Friday, October 22, 2010

My sister, Amy, and I have a time-honored tradition of trash-talking the magazine covers displayed near the checkout aisle at grocery stores.  Especially the ones featuring well-known 'homemaking celebrities.'  I've always thought Martha Stewart looked downright sinister.  But that's a subject worthy of it's own post.  Today I wanted to talk a little about Paula Deen.

She's always creeped me out, but I've never been able to put my finger on exactly why.  She's doesn't seem as malevolent as Martha, just... not right.  Her piercing blue eyes, oddly perfect hair, and intense close-up photographs on the cover on her magazine just give me the jibblies.  Amy texted me a photograph of her the other day.  That same day, I read a little article about her and had to share the news with Amy.  

Our text conversation went as follows:

Me: Fun fact about Paula Deen: apparently she was agoraphobic for 20 years. Since she never left her house, she taught herself to cook. So, no wonder she has crazy face. She had virtually no human contact for like 2 decades.
Amy: Wow. That explains so much. :)
Me: I wonder if she talked to the food as she was slicing and sauteing. Shiver.
Amy: That's a creepy creepy image.
Me: Let it really sink in. It gets worse.
Amy: Like a sociopath. Speaking gently, almost reassuringly as she decapitates. Shudder.
Me: That's the funniest/most disturbing thing I've ever heard!!!
Amy: It might be the most disturbing thing I've ever written. I need to get that image out of my head.

Not sure you believe me?  See for yourself.

Paula with a few unfortunate victims

Saturday, September 11, 2010

That Guy at the Gym

I've belonged to two gyms and used multiple apartment complex facilities, and it seems like this guy is everywhere.  If you've ever been to a gym, you've probably seen him.  And he probably made your workout uncomfortable.  Who is he?

Grunting Unnecessarily Guy
Let me start out by saying that I consider all gym grunting unnecessary and disgusting.  It's why I've actually chosen on several occasions to skip my workout because I've forgotten my iPod... I'd prefer not to hear what you sound like in the bathroom.  But some guys grunt while lifting significant amounts of weight, and that I don't mind as much.  Grunting Unnecessarily Guy is that one dude who is benching less than I can but thinks he's in an iron man competition, and sounds like it.

The Former Bodybuilder
I think there's at least one of these guys working out at every gym in America.  He's usually really buff with a substantial beer-gut.  He's trying to relive his glory days while coping with a rapidly slowing metabolism.  He's never heard of cardio.  He's wearing sweat-pants (possibly cut-off at a modest length), black athletic shoes, and an old Gold's Gym sweater he purchased while Miami Vice was still on the air that's been cut into a deep tank top that shows a little side-man-boob and an alarming amount of pit hair.

The Guy Who Doesn't Actually Work Out
He stands near various pieces of equipment, occasionally doing a set but mostly chugging gatorade and stretching so as to show off his chest.  He checks himself out the mirrors almost as often as he imagines you are checking him out.  You know who I'm talking about.

The Guy Who Might Live at the Gym
Whether you go to gym for a workout in the early morning, over your lunch break, in the middle of the day, or right before closing... he's there.  Whether you go on a Sunday or a Tuesday or a Friday... he's there.  Regardless of when you visit, he's always wearing the same thing.  He's on a first name basis with every single employee.  He may or may not have a job.  Which begs the question, how does he afford his gym membership?  Which makes you think he might be sneaking into a storage closet to sleep every night.

This was the nickname Stephen and I had for this short dude who belonged to our gym in South Carolina, and I've seen the same kind of guy in other facilities.  Junkers is always wearing the same pair of wildly inappropriate, super-tight spandex shorts.

Lower-Back Tattoo Guy
Ok, maybe you haven't seen him at your gym, but I saw him once at our gym, swimming laps.  He got out of the pool wearing speedo shorts- the kind that end right above the knee but are so low cut at the waist you practically need a bikini wax to wear them.  He strutted over to the chair where his towel was.  I was just thinking that he was kind of good looking when he turned around.  And there it was.  A tramp stamp.  A small tribal tattoo, about 3 inches across, right on his lower back.  I'm now sure that he bought the speedo specifically to show it off, because regular swim trunks would have covered it up.  As soon as I saw it, all thoughts of hotness vanished instantly.

That One Guy in Yoga Class
He shows up alone.  He keeps his socks on during class.  He picks a spot right behind you.  He looks around the room during downward dog pose.  He also smells funny.

The Guy Who Comes to Yoga Class Because His Girlfriend is Making Him
He shows up with his girlfriend and looks embarrassed when some other guys see him walk into the yoga studio.  He keeps his socks on during class.  He makes little jokes and comments and gets scolded by his girlfriend.  Someone farts during child's pose and he laughs and gets scolded by his girlfriend.  He looks around the room during downward dog pose and gets scolded by his girlfriend.  He also smells funny.

Stephen kindly made a few contributions:

The Guy Who Walks Around Naked in the Locker Room
He's all nonchalant about it, but everyone knows that he could have put his boxers on a long time ago.  He's really well-built and is obviously showing off.  Everyone makes a concerted effort to keep their eyes from settling at waist level.  The mirrors make this difficult.

The Other Guy Who Walks Around Naked in the Locker Room
Unlike the first guy, he isn't well-built or tan.  He's usually older.  He just hasn't gotten dressed because he doesn't care anymore.  We still can't decide which guy is worse.

Have you seen That Guy at the Gym?  Tell me about it in the comments.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

This is Why I Never Bake

I was struggling through writing a post for my business blog the other day and ended up learning an important rule about how to improve my process, my writing, and definitely my productivity.  Although I'm going to talk about writing specifically, I think this rule is applicable to any creative process.  It won't force you to make significant changes to the way you work.  It won't take a lot of extra time.  It won't leave you feeling frustrated.  Best of all, it's super easy, even natural.

Am I starting to sound like an infomercial?  I feel like it...

Do you frequently re-read the last sentence you wrote and pull out your hair as you bemoan your inadequacies as a writer?

Yes, I realize she's wearing pantyhose on her head.
That doesn't make any sense.  I don't care.

Do you often devolve into tears because you can't think of the exact perfect synonym?
Please take this from me-
I don't deserve it if I can't come up
with another word for "picturesque."

Do you suffer from such intense writer's block that you fantasize about devouring your computer in a fit of rage?
Not, that's not me.  I use a MacBook!

Infomercial aside, here's the rule:

Don't edit while you write.  (Obviously, I haven't edited this at all.  Otherwise I probably wouldn't have posted it.)

Or, if you prefer: Don't critique your work while you're still in the process of creating it.  You can easily get so distracted fixing it up as you go that you don't get anywhere.  You're too "close to the project," as they say in the corporate world.  Lately, I've been trying something new: focusing on just getting my thoughts down on paper (or keyboard, whatever), jumbled and nonsensical as they may sometimes be.  Then, I let it rest.  Often overnight.  I come back to it later and re-read it and commence with the hair-pulling and sobbing if necessary.

Good writing is like baking bread (not that I would know... I've never baked bread in my life, this is based on baking here-say and conjecture).  You mix all the ingredients together and let it rise for a while.  Then you come back to it and... well, maybe you made crappy bread, and it's too late now.  But that's why writing is better than baking, because you can take stuff out if it doesn't taste good.  But now I'm mixing metaphors.

I promise you, creative types, that you'll start producing better work if you let it occur naturally, organically, in it's raw form, and come back to it after you've let your right brain rest a little.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stephen and I are currently living in a third story one-bedroom apartment which is purportedly 900 square feet, but I don't believe it for a second. Some college kids live in the building across from ours, and they frequently sit on their porch at 3am drinking, smoking, and arguing loudly enjoying college life. Our "home office" is spread across the apartment, at various times encompassing the couches, dining room table, porch, and bedroom. On top of that, we have a baby coming in January, who at the moment would probably have to live in our walk in closet. So, yeah. We're kind of looking for a new place.

Stephen is all over Craig's List looking for houses or condos to rent.  A few weeks ago, we found a great one.  In a really nice part of town.  Well within our budget.  Three bedrooms.  Fenced backyard.  Garage.  Excitement!  Could it be real?

Stephen emailed the lister, who wrote back right away.  She explained that she was currently working for the Red Cross, living in Western Africa, and really wanted renters that would take good care of her home.  Some of the phrasing made us wonder... it could have been written by someone who was in a hurry, or on a blackberry.  Or, it could have been written by someone who doesn't speak English as a first language... someone who might not necessarily feel compelled to be totally honest with us.  But that didn't occur to us until after we filled out the application and sent it back to her.

That night, we went with my family to drive by the place and check it out.  The lawn was trimmed, the flowers were tended, and there was a car parked in the driveway.  "I thought it was vacant?" we wondered aloud.  "Maybe she has current renters," my mom suggested.  Suspicious, Stephen went to the door to try and talk to the tenants.

Unsurprisingly, the "tenant" is actually the "owner" who is, in fact, considering renting it out... but hasn't listed it yet.  You can imagine her surprise when she found out she was living in West Africa and trying to rent her house for nearly a third of her actual mortgage.

If we hadn't figured it out by then, we would have after reading the next email from West Africa lady.  She was so excited to find some good renters for her home who would take wonderful care of it.  "Rest assured," she wrote, "I am the real owner of the house."  Oh, well then!  I feel better now.  Because I'm sure you wouldn't say that if it weren't true!  "Send me the deposit and first month's rent and I will mail you the paperwork and keys to the property."  That fast, huh?  Wow.  This process is so unbelievably easy!

Stephen decided to mess with her a little, writing her a response absolutely drenched in sarcasm.  He thanked her for reassuring us of her true identity and commented that she must have hired some landscapers as the lawn looked well-taken care of.  He said we were so appreciative of her flexibility that we wanted to send her two months of rent at once, and where is her nearest Western Union? He told her how impressed we are that she's devoting her time to the Red Cross, telling her "your heart must be as big as your lies."  We figured after that, we wouldn't hear from her again.  Wrong.

She wrote back gushing over how happy she was to have some great renters, and telling us how to send her the money.  Blah blah blah.  It seemed evident she had missed the acrimonious tone in the previous message, making further screwing less entertaining.  We were bored with the project and went back to looking for an actual homeowner to rent from.  We told her we'd send the money right away, and then promptly forgot about her.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I'm Going to Tri

My good friend Stephanie, who is also pregnant and due about a 6 weeks before me, invited me to do a mini triathlon with her.  I breathlessly accepted.  A co-worker of my dad's commented, "Most pregnant women get cravings... she's doing a triathlon?"  It's a 2 mile run, 5 mile bike, and 250 meter swim.  I've always wanted to do a triathlon... I grew up cycling, and I took up running a little over a year ago.  The only thing stopping me was swimming.  Dreaded swimming.

I was raised in Denver.  We don't have big lakes- at least not many that are warm enough or clean enough to swim in.  We don't have big rivers.  We definitely don't have an ocean.  The point is, Colorado kids don't really need to know how to swim any better than doing the doggie paddle at the local pool.  For most of us, swimming means splashing around in the shallows and jumping into/struggling awkwardly out of the deep end.

I was always jealous of my friends who lived in "planned developments" because they had sunny community pools that were accessed through a magical little card.  My parent's neighborhood isn't governed by an HOA and thus does not have a community pool, so if we wanted to swim, we had to go somewhere that cost actual money.  If you've ever met my dad you know that means that we didn't get to the pool much.

So, I could swim well enough to keep from drowning... but it's not pretty.  Ask me to swim from one end of a pool to the other, and ten minutes later you would have found me only half-way, clinging to the edge of the pool, coughing up water.

This is the same way I got into running.  After several pathetically failed attempts, I felt defeated... and needed vengeance.  Nothing motivates me so effectively as sweet, sweet retribution.  If you tell me I can't do something, I set off to do exactly that.

This triathlon has provided a perfect excuse for me to start training.  I agreed to do it around the middle of June, and the event is July 31st.  That means I've been training constantly to go from gurgling, choking, and gasping my way through half a lap to swimming ten laps.  With no breaks.  In about a month.  While pregnant.  I can totally do that.  What, you think I can't?  Because I am.

Now that I think about it, this swimming thing could have something to do with the fact that my body is shedding fat...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pregnancy is Weird

I've been assured by medical professionals, experienced moms, and my husband (who isn't nearly as qualified to give pregnancy advice- but he's very reassuring) that what I'm going through is totally normal and nothing to worry about.  But, every day, I find a new thing that doesn't seem to fit in with what I expected pregnancy would be like.

  • I haven't gained a pound since getting pregnant.  In fact, I actually lost weight during my first trimester.  Over the last month, I've come back up to my pre-preggers weight, and I've been holding steady.  This is especially confusing considering the many changes to my (typically uber-healthy) eating habits, including but not limited to:
    • Switching from skim to full-fat milk
    • Switching to full-fat cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese, sour cream, etc.
    • Eating a LOT more dairy... like, a LOT
    • Consuming eggs like they're going out of style
    • Choosing red meat over chicken or fish whenever I have the chance
    • Eating like a hobbit; you will find me in the kitchen rummaging through the cupboards or refrigerator at least once an hour, stuffing food into my mouth.
    • The feeling that I am justified in eating an ice cream sunday every time I drive by Sonic.
    • The fact that I act on that feeling at least 50% of the time.
  • I've lost two inches around my waist.  I'm confounded by this.  Lately, when I look in the mirror, I have a hard time finding my waist.  But the numbers don't lie.  2 inches.  Gone.  What the what?
  • I've also lost two inches around my hips.  But I know for a fact that my pants are tighter around my hips than they were three months ago.  I'm mystified.
  • I've gained two inches around my tummy.  Yes, the baby bump is clearly visible and getting more obvious day by day.  Yet, I haven't gained weight.  Not. A. Single. Pound.
I've always thought of pregnancy as a time when you gain weight.  So far, most of my pregnancy has been different than what I expected- in the best ways- but I'm just befuddled by this.  I can't remember a time in my adult life when I felt better or healthier than I do now.  Is that normal?

Whatever it is, I like it.  But I'm still confused.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Employment is Overrated

I haven't talked about this much, but I feel like talking about it today.

A few months ago I wrote about our third wedding anniversary.  What I didn't share was that, on our anniversary, Stephen was laid off from his job.  I didn't talk about it because I wasn't worried about it- God will provide for our needs, and He has- and it was beside the point.  Although the event has had a major effect on our finances, it hasn't changed much else, except that Stephen is home during the day now.  Which means more hiking, biking, and making babies quality time together.

He's been looking for a new job since it happened.  In fact, he had been looking for work since December... the job sucked and he was ready for something new.  When his boss gave him the news, Stephen actually struggled to hide his smile.  Anyway, he's been on unemployment for a while, and we just applied for pregnancy medicaid.  Not a problem for me... I figure I've been giving my money to the government long enough that I might as well get some of it back.  For Stephen, as a conservative, these were challenging decisions to make, and he can't wait to get off government aid.

Anyway, the most amazing thing about the past few months has been our finances- things have been tight, but we've been able to pay every single bill.  God has provided for us every step of the way, and we haven't had a moment of doubt, thinking, "how will we pay for this?"  In fact, my business has been booming- I've been enjoying my best month ever since I started the business last year, and now Stephen is working with me until he finds a "regular" job.

Then, only a few months later we discovered I was pregnant (although, this was no surprise).  Our first thought was "God must be moving to do something incredible for us, because this would generally be considered horrendous timing."

Many Christians have this idea that God puts us in uncertain situations, delights in watching us squirm uncomfortably, and then dramatically comes through for us at the very last second.  But through this process God has shown me that this is not his heart for us.  Rather, he uses the uncertain situations in my life to draw me into Him.  What I'm supposed to be feeling is not doubt or discomfort, but excitement and hopeful expectation in the certainty of God's promises.

I've gotten to a point of not caring about the details, but knowing that God will provide for our material needs.  I'm not asking Him "how?" and "when?"  My heart is settled in His goodness, and I haven't worried about it.  Honestly, I haven't even thought about it outside of mere curiosity over what will happen next.

And I think this is exactly where God wants us; not dominated by doubt and anxiety and fear, we're free to live in genuine relationship with Him... not for what He can provide for us in a given circumstance, but for who He is.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sounds of a Uterus

I had my first prenatal appointment yesterday.  They say you're supposed to have your first appointment between 10 and 12 weeks, and I just slipped in under the 12 week mark.  I wouldn't have, except that we finally got our medicaid coverage.  I figured, what will they tell me?  "You're pregnant."  Well, great.  I know that already.  But I got something so much better yesterday!

We decided to go with Mountain Midwifery Center, a birthing center that has come highly recommended by nearly all of my mom-type friends, and I couldn't be more thrilled.  We toured the facility on Monday and then got to spend nearly an hour with a certified nurse-midwife yesterday.  In sharp contrast to a regular doctor's office where your visits last 10-20 minutes and you are little more than a name on a chart, we'll get extra visits that last as long as they need to for us to feel comfortable and get to know each staff member well.

So, when we went in I was 11 weeks and 5 days pregnant.  After much thorough discussion on my health, it was finally time for the much-anticipated event: finding the heartbeat.  Aubre, the wonderful nurse-midwife who saw us, informed us that you almost never hear the heartbeat until the end of the 13th week, and don't worry if we can't hear it, everything is fine, it's just too early.  As she squirted the cold blue gel on my belly and began moving the dealie around, she commented that she'd be really surprised if we heard anything today.  We heard my heartbeat, and we heard a lot of indiscriminate whooshing, but no baby beat.  In case you were wondering, my uterus sounds like wind blowing through an empty cave.  I was considering how oddly appropriate this picture was when... it happened.

I think she was about the give up when the slightest tilt of the device moved us out of the wind, and suddenly all the whooshing gave way to a tiny, faster-than-fast heartbeat.  I recognized it immediately.  Aubre's jaw dropped in surprise, and unable to restrain myself, I made some noise of astonishment, and my stomach moved, and we lost it.  She managed to find it again for another few seconds, but I giggled and we lost it again.

Somehow, it all feels real to me now.  Obviously, I know I'm pregnant- there's no doubt about that.  After 3 separate tests, a rapidly growing appetite (and belly), and the delightful fact that I haven't touched my tampons in three months, I feel certain about it.  But something changed when I heard that heartbeat- I remember thinking, "Oh my gosh- you're really real!"  I suddenly connected with the person living inside me, and I will never, ever forget the moment I first heard my child's heartbeat.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Were You Born in a Gym?

For three months we've been debating about whether to do a home birth or go to a birthing center, since I'm not considering a hospital birth.  Much of this decision hinges on what kind of home we'll be living in in January.

You see, I'd love to do a home birth.  I've heard great things about the individualized level of care you get from a midwife.  They visit you in your home, take as much time with you as you need, and get personally involved in your life.  However, the thought of having a baby in our (not large) apartment isn't my favorite thought.  There's probably plenty of room, but I'm honestly concerned with bothering our neighbors.  Never had a baby before, but I'm under the impression that it's not exactly a quiet affair.  And as we don't know if we'll be in a house or an apartment, it's tough to decide right now.

That's why I've been leaning toward a birthing center, but I'm a little disappointed about this.

Then, I had a thought.  It happened this morning while Stephen and I were working out.  One great thing about our apartment complex is the full-service gym in the clubhouse.  There were some meat heads doing free weights when we came in, and I suddenly remembered why I never, ever, ever go to the gym without my iPod.  While I was listening to the three of them grunt and moan and breathe heavily and generally make unnecessary noises for twenty minutes, this brilliant idea occurred to me.

Why don't I just give birth in the gym?  No one would notice... because it almost always sounds like someone is pushing out a baby in our gym, anyway.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Big News!

You may remember a post a post a few months ago in which I decried Facebook's irritating advertising tactics, specifically, them deciding it was time for me to have a baby.

You see, Facebook advertising works on two principles: your demographic (age, sex, location, etc.) and what they know about you based on your bio, wall posts, etc.  So, FB knows I am a female living in Colorado between the ages of 18 and 30.  They also know what kind of music and books and movies and activities I like.  Thus, I usually get ads encouraging me to get pregnant, buy hiking boots, and go to Coldplay concerts.

What I'm saying is that, at the time of the aforementioned post, FB had no idea that Stephen and I were, in fact, very much hoping to get one of those cute little plus signs on a pee stick (but not because FB told me to).  On Mother's Day, I happily got such a result and have been celebrating ever since.  We went about personally sharing the good news with family and close friends.

My due date is set at January 12th, and both my nephews are certain that there's a girl growing in my rapidly expanding belly.  We had a great conversation with my 4 year old nephew, wherein he explained how he knew the sex of my baby:

Us: How did you know it was a girl?
Him: I just knew... I saw her.
Us: Awesome.  How did you see her?
Him: (in a 'don't be silly!' tone of voice) I had an x-ray!
Us: Wow.  Did she wave at you?
Him: No.
Us: What was she doing?
Him: Nothing.  She didn't see me... she wasn't looking at me.

Obviously, a lot of things are changing right now.  One thing that hasn't changed much is my Facebook experience.  They've been pitching pregnancy at me for at least a year.  But as soon as they found out via an announcement on my wall, the ads got worse.  Just now I logged on and on the sidebar were three ads: A gender predictor, a week-by-week pregnancy guide, and an invitation to join some mommy networking group.  Every time I log on, I'm greeted by pregnant bellies and baby pictures and blah blah blah.

So, I'm beyond thrilled that we'll soon be welcoming the newest member of our family.  I'm two weeks away from my second trimester, I feel wonderful, and I'm having a lot of fun.  But there's a little part of me, deep down inside, that can't help but feel like Facebook won.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Three Years Ago Today...

Today, dear readers, my husband and I celebrate three spectacular years of marriage, and look forward to many more.

And I'm not just saying that.  It has been wholly and completely phenomenal.  At the risk of sounding cheesy, let me brag on my handsome husband for a moment.  Stephen makes everything more fun; he's honest and completely trustworthy; he's unflinchingly supported everything I've wanted to do; he doesn't take himself too seriously; he puts me before himself and always has my best in mind.  We're happy together, and our relationship has been easy.  And I think a lot of people, whether single, dating, engaged, or married, really need to hear something positive about the institution of marriage.

So, if you will permit me, I'd like to share my point of view on matrimony.  Many an engaged or newly married couple has heard some part or variation of this diatribe speech, as I give it regularly and without invitation.  Subsequently, many a couple has remarked how refreshing it is to hear a success story; we're lucky enough to have some great examples in our lives of happy and functional married couples, whom we've tried our best to emulate.

When you are engaged or newly married, a host of well-intentioned family, friends, and even total strangers will make it their business to share with you all manner of advice, suggestions, and personal experiences in order to prepare you for the road ahead.  In my case (and I suspect in many others), more often than not this advice tended toward discouragement; this, I contend, is human nature.  I think when people have a negative experience they almost relish the chance to project it onto someone else, that they might justify it to themselves, thereby making their experience normal.

Whether from these well meaning friends and family, from strangers, from sitcoms and movies, from books, or even from sermons in church, many of us grow up expecting all kinds of ridiculous things about relationships, weddings, marriage, and even gender roles, like:

  • The wedding will be stressful.  You probably won't remember it.
  • The first year will definitely suck.  Hard.
  • Having kids will make everything suck harder.
  • Look out for the seven year slump.
  • Don't expect to love each other or even like each other all the time.  It comes and goes, you know.
  • Women will be controlling and manipulative, and will nag their husbands mercilessly.
  • Men are terrified of commitment, so if you manage to snag one, he'll be emotionally distant and probably unfaithful.
  • Essentially, marriage is a series of fights, one long struggle, full of sacrifice and disappointment.

Ok, so maybe I'm being kind of dramatic about it, but seriously- I've heard this kind of crap proffered 'helpfully' by fellow Christians, and we're the ones that go on and on about the sanctity of marriage.  We've also been told on multiple occasions, "Oh, of course you're still in love.  You're just newlyweds."  Psssh... no wonder half of us get divorced.  That kind of relationship is boring and hopeless.

I'm happy to tell you that it doesn't have to be like that!  You and your spouse get to decide for yourselves what your relationship will look like.  I'm proud to say that Stephen and I have never in three years had a fight that we didn't completely resolve within half an hour... that's a legacy we intend to uphold.  We communicate about everything, keep no secrets and harbor no bitterness, have no unspoken expectations.  We've been intentional about the way we treat, talk to, and talk about the other.  We act in humility, rather than pride.  And it's been easy.  It's been so easy that we sometimes feel guilty and embarrassed talking with other couples for whom it hasn't been easy.

I'm not saying it'll be sunshine and lollipops for everyone.  All I'm saying is this: don't let anyone tell you what your relationship is going to look like.  Sure, sometimes I've had a long day and treating Stephen with love and respect is more a decision than something I just do instinctively.  I'm sure challenges will come up in our lives together.  We'll have the added responsibilities of kids, we'll have tight budgets, we'll have stressful circumstances.  But Stephen and I have settled internally that we aren't going to let any outside factors determine the quality or working of our relationship.  So, here's to many more years of better and better!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Art for the Glory of God

I want to give a quick shout out to a dear, beloved friend of mine who has launched a blog.  Please check her out!

Liz Downing is one of my very best friends.  When we met in 2006 (is that right, Liz?), we found we had a great deal in common and developed a fast friendship.  Liz is so many things- artist, worshipper, devoted friend, student, and teacher.  During the years I've had the pleasure of counting Liz as my friend, I've never seen her pursue anything with less than a wholehearted passion.  She dives completely into everything she does.

Liz's blog, Art for the Glory of God, is a forum for her to share her artwork (paintings, pastels, sketches, and whatever else she's working on) with anyone who is interested.  She's incredibly talented- just take a look at her work!  Liz is a constant encouragement and inspiration to me, both in the beautiful pieces she creates and in the way she lives her life.

I believe there is glory in working hard, doing all things in excellence and joy.  Liz exemplifies this lifestyle and it shows in her artwork!  Check her out today, and keep up with her on the blogroll to the right.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Facebook is pimping me out for advertising revenue.  And they're doing it to you, too.

My profile page and wall make absolutely no reference to babies, motherhood, or anything remotely related to babies and motherhood, nor should they.  I am not a mother, and I don't have the natural affection for babies which is typical in women my age.

On the contrary, I'm quite uncomfortable with them- when someone hands me their baby, I hold it awkwardly a few feet in front of me wondering how long I will be in this precarious situation, and what one discusses with a baby, and am always distraught when the baby begins to wail.  While other women coo and grin at babies, I feel strangely vulnerable as they fix me with a fishy gaze.  Don't get me wrong... I don't have any particular grievance against babies, I'm just not baby crazy.  I tell myself it will change when I have my own someday.

But I think Facebook and the advertising conglomerates really want me to get going on the whole procreation thing.  Every time I log on, the ads on the sidebar are all about:
  • babies
  • baby products
  • pregnancy
  • motherhood
  • parenting
  • related products, magazines, supplements, clothing, toys
  • and more babies
Every advertisement (with the exception of one vaguely unsettling ad with a giant Asian baby) features photos of smiling, chubby babies, glowing preggers women, or beaming new mothers holding their clean, not-screaming baby (while their hair and makeup looks fabulous).   And they want my uterus to ache as I think, "I could be that happy... if only I had a baby!"

No matter how many times I tell FB to get rid of the baby ads because they are irrelevant or even offensive, they persist.  You see, my ovaries not only have reproductive power... they also have exponential purchasing power.  My ovaries are a highly sought-after target market.  My ovaries are a lucrative key demographic.  Advertisers are sure that with sufficient time and persistence, their not-so-subliminal message will hit a nerve in women of the proper age, and we will be driven, masses of us, to bear offspring and purchase pampers.  I don't think you could ask for a warmer market, yet we are the socio-economic segment that advertisers pursue with the most vigilance.

Today, I logged on, and there on the sidebar was an ad encouraging me to "Make a Baby!"  I was vexed and mildly offended for a moment until I realized it was for an application which allows you to upload pictures of "you and your love" to see what your offspring will look like.  It might actually work if the baby in the picture wasn't a creepy manchild with a somehow-it's-just-not-quite-right kind of face.  Directly below it was an ad for pampers.  Groan.

Facebook is messing with me.

*Addendum: I posted this yesterday... Today, I got a letter for a special offer on National Geographic KIDS.  Et Tu, NG?

Friday, February 12, 2010


We've all heard of multi-level marketing (MLM) companies and pyramid schemes, promising you and your family financial freedom for eternity and your own island and your own yacht to get to the island and probably some girls in bikinis who live on the island.  Maybe you've even known a few individuals that were enterprising enough to sign on to one of these programs.  Liberty International, headed by CEO Randy Jeffers, is the parent company for many of these scams reputable companies, and today, I learned something extremely noteworthy about him that I felt I needed to share with you.

We happen to know a few people who have gotten involved with Jeffers' new 'business opportunity', a company called WOW mobile that (of course) promises you free everything for life if you get people to sign up under you, causing distributors to alienate all their friends for free wireless service.

We've been told that at meetings for these new distributors, Randy Jeffers is claiming to be the inventor of VoIP.  NO, no, not Voice over Internet Protocol, the family of technologies that revolutionized wireless communications a few years ago.  VOIP, the noise a robot makes as it turns its enemy into a pile of steaming ash with its powerful robot laser vision.

An awesome robot disintegrates a pyramid scheme using laser vision, which was probably also invented by Randy Jeffers.  (art credit: me)

You see, Stephen and I have done some extensive digging on the history of Voice over Internet Protocol, and can't find a single reference to Randy Jeffers or Liberty International!  So, one can only assume that he must have had an important role in developing VOIP, the quintessential robot sound effect.  I wonder what other robot sound effects Jeffers has pioneered?  The man is a genius, and God bless him.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My illustrious husband is the master of improvisational silly songs, spontaneous ironic raps, and situational humor.  Many of his ridiculous songs and raps have worked their way into our regular 'vocabulary', like the one my little nephews like to sing to the tune of twinkle twinkle little star, "tickle tickle little feet, they are sweaty and they stink."

We're also a big fan of facebook games, like the time we got friends to comment about "Things you can say about your furniture but not your spouse".  So last night Stephen had the brilliant idea to start a rap battle on his facebook status, inviting friends to "pretend you are a rapper writing your first song.  It's all about bragging... what you got, gangsta?"

Of course, he roped me into it... I love hip hop but I'm straight up white.  Ask me to spit some rhymes on the spot, and I would probably just spit.  But writing... ahh, this is where I feel comfortable.  So I sat down to write my first rap, and I found it was actually kind of a fun writing exercise.  (Having said that, I'm fully aware of how lame it sounds.  Street cred = gone)  Anyway, here it is:

Yo, I'm a hippie green babe and I eat granola, You know I got more lines than Emile Zola. I try to shop at Whole Foods when our budget allows, don't eat a lot of meat, got to save them cows. Boys, let me drop some knowledge, I'ma show you how.

This is how I roll, on my own two feet. Ain't got no carbon footprint, got your prius beat. When you see me struttin on my way to the store, you know I'm bringing my own bags, ya'll, I'm green hardcore.

I'm always wearing flip flops, rain or shine. Even when it's snowy, dude you know I don't whine. I'm a Denver hippie girl, granola through and through, politically moderate, son, you know how I do. Don't wear no makeup cause I'm natural, but I always shave my pits cause that's just ... no one wants to see that....

I'm out.