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.

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!