Goals for 2009

I know that some people may consider it completely cheesy and cliche, but I'm making Goals for 2009. I've actually been thinking about these goals for a while, and the fact that I'm committing to them right before the New Year is a coincidence.

Goal 1: Make all A's in school this semester. Not that I haven't tried to get good grades while I've been in college, but I certainly haven't tried very hard. I was content with the thought that I could do very well if I put my mind to it, only I haven't put my mind to it since my freshman year of high school. And I feel like that's not good enough any more. So my goal is to do better. Specifically, my goal is to get straight A's.

Goal 2: Read all the books on my "to-read" list. Right now I have sixteen books on the list, some of which I have lost interest in reading, some of which I have been meaning to read for several years, and some of which have gotten excellent reviews from all the people whose literary taste I respect. I have neglected them all so far, but I intend to read them all in 2009. In fact, it seems like I have too few books on the list. You can check out the list on goodreads.com, and feel free to suggest a book in the comments section (I'll take suggestions for another week before the list is officially closed).

Goal 3: Wear my retainer every night. I've started to work on this goal already, and it has not been easy. I stopped wearing my retainer a few weeks after Christian and I got married, and after a while I forgot about it, and then I was cleaning up in our room one day and I found it, but I didn't start wearing it again for so long because I was afraid. Afraid of the pain. Anyone who has had a retainer that they left off wearing for even a few days (so basically, everyone who has had a retainer) has an idea of the pain that I've been experiencing the last few nights. Only, I haven't worn my retainer for eight months. It's awful. Still, I'm committed to wearing it every night.

Goal 4: Maintain regular personal scripture study, journal writing, and morning prayers. Personal scripture study will be more enjoyable since Christian got me new scriptures for Christmas. I always love new scriptures that haven't been marked up yet. I also recently gave up on the old journal that I've been writing in for years (with the excuse that that phase of my life is over, and it's weird to write about my life with Christian in a journal in which I also wrote about the crushes I had on other guys), hoping that a new journal would entice me to write more often. So far, it hasn't worked as well as I would like. And I tell you what, I have the worst time in the world remembering to say my morning prayers. I know it's something that's very important, but it's something that I've never gotten the hang of. I really need to work on that.

Goal 5: Watch the entire Seinfeld series. Christian has them all on DVD; it shouldn't be too hard.


Merry Christmas And Christian Is Old

I hope that everyone had an awesome Christmas. Christian and I had tons of fun. We got all kinds of presents and good chocolate candy, and we saw a lot of family. I think we might have seen everyone in the world to whom we're related. We also did a lot of driving between Raleigh and Clayton and Morrisville, which was tiring, but it was worth it. I think my favorite present from Christian was new scriptures, because they're really cool and they snap and they have my name on them. Christian's favorite present from me was Die Hard, which I got him edited on DVD. Here's us on Christmas Eve night:Also, I don't know if everyone knows this, but Christian is getting old. When we were in church on Sunday, I was playing with his hair in Sacrament Meeting, and I saw something, so I plucked it out of his head, and it turns out that it was.... drumroll... a gray hair. I was stunned. Christian kept it and brought it home, and I took a picture of it:I told him it might be a fluke hair, because my mom has found bright red hairs in my head before, so maybe it doesn't mean anything. On the other hand, maybe Christian will be gray before he turns 30.


Final Before-Christmas Post

Christmas tree decorated, tree topper chosen, presents bought and on their way, Christian and I only had a few more preparations to make before the big day. First, we needed stockings. I got some for $0.99 each at Target -- a red one for me, because that's my favorite color, and a green one for Christian, because that's the other Christmas color. Christian said that we needed our names on them, so I suggested painting our names on with acrylic paint. Then I suggested writing them on with permanent markers. Then I suggested embroidering them on, with the stipulation that I'm not that great at embroidery. Then I suggested using some iron-on letters that I had leftover from when I made my "Potter for President" shirt for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Christian finally liked the iron-on letters idea, so we went with that.

There were a few minor setbacks, with Christian's name being the same length syllable-wise as mine but over twice as long number-of-letters-wise. I also had only one R left, so I had to make one out of a B and a period. I like the way they turned out, and now I'm disappointed that they're made out of felt and they probably won't last more than three years:Second, we got out the nativity scene that we received for our wedding and decided to give to Goodwill and kept in the Room That No One Should Enter instead. Two days ago I felt the urge to have a nativity out, whether it was my favorite or not, so Christian got it out and then vacuumed up all the dirt and spiderwebs that fell out the bottom. I think I might like it, just because it's ours and it's Christmas:

With A Dragon On Top

After getting our Christmas tree, I was faced with another dilemma. Growing up in my family, we always had a unique Christmas tree topper. When my brother was three, he made an angel in Primary. It was made of construction paper with white and orange yarn hair, with a frowny face colored on with black crayon. It was called the Mad Angel, and no offense to people who don't have awesome Mad Angels on top of their Christmas trees, but I was always proud to have it instead of something more glamorous. This year, I found myself Mad Angel-less, and I wasn't sure what to do. I didn't want to buy a star or a pretty angel. I wanted to carry on my family's tradition of unusual Christmas tree toppers. When I mentioned this to Christian, he thought for a second and then said, "How about a dragon?" And I said, "Perfect. Awesome."

We weren't sure where we were going to find a dragon Christmas tree topper, but we knew we weren't going to get this one:It was the only one we found by doing a Google search for "dragon Christmas tree topper," but we quickly decided it was not for us. Not only was it made out of blown glass and 24-karat gold, but it sold on eBay for $89.45. Yikes.

Fortunately, Christian had the idea of buying a dragon toy and then turning it into a Christmas tree topper. We found this guy at Target for $14.99. He's made of plastic and rubber. That's how we roll.So far, we haven't been very successful at the turning-him-into-a-Christmas-tree-topper part, mostly because we have no idea how to do it. Alice suggested cutting a hole in the bottom of his stomach, I think because she thought that he was made of soft plastic and that he was hollow inside. Not the case. Not soft. Not hollow. So that option's out, but this cardboard shelf thing cannot continue -- we need ideas on what to do. And maybe if someone loaned us their drill, that would be helpful.

Also, we want to name him, but we haven't thought of anything great yet. We browsed this list of famous dragon names, but it didn't help very much. (Christian liked the idea of Prothero, but I'm going to talk him out of it.) Please leave thoughts or suggestions in the comments!

O Christmas Tree Ornaments

When it came time to decorate the Christmas tree, Christian pulled out a bag of ornaments that he's used for several years. He had some plastic candy canes, some grapevine wreaths with a scripture superglued on, crocheted stars, a bell made out of beads, a wooden block with his initials, a fuzzy Santa Claus, and sparkly snowflakes that shed glitter everywhere. However, we both realized that what he had would not be sufficient for our needs. For this reason, I bought cookie cutters and acrylic paint and whipped up half a batch of salt dough about three weeks ago. We've been working on them ever since; at this point, not all of them are done. For the sake of this post, I thought I'd go ahead and show off the best of them. I wish I took a picture of all the done ones before we put them on the tree, but I'm not really great with the thinking ahead, so I didn't.

Christian made an ornament for each of his teams, including the New York Mets and the Indianapolis Colts (none for the Arizona Somersaults, however). Here's his NC State ornament:He also got creative with the gingerbread men that I baked. He painted Superman and Elder Plautz before making an actual gingerbread man. Superman is up on the tree for now, but he really needs a cape before he's finished:Here you can see a Christmas tree Christian made, an orange snowflake I painted (I also made purple, blue and yellow), and my ornament of me. I had gingerbread man and gingerbread woman cookie cutters, so I made one of each to be Christian and me, and then put a tiny heart on top before baking. When it came time to paint mine, I painted a skeleton with a red heart. When my mom saw it, she said, "But it doesn't look like you." I said, "It looks like me on the inside."
More ornaments:

O Christmas Tree

Be aware that this is the first of several Christmas-themed posts. I meant to post about Christmas preparations as they happened, but I've been putting off posting for forever. First I put off posting because of finals, and then I put it off because I was so enjoying having my husband at home all day (Christian took this whole week off of work). But I feel the time has finally come to post about Christmas, because today is Christmas Eve, and no one wants to hear about Christmas preparations after Christmas. And now I have so much to share. Possibly too much to share. Possibly it's too much and I won't be able to post about it all today. We'll see.

The first thing that Christian and I did about Christmas was to decide that it's awesome, and we're totally excited because it's our first Christmas together ever. (We were dating last Christmas, but that doesn't count as our first Christmas, because we weren't grown-up married people then.) Then we started buying each other presents. Then we talked about when we would spend time with which relatives. Then we had the discussion about the Christmas tree. Christian wanted to use the artificial tree his parents gave him, and I wanted to buy a real tree, because I love real trees and how they smell. At the end of our discussion, we decided to get a real tree, and it is gorgeous. I love love love it.

When we brought it home, it was all bare and shedding needles everywhere. Now it's pretty and lit and decorated and still shedding. Here's our tree:
We also had to buy a Christmas tree stand, and a Christmas tree skirt, and then it was time to think about ornaments. Ornaments, however, are a different post.


Important Thoughts 11.0

11.1: Having followers is cool. I like having followers. It makes me feel like someone extremely important. Become a follower by clicking on the "FOLLOW THIS BLOG" link in the right-hand sidebar.

11.2: When I start a semester of college, I think to myself, "All of these classes are way easy. Yeah, I have assignments due, but they're not due for weeks and weeks and weeks. I've got this thing in the bag." And I feel pretty good about myself. Then weeks and weeks and weeks pass by and I have only a few days of class left and I realize that I'm going to have to get up early and tell Christian to leave me alone and stay up late and work really hard or I won't pass anything. It's not a good feeling. Also, I feel like I could benefit from a few time-management lessons.

11.3: I was going through wedding pictures today, and I noticed something that I found amusing. Let me preface this by saying that neither Christian nor I is very good at having our picture taken. It seems like it wouldn't be that hard for us (we both just look so good in real life), but it is. After we got married, I went through thousands, literally thousands of wedding pictures and sorted out the good from the bad. Fortunately, since there were so many of them, some good ones actually existed. Some that show how good-looking we are, how much we love each other, and how joyous we were to finally be married. Some like this:
However, there were also some in which we don't look quite so attractive, or quite so happy, and the way we felt about having our picture taken over and over again when there were better things to do shone through. Some where we look tired and impatient and unamused with our photographer. Some like this:
11.4: I feel like one of the greatest talents a person can have is the ability to laugh at themselves. Having a thin skin is overrated.


Why I Hate My Car

Reasons why my car is stupid:
  1. The sunroof doesn't work. Actually, the sunroof has never really worked. It used to sometimes open and sometimes not open, and then sometimes close and sometimes not close. Which meant that sometimes when it started to rain, the sunroof wouldn't close, and everything in my car would get wet. Which is why the lining on the ceiling is now peeling away and falling down and obscuring my view out the back window.
  2. It has those weird automatic seat belts that are supposed to move whenever you get in or out of the car. I dislike automatic seat belts. I dislike them even more when they don't work, and they don't move completely to belt me in (which means that I don't feel safe when I drive), and they don't move completely to let me out (which means that I have to detach the seat belt whenever I want to get out, and also it means that half the time I bump my head on the little metal thing that sticks out into the doorway).
  3. The air conditioning doesn't work, which wouldn't be so bad, except that the radiator has problems also, so that in the summer I'm likely to be driving around with the heat on full blast so the car doesn't overheat. Also, the heat only works in the summer. Not in the winter, when I actually need it. I've driven for over half an hour in my car in the winter and been completely freezing the entire time.
  4. The doors leak. Last Friday, when it rained all day, I left my car (perfectly dry) at the Institute building and went to class at 8:00 am. When I came back to my car at 4:00 pm, everything near all four doors was soaked. My seat was soaked, so I had to sit in cold wetness while driving, and the ceiling lining was soaked, so it dripped on my head the whole way home. My car is now extremely stuffy and mildew-smelling inside. Yum.
My consolation is that Christian and I are getting a new car for me in January. Not a new-new car, but a new-for-us car from Carmax. I doubt we'll ever get a new-new car. We're getting a new car for me, and the car that I have now will go back to my parents, and then my dad, who has never been able to admit that it's the worst car of all time, can drive it to work. Also, Christian helped me demonstrate all the reasons why I hate my car.

True Love Game

This past weekend, as I was sitting in church with Plautzes and trying to pass the time until Eric gave his farewell talk, I started playing the true love game. The true love game is fun and informative and very scientific, and I thought everyone knew about it already, but the Plautzes didn't, so maybe I should explain it to the world at large. (Yes, the world at large reads my blog. Deal with it, those of you with smaller blog audiences.)

To start, write your full name and the full name of your significant other (or hopeful significant other, or possible significant other, or just someone you're curious about). If you're a married woman, use your maiden name. Also, write in all caps; it works better that way. Next, write the words "TRUE LOVE" beneath your names, but write vertically, like this:



Now comes the scientific part. For each letter in the words "TRUE LOVE," count how many times that letter appears in both of your names, and write the number next to the letter. When each letter has a number next to it, add the numbers the way you would a column of two-decimal numbers. For example,


T 2 L 4
R 2 O 0
U 2 V 0
E 3 E 3


The final sum indicates the percentage of true love the two of you can have together. Christian and I have 97% true love together. See? Percentages. That means science.

There's one final step. If you're a married couple, and you already have kids together, then you can add two extra percentage points to your final score for each child. (But just children, not pets.) This makes sense because having kids with someone increases your true love. That's science also.


Important Thoughts 10.0

10.1: I realize that I forgot to tag people at the end of my seven quirks post, so I'll go ahead and tag people now. I tag Teri, Ashton, and Catherine.

10.2: I also realize that I have been posting like a crazy person. It's all part of my plan to beat Joel in our posting war. Remember? I said I was going to lure Joel into a false sense of security (check!) and then start posting like crazy (check!). After this post, if Joel doesn't posted today, then I will be only six posts behind, which I feel is a huge accomplishment after being behind by 22 posts earlier this year. My goal now is to catch up with him by the end of this month, and then I can use December to just completely blow him out of the water. And then I'll win and Joel will owe me one million dollars.

10.3: Two people are really frustrating me right now. I can't say who the two people are, because even though I don't think they read my blog, they might, or word might get out to them some other way that I'm frustrated with them, and that would not be good. I also can't say why I'm frustrated with them, because that would give away who they are, and like I said before, I can't say who they are. Mostly I just wanted to rant a little bit because I'm frustrated. Rant rant rant. Now I'm done.

10.4: I don't think facial masks really work the way they say they're going to work. I don't think they really moisturize your face or refine your pores or detoxify your skin or anything. Here's how I think facial masks really work: first, you spread a whole bunch of green goo on your face. It's green, which means that it's healthy, plus it stinks a lot and the bottle tells you it's healthy, so you believe that it's healthy. After you spread the green goo on your face, you look in the mirror and think, "wow, I look weird with this stuff on my face." Then you wait a while, and while you wait your skin starts to feel weird, which makes sense because you've got green goo all over your face, but in your head you think, "aha! It must be working!" Then you wash your face, and you look at yourself in the mirror again and think, "I look much better than I did before I used goo on my face. This stuff is awesome." But really in your head you're not comparing your face after the goo to your face before the goo; you're comparing your face after the goo to your face with the goo, and obviously your face is going to look better without goo. And that's what I think of facial masks: complete rip-off.

Marshall's Hair

Christian introduced me to many shows when we were dating that are hilarious. One of these shows was How I Met Your Mother, which is now in its fourth season. Since Christian owns the first and second seasons on DVD, he's been catching me up on the earlier HIMYM. Watching these earlier seasons with Christian has led me to two conclusions: first, the show has always been hilarious. Second, Marshall's hair sucks.

Seriously, Marshall's hair used to look so awesome, and now it's just awful. I'm not the only one who thinks so, either. The writers of Go Fug Yourself noticed, and so did kristapurpelle41 and freckles, who discussed their opinions in an E! Online Insider Community Forum:

kristapurpelle41: WHAT are they doing with Marshall's hair???? I HATE it!!
freckles: I don't like it either.

For those of you who have never watched HIMYM, or have forgotten how Marshall's hair used to rock it hard, take a look at cool Marshall:So cool. So awesome. And now, take a look at not-cool Marshall with his terrible, nastifying, pathetically lame hair:No, just kidding. That's not what Marshall's hair looks like. This is what Marshall's hair looks like:I think the real tragedy here is that Marshall's bad hair makes his character less interesting, less funny, less awesome, and makes it more pathetic, more lame, more depressing, more blerg. And that shouldn't happen. That should never happen.

Fix Marshall's hair, people who have control over Marshall's hair! Make Marshall cool again!


Quirky Tagged Post

Alice tagged me. I've been challenged to name seven quirks that no one knows about me. I'm taking "no one" to mean "not most people," since otherwise this would be too hard.

1. I have a tendency to get really cold feet in the winter, and I hate going to bed with cold feet, because then they stay cold all night long, and it makes me not sleep very well. To warm up my cold feet, I often fill up the bathroom sink with hot water (as hot as I can stand) and stick my feet in until they're warm and red and pruny. Then I take them out, dry them really quick so they don't get cold again, put on socks, and hop into bed.

2. When I eat a Reese's peanut butter cup, which I do as often as possible, I eat all of the chocolate off the top and then stick the peanut butter part in my mouth whole. This is what it looks like right before I eat it:

3. I hate the smell of vanilla. It smells like barf to me. This means that I also hate the smell of candles with names like "cookie dough" and "cake frosting." They all smell like barf. I do, however, like the smell of lavender and vanilla together. I feel like the harsh smell of lavender and the icky-gooey-sweet smell of vanilla even each other out.

4. I constantly worry that I have stuff in my nose that people can see. I think this comes from my mother constantly reminding me in my youth that since I was taller than other people, and since my nose turns up on the end, I always needed to clean out my nose before I left the house. I also obsessively worry that I have food in the corners of my mouth after I've eaten.

5. I'm really good at wrapping presents. Like, really good. At Christmas, my presents (as in, presents from me, not presents for me, because that wouldn't make sense) always look better than everyone else's. The last few years I lived at home I bought my own wrapping paper instead of using the leftover-for-ten-years wrapping paper that my parents got out of the attic, and I refuse to use a dinky, pre-made, stick-on bow as a present's only decoration. I believe very strongly that the first step in getting someone to like your present on the inside is for it look good on the outside.

6. I love playing the N64 that I borrowed from my parents. I wouldn't say that I'm really good at a lot of video games, although I do enjoy the Wii Sports. However, a lot of N64 games seem to be right on my level. I've beaten Paper Mario three times, and I've beaten Zelda: Ocarina of Time four times. I'm also awesome at Diddy Kong Racing, Yoshi Story, Mario Party, Mario Party 2, and Mario Party 3, especially the Mario Party game Face Lift. I'll bet anyone $20 that I can beat them in Face Lift.

7. I like to sit with my feet on my chair. At dinner, in class, at the doctor's office. Everywhere. Always. (Well, always except for at church or any other time when I'm wearing a skirt, because wearing a skirt and sitting with your feet on your chair does not work.) Maybe it's that sitting with my feet on the floor is not comfortable, or maybe it's that I like being all close together in a ball, like I'm constantly in the fetal position.


Important Thoughts 9.0

9.1: Christian and I were looking for Halloween costumes on Thursday night, but weren't having much luck. Christian thought of a costume shop on Western Blvd. that we could go to, only it turned out that the place wasn't open. In fact, it turned out that it wasn't a costume shop at all -- it was a store that sold Indian saris. Christian only assumed it was a costume shop because of all the "costumes" he had seen in the window.

9.2: I opened the trunk of my car a few days ago and found a bunch of clothes I had forgotten about. I found my red corduroy jacket, a woven belt, my fake Ugg boots, my favorite scarf, my black dress, a black t-shirt, a pair of athletic socks, and a sports bra. It was awesome, like going shopping without spending any money. I think that's exactly how the people on What Not to Wear feel.

9.3: Christian insists that we saw Steven Spielberg in a minivan on Western Blvd. yesterday. Christian said he was doing research for his next big movie, and that he was in disguise, which is why the minivan's bumper was falling off. Christian thinks that he must be making a Civil War epic. Christian hopes that he and I will be cast in this movie.

9.4: I found a new way to make gravy. It's called, put the stuff you want in the gravy in the blender and then turn the blender on. It works. Trust me.

9.5: I finished The Fountainhead yesterday. It took me forever. And by "forever," I mean about six weeks. Books hardly ever take me that long to finish. But it was good. It was very good. I'm on an Ayn Rand streak right now -- first I read Anthem, then We the Living, and then The Foutainhead without any real break in between. It doesn't stop here, though. It can't stop. To have any real chance at ever reading Atlas Shrugged all the way through, I feel like I have to just go ahead with it now. Wish me luck.

9.6: Saturday Night Live last night was awful. Just terrible. Ben Affleck was not funny, and also he couldn't keep in character, and also it was obvious that he didn't know the words to the song in Night School Musical: Senior Year Equivalent. David Cook, though, sounded okay.


First Halloween

Christian and I had an awesome first Halloween. We got zero trick-or-treaters, as expected, but we bought over $40 worth of candy, which we haven't even eaten a tenth of yet, we obtained a massive pumpkin, which Christian cleaned and I carved (although I feel like I could have done a better job if I had had a smaller, bendier knife), and we rented The Skeleton Key, which was scary without being nightmare-inducing, and which I enjoyed. Also, we took pictures. I took pictures of Christian and he took pictures of me, and the pictures of Christian were good and the pictures of me were not good, so I only posted the pictures of Christian.

Here's our massive pumpkin, which we got for only $5:
Here's Christian next to the pumpkin to show how big it is (and, seriously, it is massive):
Here's the finished product:With the lights off:Christian with the pumpkin and all of our candy:Christian trying to eat as much candy as possible:


FHE Ideas

About a month after Christian and I got married, we decided that Christian would be in charge of keeping us on track with daily family scripture study, and I would be in charge of planning FHE every week. Definitely I feel like I came off with the bad end of that deal. I have the hardest time thinking of things to do every week that we both enjoy and that would bring us closer together. It would be easy if it were just me, but sometimes it seems like Christian doesn't enjoy doing anything.

So far, I've basically rotated between a few set activities, including: reading the Ensign together, going for a walk, playing a game that we both enjoy, and what I call "dealing with family business," which usually means that we go shopping. I feel like I've occasionally come up with a genuinely good idea, like when we had a paper airplane-making contest, when we sat down and made a budget, when we made a plan for food storage, or when we took a questionnaire about our expectations for each other, but these good ideas are few and far between.

Basically, I'm asking for help. What does everyone do for FHE? Please, I need ideas!


NC State Fair 2008

Christian and I went to the state fair yesterday. It was awes-credible. We had so much fun. And, incredibly, we took a lot of pictures, which is so unlike us.

We went on rides:
  1. the Fireball, which we both acknowledge as the best ride at the fair
  2. the Mega Drop, which was a first for both of us, and which totally blew our minds
  3. some roller coaster thing
  4. the Ferris Wheel
  5. the House of Rock, which wasn't really even a ride, and which was the lamest, but which provided some pretty awesome pictures; also, they were playing Bon Jovi while we were there, so we couldn't not go in
  6. Hit in 2000, during which Christian got crushed against the side of the seat
  7. White Water, which is my favorite and which no one else ever wants to go on it makes you get all wet
  8. the lesser Mega Drop, which isn't as awesome as the real Mega Drop, because you don't fall for as long, but which is still completely amazing
We also ate lots of food, including NC State ice cream, which was awesome, saw Angel the snake woman, went to see the Demolition Derby with Joel & Rochelle, saw Smithfield the painting pig, and watched the fireworks. All in all, it was a well-spent seven hours at the fair.

Here's us on the Ferris Wheel:
Christian in the House of Rock:
Close up of Christian:
In front of Hit in 2000 (which is the strangest name for a ride ever):
Eating a frozen banana in front of Dorton Arena:
Waiting in line with Joel and Rochelle so they could milk a cow:My attempt to capture the lights of the fair against the night sky:
Rochelle, Joel, Christian and I at the Demolition Derby:


Important Thoughts 8.0

First important thought: being sick is not fun. Being sick is especially not fun when midterms are coming up, and so especially not fun when you're trying not to get your significant other sick also. Blerg. I feel like my house is full of used tissues. Second important thought: I really slacked during September, with an all-time low of only three posts during the whole month. Don't take this as an indication that I'm going to allow myself to be beaten by Joel in our posting war, though, because I totally won't. Third important thought: not surprisingly, David Brent won the title of Boss of Dancing. Perhaps if I had been able to find the footage of Michael Scott dancing in the deleted scenes, he might have had a better chance. As it stands, however, David Brent won 75% of the vote, and Michael Scott only won 25%. Fourth important thought: I don't know what to do about my background. I can't decide. Fifth important thought: no offense to a certain person whom I love dearly, but things that are chocolate that have mint in them that shouldn't have mint in them (which is almost everything except peppermint patties and mint chocolate chip ice cream) are gross to me. Case in point: brownies. Brownies should never be minty. Sixth important thought: I love my husband. This morning, as I got up from the couch to go the bathroom, I threw a blanket over his head. He yelled "I can't see!" and started stumbling around the room. When I came back, he was like this:


A Few More...

Remember when I came up with a special blog post to celebrate having only ten days left until my wedding? Well, here are three more Christian-and-Mary pictures to celebrate the fact that, earlier this month, Christian and I had our fourth month-a-versary. 1. Christian and I at Adam and Tiffani Winsor's wedding reception last October. This is not too long after we started dating, and when I first met Christian's parents. I kind of have a look on my face like I'd rather not get my picture taken, which is probably exactly how I felt, and also my hair doesn't look great. Still, I love this picture. 2. Christian and I at his apartment, in early January. This was actually taken the night we told our parents that we were engaged. We were both pretty tired, but also very happy and excited. Also, I look almost muscular in that shirt. 3. Fast-forward seven months to early August. This is Christian and I at the airport, waiting for Michael to get off his plane. We made an awesome poster that said "RUN HOME JACK" for the occasion that I don't think Michael really got to see. Christian's the one looking slightly disheveled in this picture, with his nose all smashed and his glasses askew. It's still one of my favorite pictures of us.


Important Thoughts 7.0

First thought: I said a while ago that one of the only ways I was going to get the absolutely perfect blog layout that I wanted was going to be creating it myself, and while I wasn't interesting in exploring that option then, I recently became interested, and I explored, and I created. Behold my creation! It's not perfect, I know, but I enjoy it. Maybe it'll stick around longer than the average layout does on my blog. Second thought: Eric got his mission call yesterday. He's going to the Georgia Macon Mission. Congratulations, Eric! Third thought: Christian went online recently and calculated that I actually have four semesters of school left, instead of the three that I had estimated and have been talking about for the past eight months. Blerg. Fourth thought: The worst thing about getting sunburned, apart from the part when it hurts so bad that you don't want to move, is the part when your skin starts peeling. It just looks so gross. Fifth thought: Frisbee pictures.


Important Thoughts 6.0

Days Until Christian's 25th Birthday: 34

My first important thought is that I settled on a new layout, at least for now. I looked all around the Internet for hours Wednesday trying to find exactly the right template. Finally, after searching more this morning, I decided that there were only two ways I was ever going to have the perfect blog design: create it myself, and pay someone to create it. I wasn't interested in exploring either of those options, so I went with this, which I like fairly well. It's good enough for now. We'll see if it sticks.

My second important thought is that Christian's birthday is coming up, and despite what he thinks, it's coming up soon. I think I've already shared my philosophy that birthdays are awesome, but if I haven't, let me repeat: birthdays are awesome. Christian is also awesome, so I feel like his birthday should be super-incredi-awesome. He doesn't know what he wants to do for his birthday yet -- he keeps denying the fact that he needs to decide what he wants to do, because he keeps thinking that it's forever away -- so I can't make any definite plans. I am stocking up on presents. At least I'll be prepared on the present front.

My third thought concerns a guy that Christian and I saw in North Hills on our way home from the eye doctor today. He was sitting on the sidewalk, holding one of those advertisement signs that you usually see being flipped up into the air all kinds of cool ways. But he was just sitting there, and Christian and I both looked at him. Then we had this conversation:

Christian: [weirded out] "I think I made eye contact with that guy. That's not good."
Mary: "I did too. He looks really hot."
Christian: [questioning] "Yeah? You think so?"
Mary: "Yeah, I do. Why wasn't he drinking some of his Kool-Aid or whatever it was he had with him?"
Christian: [still questioning] "That guy that you found so attractive?"
Mary: "Attractive? I never said I thought he was attractive."
Christian: [questioning and kind of laughing] "Maybe not in those exact words."
Mary: "Oh. Gross. I meant that he looked really overheated."
Christian: [definitely laughing] "I know what you meant."
Mary: "But seriously, what happens to that guy if he has sun stroke or something?"
Christian: [flippant] "I'm sure he has to sign a waiver or something. Planet Beach is covered."

And that's when I realized that "planet beach" doesn't make sense. A whole planet can't be a beach. It doesn't make sense. There could be a Planet Ocean, where the entire planet was covered in water, or a Planet Land Mass. Planet Beach couldn't happen -- for beach, you need land and you need a body of water, which means that some of the planet would be land and some would be water; not all of it could be beach. It just can't happen. It's like saying Planet River or Planet Peninsula.

After ranting about it for a few minutes, I asked Christian to agree with me, and he agreed in that way that he does when he thinks I'm right, but he doesn't care about what I'm discussing as much as I do, and he wants to make sure I know it. And that doesn't satisfy me at all.


Bits and Pieces 6-5-08

Days Until Christian's 25th Birthday: 42

I can't believe Christian is turning 25. That seems so old to me. Especially since it's Christian. Twenty-five is a ridiculously advanced age for a person to be when I'm married to them. We seem so young when we're together. Twenty-five just doesn't factor into the mental image that I have of us. It's just crazy, okay? It's crazy.

(As a side note, please no one read the above paragraph and lecture me on how young 25 is, just because you're 25 or older than 25 or are married to someone older than 25 and have been for years. I get it. Most people are older than 25. Reminding me of that fact is cliché and irritating, so, double irritating. The point is that I'm having a moment, contemplating the fact that my husband is almost 25. Not that it's freaking me out or anything. I'm just having a moment. Let me have my moment.)

I actually didn't come online to talk about Christian's birthday (although I am compiling a list of presents he wouldn't mind getting, in case anyone is interested). I didn't come online to blog at all -- I came online to get my mom's Judy's Brownies recipe, which I knew I e-mailed to Heather years ago, and would therefore be somewhere in my Gmail archives. In case anyone wants to try the recipe out, here it is:

Judy's Brownies

3/4 C cocoa
1 C oil
2 t vanilla
4 eggs
1 1/3 C flour
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 C sugar
1 C chocolate chips or walnuts (optional)

Mix ingredients together in order. Pour into a greased 9x13" pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips or walnuts on top if desired. Bake 30 minutes at 350˚.

It's a super-good recipe, I promise. Oh, and something else before I forget: Christian and I have a problem. Our problem starts with the fact that Christian doesn't like shopping. Christian doesn't like to buy clothes for himself and has consequently convinced himself that he doesn't need any more clothes than he already has. This is a mistake. Because he has a limited amount of clothing, we do the laundry more often than would otherwise be necessary. When we do the laundry, we eventually come to a point when we need to put the clothes in the dryer and turn it on. There would be nothing wrong with putting the clothes in the dryer and turning it on except for one thing.

The one thing? Once heat gets into the second story of our townhome, it never leaves. We can't figure out how to open our windows, which would let the stifling heat out and let the cool (if humid) night air in. Not being able to open our windows wouldn't be a problem except that the air conditioning never seems the reach the second floor. Thus, Christian and I often find it too warm to get a good night's sleep. And that's a big problem. If anyone has any suggestions as to how we might cool things down, please let me know.

*photo by jslander



Days Until Christian's 25th Birthday: 48

On Tuesday, I got a call from my eye doctor, letting me know that my glasses were ready for pickup. I was excited -- I'd been looking forward to getting my glasses. I was also excited to see what they looked like, since I picked out the frames when my eyes were dilated. I don't know why they thought it would be a good idea to dilate my eyes and then ask me to pick out frames. I had trouble seeing things. I would pick up a pair of frames, bring them right up to my face, and ask, "What color are these?"

I like them. I wear them during the day when Christian's not home. When I wear them when Christian is home, he says that I look like a dork.

I go back to the eye doctor again today. This time, I'm going with Christian for his appointment. I think he's looking forward to the machine where they tell you to look at a hot air balloon and keep your eyes open then it blows a puff of air into your eye. I hate that machine, but Christian says that he likes it. He says that it makes him laugh.

Also, and on a totally different note, I'd just like to remind everyone that in a recent post, I said that my strategy in this posting war would involve "lur[ing] [Joel] into a false sense of security, and then start posting like crazy." So I'm surprised that everyone was surprised that I've been laying low for a while. This posting war is going take place over the entire year. Thus, I have to pace myself. I don't want to peak too early.


Re-Upholstering Victory

Not too long after Christian and I got engaged, I looked at his hideous, uncomfortable armchair and said to it, "I'll be dealing with you." I didn't want to have such an ugly and impractical chair in my house. It was obvious that someone had tried to reupholster this chair years ago, and maybe it looked not-as-bad then, but their work had started to come undone on the sides. It was bad.

I knew Alice had made a slipcover for her couch when she and Cletus lived in married student housing at UNC, so I asked her for help. And last Wednesday, she and baby Katie came over, armed with a sewing machine. We got a lot done that day -- I think we would have gotten more done had I not needed to go to Wal-Mart to get a staple gun, and then needed to go back to Wal-Mart because I got the wrong kind of staples, and then needed to go back to Jo-Ann's because I didn't get enough fabric the first time.

But I finally finished yesterday. I declared victory over the chair! I think it looks much better than before, and reupholstering was definitely less expensive than buying a new chair. As Alice and I were taking the old fabric off, we saw that the people who had reupholstered this chair before had signed their names and written the date on the wood inside: May 12, 1986. Which means that the fabric we were pulling off the chair was almost older than I was. (We also saw scraps of the original fabric. It looked like an old couch that our family had when we were little.) Thankfully, all of that fabric is gone.

It's still an incredibly uncomfortable chair, but at least it's no longer hideous.

The front:

The side:

The back:

Me, enjoying the chair: