Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Baking (Why I Need to Stay Away from the Oven for a While)

Huh. This doesn't look too bad, does it?
I'm trying too hard, aren't I? I mean, I go "off the air" so to speak, for like... I don't know, what, 6 weeks? 8 weeks? And now... deluge of blogs.

Yea, I probably am.

But I finally have some brain space to blog again, and right now, everything is freaking funny.

So, because I apparently didn't learn my lesson about baking or the perils of Christmas, I attempted to make brownies the morning before our annual Christmas Vacation party.

Son of a...

Friday, December 19, 2014

Spanks, Fat Pants, and Other Consequences of the Holidays

At the present moment, my office is awash in sugar. Since Thanksgiving, diabetic coma inducing treats have shown up with such frequency that I'm going to need an insulin pump by the end of the season since, as you all know, I have no self-control.

Monday, December 15, 2014

O ($h*#)! Christmas Tree

So, every year since I was born (at least, every year I can remember, and for those of you who know me, you know I can remember a really, REALLY long time back...) I have ventured into the woods with family to cut down a tree for Christmas. When Eric and I got married, this tradition continued, and, while we were living in Indiana, this meant driving up to Michigan for Thanksgiving with family, then going to the cottage for the weekend where we went to a Northern Michigan tree farm with the rest of our "Jet" friends and cut down trees.

Eric cutting the tree in Pike National Forest.
Since we have moved to Colorado, the adventure has continued. However, here, you can buy a permit for just $10 from the Forest Service, head into the woods, and cut nature's finest, freshest tree.

However, Pike National Forest is most definitely not a tree farm. What you find in the forest are not tree farm trees, that have been pruned and shaped.

Our first year, our tree was a little sparse on the branches, but straight and evenly spaced enough. Last year, our little scrap of a tree was missing more than a few branches, but we made it work.

This year's tree might kill me.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Baby Shower Invites, or Why I Refuse to Go on Pintrest but It Ruined Me Anyway

Pintrest (or Pin-Interest, as my mother refers to it) may be a font of ideas, but it is the DEVIL for simplicity. Seriously, the consequences of life in a Pintrest world have driven me to drink.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Southern Thailand

At the end of our Thailand journey, we spent a couple days on the beach in Southern Thailand near Krabi. We ate seafood, walked the beach, and I swam and snorkeled (thanks to Adele for letting me borrow her mask) in the warmest ocean I've ever been in. I also swam like a crazed dolphin out to two different rocks in the middle of the sea, while Eric watched (and probably worried.) But sometimes you only get to do some things once, and well, swimming to a rock island in Thailand might be one of those things.
Our hotel in Aaong Villa.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Compassion in TH

The kids take their shoes off before they go into the project.
While we were in Thailand, we had the opportunity to visit a Compassion project close to the northern border of Thailand and Burma. This relatively rural area in Chiang Dao, has a church of only 44 parishioners, but hosts 150 children 6 days a week in a Compassion project.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Animals in Thailand

So, in Thailand they don't necessarily have the same rules about animals as the do in the US. While we were specifically told not to feed the monkeys (and yet watched other tourists do it while I was busy running AWAY from said monkey blocking my trail so he wouldn't bite my face... ok, he never made an attempt to bite my face, but I wasn't taking any chances,) it apparently is perfectly acceptable to pet tigers and ride elephants, as long as you pay the appropriate fee. Which we did, although since a tiger mauled a tourist two weeks after we left Thailand, I don't think we'll be doing that again any time soon. At least I won't be - Eric was much more at ease in the tiger sanctuary than I was.

Monday, December 8, 2014

We went to Thailand

Yep, I'm behind... but stuff happens.

At the end of September, I met Eric in Thailand. He had gone the week before to the General Assembly for YFC, leading young staff. I met him at the end of the trip, and we stayed on. We spent a day in Bangkok, then flew up to Chiang Mai, where we met up with my co-worker and friend, Adele. Adele, as it turns out, it super fun to travel with and didn't mind schlepping us around Northern Thailand. We had a grand time, and even crossed into Burma and Laos for a bit of time.
Water Taxi in Bangkok, taken from our own water taxi

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

"How Big Is Africa?" or "Why I'm Not Getting Ebola and Neither Are You"

Yes, I know, I'm woefully behind in blogging. We went to Thailand, and I have almost literally worked non-stop since then, with the exception of some planned out fun (hiking in Boulder, new house party for MJ and Chris...) Getting back has been a zoo. I have some major work with super-tight deadlines, and this is just what I have had to do for a while...

Anyway! At "some" point, I'll update. In the mean time, I just MUST write this, or very possibly my head may explode.

I'm not getting Ebola, and neither are you.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mad Season


The last couple months have truly been a mad season. For multiple reasons I don't care to go into at the present moment, I have found it impossible to blog, to the point that I wrote a "I give up on blogging" post, which all of 5 people saw, and since has been deleted. I needed a break, not that many noticed, given that there is a dearth of regular readership on this sad little blog. There have been things I have felt have been impossible to say in a public way, and so I won't even try.

There have been funny posts that haven't been written. I don't know if they will, or if the subject matter is now too far in the past to do so.

But we went to Thailand for 2 weeks, and that was good. I'll write about that some time in the near future.

I'm not ready to be done with this writing thing just yet.

But it's been a mad, mad season.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Us on Video

So...

This is pretty much us. Especially the dancing, although that's mostly me...

And possibly most other couples we know.





Happy weekend! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bucket Challenge

We've been talking about this all week.

We were challenged. I was challenged by Amy Hepper, Allan Kucab, Tim Allen and Danielle Allen. Eric was challenged by Tim Allen, Danielle Allen, and Matt Barcalow.

So we did the challenge, out at Painted Mine, which is some crazy geologic formations about 45 minutes east of where we live. We will also be donating $100 to ASL research via www.alsa.org (NOT alsa.com, as I mentioned in my video... opps!)




I think its also important to know about ALS. ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) is a degenerative disease that particularly impacts the neurons in the brain and spinal cord. You start to lose motor function, and there is no cure. It is almost universally fatal. The scariest part? A full 90% of people who are diagnosed with ALS have no family history of the disease. They don't know why people get it, and best prognosis is a life expectancy of 5 years post-diagnosis.

This, like many other illness (AIDS, MS, cancer, etc.) have great potential, through research, to be conquered. We can't rely on governments to fund that research - it takes understanding by the general public and a passion to help. If you aren't interested in donating to ALS, that's ok. Find something to get passionate about, and get involved. Dump a bucket on your head. Jump in a lake. Mentor a kid.

Just DO SOMETHING. Life's to short not to care.

Oh yea.. and Tracie Hepper, John Sellers, and Rebekah Tiefenbach Sellers. I nominate YOU! You have 24 hours...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Plight of Perilously Puny Popovich Pissers

Technically, when you are conceived, you get half your genes from your mother and half your genes from your father. However, anyone who knows my family knows that I definitely favor the Popovich side, my mom's family.

Including the penchant for Popovich women to have teeny, tiny bladders. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

What Happens When Eric is Away

Most of the time, when Eric's gone, nothing terribly exciting happens. Bathrooms get cleaned, dusting happens, the vacuum comes out, and, if I'm feeling really wild, I may reorganize a closet so that Eric's shirts are in straight, ROYGBIV lines by type (short sleeve, long sleeve, button up, 3/4 zip). I know, wild right?

However, very occassionally, I do other stuff.

Like have the alarm go off at 2:30 in the morning, on purpose.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Contagion of Suicide and How to Help

Last night, I wrote about the death of Robin Williams, likely from suicide. Social media is flooded with tributes to Robin Williams, prayers for his family, remembrances of a remarkable career and talent, and not a few unkind remarks about the cause of his death from hurting people who don't understand the pervasive nature of depression and haven't heard the siren song whose lyrics so convincingly say "The only way out of this is to end it. You will never feel better and you are a burden on everyone you care about." However, one thing hasn't bubbled to the surface that I think is important to note.

Suicide can be contagious.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Dear Robin

Robin Williams died today. He was 63. By most accounts, it appears that there is very little doubt that he committed suicide.

Robin Williams was one of my favorite actors. I feel so sad that he chose to take his life. So incredibly sad, in a way that the passing of very few celebrities has made me feel.

Suicide is a real option for many people. Having worked in mental health for more than a decade, I've talked with many, many people who have contemplated, or attempted suicide. There are many people who glibbly state that suicide is "selfish." That "things are never that bad."

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Cleanup on Aisle 2

So, as Eric will readily share with you, I have a few OCD traits. Like, perhaps, more than a few. I need to have things neat and clean. I hate dust (which is an issue, living in Colorado, where it's dry and the wind blows incessantly.) I need things to be neat, clean, and if a picture is crooked, no matter where I am, I have to straighten it, even if that place is the doctor's office. Or work. Or the grocery store.

What keeps me from diagnosis however, is my car.

My car is a mess.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Longest, Steepest Slog

Another Saturday, another 5am wake up call. I had decided earlier in the week that, despite the fact I had an 11am appointment up in Denver to have my running stride analyzed, that I would climb the Incline.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Hanging Lake

4:30am. That was the time the alarm went off. Not that I heard it. I was dead to the world, and Eric got up and showered (I have a policy about not showering before hiking - what's the point?) and somewhere in there, I recognized that there was movement in the bedroom and bathroom, and got myself to a semi-conscious state. We were out of the house by 5:05am, well, maybe 5:15, but certainly no later.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Small (apartment) Worlds

When we first moved to Colorado, we moved into a one bedroom apartment in Castle Rock. We were trying to find something more permanent (and larger), and we had signed a six month least in the interim. Since we only wanted a six month lease, and we (thought) we wanted to live in Castle Rock (obviously, we changed our mind), our options for apartments were limited. In fact, they were limited to only one apartment complex, and only one apartment in that complex.

When I went to check the apartment complex out, I met Rocky, the apartment manager. I wasn't able to see the actual apartment, because people were still in it, moving out that day, I was told, but I saw the "sample" apartment instead. Rocky assured me that the apartment I saw was exactly like the one I would be renting, that our apartment would have new locks, new carpets, new paint, and would be just wonderful. Rocky asked me if I was interested in renting a garage, but when I mused outloud (opps) that I could use the garage in lieu of the storage unit that I was planning to rent, he very seriously informed me that garages were for the exclusive use of cars, not stuff, and that no one in the complex was allowed to store anything but their vehicles in the garages, and that the management took this very seriously. Since obviously this was a rule, I didn't rent a garage, and paid a higher price down the street at a storage locker. I also learned all about all the other rules in the apartment complex, like the management's very serious stance on noise, and that all apartments were non-smoking, and that no one was allowed to smoke in the apartments or on the decks.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mesa Verde

So despite the Deer debacle, we took Hail No and the new camper on a road trip to Mesa Verde over the long holiday weekend. We took off Thursday afternoon, and I set myself up (to Eric's dismay) in the backseat, and worked for several hours while Eric drove. We headed for Mesa Verde, which is in the Southwest corner of Colorado, about 7 hours away. Well, I got a bunch of stuff done, and 7 hours didn't feel like 7 hours - to me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Signs You Live in a Small Town

We live in town who's population has doubled in the last 10 years.

The population is now roughly 11,000.

Granted, we literally live over the city limit from Colorado Springs, population somewhere around 400,000, but technically, this is a small town.

Last week, we had a dinner mishap. We had thawed a turkey breast, and Eric had put it overnight in the smoker I bought him for his birthday. After an overnight and a good chunk of the day, he decided to finish it in the oven.

I got home from work and wondered what nearly dead roadkill had crawled its way into our house. Eric, to his credit, doesn't have quite as sensitive sniffer as I do, and had had his head about in the smoker, so all he was smelling were the hickory chips.

But it was bad.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Hail No, Deer Yes

Opps.

Hail No's had a bit of a mishap.

Eric was on a storm that looked really good, so he took off for Kansas. The storm didn't behave the way he expected, and four hours away from home, Eric abandoned his date with Dorothy.

He'd just put away his gear, and was headed back when....


Oh HAIL NO.
Mule deer.

Out of nowhere, apparently on a suicide mission.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Lobsters and Lighthouses

Colorado is not the only awesome place on Earth.

I know, shocking, right?

We headed out of our mountain-state home for a brief sojurn into the flatter, outside world. Destination: Connecticut by way of New York for my cousin's* wedding, then on to Cape Cod.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Hail No

In case you don't know, Eric is a storm chaser.

A real, live storm chaser like those guys on television except not famous and not on television. He's met most of them though in his quests for the perfect storm (and they really aren't that cool, in case you thought that a televised meterologist living for weeks out of his car was cool. I'm guessing they are also smelly.)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Solicit This!


You've got to be kidding me, right? Obviously, Investment Painting doesn't read my blog... or possibly doesn't read. Whichever.

Eric found this gem on our front porch last night, and said "I can't believe this! You should call them."

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Estes Park (Obligatory Colorado is Awesome, Part... Again)

 

You will ask, What is Estes Park?... Such as it is, Estes Park is mine. It is unsurveyed "no man's land,"and mine by rights of love, appropriation, and appreciation; by the seizure of its peerless sunrises and sunsets, its glorious afterglow, its blazing noons, its hurricanes sharp and furious, its wild auroras, its glories of mountain and forest, of canyon, lake, and river, and they stereotypying them all in my memory.
- Isabella L. Bird, A Lady's Life in the Rockies
 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Full Exposure Resume

Ever have some things that you are glad fell off the bottom of your resume? Yea... so today at work, the topic of the Larkspur Renaissance Festival came up, because it opens this weekend. My boss, and several co-workers were like, "hey, let's go! I've never been to a Renaissance Festival!" My boss went around the circle asking if we'd like to go, and if we'd ever been, to which I replied, when it was my turn, "I actually worked at a Renaissance Festival a couple of years..." and then immediately thought, "seriously! You just said that?!" Cause, you know, not that I didn't have fun, but it's not the kind of thing you really keep on your resume, you know? Festies are a distinct sub-culture, and well, you either get it or you don't, and what you did when you were 18 and 19 is not necessarily what you do when you're 35.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Obligatory Colorado is Awesome Post

By now, everyone who doesn't live in Colorado is probably sick of the "hey look at this gorgeous thing," photos, and everyone who DOES live in Colorado is probably like, "yea, that's why we live here, dummy."

So, consider this fair warning to stop reading now, if you don't want to see more of why Colorado is, in fact, fantastic, and we moved to the right state. Again, we live where people go on vacation. We actually have "tourist season." Holy. smokes.

Friday, May 30, 2014

No Soliciting

Six months ago, Eric decided that we needed a no soliciting sign. Since he works from home, he is the one that mostly has to answer the door when the encyclopedia salesman, window cleaners, Witnesses, Mormons, cables guys, and/or save the planet people knock on it. Plus, he doesn't like to say no, so if it happens to be the kid with the sad story about fundraising by selling newspaper subscriptions, we end up with three copies of the Sunday Times for the next four years.

So we looked for a sign. There plenty out there, but I was really partial to something that went like this, mainly because I am the sarcastic brat of the family:

I like it. I could have purchased this on Esty here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

DNS

In runner speak, DNS is "Did Not Start."

How quickly the world changes. So much for the running one mile. After a one mile exploration today which resulted in enough back pain to light up traffic signals, my chiropractor put me back on injured reserve.

I cancelled my registration for the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon this evening. There's no way, at this point, I'll be able to run that, let alone train for it.

I'm hoping that I'll be back in time to run Dances with Dirt, September 21. At this point, September feels a lot closer than I'd like it to.

DNS.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

One Mile

I'm back on the horse.

Or, perhaps, more accurately, the treadmill.

After what seems like FOREVER off, and even LONGER at a reduced rate, I have "official" permission to run again.

One mile at a time.

Literally.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

May 8

We are having a garage sale this weekend. Please come by and buy!


Well, I should say we're having a garage sale as long as the weather is better than what I woke up to this morning...

View from our back window, May 8, 2014

I don't want to have to shovel in order to set out tables!

I hope those seeds I planted last weekend (in the garden boxes you can just see at the bottom of the photo) are ok. Spinach is a "cool season" plant, right?

Good thing the sprouts are still in the bathroom...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Snowy Sprouts

It is April 29, and it is snowing. It was cold and windy today, with gusts up to 60 miles per hour, every one of which I am sure hit our house, sitting way up here on the hill. I was at work and blissfully unaware of the battering the house was taking, but I'm sure it did.

There are sprouts in my bathroom, wishing for warmer weather.

Tomatoes, multiple kinds of peppers and pumpkins in our very own hothouse.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Fish, Easter, Births

I'm a little behind. It's been a busy two weeks, but not THAT busy...

Last week, I was in Florida. Now, before you get all jealous and think "beach party," let me clarify that I was in South Florida for work. My hotel did not have a view of the ocean, or the inter-coastal. I walked on the beach for exactly five, glorious minutes after the sun went down but before it got totally dark, then went back to my hotel room and prepped for three straight days of training South American staff. I learned that everyone who ever lived in New York or New Jersey has apparently moved to South Florida and opened an Italian restaurant and/or pizza shop. I had NO idea how hard it was to order fish in Florida!

Working backwards...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

End of the Tube

There is something incredibly satisfying about using stuff up. I'm just about at the end of my tube of toothpaste, and I'm working on getting the last dredges out of it. When it's totally out, it is going to be really satisfying to throw away the spent, empty container.

Does that make any sense?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Velcro is the New Black

It's been an up and down couple of weeks here. Here's how I've explained this footwear:

I'm trying to convince people its the newest
fashion statement. It's not going well.

1. Parachuting behind enemy lines to bring food to starving children
2. Fighting a bear
3. Pulling children out of a burning building
4. Running with the bulls

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Taxes

We did our taxes over the weekend.

Did you read that?

WE did our taxes over the weekend. This is super exciting, and not because we owed money at the end of the exercise.

This is the first time in seven years that we have been able to do our own taxes!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Rage Against the...?

This post is likely to lose me some blog readers, and some friends on Facebook, so if you're willing to take that risk with me, read on.

I have been wrestling with some really hard thoughts lately, like down on my knees, crying to God to help here. Sunday, in our small group, a question that really crystalized the thoughts that I've been struggling with was asked:

"What is the 'Christian brand?' How do others see us?"

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The "Rest of the Story?"

I've gotten a number of questions about blog post I've written lately, so I thought I would check in with some follow-ups. In no particular order, and with no particular connections, here you go!

We are still pet-less, or "pet-free" as I like to think of it. Sorry, honey...

Yep, really did eat all that stuff, and this stuff too. This was the menu one night:

Note that "Ox Balls" is NOT an exotic meat... go figure!

Friday, March 21, 2014

St. Patrick's Extended

We did an Irish themed dinner tonight with friends (thanks Danielle and Tim!) Since I don't eat cows, I was looking to bring something I could eat, since the menu called for corned beef (and generally the cabbage and potatoes are boiled with the meat, which makes them taste gross if you don't eat beef.)

I came across this recipe for something called Colcannon.

http://food52.com/recipes/11988-how-we-survived-colcannon

Colcannon, according to Slate.com, where they had referenced this recipe, is "Irish peasant food." Essentially mashed potatoes with cabbage, it was actually really good. Infusing the milk with peppercorns and garlic really worked (I had my doubts), and imparted a good garlic flavor to the dish. I substitute olive oil for the butter they call for in the recipe, and did not serve it in bowls with additional butter. I probably added a little more salt than the recipe calls for.

Overall, simple, easy to make, hearty and cheap. Peasant food, indeed.

Friday, March 14, 2014

No Love for Chiro

So, because I am apparently trapped in the body of a 90-year-old woman, I started going to a chiropractor because I am having low back pain, combined with the joy of shooting sciatic nerve pain. Add that to the PT I'm going to for the knee, and I'm seeing almost as many medical professionals as my grandmother, who actually IS going to be 90 on Tuesday.

Today marked the 5th appointment with the chiropractor. The first appointment was a consultation with x-rays. I met the chiropractor and his associate. From there, my next three appointments, I was with just the chiropractor. The associate, whose name I am not sure of, was "around," but I didn't have any contact with him, although he waved at me once when I was in the office.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Guacamole

I didn't really eat guacamole until we moved out here, and most certainly never MADE guacamole until we lived in Colorado.

Yet somehow, I have discovered that I really, really like guacamole. Maybe its the making it fresh that makes the difference, or that I started adding poblano pepper to the mix, but its good. And other people seem to like it, so I thought I would share the recipe. Here is the "party" version, but halving the recipe works too (although you end up with leftover ends of vegetables.)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Snow and Sun

Here's a Colorado first for me:

Yesterday, I worked up a sweat shoveling snow off the deck and onto the grass so when it melted, the grass could have the water.

I did this while wearing shorts and a t-shirt. In 70 degree weather.

We got 6 inches of heavy, wet snow Friday night. Saturday was sunny, but cool. Sunday, different story. Upper 60's, sunny. Snow in direct line of the sight with the sun melted, but that in shadier areas stayed put.

We had the windows open all day. It was glorious!

Colorado weather is crazy. I love it!

Snow predicted later in the week...

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Chicken for Chicken

I stopped eating beef in 1999. I was living in France during the mad cow scare, and the French engaged in an embargo on British beef, since the Brits were feeding the cows... other cows. The British responded by staging an embargo against French chocolate. Guess who got the raw deal on that one (hint: it wasn't the French, I've had Cadbury chocolate!)? When I got back to the US, I just didn't see the point in eating beef, since there really wasn't much done to improve beef standards except let it fall out of the news cycle, so I didn't go back to it, have haven't since.

Now, I think I'm off chicken.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Oh Oscar!

We are going to our first Oscar's party tonight. We've never been to an Oscar's party (read: going in jeans, eating snacks, hanging out kind of party. Joan Rivers, this ain't.)

We haven't seen many of the movies nominated (read, Captain Phillips, and that's it), so this week, our group has been working on catching up. We saw American Hustle (in a real theatre), they saw Nebraska (we missed that one,) 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and today, Dallas Buyer's Club.

12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, and Dallas Buyer's Club were in a league of their own. There's quite a bit of vulgarity in each, but each with a purpose that moves the story along. The easily offended should not see these movies. Dallas Buyer's Club in particular, the first 10 minutes is really over the top.

But I'm calling Dallas Buyer's Club for Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor. I don't know that I have seen a movie that powerfully made, with such exquisite acting, in a long time.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Home Depot vs. ReStore

We live in a small town. Granted, it's right next to a big town, but we live in a small town. If you want to shop for DIY supplies (and we do, often) your options are:

Home Depot.

Home Depot is 1.6 miles away from our house. Which is super nice, because our average project means approximately 4 visits to Home Depot, usually in doses of 2 or 3 in a day.

Needless to say, we are there a lot.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Cookie Monster

So, only 23 people read my last blog about spin class (which I went to again on Friday, by the way, this time NOT by myself, and the "beginner" class felt SO much easier!) However, apparently, EVERYONE's takeaway was that Megan is an out of control cookie monster.

Me. With Cookie.
 

Which totally might be true.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Workout, Schmurkout

As everyone knows who has been around me for even a tiny bit of time, I love to run. Love. it. I pay money to run (which confuses my poor husband, who doesn't understand the lure of the race... he just sees it as paying money for something I do for free most of the time.)

I will tell you what though. Lately, it just isn't going so well.

And by "not well," I mean, I am not only riding the struggle bus, not even DRIVING the struggle bus, I am the bug on the windshield of the struggle bus, baked on by the sun and won't come off even with the windshield wipers going full-blast and the misters used repeatedly.

Splat.

That's me.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Ice Dancing

Watching just a bit of Ice Dancing this evening. I'm not a huge fan of ice dancing - it seems like the cheap version of figure skating, not that I can do what they do. However, I failed to realize that Eric apparently has an absolute horror of ice dancing. Can't. Stand. It. Here are some of the things that have been said, just in the last few minutes:

Eric: This is NOT a spot.

Me: Doesn't that hurt, with her skate on his <Eric interrupts>
Eric: She should stand on his head.

Me: A twizzle? Seriously, that's a thing?

Announcer: Come on Tom, you gotta love it!
Eric: No I don't. And I don't.

Eric: <watching Russian ice dancer cry>: She's faking it.

So, I'm thinking that if there's anything else left in the Olympics that is on ice and is NOT hockey, I will be watching it alone, or not at all.

2/18/14 Update: Apparently, we weren't the only ones less than impressed with ice dancing: http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/fivering_circus/2014/02/_2014_olympics_ice_dancing_is_not_a_sport_but_it_is_quite_a_spectacle.html

Friday, February 14, 2014

My Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day! Such a wonderful opportunity to honor and cherish the ones we love...

Excuse me, I'm going to go puke now.

Is Valentine's Day not just the most over salted, overpriced, guilt-ridden, sap-fest promulgated by commercialism and capitalism you've ever seen? I mean, I'm a card-carrying member of Hallmark, but I just rage against the greeting card on this particular day.  The emphasis on over-priced, sure-to-die immediately flowers, chocolates that will take years to get off my hips, jewelry to get a (*ahem*) smile but breaks the budget just drives me bonkers.

I am really fortunate in that I have a husband who understands this, and celebrates within my anti-V-D framework. Last year, he put a pineapple in my car, and that totally works for me.

So in lieu of dinner out and chocolates we don't need, here's a numerical recap of Eric and Megan:

4,063 days married
3 houses and 1 apartment in 2 states
6 countries visited together
29 states visited together
8 cars
1 14'er
3.76 pound lobster
10 jobs
8 tornadoes
one million inside jokes
countless laughs
0 regrets

I love you, Eric.



Thursday, February 13, 2014

Chompers

I went to the dentist today.

I really don't like going to the dentist.

I know, who does? The one redeeming part about the dentist is that wonderful, lead-lined blanket they drape over you when they take x-rays. I want to stay under that weight forever... except maybe today, because I started wondering just what the heck they were taking pictures of in there. Seriously, it was like 10 x-rays, and I only have 28 teeth!

What I really don't like is the lecture. I'm sure you know the one, you know, about flossing? I am convinced that there isn't a single person in America who doesn't work in a dentist's office that flosses enough. My hygienist, probably because I am a new patient, really laid in on thick today. On, and on, and on about the floss! Seriously, I am nearly 35 years old, no cavities, and every dentist I've ever been to tells me I have "pretty teeth," which I don't really understand, but I'm assuming is good, and so I'm thinking that what I'm doing is more or less working for me. I frankly, highly doubt that your lecture, or the lecture of ten's of dental hygienists before you, will make me change my habits, or lack thereof.

The woman then had the nerve to say, "well, you've got some bleeding in your gum here." I'm sorry, but did you NOT notice that you just punched my gums with a 16th century instrument of torture, and then scraped along the gum line? I don't think any amount of flossing is going to toughen those babies up to the Teflon-levels they would need to be to withstand that crap.

I'm not kidding you, when the dentist finally arrived, she looked in my mouth and went, "hmm, looks like you cut the roof of your mouth." Me? Again, stainless steel devices that are likely used at Guantanamo and illegal under UN interrogation charters, and I cut my mouth?

Then she thought she saw something on one of the x-rays. However, that "something" was so small, she had to take the record to another screen and blow it up to see anything. She came back and declared that the vague shadow on tooth 13 (don't ask me which that is, I don't label them) has a cavity.

Are you sure? I don't feel anything? No discomfort, no pain.

Yep, cavity. Well, the start of one. Maybe if you floss more...

D#*m.

Come back Tuesday and we'll put some <insert technical word for what I heard, which I swear was "white paint">> on it.

Where's the floss?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Travel Food, Indonesia Edition

In December, I went to Indonesia for work.

Monday through Friday, for the work day, I really could have been anywhere on the planet. Hotel conference rooms pretty much look the same the world over (exception, the stone wall, thatched roof conference space I was in last year in Ethiopia, but exceptions sometimes prove the rule.)

I stayed through Sunday evening, and that made all the difference. I couldn't get back to the states until the planes went (duh), so I had a day and a half pretty much free. There should be another post about adventures on islands, but that's for another time.

Food is the focus here.

So, Indonesia is, (duh) a series of islands. Not surprisingly then, fish is on the menu. All the time. All the time, for every meal. Some of the preparation, however, tended to be a little more... uhh, all natural, than others.

Like the fish soup with scales and fins still attached. Yummy, but crunchy.

Or this lunch:

Here's looking at you, lunch.
 Or this dinner:
Prawns with their heads
Manado, where I was, is also apparently known throughout Indonesia for being one of the few places in the country where they serve their food really, really spicy. Fortunately, I like spicy, although this trip tested the limits of my tolerance. They serve tiny red and/or green chilies of HIGH potency in almost everything they cook. Like this chicken curry dish, one of the few times I had something other than fish:

 Ayum Woku
 
Sunday, before my flight, I went with some Compassion staff out into the country, up a volcano and back down again. We ate from roadside stands, and from a bakery in some small village. The travel nurse from work would have had a FIT.
 
 My co-workers negotiating for fruit at a roadside stand 

Durian, the stinkiest fruit on the planet. Grows from really tall trees
and I swear they could be like a mace if you got hit with one.
They are banned in public transportation in many SE Asian countries
due to the smell.
 
          Tastes vaguely like sulfur and meat, and is a little salty.            

                   
    Bun baked with hard boiled egg and sweet ground pork.                            Langsat.  A fruit much better than durian.

Once I got the airport that evening (four hours early, then a two hour delay, all the while wearing dirty, sweaty hiking clothes, but again, story for another day), this is what cheese toast was in the café:
Cheese toast, complete with chocolate syrup.
Syrup not described on the menu.
Guess I should have expected it?
 
This concludes another episode of travel food.

Monday, February 10, 2014

How NOT to Accept a Resignation

I kind of think of blogging as story-telling, so here's one...

In 2006, I quit my first professional job. It was nerve-racking. I had never quit a job before. I mean, I left several jobs in college, but always because it was the end of the school year, or the beginning of the school year, end of break, etc... but never left a "real" job.

So I quit. I gave five weeks notice (holy moly, I really could have done with like, three.) My vice-president was disappointed, but informed the CEO that I was leaving.

Apparently, the CEO's response was "what will it take for her to stay?"

OK, so that's really flattering, but also really dangerous, right? I mean, if I say, "oh, pay me this much more and I'll stay," that doesn't make for a very loyal employee, does it? That certainly wasn't going to set me up for future success, and frankly, at that point in my life, I wasn't interested in staying, more money or not.

So then the CEO called me into his office.

And that's when things got weird.

The CEO ushered me in to his office, and followed behind me. He stood between me and the door, and, I kid you not, said "I have two sets of handcuffs, where do you want them?"

Want to guess what I immediately thought?

Well, I didn't say THAT out loud, but what CAN you say out loud? I fumbled around with some words, all the while thinking "how do I get out of here?" and "holy cow, he's blocking the door!" I actually sat at his conference table and talked with him. I have no memory of what I said, something about "it's just time for me to try something new," and thinking "this is yet another reason I have to get the heck out of here, RIGHT NOW." He kept chuckling, but also saying something about wanting to keep me there...I finally got out of his office, walked across the hall, and reported the whole, creepy incident to the HR Director.

I don't suggest trying to keep your employees by threatening to chain them up, and then laughing about it, but continuing to say creepy things.

Epilogue: Two months later, the CEO was fired. I got a phone call from a friend at my former work, saying "You can come back now."

I  didn't go back.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Negative 17

Remember when I was all bedazzled about the beautiful, gorgeous winter weather in Colorado (read: last weekend?)

Yea, so the bottom dropped out of the weather this last week.

Tuesday night, it was -5 when I went to bed.

Wednesday morning, it was -16 when I left the house. The wind chill was something in the negative high 20's.

Despite having both cabinet doors and the dishwasher door open, the kitchen sink pipe froze after I left the house for work. Eric turned the heat up to 75 sweltering degrees in the house, put a space heater under the cabinets, and shut the doors, which resulted in 90+ degrees under the sink.

It was -17 when I left for work Thursday morning. The pipe was still frozen.

Thursday night, we moved the space heater to the basement, and propped it up on a ladder, right near the ceiling. At 10:30pm, it finally thawed. We're very glad the pipe didn't split.

Time to open up the drywall and add some insulation.

However, we still just call this "winter" in Colorado. No polar vortex. No snowpocalypse. Just winter. No reason to panic...

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Olympic Sponsorship

Does anyone else find it really incongruent that McDonald's sponsors the Olympics every year?

Do we really believe that these finely honed athletes, with their dieticians, trainers and coaches, supplement their kale smoothies with a Big Mac? Maybe a large fry before hitting the weight room? End the night with a McFlurry?

The current McDo commercial shows athletes biting their medals on the winners' podiums, then cutting to a group of fit(ish) looking spectators, watching the games on TV and diving into some nuggets.

Couch potatoes and a McChicken? Sure. Sochi participants? I don't think so.

Proof?

Notice who former Olympic athletes shill for?

Subway.

Just don't get me started on that disgusting new sandwich they are promoting, something sticky with corn chips on it, and a horrible theme song to go with it...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Community

We are just about one year into attending our church.

A year ago, we walked in to Fox Meadow, after googling the church in the parking lot, and having our expectations about as low as you could get. We hadn't had a "great" church hunting experience so far.

We happened to meet the pastor and his wife. They happened to have gone to college with someone Eric works with.

We got invited to something called Family Dinner.

We went. We kept going. We started hosting. We kept hosting. We joined.

Last weekend, we walked in. We said hello to Tracy. I stopped to talk to Kathy. Eric nipped into the nursery and saw Josie, his year-old girlfriend. We laughed with Adam about something said at B-Dubs the night before.

Laurel made me my name tag.


We didn't expect to find community, certainly not as quickly as we did.

We had our expectations blown away.

Happy church-a-versary, Fox Meadow. Thanks.

Monday, February 3, 2014

One Foot Weekend

Fox Run - see the ski tracks?
All my Michigan friends can laugh, but we had ONE FOOT of snow this weekend!

I know, the Midwest is digging out from multiple feet of snow, and arctic temperatures, but this just doesn't happen very often in Jan/Feb in Colorado. Most of the snow Colorado receives comes later into the spring (last spring we had six Saturdays in a row of blizzards.)

Enter the Pineapple Express.

Seriously, it's called the Pineapple Express! A dip in the Jet Stream results in pushing moist air over the Rockies from California, bringing snow to Colorado in January and February.

The Pineapple Express made a stop at my house.

It's so happy!

Garden of the Gods

I skied Friday night before Eric got home from Chicago.

We rented snowshoes from REI on Saturday ($15 for a pair, and they let us keep them until today!)


Garden of the Gods
We snowshoed Garden of the Gods on Saturday. It was cloudy and cold, and was snowing, but we didn't mind and neither did the big horn sheep.





Pike National Forest
Eric and the Monument
Sunday, after church and before the Super Bowl, we snowshoed to "The Monument" (the big rock the town of Monument is named for.) It was sunny, 37 and just gorgeous.


Not really sure when I became that woman who talks about the weather all the time?

Eh, who cares, I got to snowshoe and ski!!!!

We're supposed to get MORE snow tonight.

Wheeeee!!!!!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Bronco Nation

We experienced Bronco nation tonight for the first time. When we lived in Indiana, the Colts went to the Super Bowl, but I honestly don't remember if we actually got together with anyone... in all likelihood, we were Up North, and were with other Lions fans (read: no dog, er, cat, in the game.) It was a fun idea to be in the same state as a Super Bowl contender!

We were with Broncos fans tonight. At one point I looked over, and there was a whole couch of long faces. It was seriously like a sad clown festival. And the night just never got better. The Broncos got outplayed at every turn. It was a little like watching a Lions play-off game...

Sorry, Broncos. At least you made it to the Super Bowl...

Friday, January 31, 2014

Sweat in Your Sweatpants

 
I don't know if you watch Saturday Night Live, but they are KILLING it this year. Other than some really weird bands, they have had way more than their usual share of really good sketches! However, my absolute favorite so far this year, is...
 
 

I can't stop laughing, no matter how many times I see this! (ok, so maybe the sack part is a little inappropriate/over the top, but holy cow! Bruce Willis! Dance moves! Facial Expressions!)

Fauxtogs

Disclaimer: I am not a professional photographer.

Second Disclaimer: This is a pet peeve of mine.

Third Disclaimer: I wouldn't normally call this out, but the Living Social is showing up in my inbox every day. It's driving me bonkers.

I have a pretty good eye, my composition is pretty good, but I don't have the skills or the time to become a professional photographer. That being said, I know what's good, and perhaps more importantly, I have a number of friends who ARE, in fact, professional photographers. They've gone to school, they work really hard, and they know what they are doing.

However, they have some pretty serious, albeit crummy, competition, in fauxtographers.

Yep. Fauxtographers. Those deluded folks who paid a lot of money for a camera, and perhaps, like I did, took a class or two in photography.

They aren't that hard to spot, however. In fact, there are whole websites dedicated to identifying fauxtography. The hallmark elements of fauxtography include lousy composition, out of focus central element, bad lighting (shadows where they don't belong, overexposure, etc.) and just general sloppiness professional photographers would have caught.

I recently saw some engagement photos taken by what was obviously a fauxtographers. This person then posted them on Facebook with the lines "I loved shooting this couple!"

Terrible. Every one of them. Muddy, grainy, out of focus, just plain bad. One was taken in a forest in what was obviously late-afternoon, with long shadows almost entirely obscuring the couple. Ugh.

There has been a fauxtographer lurking on Living Social. I say lurking because this person has put up a coupon for their services no less than eight times, and uses the same bad photo every time. What may be saddest is that they obviously don't know about this:


The poor father-to-be is out of focus! Is the mother-to-be experiencing morning sickness, because she kinda looks like she could puke. I know that's her knee poking out, but it kind of looks like she has a tumor under there. Why crop the photo so you can see exactly 1/2 inch of leg? The shadows on M2B make her look mottled and molting, with one really point shoulder. What's with the background? Dying tree? That man's shirt should not be split so much at the bottom because it highlights that he's both pudgy, AND that his shirt is choking him! And WHY is he barefoot in what is obviously an abandoned lot with an overgrown anonymous grave in it!?! He's going to cut his feet on glass and heroin needles!

I went to this fauxtographer's website. The rest of the photos on her site aren't very good. However, what I think can be deceptive, is that her prices are incredible. Something like $500 for an entire wedding.

Don't hire a fauxtographer.

A good photographer doesn't hire out a wedding for $500. Their time is worth more than that, their equipment is uber-expensive but delivers, and for your special day, you deserve better than point-and-shoot Polly. The price might be right, but you will be disappointed with the results. If you don't have the money for a photographer, that's ok, but then just get the free photos your friends are taking.

Ditto on the preggers shots. In the meantime, someone get that poor woman a glass of juice. She might pass out.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Colorado Winter Weather

So, being newer to Colorado, the weather here never ceases to amaze me. Ok, so I grew up in Michigan, where the state motto was practically: "Don't like the weather? Wait a minute, it will change."

But seriously, out here, it may not be a "minute" but the extremes in a DAY are incredible.

Monday, it was -3 when  I got up. No, not a polar vortex, we just call that winter. It snowed.

This was Tuesday.

Pike's Peak from Fox Run Regional Park. Note the tracks. They are mine (some of them.)
On Tuesday, there was enough snow on the ground that I threw my cross-country skis and gear in the car, and went out to the park after work. I skied until I couldn't see anymore (ok, the other thing about living in the mountains is that it gets dark FAST! There is very little lingering twilight... more like "bam!" gone.)

On Wednesday, I had Physical Therapy after work (tendonitis in my knee. Stupid knee.) Because my PT says its ok, I went running after I got home. In the dark (again, with the darkness) but there are street lights.

I ran in a long-sleeve t-shirt (my fun, new, car-stopping, neon green one) and pants. It was 45 degrees and a warm breeze was blowing.

Wednesday night, that "warm breeze" turned into gale force winds. Despite EAR PLUGS, the wind blew so hard that it woke me up seventeen million times, at least one million of those because the house was shaking so hard it shook my bed and the bathroom door.  At one point I seriously thought, "this wind is going to knock the house off the foundation and Eric is out of town. What do I do about that?" Ok, so it was a serious, if not totally rational, thought...

Today is Thursday, and its cloudy, but in the 40's. I guess that means it should snow, and we'll be at 65 by the weekend???

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"

I discovered this verse, which has since become what I guess some people call a "life verse"  (ok, I don't really know what that means, but I'm taking a guess) when I was 18. I was pretty sure, like most people discovering something for the first time, that I was the only one who had ever read this verse. It was transformational. I knew that God had put this verse in my life and that He was speaking straight to me. The timing just "couldn't" be coincidental. I was going off to college soon, right?

Three weeks later, my high school boyfriend broke up with me.

I was devastated, in a way that ONLY a teenage-girl-in-love can be. If you're wondering, this one turned out to be the failure to launch mentioned in another post. In retrospect, good riddance, but tell that to the over-the-top drama queen at the time.

At some point in the first act of my one-girl-show, I remembered this verse. And it gave me hope. Let's be honest, it didn't stop the tears and wailing, but it told me that God had other things in store.

Four weeks after that, I met the guy that I would eventually marry five years and three months later.

"Plans to give you... a future." Huh. Sometimes God IS literal.

We celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary on December 31.

I now know that I'm not the only one to have read this verse, not the only one to have revelation of a kind from God, but that doesn't make that time any less special, or that those words didn't speak to me in such a real and profound way, although I couldn't guess the reasoning at the time. I couldn't have guessed what meaning this would have for me in my life, or how this verse would be played out over, and over again.

Like the time I sunk my Civic Hybrid in the river after spinning out on black ice, and hitting a tree on my way down the embankment. I hit the tree like I was in slow motion, ran it over (it wasn't very big) and landed in the river facing the opposite direction I was driving in, feeling like I was surrounded by pillows. Within minutes, an Air National Guardsman stopped and helped me out of my car, filling with water, that I couldn't get out of on my own because of the angle (read: had to open the passenger side door like a hatch cover.)"Plans not to harm you..."

Like feeling dejected at jobs, then being hired to the right next job just at the moment when I began to feel that a job search was fruitless. "Plans to give you hope..."

I don't know what the plans are, shoot, I have never been able to make a five-year plan for myself, and every time I think about it, five years later I'm doing something radically different than plan. But God knows. I don't want to get preachy or over spiritual, this isn't that kind of blog. But this is the a part of who I am, a verse that's been written not just on my heart, but across the pages of my life in indelible ink. I forget its there, way, WAY too often, so its important for me to reflect on it from time to time.

"I know the plans I have for you," DECLARES the LORD.

Now THAT's a declaration.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

SOTU

I have a degree in Political Science, among others. I have no idea if that influences my joy of the evening, but the State of the Union address is like watching the Oscar's for me!

Eric is gone, off to Chicago for YFC Midwinter. That means that I get the television all to myself, which translates to my own unfettered, in the moment, response to the State of the Union, the commentators, and the official response to the State of the Union! Out loud. With no one to ask me t stop talking. Whee!!!

I've already started. I happen to have CBS on now, but that may change. I just corrected the commentator, who said that the Constitution requires that the president provide an update to Congress annually. This is inaccurate. The language of the Constitution is actually, "From time to time, the President shall..."

I may even follow along with this exercise game: http://www.washingtonpost.com/express/wp/2014/01/24/the-state-of-the-union-exercise-game/ (reprinted  below.)

Do a jumping jack every time you hear the words “health care,” “jobs,” “middle class,” “immigration” or “Edward Snowden.” It could happen. Maybe.

Hold a plank for 30 seconds after you hear the phrases: “My friends across the aisle” or “Let me be clear.” We never said this was going to be easy.

Hold a squat position for the length of each standing ovation. You can clap, too, if you want. Or look angry.

Do situps or crunches for the duration of a story told about someone in the audience. Feel the burn.

Do a lunge every time House Speaker John Boehner doesn’t clap while other people do. Feel free to make it a walking lunge. Maybe to the kitchen to get some water.

Do 10 pushups each time the camera pans to Michelle Obama. Envision arms as toned as hers.

Do a high kick each time Vice President Joe Biden smiles and winks at someone in the audience.

Run a marathon if Biden also adds a high kick to his smile and wink. Start training. You never know …

Hilarious.

If I think of it, I'll post some of my best comebacks to the television. If, that is, I don't pull a hammy.

7:23pm: Holy crap. A few minutes in an I'm already breathing hard. Opps, time to squat.
7:30: Dude! That Supreme Court Justice is asleep!
7:32: Hey! We need more alternative energies, not more use of limited resources!
7:33: Yea! Protect more federal land!
7:36: Yea! Climate change is a fact! Suck it Boehner!
7:something o' clock: EQUAL PAY! EQUAL WORK!  EQUAL PAY! EQUAL WORK!
7:55: Boehner, you don't have to look so skeptical and smirky about health care. Its the law!
7:58: Yes, everyone deserves to know where you stand. Pass my law! (post coming later!)
8:11: Dude! You just called Iran "less powerful." It may be true, but don't piss them off!
8:29: Ow, ow, ow, ow... great standing ovation, but I might be dead.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Oh Two

We were up in Breckenridge today, to see the International Snow Sculpture competition. We were walking around Breck, and realized.... I can BREATE up here!

Breck is at 9,600 feet (those t-shirts you see with Breckenridge: Elevation 12,998 are referencing the top of the ski hill.) We were here visiting from the flatlands several years ago, and huffing and puffing like the big, bad wolf. Today, not so much. We were walking around like we were at home, and the friends we were with were laughing at the Oxygen Bar on the main strip.

Yea, buddy. We are surviving, nay, thriving, at 7200!

Oh, and the Snow Sculpture competition? Knock your socks off awesome. Totally amazing that these teams can carve a block of snow into art.


Team Mongolia working on carving ice Friday Night.



The competition sponsors got their own ice sculptures, plus this bench we sat on. Anyone else think its weird that the sponsors had ICE sculptures and not SNOW sculptures??


 




 
Wow.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ribbit, Ribbit


This is totally uncharitable to say... but I need somewhere to say it...

Stop posting photos of your frog baby! If they are underweight, any way you photograph them naked, it will NOT be their best side.

Think about limits. If you are posting 10+ photos of your child on a daily basis, you may have a problem. There's a 12-step program for that.

Stop telling me every time he/she poops!

No one wants to know about endless "baby blowouts" and the number of outfits your entire family went through, because apparently you used your child like a spray gun and everyone was victim.

Post about milestones. Milestones are not hourly updates on what toy said child is playing with/chewing on/throwing/shoving up the dog's nose at the present moment.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The One That Got Away

Do you ever wonder if someone out there thinks about you as "the one that got away?" One of my good friends is the "one that got away" for a college boyfriend. The funny thing is that he broke up with her. Yet, on at least two occasions, I have had late-night Facebook conversations (alcohol infused, I suspect) wherein the gentleman in question (married to someone else now) has asked lots of questions about my friend, asking if she's happy, etc. A decade later, and there's still some weird torch, "what could have been," and "if onlys" that obviously plague the guy. Ugh.

For me, if I were the "one that got away" its probably for someone I never dated, or even thought about as anything more than a friend. I was loyal as a retriever, and couldn't even think that anyone else was interested in me back then. Unfortunately, that resulted in getting yelled at by a boy I stopped by to see at his university when I was visiting some other friends. Holy cow, was he mad. Mad that I didn't know how he felt, mad that I didn't feel the same, and mad that being friends with him was interpreted as wrongly held hope. Wow. There might have been a little temporary crazy there. I could be that guy's "one that got away" but it would be more like "ran away screaming."

Not to say that somewhere in there, my teenage self doesn't sometimes think that it would serve an ex or two right if they found me on Facebook and realized that I was "the one that got away." (Ok, more likely their mothers would find me and think I was the one that got away. I was a pretty wholesome high schooler!)

Not that I care about any of them anymore (seriously, old memories, now devoid of emotion and, thank God, teenage drama.) The reality it that some of them are doing well,  (ok, one took a really, really long time to move out of his parents' house, and I suspect is still a little failure to launch.) I wouldn't, however, have wanted to end up with any of them. None of them were right for me, no matter how desperately I wanted that to be true at the time. It feels good to have my personal "right one," and not have to worry about the "one that got away."

I'm glad I don't have that kind of regret. And that fact may be better than being anyone's "one that got away." (nah, nah.)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Super Heroes

So, I harbor this secret fantasy that someday, I will develop super powers. I don't know which super powers they would be, flying, ability to move large object, telepathy... but I think I would like something akin to levitation, at the least. Sometimes, I get excited and/or irritated enough to think that it is quite possible that I would lift off the ground. How cool would that be - to rise up, move around...

When I was a kid, I used to dream I could fly. It was a recurring dream, and it was always on a beach (I assume, that since I grew up in Michigan, it was the beaches of Lake Huron) at sunset. I would sort of flap my arms, and start moving up and swooping around. Awesome.

Several years ago, I noticed this thing on my back. I removed it, with care, but it came back several times.

It might be best described as a quill.

No kidding.

It was this thick, bright white, hair that seriously hurt and was sticking STRAIGHT OUT of my shoulder blade. Seriously, it looked like a quill, or at least the start of one.

Dang it. Of all the super heroes, I get to be Porcupine Girl?

Crap.

What good is that super power? Quills? What, when confronted with a villain, I can... curl in a spiky ball?

It eventually went away and has never come back, but seriously?!?

There's probably a good reason we don't have superpowers...

Monday, January 20, 2014

The American (Idol) Delusion

I saw that the television show, American Idol is back on this week. I haven't watched much of that show in years - I remember Kelly Clarkston winning the first season, and Rueben Studdard and Clay Aiken facing off in the second. I think I was pretty much done with tuning in on a regular basis when Carrie Underwood won, and I'm not sure I could pick any of the winners out of a lineup after that...

Eric's favorite part of the show however, has always been the auditions. He laughs and wonders how anyone could believe that their terrible performance was Idol-worthy. He thinks it is a set up.

In part, I do too.

However, I know that some of those poor people are sincere. I know that some of them truly believe that they sing well, and that they have star potential.

Why?

Because in the fourth grade, I started taking violin class. From there until I graduated high school, I was in orchestra. I also did stints in honors choir, honors orchestra, regular choir, show choir, jazz choir, one year in the band, and several trips across the boards in various costumes and getups in the theatre. I loved performing.

It didn't mean that I was always good.

I remember the accolades, from very early on. "You were great!" "That was terrific!" At first, I believed all of them. Then, one time, I went back and saw the tapes of those fourth grade performances with a bunch of other fourth grade virtuosos.

Cats. Cats in heat. Cats in heat in a room full of rocking chairs.

See, no one tells you when you suck. No one tells you when your shirt is too tight, or you are off key, or, seriously, this is not a career line for you. Nope. They lie. They all lie with good intentions, but they lie none the less. They want you to feel good, but what often happens is that feeling good leads to a sick sort of self-delusion that allows you to ignore that niggle in the back of your head that is saying that your performance wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

Sometimes you are good.

By then, however, at least for me, I have no idea how to judge if other people think so. The lies happen so often, that it's impossible to know when someone really thinks you were good, or you look good, or if they themselves are completely delusional (lulled into psychosis by the yowling cats, no doubt,) or if they just don't want to hurt your feelings.

I have a fairly good sense of perception (or, if in comparison to reality television, am incredibly self-aware!) I know when I suck and when I don't. I know when I'm calling it in (see: Monday morning work outfit and hair) and when things are going well.

So what then? The problem is that I, like most others, like validation. However, unlike the contestants on American Idol, I saw the tape. Crap smells, and my nose works. False validation on a pretty constant basis has translated into a severe skepticism of any positive validation, and as a result, a pretty severe case of self-doubt. Add in a dose of generally heightened anxiety, and you have one overthinking, neurotic kitten in this corner of the world.

I think I need to be buddies with Simon Cowell.

Maybe I can't take that level of brutal honesty...

Maybe I need to go back to sleep, because I had yet another dream of singing backup for U2 last night, this time at some summer festival on a college campus... man was I good!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

NASA, or "They Aren't Out There"

Back when I was working for the Court, I got a call from a local county official (read: jackass who was skittering on the edge of irrelevancy) questioning my budget. Not that it was any of his business, as my work came exclusively from grants and not from county tax dollars. I think once I told him that, he had to do some back peddling on his veiled accusations and went on and on about how his constituents are complaining about property taxes. Which got me thinking.... if I were an elected official, what if anything, would I cut?

NASA.

Ok,  know its a beloved icon of America, first to the moon and all that crap. However, at its core, we're really talking about looking for aliens and conducting research on dead rocks. No one really expects that our exploits to the moon and Mars will result in finding an area on one of these aforementioned big dead rocks that will sustain life. In fact, just the idea that Mars MAY have sustained life the size of small single-celled organisms 6 million years ago makes the news and people get all atwitter over it. THAT's what you're looking for? THAT's what we are spending 6 billion dollars to build a space shuttle for?

Let's face it. They aren't out there, and they aren't coming. If we are really that paranoid as a planet about the possibility of alien invasion, I might suggest to things. 1) Stop reading Orson Wells. 2) create a multi-national space monitoring initiative run by the UN that everyone funds, rather than each country (and by that I mean primarily the US and Russia, followed at great length by China's, who's ego is getting in the way of good sense) creating their own science fiction, I mean scientific protocols. This proposal would also keep track of meteors, solar flares, etc., which are in fact the more useful if less glamorous purposes of NASA.

Another thing. Time and time again, we have learned on an international level that the best scientists do NOT work for the government, and that the most scientific progress has been made in the private sector. Example: privately funded scientists cracked the human genome code 18 months before government funded scientists even began to figure out what they were looking at. Einstein did not get funding from the German government to study relativity - in point of fact, they kicked him out because he was Jewish, but that's another rant for another day. I could go on, but the overarching point is that while this may not be the biggest government program, its still costing money and for what really purpose? To satisfy the American ego that we can go back to the moon if we want to, even though we've already done it and haven't repeated the feat in more decades than I've been alive? To give our top military pilots something to fly after they come off active duty?

I would propose that we should turn over this whole space exploration and research thing to the private sector, who can raise the funds from interested parties.  Instead, refocusing the (albeit few, relatively speaking) dollars that we just now eliminated from the extravagant waste that was the NASA project to the thoughtful revamping of social services and funding of prevention programs might actually do some qualitative good for future generations. Granted, they won't have the joys of childhood that I did watching the space shuttles take off on television, but then again, that's what the movies are for.

Beam me up, Scottie. Megs out.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Optional Body Parts

I wrote this back in 2007, when I had a MySpace account:

"I just have no relationship with my uterus.

You know, I just never think about it. It's like a pancreas, or maybe a gall bladder. I know I have one, but its not like I think about what I use it for, or really have any real connection with it.

However, apparently, many others are concerned about the state of my uterus, and well, its lack of productivity. Never mind you that no one ever really bothers to consult me if I actually have a desire to use this particular organ, everyone just assumes that since I have one, I should be using it. Sort of like TiVo, I guess, like, why bother having one if you aren't going to use it? Since we've been married for 4 1/2 years, and last year bought a larger house, it shocks people that we do not have children, are not "trying" for children (like the lottery?), and have no real plans for children. Therefore, the look I get every time I answer "no, no kids," especially to people I don't know well, is that look that says "oh... poor dear, she must not be able to have children." Except, of course, they can't actually ask the burning question "oh, so is your uterus broken?," so instead, they dance around it, yet persistently dig into my reproductive life and ask if we're going to have some soon, planning on it, etc. Then launch into the inevitable diatribe on the wonders of children, how your life changes once you have kids (as if I was living on a cave on the moon and hadn't noticed), and wish me luck. One woman even put her hands on me and told me she would be praying for me to have babies. Holy crap! Literally.

What people (especially conservative Christians living in the state of Indiana) do not seem to realize is that my husband and I may actually, (hold all shocked inhalations of breath here) be choosing not to pursue the "miracle" of parenthood at the present time. Additionally, we, myself in particular, do NOT feel like our life is reduced, limited or unfulfilled in any way by NOT utilizing the uterus available to us.  And yes, we assume that my uterus is available, and NOT broken, so sympathies are likely misguided here.

I know this may come as a surprise, but we didn't actually purchase a bigger house in order to fill it with our progeny. We purchased our wonderful home in order to have space available for others, but not necessarily those that share our DNA. We enjoy entertaining and taking care of other people and feel blessed that we have a large home in order to do that. The fact that people have taken a tour of our home and picked out the "nursery" bedroom (seriously, this happened this weekend), doesn't mean that we're actually going to use it as a nursery. I just haven't gotten around to taking down the cloud wallpaper yet - the hideous Vera Bradley wallpaper needed to go first.

It amazes me that people do not seem to have any respect for this decision - it occurs to them only that they had children, and that is what married couples are "supposed to" do. Further, they seem to fail to understand that this is OUR decision, not anyone else's. They make it their mission to convince me that having children is wonderful, and just wait until we have them... oh and don't forget that I'm 28 and "still have time," as if I've never looked at my biological clock to note the hour.
I and my husband are OK with not having children yet, and additionally have considered the possibility that we may never be ready for children - if they happen to show up at our door wrapped in newspaper and looking for a home, we aren't going to send them back, but if they don't, that's ok too. Why is no one else OK with this decision? Why should I be forced, cajoled, shamed etc., into using all of the equipment I have? Do they? Honestly, like, when is the last time anyone used their appendix? Why not, you have one, you should use it! It gets to the point sometimes where I start to feel bad, like I'm wrong for not longing for and desiring to have children to raise at this very moment. However, I can't change my feelings on the subject, and certainly am not going to because some virtual stranger gives me the joys of children monologue... so I guess the next time someone asks, I'll just have to question their use of their appendix... or maybe launch into a lecture on the value of wisdom teeth. I wonder what would happen then?"

You know what, all of the above is pretty much still true. Except, now I think about my uterus. Mainly because now, at 34, my biological clock is ticking, loudly. LOUDLY. I'm also fairly convinced that those same people that I complained about back in 2007 can HEAR said clock, and if I let them, they would probably provide it with a megaphone, just to make sure that I can hear it.

I really don't think anyone else gets this. I like my life. I don't want to change it, and I'm pretty sure a baby would do that. I like kids, but lately, this whole "you're getting older, shouldn't you have a baby" mantra that rolls through my head on a pretty constant basis, has me feeling so guilty I don't want to be around kids (even the ones I love), and start feeling ridiculously uncomfortable passing the children's clothing section of Target.

All this to say, I don't need anyone else reminding me (like, oh say, yesterday) "See, you're good with children." Like all I needed to do was realize that I know how to hold a child and that would miraculously change my mind?? I was good at science in high school, but that doesn't mean I should have embraced being an engineer. Dude, I have enough guilt going on here, but I'm absolutely positive that's a crappy reason to have a baby.

Let's return to a discussion of your pinky toe, shall we?