Good Tidings

The other morning I drove to the town of Novi for work for a few hours, and since it's only one exit away from where Aaron works, we met up for a lunchtime rendezvous to do a tinge-bit of christmas shopping. It almost felt a little naughty. In a way. We never see or talk to each other during the workday (just emails and g-chat), so it was quite a bit of delicious fun to meet up in the Costco parking lot. One day we'll work closer than 20 miles apart and do this more often.

One thing i discovered a long time ago is that christmas shopping can be a tad challenging for me. I like to give things to people when I am 100% certain they want those things, but if I don't know exactly what I'm getting for someone before i enter a store, it's never a good experience. This is due to several factors, but i think mainly it's a dilemma where I like to give but dislike to shop. Oh the horror. Other than that, i am really soaking up christmas this year, meaning the entire month of december. Usually I'm pretty ambivalent, but the past weeks I've been tingling with excitement. Weird i know! One thing for sure is I really, really need to come up with things to do (learn italian?) or look forward to (cadbury mini-eggs?) from January through spring, because those months are the dullest and dreariest of the year. If anyone disagrees, please let me know, and why, because I am curious.

Fun thing: On our anniversary, we gave each other cards, and when Aaron opened his I told him that I got it back in August in Maine. Then I opened mine, and he told me he also got it in August in Cape Cod. ISN'T THAT CRAZY? Ok, not that much, but it seriously boggled my mind for a minute or two. We had secretly picked out anniversary cards 4 months early, the exact same week, and managed to keep them hidden ever since. Earlier that morning I had written in mine, "I know you probs didn't get me a card, but i couldn't help getting this one because the polar bears reminded me of me & you!" (Yes it's true, they really did, I can't explain it in words, just feelings). Those polar bears.

A list of things i should do before flying to utah in 36 hours:
a) hold mail; b) paint nails; c) bake cookies; d) dishes; e) wal-mart
And due to some UMTRI holiday cheer and good tidings, I'll be done with work at 3 pm tomorrow. Bless them, and let the merriment commence.


Evening Outpourings

Due to some serious thanksgiving withdrawals, I made mashed potatoes as part of dinner tonight. I was also going to make banana bread but we're out of eggs. We constantly have a supply of over-ripened bananas on the counter. We each take a banana in our lunch every day, but most of the time I forget to eat mine. So then it sits in my lunchbag all day and turns too brown for me to want the next day, and by the end of the week, behold! A bushel of mushy bananas to recycle!

The snows have hit the midwest. I jumped right out of bed this morning when I saw the heavy snowfall out the window. It's the prettiest thing I ever saw. (Especially since we don't have to shovel. The perks of condo living)

I think it's hilarious when women update their facebook status or whichever, to announce that their husband 'does such a good job babysitting their children!' I would hope so, and wait, how is that babysitting?

Last year my mom came to visit and said we should rent this movie, 'Arranged'. The three of us got cozy on the pull-out sofa bed and watched it one night. I really enjoyed it, and recommend it to all looking for a sweet, interesting independent film about an orthodox jewish woman's friendship with a devout muslim woman. (Maybe not what you were specifically looking for, but rent it sometime anyway)

Oh, and this is a blog i found that makes me lol: kim jong-il looking at things.

Tomorrow the weatherman foresees a high of 15 degrees. I wish i were a bear, sometimes. Speaking of bears, I don't know if anyone has seen the documentary Grizzly Man, but it is so crazy. Amazingly crazy. I was expecting a boring doc on a dull man who studies bears, but it was far from that.


Thoughts on careers, ellipticals, and christmas

I was typing a web address into my firefox search bar, when i accidentally stumbled onto this blog. I looked at it for a minute and whispered to myself, 'oh, remember this place? we haven't been jeneralizing much lately...things are looking a little dusty.' I was ignited, and here now i sit typing a new blog post. Although, a couple months ago I had one ready to go. It was titled, "10 reasons my new job is better than my old one." But seconds before I clicked 'publish', i hesitated, remembering a) should i really write about work on a blog so easily accessible via a google search? and b) should i really be flaunting how much i adore my job when only 41% of my counterparts are so lucky as to even have one? Tact is crucial. However, after two months, I'm just going to talk about it. I spent the first year of full-time employment in a tolerating state, knowing I should absolutely take nothing I had for granted, but at the same time, often finding myself daydreaming about babies; about lounging in bed on a tuesday morning breastfeeding; about potential life beyond a cubicle, heaven help me. And then, knowing the hour was not yet nigh- and realizing either it or I needed to change- I snapped into action and began browsing UofM job postings, until I found what I had been searching for. As of october, i can officially say I like what I do. I like our research, i like my window office, i like wearing jeans every day, i like that aaron can drive me to work (one stoplight away), i love the people i work with. And for the first time since august 09, i don't wonder how people deal with working full time for forty years or more, but rather, I understand it. (And with a chair like this, i think work would be more enjoyable for everyone! I seriously want to switch to an exercise ball chair, it has many supposed benefits)

Now a quick tale from the gym. One day, a couple months back, I had a horrible realization. I had been in a routine where I did weights for a half hour, and then the elliptical for half hour (while Aaron swam). I loved the elliptical; it was painless and fun, and I got to watch the food network for a little while, since that's the one thing I miss most about not having TV. Well, for some reason on this particular day the ellipticals were all being used. 'That's ok!' I thought to myself, 'I'll just run!' I figured that after several months of 3+ miles per day on the elliptical, running would be a breeze! Like I'd be totally in shape! I eagerly set out on the track, prantering along the first lap. And then the discomfort set in. And I realized I was more out of breath in 1/2 mile than 423,982 miles on an elliptical. Fetch. Later on, Aaron came out of the showers and saw the look on my face. "What's wrong?" he asked. "The elliptical sucks," I grumbled. "never again." And I held to that, for the most part. And eventually I was able to run an entire mile without slowing to walk. (one mile is huge for me, people...I have historically been the spazziest runner alive; my brothers used to 'take me out for a run' and then look around embarrassed, hoping no one noticed their awkward out of shape sister) Anyway, I'm proud of my mile, and hope to continue improving my endurance and time...if i ever were to reach 8 minutes (my goal!), it would be such a marvel I'd next expect to grow wings.

I am so looking forward to Christmas this year. (As always, I'll probably start the holiday shopping around the 23rd; i love the adrenaline rush.) We've got a tree up, the christmas playlist running, and I ordered my favorite christmas movie (charlie brown, what else?) which should come any day. Technically, this year's Christmas was to be spent in the northeast with my side of the family. But due to various factors, my family (and aaron's!) is going to be in Utah. It really couldn't be better, because of course the hard thing about marriage is dividing up holidays among the families- when in fact, I am in love with both my birth family and my in-laws to such an equal degree that Christmas without one side just wouldn't be as much of a celebration. Also, a utah trip was way past due, it being a year since we were there last, and I miss it so. Aside from holiday celebrating, the agenda for this trip includes a) skiing, b) food, and c) friends. Let's talk now about letter b). I'm planning to indulge at many of the following places-- settebello, rumbi, chick-fil-a (the closest one is in toledo!), red iguana, cafe rio, diegos, frida bistro, cafe paesan, rooster, les madeleines (to try this kouing aman thing), pizzeria 712 (aaron thinks this is one pizza place too many, since we already know settebello is king, but oh well), and possible other great ones that i have forgotten. If someone reading this wants to join in on any, do let me know. You see, we decided rather than spend money on each other for our anniversary & whatnot, we're going to dispense of it through eating deliciously over christmas break. Yes, it is a very good plan indeed.



I just did something that terrified me, but not as much as it might've a few years ago because I've learned how to be assertive in my wise old age. Now I want to go and bake cupcake #28 and rejoice. And then read my book. And buy a new lamp for the office/piano room. And i really hope i didn't get a parking ticket today because i'm parked in a 2-hour parking spot and it's going on 4 hours. In fact, I better go check on that. Good bye, for now.


The delights of life

August already...we've been living here in michigan for a year. over a year! An important year filled with lots of discovery and thinking, working and reading, saving and planning, and, why not? a bit of fun and frivolity! I've enjoyed living this year.


A couple weeks ago i started searching for a perfect frosting recipe. I was very familiar with the traditional buttercream- lots of powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, salt and milk- but wanted something different, yet still vanilla-y and creamy and not too sweet and addictingly delicious.

I searched through like 100 different recipes & i found it, i think i did anyway:

8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
2 Tbls. butter, softened
1/2 tsp. salt
1 packet Dream Whip
1/2 tsp. almond extract (*the tinge bittest less than 1/2 tsp...like 3/8 tsp)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. clear butter flavor
About 3 cups of Confectioner's Sugar

Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth and blended. Add extracts (vanilla, almond & butter flavor) to a small bowl, mix in the salt to dissolve, then add mixture to cream cheese. Add Dream Whip and mix well. Finally, add the Confectioner's Sugar until frosting is desired thickness. (I used slightly less than 3 cups (maybe 2 1/2) of powdered sugar, and it was the right amount of sweet.) Anyway, chill the frosting in the fridge for an hour at least-- it becomes even creamier the longer it chills. (I made the frosting on a Sunday night, and by Friday it was still amazing, and had seemed to progressively become more delicious as the week went on. Yes!)

(p.s., see here and here for photos)


What else should i say today? Well, occasionally, i sit and think of updating my facebook status. But then i become completely stumped. How do i write a status update that sounds neither bragging, complaining, or boring? Too hard...i usually give up.

However, because me and aaron just watched 'nacho libre', if i were to update my status currently it would be filled with quotes from the movie, because it is hilarious.

such as:

'I was wondering if you would like to join me in my quarters this night... for some toast.'

'My life is good! Really good! I get to wake up every morning, at 5AM, and make some soup! It's the best. I love it. I get to lay in a bed, all by myself, all of my life! That's fantastic!'

'Chancho. When you are a man, sometimes you wear stretchy pants in your room. It's for fun.'


Anywho, good bye. And here's a photo aaron took of a baby longhorn cow. Apparently, after he took this, the mother started to charge toward him and he had to run away. Also, it was a color photo, but the green of the grass clashed with my blog background. God is in the details!


This blog was private for over a week...and oh yes it felt weird. I'm a private person, and yet i'm not a fan of privacy. So that's all over with.


Last week, aaron and i ate dinner at Panda Express. I opened my fortune cookie at the end to read this: "Be assertive and you will win." That slip of paper, obviously meant to be mine, is now in my wallet, to act as a sort of CTR ring. "Choose the assertiveness." I take my fortune cookies seriously.


I really appreciate the summer months. I wish i could say autumn or spring are my favorite seasons, but they are far too short. But summer lasts exactly long enough. And it is delicious to the taste.


I really have nothing left to say for this post, and i racked my brain trying to think of more. Except here is another video that is awesome. My mom laughed, aaron laughed, we all laughed. Rideo, ridere, risum.



Thirteen Thoughts

Just a few things:

1) I just pre-ordered the 3rd Hunger Games book...i signed up for an AmazonPrime free trial (my 2nd or 3rd??) so i could get the free 2-day shipping. I really hate paying for shipping. (note: must remember to cancel within a month to avoid the $79 charge...yikes)
2) Sea salt chocolate is really the best thing i've tasted in a while.
3) A year ago today, i was sunburnt from Lake Powell. Today, i am sunburnt from Crooked Lake. Both were worth the burn. yes and I love summer.
4) My personal topic of research lately has been North Korea- I had never read much about it before, so i've learned quite a bit. I have begun to think of it as the drama queen of asia. It's very interesting to read about the experiences of people who have visited: (see here, here, here, here, and here).
5) We saw all 10 of the '09 best picture nominated Oscar films...my favorites were 'An Education' and 'Inglorious Basterds' (least favorites: 'District 9' & 'Hurt Locker')
6) I really don't like the saying, "life is short". seriously? do we need reminding? Really, any time-related reminders i don't like. (e.g. someone checking the clock before bed and saying, 'you have to wake up in 5 hours', or 'summer is halfway over', or '40 years until retirement', etc. etc. Just don't do that.)
7) So, another thing i don't like...being obligated to say "bless you" when someone sneezes. Truly a terrible tradition. But some people act offended when you don't bless them. (e.g."ah-choo!"...pause....awkward silence..."well, bless me") Perhaps everyone could go on a sneeze blessing strike? Can we try it? When i sneeze, ignore me! (and i'll return the favor)
8) I also don't like pennies...i used to throw them away. They're useless. Then i graduated college and found out that a penny saved is a penny earned.
9) The italian side of my family is having a reunion in a few weeks...i made tshirts with the family coat of arms.
10) I know it's terrible & i've said it before, but i have trouble with michigan's dining options. I constantly find myself drooling over online menus and reviews of restaurants not located here. Are we really picky, or is this a legitimate issue? Hard to tell. I lean toward legitimate issue of course. I've found several places that are fine for a quick meal to fill us up, but nothing i crave or am willing to spend more than like, $5 on. help!
11) Very delighted for my dear old roommate and friend monica who is engaged! Now i just need to meet this guy. someday, somehow?!
12) When aaron was working late into the night during his winter busy season, i would sit at the piano and belt out this song. really dramatic.
13) Speaking of aaron, he found the most hilarious video ever today...i hope he posts it on his blog or something. If not i'll link to it later. *later: here it is. please watch it.

*Edit: this makes me sad. i have no books to pick-up.

[kids playing soccer on the street in naples, italy, from when i went with my mom...this is my tribute to the world cup, despite that italy was eliminated so early]


Personal Preferences

Hello, my people. (figuatively speaking- i don't own anyone)

I created this incomplete list today whilst feeling nitpicky:

i like: soy milk.
i dislike: high heels
i like: neti pots
i dislike: when a story on cnn.com is a video, not text
i like: making the bed
i dislike: checking voicemails
i like: beans and rice/quinoa, forever and ever amen
i dislike: the way tupperware retains smells
i like: sleeping in but not past 9:30
i dislike: talking on the phone, i can't not be awkward on the phone
i like: aaron's patience when we play tennis
i dislike: cubicles. death to cubicles?
i like: watching birth videos on youtube.
i dislike: watching episiotomies on birth videos. seriously.
i like: reading on the bus, or, reading anywhere
i dislike: odors- such as perfumes, or food that's not mine
i like: being alone, second to being with aaron
i dislike: people touching me when i'm sweating. do not touch.
i like: pilates
i dislike: restaurant items that i could cook myself for 1/3 the price
i like: when i remember to respond to an e-mail within 48 hours (or a text within 24). this makes me feel on top of things.
i dislike: naps
i like: asians. i kinda really do.
i dislike: canker sores- i'm plagued.
i like: vegetables- kale, zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, fresh corn
i dislike: my two biggest fears- car accidents and infertility
i like: showering at night and falling asleep clean
i dislike: how my hands continually smell like garlic. note to self: buy kitchen gloves.
i like: honey nut cheerios & cinnimon toast crunch
i dislike: raisins in cookies. what's the point?
i like: crushing an egg shell and feeling the jagged edges in the palm of my hand

*Note: Originally, these were "i love" & "i hate", but it made me sound extremist. no really, try it: i hate raisins, i love asians, i hate voicemails, i love being alone, i hate naps....those are the rantings of a nut! funny how that works.


Contractions, Asians, and the Notorious BIG

So...Google has this feature called web history where you can see everything you've ever searched for on google, by date-- as well as how many searches. (As long as you were logged in to google when you searched for it...and I'm always logged into gmail, so this was a freaky, embarrassing, thrilling discovery.)

Since June 2008 (when I got gmail) I have performed 13,924 google searches. Yes, that's amost 14,000. Which means nearly 7,000 per year which translates to 19 searches per day. Oh my! I should be the smartest person in the world by now, right? Well, not actually. You'll see below some of the things I've googled in the past 2 years:

"what do contractions feel like?" (Answer: "They feel like someone taking all of your insides and squeezing them, while tearing them out, and at the same time lighting all of those insides on fire, literally.")
"beaver island"
"Salvatore Polichetti" (the singer in this favorite video of mine)
"why are asians so smart??"
"why do women live longer than men?"
"how to calculate percent increase"
"is the world ending or what?"
"jennifer larose"
"camorra italy"
"havasupai falls"
"notorious BIG"
"merry wives cafe"
"lawsuit PWC overtime"
"can i skip my period on the pill?"
"pros and cons of homeschooling"
"how to combine graphs in stata?"
"how to speak with a transatlantic accent" (heard in this neat video, 21 Accents)
"canker sores due to vitamin deficiency?"
"humans who harbor an infectious organism"
"can quadriplegics give birth?"
"head transplant"
"moralistic therapeutic deism"
"red bumpy rash on elbow"
"cheap flights from allentown to detroit" (from july '08)
"breastfeeding artwork"

Now isn't that fun?


The Ides of May

It wasn't our scene, the devotionals. Yet we went that day anyhow.

When I reminisce, I remember vividly what I was thinking. It was 10:55 a.m on a Tuesday and I really had nowhere else to go (I had to be honest with myself). I had awoken that May morning around 9:30-- showered, read the news while eating a bowl of cheerios, and rode my bike up to campus. Up the hill. I was sweating. I sought air conditioning. My bike led me to the Harris Fine Arts Center, where I was enrolled in piano lessons for the spring term.

As I turned to walk towards the stairs that led to the practice rooms, a steady stream of students rushed past me into the De Jong, where the devotionals took place. Not quite ready to lock myself in the windowless basement piano room I thought, 'How nice it sounds to just sit and be spoken to.' I joined the people and found a seat somewhere towards the back of the auditorium. A minute later, a boy (man? what are students anyway?) walked down my row and sat next to me. (But he doesn't matter in my story.)

Three minutes later another boy walked down the row, crossed over me, and sat on the other side, but two seats away. I sat and let my mind go blank, waiting. Five more minutes until it would begin, someone announced, "Would everyone move to the centers of their rows to allow more room?"

And so I did. I moved closer to the center. Closer to the boy who sat two seats away. He smiled a hello. I asked him his name. He asked where I was from. We discussed matters of politics. And the lights dimmed.


Afterwards, we stood and exited the row, chatting about things we didn't care about. I hesitated near the exit, "I'm headed down this hallway." Cautiously he asked, "Could I have your phone number? Maybe we could go out sometime."

"I think so," I responded.


Seconds before drifting off to sleep the other night, I sent a facebook status text from my phone, announcing the unrealized significance of the day. "Thank heaven for May 15th", I typed. I tossed the phone somewhere onto the floor and rested my head on Aaron's chest, my familiar spot. "May 15th brought me to you."
Yikes, I'm cheesy, I realized. But there it was, and it was truth.

Three years later and we're just getting started.

[3rd date at the orem fireworks, 6/9/07]



I found fresh corn-on-the-cob at the grocery store the other day, and cooked it tonight (in a pot of boiling water with 1/4 cup of sugar; the true way). Summer is here for me. hooray!


(aaron: "is that all you're writing?" ... me: "well, i like corn.")


 that is all.


Rolling in like a lion

Well, hello. I had this great idea last month, of typing up about 10 blogs in one evening and then scheduling them to automatically post every few days or so, so that i'd have a month of prolific blogging without having to do anything. I got as far as creating a bullet point list of my 10 blog topics. I may still complete them in the future, but now is not that time. Today, i just wanted to pop in and say a few words.

*First of all, everyone and their dog is pregnant! It is like the Chinese year of the baby. We now have 3 close friends who are pregnant, but there's probably more who i'm yet unaware of. This is big because i have never had pregnant friends before. babies. I am excited. babies. i like them. I am so happy whenever i find out someone is pregnant, because i have been absolutely floored by the amount of infertility i have witnessed in the past few years. If i were doing my own medical research, infertility would be my #1 topic of choice. I can name about 2 dozen women i know who have struggled with it. And i don't know that many people in general, so that's a high number. Has infertility increased over the past generation, or is it just that more people are open about it? I don't know the answer. But i'm very concerned and curious about this issue and i plan on finding out as much as i can. 
*Second of all, my mom is coming to visit this weekend. i love her.
*Third of all, I found several free samples websites a few weeks ago. I promply filled out as many request forms as i possibly could (with fake e-mails, so no spam) and i've already received so many great surprises in the mail-- it's like Christmas every day! I was so excited i thought to myself, why not free samples for everyone! So just as a warning of sorts, if you get random things like laundry detergent or body wash or teeth whitening strips or protein bars in the mail anytime soon, it's from me, the free sample fairy. you're welcome.
*Fourth of all, i'm starving for something delicious. (phrase of the month, i say that almost every day)
*Fifth of all, i have this strange, offensive pet peeve lately-- people who smell like their food. oh heaven help me when this happens. i think it stems from riding the bus every day...i always keep my nose in my book the entire ride, but when someone sits semi-near me and i can smell them and can guess what type of cuisine they like to eat, i dislike that. As far as i know, i don't smell like bananas, rice, or cookies. I smell like dove soap and tide laundry detergent. It seems like this is how everybody should smell, in theory. So i get confused when they don't. Of course, this is the curse of having the world's strongest sense of smell. Seriously, i can detect anything with my nose. anything, no matter how subtle. I could be hired on by the police force as their drug dog. Yes, drug dog. But i must say i'd rather have the world's strongest sense of hearing, or sight. A strong sense of smell leads me to know things about people i'd rather not, and it's a little cumbersome.
*Sixth of all, i survived winter.
*Seventh of all, we've been living in MI for more than 7 months already, and working at our jobs full-time for more than 6 months. ca-razy. Hooray for saving money.
*Eighth of all, i need someone to teach me how to cook good zucchini. I've had issues sauteeing and roasting it....now what do i do??

That's all from me, i now have my things to attend to. (such as, vacuum before my mom gets here....wait what am i saying? Mom, ignore that-- my house is always this clean...)

[Lastly for reals, i was looking through the 1,000+ tagged photos of me on facebook today and i made a folder of the most weird/awkward/funny ones. here's one of my personal favorites, from October '06...note my seductive hand placement(?):]
 me, meagan, jules, jenna


Decisions, decisions...

I am aware that it is time for a new blog post. It's way past december, near past january. Now the question is, what should I say?

Should i blog about how mexican coke is better than regular coke? Well, it is...the difference lies in the 2nd ingredient: natural cane sugar (vs. high fructose corn syrup)
(mexico wins).

How about clean sheets. I love crisp, white, clean sheets. They are heaven-ish.


Years and years ago i read this post about 'how to blog'. i linked it somewhere on an old blog and re-read it the other day. i realize i don't do most of those things...do any of us? some of my favorite gems:
"1. write every day. (ha, easier said than done...maybe if i was immobile on bedrest or something)
15. dont be afraid if you think something has been said before. it has. and better. big whoop. say it anyway using your own words as honestly as you can. just let it out.
17. people like pictures. use them. (i forget to take pictures)
19. push the envelope in what youre writing about and how youre saying it. be more and more honest. get to the root of things. start at the root of things and get deeper. dig. think out loud. keep typing. keep going. eventually you'll find a little treasure chest. every time you blog this can happen if you let it. (i can't write honestly on a blog that everyone i know reads...darned shame)
25. dont use your real name. (oops...too late)
29. dont apologize about not blogging. nobody cares. just start blogging again." (noted)


Well, I hate to end just yet so maybe now I'll share the contents of my purse. just for fun. it's sitting right here!
Presenting, in the order that I reach in and pull an item out:
*unopened pack of gum (orbit, wintermint)
*80 gb hard drive (what i would take with me in a fire) (well helk i guess i'd just grab the whole purse!) (helk is my special word combo...i start to say: what the hel-- and then i'm all -- kkkk. helk. heck. yeah!)
*wallet ($21 cash, 3 library cards, 1 credit card, driver's license, BYU ID, U of M card, aaron's mini-diploma- he was going to throw it away)
*keys (car, mail, condo, and two others to who knows where)
*dramamine (for car sickness)
*mini moleskine notebook
*old boarding pass from detroit to slc
*U of M id badge
*floss! (x2)
*undereye concealer, for the ubiquitous dark circles. it depuffs & brightens!
*nail file
*3 pens
*1 pencil (with my name engraved on the side-- fancy)
*3 paperclips
*SLC Hyatt room key
*old grocery list (bananas, basil, cake mix, cornmeal, tortillas)

No day like today to clean out my purse anyhow.


Welp, sorry for the scattered writings that didn't mean much whatsoever. but i blogged! Til next time, paz afuera.