Wednesday, March 30, 2011

10 Facts about Me and My Better Half

I was inspired to write this post by the lovely Betty Beguiles.  Check out her beautiful, charming blog!  And see her 10 facts here.  I just love a good romance.

1. My husband and I met one week before September 11 (yes, the September 11, 2001).  I sat in front of him in our high school physics class.  I was dating someone else at the time, so I didn't notice him in that sort of way at first.  On Halloween, he took advantage of being permitted to wear a costume by simply wearing a backwards cap all day, and I began taking note.

2.  Later on the same school year, we still were not together as we were seeing other people.  We were friends, however, and he didn't care for the guy I was seeing at the time.  As luck would have it, my now-husband, then-boyfriend, and I were all in the same chemistry class, and for some reason my husband started talking about his secret hot chocolate recipe and how fabulous it was.  I asked him to share the recipe, and he said I'd have to marry him if I wanted it.  I think he said that more to annoy my then-boyfriend than anything else, but the memory still makes me smile.

3. We started dating almost a year after that, during the last semester of high school.  He actually shared the hot chocolate recipe with me on our first date, gasp!

4. A few months later, we went to prom together.  By then I knew I loved him, and I decided to tell him so that night.  He beat me to it.

5. We went to different colleges, but they both were close to home and only a half hour's drive from each other.  He visited me almost every single week, usually on Wednesday.

6. About a year after we started dating, we discovered that we both love bathroom humor.  Around the same time, he first mentioned something about maybe getting married someday.  Coincidence?  I think not.

7. At one point during our courtship, the song "My Boo" by Usher and Alicia Keys became popular.  Even though neither of us ever particularly cared for it, we adopted the term and some variations of it in our own vernacular.  Ergo, he was my boo, I was his goo; during our engagement, we were both foos; now I'm the woo to his hoo.

8. As you might have guessed, we're both pretty nerdy.  We like it that way.

9. To this day, our "song" is the one we first danced to, Savage Garden's "Truly Madly Deeply."  I figure now we've stood with each other on a mountain and bathed ( suits) with each other in the sea on our honeymoon, so now we just gotta live like this forever.  Hooray for matrimony! ;)

10. We had our first baby last June.  I have heard many women tell stories of getting angry with their husbands during labor/delivery over what the men "did to" them.  I'm not going to pass any judgment -- I've been there and I know how it feels, and we all react differently when we're in that state.  But honestly, I have never loved my husband more.  He was by my side the whole time and could not have been more supportive, encouraging, sweet, gentle...he really showed what an amazing father he is as we prepared to meet our baby girl.

We'll be celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary this July.  I love him more every day!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Love Letters to Central Pennsylvania: Hot Pepper Cheese

Those who know me best might be surprised that I would write a post extolling any sort of cheese.  To be honest, I hate most cheese: Swiss, provolone, Romano, goat, blue, ricotta...I can barely tolerate mozzarella on my pizza!  Forget anything fancy like Artisanal Cave Aged Roquefort or Ubriaco Prosecco, neither of which I'd ever heard of before but just found on this fancy cheese Web site that came up when I googled "gourmet cheese."  Just not gonna happen!
I'd rather eat Kraft's orange powder straight-up than be in the same room with this monster [Photo Source]

However, I do love me a nice mild Monterey Jack, especially when it's combined with some zesty jalapenos.  Enter Pepper Jack, my most favorite cheese in the world.  So mild!  So delicious!  So good on quesadillas and enchiladas and burritos and all the other Mexican foods I cherish.  I used to buy it from time to time in the grocery store and add it to said dishes, but it's very hard to find in shredded form, and I was generally too lazy to grate it, especially since my grater could most charitably be described as "├╝ber-economy."

Then I tried Meyer Dairy's hot pepper cheese.  And I went out and bought a better grater.

It is nothing short of amazing.  It's like eating butter, except it's tangy peppery delicious cheese.  I know we're not going to live in this town forever, and honestly, food-wise, this is what I'm going to miss the most.  It's sold at a cute little local dairy that also sells ice cream, diner-type foods such as grilled cheese and hot dogs, and various other items, both locally-sourced and not.  We go there for the cheese, the milk, and sometimes the ice cream (which is quite reasonably priced, much better than the ice cream from the overhyped PSU Creamery). 

Here's a link to the dairy's actual Web site, but true to its old-timey ambiance (e.g. no credit card transactions), its Web presence has been "under construction" (maybe it should be "udder construction") for years and consists entirely of this image:
I think it's pretty darn cute.
And...that CHEESE....mmmmmmmmm :)

*This post is part of a series I'm writing on my favorite parts of Central PA.  Read the post on mountains here and the post on blueberry picking here.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Keeping Me Humble

One of the awesome things about parenting is that it's a daily exercise in humility.  Whether it's scrubbing poop out of a onesie, answering the door covered in spit-up, or frantically trying to calm down your inexplicably irate baby at the grocery store as fellow shoppers peer down the aisle to make sure no one is being tortured, there's always something to offer up*.

We went back to the babywearers group this morning.  I'll admit it, I caved and checked out another carrier.  Maybe it will work!  Maybe!  Oh I don't know.  A really good friend of mine recommended trying the back-carry position-- it's the only one her son will do, and he actually loves it.  I'm willing to give it a shot.
Anyway, I'm sure I'm a total freak because nobody thought I was awful for failing with the mei tai and probably nobody would have cared if that was my final attempt.  I had a really nice time socializing with some of the other moms, and my daughter had fun playing with some of the other kids, especially a couple of 4-year-old girls who are very interested in babies (adorable moment: one of them proclaimed "I think someday we'll have babies, too!").

Lately I've been oscillating between the stay-at-home-bum look and the spring-is-here-even-if-it's-in-name-only-and-I-wanna-look-nice look.  Yesterday after Mass I promptly changed into my ugliest, but most comfortable, pair of sweatpants, these old, fuzzy, elastic-around-the-ankle things that my husband and I affectionately refer to as "dowds."   So today was ripe for a decent outfit.  And, hooray!  I have new jeans, purchased last week on clearance!  I got those babies out of the closet, cut off the tags with a satisfied flourish, and paired them with a funky sequin-necklined orchid top that I bought a couple years ago at an Indian family's garage sale.  Oh, and don't forget the chandelier-inspired earrings I picked out, a must-have for any mom whose child is in the grab-everything-especially-shiny-objects-and-put-in-mouth phase.  I felt confident.  What a hip mom!

As I sat cross-legged on the floor with my daughter, chatting with the other moms, my hand brushed my thigh and I realized that I still had a long, sticky size tag stuck to my pants.  Not one of the clear ones that might have been inconspicuous, either.  This one was a nice goldish-brown color, set off nicely by the dark blue denim.  Horrified, I quietly peeled it off and stuffed it in my pocket.

Ah, humility.

*The post I've linked here specifically talks about offering up the pains of childbirth.  Trust me, I know exactly what you're thinking, and I'll dish it up SAT-style:

suffering involved in situations I've described : suffering involved in childbirth :: grain of sand : Mount Everest

However!  I believe our merciful Father accepts even the tiniest bits of suffering that we offer up to Him. :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Kirill's Story

I want to re-post this story that I found linked on Calah's Barefoot and Pregnant blog.  It is about a wonderful family who is trying to adopt a beautiful little boy who has Down Syndrome.  It appeared as though the adoption was going to go through, and then a Russian judge rejected their application on the basis that Kirill is "not socially adaptable."  Evidently, children with Down Syndrome from this particular region are all institutionalized.  He would have been the first to have been adopted.  Of course, their fight is not over -- they plan to appeal the decision.  I (and many others, there are so many loving comments!) am praying fervently that the decision is reversed and Kirill is able to come home to his family who loves him!

This story touched me deeply.  My brother has autism.  He is an amazing blessing in my life, and he brings incredible joy to everyone he meets.  Over the years I have had the privilege of meeting many people with special needs.  They inspire such great love.  When I look at little Kirill's face, I feel like I am looking at the face of an angel.  What a pure, beautiful soul.  How can this boy be denied a family who loves him?  Reading this story makes me realize that when I think about how attitudes surrounding special needs children have improved so much over the years*, I am limiting my impressions to my own experiences here in the United States.  Please pray for Kirill, for his adoptive family, for the judge, and for the other children in Kirill's region.  There are many families who would welcome these children with open arms, if only given the opportunity!

*Edit -- I reflected on this part later and realized that, with abortion rates of babies who prenatally diagnosed with Down Syndrome at about 90%, this sentiment sounds rather hollow.  That heinous reality is something that I plan to address on this blog later.  I wrote this post fairly quickly, and at the time I was thinking about how special needs children were commonly institutionalized when my parents and grandparents were young, but are usually raised at home today.  I was also reflecting on how people with disabilities are much more included in society now than they used to be.  Of course, these changes are horribly inconsistent with our society's treatment of unborn children with special needs.

Friday, March 25, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday

Thank you so much for hosting, Jen.  (Seriously, check out her blog, it's awesome!)

1. I've been trying to find as many mommy-baby groups as I can lately.  A couple weeks ago we went to our county's babywearers playgroup.  We met some very nice mothers and children.  I think it's really cool that the group has a lending library full of a variety of baby carriers -- slings, Ergo/Bjorn-type models, mei tais, etc.  Hopeful that we might find a carrier that would work for us, I checked out a mei tai.  Well, my daughter hates it.  She flips outs as soon as I try to start putting her in it.  The same thing happened when I tried out a friend's sling with her months ago.  This girl just doesn't want to be constrained.  So, next Monday, we'll go back to the playgroup to return the mei tai...and then what?  As a socially awkward person with a penchant for envisioning worst-case scenarios, here's how I imagine it going down:

Me: Thank you for allowing me to borrow this!  
Them: Happy to do it! How did it go?
Me: Well, unfortunately, she didn't take to it.  She just doesn't like being in carriers.  I wish she did, but she's been a big-time squirmer since before she was even born, and I just don't see it happening.
Them: Oh.
Me: Yeah.  I'm sorry.
Them: Do you want to try another carrier?
Me: No, thank you.  I appreciate it, but I just don't think she likes being in them.
[uncomfortable pause]
Me: So, um, yeah.  I'm really not a babywearer, then.
Them: Right.  You're not.
Me: So I guess I'd better go.
Them: Yeah, we guess you'd better.
[everyone maintains a steady glare in our direction until we have evacuated the premises]

2. It's March 25 and the current temperature is 23 DEGREES.  Fahrenheit.  What is this garbage?  Have we northerners not endured enough cold yet this winter?   There's a Maple Harvest Festival at a nearby nature center this weekend that I'd hoped to go to, but I just don't have it in me when the projected highs don't even climb out of the 30s.

3. In addition to switching our cell phones to pre-pay and getting a Magic Jack (still thrilled with it!), we canceled the TV portion of our cable after realizing that we couldn't remember the last time we'd turned it on.  (Our Pack 'N' Play is currently set up in front of the TV so our baby can't crawl up to it and the various cords associated with our laptop and phone.  So yeah.)  I'm happy to say I don't miss it at all.  We can still watch all of our favorite shows on Hulu (with much fewer commercials), and it's fun to drag the laptop into our room after the baby goes to sleep and watch them there.

4. So what are those favorite shows?  We enjoy several of the Thursday night NBC comedies: The Office, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, and Community.  Our drama selections both stem from our love for FX's The Shield: its star Michael Chiklis is currently starring in ABC's No Ordinary Family, and its creator Shawn Ryan is currently executive producing Fox's The Chicago Code.  I'm growing very, very fond of the latter and I hope it's around for a good long while!

5. I love cooking, but kitchen experimentation has been an up-and-down ride since my daughter was born last summer.  When she was a newborn and napped a lot, I had plenty of time to cook (and be as loud as I wanted!), but very little energy.  As time went on, I was a lot less tired, but her increased daytime wakefulness was paralleled by an increased demand for my time and attention.  Now she barely naps at all (usually she takes one 50-minute snooze around midday), but I feel like we're hitting a much better stride in terms of my being able to accomplish tasks with her in tow.  I'm looking forward to having some culinary adventures.  My challenge for next week is to be as creative as possible in using ingredients I already have instead of buying additional stuff for our dinners next week.  Not all that exciting to an outsider, I realize, but I'm pretty jazzed about the money we'll save and the ingenuity it will require!

6. Lent has been going well here.  My husband and I have continued our fast from ice cream, and I haven't been on Facebook at all.  I found abstaining from FB to be pretty difficult at first -- I didn't realize how much it was my go-to whenever I was bored.  Thankfully, this hole in my online life has been filled with much more meaningful content, mostly from blogs that I might not have found the time to scope out if FB had been available to me.  Yippee!

7. Guilty pleasure time!  Yeah, I know the lyrics are ridiculous and the overall quality is pretty poor.  Yeah, I know people have ripped this poor young girl apart.  Yeah, I know that her parents paid a hefty sum for this "vanity video" and now she's, for better or worse, riding out her 15 minutes of fame...and who knows, maybe this will launch her career.  I'm not going to comment on any of that. 

All I'm gonna say is that no matter how "bad" this song may be, it's infectious.  And today is Friday, so it's fitting. Fun, fun, fun, fun...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Not-So-Keen on Monokinis

I was going to write about how we had a spider on the loose in our domicile (eeek!), but thanks to our vacuum cleaner, he's a thing of the past.  So it's on to a more pressing topic: the monokini.

Never heard of one?  Neither had I until today.  Its name might suggest it is a type of sushi or a knockoff Tamagotchi, but it is, in fact, this marvel of modern fashion:


Well, at least, that's the JCPenney variety.  Kohl's and Target seem to have a similar understanding of what a monokini is, as does Google's image search*.

Wikipedia, on the other hand, has this to say:
A monokini, sometimes referred to as a unikini, is a woman's one-piece garment comprising only the lower half of a bikini, leaving the breasts uncovered.[1] The term monokini is also used for any topless swimsuit,[2] particularly a bikini bottom worn without a bikini top. [Source has accurate photo, so beware]
Wa-oh!  So apparently, historically, monokinis are these...

...and nothing more.  Yet somehow the name has been co-opted by your friendly everyday swimsuit designers to refer to bosom-shielding one-piece suits with the sides cut out.

Honestly, I thought the things were hilarious before I even realized the history of their name.  Why do we women do this to ourselves?  We use beach season as an excuse to wear spandex underwear in public, except -- oh, right, most of us feel completely uncomfortable and self-conscious doing that.  Um, duh.  But wait!  Maybe there is a way to feel a little more covered, a little less naked, and still make every man who sees you drool.  Just get a one-piece suit and cut out the sides!  Zesty!  Now what can we call it?  We'd better include the "kini" suffix so the sensuousness of the bikini is not lost.  Surely the etymology of "bikini" involves the fact that it's two-piece and "bi" refers to two, right?   (Yes, surely it must have been named for that, and not US nuclear tests on an island named by local Marshall Islanders.  Ahem.)  Anyway, the side-missing suit is just one piece, so what prefix means one?  Might as well use the one that's also used as an abbreviation for an infectious viral disease!  MONOKINI!

And let's definitely not take ten seconds to do a Google search and make sure the name's never been used before for any other kind of swimwear.  Impossible!

So what do you think?  Monokini hot or monokini not?  (The new-fangled one, not the spandex panties.)

*Even without SafeSearch, amazingly.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Love Letters to Central Pennsylvania: Mountains

I think the one of the most prominent differences between central Pennsylvania and my native region of northeastern Ohio is the mountains.  It wasn't until I moved here that I realized I really am from the Midwest, because although Youngstown isn't flat by any means, the hills I grew up with are nothing like the ones here.

State College is located in the ridge-and-valley Appalachians.  It's embarrassing, but before I lived here, the only image the word "mountain" conjured up in my mind was one like this:

Given that, I was surprised the first time I drove out here to see that Pennsylvania mountains are not ginormous, rocky, pointy protrusions.  In fact, my initial impression was that they were rather "fuzzy."  (That's what happens when they're covered with trees, Weez.)   Also, I didn't realize that mountains could be miles and miles long, as they are around these parts.

I'm happy to say that, after a few years of living here, I'm no longer scared to death of driving on them.  (Having to travel over a mountain to and from work every day didn't hurt.)  They are beautiful and majestic, and I enjoy being able to look out my back window and see my good friend Tussey.

Of course, we also live near Mount Nittany, the namesake for a certain Big Ten mascot of local import.  Personally, my favorite area mountain is Bald Eagle Mountain, thanks to this view:

The picture, which I took from inside the car on a rainy day, doesn't do it any justice.  I get to see this ridge just outside State College on my way home to Ohio on I-99/US-322.  It's an absolutely gorgeous vista!

*This post is part of a series I'm writing on my favorite parts of Central PA.  Read the post on Meyer Dairy hot pepper cheese here and the post on blueberry picking here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday

Woohoo, it's my first time doing this!  Thank you so much to Jen for hosting.

1. People who know me fairly well might have detected a hint of homesickness about me.  It's true: I miss Ohio like crazy.  Unfortunately, this has led me to often shortchange the area where I'm currently living.  So I've decided to start a new series on this blog, "Love Letters to Central Pennsylvania."  Look for the first post soon!

2. I never realized how great my hair looked while I was pregnant until...well, I wasn't pregnant anymore.  Three months after my daughter was born, it started coming out in clumps (normal, but still gross), and now I can't do a thing with it.  I'm considering letting my husband cut it for me, since I figure it can't look any worse.  Insane?

3. Diaper changes are getting to be VERY difficult around here.  Now all my daughter wants to do is roll, sit, and pull up on her changing table while I'm trying to put a new diaper on her (or worse, trying to clean off her bum).  She acts as though being forced to lie down for a couple minutes while I do the job is the most severe form of torture imaginable.  It's mostly hilarious, but sometimes not.

4. Well!  Looks like I'm about to experience another diaper change RIGHT NOW!

5. ....Yeah.....hilarious.  After one of my prenatal appointments last year, I called my mom to let her know how the checkup went, and I told her that the doctor had had a difficult time getting a reading on the baby's heartbeat because she was moving around so much.  "I think she's going to give you a run for your money!" my mom chuckled.  She was right!

6. My husband and I are giving up ice cream for Lent.  Buuuuuuuuuut, ice cream is not the same as Italian Ice, and I am very excited that our local Rita's Water Ice is reopening for the season today.  Like, toe-wiggling excited.  As soon as the baby wakes up for her nap, we are on our way.  Now, usually she only takes 45-50 minute naps; however, sensing my eagerness to go to Rita's, she's already been snoozing for an hour and ten minutes.  Oh, baby.

7. Embarrassing guilty pleasure time!  I love listening to internet radio on Pandora (if you haven't tried it yet, you should).  This morning I was listening to my Backstreet Boys station (hot, I know), and this song came on.  I haven't heard it in a really long time and it was quite pleasurable.

Have a great weekend, peeps!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Why I Hate Facebook, Volume 2

Today is Ash Wednesday, which means it's the first day of my Lenten Facebook Fast.  A perfect occasion to discuss more of my beefs with the 'book!

To start, I'm gonna go back to the early days of FB.  Imagine, if you will, a FB with no statuses, pictures, and comments -- a FB with a minimal wall that was really just for funsies.  "What the devil was the point?" you ask.  Well, besides scooping up friends just to feel good about your popularity, the point was the profile.  The profile!  A lovely place where you could express yourself with a dashing photo, your favorite quotes, your interests and activities, your favorite movies, your relationship status...wait, wait, wait, all that stuff is still there!  Right?  Right?  Yeah.  It's there, all right, buried under your "wall" tab which completely dominates all the pages now.  Nobody looks at it anymore.

The "info" tab has played second-fiddle to the wall for a while now, but recently the powers-that-be at FB thumbed their noses at my preferences even more profoundly by reorganizing the look for the info tab itself.  Now, there is a "digest," if you will, at the top, with the user's job, school, relationship status, birthday, some other stuff I forget and can't check 'cause I'm abstaining, and -- languages.  Really?  Languages?  Maybe I'm just behind the times, but I don't get why that's relevant enough to be at the top.  Anyway.  Now, all of the things you're into get pictures to go with them -- and if FB doesn't have a picture, you just get a grey box with some kind of molecule-looking thing in it.  These things -- picture or not --  are totally unnecessary, and they take up tons of room.  In my opinion, they are the final blow.  The FB profile is pretty much dead.

I'm sure plenty of people don't care about this development.  FB isn't about the profile, anyway -- it's about communicating!  Who cares what your favorite quotes are!  And if you feel that way, great.  Enjoy it!  But I don't.  For me, the profile was part of the FB promise.  It was my old AIM profile on steriods, and all my friends' too.  Now, it's hidden away, and nobody uses AIM anymore, so I can't go back.  Where does that leave me?  I love reading profiles!  I love maintaining my own!  Jeez, at least on AIM, I could use a variety of fonts.  Purple 12-pt Verdana, baby!!  Sigh.

It comes down to this: I joined FB to augment my online life, just like millions of other folks.  Augment my online life it has -- but it has also crapped all over something I held dear.  And I resent that.

I'd like to end with something fun, so here's something I sent to my then-boyfriend-now-husband over AIM on April 28, 2005  [source]:

Weezey724: i used mint smelling soap in the shower
Weezey724: so theoretically if i put on chocolate lotion i will smell like a york

P.S. I tried it, and I didn't smell like a York, but I enjoyed the attempt.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Why I Hate Facebook, Volume 1

I have been on Facebook since 2005. Back when I joined, it was only for college students. It had no photos (besides your profile picture), no statuses, no news feed, no comments, no chat, and no "mobile" version. The wall worked more like graffiti -- any friend could completely erase the whole thing if the mood struck. And yet, we wanted the darned thing so bad, our Student Government lobbied Facebook to include our school so we could have access to it.

As time went on, Facebook changed. Users could make photo albums. Statuses were added, and at first, they were incredibly lame preset messages like "is at the library." Yes, you could customize them, but for what I'm pretty sure were years your status had to start with "is."  The news feed used to be a seemingly random garble of information about your friends' relationship status changes, profile additions and deletions, and wall-to-wall interactions.  A status might show up here or there.  After a while, Facebook ripped off Twitter, and friends' statuses were most of what showed up in the feed.

I miss old Facebook.  I miss a Facebook that did a lot less, had a lot fewer people on it, and placed much lower demands on your time and attention.  Because, frankly, Facebook sucks at a lot of what it does, but because it does so much -- and in such a compelling way -- people use it for darn near everything anymore.  Want to email a buddy?  Just send a Facebook message!  Want to share photos of your baby, your new house, your car, your silly trip to Walmart?  Post those puppies on Facebook -- do it from your iPhone!  Want to gab with a friend?  Facebook chat!  Want to find out information about a local (or not-so-local) business?  Go to their Facebook page -- and "Like" them, for goodness sakes!

Yes, Facebook does a ridiculous amount of stuff and gives us instant access to a lot of people.  And some of what it does, it does just fine.  But a lot of it is pretty poorly executed.  So as promised in the title of this post, just a few reasons why I hate Facebook:

  1. Commenting, Part I: no threading.  No what?  Threaded commenting allows you to respond to a particular comment.  Instead of always just plopping your comment at the bottom of the stack, threading enables you to insert your comment, indented, below the comment it is referencing.  This eliminates the need for stuff like "@Biff" and "@Gustav."  (See "Why I Hate Twitter."  Not written yet, but soon!)
  2. Commenting, Part II: IT'S EVERYWHERE.  I can comment on your photo, your status, your link, your note, your new job, your changed relationship status, anything!  Which is fine in a lot of cases, and welcomed by the people who post stuff.  But you know what?  Sometimes I feel like posting a status and I don't want comments.  I just want to say what I have to say and be done with it.  I never post anything even remotely controversial because I just don't feel like getting into an argument via flipping Facebook comments.  Ergo: disabling comments should be an available feature on...everything!
  3. Chat: Ugh.  I would say "don't even get me started," but you didn't, I did.  And I'm gonna keep going.  Facebook chat is a steaming turd.  It's notoriously unreliable, doesn't have away message functionality, doesn't timestamp, and doesn't save your chats.  Yes, I know, you can configure other chat programs to display your FB chat list -- I've done it myself -- but why should you need to?  Shouldn't FB chat be at least slightly better than completely pathetic? 
  4. Messages: okay, maybe these aren't used much, but I like having a private messaging option.  FB has had one for as long as I've been on it.  But can you save messages before sending them?  HA!  Of course not.  So, if you're like me, and sometimes you start writing to somebody but you don't quite finish and you need to go do something else -- forget about saving it in a Facebook message.  You gotta send it or -- POOF!  Gone with the wind.
There are a lot more things I hate about Facebook, but Ima let myself finish this up for now so I don't end up in a TL:DR situation.  There is more to come, my friends.  In the meantime, please feel free to vent in the comments about why YOU hate Facebook.  Or why you don't.  Whatever.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Could it be magic?

Nobody ever calls me.  Yes, that's a slight exaggeration -- slight.  I would go through my cell phone's history to demonstrate how the past few weeks have shaped up in terms of calls received, but it would be too disheartening.  Suffice it to say, I'm sure I could count the unique callers (probably even the calls themselves!) on one hand with fingers to spare, and that's including my husband and my mom.

That's okay with me.  I've always hated talking on the phone, which is why I hardly ever call folks myself!  I've always been more of a written-communication kind of girl.  Perhaps, given that, you would be inclined to suspect that I'm an avid texter.  Heh, no.  I probably would text now and then if the service came free on basic cell phone plans, but of course, it does not.  So not only do I not text, but I sigh every time someone happens to text me (it's super-rare), because I have to pay extra for it.  Honestly, I think the only text I've ever received that I was literally delighted to pay $.20 for was from my friend Lindsy a few years ago.  It said simply, "PABG," known to savvy texters as an acronym for "packing a big gun."  (A couple times, I've been informed of babies' being born via text.  Those were nice, too. :) )

My husband gets even fewer calls than I do and also doesn't text.  So where were we yesterday?  At AT&T, switching our cell phones to a pre-pay plan.  I had to chuckle to myself, wondering if, among all the customers excitedly buying iPhones and their required beefy data plans, we were their worst customers of the day.  "Yes, please switch us from the lowest tier monthly plan to contract-free prepay. Thanks!"

Despite all this, I still like to be able to chat with my mom (and, occasionally, friends) for decently lengthy periods of time that a pre-pay cell plan just won't support.  Ergo: we are the proud new owners of a Magic Jack.  Woohoo! I'm pleased with it so far.  It's far, far cheaper than any landline plan we could possibly get, gets good reception, has built-in voicemail, and was really easy to install.  After a whopping 24 hours of use, I would highly recommend it to anyone.

And yes.  The title of this post was inspired by a Barry Manilow song.  You want to know how I feel about Barry Manilow?  Allow this clip to explain:

Good news...

Well, I ate them.
They tasted okay.
I am still alive.
So, thank you, 2006 me, for buying this awesome can of mandarin oranges!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Orange you glad you read this?

It's March.  Yippy-skippy!  No seriously, I'm quite happy about the development.  Even though spring doesn't officially begin until March 20, I hardly feel like we can still call this month part of "winter."  (Of course, the forecast for Friday includes "snow showers" and none of the highs for the next ten days exceed 47 degrees.  Sigh.)

With at least slightly more temperate weather on the horizon, I've started to think about spring cleaning.  Now, be still your heart -- I haven't done any, I've just thought about it.  The windows need cleaned, the baseboards are dusty, there's the mysterious layer of gunk that always builds up on the kitchen counters under the permanently stationed appliances...and then, there is the can of mandarin oranges in the pantry.

I've had these mandarin oranges for over 4 years now.  According to this handy-dandy chart, that's at least 2 years too long.  This was the second can I bought for cheap at Marc's back in northeastern Ohio, after I greatly enjoyed the first can I bought (likely within days of purchase).  My rationale at the time: I liked those oranges!  I should get more!  And a perfectly logical, reasonable rationale it seemed to be.  But somehow, I just never ate them.  They even moved from Ohio to central PA with me back in 2007.  And again from our apartment to our house in 2009.  I've never been willing to part with them, yet, for over 4 years now, every time I was hungry, I eschewed these little fruits. 

And now, newly armed with the knowledge that at least one "expert" out there thinks my oranges are well past their prime, and realizing that my upcoming spring cleaning should probably include a complete pantry revamping, I have a decision to make.  What's to become of these oranges?  Do I throw them away, wasting my December 2006 investment?  Do I eat them and risk...I don't know, botulism?  Do I use them to make a nice fruit compote and hopefully cook out all the bad that has been infecting them for the past 27 months?

This, ladies and gents, is just one of the gravely important matters that crosses my "desk" (a loose term that at various times can refer to the kitchen table, the counters, the crib, the changing table, the bathtub, etc.) every day. It requires a difficult decision, and one that I do not take lightly.  I have firmly resolved to settle the matter by the end of the month.

Stay tuned.