnier sites on the internet today and I wanted to share.

You know Etsy? The latest rage for selling handmade objects? Well, internets, meet Regretsy. The tagline is "Handmade? It looks like you made it with your feet."

Was there any doubt that I would love this site?

I haven't had time to go through the entire thing, but my favorites so far are here, here (make sure to note the title on that one) and here. Make sure you don't skip over her commentary. Sometimes it can be pretty succinct. I had to struggle to contain my laughter when I stumbled upon this at work.* It was so bad that tears were welling up in my eyes. No lie.

So, enjoy! And make sure to leave your favorites in the comments.

*Shhhh! Don't tell my boss.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Overheard

"Why are you in such a good mood?"

"Because it's Thursday night! I just took my second test of the week! I don't have homework due on Friday night, and I don't have to study for 16 hours this weekend!! So! Happy!!!!"

"How are you going to celebrate?"

"Well, Candy mentioned that she would like to have drunk Emily put in an appearance when we all go out on Friday night. She's never met drunk Emily, though she's heard the stories."

"..."

"I don't know, though. I've got a pretty full weekend of stuff to take care of. It would be irresponsible to drink. What do you think?"

"I think you should drink."

"But we also have a party to attend Saturday night. If I drink Friday night, I can't drink Saturday night."

"Why not? You took two tests, you can drink two nights. Besides. You "drunk" is like two drinks these days."

"TWO!?"

"Okay, one."

"Whatever. Jerk. Why are you.... Oh right! I forgot. You like drunk Emily. Of course you want her to come out."

"..."

"What? I'm silly when I'm drunk. Harmless fun."

"Well..."

"What?! You're making me nervous! Do I usually embarrass myself when drinking? What?!"

"No...it's just that I already have plans on Friday with this other girl who's sort of boring and less fun, and I'm trying to figure out an excuse to get out of them if drunk Emily is available."

"Wait, I thought WE had plans for Friday?"

"..."

"I hate you."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pinching Pennies

It's official. I've become too cheap for Target.

It was a startling revelation that I came face-to-face with today, and it's devastating because I *heart* Target. I really really do. And I refuse (absolutely REFUSE) to sell my soul to the soulless unethical devil that is Wal-Mart.* So what does that leave me? Dollar Store? Is this what my life has become?

It happened so gradually that I didn't even notice. While I've always had a debilitating fear of debt, I've not always been miserly. It began when IUPUI made their monthly tuition payment plan into four monthly payments instead of five. I realize that it all evens out in the end, but during?? Ugh. It's like two and a half car payments a month. (Four if you own a Kia.) December can't come soon enough. Maybe I'll eat something other than Ramen Noodles to celebrate.

How bad is it? For your consideration:

Exhibit A: When we were facing weeks with high temperatures in the 40's and 50's, I refused to turn on the heat in my house. I rationalized that I was only there approximately 9 hours per day - 7 of which are spent sleeping in flannel pjs with flannel sheets with the other 2 spent on the couch underneath two or three furry mammals. (I will point out that during that time, the dogs had a space heater that the cat would sleep next to. I guess we all know who's more important in this story.)

Exhibit B: I was ecstatic to find $1 hand soap at CVS the other day. That ecstacy has subsided since I found out that $1 hand soap is more like a 70/30 water to soap ratio. Apparently that's why it comes in such a big bottle. Still, I can't say I wouldn't buy it again.

Exhibit C: The boy told me that he ran out of shampoo two weeks ago, and has been too lazy to go to the store. So he's been using regular soap to wash his hair, "which actually works pretty well." I briefly considered it. I wish I were kidding.**

Exhibit D: I always said that the two things that I would not penny-pinch on were paper towels and toilet paper (none of this 1-ply tissue paper, thankyouverymuch.) I've since given in on the paper towels, and after seeing the dramatic price difference between "my" toilet paper and the sandpaper that I would normally never consider, my resolve is wavering.

Exhibit E: I currently have two AAA batteries that work in my house. They are being rotated between whatever remote controls I need to work the electronic equipment I feel necessary to complete my life at the time. The batteries also travel from room to room if I decide I want to watch a DVD in bed. If a remote requires AA batteries, I just don't use it. I throw stuffed animals at the buttons on the electronic equipment instead.

Exhibit F: Three weeks ago when cleaning my toilet, I was suddenly appalled by the state of my toilet scrub brush and threw it away. (Translation, the wire part rusted through and broke off in the toilet.) The following week when I went to clean, I was, of course, surprised by my lack of toilet scrub brush. Since then, my toilet has been disinfected three times but not scrubbed... and I'm starting to think that's okay.

CLEARLY something has to be done.

Now, I won't lie. This miserliness is a combination of not having money and being too lazy to use my free time to go places where I would spend the money that the nice people at Visa lend me. I think it was the unscrubbed toilet that pushed me over the edge, but last week I decided that the next free time I had would be spent being un-miserly. I had a huge b*tch of an organic chem test yesterday, but I promised myself that once that test passed, I would run to Target and purchase everything that I was missing in my life, including good paper towels.***

Last Thursday, my cousin sent me a delightful surprise that deserves its own blog post. As soon as I can get the boy to snap my picture with the delightful surprise, you'll hear all about it. As a result, I began searching Indianapolis for more of this delightful surprise that I had previously not known existed. I wanted some more so that I could share with the boy and not get into fist fights when he tried to take some without asking. Unfortunately, they were nowhere to be found in all my usual haunts.****

Today? Today I fulfilled my promise to myself and purchased batteries, good paper towels, a toilet scrub brush and various other necessities at Target. (I kept myself away from the dog Halloween costumes - I'm not a complete idiot.) While wandering the aisles of my beloved Target, I FOUND MY DELIGHTFUL SURPRISE!!! Which made me wonder when the last time was that I was in Target....and I couldn't remember. This was immediately followed by the thought, "Well of course I haven't been to a Target in a while. Target is a NICE store."

And I was horrified because while I heart Target, the term "nice store" is generally reserved for a store that I can't afford. Which made me decide that penny pinching on this level is ridiculous, because I can afford Target.

And then I looked at my bank account again.

Damn tuition.

Sniff. It's not you, Target. It's me. It's just that I can't leave your premises without spending under $100.00 - it's physically not possible. It's just that CVS is closer and has Extra Care bucks that make things that I purchase cheaper. (Not to mention the money they gave me to transfer my prescription...and $1 hand soap.) It's just that crappy paper towels are also available at the grocery store with the cheaper dog food, and that saves me a trip, which saves gas. We've all got to make sacrifices. It's a tough economy. I just need a break. I promise I'll be back in December and then again in the summer when tuition payments aren't making my house as cold as a refrigerator.*****

But... I'm easy, you know. If you lower your costs on Purina One (Chicken and Rice flavor - this part is VERY important) we can probably work something out. Call me!

*Absolutely no judgement if you shop there. Promise.

**I ended up enabling his laziness buy buying shampoo FOR him because although his hair smelled really clean, I couldn't bear the thought of someone not using shampoo.

***This gave me something to look forward to while studying. Again, I wish I were kidding.

****Remember the use of the word "haunts" there. It's cracking me up. It will make much more sense to you when you find out what the delightful surprise was.

*****Of course, tuition payments are also responsible for the new game, "How many stuffed animals until the TV turns on" so it's not ALL bad. Blue LOVED this game, and sometimes his tail would turn the TV on for me.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Back to Center

First things first. I did NOT speak to my Favorite Band Director this past weekend. I have no idea why except that when I saw him from afar, I said something like, "He looks so different!" and my friend responded with, "Of course, Emily, it's been 13 years."

Thirteen years. Thirteen YEARS. Something about that freaked the HECK out of me. Mr. Favorite Band director joined his family after the marching band performance (that was AWESOME, btw. First time to semi-state EVER. Go Central Bears!!) and had a nine-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son. Holy crap!

And so I froze. Like a deer in headlights. (Or probably more like a creepy stalker since I kept staring at him from a distance but refused to budge from my seat.) When it was time to leave the competition, I came to my senses and ran all over the place trying to find Mr. Favorite Band Director for a few moments of conversation, but alas, it was not to be. Serves me right. Maybe next time I won't be such an ex-band-geek wimp.

In case you can't infer from the above information, it was a fantastic weekend. Notwithstanding my "creepy stalker" moment, I had so much fun relaxing with my friends, hanging out with my dad, reliving high school memories, and having a much needed heart-to-heart girl chat. In fact, it was such a GOOD weekend, that it was very very difficult and depressing to come back to real life.

Because you know how sometimes you just put your head down and power through things? And sometimes you just get into such a rhythm of powering through that you don't really realize how things are? Like you sort of know that things are difficult and they suck, but you don't really realize because what's the point of focusing on that when you don't have a choice but to just get through it? But then you have a great relaxing weekend where for just two days a load is lifted off your shoulders? After that happens, the stark contrast between "fabulous" and "your real life" is sometimes overwhelming. And that's what happened to me on Sunday.

It's like on the drive home, all I could hear was my organic textbook calling me, "Hi Emily! Remember how you have to read two more chapters before the test next week and how you have homework due on Friday that you didn't do this weekend while you were "relaxing?" Oh, and don't forget about how the lectures in class lately have sounded like a foreign language." Or my physics notes beckoning, "Yo Em! I know you're much stronger in this class than you are in o-chem, and have thus been treating me like a red-headed step child. But if you're honest with yourself, you've been completing the last couple of homework assignments without really understanding them, capisce? That might prove to be a problem next week on that test you have. You know... the one two days after the o-chem test? Way to go on wasting this entire weekend!"

But the thing is, this weekend wasn't wasted. I needed it. I needed my friend to ask me how I was doing and to poke and prod after I said, "fine." I needed to see my dad and see how happy he was to have Blue back. I needed to see how happy my friend is with her boyfriend and squeal over how she's going to get engaged, and soon!

But now it's back to the daily grind. Because what choice do I really have but to put my head down and just power through? This, too, shall pass. Only this time, I was kinder to myself and took Monday as a "mental health day" when I slept, slept and transitioned slowly into doing homework to get a tiny bit ahead of where I was on Sunday night. This still means that I have things to accomplish every night after class... and two tests to study for this weekend. But at least now I feel like I can face all that again instead of feeling like I want to hide under the covers.

So yes, this too shall pass. I just hope it passes really really quickly. (On the bright side, at least I know I made one good decision this year.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dude - I am totally with you

As the past weekend waned, I found myself trying to plan for the upcoming weekend and another trip to the parent's house to return their dog. As important as it is for me to return their dog, I must admit that I'm heading home for a completely non-related reason as well.

I'm volunteering at my high school's band regional competition.

As my friend Candy said, "How did you get roped into that?!"

I'm actually pretty excited about it. I mean, not only was marching band (in some form) a huge part of my life for four years, I loved, loved, LOVED my band instructor. And even though I enjoy seeing marching bands perform even now, I'm super excited to see my old band instructor. As an added bonus, I haven't seen my high school's band perform in well over ten years... and I'll be in town anyway... so why not?

And as the date approaches, I find myself overwhelmed with high school memories. One in particular stands out from the others.

It happened in the days leading up to Christmas break. Band "class" was never very difficult, but in the week before break, it was basically a relaxed study hall. I was struggling with chemistry homework and (as is my nature) being very vocal about my displeasure with said chemistry homework. My band instructor came over to where I was sitting and asked to take a look. He then gave me some pointers that allowed me to figure out the answers to my problems with no further struggles. Not only that, but I completely understood the explanation he gave me. Thankfully relieved, I proceeded to quiz him as to how he knew chemistry so well.

My favorite band instructor in the world then proceeded to tell my friends and I that he had graduated with a degree in chemical engineering.

Even though I'm sure these weren't the exact words going through my head, I distinctly remember my 18-year-old self thinking something along the lines of "WTF?!"

I'm sure my puzzled expression made his day because I remember him laughing out loud. This broke my stunned silence and I asked him (with my signature Emily tact) why on earth he was a band instructor with a degree in chemical engineering??

At the time, the conversation was one of the more interesting, yet confusing, discussions I had ever had with a teacher. I have always had difficulty picturing people in roles that are outside the ones that they play in my life. The idea that there was more to my band instructor than being, well, a band instructor, was infinitely fascinating. I proceeded to quiz him mercilessly.

Turns out he had graduated with his degree in chemical engineering, worked a couple of years in that field, determined that it just wasn't for him, and then decided to follow his true passion of music and teaching. I remember thinking, 'Well, whatever makes you happy, I guess. But why would you go through all that schooling to be a band instructor?' What I actually said was, "Well, lucky for me you have all that chemistry knowledge. Otherwise I might never have gotten these problems done." (I also made a mental note to bring my chemistry homework to band class from that day forward.)

Then one of my other friends stumbled upon something much more delicious. Our band instructor was dating her violin instructor. This was generally considered "off limits" to discuss with Mr. Favorite Band Instructor, but something about how he revealed his background in chemical engineering and the general relaxed atmosphere of the day must have made her more bold than usual. So she asked, "Mr. Favorite Band instructor - when are you going to marry Betsy?"

Immediately his tone became warning, "Girls..."

So I tried to soften it, "But....why WOULDN'T you get married?"

He thought for a moment and said, "This is not appropriate conversation."

My friend continued to tease him, "But she's so nice! I really like her. You should get married."

Our band instructor then got up to do another walk/security check around the room. "You'll understand when you're older."

After he left, we continued to talk for a while about how cool it was that he had this whole background that we never would have imagined. Chemical Engineering!! How awesome is that? (but why is he a band instructor?) And why WOULDN'T he want to get married? How weird is that?

Looking back, our band instructor must have been around the age I am now...perhaps a bit younger. Light years older than us, it seemed at the time, but now? Notsomuch.

Now? I know I probably won't get the chance, but I want to tell him that he was right. I DO understand now. In fact, I am totally with him. Changing the entire course of your life after discovering that the first choice you made just isn't quite "you?" Check. Not quite ready to be married yet? (even though all signs say that it's the "next step?") Check. All those things that I couldn't imagine happening when I was eighteen? Check. I wish I could sit down with him and tell him that I remember that day. And that it's nice to remember that if someone I admired went from being a chemical engineer to a band instructor, perhaps it's not so crazy to think that I could go from a marketing major to a veterinarian.

Years later (perhaps even after I graduated from college) I heard that Mr. Favorite Band Instructor did, in fact, marry Betsy and last I heard they had started a family.

Guess there's still hope for me yet.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Ramblings of a Sleep Deprived Mind

First things first - no word on the physics exam. I anticipate I'll get the results on Thursday. Wait, let me re-phrase that. Our professor will give us back our tests on Thursday so as not to awaken the sleeping beast that is Emily's rage and cause her to go postal from the unbearable suspense.

This morning, I was racking my brain for blog fodder and my mind drifted back to the past weekend of bliss. Bliss because I unexpectedly ignored all responsibilities and stress and had a fantastic time. Of course, that weekend led to late nights of homework every night this week, but I think that's an even trade. The weekend was bliss.

It began with a trip to my hometown to pick up Blue and a father/daughter date. After a free movie and satisfying lunch, I planned to meet up with my friend for an evening out....at a BAR!

I was initially conflicted about the evening out. For the drive home (3 hours plus) and to see my dad, I was dressed casually in sneakers and a Colts sweatshirt. This sort of outfit has become my uniform when not at work. I honestly can't remember the last time I put on makeup.... and fixing my hair? Shoot, I haven't even used my hair dryer in MONTHS. Getting up with enough time to get into the office at 7:00am is difficult enough for a morning-hater like me. When I have to decide whether to sleep 10 more minutes, or fix my hair? Sleep wins every time.

But going out to a bar? I mean, how often do I go out? I'm either at work, school, or cuddled up under a blanket at home with a dog. I don't put much stock in appearances anyway, and in those three situations who am I trying to impress?

But going out? With another single female? Ready to have a glass of wine and go OUT?!

Oh, but the effort to get ready. And for what? It's not like I'm trying to pick up men. I know someone who might be upset if that was my goal.

So I did what any female would do. I called the other female going out with me and we discussed how we should dress. Luckily she was as excited about an evening out as I was (apparently neither of us gets out much) and so we decided that high heels were appropriate. Her excitement was contagious, so when I hung up the phone I practically skipped to my room to get ready.

Dude. We were HOTTT!

Which lead us to discuss why women would fix themselves up to look their very best every day. I mean, if you look your best every day, where's the 'wow factor' when you get really dressed up? I waffle on this subject. Sometimes I think it's insecurity that leads women to refuse to leave their house without full makeup. They must not think they're pretty enough otherwise, right? But other times, I think it's insecurity that keeps women from wearing makeup every day. After all, if you're not TRYING to compete with other women, you can't lose, right? What I finally settled on is that neither theory is correct, and it's all about whatever makes you feel comfortable.* I have several friends who look perfectly put together every time I see them, and yet, I'm perfectly comfortable next to them in my tennis shoes because they're comfortable with themselves. And I also know people who are perfectly put together with an edge. I don't know how else to describe it, but I feel uncomfortable in my tennis shoes because I feel like they're measuring up to see how they look in relation to those around them instead of how they feel about themselves. I tend not to like being around those people.

Me personally? I really just don't care enough to put effort into appearance. It's not that important to me. I can appreciate my friends who can dress well (and I would LOVE to have one of them come shopping with me and dress me. Any takers? Please? Your fashion-challenged friend is begging you.) But I love the 'wow factor.' I love being rewarded with compliments when I actually put effort into my appearance. I love the excitement of knowing I look good** and spending an evening doing something I wouldn't normally do.

My friend and I were both giddy with wearing high heels and makeup. As an added bonus, it turned out that we went to high school with the head bartender at the bar we chose. We didn't pick up men, but that wasn't the point. We caught up, talked to random men who approached us, judged the VERY short skirt that made her way around the bar*** and had a great evening.

Haven't worn makeup since.

Women? I would love opinions on this. To wear makeup or not to wear makeup? To dress up or not to dress up? To sneaker or not to sneaker. Those are the questions. Opinions appreciated.

*But I hold on to the caveat that it's a fine line between wearing makeup every day, and eventually getting to the point where you're wearing full makeup to the gym because OH MY GOD you can't be seen in public without MAKEUP!! I worry about women when it gets to that point.

**Reality really doesn't matter much here...it's all about how I feel. I tend to avoid mirrors. I know I look hot, reality does not need to confirm or deny the facts.

***Dude! We could totally see snatch. Well groomed... but still!!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Bad Juju

Work yesterday was the worst suckiest suck to ever have sucked. It was horrible. Everything that could have gone wrong did. And what made it worse was that it followed an exceptional three day weekend during which I did not pay attention to diet, school, or any sort of responsibility whatsoever. It's like karma decided to kick me in the butt for being so irresponsible.

Being used to such days, during which suck seems to build on suck to culminate in a day that would have been better spent in bed, I was expecting nothing less than the usual, and in fact looking forward to plenty of sucky fodder with which to write a blog for my dusty little neglected and cobweb-filled corner of the internet.

(Holy CRAP was that a long sentence.)

But I got home, and my neighbor had FINALLY mowed the lawn. His turn, to be sure, but I was still thrilled because it hadn't been mowed since the thing removal of 2009, (over a month ago, ahem) and I sure as hell wasn't going to break down and mow it when it wasn't my turn.

Suffice to say that our lawn collection of cat-tails was looking fantastic.

So a freshly mowed lawn greeted me when I left the sucky hole of work. Things were looking up.

On the other hand, my first o-chem test of the semester was due to be returned that evening. That definitely did not bode well. Especially when I arrived and found out that the class average was a 53%. Fantastic.

(Note: the urge to use a curse word in the middle of "fantastic" was almost impossible to resist. Praise me for my strong exertion of will.)

Turns out that my o-chem wasn't as terrible as I anticipated. Now that I've had a night to sleep on it, I've realized that the actual percentage score doesn't really matter, right? It's the letter grade that matters. And that letter grade is in the B-/C+ vicinity. I prefer to call that a B-. It's not what I wanted, but it could have been so much worse (there were scores in the 30% range) and I'll work harder next time.

I got home to two dogs (yes, Blue is back for another two week visit while my parents travel abroad) that were running around like maniacs, and yet Blue didn't even have the courtesy to offer blog fodder by chewing on something that is necessary for me to continue living. Like the TV remote. Or my physics lab that was "coincidentally" left within his reach on the coffee table and then "accidentally" knocked on the floor in front of him.

So despite my foreboding, I have no story of suck for you.

But today is looking strong for a blog about my oh so terrible and not at all melodramatic (but yet adorably hilarious) life. I mean, it's raining, it's dreary, it's cold, my Starbucks guy got my drink wrong, and I get my first physics test back tonight. I'll keep you updated.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

So, in a completely unexpected, but totally appreciated gesture, Simply Alisa answered my down-in-the-dumps request for encouragement, and sent me a present.

When I got the present, I was thrilled.

When I opened the present, I was more thrilled.

When I saw that it said XL on the box, I was beyond thrilled. Mega-sized DOTS!!

But apparently the XL refers to the size of the box. Not the size of the DOTS.

Meh. They were delicious anyway. And since DOTS from the East Coast are better than Midwest DOTS, I even branched out and ate the yellow ones. Which means that the only DOTS left in the box in this picture are the green ones.

It really is the little things in life. Thanks Alisa!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Random Bullet Points

-Did you know that if you pretend that you don't know something that a stupid person does know, it makes them really REALLY happy to tell you all about it? "Really? Iced Tea has caffeine? I had no idea!"

-I am so tired, I'm almost falling asleep at my desk. I can't believe missing sleep from Monday Night Football would still affect me on Wednesday. I even went to bed on time last night.

-My "friends"* involved me in a weight loss challenge. (Based on points for different things, not total weight loss - though weight loss factors in heavily.) I seem to be in the thick of the running (or at least not left in the dust) and I'm floored. FLOORED. Due to time constraints, I get next to no points for exercise. I'm just religious about journaling and drinking water. Which feels like I'm basically doing nothing. And yet, to date I've lost 6 lbs.

-Trust me, you're glad this is the first you've heard of the weight loss challenge. The first week of competition I was filled with great vitriol for the challenge organizer regarding how she was responsible for my lack of sustenance, and how I was obviously going to starve to death in addition to having to pee every 10 seconds until blissful death took me away.

-Internet drama is exponentially better than soap operas, but still doesn't approach the level of genius that is Gossip Girl.

-I heart Dooce.

-I had an outpouring of hatred for Biggest Loser last night, though ultimately I still enjoy the show. These people are losing 28lbs in two weeks. I call bullshit. The boy tried to pacify me with the fact that those people have a lot (LOT) more fat to lose than I do, but diet irrationality knows no bounds. I only know that it's been a bitch to lose 6 lbs, and I'm super jealous.

-Salmon is diet superfood.

-According to my BMI, I am no longer obese.** Now I'm just overweight. I still haven't changed the first two numbers on my weight, though, so I'm not sure how I feel about that formality change. Check back with me next week.

-Since I do not have one, I totally want to get on zlionfan's Wii and have it tell me how awesome I am for losing weight.

-That last bullet point just cracked me up.

*In quotes because obviously no "real" friend would deprive me of eating. ahem. They forced me. Bound and gagged me. I am an innocent (and hungry) bystander in this insanity.

**According to my BMI, people. I never believed that. I happen to think I just have heavy bones.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Where is the "Override" button?

I get a lot of "You reveal so much on your blog. I'm not sure I would be comfortable with that." I'm not quite sure I agree, but how do you explain blogging to non-bloggers? I try to explain that about 85% of my blogs are for entertainment's sake. Usually something happens in my life, and I spin it to make it the most amusing anecdote possible. My emotions in the situation are exaggerated for comedic effect, and sometimes the conversations are tweaked to be shorter, wittier, sillier etc. Every blog is based in truth, but they're always stories. They're always designed for entertainment, and they're about me. No one else. Just me.

Of course, then sometimes things happen that need no exaggeration. They're hilarious all by themselves. I think it's the universe's way of keeping me on my toes. In those moments, the boy's gotten used to me giggling to myself for hours afterwards as I "write the blog in my head." Sometimes he'll even contribute. You can thank him next time you see him.

When explaining my blog to my parents, I finally just gave them the address and let them read it themselves.* My father eventually said it was a form of therapy. I almost got to protest, but he was quick to point out that it's cheaper than a therapist (sorry Ann) so he does not think it's a bad thing.

I laughed. I can remember off the top of my head maybe one (or two) blogs that were truly my naked emotions. (And that second one? That was really lighthearted when I think back to how close to the edge I really was.) I told my father that I don't generally like admitting I have emotions....must less discussing them on this blog. I try to keep it anecdotal.

But I'll break that rule today because today? I need some therapy. Today? I feel like a failure. And while my mind knows logically that I am NOT a failure, the feeling persists.

See, this past weekend I made the decision to delay my application to vet school. This past weekend I decided that perhaps (perhaps) I had been a little bit overconfident in thinking that I could rush the process and be able to handle 18 hours of organic chemistry 2, genetics/molecular biology, biological chemistry, and microbiology/immunology next semester. Even without work. Because originally? The plan was to apply this year, and wrap up all of my classes in the spring 2010 semester.

And now the plan is to wait and apply in 2010.

I came to this conclusion after three weeks of physics 2 and an organic chemistry class that is demanding every brain cell that I haven't yet killed off with alcohol.

I don't do "weakness." I'm superwoman, remember? I can handle anything. And while I logically know that this decision isn't a bad one, and in fact, might even be the best decision I've made in a while, I can't help but feel like an utter failure.

This is not a competition thing. And this is not a feeling I've gotten from anyone in my life. Lord knows the boy is thrilled to keep me around for another year.** And my best friend couldn't be more supportive. My parents? Didn't seem to phase them. Another friend (mother of two boys under the age of 4) told me that I was most certainly NOT a failure as I'm currently living the life of three people at once. (Um, she has two children under the age of 4... I still think my life is easier.)

It's all coming from me. Just me. Because if I'm hard on people I'm close to, I'm harder on myself. The standards that I set for myself are never rarely compromised. I mean, this is the girl who trained to run 13.1 miles just because she wanted an exercise in setting a goal and achieving it. Nevermind that her previous philosophy was to "never run unless chased." Once I set a plan for myself, I don't deviate. I finish what I set out to do, come hell or high water. You know, like a bulldog.

And I KNOW I'm still going to finish the plan that I set for myself. But delaying it a year? Right now it feels like the end of the world. Like I wasn't strong enough to finish what I started. Like I totally suck for only taking 5 hours instead of the usual 10 last year and setting myself back. Like I should have made the decision to become a vet earlier in my life so that I wouldn't feel like the clock is constantly ticking on me now.

Maybe I just need some time to get more perspective. Or maybe I just need to get an A in organic chemistry to feel better. (The A in physics is a given. I have a secret weapon... if I can drag him away from the Beatles Rock Band and the football...) I vote option "B" personally. So if any of your are organic chem tutors and feel like lending your expertise, I am currently accepting applications. Encouragement in the form of DOTS is also accepted. I will also accept offers from men who would like to mow my lawn for me and relieve stress that way. The position of "comfort by laying your head on my lap and looking at me adoringly" has already been filled.***

*They've visited a total of once. Apparently my writing is not as amusing as I originally anticipated.

**Facetious. He's supportive for several other reasons. See? Trying to be lighthearted.

***By Casey you perverts.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Science

I'm weak. I'll admit it. About a week before I unexpectedly returned Blue, I was feeling tired, stressed and all around worn-out. I had just finished a load of laundry and didn't feel like folding one more article of clothing. It was a Sunday night so the boy had headed off to his house - it was just me the dogs and Laney. I was done cleaning the house, so I decided that all other responsibilities could wait until the upcoming week. I put the laundry basket with unfolded clothes in my hallway where I would trip on it the next day (and thus remind myself that clothes needed folding) and decided spur-of-the-moment to let the dogs sleep with me.

What happened next was interesting.

Instead of taking the dogs to their crates where they normally sleep, I turned off all the lights and headed into the bedroom. This is usually a trigger for joyous running and a simultaneous flying leap onto my bed by two dogs. Sleeping with me is uncommon when there are two of them (they absolutely hog the bed) so they're exceptionally happy when it happens.

When I got to my bedroom after the nighttime bathroom routine, there was only one dog waiting for me. Casey. Hmmm. Where's Blue?

Blue was skulking in the living room - head down and looking for all the world like he was going to get into trouble. My first thought was, "Oh crap. What did you chew?" (Last time I saw that look, he had my digital camera in his mouth. THAT was a good day.) A brief survey of the living room showed everything remained untouched. Confused, I encouraged, "Come on Blue," and headed back to the bedroom.

A few seconds later and again only Casey and I were in the bedroom. I went back to Blue who had the same hangdog look on his face. "Come on Buddy!" No tail wags, and seeming to fear a punishment that wasn't coming, Blue eventually skittered into my bedroom. I have no other way to describe what happened. He skittered. Tail tucked. Like I was forcing him. Like sleeping in the bedroom was punishment. Interesting.

Once in the bedroom, he perked up into the normal happy Blue and the night passed uneventfully. I put the entire incident out of my mind.

The next morning, I went to let the dogs out, and again, only Casey answered my call. This time, Blue was skulking in my bedroom door with the same hangdog look. Again, nothing was chewed. Again, it took quite a bit of persuasion until Blue skittered through the hallway to get outside. Only this time, I realized what was scaring him.

Um, Blue was afraid of the laundry basket sitting in my hallway.

THESE are the big scary pit bulls that everyone is afraid of?

So I did a little experiment. (Excuse the poor video quality.)
video
I was obviously on one end of the hallway and Blue was on the other with the laundry basket (filled with scary unfolded clothes!!!) between us. You can see Blue's tail wagging furiously as I call him. And you can almost see the indecision on his face as he paces on the other side of the big scary basket.* "Hmmm...I WANT to come to mom....but I might get EATEN! By the BIG SCARY BASKET!! What do I DO?!" (You'll have to excuse the baby talk in the video. That's not what I normally sound like. (I don't think?) But with Blue, you use baby talk. That's all there is to it. If you want to speak like a grown up, you can talk to Casey.)

When I told the boy, he summed it up perfectly. "Awww! Blue is such a pretty, dumb dog." Yes, that he is. He's pretty, and he's dumb. I then proceeded to remove the scary basket, called Blue again, and gave him a big hug when he came right to me.
video
So there's your highly scientific experiment for the day. Laundry baskets are obviously scarier than pit bulls. Make sure to spread the word.

*You also get the unintentional hilarity of Casey ignoring me completely. Like, "What? She's not calling me. Blue is so dumb."

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Missing a Dog

We hadn't really gotten a chance to mourn together, and her tears brought out mine. As I sniffled, the dogs raised their head from six feet away and immediately came over to offer their particular brand of comfort. With Blue's head in her lap, my mother said quietly, "He used to lick my hands and my feet."

It's a comment I've heard laughingly dozens of times from my mom, and one that I completely understood. Blue is a licker. My legs, my feet, my hands, my face (if he sneaks up on me.) Sometimes it's to the point of exasperation. "Blue, get back!" is a common theme in my home when he's visiting. Since my mom is the person who most resembles me in her household, I assumed Blue would attach himself to her first and, of course, the licking would continue.

But in that moment, her comment took on a different meaning.

"When you're sad? He'll lick you to offer comfort?"

Her mute nod made me cry even more. Because the dogs? It's like they sense your sadness. And they do what they can. And sometimes? It's something that no one or nothing else can accomplish.

So I'm back down to a one dog household. I'll figure out how to get him back in time for my parents to leave for their next adventure later. Because even with school and all the planning required, if Blue can be there when I can't? Priceless.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Great "It" removal of 2009

It's gone.

I am so tired that I don't even think I can be funny about its removal. My arms are so sore that I'm surprised I can reach the keyboard. The only good thing about the whole experience is that I had the foresight to ask the boy to help me with the whole situation. Otherwise I'm sure that "it" would still be standing and I would be a hell of a lot more frustrated.

I originally sent the boy into the back yard with branch clippers to trim back the neighbor's trees that were growing into my back yard while I set out to pull weeds and the thing in the front yard.

I didn't get far.

Apparently if you let weeds live so long, they turn into stubborn little suckers that can not be removed, even if one grabs the weed as close to the root as possible and leans all her weight backwards to let gravity do the work.

As a bonus, I sure felt like I didn't weigh much after this experiment.

I got some weeds up, and marked the "stubborn" ones for removal when the boy was finished with the backyard. Then I turned my attention to "it." Around the perimeter of it, there were several new shoots. They were easy to remove so I got a bit cocky. When I got to the middle of the thing, the shoots were about an inch or so in diameter. Yeah - not so easy to remove.

So I edged my walkway and the front of my yard while I waited for the boy.

When the boy joined me up front, he had much more success with the weeds and "it" than I did. And as he pulled the larger stalks of it, we noticed that the roots were tubers. Curiouser and curiouser. Well, at least the answer to why the thing reappeared this year is solved. The boy suggested that they might be edible. Neither of us tried them.

I had the momentary concern that we were killing the tulips. But in the end, the boy convinced me that we can always plant more tulips. It would be worth it to get rid of the monstrosity. As it is, I don't think we got all the roots, (despite our best efforts) so I'll keep an eye out next year for shoots.

They were HEAVY. I can't stress that enough. What with the stalks being so tall, and the roots being so big, the uprooted things weighed at least 3-5lbs each.

As we were pulling "it" up, my neighbor emerged on his way to dinner. "Pulling up the mystery bush?" is what he asked.

Several responses went through my mind, but I contented myself with "Yep." It seemed safer that way.

He looked around the lawn at the weeds that had been uprooted and the thing that was in the process of being demolished, laughed and said, "You know, you should probably have done this at the beginning of the season instead of at the end."

Oh, hold me back.

We laughed and I promised to get him out there with me earlier next year. I don't think that's quite what he intended me to say.

You know, yard work when renting is a funny thing. I mean, it's not my house, so I don't really care. But I do want to be able to enjoy my lawn, and the weeds keep me from doing so. But lawn care = no fun. So it's an interesting position to be in. In the end I decided that I would be better in a home with grass and little to no landscaping. Let's be honest - I'm no green thumb, so the less I have to do to keep the lawn looking decent the better. But then again, I can't bring myself to uproot the bush that grows the pretty pink flowers. (We did trim it, though.)

After the weeds and it were pulled, I figured that since it was my house, I would release the boy from his obligation.

"Thanks for your help. All I have left to do is drag this stuff back to the discard pile out back. You can go ahead and go in if you want. I'll join you when I'm done."

I'm not going to lie. I fully expected a "It's no problem. I'll help you drag this stuff out back."

Instead I got an "Okay. See you in a bit for dinner."*

Which accounts for the achy arms today. I guess I deserved that.

*The boy would like me to tell you that he did give me a massage when I got inside, and he did have dinner ready and waiting.**

**The author of this blog would like to tell you that dinner was delivered pizza.***

***The boy would like to note that he paid for said pizza AND left the leftovers at the blog author's house.

Friday, August 28, 2009

It

So there's this thing.

In my yard.

It's not a bush....it's more like a whole lot of individual plants all growing together in the same general area. But the individual plant itself is like a stalk with leaves. Is it supposed to grow on its own? Or is it supposed to grow in a group like this monstrosity in my lawn? 'Cause the stalks in the middle of the grouping? They're dying from lack of sunlight. Seriously, WTF IS this? It's just...a thing. Last year the boy and I my father uprooted it, and yet here it is again! The REALLY weird thing is that this past spring, (after the uprooting of last year) the area that houses the thing sprouted red and yellow tulips. Really PRETTY red and yellow tulips that appeared with no assistance from me and made me really happy.

But then the tulips died, and the thing came back.

Seriously, any ideas? What is it??

See, the guy who lived in my house before me was a horticulturalist that worked at the IMA. So my lawn that was previously just grass now has this area in front of the house with random plants that pop up throughout the spring and summer and ostensibly need weeding and care and the like. Fantastic. I'm assuming it used to be beautiful. Seeing as how I have difficulty just keeping myself and the dogs alive and my neighbor procrastinates more than I do, we are obviously the perfect tenants for this setup. The original beauty of the lawn has now become more of a wild, untamed jungle beauty.

Most of the plants are pretty. And they bloom on their own each year with pretty orange or pink flowers. I like those plants. But then there are also green things with no flowers that grow around the pretty plants. In my world, no flowers = weeds. And THEN there's this patch of grass that I'm pretty sure is taller than my house. WTF is THAT?! Ugh.

So this weekend? I have scheduled the boy's assistance for Sunday. The thing? Yeah, I'm pulling it up. Anything green with no flowers in front of my house? Gone. The boy gets to use the big manly gas powered weed eater to mow through my back yard. He will also be the sounding board for, "Is this a weed?"

I know you're all jealous.

I just hope we don't hurt the tulips. Suggestions?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Green

I must admit, I took full advantage of my last few weeks of freedom in August. Ever since I returned from my family vacation,* between seeing friends, eating out with friends, going to concerts with friends and biking with friends (not to mention weddings and the like) my weeknights and weekends were pretty much packed full.** In fact, it was difficult to find a time that would work for me to return Blue to my parents. (He actually remains with me for now.)

Needless to say, lawn care has pretty much fallen to the wayside. In fact, the weeds have so encroached my front porch that there is only a narrow opening of about 6 inches that you can pass through to get into my house without being touched by something green.

I remember when lawn care was all about accomplishment. Yeah, that's done now.

In my defense, when I left for California, it was my neighbor's turn to mow the lawn. I left it pretty well controlled. I actually used the weed-eater the week before I departed. (I so rock.) When I returned (six days later) the lawn looked like a lawn that hadn't been mowed in about a two weeks. (The words "Man! What?? Was six days NOT ENOUGH FOR YOU?!" might have been the first words out of my mouth when we arrived home from the airport.***)

Unfortunately, since I was so busy, I literally had no good time (when it wasn't raining) to get out and mow the lawn. In fact, it wasn't until ten days after I got home that the weather and my free time coincided enough for me to plan to mow. It was that day that my neighbor decided to pull his weight and I got home to a freshly mowed lawn.**** Neighbor is a boy, did I mention that? My sense of fairness is strained when I think about how he is a boy and I am a girl and I am doing the bulk of the yardwork for a house that we share.*****

And then it was left for twelve more days. I am not proud of this fact, but my schedule...it was full. So on Tuesday, I decided that since I could no longer see the dogs when they went outside, I must do what needs to be done. Sigh. First things first - must retreive mower that hasn't been used in over a month.

Ummmmm.... I don't know where Mr. Neighbor keeps his power mower, but it certainly isn't in the garage where I keep my puny, eco-friendly mower. Because the garage door? Was booby trapped by spider webs. Big ones. Big spider webs that had spiders in them, one of which caught his lunch as I was stopped simultaneously wondering how I was going to proceed and grateful that I had noticed the webs before walking right into them.

Easy enough - I had just seen Mr. Neighbor. I will go to him, play the girl card, and hope that he will dispose of said spiderwebs.****** Hmmmm....Mr. Neighbor isn't home. Okay. I can do this. Will get stick. Long stick. Maybe long branch instead. Done.

People, there was RESISTANCE before those webs broke. Seriously!! Resistance like they were made of teeny tiny steel cables! I have mutant spiders that are now planning to feast on my eyeballs in retaliation for destroying their home. EEEEEEK!

While shrieking, I did manage to get the mower out. I also pushed it in front of me all the way to the front lawn in order to kill any vengeful spiders who may have been planning their immediate attack. Ha ha spiders! Eat my eco-friendly blades!!

So now there's a nice little path cut through from my garage to my front lawn. Classy.

So I mowed. And I sweated. And I now have 13 bug bites on my legs. And the entire time I was wondering where on EARTH all this responsibility in my life came from? I mean, I didn't inadvertently request it, did I? But it got done. Of course, I was a panting, sweaty, disgusting mess when my other neighbor (two doors down) came up impeccably dressed and asked me if I would mind mowing HIS lawn.

Now, I know that I'm a tough grrrl and all that, but I'm using this mower. And even on a tiny lawn, it's not like I make it look effortless. It generally takes between 30 - 45 minutes to get my lawn done,******* and that doesn't include the time taken to curse at random sticks that abruptly stop my progress on a regular basis.********

So I laughed and declined, but offered him the use of my mower.

Folks, he wasn't kidding. (!!!)

"Oh honey, I don't DO yard work."

Yeah. I don't either.

"But I'll pay you!"

Woah. Did NOT see that coming.

I politely declined again and told him that basically there wasn't enough money in the world...even though I'm a poor starving student. But that anytime he wanted to borrow my mower! Or have his roommate borrow my mower! (I subsequently found out that his roommate doesn't do yard work either) He was more than welcome.

And then I totally referred him to my procrastinating neighbor with a power mower. Wonder how that will work out? As of today, his lawn still isn't mowed. My lawn looks better than his lawn. Nah nah nah nah nah!

*PS. Don't see Watchmen

**Why yes, I was trying to overdose on friends before school started so that perhaps I wouldn't miss them as much when I was in hell.

***The boy's response was, "Wow. Is that what you sound like when I put things off too?" The answer is "indubitably."

****Coincidentally also the day I stopped hating him.

*****Fine. I'm not a feminist. I mean, I can do anything I want to do, and anything a man can do, but I believe that there are some things that girls should be able to pass off if there is an able bodied man (with a power mower!!!) around, and yard work is one of them. I'll handle getting the discounts at the video game store. Just hand me that push-up bra over there.

******Note to self. This process? Not elective. Needs to be repeated each year. Purchase bug bombs in bulk.

*******You can be guaranteed that it doesn't matter how long it takes, the boy will show up the moment I've put the mower away. I'm not convinced he's not spying on me to find the opportune time to arrive at casa de Emily.

********I'm pretty sure I curse out loud, too. I have my iPod in, so I can't be sure, but I have noticed that the moms take all their kids indoors when they see me lugging out my mower.