Christian Plautz Plays Softball

I finally remembered to bring my camera to one of Christian's softball games.  At least, I thought I remembered to bring my camera to one of Christian's softball games, and then I heard that the team Biogen was playing had to forfeit, which means that they didn't play a real game.  They played a scrimmage.  The only scrimmage that Biogen has had to play in the past 1.5 seasons, and it happens on the day that I bring my camera.  Nevertheless, I took plenty of pictures of Christian playing softball in his scrimmage.  I feel like it's important, because one day when I remember all of the incredibly hot hours I spent faithfully watching Christian play softball, I'm going to want to look at some pictures.

{top to bottom: Christian warming up, random pictures of Christian standing around, Christian pitching in the game, Christian getting ready for some action at third base, Christian at bat, Christian sitting on the bench}


I Just Gagged on News from the Front

Christian's brother Eric is on a mission in Georgia right now.  We get e-mails from him every Monday, and it's nice to hear how he's doing.  Today, however, he shared this truly disgusting story with us:
"So this week we four elders in Milledgeville have zero dollars to buy any food with because we had to buy a new bike rack for our car and we had to pay out of our pocket and then get reimbursed, so we have to wait a couple days before we can buy any food. Yeah, we do have some food but nothing amazing, we are almost out of milk but we can survive with water. Speaking of milk and water, when I was in Moultrie, we were at an investigators house who wanted cereal but didn't have enough milk so he put water in it shook up the carton and put it on his cereal.  I immediately thought about how Mom puts ice in her milk and how that is just as abominable as false preachers."
First of all, that is incredibly gross.  I had to stop reading for a while to get my gagging under control.  Second, putting ice in your milk is not at all as gross as putting inch-milk water on your cereal {I do it, too}.  Third, Eric is funny.


{photo by Caiti Borruso.}

Christian surprised me yesterday by telling me that he's taking four days off work, starting at the end of next week!  I was {and am} so excited!  He's taking off Thursday and Friday, and then next Monday and Tuesday.  Christian's had a very busy work schedule lately; they've been doing a lot of system upgrades at Biogen, which means more to do for everyone {but especially, it seems to me, for the Automation Engineers}.  We had planned to take all of our summer vacations this fall, including our trip to Utah, which is still scheduled for September.  When he told me about the time he was taking off, I asked, "What about work?"  To which he replied, "Work schmirk."  That's good enough for me!

I've already planned the first thing we're going to do on our little vacation.  I always love to go to the beach, so I thought it would be fun to stay there for a couple days and really soak it in.  I knew Christian wouldn't love the idea, though, so I was thinking of ways to convince him when it hit me: Elizabeth lives in Beaufort!  Staying with Elizabeth and Erik {and adorable Amelia and Charlotte} would be way more fun, and Christian loves spending time with family.  Bing!  Plan made.  We're going to leave late Wednesday night {Christian is helping out with the Young Men's temple trip that night}, and stay until Saturday.  I'm really so excited -- I love trips!



{photo via PaperTissue.}

Rah!  Rah!  I feel better today!  {Granted, I haven't attempted to go outside, for fear that whatever had me in paralyzing fits of sneezes yesterday will attack me again today.  However...}  I am in love with today.  It's gorgeous outside.  I love waking up with the sun shining out my window -- it makes me excited to get up and do things.  I don't have very much planned for today, just attempting to put my house in order and working on blog designs.  Perhaps I'll throw in a trip to the gym to change things up a little.  Before I get to work, though, I wanted to share a joke that Christian made while we were in the car yesterday morning, because thinking about it now still makes me laugh out loud.

First, a little background: Christian had made a joke about not being able to see a guy on a motorcycle, because he was wearing camouflage.  It was along the lines of, "Oh, man.  I can see a backpack, and I can see a motorcycle, but I don't see anyone riding it!"  I, being half asleep and not in any kind of mood to indulge him, said jokes about camouflage were totally lame and not at all funny anymore.  Christian said camo jokes were timeless, and to prove it, he said, "Camouflage jokes have been funny ever since the first time a caveman dressed up in a bush to go hunting, and another caveman said, 'See Grog spear, see Grog loincloth.  No see Grog!'"  The way he was trying not to laugh as he said it made it even more hilarious and adorable.


Things Aren't Going My Way

I'm sick.  That's how this long story starts.  I'm sick with some kind of cold.  I'm congested and sneezing like crazy.  I told Christian today that I was "sneezing constantly," and he didn't believe me.  "I don't think that's accurate," he said.  "I don't think you're literally sneezing constantly."  And then I explained.  I sneeze, and then immediately I feel another sneeze coming on.  You know that weird feeling of anticipation that you get in your nose right before you sneeze?  That feeling, immediately, until I sneezed again.  Lather, rinse, repeat, about ten times in a row.  Then a two-minute break, then another row of sneezes.  After hearing my explanation, Christian was forced to concede that yes indeed, I was sneezing constantly.  {At which point I asked, "Why do I have to explain everything to you before you believe me??"}

However, if you follow me on Twitter, you know all of this already.  You also know that I decided to help myself feel better by going to Cookout, my favorite place for my favorite onion rings.  So we'll skip over my playing Nintendo 64 all morning {I'm sick, remember?} and get straight to when I'm sitting in the drive-thru line at Cookout.  I ordered my usual -- hamburger with everything except ketchup, onion rings, fries, Coke -- and went to pay.  I shifted my car into park and knew immediately that I had made one of the biggest mistakes of my life.  Why?  Because my car has had a growing issue about shifting out of park.  For the past month or two I've only been able to get it to shift out of park after moving my seat around a few times.  Then I had to turn the wheel both ways.  Lately it's been both, for about five minutes, before my car will condescend to slide into reverse.

Today, nothing worked.  Nothing worked for about ten minutes {during which the Cookout employees were very kind and understanding}.  So I decided to call Christian and then a tow truck, which is when I realized I had forgotten my cell phone at home.  Blerg!  Suddenly I felt miserable, alone, awkward, and unprepared.  It brought back memories of when my mom would forget to pick me up from school, and I would sit outside and wait for hours, periodically going to the office and attempting to call home yet again, only to hear my answering machine... yet again.  Those adolescent experiences have left me with abandonment issues, as well as a serious desire to always have a reliable means of transportation.

However, everything turned out alright.  The manager at Cookout lent me his phone.  I tried to call Christian, and, knowing he wouldn't recognize the number and pick up right away, used our super secret emergency signal which, unfortunately, he also didn't recognize.  I would have tried calling someone else, but Christian's cell number is the only one I have memorized {apart from the home number of the house I grew up in, my high school crush's home number, and my cousin Heather's number from when she lived in Raleigh, which, needless to say, were all completely useless}.  I then called a tow truck, and told the tow truck guy to take me to a good mechanic nearby.  See how trusting I am?  I get into tow trucks with guys I don't know and let them take me to strange places.

He took me to a car-fixing place {which is what I called it later when talking to Christian}, and when I told them my last name was Plautz, they asked me if I knew someone named Sally.  Yes!  I absolutely do!  {You've been there before, Mom -- they had you in their system.}  I immediately felt more at ease, and settled down to watch the end of Rocky IV and the beginning of Jaws III on the car-fixing place's surprisingly large TV while I waited to hear my car's diagnosis.  I tossed my Cookout tray out, number a because I felt like an idiot carrying it around, and letter 2 because my shame at being in such a situation left me without an appetite.  Eventually I was informed by Tony {a very helpful car-fixing guy} that there's a malfunction with some kind of security system on my car, and I should take it to a dealership immediately.  He also showed me a fool-proof way of getting it to shift out of park.  It goes like this:  When you go to start up your car, turn the key far enough that the dash lights up, but not so far that the air conditioning or radio turn on.  Leave it that way for ten minutes.  Come back, turn it all the way on, push on the brake, let off the emergency brake, and then it should shift just fine.  Awesome.

I'm safe at home again now, sneezing more than ever.  And I've learned my lesson: only talk about ways my mother has emotionally scarred me when her computer monitor isn't working, because then she can't read my blog.


Happy Father's Day!

{December 1984: Doug, 26; Christian, 16 months}

{July 1988: Jim, 42; Mary, 2}

Happy Father's Day, everyone!
Things I love about these pictures:
my dad's mustache,
how you can see both of our dads' wedding rings,
baby Christian's little red mouth and long eyelashes,
the scriptures next to my dad's bed,
baby Christian's cardigan and bow tie,
how young Christian's dad looks,
and how you can tell they love us so much.

Thank you to our Dads,
for loving us and teaching us and taking care of us.
We love you.


Hair Makeover

I cut some bangs for myself a few weeks ago.  I probably should have grown out of the impulse to cut my own hair by this point in my life.  Don't most kids try to cut their own hair when they're three? Or four?  And I'm plus twenty years old.  However, cutting my hair is one of the ways in which I express that I'm feeling something significant, and when I want to do it, I want to do it right then.  I think it's lucky I had a pair of scissors in the bathroom the day this happened, or I might have tried to cut my hair with fingernail clippers.  {Just kidding -- that would have taken forever.}  Anyway, want to see?

I should have said, "want to see goofy pictures I took of myself because I'm too self-conscious to make a normal smiling face"?  That would have been more accurate.  As it is, I feel self-conscious enough that I make going make a bunch of excuses for why my hair looks the way it does in these pictures.  I don't care so much about how my face looks, but for many of you, this is the first time you're getting to see the new cut, and I know you're going to judge me for cutting my own hair {again} if it looks awful.

Excuse #1: It looked better earlier today, but then I went to the pool, and it got a little bit wet and a little bit frizzy.  Excuse #2: Because of the extra frizzy, I over-tried to calm down my bangs, which made them a little bit stringy.  Excuse #3: When I first cut these bangs, they weren't this long.  They have since {miracle!} grown out, and they cover my eyes too much, so I sweep them too the side, and I think they look a little bit weird this way.  And, okay, I am going to try to excuse my face also.  Excuse #4: Christian came home much earlier than expected and interrupted my photo session, so I didn't get as many good pictures {any good pictures?} as I had hoped.

And... drumroll... what does everyone think?  People who have seen me in person, doesn't it look better in person?  And doesn't it seem like those two Marys on the right are looking at each other?  Is that weird?



I went out into my garden today and found a few tiny green tomatoes and a growing cucumber.  I feel so proud of my little shaded garden, struggling to create vegetables for me.  {On the downside, somehow I ended up planting pickling cucumbers.  How did that happen??}

I have also been hard at work lately, designing blogs.  Here are a few of my favorites.  I work very slowly, which is overwhelming sometimes.  I take breaks to watch the last few episodes of The Biggest Loser, which is entertaining, and read David Copperfield, which is even better.  I also take breaks to let my body rest from this chair, which, despite its new cushion, is still not comfortable after a few hours.

And now it's time for me to get back to work.


Important Thoughts 19.0

19.1: I got a makeover around the same time as my living room, in the form of some thick, eye-length bangs. I like them, even though they mean I have to fix my hair on a regular basis. I haven't taken any pictures yet, but if I manage to take some good ones next week, I'll be sure to post them.

19.2: I've been creating some Sporcle quizzes recently. You should check them out.

19.3: Christian has decided that he's not going to watch So You Think You Can Dance this season, which takes the number of shows he's watching over the summer down to one. Just one show for him, and I'm not sure if Wipeout is enough to satisfy him.

19.4: If you still feel that the LOST finale didn't answer all of your questions, maybe watching this hilarious video will help voice some of your frustration.


Living Room Makeover, Step 1

As I previously mentioned, I spent a good deal of last week painting our living room. I am now going to talk about it in great detail, which I understand has a good chance of being very boring, but I just painted a whole room by myself, and I want to brag about it.

I picked out the paint on Wednesday. I knew I wanted a yellow-green color, a compromise between Christian's preferred green and my desire to have our whole downstairs in different shades of yellow. I looked at all the choices at Lowe's, and, true to my color-picking philosophy, picked out a color and went with it before I had time to over-think. I also cleaned the outside of Christian's desk, clearing it of years of dirty finger marks and pencil scribblings -- the difference is incredible; I only wish that I had taken a before and after shot.

I moved all of our furniture into the center of the room first thing on Thursday morning {except for the couch, which I put on its side and slid into the hall, where I ended up continually walking on it all day}, and took down pictures and curtains. Then I cleaned the baseboards, taped {because I know I'm not good enough to paint without tape}, ran out of tape, bought more tape, and finished taping. I painted two coats -- cutting in twice, and using the roller twice. I let it dry overnight; Christian and I went to his parents' house in the evening so as not to be bored out of our minds without the TV.

On Friday I took down all the tape, did some minor touch-ups {I learned from the dining room fiasco and kept extra paint around for that specific purpose}, majorly touched-up the baseboards, meaning I gave them an entirely new coat of paint, and installed new electrical sockets and light switches. Christian came home early {thank you, summer hours!} and helped me put the furniture back into place. He also helped me figure out all the cords to hook the computer and TV back up, which made a job I could have done by myself so much easier. We put the pictures back on the walls, re-installed the curtain rod, and I even {for the first time in two years} washed our sliding glass door.

Here's how it looks now:

If I could go back and do it again, I would probably pick a lighter, yellower shade, but I'm really very happy with it. You can see the seat cushion I got at World Market for our computer chair; my butt has not stopped thanking me since. And, I know this isn't everyone's taste, but I love how the green of the cushion clashes with the green of the wall. Love it!

I would also go back and not wash our curtains, which were in the house when we moved in. They were seriously grody before, but after putting them through the several dryer cycles necessary to get them entirely dry, they are now a good six inches shorter than before. And they look ridiculous. And we didn't realize they had shrunk until Christian and I had each spent 20 minutes ironing them. Blerg.

This is only step 1 of our living room makeover because of two things. Well, actually now because of three things. 1: The wall around the TV looks very blank; I need to figure out what to put on that wall. 2: A new couch would really help our room look awesome. I am working on acquiring one, but it still might take a while. If you would like to take pity on me and speed up this process, you could always hire me to design your blog. All proceeds go to my new couch fund. 3: I don't know what to do about our curtains.


My First Harvest

I was having a grumpy day today until I went outside to tend my garden. My little garden doesn't need very much tending, due to the fact that it comprises eight small pots of soil, several sun-starved plants, and nothing else. {I think my plants are missing the sun as much as I am -- today feels like the twentieth cloudy/rainy/stormy/muggy day in a row. Seriously, weather? You are now officially overstaying your welcome.} Mostly I just go out after the work crews have been by with their leaf blowers and pick mulchy dirt off of my tomato cages.

Today, however, in amidst the dead leaves and pieces of bark were eight ripe green beans. Christian's favorite dish. My plants have defied the odds and managed to produce produce! I am so proud. The sun even managed to peek out from its atmospheric prison for a few minutes while I was taking a picture. It was glorious.

P.S. Does this picture make my hands look mannish? I feel hand-self-conscious.