Sunday, January 31, 2010

Never Fear, Casey is here

For some reason, I've never been scared of coyotes. Wolves, yes. Coyotes? No. I mean, it's not like I would want to come across a rabid coyote while all alone on a pleasant evening walk... and it's not like I've forgotten my first experience with nightswimming where there was very little swimming by Emily and very much twining myself tightly around my companion when random howls began from the nearby vacant country field... but ever since becoming more familiar with dogs, learning their body language and reading about coyotes, I would say I'm more respectful of them than I am scared.

Which is why I didn't have a total panic meltdown last Friday when Casey and I were playing fetch in the woodsy area of Crown Hill near my home and Casey suddenly went tearing off towards the woods. Vaguely confused, I looked at the ball in my hand which had not yet been thrown, then back at the rear end of my rapidly retreating dog. Suddenly my gaze was caught by a flash of movement slightly ahead of Casey. Another couple of seconds identified it as a coyote. A coyote on which Casey was rapidly gaining as she chased it into the woods.

Initially I freaked out and called her name repeatedly. Each time I said her name it was more high pitched and frantic. Casey paid me about as much attention as the boy does when playing Peggle. So I took off in a dead sprint in the direction she was running. Reason (and the fact that I'm out of shape) reasserted itself in about 20 steps, and I stopped and realized that there was absolutely nothing I could do. So I waited and listened for any noise coming from the woods in which Casey had disappeared.

Three minutes later, Casey came bounding out of the woods towards me with a big silly grin on her face and immediately demanded that I throw the ball for her. I checked her over while she wiggled impatiently and tried to snatch the ball out of my pocket (bad dog!) She was fine. Not a scratch on her.

So I was somewhat amused yesterday as Casey and I headed home after another round of fetch and the neighbor across the street came out to warn me away from that particular grassy field.

"You'll wanna be careful, young lady. We've seen a coyote in that field almost every night."

I want to know what went through his mind when I said, "Thanks for telling me. We saw the coyote last week and my dog chased it off, but we'll be careful."

He cast a glance at Casey panting happily beside me and didn't say anything else as he headed back inside.

And I wonder where Casey gets her reputation...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Unique Commodity

The boy came over one day last week when I was feeling particularly....amorous. I kissed him as he came in the door before he said hello, and he didn't even have a chance to take off his jacket before the kissing turned from playful to serious.

(Don't worry. There's a clear line of things I'll talk about and things I won't. This blog post won't cross it.)

When we finally paused for a moment, the boy took off his jacket (purchased at the outdoor store where he works and probably wishes he could spend all of his time) and tossed it on the chair. My brain to mouth filter was obviously otherwise occupied because I observed and immediately said, "What's that mark on the shoulder of your jacket?"

I immediately cursed myself. Stupid over observant tendency. Stupid off-topic comment. Stupid inability to stop thoughts from becoming words. That totally could have waited.

The boy was immediately distracted from me.

"There's a mark on my jacket? What mark? Where?"

I would have been disappointed at the ease in which he was distracted from me if I hadn't already seen it coming and was prepared. (This whole knowing each other well? It goes both ways.)

"Ahem. Girlfriend trumps jacket?"

"Right, right," The boy turned back to me with a smile and a kiss. "Girlfriend trumps jacket. Jacket is easier to replace."

This time I drew back. "I'm sorry, what was that again? Easier to replace?!"

The boy immediately realized his mistake. "Well... I just mean that you're one of a kind, baby."

"Nice try." (But I won't lie. I was won over.)

The boy sighed. "This is going to be a blog post, isn't it?"

"You betcha."

"Fine. Just be sure to tell them that I said you're one of a kind."

"Sure I will. AFTER you said I was replaceable."

"But you're more difficult to replace than a very expensive North Face jacket!" The boy pointed out helpfully.

"Man. This just keeps getting better and better..."

Monday, January 25, 2010


I apologize in advance if you have a fear of clowns. Or are easily offended. Or have no sense of humor. This won't appeal to you. My sense of humor must not be as refined, because I literally can't stop laughing at this commercial.

Unfortunately, it's an ad for a store I hate. But I literally laugh every time I think about it. The first time I saw it, it literally almost made me pee my pants. Lucky for z, since I was sitting on his drum stool at the time, I was able to control myself.

Still not shopping there. Nope. But I'll sure use this to lift my spirits next time I'm down. Thanks Wal-Mart!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

For Shame! (a roundabout book review)

I can't handle suspense.

Is this a character flaw? I'm not sure. I just know that I get all stressed and freaked out with suspense and omigod if you've ever watched a movie with me that I have NOT previously seen but you HAVE previously seen? I apologize in advance. In fact, some friends have banned this practice because of my incessant questions. "Does he die?" "What happens next?" "Does she die?" Here's a tip - just answer my questions and I'll shut the hell up.

Although usually? I'll ask the questions even if you haven't seen it either. The boy has resignedly chalked this up to a "cute quirk." The latter usually said between clenched teeth.

When I read a suspenseful book? I read the last page of the book when the suspense gets to be too much to bear. Seriously. Not the entire last chapter, but the last page. I wish I could say it's because I have a dark side like Harry, but really I just want to know if the main character dies.

And while most people judge me for this (You're ruining the story!) in fact, it does not ruin the story for me. It relaxes me so that I can read the story in peace and focus on the details leading up to the ending.

Because, as I recently realized, when I read a suspenseful novel and I get to a suspenseful part, I tend to skim until I get to the resolution. And while most times I'll go back to re-read in detail what I skimmed, sometimes there's something else suspenseful that I just found out about and then....well.... then the book is over too quickly. And I do like to savor my books. Even the suspenseful ones.

With all this stress, one would wonder why Stephen King is my favorite author.

But all of that leads to an explanation for why I got up out of my warm bed last night in the wee hours of morning. I was listening to 'Under the Dome' and since the option of skipping ahead in the book is removed when listening to an audiobook, I was literally to the point where I was going to:
A) Call my cousin and beg her to give me her best friend's (who had already finished the book) phone number so that I could get all my answers
B) drive to the closest store to purchase the hard copy so that I could read the answers for myself or
C) be reduced to begging my dog for answers

Did I mention this happened at one o'clock in the morning?

I was so tired. And I knew that the responsible thing would be to go to sleep, but omigod, is Rusty going to die?! So I got out of my nice warm bed and into my 50 degree house to pull out my laptop and google the book. Casey, who remained under the nice warm covers, thought I was insane. Laney thought I was insane. Heck, I thought I was insane. And yet, there I was. Berating myself while I typed the words into the google toolbar.

For shame. I know. I felt like I was doing something dirty and sneaky. So much so that I left the lights off in my house while I was googling. But what was I going to do?! I had no choice! Seriously! (I knew there was no way my cousin was going to give up D's number once she knew what I wanted it for. And if she did? I had already warned D to stay strong and not give into my begging. I didn't really mean it, D. Always answer my questions. It's for my sanity. Consider it a charitable donation.)

Luckily Wikipedia came through with enough answers so that I could sleep and not enough to ruin the rest of the story arc. And so I was able to sleep. Blessed blessed sleep.

I know. I feel so ashamed. I feel like I should write a letter of apology to Mr. King. But does it count as redemption if I've badgered at least three other people into reading this book just so I have someone (anyone!) to discuss it with? I can't go through this alone anymore.

And so, it was with a heavy heart that this morning I turned off my desktop. And am giving my laptop to the boy. (He's thrilled! All Peggle all the time! Woo Hoo!!!) At least until I'm through this book. Because I obviously can't be trusted. And the desktop is a dinosaur that takes 20 minutes to start up. Twenty minutes in which I will hopefully regain my sanity and step away from the internet.

But seriously. You should SO read this book. Right now. And tell me what happens to Chester's Mill. Because if this is another Needful Things? I need to know now in order to prepare myself.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Random Stuff

-I think I'm going to love my biochem class this semester.

-I missed work because of illness on Friday. Then I did nothing on Saturday and felt better. Then, when I felt worse on Sunday, the boy suggested that I do nothing again. I literally could not sit still for another 24 hours. Of course, I've felt progressively worse since. Apparently the boy was correct. Just don't tell him.

-In a related note, the little muscle underneath my left eye has been involuntarily twitching for about three days now. You know the one? I'm sure everyone has been through this. You can't do a thing about it. I'm sure it's tied to being sick somehow. I looked in the mirror today and felt sort of sorry for that poor little muscle. Think about how tired it must be! And then I have to stop and wonder if it's burning calories while it's twitching away. 'Cause that would be okay.

-I didn't go to a large public school for my undergrad, and for the first time ever, I was grateful for that fact yesterday. Because if I had to deal with the parking situation I had to deal with yesterday for the entirety of my four years of undergrad study? I would be certifiably insane. In-sane.

-I love my dog. She's awesome.

-I am succeeding in my drinking water goals....just not in my avoiding other forms of liquid part. I'll still drink my eight glasses of water, but I would be lying if I didn't say that more often than not there's also a glass of Coke somewhere during the day. Ugh.

-If I could quit my job, I would. Today. With no notice.

-I paid all my bills the other day, and still had money left over. I was ecstatic until I realized that I hadn't yet paid tuition for the month. Back to reality.

-I messed up and scheduled myself in an organic chem lab where I know no one. Luckily, after I introduced myself as a returning student with a degree taking pre-vet courses (during group intros,) I was approached by another returning student to be their lab partner. Apparently no one over the age of 25 wants to be paired with someone under 21 when a grade is involved. I thought it was just me.

-I hurt for about three days after shoveling my walkway, the sidewalk in front of my house, and my neighbor's walkway free of snow. About halfway through, I knew I would hurt afterwards, but thought that the sense of accomplishment would be worth it. It wasn't.

-I took my dog to play fetch in the snow with two brightly colored tennis balls. I came home with no tennis balls. Apparently I have a dog with a defective nose.

-My cousin gave me Peggle as a gift. Or, more appropriately, she gave the boy Peggle as a gift. Because she's awesome. (Don't know what Peggle is? Go here. You're welcome in advance for the massive amounts of time you will now lose to this game.) Last night I left for my lab at 7:00pm after having dinner with the boy. He said he was going to leave after "a couple more games." When I got home at 8:40pm, he hadn't moved....but he had beaten three more grand master challenges! He ended up going home at 10:15pm. And it wasn't because of me. I could have gotten naked and done a little dance and it still wouldn't have made him put down my laptop.

-I made waffles on Sunday for myself and some friends. And they rocked. I want to make them again, but my recipe makes five and I can only eat one. Anyone want to come over for waffles?

-I have discovered audiobooks and love them. I'm currently in the middle of Stephen King's 'Under the Dome.' But what I've found is that the audiobook stresses me out more than actually reading the book. Apparently (since I can't handle suspense) I tend to skim through the stressful parts of a book when I'm reading to get to the resolution more quickly. With audiobooks this is not possible. My stomach is in knots constantly with this book. I'm not sure it's good for my blood pressure.

-My organic lab this semester meets from 7:30pm to 10:20pm twice a week. But it's only a 2 credit hour course. Can someone explain that to me?

-I turn 2^5 this weekend. I would normally have trumpeted this news long before now, but I feel more mellow about this upcoming anniversary of my birth. Could it be I'm mellowing in my old age?

-The boy, who has been reminded repeatedly of what is coming up this weekend does not think I'm mellowing at all.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Who I Am

This has got to be the most unprepared that I've ever been for a semester of school since I re-started. I mean, I was heading to campus at 5:15pm for a class at 6:00pm and suddenly realized that I had not purchased an updated parking permit.

Needless to say, I was a bit late getting to class.

Once in class, I was pleasantly surprised by the charisma and outlook of my professor for Organic Chemistry II. If I manage to pull an A in this class, as opposed to the C+ last semester, we'll all know it's completely based on the teacher. (Of course, if I pull another C+ then we'll just forget we ever had this conversation...)

One of the first things my professor handed out was a list of questions and a request that we write a paragraph or two about ourselves. He wants to get to know us. I was thrilled! And completely uncomprehending when I heard the scattered groans from other students around the room.

Let me backtrack a little. Last summer when I started getting together materials for my application to vet school (before I delayed it by a year) I realized that I needed academic letters of recommendation. I knew I would need letters of recommendation from someone I work with (check!) a veterinarian (check!) but I did not realize I would need one from an academic source as well. Bummer. One of the reasons why I chose the smaller school where I completed my undergrad studies was the smaller class size. I knew all of my professors. Of course that was....ahem....over ten years ago. As my mother delicately put it, "You're not even sure if any of them are still alive." This time around, the class sizes are much larger, my schedule doesn't generally allow for me to visit professors during office hours, and I'm pretty self sufficient with any questions I might have anyway (read: I send emails.) So relationships with my professors are scarce. No matter, I just had to make friends with a professor, right?

Here's where the roadblock popped up. Um, I can't. I get ridiculously anxious and freaked out when I have to speak to a professor and either come across as a bumbling idiot, or a complete flake who has to cut the conversation short lest she burst into tears from the stress. Yes, it really is that bad. No melodrama. Ask z who has had to talk me down off of ledges after several such disasters. On second thought, don't. It's incredibly embarrassing.

For the longest time, I couldn't figure out what the problem was. I mean, I'm personable. I'm friendly. People tend to like me. Being a pretty strong extrovert, I have an overflow of personality on most occasions. I can make friends (or at least conversation) with almost anyone. If I like you, I can have a pretty endearing charisma. (If I don't, well, it's...different.) But after thinking about it for a while, I came to two determinations. 1) It's really difficult for me to ask for something (especially something I can't do on my own.) 2) It's really REALLY difficult for me to ask for something that means a lot to me. Therein lies the problem. Becoming a vet means a lot to me.

There's my soul bared for everyone to see.

Still, I'm stubborn persistent. Even though I had a mild massive heart attack every time I did it, I continued to visit my physics professor (by far my favorite professor I've had) over and over until at one point I got enough of my personality through to make him laugh. (During the first visits, I'm pretty sure he thought I was mildly mentally handicapped. But I made a strong finish at the end when I made a quantum physics joke. Sweet.) So all I had to do was ask for the letter.

Yeah, the semester is over and I still haven't asked. Sigh.

So when my ochem II professor asked us to write about ourselves? For a narcissistic blogger like myself? A way to make myself stand out without having to leave my comfort zone?! DONE! Are you sure you want only two paragraphs? Because I can write pages if you want! Pages that will make you laugh, cry, and want to give me an A immediately. After all, answering questions like:

Are you from Indiana?
What are you studying?
What has been your experience with chemistry classes at IUPUI so far?
What are your goals once you complete your degree?

Easy peasy! So why the groans? Especially since the professor seemed pretty easygoing. He said two paragraphs, but he also said that we could just answer the questions with one word if we wanted to (as if!) Or write more if we felt like it. I was so confused. Until I looked over at my neighbor and saw that he was already working on the assignment. Next to the first question, in tiny precise lettering, he had written "yes." And next to the second question, in the same perfect letters, he had written "pre-med."

And it was then that I realized that this personality thing? It might be a rarer commodity than I originally thought. And maybe, just maybe, it will be my saving grace in this quest. At the very least, maybe it will get me the coveted letter of recommendation? Let's all cross our fingers.

Monday, January 11, 2010

My (diabolical) Plan

I awoke on Sunday morning with aspirations of making breakfast for the boy. Just because. To be nice. 'Cause that's how I roll. Apparently I had forgotten that I don't cook.

I left the boy sleeping peacefully and got into the shower to wake myself up. Once showered and dry I checked back into the bedroom to see the boy still sleeping with Casey curled up next to him. Sweet! My plan was proceeding perfectly.

I went to the kitchen and thought about how to proceed. Normally when we cook together, the boy handles the potatoes and I handle the bacon and eggs. (The eggs are just for me as the boy does not partake.) Since I wasn't feeling particularly hungry, and since I wasn't foolish enough to think I could handle cooking three different things at once, I decided to forgo the eggs. Then, in thinking back to the cooking-together times, I remembered that I am almost always done with the bacon before the boy is done with the potatoes... so I deduced that I should start the potatoes first. Pleased with my logical thinking, I extracted the potatoes from the freezer only to find that they had frozen into one big iceberg of potato in a bag.

No problem. I had faced this issue previously and just went ahead with what one should always do in this situation....which is pound the iceberg of potato on the counter top until it breaks into pieces of potato suitable for frying.

It wasn't until Casey entered the kitchen to see what all the racket was about that I realized that perhaps pounding things on counter tops was not conducive to making someone a surprise breakfast.

I peeked into the bedroom and saw that the boy had rolled over. I couldn't see his face, but he still appeared to be snoozing soundly, so I counted my lucky stars and tiptoed back into the kitchen.

Since I was not as familiar with the cooking of the potatoes, I checked the instructions on the side of the bag to be certain that I didn't screw anything up. The instructions stated that once the oil was heated, the potatoes should be cooked between 4-7 minutes on one side, before flipping the potatoes and cooking another 4-7 minutes on the other side. I split the difference and decided on 5 and a half minutes on each side.

Once the potatoes were safely started and the timer set, I began on the bacon. I figured I had about 10 minutes for six pieces of thick sliced bacon, so I felt pretty confident. Still, I turned the heat up a little higher than usual to ensure that I could cook three strips at a time and still be done within the allotted timeframe.

A little past the halfway point when things were proceeding smoothly, I checked in on the boy (hadn't moved) and decided to check my email. On my way to the living room, I realized that the air was a little hazy and had just enough time to think, "Gee, it's a wonder the smoke alarm hasn't gone off," before the smoke alarm began it's jarring beep.


Casey cowered next to my leg while I froze for a moment before dashing down to the basement to get the step ladder necessary for me to reach the beeping alarm.


I had no sooner grabbed the step ladder than the smoke alarm stopped. I sheepishly climbed the stairs and was greeted with the sight of the boy standing in the hallway between the kitchen and the bedroom with a thunderous look on his face.

"Morning Honey! I made you breakfast!" I said brightly.

There was incoherent mumbling from the messy haired figure in the hallway. He did not look pleased. It was at this precise moment that the timer beeped signaling that the potatoes were done.

"Here, sit down on the couch and I'll bring you breakfast. Do you want juice?"

The boy shuffled past and tossed the now quiet smoke alarm on the microwave as he passed. I took that to mean that he did, in fact, want juice.

I went to turn the heat off of the potatoes and noticed a familiar smell. The smell of....burning?

I snatched the cover off the skillet to see that the second side of the potatoes were now colored a very dark brown that some might describe as black. Drats. What to do now? In a flash of brilliance, I got some shredded cheese from the fridge and smothered the potatoes. I didn't have enough of any one cheese to do the trick, so what covered the potatoes was an interesting mix of mozzarella, co-jack, and cheddar. I turned off the heat and re-covered the potatoes to let the cheese melt while I poured the juice.

It was at this point that I rescued the bacon that had triggered the smoke alarm. Thankfully, it looked fine.

When I took the boy his breakfast (uncovered with a flourish) I said, "I'm so sorry for the rude awakening. I know that the smoke alarm isn't um, a fun way to wake up. But maybe this breakfast will make up for it? It comes from the heart!" I was hopeful that I would be forgiven. After all, breakfast > rude awakening by smoke alarm, right?

The boy's response was, "Next time you're cooking as a surprise, I suggest breaking the potatoes apart on the front porch." (busted!) And then, "Are the potatoes black?!"

"Only on one side! And I'm not sure why. The bag said 4-7 minutes on each side, and that's what I did."

It was at this point that what was left of the boy's bad mood gave way completely and he said in a bemused tone, "Sweetie, that's only a guideline. You still have to watch them."

"How am I supposed to know that? You always do the potatoes!!" I said a silent prayer of thanks that he doesn't expect much from me in the way of cooking and watched as he ate his "surprise" breakfast. "So? How did I do? I mean, forgetting the pounding and the smoke alarm. Er...on a grading scale? B-? C+??"

Chewing thoughtfully the boy asked for the salt and then said, "I think this is more of a pass/fail. You passed."

"Um, what if we add in the pounding and smoke alarm?"

"Let's not press our luck, shall we?"

It was all eaten and I'm pretty sure I'm forgiven. The next "surprise" breakfast will be waffles which are much quieter. Of course, I'll be sure to take the smoke alarm down first. Just in case.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Gearing up for the year

I know, I know. I was chastised by JennyG for letting too much time pass between blogs and here I am doing it again. It's not that I haven't had time, I'm just enjoying my between-semester-break too much to actually do anything productive.

Is blogging productive?

What I've learned from this is that I function much better with a schedule. Though mine is admittedly hectic and exhausting, at least things get done. When I have a lot of time on my hands, it's too easy to say, "I'll just do [insert detested chore here] later" instead of having a two hour window when the chore must be done lest I not have time again for a week. Still, I'm not gonna lie... there is some appeal to starting on the dishes, doing about half, and then having the time to finish them up later in the evening or even the next day. (But since I haven't yet tackled the whole 'sweeping of the floor' thing, I still think that Emily-on-a-schedule is the better option.)

This new year's eve passed with less pomp and circumstance than previous years, but it was still a fun time. Looking ahead to everything that's going to happen this year is a bit daunting what with applying to vet school, but when 2011 rolls around I'll know more about my future, for better (Philadelphia) or for worse (Lafayette.)*

Also, since I'm so stupidly stubborn (and apparently I like alliteration) I don't usually like to commit to something unless I'm 100% certain that I will follow through. I have this inability to say "can't" and as such have learned to think long and hard about what I commit myself to. So I don't generally like New Year's Resolutions. A whole year? To do something I'm not already doing? Tell me THAT'S not setting myself up for failure/misery.

So I didn't make any resolutions, per se. I just decided to take action on some areas in my life that I noticed needed some help.

Like getting up in the mornings.

Luckily, the weather cooperated with that. Internets, I have found my threshold for getting up earlier in the mornings, and that threshold is somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 degrees Fahrenheit. Brrrrrr. I can't imagine leaving the house with wet hair in this cold so I have to put some effort into my appearance (i.e. blow dry my hair) as well as get up earlier to do it. I haven't been late to work yet this year....until the snowpocalypse this morning. (On a related note, cuz, if your vehicle currently doesn't have 4WD, or at the least good front wheel drive, I would look into doing something about that before your upcoming move. People are dumb in the snow.)

Another area that needs help? Drinking more water.

I know that I don't drink enough water. And I know that the body could actually use a whole lot more water than most people give it. And this is an easy fix to a lot of drinking more water it is. I'm not trying to change everything at once, but I am trying to only have one non-water drink every other day while drinking as much water as I can daily. So far so good, and I expect this to hold up until....oh.....finals week. When Coca-Cola is the only thing that gets me through and all bets are off.

So no resolutions, but some minor changes that I'm trying out to see if they stick.

What about you guys? New resolutions/changes? Does 2010 hold anything fun in store for you?

*I'm not even THINKING about the worst worse. I'll cross that bridge (weeping) if I have to.