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.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Brain gone

Brain is gone. Or, if it is still there, it's wrapped in layers of cold-medicine-induced cotton.

I CAN NOT believe I'm sick AGAIN!! A little over one month ago, I got sick when I was in Fargo. Now, I'm sick again. And this blog might suck because I'm having a really hard time pulling coherent thoughts together.

I told Darcey about my sickness this morning. She said that I was going through a lot of stress right now (new job, new house, ect...) and that it was no wonder I was getting sick. I guess that's probably true. But I don't think it helps that most of my students have been sick at one point or another during the past four weeks.

So, here I sit. I'm at my desk drinking a Toffee Nut Latte, trying to drum up any productive juices that might still be within me somewhere, but failing miserably. I really want to get these three speeches graded before I leave the office today at noon. Perhaps I shall find some motivation as the caffeine from my latte kicks in. I hope so. Anyway, I think I will end this torturous blog now.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Why gramma, how dilated your pupils are!

All the better to see nothing with, my dear!

Yesterday I went to the eye doctor for a check up. I was almost out of contact lenses and so decided it would be a prudent time to get a check up and new eye doctor. Over all, the experience was quite nice. The woman who did my contact lens exam was really competent, nice and funny. My eye doctor was very nice and seemed like he really knew what he was doing. During the course of my exam, I got drops put in my eyes three times. First, during my contact exam. I don't remember why she put them in. Something about the tear layer... I don't know. Second, I got yellow drops put it so that the doctor could do some glaucoma test. As this did not involve and puff of air into my eyes, I was quite happy. The drops were very yellow. I didn't realize how yellow until I got home and realized that my eyes looked like the had been ringed with iodine. The last set of drops was to dilate my pupils so the doctor could look at my corneas. Mark recently went through screening for lasik, which meant that he also had to have his pupils dilated. After I went through the experience, I felt a little bad for laughing at him (but seriously, you look really funny when your pupils are all huge).

Anyway, after the doctor put in the dilating drops, he left me for 15 minutes so that they could start working. I discovered after about 30 seconds that reading the magazine left in the office would not be an option. My distance vision remained good, but I couldn't focus on anything up close. My only other real option was to lay my head back and take a nap. So I did. It was a really nice 15 minute nap, all alone in the dark with the weird mask-like eye equipment. I wonder about that equipment. Like, when did they invent that weird mask thingy? And do you really look like a bug in it from the other side, because that's what I alway picture. And, does the eye doctor really understand how all that equipment works? If it would break down, could the eye doctor fix it? Do they have to take a class in buggy eye equipment?

I also wondered how someone decided to become an eye doctor. Are you just really fascinated with eyes from the time you are a small child? Personally, I think eye balls are kinda gross when you take them out of the context of the face.

Despite my huge pupils, I drove myself home with little incident. I wanted to get some work done, but that proved difficult since I could read anything. So, I resigned myself to watching "Transformers" and doing laundry - neither activity required me to focus on anything close. Eventually, my eyes went back to normal and I spent at least 30 seconds appreciating the functionality of my pupils - something we take for granted everyday.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Murderous Microwave Madness

We sold our giant microwave. It was a very nice microwave - black, new, GIANT, fully-functional - but it just didn't work in our kitchen. Every time I wanted to turn on the oven or stove, I had to crawl under it to see what knobs I was turning. When the inspector came to the house, he measure the distance between the cooktop and microwave and declared it several inches short of the required 19. So, we sold the microwave to our friends Justin and Jo, and bought a very nice, and much more streamlined, black range hood.

I notified Justin that our new hood was set to arrive Saturday, and that he and Jo could come pick up their new microwave anytime during the weekend. They were in our area Saturday afternoon, and so stopped by to get it. Taking down the microwave was not especially traumatic... At least, I don't think it was. I never watch these kinds of operations. They make me very very nervous. But I WAS listening from the other room. When Mark declared "We may have a problem," I wasn't worried. I responded, "The wall isn't painted behind the microwave?" He answered in the affirmative. I braved the kitchen in order to assess the damage. Aside from a hole nearly the size of my hand up by the cabinet, it didn't look too bad. Yes, it wasn't painted... Neither were the sides of the cabinets, but that didn't worry me. Paint is easy. Also, the previous owners left us all kinds of paint in a closet downstairs. But that hole... I wasn't sure about that hole. Mark assured me he could fix it. I believed him. We decided to leave the rest of the work on the wall and the hood hanging until the next day.

In the meantime, our new gas dryer had also been delivered. Mark decided to try to set it up. He discovered he was missing some necessary parts. Off he went to Home Depot. I don't remember what I was doing at this time. Sometime productive I'm sure. (Oh I just remembered. I was painting the second bedroom).

Mark returned with the wrong parts. It was late. We were tired and so decided to go to bed.

Sunday was a whirlwind of projects. Mark got up early and started patching the wall. I slept in. I got up and assessed his progress. Looked good. I finished the second coat of paint in the second bedroom. We decided to go to Menards to get the parts necessary to install the dryer. At Menards, we discovered an entire wall of little gas dryer to gas supply line connectors. Find the right one took a long time. Then, starving, we had lunch at Taco Bell. After lunch, we talked to Dave and Barb and decided that Dave would help Mark with the dryer while Barb and I went shopping for furniture (I would say we got the better end of that deal). We found a fantastic couch at this discount furniture store -- every thing I wanted in my basement couch -- and so, after consulting with Mark, I bought it. When we got home, we found out that the dryer was working but the furnace wasn't. Turns out that Mark and Dave had to shut all the gas off so they could install a new pipe and gas valve above the dryer. Doing so caused the pilot lights in the furnace and water heater to go out. Mark and Dave successfully and with much aplomb re-lit both pilots and no one blew up. A win-win.

With the dryer installed, we were left with the kitchen mess. By now, the oven was in the middle of the kitchen and there was sheet rock dust everywhere. Mark was tired and declared that we could not finish it that night. So, I primed the wall and cabinets and then we watched the academy awards.

Monday night, I couldn't take the oven in the kitchen anymore. I went and color-matched the paint for the wall (because of all the paint in that downstairs closet, none was the color of the kitchen). Mark went back to the duplex to do a little more cleaning. I painted the walls. And the cabinets. I let the messy kitchen drive me a tiny bit insane. I wanted Mark to come home so we could install the hood and put my life back to rights.

He finally got back after 9 p.m. Because he is an awesome husband, he saw that I could not possibly live another night in the house with the messy kitchen. So he agreed to hang the hood. Which we did. It wasn't the easiest or quickest job. But we were in bed by 10:30 (and that is a comment on the time length of the job, not on how old and busted Mark and I are).

This morning I had a banana in my clean kitchen while admiring my newly-painted wall and my newly-hung (but still non-functioning) black hood.

Friday, February 22, 2008


Yellow or orange, yellow or orange. Should I paint my home office yellow or orange? This is my current conundrum. Last weekend I was thinking of painting it blue, but I decided that I didn't want a dark cave at the end of the hallway, especially since there are no light fixtures in the room -- all the light comes from lamps.

OMG. I just heard on the news that some bars in the state are going to dub patrons "actors" so that they can smoke inside. Apparently, the law that was passed here stated that the smoking ban could be lifted for "theatrical performances." This is dumb. Honestly, I can't even believe that there are people out there that still smoke. It boggles my mind. So far, the state attorney general hasn't made any comment about the whole "No my patrons are actors so they can smoke" loop hole.

Tomorrow morning I am going to interview potential scholarship students. At first, I was sort of dreading it, but now I think it might be kinda fun. I will be interview four prospective students along with another faculty member and a current honor student.

We are also scheduled to get our new range hood and dryer tomorrow. I never thought I would say that I was looking forward to doing laundry... But I am. I'm drowning in dirty towels right now. I really need to spend some quality time cleaning and folding and putting away.

Well, that's about it for now. I hope that Mark is on his way home. Sigh.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cinnamon Tea for Me, Hee Hee!

I got unusually excited about tea this morning. If you don't believe me, you can ask Ali. I'm sure I probably alarmed her has I kept bringing out different teas for her to smell. And then I described lemon grass as a grass that tasted like lemon. Yes, I am a great communicator.

Last night Mark and I went to Menards (I know, it's not HD, but we've like to spread our business around). We were looking for a longer hose so that we could hook up the washing machine. We were also looking for electric tape to patch a hole in the air bed that we share with Dave and Barb (which we never found). We also walked through bathroom stuff because Mark really dislikes the downstairs bathroom. The vanity is a very weird texture that is gold/yellow and white. It's bizarre and I've never seen anything like it. Also, the base of the shower is really disgusting and (apparently) cracked. So we were trying to find out how much a new shower base might cost. Did you realize that it is very difficult to find just plain old shower bases? Well it is. We did, however, look at several very nice options for a new vanity -- even though we won't be ready to buy anything for quite a while. It's funny how somethings really bother some people, but not others. I don't really mind the downstairs bathroom. The harvest gold toilet is kinda retro.

Anyway, we also found a nice rug for the living room at Menards and we bought some aluminum dryer venting stuff. After that, we went home and watched our first Netflix movie, "Evan Almighty." It was pretty entertaining. I'm a big Steve Carell (sp?) fan. I really enjoyed the part where he kept hitting himself on the thumb with the wooden mallet while building the ark. Tonight we have the option of watching "Wild Hogs" or "The Kingdom." Netflix is cool.

I also FINALLY got to talk to my BFF Ang last night. She has been super busy directing a musical and I have been super busy moving. So, it was really nice to chat with her, even if only for 10 minutes. I'm excited for her to come stay at our house. Most of the time, it sucks that she lives in Iowa City. She and Dan and Isabelle need to move up here so we can get together more and so I can be sad less.

Tomorrow afternoon I am going to paint my office/library. I have decided on the color apple crisp. I need to paint it soon so that I can put up my bookshelves and unpack my books. Every time I walk through the garage I feel sad because my poor books are packed in cardboard and are forced to sit in the cold and dark garage. So, I want to paint tomorrow and then rectify that situation.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cookies on the Chopping Block

... In more ways than one.

First. I just returned from making some photocopies. Because I had a stack of 10 pages, it occurred to me that I should take advantage of the paper cutter behind me to cut them into the appropriate sections. However, when I turned around, I discovered that a selection of yummy smelling cookies and treats had taken over the paper cutters. I wanted to eat one... Or a handful... But there were other people in there so I didn't.

Second. This story of outsider-mitigated restraint leads me to the second interpretation of my blog title. I am going to try to cut down on the refined sugars. Those of you who know me will realize that my crusade against processed sugar is a frequently recurring theme in my life. These sugar-free desires can be prompted by a number of different things: 1) Reading labels on food and discovering just how much sugar is in something 2) Watching the Biggest Loser 3) Reading health magazines 4) Trying on pants that don't fit anymore 5) Watching Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (don't ask) or, most recently 6) My wonderful friend's problems with prenatal diabetes.

So, while this blog was never intended to be a health or weight-loss blog, per se, I will suggest that sugarlessness and health may become a more frequent topic as I struggle with the day to day temptations that surround me... Like the dessert bar at the cafeteria where I eat lunch every day. They have the BEST peanut butter cookies in the world. Fortunately, they don't offer these every day.

And on that note, I would appreciate any tips, hints or words of encouragement. Just, please, don't offer me any cookies.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Urge to kill... Fluctuating?

So, I know that all my faithful readers have been saddened by my recent lack of blogging... So get ready for the marathon blog of all blogs!!!!! (So big, it requires FIVE exclamation points). The reason I haven't blogged in several days is that I was busy moving and unpacking. So, let's start there.

Last Friday I came to school and taught my 9:00 a.m. class. I wanted to run IMMEDIATELY after class was over, but, alas, Mark got bogged down in work and we didn't actually leave school until after 11:00 a.m. We went back to the duplex and I frantically started getting all the painting stuff together while also trying to pack other things. Mom and Dad called when they got to 169 and we told them to meet us at the new house, which they did. We proceeded to show them around and they "oohed" and aahhhed" an appropriate amount. Then we went and had lunch at Noodles Company (Mark and I were STARVING). I had the large helping of Wisconsin Mac N Cheese, which was really really stupid. I forget that just because I'm really hungry does not actually mean that my stomach is any bigger. So, even though is was incredibly delicious, I had to throw some away (into Jared's mouth, he was also really hungry).

After lunch, we made a trip to Home Depot (probably one of my top 10 fav stores) to buy some stuff -- can't really remember what we bought. It was one of several trips to the HD we have made in the past 4 days. Then we picked up the puppies from the duplex and brought them to the house.

WARNING: About to embark on a side-story.

We had to bring the dogs to the house because the home insurance guy wanted to see them when he did the house inspection for our insurance purposes. But he never showed. I found out yesterday that he accidentally went to the wrong house (our next door neighbor's). I blame our lack of house numbers, a problem that was rectified Saturday morning. So, anyway, we had the dogs with us for several hours while we were painting the basement ceiling and priming the walls. I will describe them as less-than-helpful and leave it at that.

Returning to the chronology:

We spent the afternoon painting the ceiling of the family room. HATES IT!! And by "it" I mean painting the ceiling. It was hideously horrible, but it turned out FABULOUSLY. I'm so very glad that it is over. At 5 we went to Brit's and ate delicious food and drank delicious Newcastle. Then, it was back to HD (3rd trip that day) to buy a light. That evening, we finished painting the ceiling, started priming the walls, and Mark installed the new light in the ceiling. Then we went home at about 10:00 p.m. I wanted to pack some more stuff, but I was so tired that I let mom convince me to go to bed, which was probably a good thing.

Saturday morning started for me at 6 a.m. I was feeling horribly guilty and behind because I hadn't packed everything. Not the best way to start out a day, but I couldn't do anything about it except start packing and getting things together. Mark and Dad went and got bagels from Einstein Bros (yum yum) and we had bagels for breakfast for the 5th (yes, 5th) time that week. Even though I love them, I have put a one month moratorium on bagel eating. The rest of the day was a whirlwind of packing, painting, moving, sorting, unpacking, exhaustion and sore feet. But we got everything moved and we slept in the new house for the first time Saturday night!! I didn't sleep very well, though, because I never sleep well the first night in a strange place. Also, the bed was not arranged optimally and it threw off my feng shui.

I need to mention the delicious dinner we had at Chin's Asia Fresh Saturday night with Dave and Barb and Charley and Eileen. It was Dave's birthday and we had lots of fun.

Sunday was another day of working, soreness and exhaustion. While it was overall fun and exciting (especially the part where Mom and Dad and I went to Target and bought some FANTASTIC stuff for the house - shower curtain, duvet, and towel bars feature prominently) it also set the stage for Monday - the most hideously crappy day I've had since my Mom went into the hospital last year. What follows is an accounting of that day -- Amityville Horror Style.

Monday morning - sad and melancholy.

My parents and Jared left early Monday morning. Mark and I were sad because we didn't feel like we really got a chance to say goodbye. It was so fun having them here for three whole days. After they left I was sad.

Monday late morning - sadness abating.

Class was fun. I IMed with Kristen about my melancholy mood and talked about the impending birth of her child. Talking about babies always cheers me a little. I got ready to leave for the house so that I could meet the home insurance guy that went to the wrong address on Friday. He was supposed to be at the house at 1 p.m. I arrived home and pulled into the garage - pretty glad to be home.

Monday: 1:20 p.m. - Urge to kill... rising.

I reach for the door knob to get into the house from the garage. It doesn't turn. I think back to our closing last Thursday and remember the previous owners saying "Never lock the door between the house and the garage. It doesn't have a key." A little peeved (I didn't lock that door), I open the garage door and walk to the front door, taking out my key. I insert key into knob and turn... nothing.

Monday: 1:21 - Urge to kill... Rising.

I look at my key ring and know, even before looking, that I don't have a key to the deadbolt. In denial, I try my key anyway. It doesn't work. I reach for my phone. Back in the garage, I call Mark. I ask, trying not to yell "Did you lock me out of the house?" Pause. Mark replies, "I might have."

Monday: 1:22 - Urge to kill... RISING.

On Mark's suggestion, I angrily trek to the back of the house through the snow. At this point I should mention that it was really freaking cold outside and I didn't have any gloves... or a hat. Conveniently, most of my winter gear is packed in a box somewhere inside the house that I can't get into. I try the patio door... Locked. I bravely scale the deck stairs which are crusted with snow and ice. As I almost fall and crack my skull, I remember a moment from the day before when I suggested that Mark take advantage of the nice day and the melting snow to clean off the deck and stairs. I'm seeing red. The deck door is also locked. It's official. I'm locked out of the house.

Monday: 1:24 - Urge to kill... Overpowering.

I call Mark as I get in the car. My option at this point is to drive back to Augsburg to get Mark's key the deadbolt. I'm merging onto 100 when Mark drops the final shoe: He doesn't have the deadbolt key with him. He thinks it might be in the house. The house I am locked out of. I yell at Mark. Alot. He says he is finding a locksmith. I get off 100 and head toward HD.

Monday: 1:32 - Urge to kill... Let's just say if Mark had been in the car with me, I'd have been driving him to the hospital.

I arrive at the HD and start looking for a new doorknob. I have decided to replace the offending doorknob, which has no key, with a doorknob of my choosing. I curse Mark. I curse the cold. I curse Mark. I curse Mark.

Monday: 12:35 - Urge to kill... Descending from the peak

Shopping is calming. I am looking at pretty bronze doorknobs. I am fighting an irrational urge to punish Mark by spending an exorbitant amount of money at HD. I settle for a very nice rustic bronze doorknob and a wire shelf for a cabinet in the kitchen. Unable to think of other expenditures, I head to the cashier. My rage makes me unable to think coherently, but I somehow manage to purchase the knob and shelf. I head out to the car.

Monday: 1:00 p.m. - Urge to kill... Falls a little more, still very mad

I call Mark in the car. He has just spoken to the locksmith and to the insurance guy. The locksmith will be to the house in about an hour. The insurance guy will also push back his visit. Mark apologizes. Talking about his stupidity pisses me off again. I tell him I'm still mad and cannot yet forgive him.

Monday: 1:05 p.m. - Urge to kill... Skyrockets!!

Mom calls while I'm on the phone with Mark. I tell her the story. The telling re-enrages me and I loose all of the calming effects of shopping. I shout on the phone. Mom, wisely, does not defend Mark, but is, instead, very understanding. Although I did hear her stifle a chuckle twice. Being the big person that I am, I choose to ignore it.

Monday: 1:15 p.m. - I bury the urge to kill under vegetable fried rice

Being very hungry, I go to LeeAnn Chin's for lunch. Surfing the wave of my rage, I am slow and incoherent while ordering and paying for lunch. I make a Monday joke to the cashier. She laughs (pity, probably) and I sit down with my vegetable fried rice and cream cheese wontons. I eat and watch CNN.

Monday: 1:30 - Stupid people at the grocery store re-inflame the urge to kill

After lunch I still have a half an hour to kill, so I decide to go to the grocery store to get some chili fixin's. The store and parking lot are filled with elderly people. Mark calls and notifies me that the locksmith is on the way to the house. I have 10 minutes. I need to go to Walgreen's. Since I'm already there, I decide to run in "real quick." I get stuck in the checkout lane behind a (very nice, I'm sure) elderly lady who can't believe she got the wrong jelly beans. After all (she explains to the cashier) she spent a long time in the aisle making sure to get the right ones. But no, these are not the 99 cent jelly beans. But how can that be? The cashier offers to get her the right jelly beans. He returns with said beans. The elderly lady is astonished. Where did he find those? Ahhh, the Easter aisle, of course.

Time ticks by. I am aware of the approaching locksmith deadline. Finally, I emerge from the store and trot to my car. I get stuck behind possibly the oldest woman I have ever seen. The real mind-bender is that this ancient woman was DRIVING. Not only was she driving, but she was driving a much younger woman around. She stops in front of Walgreen's and the younger woman gets out and goes into the store. I'm in the Twillight Zone.

Monday: 2:00 p.m. - Urge to kill replaced by panic.

One block from my house, the locksmith calls. He is there. I beg him to wait for me.

Monday: 2:05 p.m. - Urge to kill... Getting colder by the second

The locksmith is very nice. And the insurance guy is there, too! Hurray, I think. Two birds and I'm holding the stone. My joy is short-lived. The locksmith is having problems with the garage doorknob. I curse the stupid no-key doorknob. We move to the deadbolt. Meanwhile, insurance guy is somewhere at the back of the house with some sort of measuring device.

Monday: 2:15 p.m. - Urge to kill... Completely frozen by now

The deadbolt is also very stubborn. Wisely, insurance guy retreats to his pickup truck to fill out paperwork. I am jealous of him. The wind is really cold. Locksmith calls the lock a "twerp." I'm STILL in the Twillight Zone.

Monday: 2:20 p.m. - Urge to kill... Urge, isn't that a feeling? I can't feel anything anymore.

Locksmith gives up on the deadbolt. Back to the garage. All of this time, the dogs have been barking. They can't figure out what we are doing outside. Occasionally the barking stops, only to resume again when new noises are noticed. Insurance guy returns to the garage. I admire his fortitude. He mentions that he keeps a spare key in his garage. I inform him that there is not key to this door. A spare key, being non-existent, would not fix this problem.

Locksmith asks if he can cut into the doorknob. I had informed him earlier that I had purchased a new one. I say, yes, please, let's destroy this offensive knob. We plug in the power tool and he goes to work.

Monday: 2:30 p.m. - Urge to kill... replaced by relief and warmth.

Locksmith gouges out the middle part of the knob and we are in!! Locksmith leaves the door open and says "Oh, I hope it's OK if your dog gets out" as Millie trots into the garage. I say, "sure, just don't let the other one out" as Quinn trots into the garage. I'm not in the mood to chase Quinn around the neighborhood. I desperately offer Quinn cookie if he comes in the house with me. I'm astonished when he agrees and follows me in. The puppies are so enamored by the idea of cookies that the completely forget to bark at the strangers. I am immensely grateful.

Once inside, cookies dispensed, I pay Locksmith. He leaves and I'm left to answer a few questions from Insurance Guy.

Monday: 3:00 p.m. - Urge to kill... Gone. Replaced by happy knowledge that Mark owes me big time.

I replace the doorknob. It only requires one call to my Dad and a some swearing as I dig a plastic ring out of the latch hole in the door. It briefly occurs to me as I am gouging at the wood, that if I totally screw this up we will have to go buy a new door. I am OK with this.

I call Mark and inform him that I am in, the dogs were good, Insurance Guy is gone, and that I've replace the doorknob. Mark is surprised that I replaced the knob on my own. I inform him that his penance is that he must come furniture shopping with me on Saturday afternoon. I tell him that he will be pleasant and on task, he will not make stupid jokes, and he will give me his opinion when I ask it. He agrees. I tell him that after we shop, if he is good, I will forgive him completely and only refer to his stupidity occasionally when in the company of others. I think I let him off the hook very easily. For the rest of the day I fight the impulse to make snarky comments about how he's a big idiot.

Monday evening - Urge to kill... Forgotten in the welcome flickering light of TV.

We went to Menards and bought a TV antenna. Sitting on my couch, watching "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," I remember joy and contentment. After "Medium" I crawl into bed, secure in the knowledge that I know have keys for all three locks on my key chain.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Meh, meh, meh

Meh is my favorite multi-purpose word.

Today, my day was meh. Nothing too special, nothing too terrible. The bright spot, of course, being the house walk-through that will take place in roughly one hour and forty minutes. I guess I'm sort of building to that bright spot. I started out cranky this morning. No real reason. Just a general malaise of crankiness. But I'm better now, despite the fact that my office is cold AGAIN today. My poor fingers... Freezing as they type... But I just care so much about my thousands of blog readers - I WILL NOT LET COLD FINGERS STOP ME FROM BLOGGING!!!!

I do have a thermostat in my office. I think it's trickery. Like, it's there so that I have the illusion of control over my environment. The heater in my office HAS been making industrious gurgling noises all day. Also trickery, I believe. Or maybe it's one of the giant squirrels that I frequently see outside my office window trying to get in...

I've just been IMing with my fabulous friend Kristen in Little Rock, Arkansas. While I do think that computer-mediated communication (or CMC, for you non-communication majors) is in a large way ruining written communication, if it wasn't for IMing I would be in a state of devastating sadness. The sadness would be a result of being out of daily contact with my fabulous friend Kristen in Arkansas. But, fortunately, she is always just a mouse-click away. Through IMing, I can get my daily (or weekly) dose of one of my favorite people.

Writing of Kristen has warmed my heart, but not my fingers...

I'm off to warmer locals. And by warmer locals I mean the car that my husband is picking me up in. It's usually warm in there by the time he gets to the back door of my building.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Handle with care

Two days 'til house closing! Three days 'til moving!

Today has been a bit of an odd day. I began the day (very early, like 4 a.m.) as a disaster. First, I should explain that Mark had the hiccups last night. Have you ever tried to fall asleep in the same bed as someone with the hiccups? Every 20 seconds or so Mark would hiccup and the bed would shake. It makes it difficult to drift off. Anyway, Mark finally fell asleep and the hiccups went away. At about 4 a.m., however, he got up to go to the bathroom and the hiccups returned. I also woke up (the dogs were being naughty and noisy) and so I, too, went to the bathroom. When I got back, I accidentally knocked over a little bottle of nail polish that was sitting on my nightstand. Or course, in my groggy state, I didn't realize what it was... Nor did I realize what it was until several minutes later when I began to smell the nail polish that was leaking out onto the nightstand (I swear I closed the bottle earlier-it was totally bizarre). So, I had to clean it up in the dark with Kleenex. Meanwhile, Mark is still hiccuping. Eventually, he decided to go and lay on the couch until they passed, allowing me to drift off again. Then, at a much more reasonable hour, we realized that Mark's car was dead and that I couldn't find the lint roller. Then I got cream cheese on my pants.

After the cream cheese, my day began to improve. I read an excellent first draft of a paper from a small group student. Then I listened to a little Bon Jovi. Then I had a really fun interpersonal class. All good.

Now, however, I am sitting at a speech tournament. It isn't bad, though. I'm using my downtime to get lots of work (and blogging) done. Eventually I will eat a snack, judge a final round, and get picked up by Mark to go home. And then it will only be 1 MORE DAY until closing! HOO RAH.

My parents and brother are coming down to help on Friday. My brother isn't really a morning person, so I told him that if he and mom and dad can get here by noon on Friday, I will buy him dinner and a beer at Brit's on Friday night. I think I have chosen an appropriate bribe. While he may not exactly show up with bells on, he will show up.

The one sour note of my day is that I am STILL waiting for episodes of Psych to get updated online. Since I got rid of my cable, I have been very sad without my weekly dose of my favorite fake psychic. I am now two episodes behind. When, oh when, will USA update the full episodes on their website. Stay tuned for my continued adventure with full episodes online. I know that you will be holding your breath in relentless anticipation.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I'm Not Made Of Eyes

I am watching one of my very favorite movies: Hot Fuzz. It is a great movie and I could watch it over and over (and have!). Anyway, now that my cable is gone, Mark and I are watching more of our movies. I like to have the TV on for background noise. So, while the lack of cable is a little sad, it also gives me a chance to re-watch some of my favorite movies.

Mark and I have spent the day in erratic bursts of packing. My intention when putting in Hot Fuzz was to listen to its hilariousness while packing up the impressive amount of glassware in my china cabinet. I have wine glasses, goblets, glass beer steins, pilsner glasses, little blue juice glasses, and glass coffee mugs - not to mention my collection of crystal serving pieces and my other set of dishes. Man, just thinking about it makes me tired.

Anyway, I did intend to start packing those things up, but realized I have no idea where to find packing material. I have some newspaper and stuff, but no where near the quantity that I'm going to need to get it all in boxes. I really don't want to break any of it...

So, instead of packing while watching Hot Fuzz, I'm blogging while watching Hot Fuzz. I also have played Scrabulous while watching Hot Fuzz. And checked the weather online while watching Hot Fuzz. And let's not forget that I checked my email while watching Hot Fuzz.

I did pack up a bunch of my clothes earlier today. That made the move seem a little more real. It feels like I've been waiting for moving day for so long that I can't believe it is finally almost here! I even had a dream last night that I was unpacking stuff in the new house!

Ok. I think I can get up and do a little work. I'll start packing glasses using today's Star Tribune. Then I'm going to have to make Mark put together a few more boxes. Only six more days to go!!!!!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Pumpkin muffins

This morning Mark and I met Barb at Panera's for breakfast. I had a pumpkin muffin. It was delicious. They have free wifi there. I may have found a place to write this summer...

Mark is still sick. He seems better now, but he is always worse in the mornings. I'm hoping that he is not horribly sick in the morning. I don't like it when he isn't feeling well. I think I'd rather be sick than have him sick.

We move in 6 days!!!! HOORAY!!! I'm going to have to try really hard to keep from buying all kinds of things for the house. Here is the list of things I want to buy: range hood, 2 entertainment centers, washer and dryer, furniture for the downstairs family room, and a TiVo.

Last night Mark and I started watching season 1 of Dexter. We are enjoying it so far. If nothing else, it certainly is interesting.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Shampoo, razors, and frozen veggies

Yep. I have made my Target shopping list the title of this blog. I'm not very creative today.

It's Friday and I'm so glad. Starting... right now, I don't have any appointments or meetings or anything work or school related until Monday morning. It's a very nice feeling after last weekend's craziness. Tomorrow, Mark and I (if Mark is feeling well enough) are meeting Dave and Barb at Panera's for a little brunch. I love Panera's. I've only been to the one in Iowa City, but the times I have been there have been great. The first time I went there for breakfast I had a chocolate croissant and a mocha. Some people may thing that sounds like too much chocolate -- a chocolate overload even -- but it was exactly the right amount for me!

This past week I've been talking with several different people about the differences between extroverts and introverts (I'm not sure how it comes up, but it does). I am an introvert. I have always thought that the main difference is that introverts need quiet, alone time to recharge while extroverts recharge and get energy from other people. A lot of people are surprised to find out I'm an introvert (at least, they are here) because I can be very outgoing. But I definitely need my alone time to recharge and I have the perfect introverts evening planned. It involves fried rice, veggie potstickers from Big Bowl, and (hopefully) Dexter Season 1 on DVD. Add in some cuddly pets and a sick husband and you have a recipe for rejuvenation!!!

I had a lot of fun in my 9:10 class this morning. My students are so funny. I know that some instructors might not like it, but I enjoy the occasional smart-ass student if it is all in good fun. I think there is a line between the smart-ass with respect for you and the smart-ass with respect for no one else. So, it got a little loud and occasionally obnoxious, but we had a great discussion. Classes like these (that are so much fun) are really the number one reason why I have the best job in the world. Yay me!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sneeze, Sneeze, Yawn

It's 9:45 and I'm watching TV on a Wednesday night. The watching TV itself is not odd. In fact, not much about my current scenario is odd. It's a pretty normal, boring night...

Just one second, I have to run upstairs and prevent my dog from being naughty...

OK, I'm back. Millie was upstairs eating cardboard. Because we are moving next week (WOO HOO) we have cardboard boxes everywhere. Millie, for whatever odd doggy reason, really likes to rip the corners off these boxes and eat them. It is seriously annoying. Especially when I came downstairs tonight in order to help Mark get a little extra sleep. He is coming down with the cold that I am just getting over, and the dogs were being giant pains the butt in bed. I was reading anyway, and I figured I could read just as well downstairs as I could up.

Last night Mark and I went to vote for a Presidential candidate. We voted for Hillary. The school where we had our caucus was PACKED. Despite the fact that the news had been predicting record turnout for these caucuses, the people working there were woefully unprepared. By the time Mark and I made it to the voting table, they had run out of the sign-in sheets so we just wound up writing our names on a yellow legal pad and then putting an x beside Hillary's name.

After we voted, I went to my friend Anna's house for a glass of wine and a bowl of chocolate ice cream. We talked and caught up while her Irish Setter puppy, Zoe, terrorized everything in sight. Zoe is an adorable puppy. I have found that I have an odd effect on some dogs. There are a few dogs out there, and Zoe is one of them, that gets unbearably excited when I show up. She jumped all over me and couldn't stop putting parts of me in her mouth. When I got home, Quinn (our other dog) wouldn't stop sniffing my clothes where Zoe had been.

Anna was packing...getting ready to go to Panama. I'm a little jealous of her warm-weather vacation, but I think I'll be just as happy moving into my new house.

And now CSI: New York is over. Oops, I better go back and italicize the name of the TV show or my mom will get on my case. There. See Mom, I do learn. I think I'll watch the news and then head upstairs. Tomorrow will be another busy day.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Addendum: Punched in the face

Oh, by the way... I have been emailing my friend who had to have an emergency root canal yesterday before leaving for Panama for several days. I have never had a root canal, so I can make no descriptive guesses as to what it might be like. My friend wrote that it was like being punched in the face, but acknowledged that analogy might be inaccurate as well because she has never been punched in the face. Is it like being punched in the face? I confess, I am curious... Although not curious enough to go courting a root canal of my own.

How Super is it?

Super Tuesday and I'm super busy.

I just spent five minutes disclosing (or venting) about my crazy busy life to my friend and colleague David, so I choose to move on and not rehash that same long, tiring conversation here. Plus, after yesterday's blog-a-thon (see how I craftily combined marathon and blog?) I think I will stick to brevity here today.

In honor of Super Tuesday, I do feel compelled to make some reference to politics. I am looking forward to finding out the results of today's polling. I am generally skeptical of polling as it represents a quantitative method of research and I am generally skeptical of quantitative research -- that being said, tonight will be interesting because it will be a major step in charting the future of our country. A future that, I fervently hope, will be quite different from our past eight years.

I vividly remember three and some odd months ago, after the last Presidential election, the feelings of sadness, despair, and disbelief when W. was re-elected. I couldn't figure out how the majority of people in my country could be so foolish (my apologies to anyone who did vote for W, I assume you have discovered the error of your ways). I walked into my office where my colleague and fellow-grad student declared that she was ready to move to Canada. Mary was even more despondent about the results... and more vocal about her feelings. But, we didn't move to Canada, and here I sit on the eve of what could truly be a historical moment for the United States. I am not ashamed to say that I am excited to see what happens next.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Stupid Spiral

Let me begin by saying that this is an extended blog. I did not get a chance to post yesterday, for reasons I shall explicate further in a moment, and I have MUCH to discuss.

This Mighty Mango Naked Juice I am drinking is delicious.

Yesterday was a busy day. In fact, my weekend was so crazy that I don't really even feel like I HAD a weekend. In the morning, concerned by my rapidly rising stack of grading (of course, I mean stack figuratively, as all of the material to be graded was in electronic format - I just like the idea of a weighty stack), I headed to Caribou Coffee for some much needed artificial stimulation and quiet grading time. The grading was very enjoyable, as I was reading blogs that my students are writing about interpersonal communication. Some of them were very entertaining. At noon, I gathered up my stuff and headed to school.

Why WAS I headed to school on Sunday? Well, we found out last week on Friday that Hillary Clinton would be coming to hold a rally. Since Mark works in the marketing department, he decided to head in early to help set up for said rally. I really wanted to attend, so I also headed in early to help set up, figuring (correctly) that it would mean that I was guaranteed a seat for the show.


Ever since John Edwards called it quits, I have been in a quandary about which DFL candidate to support. I like both Hillary and Barack very much, so I had decided to do some research on their issues. It turns out that (from my perspective, anyway) Hillary has a stronger environmental platform. I also agree with her stance on a number of other issues. Despite this research, however, I went to the rally with an open mind. I wanted to objectively listen to her speech and evaluate what she said in the hopes it would help me decide who to ultimately support in caucus.

It was very easy to get caught up in the excitement. As I drove to park, I passed people lined up outside waiting to get in along with news vans from all the major networks. As I was walking toward the building, I couldn't help but think to myself that I could be seeing the next President of the United States. What is even more inspiring, is that the President could be a woman. Even if I didn't like Hillary, as a feminist, it's exciting to think that our country is not only tolerating, but actively supporting a woman candidate for our highest office (and about time)!!

The set-up for the rally was also something to behold. I spent most of my time there helping Mark hang a school banner -- which Hillary's people then debated over, wanted to move, tried to replace, and, ultimately, put right back where it had been. Mark and I also helped another Hillary crew member hang one of her banners. It turns out that this guy flew in from Houston for the sole purpose of hanging this banner for the rally. That was his one job!! And sadly, he wasn't very good at it. If it hadn't been for Mark, I doubt the banner would have gone up at all. In the midst of all this craziness, it struck me that these campaign people sometimes go through this entire process two or three times a day!! I just helped for an hour and a half and was exhausted.

When it was finally time to listen to Hillary (after several hours of standing. painful.) it was easy to get caught up in the excitement of the crowd. As a communication professional, I was interested in her performance and her message and I have to say, after listening to her speech, that I am now a supporter for Hillary for President. She made several excellent points and said things that I whole-heartedly agree with, but one thing really tipped the scales in her favor: green economy. Every time she referred to economic solutions, she tied them to environmental solutions. Personally, I believe that green economic measures are the ONLY way to truly make a difference to our natural world. Let's face fact... Most people are not going to make the green choice unless it is also a good economic choice. I wish the world were different, but it isn't. Living in dreamland won't clean up the environment, either.

Almost immediately after throwing my support behind Hillary, I had this terrible, quietly nagging thought... "Many of my friends and family are not big Hillary supporters. Maybe I should just keep my new love and respect a secret." And then, being the good communication scholar that I am, I thought "NO. That is the Spiral of Silence talking! I will not be silenced by my fear of the majority." Because, after all, the ability to disagree with people is one of the things that makes our country great. So, bring it on!! I look forward to the constructive debates that we can have on this topic! Oh, and pictures from the rally will be appearing soon on this very blog... just be patient.

Finally, I think it worthy to make a mention of last night's Super Bowl. I went into the game cheering for the Giants, and was pleasantly surprised that they actually won! I'm not surprised based on the Giants perceived underdog status or imagined lack of ability... I am surprised because usually when I support a team it equals the kiss of death. So, when Eli broke that tackle and lead the Giants on a scoring drive that culminated in a touchdown pass - cut to Peyton Manning cheering - cut to Plaxico crying - it was a very thrilling moment for me.

So, that was yesterday. Sigh. I am hoping that today is less eventful, and less thought-provoking. Although I may have to write about my friend's emergency root canal. Cheerio.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Inconducive for Slamming

Wow, I am tired today. I got up early this morning and headed to St. Cloud for the Ice Box Classic, a college speech meet. When I got there, I judged four rounds in a row, with an hour off for lunch, which I spent sitting by myself and thinking that I need an assistant coach. Not for my small team, but for me. I really need someone to hang out with during my down time on these things!!

The bright side of the hour-long drive to St. Cloud was the fact that I just bought the audiobook Fade Away by Harlen Coben to listen to in the car. First, if you haven't ready any Myron Bolitar novels by Harlen Coben -- go out and do so immediately. They are excellent. Second, the person that reads the book captures the characters so well that it is immensely pleasing to listen to these particular books. I am a big fan of audiobooks and I have come to the conclusion that the person reading the story can really make or break the listening experience.

As far as the speech team goes, I'm not sure if I'm too old school to really appreciate the "new" style of some events. For example, it seems like everyone is doing programs now. What happened to finding a quality piece that met the time limit? It seems like everything now is patched together from smaller pieces that may or may not relate to each other. And don't even get me started on impromptu! I'm so tired of people doing a shoddy job on their quotation interpretation. They bend and twist the true meaning of the quote and then plug in juvenile and pointless examples to support their mangled interpretation. When a speaker does manage to accurately interpret the quote I want to jump up and celebrate!!

When I got home from the tournament today Mark cooked us some delicious fake chicken nuggets and some Zesty Fries. Then we watched the movie War with Jason Statham and Jet Li. It was a good movie -- lots of action and plot twists -- until the very, very end, which was abrupt and sort of dumb.

Oh, before I sign off for the day... Today at the speech meet I heard a speech about how our collective penmenship is degrading. The speaker posited that this degeneration of penmenship was a result of an increase in computer-mediated-communication and a decrease in the emphasis on handwriting in school. I, too, happen to believe that CMC, especially texting, is ruining our ability to communication in writing (which doesn't mean that I don't ALSO send text messages). So what? you may ask. Well, so this... According to the speaker, poor doctor handwriting causes all sorts of deaths every year because people mis-read or can't read prescriptions or instructions. In light of this speech, and because I have often lamented the state of my own handwriting, I have decided to mindfully attempt to improve my handwriting (as soon as I'm done typing this blog).

Friday, February 1, 2008

The dentist is for suckers.

And a sucker I am. I just went to the dentist. I'm not one of those dread-and-hate-the-dentist people. I don't mind the dentist. I just hadn't been there in a long while. Because of our recent move to the metro, this trip was to a dentist I had never been to before. And may I just say, that the dental assistant that cleaned my teeth was VERY ENTHUSIASTIC. I couldn't help but think of one of my brother's favorite rants. It went something like this:

"Stupid dentist! The poke you in the gums with their little metal things and then are like 'oh, well, your gums are bleeding.' Of course they're bleeding!! You've been stabbing me with the pointy metal thing!! I just want to take that thing and stab them in the eye with it."

When Jared was in high school, the only thing he hated more than dentists were refs.

Anyway, I can't talk today. I am currently recovering from a cold. While I feel much better today (almost 100%), the better I feel, the worse my voice sounds. Today, I sound like I have a small elf or gnome trapped inside my throat, trying to get out. Needless to say, my students found this very amusing this morning in my public speaking class. The harder I tried to control the wild variations in pitch and clarity, the more likely it became that my voice would shoot up an octave, like a 13-year-old boy's. It's been awesome, to say the least.

Tomorrow I have to drive to St. Cloud for a speech tournament. The unfortunate thing is that I'm going to have to leave at 7 a.m. to get there on time. I will definitely be needing a audio book for this adventure. I'm going to have to go pick one up at Barnes and Noble later tonight.