The story behind the name:

One evening, at the Old Broadway Grill in Fargo, North Dakota, my brother caught the end of a Mountain Dew commercial. In the commercial, a Mountain Dew drinker was riding a shark in the ocean. My brother exclaimed in surprise, not realizing that it was a commercial. When I told him he declared "All I saw was a guy coming out of the shower with a shark." Of course, he meant water, but the idea of showering with sharks has been with me ever since.

Friday, December 19, 2008

World at War Lulling Me to Peace

Today is Friday. Finals were all finished yesterday. Of course, my goal for today was to have everything graded and calculated. This did not happen. I blame the pregnancy. I slept in until 9 a.m., which was awesome. Just me and the dogs in bed (Mark had to go to work... sucker). Then I got up and had the best intentions of getting the house cleaned up and all my grading done. Instead, I wound up watching the last hour of a couple of meh movies, taking a shower, and being basically worthless until almost 1 p.m.

As I was checking my email this morning in a fit of not-grading, I ran across an email that claimed I could prevent some of the worsening heartburn (it gets worse!?!) by keeping my stomach more full. Two things about this bit of information overjoyed me. 1) My heartburn has been bad the past couple of days and I'd like it to go away and 2) I love any advice that tells me I need to eat more often. So, I decided to give it a try. I attempted to eat snacks every two to two and a half hours and... I haven't had to take a Tums all day!! Hurray for no heartburn!!

Anyhoo, for lunch I ate some leftover pad thai from Pei Wei (so yum) and then I followed it with a small bowl of Moose Tracks ice cream. I'm not sure if it was the Thai food or the sugar, but I suddenly became energized. So, while watching Librarian: The Judas Chalice on TiVo, I began to actually accomplish a few house-keeping things. I washed our sheets and some towels, cleaned the kitchen, cleaned up the dining room, swiffer vaced the basement, and made sure the guest bedroom was ready for company.

And waiting for that company is what I'm doing right now. I'm stretched out on the couch with a sleeping Sheltie-Eskimo cross (or Sheltimo, as we like to call Quinn) by my feet while Mark plays Call of Duty: World at War on the PS3. It's pretty grusome on the 42 inch plasma, I have to say. Right now he's trying to storm the last bastion of Nazi power in April of 1945. He thinks this will be the end of the game. People get blown up and everything - you can see the body parts fly... Ooops, he just got killed by a grenade. He hates the grenades. He is also drinking wine out of a water glass, which is hilarious. There he sits, drinking merlot while killing virtual Nazis. I love being a nerd married to a nerd husband. I was trying to convince him earlier to set up the Wii -- it's been far too long since we've Mario-Karted, but he loves Call of Duty so much... and I was baking cookies until half an hour ago, so I let it pass.

So, I'm feeling pretty nice and mellow. My house is clean, I have freshly baked cookies, and a husband nerding out. Pretty soon my BFF Ang will be here with Dan and Isabelle and their black lab Abby. I'm sure this will cause chaos for awhile, so I'm determined to enjoy the peace while it lasts.

And I'll finish grading later.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cursed Fish

The word cursed in the header of this blog should be pronounced Cur-sed. As in, Cur-sed Ju Ju Fish.

I'm sitting here grading... grading... grading... Grading marathon day. As I sit here grading I can't help but reach for the cur-sed Ju Ju Fish given to me my Ali RappStar. They are addictive little buggers. And I CERTAINLY do NOT need anymore sugar today.

Hmmm... Man, those fish look tasty... I think I will have another...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Not Too Preggers to Sleep on the Floor

So, in theory, spending an entire day in my office with nothing to do but grade is a good idea. I knew I would have few distractions from students today, as it is the Tuesday of finals week and students are slowly trickling off campus as classes are wrapped up, final exams completed, and final projects turned in. Of course, what this means for professors is - GRADING. At least that is what it means for me.

Yesterday I had two finals, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Happily, I am done grading everything but extra credit for those two classes. I have another online final this afternoon and one more online final tomorrow morning. And one last paper due tomorrow evening. My goal is to be all done grading by the end of the day Thursday so that I can go home and stop thinking about this semester. This is my plan. I feel like I'm on track so far, but who's to know how tomorrow and Thursday will go?

I spent this morning being fairly productive. I graded late papers, did some other miscellaneous paper work, and, in the spirit of saving, didn't even go get coffee. Then I had a student come in and then I went to lunch with David and Wes. For a wonder, the food in the cafeteria wasn't too bad today. They even had a very yummy chocolate chip and caramel dessert bar that I enjoyed quite a bit. During lunch, I conveniently forgot that I am attempting to eat less in a sitting because my abdomen is largely filled with baby right now. I have been plagued with heartburn for the past couple of days and I think it's because I'm still eating what used to be a normal portion size. Trust me, there is a point to this little side-trip down "I Overate Lane." The point is this: by the time I got back to my office I was full and SO SLEEPY.

Now, being sleepy after lunch is not a new sensation for me. Afternoons are not my best awake times when I'm NOT pregnant. However, today the sleepiness seemed to be of mammoth proportions. So, I decided to take a nap on the floor of my office. I unrolled the yoga mat that I keep in my office (the mat got quite a bit of actual yoga-use last fall when I was attending free yoga classes every Tuesday and Thursday - less use lately - until today that is). Then I spread my winter coat onto the mat and then I lay down using my purple fleece blanket as a pillow. I wasn't sure how comfortable I would be considering that I am starting to reach the point of awkwardness, but it wasn't too bad. I napped for a half an hour and awoke, while not refreshed, at least able to function again.

After I made sure I didn't have any weird lines across my face from sleeping on the blanket, I got up, collected my various paperwork, pulled on the coat I just napped on, and headed out into the snow to run my few errands. As unpleasant as -2 temp with a -10 windchill can feel, the cold did a nice job of waking me up the rest of the way. Also, I have to admit that campus looks really nice from the skyway that connects Oren to the library while it's snowing outside. OH! Also, the lovely Ali Rapp stopped by with a Xmas card and Ju Ju Fish for me while I was napping. Very nice of her. The sugar in the afternoon is highly appreciated.

After being such a busy and productive professor all day (yes, I do consider the nap productive) I am now contemplating what to do for my next trick (as my mom would say). I'm pretty sure I'm going to get a jump on those final papers. A few of my students (in particularly studious fashion) have turned in their drafts ahead of time. If I get the early ones done today, that means fewer papers for me to grade on Thursday (who said I wasn't any good at math?). I also suspect there may be a little time for playing Scrabble with Angela on Facebook. She should be done teaching in about 20 minutes. Ah, finals week...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Should've Stayed in Bed

Well, here I am. At school. Sitting in my office.

I'm tired and out of sorts today. I shouldn't be. I slept in until 7:45 this morning (yawning as I type this). Maybe it has to do with all the activity going on in my house lately. Charley and my Dad showed up Saturday morning to start working on the basement. From that point, trips to various home improvement stores aside, Mark, my Dad, and Charley worked non-stop for four days. The good news, of course, is that I have a beautiful new basement. But just because the floor got done, doesn't mean the work is done. Last night Dave, Mark's brother, came over to help us move some of the big furniture back to where it belongs so that I could have some sense of order. We put the couch back in the family room along with my desk. Mark still need to put the trim back on downstairs, so while the new walls and floors are lovely, it still looks a bit unfinished. We also elected to leave the big TV upstairs for now, a fact which I'm sure Dave appreciated.

Despite my convenient pregnancy excuse, which has gotten me out of a multitude of physical labor tasks, I did help some last night. I think that may be the reason my ab muscles are so sore. It's odd. I'm supposed to be exercising, but not in certain ways. So, I don't think my muscles are sore because I did something wrong, I think they are sore because they are all stretched out and have begun to atrophy as a result of lack of activity. And speaking of that, I've been having major cognitive dissonance about my lack of gym attendance over the past... let's just admit it... months. I keep having the best intentions of going, but somehow bedtime rolls around and I drift off to sleep cursing myself for missing another potential day of exercise that (all the pregnancy websites assure me) would greatly help both me and my unborn child.

It's 9:30 a.m. Only 5 and a half more hours until my last scientific and technical speaking class. See, this is why I should have stayed in bed. Yes, I have work to do and papers to grade, but I could do that at home. Instead, I have a bad feeling I'm going to be counting down the hours until my afternoon class all day. Dumb.

Unfortunately, the only thing on my mind at the moment is whether or not I should go get some coffee. And, if I do, should it be caffeinated. While the warm beverage would certainly have a positive psychological effect on my, I think I would feel more alive if I got the caffeinated kind. And... do I get a sugary beverage in light of all the mass quantities of sugar I consumed yesterday (it was our department Xmas party). Sigh. These are the days of my life.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happiness is a Warm Office

I had a great Thanksgiving weekend. Nothing terribly fascinating. Good food. Family. Great sales on Black Friday. You know, pretty standard.

I had my last speech meet of the semester last night and I have to say with all honesty that I'm glad it is over and done. The past three weeks have been really busy, fun, but busy. The epiphany I had this morning as I was getting ready to leave the house was that I didn't have anything major to get done today. Now, I don't want anyone to think that I don't have any work to do, because I certainly have plenty of that. What I do not have, is a major deadline approaching, a pile of papers to grade, a meeting to attend, or a trip to plan. Instead, I have the current luxury of being able to take a couple of minutes to blog while whittling down my To Do list in a calm and orderly fashion. It's pretty fab.

This weekend Mark starts on the basement remodel with the help of my dad and my father-in-law. They will be arriving with a van-load of stuff on Saturday morning. I'm hoping the van-load contains the crib, daybed, and dresser for the nursery. Yes, we bought a dresser in Fargo over the weekend. It is unfinished, so Mark will have to stain it and it is fabulous. I am really excited to start on the nursery. Right now it's still just a room (with a fabulous paint color) that stores a bunch of random stuff. People keep telling me "Oh, you have lots of time..." Blah blah blah. Yes, I still have almost four months before the baby comes, BUT I also have a life and full time job. It's not like I have four months of nothing to do before the baby comes. Also, I have a shower coming up over Christmas break and it sure would be nice to be able to put everything away somewhere instead of just setting it in the living room (which is where all our new laminate flooring is currently sitting. Ask me if I'm thrilled about that.).

I happen to be wearing a very cute maternity dress today and have gotten several compliments - although I had to drag the compliment from my husband out of him. Somehow, it just doesn't mean as much when you have to ask for it. Anyway, it's really cute. This morning I saw my friend Darcey who told me I look fabulous. (Which I do, today. I wouldn't say I look fabulous everyday, or even most days, but I AM pretty dang cute today). Then she said "Isn't it fun to live in a different body?" Hmm. Not really. I'm not that big yet... Not big enough for it to really hamper my life much, but it is a bit hard to adjust to getting bigger when we live in a society that is perpetually telling us how important it is for us to be smaller. Also, I'm at the cute pregnancy stage right now. I'm guessing I'm going to really HATE being in a different body in another three months.

Anyway, my space heater is making me nice and toasty in my cute dress and I'm sad to have to leave my office chair for class. But I do. Tomorrow I force Ali to help me decorate the outer office for Christmas. But I will be bribing her with muffins, so hopefully she won't complain too much. Perhaps I will document our decorating and post the pics on this blog. We shall have to wait and see.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

San Diego Pics

I don't have much time to write about my San Diego trip yet, but I wanted to put up some of the pictures from my trip.

The fabulous Kristen and JJ McIntyre

Me, Naj, and Anna Kudak

Me, Mark (my PhD advisor) and Mary Frances

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Her Name is Mud

So, as you might be able to guess, my thoughts have been consumed with baby girl names lately. In my quest to find interesting names that I may like, I stumbled upon a website called "Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing." I'm under the assumption that the "Baby's" stands for Baby is...

Anyway, there are postings from various baby-naming boards with little comments in response. Here is my favorite so far. The posting reads:

Brittany after the statue- Brittania

The response is:
'Cause nothing in, say, France is called Britanny. Nothing big like a province. Nothing else in England called Britannia, either. Nothing big like...England.

Their hatred of this particular woman is the only thing England and France have agreed on since 1066.

I laughed really hard after reading this. Check out the website. Good laughs.

I'm Heading to San Diego, San Diego Here I Come.

Tomorrow I board a flight for San Diego. This will be my first trip to California, to the West Coast in general. I am very much looking forward to it, and not only because it is supposed to be in the low 70s and upper 60s during the day! While it is true that I will be attending an academic conference (which, nerd that I am, can be exciting all on its own) but I will be reuniting with several of my best friends from graduate school for the first time since May of 2007. We are all now in different places -- if not geography that career-wise. Kristen and JJ are in Arkansas, Anna is in Kentucky, and Najla is still in North Dakota, but in a kick-ass new job. And, of course, there will be a whole bunch of other people from my grad school days there to catch up with as well.

I return from San Diego on Monday and return to school here for a day and a half before Mark and I head back to Fargo for Thanksgiving. It's going to be a busy and excellently fun weekend. When we get there Wednesday night we will be attending Kate's birthday party at Johnny Carino's. Thursday, of course, is Thanksgiving, a holiday I greatly enjoy even though I don't eat turkey anymore. The day after Thanksgiving, of course, is BLACK FRIDAY!!!! Only one of my favorite days of the year. This year Annie will be joining Mom and I again as we brave the cold, and dark, and crowds at 6 a.m. in search of great deals. I am especially looking forward to having Annie come with because the last time she attended Black Friday Shopping, she greeted my cheerful wake-up call at 5:30 a.m. with the words "I hate you." I can't wait to see what kind of vitriol this year will bring!! (Of course, Annie doesn't really hate me. She just hates mornings. I think it's hugely entertaining to watch her moan and grumble her way through the first 45 minutes of the day until she reverts back to her normally cheerful self).

We have a Black Friday routine. We get up between 5 and 5:30 and try to head out just before 6:00 a.m. We always go to Kohl's first, because they do have really great deals in the morning and it's worth the wait in line (which last year stretched half-way around the store). After that we usually go to Linen's N Things. This year, LNT is going out of business so I don't know if we will be going there or not. On one hand, there might be great deals. On the other hand, I don't know if it is even still open. Then it's off to Herberger's where we usually spend a big chunk of time. Around 9 a.m. we head to Barnes and Nobles for coffee and breakfast in the cafe followed by book shopping. This year I have to buy Mom coffee and breakfast because we had a wager going as to the sex of the baby. I lost (I was SO SURE she was a boy! Oh well. Mark and I are really excited about our baby girl). We are typically done shopping by early afternoon at which point we head back to Mom's house to take stock of our booty. It's great fun, although I can understand why there are some people out there that avoid shopping on Black Friday like the plague.

I am hoping to document both trips with pictures this year, so hopefully I will be able to relay through images some of the fun of my upcoming week and a half.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's A Girl!

Mark and I had our 20 week ultrasound on Friday. I say Mark and I because he was there too, even though I'm the one that had to lay there for half an our while being prodded with the little ultrasound wand thingy. It was really exciting. We had already decided we wanted to know the sex of the baby. Little did we know that we would have to wait to find out while our awesome ultrasound technician took pictures of EVERY part of the baby. She measured the circumference of the baby's head and the baby's tummy. She took pictures of the heart - which was really cool because you could clearly see all four chambers of the heart beating. She took pictures of each of the legs and arms and pointed out where all the bones were developing. We got pictures of the head and spine from every angle. Finally, the second to last thing she looked at was sex.

We have been POSITIVE since I got pregnant that we were having a boy. I don't know why, it was just a feeling... a very strong feeling. So, when the technician said, "I'm going to say girl," we were both really surprised. It was almost like finding out I was pregnant all over again. We had to start completely over with the name game because we hadn't been thinking about girl names at all this entire time.

My mom was thrilled and vindicated (she'd been saying girl since the beginning). After telling her about the sex over the phone (she was stranded in Savannah, Georgia at the airport) I had to relate all the other good news about the baby. She is the right size and appears to be put together normally. One of the ultrasound techs even exclaimed "Oh, what a pretty baby." Which left Mark and I wondering several things: How can you really tell if the baby is pretty from an ultrasound?; and, If you can tell if the baby is pretty or not, what do they say when the baby ISN'T pretty? Does that ever happen? But, of course, proud parents that we are, we choose to believe that, of course you can tell if the baby is pretty or not and that, in fact, our baby is prettier than the average baby.

In half an hour I'm off to judge/coach at a speech tournament. This weekend I'm flying San Diego for the National Communication Conference. The next two weeks promise to be busy, but the semester is almost over. If I can somehow manage to keep up with the grading, it should be a relatively short few weeks until Christmas break. Yay, Christmas Break.

Monday, November 10, 2008

No, no, no

I feel a little like I might be coming down with a cold or something. This is not good, not good at all. These next two months are going to be extremely busy and hectic and I don't have time to get sick. I especially don't have time to be pregnant and sick, which means that I can't take nearly as many helpful cold-symptom relieving medications as I normally would.

All in all, I have to say that I wish pregnancy in real life was more like Piper's pregnancy on Charmed. When Piper was pregnant with Wyatt she was practically indestructible. Of course, it was because she was a witch a carrying a magical baby that protected her from harm and germs -- but how nice would that be? Instead, when you are pregnant (according to the book I'm reading) you become MORE susceptible to illness, your balance becomes iffy, and you become prone to forgetting stuff. Also, if you don't get enough calcium the baby will suck it right out of your bones. Of course, I can't really begrudge my poor, as-yet-unseen baby for all of this. It's not really his/her fault. It's a cruel trick of biology... much like how I can't drink caffeine or eat spicy tuna sushi. And don't tell me to drink decaf. It's not the same.

Anyway, I think veggie-noodle soup may be in my future for tonight. I have to run to the library to pick up a few books. I just got caught up in the Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris. I highly recommend it. The only problem is that now I have to wait for book nine. At the library books 4 and 5 of Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan series are waiting for me. Also excellent and highly recommended. Maybe Mark will run to the store to get soup ingredients while I am at the library... Of course, Chuck and Heroes are on tonight, which is yet another reason to celebrate.

Keep your fingers crossed that I'm just in an afternoon slump and not actually heading for the infirmary!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And People Can't Stop Smiling

I know, I know. There are some people out there that are unhappy that Obama won. There are some people out there that are mad that Obama won. And, according to one of my students, there are some people out there threatening to kill Obama.

I was shocked and horrified when my student related this bit of information this morning. Apparently, people were writing these hateful messages on Facebook. First, I want to ask these horrid people if any of them even bothered to listen to McCain's concession speech. McCain's speech last night was not only well-delivered, but it was classy and showed that McCain had a level of sophistication rarely seen before last night. I thought the best part was when he stated that he would support Obama as his President, because he is, and we all are, citizen of this great country. Second, I want to point out to these horrible, bloodthirsty people that threatening to kill a Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate or the President or Vice President (even in jest) IS A CRIME. Seriously. The Secret Service will come for you.

I know this because when I was a senior in college I was the Opinion Page editor for the campus newspaper. One of my columnists joking wrote that he advocated the assassination of one of the Presidential candidates because he thought either of the VP candidates would be better suited for the job. The Secret Service came to his house. The Secret Service came to campus. I spent an hour talking with Bruce, the Secret Service man, about whether or not I thought this columnist was serious... was he anti-social... did he have friends... did he often state he thought candidates should be killed... Needless to say, now this columnists name is on a Secret Service list somewhere and will be for all time. So, the moral of this little story is that not only are this type of extreme negative and hateful comments unbecoming to an American citizen, but they are also (and rightly) illegal. Everyone has the right to disagree with their neighbor. But if we really want positive change in our country (something both McCain and Obama are striving for) then we have to work together and support our country.

Anyway, I had started this blog as a happy blog. I wanted to talk (like many people are talking) about how we have a new and bright future for our country. I want to celebrate Obama's victory, not just as the personal victory of a great candidate, but as a victory for American ideals. Last night millions of people saw their own futures when Obama stepped onto that stage in Grant Park. They saw themselves going to college. They saw themselves with good jobs, helping each other, making a difference. They saw and hoped and believed that they CAN achieve their dreams.

So, to conclude, I'd like to quote a little Stephen Colbert for you all (I hope that's OK, Stephen). First, a tip of the hat to Barack Obama. You fought a hard race, ran a great campaign, and were elected the 44th President of the United States. I can't wait to see what you will do with this victory. Second, a wag of the finger to all those horrible people spewing out hate after this amazing election. If you voted for McCain, I will still respect you and appreciate your views. However, if you can't follow McCain's lead and get on board in trying to make the next four years better than the last four, then you should be ashamed of yourself. You are letting down your candidate, your neighbor, and your country.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day!

I feel compelled to write about election day, even though many people are being bombarded with sentiments regarding, as Sarah Palin put it in an interview on CNN this morning, "an historical election."

I am happy to report that I have already voted. Mark and I went to City Hall at 8 a.m. this morning so that we could both vote before Mark went in to work. It was a half hour wait, which I didn't think was too bad. I just wanted to get in there and vote first thing so that I didn't have to worry about fitting it in later. The wait issue is a funny one. We are looking at an election day that will get record numbers of people to the polls. At the same time, those record number of people mean long lines and possibly long waits for some. All in all, I'd rather take the wait and know that more people are invested in our country's future than ever before.

My office neighbor is a HUGE political junkie. He's the only person I know who will actually be sad to see this election cycle end. I just heard him in his office across the hall asking "Where are the election results? I don't care about this crap!" Personally, I'm not intending to start watching results until this evening. I figure there's really no point watching until after the east coast polls are closed.

Last night while watching TV I noticed that ALL the commercials were political ads. I mentioned this fact to my stylist this morning and he replied "I know. I can't wait to see a commercial for something like cereal." I agree. I am SO tired of political commercials. They are generally mean and you can't believe anything in them anyway. Oh, and speaking (or writing) of ridiculous things on TV (besides Sarah Palin) this morning on CNN they had a woman who decided her vote by FLIPPING A COIN!!! That's right. She stood in her hallway at home and declared "OK. Heads for Obama. Tails for McCain." Fortunately, it landed on heads, but that is beside the point. How could there still be undecided voters out there?!? (If you are an undecided voter, please respond. I would be interested in knowing the issues that are preventing you from deciding). All I can say is PLEASE don't let a coin toss decide something so important. And, if you do, keep that embarrassing bit of information private. There is no need to broadcast that stupidity on national television.

Well, that's it for my election day musings. Hopefully today will be a turning point for our country. Good luck to Barack Obama and I hope to see him in the White House soon!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ubiquitous Ribbons

Reading Ali Rapp's post today has prompted me to comment about the prevalence of ribbons as a symbol in our culture. Nothing I write should be construed as pro-domestic violence. I just find the evolution of the ribbon as a tool for causes to be interesting from a communication perspective.

In Communication 280 we have been talking about semiology and the cultural use of signs. Our textbook (Griffin, 2009) uses the example of the yellow ribbon to illustrate the evolution of the yellow ribbon as a sign. You may remember the song "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the 'Ole Oak Tree." In the song, a man returning from prison asks his sweetheart to tie a yellow ribbon around an oak tree so that he will know if is past is forgiven and if he is welcomed home. During Desert Storm, the yellow ribbon symbol was co-opted to mean "Welcome Home Troops" with the forgiveness of stigma ejected as meaning to be replaced with American military superiority. Of course, today we are again bombarded with yellow ribbons, although the "Welcome Home Troops" message has been replaced with the "Support our Troops" message. I believe this change in the meaning of the sign has some source in the debate over whether or not our troops should be coming home from Iraq or not, tied closely to the "are we winning debate" and "when is the appropriate time to leave" argument.

But we are exposed to more than yellow ribbons. October is domestic violence awareness month and awareness is raised by a purple ribbon. Breast cancer awareness has a pink ribbon and HIV/AIDS awareness has a red one. The question I would like to pose is: does the saturation level of a sign or symbol in a culture ever lead to the reduced effectiveness of that symbol? For example, will people, upon seeing Ali's purple ribbon, stop to ask her what that ribbon stands for? Or will they simply chalk it up to another cause and keep walking?

If the purpose of the ribbon is to raise awareness about an issue, then is that symbol effective if it no longer elicits comments or questions from others? Is awareness really growing?

Of course, we could look at the pink breast cancer awareness ribbon as a symbol that grew into a campaign. In this instance, the placing of a pink ribbon on a product indicates that purchasing that product supports breast cancer research in some way. The pink ribbon has evolved into an effective advertising campaign and fund raising tool. What does it take for a ribbon to gain this type of prominence?

Anyway, I think it's an interesting question (or several interesting questions). Signs and symbols are all around us, often being taken for granted. Don't even get me started on the wristband...

Monday, October 13, 2008


Last week Mark received a two-person pass to a pre-screening of the movie Quarantine. I am a big scary movie fan - especially in the month of October - and so I was looking forward to going. When we got there we found out the pre-screening was being hosted by a local film company and a radio show. After a little shpiel by the hosts and marketing folk, the movie began.

Let me just say this: After the first twenty minutes of the movie, the quarantined characters in the movie weren't the only ones that were sick - so was I.

The movie is shot from the perspective of a camera man, which means that the frame doesn't sit still AT ALL during the whole movie. Think Blair Witch and Cloverfield. I saw Blair Witch on VHS and Cloverfield on DVD. Because of this, I had no idea what watching this kind of movie on the big screen would do to me. First, it made my eyes hurt. Second, it made my head hurt. Third, it made me want to puke. I actually got motion sick. It was horrible. After 40 minutes I turned to Mark and said that if we didn't leave, I was going to vomit. So we snuck out. I was bummed to go, because it had a nice creepy vibe going... A little Resident Evil-esque. And from other plot summaries I've read, it seems like it would have gotten even more interesting. Alas, I doubt I will ever be able to watch the movie. I will have to satisfy my October horror-movie craving with other, less nauseating far.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


(Disclaimer: This blog contains several references to proper names of books and television shows. I have neither italicized nor put these titles in quotations. This is a stylistic choice (mom) and I figure that if there is anyplace I do not have to follow proper punctuation rules for titles it is in my own blog.)

A few months ago when we were up visiting my family in Fargo, my brother declared that we had to stop up at his house to meet Sam, the new member of his family. I, of course, immediately thought new kitten, forgetting briefly that Jared had previously mentioned his newest purchase - a 40 inch flat screen Samsung television... named Sam. The TV was almost as fun as a new kitten. As far as I'm concerned, there is really no point in playing Xbox or PS3 on anything BUT a high def TV. He showed us a little bit of BioShock and I've been wanting a high def TV ever since.

Mark and I went about equipping our new game-playing entertainments station backwards. First, I bought him a PS3 for his 30th birthday in June. Then, a few months later, we bought a nice TV stand that can hold up to a 50 inch flat screen. We had been planning to wait until Thanksgiving to buy the actual TV, but playing games on the old 27 inch tube TV just wasn't cutting it. So, we went out and bought our own new addition to the family from Best Buy last night - a 42 inch Panasonic plasma TV... Pan. We thought seriously about buying a 40 inch, but then decided that in order for us to have bragging rights over Jared, we had to get the bigger one. So THERE, Jared. Our TV is bigger than yours is.

While the TV purchase was certainly exciting, the other thrilling moment of last night was when I saw the trailer for Legend of the Seeker. There I was, standing in front of a wall of high def TVs, when I see a trailer featuring some guy with a sword. Being a fantasy buff, of course I immediately began paying close attention. THEN, the voice over mentioned the name Richard Cypher. I started jumping and clapping in Best Buy. No, I am not ashamed.

Turns out, there is going to be a television series starting on November 1st based on one of my favorite fantasy series' of all time, The Sword of Truth!!!!!! HOOOOORRRRAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!!! I've only been waiting for a live action version of either Terry Goodkind's or Robert Jordan's masterpieces since I was in high school (Jared and I have spent many productive car trips casting the Wheel of Time, although we both agree it should be done in a television medium... it is far to complex for a movie). Backing up a step, when I started jumping and clapping, Mark (bless him) said "Robert Jordan?" I was so pleased that he knew enough about what we were looking at to make such a close and educated guess. I corrected him and then took out my phone to call Jared. I am always really excited when I get to tell Jared something that he doesn't already know regarding either Sword of Truth OR Wheel of Time. Later, Jared texted me and told me Legend of the Seeker was being produced by Sam Raimi. AWESOME! Could not be more excited.

Anyway, it's raining here today and I'm cranky about it. I love rain if I can enjoy it from home. However, having to walk in from the car was a cold and wet experience. My jeans still aren't dry. Adding to my discomfort is the fact that, for some unknown reason, cold air is being pumped into my office even though the temperature outside is 53 degrees. You just don't need air conditioning when it is 53 degrees outside AND October. Dumb. Plus, I'm really frickin' hungry right now.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Source of Stress

I was watching GMA this morning while eating my Cascasian Farms organic granola, and I caught a segment on a book called The Source: Unleash your Natural Energy, Power up Your Health, and Feel 10 Years Younger by Woodson Merrell. First, I had to be intrigued by the length and seeming integrity of the title. Second, being that I am constantly plagued by ridiculous exhaustion, I thought that unleashing my natural energy would be a good idea. The segment had a variety of interesting advice, including that we should eat more cinnamon because it helps regulate our blood sugar and keeps us from having the spikes and dips in energy that sugar snacks can cause. I also learned that tumeric is an amazing natural anti-inflammatory. According to Merrell, it was almost as successful in tests as cortizone. But, according to the segment, stress is our number one energy zapper. He suggested two things that could be done on a daily basis to help relieve stress. First, he said that deep breathing a few times every hour is a good way to reduce stress. Second, he said that keeping track of the things that make you stressed or tired throughout the day is a way to find out what triggers stress. It occurred to me after hearing this that my blog might be a nice place to keep track of what my stress triggers are. So, here is what is making me stressed and tired today:

1) My 3:10 class. No, it isn't my students or the content of the class that is stressful and exhausting. It is, in fact, the hour of the day. I spend the entire day dreading teaching at 3 p.m. It is by far my worst time of day. See, I'm yawning right now just thinking about it.

2) NCA. I have not yet registered for the conference, nor have I purchased my plane tickets. This is hanging over my head in true guillotine fashion. Yet, every time I think about resolving this problem, something miraculously comes up.

3) Laundry. For whatever reason, I seem incapable of finishing laundry in one day. I get everything done except two loads and by the end it seems like too much effort to put away the clothes I have folded. So, there is still folded laundry sitting on the arms of my couch and loveseat in the living room. I really need to get that done.

Well, this first exercise in stress-journaling has illustrated that some measure of stress is a result of procrastinating. Does this mean that if I procrastinated less, I would have more energy? Hmm, interesting thought. In theory, I should be able to actively pursue checking things off my To Do list, hence being less of a procrastinator, resulting in reduced stress and increased energy. Notice I said "in theory." I've been fighting my procrastinate-y impulses since I started graduate school in 2001. I will attempt to be better at getting things done and will let you know how my stress is responding.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Can't Give Up on Politics

Good political news this morning on Good Morning America. Barack is now leading McCain in current polls by 9 points. The news gets even better when you start breaking polling data down to look specifically at the economy. According to GMA, Barack leads McCain by up to 14 points on issues dealing with the economy. People polled think that Barack will be better able to deal with the country's economic problems AND that Barack has a better idea of what the average American is going through in an economic sense. Of course, this makes perfect sense. Who is going to have a better idea of what the average American is going through: a man who spent time working with communities, or a man who doesn't even know how many houses he has?

In other good news: Sarah Palin's approval numbers fell from 58 to 52 percent. It is unfortunate that ANYONE out there thinks she is a qualified VP candidate, but falling numbers are a good sign. I'm going to optimistically say that she can't fool the majority of the American people for too long. All you have to do is watch her being interviewed to know she's in way over her head here.

George Stephanopolus (I have no idea if I spelled that right and do not care to check) said this morning that it is EXTREMELY rare for a candidate with the lead that Barack has in late September to loose an election. Let's hope he's right!!! GO BARACK!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Just When You Thought it Wasn't Safe to Like Alaska...

Be still my beating heart. Thanks to all the anti-Palin rally goers. I think the "Bush in a Skirt" sign is my favorite.

Poptarts and Facebook

I was just in the process of writing a dumb blog about poptarts and Facebook. However, it was really bad, so I erased it and have elected to begin anew. (Although I cannot stress enough the fact that Smores Poptarts are awesome).

And now I'm out of time. I have to teach class in 14 minutes. Today we are discussing rhetoric. A favorite topic of mine. Sorry about this short and pointless blog. I will try to do better next time.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Empty Rhetoric

As a rhetorician with a PhD, I normally despise the phrase "empty rhetoric." However, because I have spent the last 10 years studying communication, I think I am highly qualified to spot "empty rhetoric" when it is being employed. Sadly, I have heard more empty rhetoric out of the Republican Party this convention season than I have ever heard before.

I did not want to blog about the ridiculous Sarah Palin again. Unfortunately, I just watched a segment of her television interview with Charles Gibson. She tried her damndest to avoid answering ANY of the questions that she was asked. At one point, Charles Gibson even commented that he wasn't sure what she was saying through a "tornado of words." But despite all that empty rhetoric, she did say a few important things. First, she said that if Israel decided to bomb a nuclear plant in Iran, that America should support Israel. Granted, she didn't say it that succictly... She didn't say anything clearly at all. Friendship with Israel, and with other countries, is certainly important. But the stubborn refusal to see or admit that this "friendship" which seems to have no limitations, might possibly be one of the reasons that America is disliked in the Middle East, is a distressing indication of Gov. Palin's lack of global intelligence. Second, she declared that there was nothing wrong with America going into a country like Pakistan in the hunt for suspected terrorists. Once again, she didn't really say this. Charles Gibson asked her the question three times and she blew smoke up his ass with each answer. And not even creative smoke. She just repeated herself. For a second I actually thought they were just replying her first answer. How can Palin state that we had to protect the sovereignty of Georgia and other countries while in the next breath claiming that the sovereignty of other countries is subservient to the will of the United States? I think that these two comments clearly illustrate that she would be one of the WORST possible people to be in charge of anything remotely related to national security.

The willingness to say that the will of America supercedes the will of any other country, combined with the unwillingness to engage in diplomacy shows that Palin is not only lacking in experience, but that she is also lacking in empathy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Be Gone Zombie!!

Well, I just finished reading the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. I'm a little embarrassed to say that I was a zombie for the past three days because all I wanted to do, when I wasn't working (or even when I WAS working) was read the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. Is it a little lame that I got THAT engrossed in a series about vampires written for young adults? Yes. Probably. But I couldn't help myself. The good news is that I finished the book last night and do not have to be a zombie any longer!

Speaking of things that are pushing me towards catatonia... Wow am I sick of Sarah Palin. Seriously, this woman is major threat to our country. The fact that she has a chance of getting into the White House terrifies me on so many levels. Not only is she on a serious power trip (does she try to arbitrarily fire people in every gov't job she has?) but she doesn't believe in evolution, doesn't believe in abortion (even to save the mother's life), and (as I learned this morning) is pro-censorship in public libraries!!! This is absolutely horrifying. Also, if I hear one more person talking about how the Dems are attacking her gender, I WILL SCREAM. I was at the RNC to hear her speech on the Wednesday of the convention. I'll admit, she did DELIVER a good speech. However, if anyone was actually listening to the CONTENT of her message... I'm hoping they were as horrified as I was. I know that both John Stewart and Stephen Colbert have pointed this out already, but can anyone actually believe that she and the rest of the speakers on that night belittled community service?!?!? If those comments didn't clearly illustrate that the McCain/Palin ticket is really only looking out for the rich and the white, then I don't know what does.

Whooo!! Ok. Gotta stop talking politics as my breathing is getting heavy and my heart rate is increasing.

Today is my best-friend-growing-up's birthday. Should be fun, although she is traumatized by the fact she is turning 29. I think I'll save the trauma for when I'm turn 40. 30s don't seem so bad.

Anyhoo, tonight I'll be moving on to read the Pillars of the Earth, which was recommended to me by a friend with excellent taste in books. Hopefully it will be very good, but will not take over my life. TTFN.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I Think I Can See My Breath

I am cold. My office is cold. I mean, it's really really cold. Yes, I understand that temperatures inside buildings can be difficult to regulate, especially when you are regulating an entire campus. But does it really have to be 59 degrees in my office? Every morning I have an internal monologue:

"What should I wear? What is clean? What's the weather going to be outside? Hmmmm, it's August, so... hot. But my office is cold. How much time will I actually be spending outside? If I wear these shorts will the jacket and fleece blanket I keep in my office keep me warm?"

That's right. I have a jacket, fleece blanket, and pair of warm socks in my office. When it's 96 degrees outside it feels good to step into my office for about 30 seconds. Then it is uncomfortable cold again. When I stand in front of my office door to unlock it in the morning, I can feel the cold air blowing out onto my exposed, sandal-clad feet. I hate it.

Some may be wondering "Is this it? The entire content of her blog today is a rant about her cold office?"

My answer to that is: Yes.

Just kidding. On a positive note, I get to go to the Vikings pre-season game on Friday against Seattle. SUPER EXCITED! I can't wait to tell my brother and father, who will not be anywhere NEAR the pre-season game on Friday. Suckers.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Fat China sleeping on the couch.

Dog Days

So, I just found out today that the dog days of summer refers to the time of year when the Dog Star is at it's brightest in the sky. Apparently, the "dog days" last until August 11 and the ancient Greeks blamed the Dog Star for the hot weather and the host of problems that came along with it.

Tomorrow is my last day of summer classes. I have my last class of public speaking at 1:00 and my last class of comm theory at 6:00. While both of these classes have been really fun, I'll be glad when they are over. Then, I have two and a half weeks off until I have to manage interns when the RNC comes to town. The RNC overlaps with the first week of school, which is going to be complicated. I'm actually not quite sure how that is going to work for me. I'm supposed to be doing site visits with interns that week while teaching classes on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and attending opening convocation on Tuesday.

This Saturday I get to meet my Fairy God Bean Finnegan Michael McIntyre for the first time! I'm so excited for Kristen and JJ and Finn to visit.

Finally, I just want to add a "Yay!!" for the great summer TV shows that are on right now: Psych, Burn Notice, Monk, Eureka, and In Plain Sight. All excellent and worth a viewing.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Torchlight

So, last week I was at Santorini with my friend Anna enjoying a glass of wine and some appetizers when she said that I should sign up to run the Torchlight 5K in July. Now, I'm not really a runner. I was in track my last year in high school and that was about it. I spent the next few days pondering if I even wanted to attempt it before I saw a pamphlet for the race at the gym. I asked Mark if he wanted to do it and he said yes. So, much like when I decided to join the track team, I have decided that I will run the Torchlight 5K, just to prove I can.

I promptly went to trust Google and searched for 5K training plans. I found one called The Couch-to-5K running plan. It seemed like a pretty good plan, although it is a 9-week plan and I only have 7-weeks until the run. So, I decided to start in week 3. I mean, I'm not a runner but I'm not necessarily a couch either.

I did my first run-walk training session today. I think I picked a good place to start. I was able to get through the entire program, but wouldn't have liked to go too much further. I ran-walked 2.8 miles in 40 minutes.

The trickiest part of this whole program is going to be the week I have to train in Phoenix. I have the feeling that I am not going to want to run very much when I'm on vacation. I will try my best to keep blogging about my progress. Of course, words of encouragement and tips are always appreciated!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

I Am Iron Man

Ok. I'm not Iron Man, but I did go to see the movie on Saturday. And it was awesome. Far and away my favorite Marvel movie since Spider-Man 2. Robert Downey Jr. was fantastic and I'm excited by the prospect of Iron Man 2 and The Avengers. It would be difficult for me to pinpoint my favorite scene in the movie. A few that come to mind are when he first tries out the flight potential on his suit, when he crash-lands in the desert after escaping the cave, and when he returns to kick some major bad-guy butt. Although, I have to say that I knew that Jeff Bridges' character was the ultimate evil-doer.

I've been pretty busy since finals week... lots of grading... some meetings... and a new faculty retreat. The retreat was really fun. It was at Dunrovin, which is a retreat center just north of Still water on the St. Croix River. It was very beautiful and the rooms reminded me of my old dorm rooms at NDSU. Mom and Dad came up this weekend for a mini-vacation and to celebrate Mother's Day. It was too bad that it rained all day Saturday, but it could have been worse. Jared said that it snowed all day in Fargo! On May 10!!!

Mark and I have been watching movies. Last night we watched Cloverfield, which was better than I thought it would be. This afternoon we watched The Golden Compass, which was ok but not as amazing as it was advertised. I'm interested to read the book. The author is an atheist who apparently wrote many of his feelings about the church and religion into the book. I don't really care about that, but I am interested in how/if the characters are different in the book and if the story hangs together differently. Finally, we watched 30 Days of Night. It was very excellent, although I wish the ending could have been happier.

Tomorrow and Tuesday I have some orientation stuff and then I'm basically done with meetings for the week. I need to go and get some things for my speech team, so I'll probably spend some of the week doing that.

With tomorrow's early morning in mind, I think I better get ready for bed.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Finals Week Begins

Even though it was only about 35 degrees as I walked from my car this morning (yes, it is that cold here) I had to remind myself that it is the first day of finals week. There are many reasons this feels unreal to me, one being the chilly weather. But I refuse to dwell on the fact that it snowed on Saturday. I'm tired of complaining about the weather. Really, I'm from North Dakota. It's not like I've never seen cold springs before. After all, it snowed on the day I graduated from high school.

I had to stop at Byerly's this morning before heading to school for my first final (8:00 a.m., Monday morning, sheesh). I promised delicious treats to my students to encourage an atmosphere of fun for the impromptu speeches. However, I neglected to purchase said delicious treats over the weekend, and so had to stop and get them this morning. I also managed to carve out five minutes to get a mocha at Caribou. Many times I feel that our culture is drowning in coffee. Coffee shops are everywhere... even in grocery stores. I'm always amazed when I drive down a give street and see three coffee places in a three block stretch. And somehow they manage to stay open! It's amazing, really. But I'm not complaining. I like coffee. Maybe it's sick and wrong, but I like knowing that I'll be able to find coffee pretty much anywhere I go.

I neglected to purchase treats earlier because my weekend was packed chock-full of fun!! It started Friday night when Jared and Nate got into town. We met downtown at Brit's where I had my usual - the aubergine tart. Basically, it's a bunch of yummy veggies (eggplant, tomato, yellow pepper, spinach, herbs) in a pastry with melting mozzarella cheese on top. Even Jon and Nate, who are not vegetarians, had to admit that it was ridiculously delicious. We hung out there until almost 10 p.m. Afterwards, Mark and I headed home and went to bed. I was SO tired after a week of not-so-great sleep.

Saturday morning started with sleeping in, which was wonderful. Then Mark and I decided to go to Panera for breakfast and then to Target to get a few folding chairs. On our way home, Mark dropped me off at the library so I could return an audio book and pick up some new reading material. I discovered the new Kate Mosse book. I listened to Labyrinth on cd and enjoyed it, so decided to pick up the new one: Sepulchre (which I cannot and will not attempt to pronounce). So far it is very good. I am enjoying it even more than Labyrinth. After that Mark and I just hung out until Jared, Nate and Jon finally showed up for lunch. We went to McCoy's for a late lunch and I had fish and chips, which were really good. Jared, Nate, and Jon all had macaroni and cheese, which was also really good. Next time I go there I am going to try it. After lunch there was napping, guitar hero, and reading for a few hours. Then we got down to the real business of the Nerding 2008 - playing Hero Quest.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Hero Quest is a fantasy board game. There are five possible characters: Barbarian, Elf, Wizard, Dwarf, and Evil Wizard Zargon. Zargon gets to know what lurks on the board and runs most of the game play (trying to win by deploying a variety of tricks, traps and enemies) while the heroes attempt to make it through dungeons on their way to beating the evil wizard. Jared and I had this game as children, but it somehow vanished between high school and college. When we discovered it was gone, we were heart-broken. Several years later, our friend Dusty found it for sale online and bought it for Jared for his birthday. Hurray!!!

Anyway, long story short, we were up playing Hero Quest (I was Zargon) until 1:30 in the morning. Jon kept wanting to search the rooms for traps, secret doors and treasure even when there were enemies in it (something clearly prohibited by the game rules). It probably doesn't sound too funny just reading about it here in my blog - but in actuality it was HILARIOUS. Poor Jon. He was very tired.

Sunday morning we hit Good Day for breakfast and then Jared, Jon and Nate hit the road. Mark and I took an AWESOME two hour nap, then bought Mario Kart and played that for a few hours with Dave and Barb. It is an awesome game and I will write more about it later. Now, my fingers are tired and lunch is calling me.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Honeymoon?

I admit that I've been a bit frustrated this week. It is more philosophical frustration than frustration about anything tangible.

First, I've been a little irritated by how little people seem to know or understand about what a communication department is/does on this campus. I believe that people who study communication have a lot to offer in a wide variety of areas. Everyone communicates after all! In fact, it would be impossible to get anything done in a day if you weren't communicating somehow! Despite this (I think) obvious fact, people perpetually assume that all we do is public speaking. I truly believe that the communication department here is one of the most underutilized and underrated.

Second, I am getting tired of people trying to douse my enthusiasm for my job. Today I made a "Yay job!" comment in a meeting and I was told that I'm still in my first year - the faculty honeymoon - in a sort of "oh, isn't that cute" voice. (As I'm writing this now, I think I may have ranted about it earlier in another blog - oh well, it's still annoying). My thought is this: why wouldn't people want to encourage enthusiasm when they see it? My enthusiasm doesn't mean that I'm naively unaware of the less-than-pleasant aspects of my job (every job has them). And I have also known other professors who have seemed to hang on to their enthusiasm for teaching and students. I don't think it is a foregone conclusion that after doing this for a few years you automatically become jaded and bitter, or even excessively cynical. And, I'd like to remind everyone, that even though this is my first year here, and my first year out of grad school, it is NOT my first year teaching. I had complete autonomy over many of the classes that I taught in the past. I was responsible for choosing books, writing syllabi, creating and grading assignments, and doing the day-to-day in-class stuff. AND I did that while finishing grad classes and writing a dissertation!! If I could make it out of that nightmare without becoming too bitter, I think I can survive this job. Anyway, I hope no one takes this rant the wrong way (David Lapakko). I love my job, my new school, and my department (go comm studies!! woo hoo!!). I just sometimes wish I could get a few more people to cheer with me.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Life in Books

I had an excellent discussion with Ali this morning about books. I don't really remember how it started, but I brought up The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. It occurred to me that I've been reading that series for over half my life! I read the first three books in 8th grade. My mom bought them thinking they were a trilogy. All my reading life, mom and I have been plagued by these great books that wind up being parts of longer series. We pick one up, love it, and then are cursed to wait for years and years for the rest of the books to come out. Well, Mom thought she was being really clever buy all three at once so that wouldn't happen this time. HA! Little did she know that she was going to get us hooked into what has turned out to be a 12 book, 15 year (so far) ongoing saga of reading... and waiting... and reading... and waiting... and still waiting... for the 12 and final book.

I have been getting to bed later than usual all week this week. This has resulted in a more tired than normal Kristen. It started Sunday night when I stayed up late reading. That seemed to set the precedent for the week. Last night I was up later than usual reading Astonishing X-Men: Torn. It is excellent. I am both really glad and sort of ticked at my brother for getting me the graphic novels for Christmas. I'm really glad 'cause they are awesome and written by Joss Whedon whom I love and adore. I am ticked because... like the Robert Jordan books... I am one installment short of the full series! And I found out this morning that I have to wait until July to get the last book. So, now I'm not sure what will happen to everyone on Breakworld. One of the X-Men is not supposed to make it (which I totally believe, because Joss loves to kill off main characters). But who? I hope not Kitty or Colossus. Or Wolverine. Or Cyclops. Maybe they'll kill stupid Agent Brand. But I guess I'll wait until July to find out. The absolute best is when Wolverine is devolved into a scared little British boy. Hilarious.

Other series that have kept me hanging have been (are): A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, the Dragon Prince series by Melanie Rawn (remember those? I should re-read them), The Sword of Truth books by Terry Goodkind, and, of course, Harry Potter by JK Rowling.

I really like books. There is nothing better than a rainy day, a good book, and a delicious warm beverage. I just remembered that I have a B and N gift card left over from my birthday. I may have to head over there this weekend to spend it.

There are ridiculous film students outside my office door right now eating pizza roles and being obnoxious. I can't like it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Public Sphere and Penguin Underware

Mark and I watched three movies this weekend. It was a good weekend for sitting on my fabulous couch and letting entertainment media transport me away from the fact that it was snowing in mid-April. On Saturday we watched "Invasion," the Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig interpretation of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." I must admit, I enjoyed it very much. I thought it was exciting and suspenseful. It also ended with an interesting social commentary. Most importantly... It was not a horribly depressing ending. I know it's not realistic, but I want my movies to have happy endings!! I mean, if I wanted to be depressed I would turn to real life. But no, I want escapist entertainment. For me, this means happy endings. It's like when Mark and Jared and I went to "Pan's Labyrinth" in the theater. Beautiful movie... But it totally ruined my day. Too real.

On Sunday we watched two completely different movies: "Good Luck Chuck" and "Atonement." "Good Luck Chuck" had it's funny moments. It was pretty average as far as those romantic comedy with disgusting humor go... Not nearly as good as "Knocked Up." "Atonement" certainly had the potential to ruin my day. Don't get me wrong, it was a great movie. It was beautifully acted and visually stimulating. It also elevated James McAvoy into the category of ridiculously good-looking. But (and stop right now if you don't want any clues about how the movie ends) it does not end in a happy way. In fact, it's pretty tragic even though they try to put a somewhat positive spin on it. Anyway, after watching it I could feel myself slipping into a bit of a sad-movie-funk so I quickly watched several episodes of "Psych" to snap me out of it. I love "Psych" and was psyched (ha ha) to discover that season 2 will be released on dvd on July 8. Hooray.

My other recent exposure to media was this morning on YouTube. I decided to show Barack Obama's A More Perfect Union speech to my public speaking class. I admit that I had not yet had a chance to see it, so I was especially glad I decided to show it in class. Obama is an amazing and charismatic speaker. Even better, his speeches are relevant, make sense, and are full of excellent thoughts, attitudes and ideas. The worst is listening to a charismatic speaker with nothing to say. Anyway, after the speech we talked about his reasons for giving that particular address and what made it successful. It was a great class, even though I know some of my students tuned out for some of it. I would rather have them exposed to it even on a limited basis than have them know nothing about what is going on in our world of politics -- especially because we are going through a Presidential campaign that is singularly unique.

Well, the sun shining through my window is reminding me that time marches on and I do have some grading to do...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

My Hair is Stupid

My hair is stupid right now. I'm in the process of growing it out abit, and it's now reached that stage where I can't make it behave. It's longer in the back than in the front, but fortunately, not too mullet-y. The thing that bugging me, is that I have a funny cowlick behind one of my ears (but not the other) which makes the one side of my hair do bizarre and inexplicable things. In order to combat this, I tried to make all my hair go every-which-way today... You know, going for a messier-but-still-trying look. No. It just looks like I slept on my hair and didn't shower. And I have to suffer like this for another two weeks until I can make another appointment. Grr.

In case you live under a rock, Adam Carolla DID get voted off Dancing last night. He and Priscilla Presley were in the bottom two. Despite my predictions, I TOTALLY wanted Adam to stay and Priscilla to go... But alas, I was correct and now we don't get to be entertained by Adam anymore. He is much more fun to watch than Priscilla - who is actually a lovely dancer but I think her face looks like it's about to slide off at any moment. Not that I should be making any judgments on anyone else's appearance considering my current hair situation.

I have to be at school late tonight. We have something called April dinners. I guess it's where we sit and talk to students that will be new here next year. I hope some comm students show up. Deb said she only talked to one last night. It will definitely be more fun if there are more people.

We are supposed to get hit with another winter storm starting tomorrow night. Dumb. I need some warm weather so that I can finally kick all the illness that has been afflicting me lately. Dave and Barb both recently purchased bikes and I am looking forward to doing some biking with them and with Mark when it finally gets nice outside.

Tonight when I get home I am going to enjoy the new episode of Criminal Minds. NCIS last night did not disappoint! Thank goodness TV is finally getting back to normal.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


I'm sure it's not a terribly original feeling, but I am very tired today. I don't know why... It could be the cold and dreary weather, could be the last vestiges of my cold, could be stress, could be a combination of all those things. At any rate, I am tired and I can't wait to walk out of my office this afternoon and point my car toward the grocery store, then home.

I am going to make chili tonight. Does anyone else out there plan their menu based on what the weather is like? I'm guessing someone does. For the obvious reasons, when the weather takes a turn for the cold and darkish, I like to make chili for supper. While I have experimented with a variety of different kinds of chili, in a pinch, I always rely on my mom's old stand-by recipe, with just a few modifications. Here's what you need: a can of Joan of Arc chili beans (yes, they should be Joan of Arc. A lot of the other brands add sugar or high fructose corn syrup), a can of dark red kidney beans, a can of tomato sauce, a can of diced tomatoes, a packet of Boca or Morningstar Farm veggie crumbles, chili powder, and cumin. You dump all those things (after rinsing the kidney beans - but do NOT rinse the chili beans) into a big pan and cook it up. That's it! It's super easy and delicious. Of course, if you are not a vegetarian you can use hamburger instead of veggie crumbles. I like to put shredded cheese and tortilla chips on mine.

So, anyway, chili is yummy and I'm going to make some. The only real question left plaguing me today is whether or not I should go to the gym. Of course, I'm feeling lazy, cold, and tired which means that I don't WANT to go. But I haven't been in quite awhile (stomach flu will do that to you) and I'm sure I'd feel better if I went. It's a major conundrum. I wish I just felt normal again so that the prospect of doing regular things didn't seem quite so daunting. I long for the days that I used to wake up full of energy and feeling fine - ready and excited to start the day! Lately it's been waking up cranky and tired, cursing the day and wanting to go back to sleep. I think that some warm, sunny days would really help. It's hard to get motivated about being up and about when the day is so cloudy it still looks like night behind your curtains.

But I shouldn't sound so down... Not all in my life is sad and tragic. In all honesty, most in my life is not even remotely sad and tragic. It's just easy to get into one of those moods where you dwell on the less-than-awesome, even if the less-than-awesome is still pretty alright. One really bright spot in my day today is that there is a brand new episode of NCIS on tonight for the first time since before Xmas!! I love NCIS. If I could only watch five shows, NCIS would be one of those five. Fortunately, I don't have that terrible problem. If I could only watch five TV shows my life really would be sad and tragic!!

Speaking of no media, this morning Diane Sawyer was interviewing Rosie O'Donnell. Apparently, Rosie has instituted a no media rule in there house. They (meaning the parents and kids) are not allowed to watch TV. I am of two minds about this. First, I am hoping that when Mark and I finally do have kids, that I am able to keep them from watching TV until they are 2 years old (I read somewhere that kids shouldn't watch TV before then, it's not an arbitrary choice). On the other hand, I don't think I could just not watch it! I will have to TiVo all my shows and watch them while the children are sleeping or otherwise occupied. Is this sad? I used to think so, but I really don't have many vices. I don't smoke, don't drink to excess, and I've pretty much conquered my addiction to shopping. In the scheme of things, how harmful is TV - especially to someone who studies media effects and understands the ramifications of regular television viewing?

Oh, one last note about TV. My prediction for tonight's Dancing with the Stars results show... Adam Carolla will be going home. I was thinking it would be either him or Marissa, but Marissa did well last night so, unless the legions of Jimmy Kimmel fans out there were glued to their phones/computers, I'm not optimistic about his chances. Yes, he is a great character and I think people like to watch him... But can that save him for another week? We'll see. I have been shocked and surprised by Dancing before (Hello, Sabrina!?!) Personally, I'm pulling for Shannon Elizabeth. It's about time another woman won the disco ball trophy. I like Kristi Y as well, but there's a big part of me that needs to cheer for the underdog (I think it's that same masochistic part of my that cheers for the Vikings every fall).

Monday, April 7, 2008

"I Quit Winter"

Notice that the title today is in quotations... denoting the fact that it is a quote from my good friend Natie. Natie declared last spring that he quit winter and was no longer going to wear anything resembling winter clothing. Now, I am a big fan of respecting the power that Mother Nature has to ruin your day... particularly if it only 45 degrees outside and your dressed in shorts and a T-shirt. That's just dumb. But, despite my objections, Nate quit winter that day (ok, I don't actually remember if he entirely quit dressing for our notoriously cool Midwestern springs... but I remember that he was very vehement about it).

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because it was snowing on the way to school again this morning. April-frickin-7th. Ok, I acknowledge that it could have been worse. Mom and Dad got, like, four inches of snow yesterday. That would really be depressing. I also realize I should be a little more realistic about March and April weather here. I heard on the weather last week that we typically get four inches of snow here in April. However, all the rationality in the world cannot make me forget that three short days ago it was 60 degrees and sunny here.

The other reason I quit winter is that I have a cold AGAIN and I canNOT believe it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (note the excessive use of exclamation points! I had finally completely recovered from the stomach flu Saturday morning only to get hit with this cold Saturday night. It's like my immune system has gone to warmer climates on vacation! And I've even been taking my vitamins everyday (except the days I couldn't keep any food or water down). So, I am begging for advice on how to stay healthy. Please help me.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Waking Up

Five days ago I came to school ready to begin these last four weeks of class as if I were beginning anew. I was re-motivated, re-energized, ready to work hard, catch up, get ahead. Then, Monday afternoon I donated blood and the entire week changed for me.

First, I should note that I have never donated blood before. I used to have a severe needle fear. In fact, I couldn't even look at the inside of my elbow where the needle was supposed to go without getting queasy. Happily, I feel like I have largely conquered this fear. In the past, I have watched blood drives pass me by, knowing that I did not have the courage or fortitude to volunteer my own blood. However, last Friday, one week ago today, when one of my students stopped me and asked if I'd donate I said yes and made an appointment.

After it was too late, my family would tell me that they knew I shouldn't have done it. Well, that's all well and good... but, as Adam Sandler says in "The Wedding Singer" it was information I could have used yesterday.

Yes. I got sick. Really sick and nauseous. I had to be inverted - basically they take the lawn chair you are sitting on and tip your upper body back so that your head is below your heart. Then they put a really cold compress under you neck and bring a wet cloth from the freezer to put on your forehead. The freezer cloth was so cold that it burned. Anyway, while they were doing this, I heard my phlebotomist (spelling - ha ha, when I tried to spell check that word lobotomies came up) say "Oh no" which I never take as a good sign during anything even remotely medical. Apparently, when they inverted me they broke a or some blood vessels which resulted in a hematoma, which resulted in the repetitive prodding of my arm with whatever blood drainage device they had implanted in my arm (I didn't actually look at it once). Happily, it was soon over and the inversion and burningly cold cloth actually did the job in getting rid of my queasiness. So, I sat in the lawn chair, ate some pretzels and drank some cran-apple juice before going back to my office.

On my way back to my office I started feeling not-so-awesome so I elected to go home. Mark was home sick already with and upset stomach. At first, I thought my yucky feeling had to do with the blood draw... But a few hours later it became very apparent that I had what Mark had as my illness and symptoms progressed in exactly the same way as his had not 24 hours before.

So, I spent the next day in bed. I had to miss the first faculty meeting for the new environmental studies major, and that really bummed me out. Unlike David, who passionately hates meetings (at least, that is how I interpret his frequent rantings), I sort of like them. Nerdy, I know. So much for my new leaf on work.

Wednesday I made it in for the morning... just enough to teach class and then head home.

Thursday I felt quite a bit better and managed to make it to my new faculty seminar at 5 p.m. which was, as it had been in the past, quite fun and intellectually stimulating. These are things that I miss about being a student... sitting around in a group of peers and talking about things that are interesting and stimulating. I need to figure out a way to keep doing that next year when I won't have handily-scheduled, once-a-month, meetings.

Anyway, now it's Friday and I finally feel like I'm waking up after a week of weird off-ness (yes, I like to make up words). So, HURRAY! I'm all better just in time for the weekend.

Well, I suppose I should go. I have to make a few photocopies before my next class. But before I do that, I would like to ask one thing. Lately, I've been wanted to read more non-fiction. So, I soliciting suggestions for interesting and well-written non-fiction books. I'm not terribly picky on the topic... Anything you've read recently (or have heard good things about) and feel like passing on... Thanks!

Monday, March 31, 2008

364 Days and Counting

My 29th birthday was on Saturday. My golden birthday. I turned 29 on the 29th. Which means I'm only 364 days from 30 years old. I guess I'm not terribly concerned about being in my 29th year. I've always been a person for celebrating my birthday. I wonder if that will change as I get (even) older. I know there are alot of people out there that dread their upcoming birthdays, but I believe (at least right now) that age is a state of mind. Evidence my grampa. He's over 80 (I think) yet frequently acts like an annoying and unreasonable child. But the fact that I will be turning 30 may give me some perspective on life. Perhaps this will be the year that Mark and I finally manage to go on one of the trips we are always talking about... Perhaps overseas? I don't know, but I like the sense of milestones and achievements. Remember the episode of "Friends" where Phoebe finds out she's actually a year older than she thought? And she's really depressed because she had a list of things she wanted to accomplish before she turned 30?

Moving away from philosophy and sensing mortality... My party was excellent. Mark tried really hard to throw me a party that I would really like, and I think he succeeded admirably. We had quite a few people show up, which was really awesome. It was even a nice day weather-wise!

In the morning, Annie and I went to Ikea... very fun. Ikea is generally fun all on your own, but it's even more fun with my sister-in-law. She has a very childlike sense of wonder. It's fun to see her get really excited over a chair or bookcase. After Ikea, we met Mark and Jared, Dave and Barb, and Charley and Eileen at the Cheesecake Factory for lunch. Mark and I shared the four cheese pasta and a piece of dulce de leche caramel cheesecake. It was ridiculously good. After lunch we went back to the house where Ang and Isabelle were waiting. I was SO glad that Ang came up. Isabelle was just getting over a bought with stomach flu, so wasn't the usual happy baby we are used to, but she was still adorable. She's SO close to walking and she likes to scoot around the floor like a gorilla. No crawling for this baby! On Sunday Ang dressed her in a little purple onsie with a whale on the front that I bought her from Target.

For my party, we had everyone over to the new house. Most people had not seen it before and it was fun to give tours to everyone and point out the things we had done/improved. The we ate and played games and talked and I finally rolled into bed at 2 a.m. after my last guest left.

Today marks the beginning of the end of the semester. Only four weeks of class left, finals week, then commencement on May 3rd. Amazing. Where did the semester go? I hope these last four weeks fly just as quickly. I have to admit I'm looking forward to May and a little break before summer classes start up.

Well, that's it for today. As I only have four weeks of class left, I better get some actual work done!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Laughter is Fun

First, I'd just like to say that I can't believe no one commented on my blog about Mpls and penis envy. I mean, COME ON, that was a funny blog.

Next, I'd like to share a few of my favorite Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy. Does anyone else remember the Deep Thoughts? They used to be on Saturday Night Live a long, long time ago and they are hilarious. Here are some good ones:

"I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it."

"For mad scientists who keep brains in jars, here's a tip: why not add a slice of lemon to each jar, for freshness?"

"Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis."

"Sometimes I think I'd be better off dead. No, wait, not me, you."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Does Mpls have penis envy?

So, yesterday I was eating dinner at Panchero's (delicious veggie quesadilla) when I read an opinion column about which was taller, the IDS or the Capella building. While the column was informative on this topic (apparently the IDS is taller, despite Capella's claims to the contrary) the author then went on to claim that Mpls really needs to catch up to all the other cities because even Indianapolis (gasp!) has taller skyscrapers than we do! Oh the HORROR!! Oh the SHAME!! How is it that we as a city have not kept up with the ridiculous need to pile steel, glass and mortar into taller and taller edifices in order to assert our superiority and dominance over other cities with smaller, more pathetic erections? I mean, if this columnist is to be believed, our lack of appropriately high skyscraper puts us behind Chicago, Houston, Austin, Indianapolis (double gasp!) and Seattle and that is just here in the Midwest! There are buildings being erected in other countries that put our poor child-like IDS Tower to shame.

I must admit, after I read that column I felt the almost overwhelming urge to look around for a towel. I mean, was I suddenly in a locker room? What was going on?

How sad that our worth as a city might be tied into the size of our skyline. I guess we'll all just have to start driving bigger, faster cars.


So, it's been awhile since I last blogged... I have a somewhat good excuse and that is that the internet at my house is temperamental. There is nothing more frustrating that being in the middle of a wonderful and creative thought (like all my blogs contain) only to have the internet quit working. Also, I was on spring break last week and didn't particularly want to spend much time on the computer. Instead, I spent my time reading books, playing Wii, and watching TV. Much to chagrin, I rather enjoyed watching Martha Stewart. It was also nice to watch Rachel Ray again. I very much enjoy her show, although I haven't been watching it as much since I decided to become a vegetarian almost a year ago. She has lots of great recipes, but they are only rarely vegetarian. I should email her... Maybe she'd do one show a week that featured vegetarian recipes... or would come out with a vegetarian cookbook. As it is, I usually just modify the recipes in the Rachel Ray cookbook I have. In fact, I am making "Green and While Lightening Chicken Chili" tonight for supper. Of course, I am removing the chicken and adding another can of beans. Who says you can't get protein without eating meat?!?

We went to Fargo for Easter last weekend and I got to play Smash Bros Brawl for the first time. It is an excellently fun game. I'm partial to playing as Pikachu and Wario. Few people were more surprised than me when I wound up winning half of the brawls. I was even ahead of my brother in number of KOs for quite awhile, which is a huge accomplishment.

In other exciting news, Mark and I are preparing for my upcoming birthday celebration! My birthday is on Saturday and we are going to have a party at our new house. I'm really hoping Mark can be done with the tiling in the downstairs bath by then. He got a row put in last night, but now he has to cut the tiles to the right size, which means things will take a little longer. I need to get the guest bedroom painted. It is a sort of weird, sickly yellow right now and I can't like it. However, it will be lovely when I am done with it.

We only have five weeks of class left, and it is amazing to me that my first academic year here is almost over. When I think back to where we were last year at this time and all the changes we've made, it's hard to believe. Things feel even more official now that we both have Mpls phone numbers and new driver's licenses. There's no going back!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


As in, Mark has to wear funny goggles for the rest of the night. Even when he sleeps. He actually has to wear the goggles while sleeping for the next week so that he doesn't accidentally hit himself in the eye or something.

The Lasik surgery seems to have went well. The doctors were very positive. No one said "Whoops" during the procedure, so we think that is a good sign. He's been trying to sleep, but is having a little discomfort with his left eye. All in all, we were there for just under an hour an a half - most of that time was actually spent prepping Mark for surgery. Apparently, the Lasik itself took a very short amount of time. I wouldn't know, because they didn't call me to come and watch. I was sort of expecting that they would, because Barb got to watch when Dave had his surgery, but, oh well.

I really should be cleaning my house right now. I THINK Dan and Ang are coming to visit tomorrow night... But I haven't heard from Ang so I have no idea what the actual plan is. I'm struggling with the impulse to call her right now. To call or not to call...

I should clean in any case - guests or no. We will be having people over for a very small open house on Sunday, so the house should look nice. I don't want my colleagues to find out what true slobs Mark and I are ;)

I get to leave in about an hour to get my hair cut!! Woo hoo!! There are few things in this world I enjoy as much as a haircut. Of course, I have no idea what I want this haircut to look like and I've never been to this stylist before, so keep your fingers crossed for me!

Well, I suppose I could at least get up and do the dishes. Then I'd feel like I accomplished something. OK. Here I go.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I said, Woo Hoo.

I have caught up on grading blogs for BOTH my classes!! Hurray to me. Now, all I have left to grade are papers that my interpersonal class turned in almost two weeks ago. Pretty shameful on my part, but I have been seriously buried under grading for the past two weeks. My plan is to take the papers with me tomorrow when Mark has his surgery. He has to be there two hours early for some reason, so I think I'll have plenty of time to sit and grade.

Tomorrow is Thursday and I can't believe it. Only two classes away from spring break. Fortunately, tomorrow in Interpersonal I am continuing to discuss one of my MOST favorite comm topics (next to enviro comm and rhetoric): nonverbal comm.

So, last week I got one of those "getting to know your friends surveys" through the email. I kinda like these. They give you an opportunity to learn things about your friends that you didn't necessarily know, and also, sometimes the answers are really funny. For example, my brother answered the question: What do you always carry with you? with "My wallet and a sai." This is funny on several levels. A) He leaves his wallet places all the time. Once he left it at a game store in the mall in Minot, ND. But he does take it more places that he does his cell phone. And let's not EVEN get me started on that topic. I will be enraged. B) The thought of Jared carrying a sai cracks me up. Only he would come up with something like that. For those of you that DON'T know my brother... He does NOT carry weapons. He wouldn't even know what to do with a sai. In fact, I was astonished that he knew how to spell it. He also answered the question: Have you ever dyed your hair? with "No, I'm not a loser." THIS was funny because he wife quickly pointed out via email that he DID in fact dye his hair one year for Halloween (he was Wolverine) and so, by his definition, was, in fact, a loser. Ha.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Caught In a Lie of Omission

So, Ali totally caught me in a lie of omission last Friday. I let it slip that I was going to have coffee with David that afternoon. Unfortunately, Ali knew that I had already had a coffee that week and I am only supposed to have one per week. Of course, I realized that I would be exceeding my coffee limit, but I DIDN'T TELL Ali on purpose. Is this sort of deceptive and evil? Yes. I suppose so. But I REALLY wanted coffee and I knew Ali would give me all sorts of grief. My plan would have been perfect, except I accidentally let it slip in conversation that I was planning to cheat. Blast Ali's good memory... She caught me in the lie and then I had to look sheepish. But I still had that cheaty coffee. HA!

Friday night Mark and I watched Meet the Robinson's, which I have wanted to watch since it came out into the theater. It was very funny. The villain was MUCH funnier that I thought he would be, and the T-Rex was appropriately funny with the "Big head, little arms" line. It was so fun to sit on the couch and know I didn't have to be anywhere or do anything the next morning.

Oh, I must go back in time to earlier Friday: after I cheated on coffee and before Meet the Robinson's. I attended a portion of the Women's Studies Conference. The first panel was excellent. There were some really interesting student papers presented. It made me want to work on a student research project with someone. Smart students are awesome. While the first panel was awesome, the second one left a little to be desired and so I ducked out a little early. The panel was entitled Activism, but really just consisted of six women from the different colleges talking about their women's groups. It could have been more interesting if any of the women would have been willing to open up a little more. As it was, I felt like the moderator was pulling teeth every time she asked a new question.

Saturday was lovely (yes, David, lovely). I didn't do anything work related. I read The Other Boleyn Girl (awesome) and played Mario Galaxy (awesome). Then, Mark and I went to Dave and Barb's for dinner and more Wii playing (Karoake Rev and Mario Party). Barb and I played tag team against Mark and Dave and beat them twice! It was excellent. The first game was pretty close, but we totally kicked butt on the second one! We got all the bonus stars - even the mini-game star! This is a huge accomplishment for me because I'm not very good at mini-games. I have to credit my recent hours logged on Mario Galaxy for giving me that extra skill.

Sunday Mark and I ran errands and worked on house stuff. The shower floor is now installed, but we still need to repair the tile wall. I'm not sure if it will be done in time for Dan and Ang's visit. If not, they can still use the bathroom for everything except showering and it will be just fine. Speaking of Dan and Ang, I am so excited to see them and Isabelle on Friday! Apparently, Isabelle scoots around like a gorilla! This seems incredibly funny to me. I can't believe she's almost a year old!

Well, it's almost time to go. I was trying to get my power point for Interpersonal done... It might not happen. Fortunately, it's a topic that I know and love - nonverbal comm. This week should have some excellent discussion.

And I'm off...

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Niggle - verb: to criticize, esp. constantly or repeatedly, in a peevish or petty way; carp

I played this word in Scrabulous today against Aleisha. First, I was surprised and delighted that it WAS a word. I had no idea. Then, because I can leave no word un-defined, I looked up niggle on (a fabulous resource for all your word-defining needs). I was even more pleased when it had such a fun and useful meaning. So, expect to hear the word niggle from my lips. I am officially adding it to my vocabulary.

Scrabble (and it's online Facebook version, Scrabulous) and other word games really offer up the opportunity to learn all kinds of new words. Take my brother for example:

WARNING: The following content is slightly colorful in nature.

Mark, Jared, Annie and I were play Upwords at my parent's house over Christmas. Jared is a fan of adding random letters to see if they make words. In a fit of inspiration, Jared made the word "buggery." This was hilarious, but not for the reasons you may think. First, Jared had no idea this was actually a word. When we started laughing, he thought it was because he just made up a funny word. He was surprised to discover it was an actual word. Then even more surprised to find out what that word meant. Of course, we had to share the humor with my mom, who responded with a very scandalized "Jared!" before starting to laugh, too. See. Word games ARE fun.

I love words and language. I think it all started when my mom bought me a word-a-day calendar when I was a kid. I can still remember some of the words I learned from that calendar, mellifluous and plethora were among my favorites. I also was (and am) a very avid reader. There were several times when I would say a word aloud that I had learned the meaning of through reading - but not know how to pronounce. The word, rendezvous, for example, is very tricky for a little kid. Later in life, words and their meanings still had significance for me. I knew I would marry Mark when he used the word pejorative correctly in casual conversation.

Today in Interpersonal we had an excellent conversation about language and prejudice. Things in my life have been oddly connected lately. This semester I have two groups, in different classes, that are researching and interested in LGBTQIA issues. Last night, Mark went on a 15 minute rant about the overuse of acronyms. Today, David got a postcard about a graduation celebration for the LGBTQIA community. WE started talking about acronyms. It's like all these pieces of my life are connected. Very deja vu.

And speaking of pieces, I played more Mario G last night. That game is really fun. Except, right before bed last night I was about ready to pull my hair out. I was stuck at one point in a galaxy an I didn't want to go back to the observatory because then I'd have to do the entire stupid world over. But, I persevered and was finally able to shut off Mario at 9:45. Then I went upstairs and read The Other Boleyn Girl for awhile before going to sleep. I highly recommend the book by the way. Not only is it deliciously scandalous, but it provides and interesting view into a history that seems very foreign and strange. I wonder what people will say about today's cultures in one hundred or two hundred years. They probably won't be able to figure out how George W. Bush ever got elected once, let along twice. Oh wait, I live in the here and now and can't figure that one out. Maybe future people will be baffled by our clothing or lack of oh-so-handy (pun not intended) ambidextrous third arm (because I believe everyone in the future will have an oh-so-handy ambidextrous third arm).