Friday, March 31, 2006

Barely Related Ramblings

The green tea frappuccino is supposed to come with raspberry syrup, but it tastes aMAZing with peppermint syrup instead.

It was a really beautiful day today. It felt like summer. Unfortunately, I decided to take advantage of not having to work until 2:15 by sleeping in, so I missed most of the beautiful day. To top it all off, I woke up with incredible head congestion and an accompanying headache that I didn't connect with the delayed consumption of coffee until it was almost time for me to go to work, so I didn't get the caffeine headache to shut up until I was basically already at work. I did sit outside on my ten-minute break and enjoy the sun while I could.

I took a bath this morning. I love that floppy feeling that you get after soaking in a hot tub. All of your muscles feel relaxed and you feel like you could just melt into the sheets. Unfortunately, my bath didn't help my head congestion. Thank goodness for DayQuil.

On the way to my bath, I picked up a Gordon Korman book from my shelf to read. I think it's one I got at a thrift store at some point, and I remember reading it as a kid. It was so much fun getting back into it again! If you know any kids in the middle-school-ish age range, I highly recommend Gordon Korman's books. They are so quirky and fun. And Canadian. I don't know much about his newer works, but I read everything I could get my hands on back when I was in middle school. I think Losing Joe's Place was my favourite.

Good things I received today:
-My first paycheck
-My first free, weekly pound of coffee
-A really nice card in the mail from my spoiler (Thanks again!)
-A visit at work from my husband and in-laws

Jeremy came back to my work a little while later with pizza, so I got to eat dinner with him on my meal break. That was really nice. I love my husband (and not just when he comes bearing food!)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


"How was work?"


"It's really nice having you work at a job you enjoy."

"Because I come home smelling like coffee instead of crying?"

"Yeah, and I get more of the good kind of hugs."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

When did this become a women's issues blog?

This was a fascinating article.

For those of you who are too lazy to click on the article, it basically discusses how the trend of women's increasing presence in the workplace has tapered off in recent years. When women first started entering the workforce, they re-organized their lives with time-saving devices and time-budgeting techniques, so that they could make the time to work. But there is only so much rearranging that can be done before a plateau is reached, and something has to give.

The first thing that struck me about this article was that it seemed to echo some thoughts I have been having myself, lately. We tell our daughters that they can do whatever their heart's desire, and we are right to do so. I don't believe that there should be external limitations on what anyone can do according to what sort of genitalia they have. But we are doing them an injustice if we don't tell them the whole truth. How do we teach our daughters that they are wonderful and valuable, while at the same time preparing them for the reality of how difficult it is to be a full-time mother and keep a full-time job at the same time?

Perhaps if we valued the work of parenting more as a culture, our girls wouldn't grow up with the pre-conceived idea that they have somehow failed if they end up as "just a mother". Little girls love playing "mom" - it's a natural instinct. But somehow, we are taught to suppress that desire and dream about "real" careers, instead. By the time we've reached high school, we have given up on our mommy dreams and scoff at the dumb kids who take the parenting class instead of the real courses that will get them into college. So we set our path towards our career goals, and we work diligently towards them, and then one day we find ourselves actually doing the math and realizing that we really can't accomplish all of those career goals before having kids if we still want to be fertile when we have them. And when I say "we", I mean "me".

I think I should have the following conversation with my hypothetical daughter on some momentous girlhood occasion, like turning 13 or getting her first period:
"Eowyn,* do you remember when you were 7 and I talked to you about boys? You thought they were icky, but I told you that one day you would like them. I know you didn't believe me then, but I've seen all of the "I <3 Aragorn" doodles on your day planner, so I know you believe me now. Well, I know you think that being a mom is boring and that it's not a "real" job, but one day, your ovaries will start yelling at you to have kids and you'll want it more than anything in the world. I know you don't believe me now, but one day you will, and I don't want you to be as surprised as I was."

Perhaps part of the problem is that women's increasing desire to enter the workforce hasn't been complemented by an equally increasing male desire to be involved in housework. I remember reading a statistic in law school that women, on average, regardless of how many hours they work outside of the home, spend twice as much of their free time on housework as men. (I really wish I had the source for that, now, but then again, this isn't a scholarly paper, so it's not like you can dock me marks, right?) Now, I know there are some fantastic men out there who contribute as much or more to the household chores as their wives. I know there are some SAHF's who have devoted their lives to the work of a parent. But that makes my undocumented statistic all the more sad, because it means that even with those guys bringing the curve up, the rest of them are bringing it all the more down.

Now, I'm not here to complain. I'm just observing. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on this.


* Come on, I know I will never get away with naming my real daughters Rohirric names, so let me do it with my hypothetical ones, okay?


P.S. As a reward for reading all the way to the bottom of this post, I have a special treat for you. We have good news: Jeremy got a job today! Hooray!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Can't wait 'till April

Canadian television imports a lot of American shows. The Cosby Show and Family Ties were as much a part of my childhood as my American counterparts. We import our fair share of American sports, as well. I'm pretty sure the Superbowl outranks the Grey Cup every year.

But college sports is new to me. The only college sports you will ever see on TV in Canada are recaps on your local news, or possibly playoff games on cable. So the idea of getting so entirely wrapped up in the extracurricular activities of students you don't know is absolutely foreign to me. But Americans just seem to get excited about college sports.

And then it was March. If I wasn't baffled already with the American obsession with college sports, suddenly it's all there was on TV. And everybody but me seems to actually care.

The Superbowl is just one game. The World Series and Stanley Cup are seven, max. But March Madness is 7,943,565 games, all of which are apparently as important as the Superbowl.

I went to college, too. I remember March. It was about halfway through the Spring semester, and characterized by another word that started with "M", but ended with "idterms". I guess "Madness" could have applied, too, but I was too busy studying to think about it too much.

I'm just trying to figure one thing out: Aren't these guys supposed to be in college? Why do they have time for non-stop basketball? Don't they have midterms to write?

I know I'm not the first person to make this observation. I know all about the stereotypes, and I have heard how things have changed in recent years and basketball players have to actually take real classes and actually pass the exams. But it's really pretty unfair, isn't it? Being a basketball player is a full-time job, one that we pay NBA players millions of dollars to do. And these kids are doing it for scholarships, and they have to do schoolwork while they're at it. Why don't we stop kidding ourselves, call it NBA-Jr, and just let them play basketball?

Now I would be the last person to devalue education. I think it's important for us to learn, and to better ourselves. But college has stopped being about education. College used to be something that you could do to get a jump start on a career, something that would set you apart. But now a Bachelor's degree is considered a bare minimum to do pretty much anything. It's becoming more and more difficult to find a job without a college degree, and as a result, college has practically become an assumption rather than a choice. No one asks a high school graduate if they are going to college, we ask them where they are going to college. And if they tell us they are taking a year off, our jaws drop in disbelief.

And even a college degree isn't enough anymore. All of the jobs Jeremy looks at want college plus all kinds of certifications. All of the jobs I look at want a Master's or better. So we are entering the work force later and later, with more knowledge in our heads, but no workplace experience. Not to mention the fact that few of us can afford to go to college without loans, so we are entering the workforce later, while knee-deep in debt that will take most of us 20 years to recover from.

And then, heaven forbid, we find ourselves in our late twenties, with our biological clocks ticking away, and contemplating putting our careers on hold again to start a family.

I have so many friends with college degrees who are working at jobs that they could have done with a high school diploma. And the hourly rates they are being paid barely stretch to make their loan payments, let alone to save up for rainy days or retirement or a downpayment on a house. And it's not as if they are homefree once they find a job, either. Not only do employers require more of potential employees than ever before, but they also require more of their current employees than ever before. How often do you hear about companies downsizing and making one person do the work that was formerly done by three people? Far too often. So you are either left jobless again, or stressed to the breaking point with too many responsibilities.

It just seems to me that eventually, something has got to snap. You need a Master's to do what you used to need a Bachelor's for, and a Bachelor's for what you used to need a high school diploma for. I hate to make the slippery slope argument, but I'm already seeing job ads with "Master's preferred" listed where it seems to me like a high school grad with proper training could fit the bill. Where will it end?

I have a lot of education. I'm currently getting more education. And I'm still not entirely sure why. I could have bought a house with the money I have spent on my education. Then, at least, there would be something for the banks to repossess. I wish I could just give them my education back when they come calling, but I can't. It's no fun owing someone something you can't return.

I sometimes wish I hadn't bothered with all the schooling. I like my job at Starbucks, and I could have been doing it for the past ten years instead of filling my brain with more and more knowledge that I won't use. I could have saved up a downpayment and we could own a house, and my monthly payments would be going towards equity instead of down the drain that is my past. I could feel free to make the decision to have children without having to worry about health insurance and loan payments, instead of always having to suppress my maternal instincts because of finances.

If I ever have kids, which my biological clock is starting to think will be never, I will encourage them to look beyond the traditional expectations of high school --> college --> career. My generation is starting to realize that we've taken this whole education thing too far, we're educated, unemployable, and discontent. We long to run away and live on a farm (as long as it's a farm with internet access). I will encourage my kids to consider blue collar jobs, service professions, and housewifery as valid options. Doesn't every mother want her children to be happy? If I can point them in a direction that might allow them to feel fulfilled in a job they love before the age of 40, I think I would be remiss if I didn't.

I feel such an overwhelming responsibility for all of the education that I have. I made a promise to Sallie Mae that I would use the money that she gave me to become successful and pay it back with interest. And I broke that promise. A career has stopped being something that I dream about for personal satisfaction, and lofty ideas like making the world a better place have all but disappeared. A career has become a burden that I feel I must bear to make good on that promise.

I guess this is where I make some kind of uplifting observation about the value of education and how it has made me a better person and broadened my horizons. But I don't feel like saying that. Education has made me ten years older, broke and in debt, frustrated with my job options and feeling like the only way out is another three years of hair of the dog that bit me.

They're good at it, and they enjoy it. Just let the poor boys play basketball.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Sleep schedules are overrated

The time that I went to bed this morning was actually later than the time I woke up yesterday morning.
But some days, you just need those kinds of late night conversations. Thanks, guys.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Resisting the urge to make a bad pun using the word "scents"

I love smelling like coffee. Once upon a time, I worked at BeaverTails in Ottawa, and although I loved the pastries we created, I absolutely hated coming home smelling like grease after every shift. It was a nasty smell, and I always wanted to shower right away and seal my work clothes in an air tight bag inside my hamper.

But the coffee smell - it's like perfume. They could totally bottle it. "Eau de sitting in a coffee shop all day." It takes me back to my high school days, when we were too young to go to bars so my friends and I spent a lot of time in coffee shops. Later on, my boyfriend actually worked at Starbucks, so I spent a large proportion of my coffee-shop hanging-out in his store, watching him make drinks. And I would always come home smelling like fresh-brewed coffee, and it would make me happy. The only thing better was when we would hang out a Nickelby's, who roasted their own beans in the store, and come home smelling like fresh-roasted beans. I was sad when I found out that Nickelby's closed. I spent many a long hour there, playing card games or chess, torturing my opponent's captured pieces until they revealed the king's location.

Jeremy likes it, too. I seem to get more hugs when I smell like coffee, and that is something you will never hear me complain about. And it drives the puppy nuts - he just can't stop sniffing me after I get home. I wonder if other people's dogs like coffee? Sometimes, when he's been really nice, I let Reggie finish the last few drops of my coffee, and he laps it up like I was giving him a treat straight from heaven. I try not to give him too much though, because I don't want to see an already jittery little dog high on caffeine.

That reminds me of a Far Side cartoon I remember reading. I wonder if I will be able to find it? Yep.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Did you know that there is a 5:15 in the MORNING? And people are actually AWAKE AND AT WORK AT THAT TIME?

I guess I had better be getting to sleep, eh? Morning tomorrow is going to feel even morninger than usual. At least I can sleep in the extra ten minutes it would take to make myself coffee. I think I just might be able to track some down at work.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Dooce's First Rule of Blogging

If I have learned nothing else from reading Dooce, I have learned the first rule of blogging, which is: Do not talk about your job on your website! I have learned other things from Dooce, such as tinfoil on the windows will keep the aliens away AND make your two-year-old sleep in, and no matter how funny you are, there will always be people who JUST DON'T GET IT. I also learned that typing in all-caps can be an effective way to emphasize a point. Those things are no doubt valuable, but the first rule might enable me to keep my job, so that's the one I'm writing about today.

I started my new job at Starbucks today. And I won't be talking about it here. Well, I might mention things about myself that are incidental to my job, like the fact that I am jittery at the moment from sampling so many caffeinated beverages today. But I won't be commenting about my co-workers or bosses or the corporation that employs me. In addition to Dooce's first rule of blogging, I will be abstaining from talking about my job because of Starbucks' media policy, which is that I am not to speak directly to the media for any reason, and the lawyer in me recognizes that anything I post publicly on a website is accessible to the media, and could even be construed as media itself. I know the New York Times reads my blog everyday looking for new scoops, so I just wanted to be upfront about that.

The end.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Now, that's good marketing!

Today was the first day of spring. Which might mean flowers to some of you, but to those who live in the Rita's-enabled Northeastern United States, you know that it really means FREE ITALIAN WATER ICE!!

As I may have mentioned before, I love Rita's. "Water ice" is a strange name for this tasty treat, which is really nothing like water or ice. For those who are not from around here, it is a really, really smoothly blended fruit slush, made with all-natural ingredients and wonderfulness. On the first day of spring, Rita's hands out a free small ice to anyone who wants one. We waited in line for about 30 minutes in the cold, but we got our yummy water ices and they were so good. Mine was mango. Yes, I know, I always get mango, but it's always good!

Rita's has been doing this for 13 years. They don't make a lot of other sales on the first day of spring, because most people are content with just a small ice. So what do they gain by giving away thousands of dollars worth of tastiness? I believe they gain a lot. First of all, we all go away with the sense of Rita's being a wonderful company: kind and sharing and generous. That impression will stay in our psyche, and we will choose to patronize their business because of it. Second of all, now we want more water ice. Without the freebie in March, most of us (the normal ones who don't start drooling for water ice the day it opens like me, anyhow) wouldn't start thinking about water ice until the heat of summer really set in. Now, they've got the taste on our lips, and we'll be craving it for several extra months. Especially if we find ourselves thinking about the other flavors that we didn't get on free ice day that we just have to taste.

Speaking of corporations with good reputations, I officially have a job at Starbucks. I'm really happy about this, because Starbucks has a great reputation as an employer. I am also very happy because we need the income, and in three months I should qualify for benefits, which I also need, and I will get a free pound of coffee every week, which I don't really need, but will enjoy.

Other things of note that I would like to mention on my blog today:

Jeremy has a job interview on Thursday. If you're the praying type, would you mind saying a prayer for him?

One of my best friends just got engaged! I'm so happy for you, hon!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Crocheting Away

Since what is a blog for if not shameless self-promotion...

I finally finished the poncho/shawl that I was crocheting. It is, by far, the largest single item of clothing I have ever crocheted. Hopefully, it will not be the last.

Anyhow, I am very proud of my achievement, so I thought I'd share some pictures of it with you.



And, for anyone craftily inclined, here is how I made it:
- I looked at several patterns online, but between my inability to read patterns properly and my refusal to make swatches to test gauge, I eventually just got a general idea and branched out on my own.
- I used a little over a pound of black, cheapest-you-can-get, worsted-weight yarn. Maybe when I am rich, I will use better yarns, but for now, I'll take what I can get cheaply.
- I cast on enough stitches to go from my shoulder to my wrist. In theory, I counted stitches to make sure I had a multiple of 4 +2 +1 to turn. (In reality, though, I added the extra stitches later when I figured out that I needed them.)
- I did 3 rows of single crochet, then I started on my first "holey row".
- Holey Rows = chain four, triple crochet in fifth stitch, *cast on 2, skip 2 stitches and triple crochet in third stitch, triple crochet in next stitch, repeat from * to end of row (row ends with 2 triple crochets).
- My general pattern for the shawl was: holey row, single crochet row, holey row, 3 single crochet rows, holey row, 12 single crochet rows.
- Once the shawl was long enough to join into a poncho, I joined the two red edges per the diagram below with a row of loose chain stitches on what would be the inside of the finished product. (Blue dot is the bottom tip of the front of the poncho, for reference.)

- Then, I tried my poncho on to discover that the neck opening was too big, so I did a row of single crochet around the inside of the neck, reducing every 2 stitches to one. It was still too big, so I did a second row, reducing in the same manner.
- After trying the poncho on again, I noticed that my reducing rows in the neckline looked a bit like a drawstring, so I added a long, dangling bow at the front to complete the effect of a tied drawstring. (Bow doesn't really show up in the picture.)

Another dose of history

On Friday, my mom and I headed to Historic Germantown to see some more old buildings. It was a great visit. Mostly, we just walked around taking pictures, but we had two interesting impromptu history lessons that made the trip even more valuable.

First, we wandered onto the property of Germantown Friends School. We were admiring what looked like a very old cemetery when a teacher walked up to us and asked us what brought us there. It turns out that he is a history teacher and archivist, and we spent the next half-hour or so learning about the Quaker settlements of Germantown, who was buried in the graveyard, which buildings dated back to the 1800's, and the problem of "white flight".

Then, when we were on our way back to the car, I noticed a little sign in the window of the Deshler-Morris House that contradicted the big sign that had told us earlier that the house wouldn't open until April. On a whim, I rang the doorbell, and a sweet retired couple, volunteers with the National Park Service, walked us all through the house, right into the dining room and bedrooms, and regaled us with all kinds of stories about the house and the time that President George Washington stayed there during the yellow fever epidemic to avoid getting infected.

I actually remembered to bring my digital camera this time for taking indoor photos, since I have yet to figure out how to use my Minolta's flash attachment properly. So, here are a couple of digital pictures of "Germantown's White House".

This is the study adjacent to the Washingtons' bedroom where the President would have drafted documents and such:

This is the tearoom where Martha would take her tea in peace while the cabinet met in the adjacent parlor, debating loudly and smoking, uh, smokily. Please note the Dutch tile-work around the fireplace, featuring GOATS in various poses. I always knew the Washingtons were cool, but this sealed the deal:

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Philadelphia on a dime

My mom is visiting right now. Yesterday, we went downtown to see the sights of the city. Our primary mission: to see old buildings. Our secondary mission: not to walk too much, because my mom recently injured her knee. Our tertiary mission: not to spend very much money.

I didn't post about our trip last night because I wanted to first upload some of the digital pictures my mom took on her camera. But, I discovered today that my mom's camera is too old to work with my USB connector, so I will have to wait for her to get home and email them to me. I took pictures with my Minolta, but I won't be developing them until I am less broke, so it might be a while. So, you get a pictureless post. Tell you what, I'll give you links.

We started out in the Olde City:

  1. Independence Visitor Center: Near 5th St. Station. We picked up a free downtown map with all the major tourist sites marked on it.

  2. Liberty Bell Center: Right across the street. We didn't actually go in, because we had all seen the Liberty Bell before, but we admired the new building from the street. I'm pretty sure it would have been free, though.

  3. Franklin Court: Two blocks East. This court is the site of Ben Franklin's home and printshop, both of which are represented with cool skeletal frames of the original buildings (and windows into the remaining foundations). There are also some original buildings, one of them a working post office with a (free) postal museum upstairs - just a one room deal, but interesting anyhow. There is also a (free) underground museum which has a neat diorama exhibit, but which otherwise felt somewhat disused.

  4. Betsy Ross House: One block East, one block North. The house where the first American flag was made, restored. $3 admission made entirely worth it by the charming woman who played the part of Betsy and stayed in character no matter how badly modern our questions were.

  5. Elfreth's Alley: One block East, one block North. The oldest residential street in the United States. I took a lot of pictures here - it was very cool. Most of the homes are still being lived in, and one of them is even for sale! We didn't do the museum or guided tour, though, we just walked around taking pictures.

  6. Fireman's Hall Museum: One block North. This was an accidental discovery, but it was fun, and free. It's a restored 19th century firehouse, with some cool old equipment. Plus, the staff was just finishing a birthday cake when we arrived, and they gave us some. And they took our picture, possibly for promotional purposes.

Then, we stopped by the subway station to get a free city map with bus routes on it. We took the bus over to the Museum of Art, and took pictures from behind the museum of Fairmount Water Works and Boathouse Row from above. The wind was so bad we almost got blown off the cliff, though, so we wandered back around to the front and took Rocky-pose pictures on the front steps, and pictures of the cherry blossoms. We didn't actually go into the museum, so this stop was free, too. Then, because I had no idea where to catch our bus back, we walked an extra quarter mile or so looking for a bus stop. Sorry about that, mom's knee!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


As her prize for winning my Guess the Blister contest, Sarah gets a whole post dedicated to her. There are two Sarahs that read this blog (to my knowledge). For the sake of clarity, this Sarah shall be called Canadian Sarah whenever there is need for distinction.

Canadian Sarah has been my friend since we were like eight years old. She was friends with some twins who lived near the park that my sister was friends with, but I really got to know Sarah when we were in swimming lessons together. We were both really slow showerers, so I guess we became friends through years of always being the last two people to leave the changing rooms.

I was going to post some childhood photos of Sarah and I, but luckily for her, my photo albums are still packed away in the garage. I have a great one of her dressed like a man at a murder mystery party I hosted one year for my birthday (in all fairness, I was dressed as a man for that party, too). Sarah ended up being the murderer! Bad Sarah!

Sarah loves horses and guinea pigs. For as long as I have known her, Sarah has owned guinea pigs. She is a much better guinea pig owner than I am. The two guinea pigs that I have owned both died young (although one was a runt, and I still believe the other was murdered). Sarah loves her piggies and they usually don't die young of mysterious causes, like mine. Sarah has always been a horseback rider, too. She even competes in horse shows at county fairs and stuff. Or she buys blue ribbons for herself and pretends she does, who knows. Sarah owned a horse of her own, once, but he died. That was a very sad time. I hope Sarah gets another horse someday, because that horse made her very happy.

Sarah and I didn't go to elementary school together, so she was always the only non-school friend at my sleep-overs. But she never seemed to mind; Sarah is very easy-going. We went to the same high school, though, and it was so great to be able to see each other all the time! We even scheduled our spares at the same time so we could hang out when we didn't have class. We had a standing date every time our period one spare fell first thing in the morning to go to Rockwell's for their $2.99 quick breakfast. Those were good times.

Sarah and I were always doing silly things together. One time, we sat in the lobby of our high school and did bad renditions of Christmas carols on the kazoo so that we could raise enough money to buy Skittles. Eventually, people gave us money to shut up, and we bought Skittles and Sun Chips with our earnings. Sarah and I invented the "Slurpee Blizzard", which is a 7-11 Slurpee filled with penny candies. We used to buy them and then go play hide and seek in the park on summer nights. We also invented CD roulette, a game in which we would play a CD on random and each pick a favorite track number. Whoever's song came up first would win. This game passed many a long afternoon waiting for our school bus after a morning exam.

Sarah and I went to my church youth group together, and after youth group was over, we went to youth night at the community centre where I worked (the Firehall). Church youth group was fun, and we did invent amazing cookies there one night (with chocolate syrup and espresso powder in them), but there were more cute boys at the Firehall. Sarah had a car, and we would go driving and do silly things with our Firehall friends until very late on Friday nights. The night we made the wake-up cookies, I seem to recall driving all around the city trying to regain possession of the Brown Cow chocolate syrup. I wonder if Rob still has it?

I went away to college, and Sarah stayed in Ottawa for college, so I didn't get to see her as much anymore. But it always seemed like we could pick right back up where we left off whenever I came home to visit. Around this time, we also discovered that we both liked to go dancing. So, whenever I was in Ottawa to visit, we would go dancing. Going dancing with Sarah came to be one of the things I looked the most forward to about going home on school breaks.

This summer, Sarah and I spent a lot of time together, because we both happened to be in Ottawa at the same time. It was great. I introduced Sarah to Lost and fondue and home-made kettle corn, and to this day an episode of Lost just seems incomplete without Sarah and kettle corn. We went camping this summer, just the two of us, and had an amazing time reading and swimming and just relaxing together. It was so nice having Sarah around again, and I was sad when she had to go back to Guelph.

I am really looking forward to Sarah coming to visit in May. We're going to go to New York City, and meet up with another high school friend who is working on her Ph.D. in NYC, and who was often a co-conspirator in our silliness back in the day. I'm looking forward to seeing Elsa again - I don't think I've really seen her since my wedding. I hope that, while Sarah is visiting, someone from Philadelphia meets her and says, "Wow, this person would be perfect to work at my environmental research facility, and I will pay her the big money to come down here and work for me." Hey, it could happen, right?

I have a lot of pictures of Sarah and I hugging. Especially from our days of going out dancing, when we would get all dressed up and then take the obligatory all-dressed-up-with-some-place-to-go-like-paris-and-nicole-before-the-falling-out picture. But don't be fooled, we only hug when someone has a camera on us. It's funny, though, because whenever I picture Sarah, I picture us all dressed up and sparkling and hugging. It's the position we instinctively take whenever someone says, "Cheese!"

I love you, Sarah! Congratulations on guessing beans!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Quiz Time!

I have a blister on my finger. It's not a burn blister, it's a friction blister. I don't think I've ever had that kind of blister on my finger before. It hurts, but I think I can redeem its existence with a game.

How did I get my blister?
(First person to guess the correct answer wins a prize. Prize is unlikely to have any monetary value.)


  1. Opening a jar with a tight lid

  2. Crocheting a shawl

  3. Stirring beans for dinner

  4. Playing Burnout3 on the XBox

  5. Opening a window

  6. Typing on my computer

  7. Checking the tops of doorframes for dust

  8. Riding my bicycle

  9. Writing with a fat pen

  10. Turning the pages of a book

  11. Zipping up the zipper on my jeans

  12. Taking a sharp corner with the car

  13. Channel surfing

  14. Playing basketball

  15. Finger painting

  16. I actually burnt it; I was lying about the friction thing to throw you off

  17. Pinched it on the chain of a swing

  18. Braiding my hair

  19. Hitting the snooze button on my alarm clock

  20. Picking my nose

Congratulations, Sarah. I did, in fact get a blister on my finger from stirring beans. I was using a wooden spoon to make refried beans, which requires a lot of stirring and smushing of beans until they make a paste. When I was almost done, I looked down to discover that I had stirred a blister right into my poor finger!
Sarah, your prize will be an entire blog post dedicated to you. (Just as soon as I figure out which Sarah it is.)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Theme for Tonight: Paperwork

Before I went to bed last night, I printed out a resume and cover letter to substitute teach at my father-in-law's school on the days I don't have class. Then I completed an application to work at Starbucks.

After class today, I stopped by Starbucks with my application, and the manager just happened to be there at the time, with a few minutes to spare, so I had an interview on the spot. It looks like I will have a job there as long as I fill out all the online paperwork.

Then I got home, and my father-in-law told me that they could use me as a sub this Friday if I was interested. I probably won't take this Friday, because my mom will be visiting, but if they are really desperate, I will take it, to show willing. Even so, it's a pretty good sign that they needed me so quickly, and I should get more calls as soon as I finish all the paperwork for them.

So, tonight, I will be filling out a Starbucks application, a substitute teaching application, and, while I'm at it, an application for admission to the seminary that I have been attending classes at for two weeks already. I really should get that thing done.

But, piles of paperwork aside, the prospect of income is heartening. Thank God for good weather and a day full of undashed hopes.

En francais

Quand j'etais plus jeune, je parlais en francais presque aussi bien qu'en anglais. Mais apres plusieurs annees sans pratique, mes abilites en francais souffrent.

Depuis la semaine derniere, j'ai un nouveau emploi: tutoyer le francais. Et je n'ai pas oublie les essentiels; je peux toujours conjuguer les verbes avoir et etre. Mais je suis triste quand je me pense a tout que j'ai perdu. La confiance que j'avais auparavant me manque. Et la vocabulaire s'est echappe aussi. Quoi faire pour retrouver la langue francaise quand j'habite aux Etats-Unis? Je ne connais personne ici avec qui je peux converser en francais.

Alors j'ai commence a faire de la recherche au internet. J'ai deja une cinquantaine de blogs que je lise (pardonnez-moi, j'oublie la conjugaison du conditionnel) regulierement, pourquoi pas trouver quelques nouveaux blogs a lire? L'internet doit cacher des blogs en francais.

Mais ce n'est pas si facile que cela. D'habitude, quand je trouve un nouveau blog a lire, c'est parce que quelqu'un m'a envoyer le lien. Mais personne ne m'envoie des liens francais, alors je doit rendre confiance a google. Malheureusement, google m'envoie des milliers de blogs qui s'appartiennent a des jeunes filles celibataires xxx, et ce n'est pas exactement le type de blog que je cherchais.

Enfin, j'ai eu une autre idee. J'ai demande a google des phrases en francais qui pourrait (conditionnel encore?) apparaitre dans un blog que j'aimerais lire. Et j'ai trouve un blog qui m'interesse. C'est seulement un pour le moment, mais c'est mon but de trouver un autre blog francais chaque semaine pour au moins cinq semaines. On verra.

Mes excuses pour mon francais epouvantable, et pour le manque d'accents dans cette article. Je ne sais pas comment utiliser des accents dans cette interface avec mon ordinateur anglais. Probablement, il ne fera aucun difference, car la plupart de mes lecteurs vont ignorer cette article entierement, ou utiliser une programme comme babelfish pour obtenir une traduction approximee. Mais si, par hasard, il y a quelqu'un ici qui parle vraiment le francais, est-ce que tu peut me suggerer un blog?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

In which I pretend to eat a healthy dinner

Chocolate fondue can be dinner. Don't tell me it can't. Six people ate an entire pineapple, one apple, two pears, two quarts of strawberries, two oranges, and five bananas. And fruit is healthy. Even when it's dunked in a pound of liquid chocolate.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Saturday Night's Alright for Blogging

I have noticed that Saturdays are a slow day in the Land of Blog. Can it be that people who blog actually have lives and are out doing real world things on Saturdays? Or, more likely, they delay their blogging so that their readers think they are out doing real world things on Saturdays. I'm onto you, blog hiders!

We were actually out doing real world things today, too, but they involved children, so they ended relatively early. It's 8:20, and I'm home for the evening. Some kind of Saturday, eh?

It has actually been an awesome day. It started with a birthday party for one of the cousins at 1:00. It was her sweet sixteen. The weather was beautiful, so we played outside. We were playing a bit of soccer, but a combination of gender and age differences made that a difficult game to incorporate everyone into. So we played a game that I made up back in my day camp years that is a combination of handball and ultimate - a nice, non-contact, high-turnover game that little girls and big boys alike could get into.

After the birthday party, we headed to the Baptist church that rest of our family except for us goes to for a children's musical that the three youngest cousins were involved in. Two of them had solos, and they did an incredible job. I have said it before, and I will say it again: Little children + singing and dancing and reciting lines = bad for the ovaries. So much cuteness. I want one. Or six.

Days like this, I am reminded of why we decided to move down to this area. I love the extended family dynamic. Well, all of it except for the part where I am at home on a Saturday night at 8:30 with nothing to do. When I have kids of my own, I'm sure it will seem like a blessing. But right now, do you know what I really want? Karaoke. I need to make some karaoke friends, then my world will be complete.

Friday, March 10, 2006

My Blog Roll

I finally got around to adding a blog roll to this site. I put it off for so long because it's really long, and I figured you would all think less of me when you found out how many blogs I read. But, then I posted about my American Idol crush, and I figured I couldn't possibly hurt my reputation any more than I already had.

A few words about my blog roll:

  • If you read a lot of blogs, I recommend getting an RSS reader, or something like it. I use Bloglines to keep track of all my blogs in one place, so that I don't have to check each one individually. Bloglines also keeps track of thousands of other feeds like BoingBoing and Slashdot, so that all my news is in one place, too.

  • Not all of these blogs are updated every day, so it's not as bad as it looks. Really.

  • I left out some blogs that I theoretically read, because bloglines checks them for updates, but they are rarely or never updated, and I think they might be defunct.

  • In an attempt to be politically correct and refer to people by the names they want to be called, the names I used for the blogs in my blog roll are whatever titles appeared on the main page of people's blogs. This was especially confusing for livejournal blogs, which have titles, subtitles, and names, so if I chose the wrong name for your blog, please tell me and I will change it to whatever you want it to be. You can leave a comment here, or email me at: juleannwakeman at either hotmail or gmail dot com.

  • If I have your blog listed and you want it not to be, please tell me and I will remove it.

  • If your blog is not listed, and you think I should read it, then please tell me your address and I will check it out. I will add it to my Bloglines first, and if I like it, then I will add it here. That could take a few days, so please bear with me. I want my blog roll to consist of sites I actually read.

  • Some people break their blog rolls down into people they know in real life, and people they only know online. I decided not to do that, simply because I couldn't figure out where to put some of the blogs I read. The more time I spend online, the less I feel like knowing someone in real life actually means something more than knowing someone online. I guess I could break them down by "people who actually know me" and "people whose blogs I read who wouldn't know me from Adam", but even then, there were one or two blogs that I wasn't entirely sure where to put them. So, I'm sorry, but you just get a really long unsorted list. For what it's worth, Rick Mercer and Neil Gaiman would both go in the latter category.

  • When I added my blog roll, I played around with some code that I don't fully understand in an attempt to make it only show up on the main page but not individual pages. If I screwed it up, please let me know.

Sunny Days

It's an unbelievably gorgeous day today. At least one weather site told me that it was 74 degrees. I have every window in the house open and it's below freezing in Ottawa. Maybe moving down here wasn't such a bad idea after all.

Wait a minute. If it's so nice outside, what am I doing in here blogging? Forget you, internet, I'm going outside to play.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Fun at a conservative seminary

The lunchroom at my seminary is a great place for lively theological discussion. Today, we had a fascinating conversation about the nature of the Trinity. That I killed.

"I wish we didn't use the name "God" for the Father. Technically, all three persons of the Trinity are God."

"I really just wish that there was a personal name for the Holy Spirit. You can call the Son Jesus, but what else can you call the Holy Spirit?"

"I just call her Jill."

But isn't all ice made from water?

My lack of disposable income becomes a more present reality when Rita's opens for the season.

(If you've never had a water ice before, think slurpee made with real fruit instead of syrup and shaved ice. I want one now.)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

In which you all lose respect for me

I have a crush on Ace Young.
He may not have the best voice on the show, but I am such a sucker for nice eyes.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

For the biscuit lover in you...

Saturday, we went to Red Lobster to celebrate my father-in-law's and brother-in-law-in-law's birthdays. They both like seafood. I do not.

But Red Lobster makes a decent chicken breast, and a bottomless basket of really, really tasty cheese biscuits. So I never complain when someone wants to go to Red Lobster, because it means I can fill up on bread, just like my father taught me not to do.

I have learned an important lesson about restaurants: they let you take your leftovers home with you! So when they bring me two pieces of chicken, I don't have to eat them both right away. I can eat one now, and save the other for later, thus making more room in my tummy for a second cheese biscuit. And a third. And, um, a fourth. I really like those cheese biscuits, okay?

And while I'm on the subject of tasty carbohydrate-laden biscuits that I'm pretty sure are so tasty because they are deep-fried rather than baked... I wore a skirt today that I remembered being too small for me, but it actually fit! Which I am going to take as a good sign regarding the state of my body, although it could just as easily be a bad sign regarding the state of my memory.

P.S. Tip for the day: If you're ever going to Red Lobster for someone's birthday, you can get a whole cake that easily serves 10-12 people for $6. A pretty good deal considering most of the desserts on the menu are $5 per serving.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Tragedy of Education

While driving home from class today, it suddenly occurred to me: Next year I will be taking Greek, and after I learn Greek, I will never again be able to use the phrase, "It's all Greek to me," to indicate incomprehension.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


I have been fruitlessly trying to lose about 15 pounds for several months. I keep starting various regimes, but I never stick with them. I guess I just decided there was enough stress in my life without dieting, and it's not like I'm really fat, right?

So, I'll confess to having selfish thoughts when I realized that the Lenten season was coming up. I could give up desserts, and between meal snacks, or maybe even go the more strict "only one meal a day" fast. 40 days of dieting, complete with religiously imposed guilt if I cheat! It's the perfect combination for someone like me with little to no personal discipline.

In the end, though, I decided not to twist a religious holiday for personal ends (although it would not be the first time in history that someone did such a thing, I know). The whole point of Lent is to focus on Christ, and I'm pretty sure that turning it into a diet would do exactly the opposite of that. So, I'm not doing anything dramatic for Lent this year.

But I didn't want to overlook the season entirely, either. I know it's not a very concrete lenten goal, but I'm making a conscious effort to waste less time. So, when I'm done going through my blogroll in the morning, I try to find something else to do for a while, rather than go through my blogroll again two minutes later just in case someone has updated since then. When the TV is on, I get out my crochet and work on it while I'm watching TV. (Although I finished my one pound ball of yarn only about 8/9 of the way through my shawl, so I'm gonna need some more yarn before I can return to that project, unfortunately.) When I'm driving to class, I sometimes turn my radio off and allow my mind a few minutes of uninterrupted thought or prayer.

I honestly don't know what this goal has to do with Lent. It doesn't really fit the Catholic model of grieving during Lent, nor does it fit the Protestant model of prayer and preparation during Lent. (Okay, I know that neither denomination's practice is that simple, but those are the basic underpinnings.) I guess I'm doing it because, once I started thinking about what I could give up for the holiday that wasn't a backhanded diet, I came across so many things in my life that could go. And rather than doing the typical Jule Ann thing and starting a huge life-renovation project in which I tell myself I won't go on the internet at all any more and instead of watching TV I will spend 8 hours a day in prayer and I will take a vow of silence except for when I am asked a direct question in class, and then lasting somewhere between an hour and two days before giving up and going back to normal, I decided to do something more reasonable. Well, it made sense to me. Happy Lent, everyone.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Friday Fly

The Friday Fie is on hiatus this week, because I'm not feeling especially derisive at the moment. In the spirit of propagating positivity, I bring you instead five positive things I have done for myself and my family today.

1. I powerwalked a mile and a half.

2. I cut my fingernails (all of them, not just the ones that were chipped!).

3. I made the almost-too-ripe avocados into guacamole.

4. I loaded and ran the dishwasher and handwashed the non-machine-washable dishes.

5. I made my bed.

Nothing huge, I know, but five good things are better than none!

Google Me!

I just googled myself, and it brought me here. This blog is now officially being publicly traded. Or something like that. So, welcome old classmates, potential employers, extended family members and blind dates who wanted to know a little more about me by asking the internet. This is what you get - I'm sure you will be disappointed. Especially if you are a blind date. What kind of friend tries to set you up with a married woman?

I'm sorry I haven't been posting much lately. It's been an extremely hectic week. I'm really enjoying my classes, but I'm still not sure it has entirely sunk in that I AM A STUDENT AGAIN. I have been a student for over twenty years of my life. Surely there is more to life, but I don't know what it might be. Ever since high school, I have been counting down to the day when I would be called to the bar as a lawyer, and I feel a little bit like someone who is running a race, and just as she rounds the last corner before the finish line, she realizes that there's actually several miles, a mountain, and a complicated obstacle course before her, rather than the expected straightaway. (Wow, I just looked that up, and not only is that actually a word, but it even means what I thought it did!)

I'm enjoying the ride, though, and learning not to try too hard to figure out what on earth my future might bring. What fun is a roller coaster if you get on it with charts and calculations about what effect each turn is supposed to do to your equilibrium? You just gotta close your eyes and take each turn as it comes, and throw your arms up in the air as you pass the camera. I know you won't buy the picture, $7.00 is highway robbery, but it's still fun to stop by the booth and point and laugh with your friends.