Saturday, February 28, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

We were excited to spend our first Valentine's Day together since we got married, and we started making plans a week or two in advance.  Jay wanted to make a dinner, I wanted to go on a date, and we both wanted to exchange gifts.  The day before V-day, however, we decided to go on a spontaneous trip to visit Jay's family in Midland.  We "rescheduled" our Valentine's Day for the next Saturday.  Unfortunately, we brought a stowaway home from Midland: a lovely little virus that made Jay cough a lot and that kept me in bed for over a week.  Since I wasn't feeling up to eating real food or doing much of anything, really, on Saturday, we decided to postpone Valentine's Day yet again.  

Which brings us to today.  I was totally unoriginal and bought Jay a polo shirt and a tie (both of which look incredibly hot on him, by the way) and a couple little things.  He, on the other hand, completely surprised me with a flat, white box.  

This picture doesn't do them justice, but pearls are hard to photograph, as I found out.  I was so surprised and so pleasedI love pearls.  Aren't they beautiful?  I wouldn't take them off, even though for most of the day I wore a ratty t-shirt.  I felt like a little kid who insists on sleeping with their new pair of shoes.  Except that I felt beautiful.  And cherished.  

Later, we made an amazing dinner.  Jay went to Costco and bought some filet mignon (my absolute favoriteI know, I'm high maintenance) and then went to Target and bought a cute little barbeque.  I set the table with our china, stemware, and formal placemats and then made cheese biscuits while Jay made a salad and tended the steak and potatoes on the grill.  

Note the A.1. Sauce and Brianna's salad dressing: crowing touches.  The meal was divine.  Mmmm...Steak.  

We finished off the evening with the adult session of Stake Conference.  It was really good, other than our dinner-induced drowsiness.  We came home and ate some decadent Blue Bell chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.  

I feel so blessed to have a happy marriage and a husband who really does treat me like a queen.  What a fun, beautiful day.  

I love you, Baby.  Happy Valentine's Day.

Because Sometimes I Just Can't Take it Anymore, Take III and Update

No, the email spammers never emailed me back. Neither did the library people. Which, when I think about it, I'm quite grateful for: it was a pretty trivial email, and I really don't want to know what they thought. I admit it: I'm a coward. I'd much rather voice my opinions anonymously, but I usually force myself to put my name on stuff. Wear it proudly, right?

Oh, but they did read my email: the last time I walked past the shadow box, there was a sticker over "Barack Obama" on the author field of the propaganda poem that said "By Cherita Banton. Published 2008." Looks like even they can't stand incorrect citation, eh?

I have another confession.

So there's this nice, brand-new, always clean black Toyota Camry that's always parked near our apartment. For months, though, the guy who drove it (a fruity guy who wears tangerine-colored button-downs, as we later found out) would park, very obnoxiously, across two parking spots. And it drove me nuts. But more than that, it made Jay mad. And so, between the two of us, we began to space our cars out in the parking lot in such a way as to make it impossible for Black Camry to double park. On the days when we were too late and he was already sprawled across his two spots, Jay would straddle the line himself and park dangerously close to him. We hoped he’d take a hint, but like most inconsiderate jerks, he was either oblivious or indifferent. “Who does this gold 2005 Sonata guy think he is?” I can just imagine him musing to himself, “Parking so close to the greatness that is my car! And doesn’t he know he’s double parked?”

The thing is, there’s a string of covered parking spaces that are right next to where he was parking. To get a covered space, you have to pay an extra $25 a month. Since most people living in apartment complexes are trying to save money so they can get out of apartment complexes, those spots are empty. A lone FJ Cruiser inhabits the space on the end. If Black Camry was that concerned about door dings, I figured the extra 25 bucks a month was a small price to pay for peace of mind.

But the months went by, and the double parking continued. I seriously considered leaving a nasty anonymous note on his windshield. I also seriously considered calling management. Because, really, sometimes I just can’t take it anymore.

In a twist that only irony can produce, Jay went out one Saturday morning a few weeks ago to find a large, bright orange sticker on his car window. “WARNING,” it read, “Your car is double parked. If you do not move it, it will be towed.” It had the date and time at the bottom. Jay had, of course, double parked in order to be cozy with Black Camry who, in turn, had apparently left and then come back later. Upon his return, he took advantage of Jay’s double parking job by parking a half-space away, effectively giving himself a buffer. His car was on the line, but since he was no longer double parked, Jay was the one with the orange sticker.

I was steamed. I folded the big orange sticker in half and threw it away. I wanted to call the towing company to demand a recount because, of course, by that afternoon he was double parked again. And now Jay didn’t dare park next to him, lest he get towed.

That night, I dug the warning sticker out of the trashcan. I tried to unfold it, but the sides were stuck together. Under cover of darkness, I went outside and approached that blasted double parked Black Camry. I slipped the folded-up orange sticker with yesterday’s date under his windshield wiper.

He hasn’t double parked since.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Because Sometimes I Just Can't Take it Anymore, Take II

Last night I asked my husband one of those questions that I wanted an honest answer to, but only if it was the answer I wanted.  

"Baby, do you think I'm...  too opinionated?"  

Bless his heart, he knew he was playing with fire.  He averted his eyes briefly before responding, "Um, sometimes."  And then, when my face fell, he made a typical back-pedalling man move: "I mean, of course not!"  

But it was too late.  I had suspected the truth, and now I knew it for certain.  

I am too opinionated.  

And just in case you don't yet believe it, I hereby present Exhibit A:

Dear OLLUSA Library Staff:

First off, I want to thank you for all you do for the students and the University.  The library is a clean, classy, beautiful building.  I appreciate the efforts of you and your staff to provide OLLU students with access to a wide variety of resources.  This is particularly meaningful to me as I did my undergraduate work at a very large university with a huge library: it is a comfort to know that, though our university is smaller, I can still get the materials I need, whether it be in print, e-book, online journal, or through inter-library loan. 

My reason for writing is to request a change in one of the shadow boxes you have on the first floor.  I am aware that it is Black History Month, and am pleased that the Library is recognizing and honoring it, especially in light of the diverse OLLUSA faculty and student body.  I was disappointed, however, to see a few errors in a shadow box containing a poster of Pres. Obama.  A poem that reads like an email chain-letter, complete with comma splices, is displayed on the right side of the poster and is attributed to President Obama himself (I am aware that the President has, in fact, written poetry, but certainly nothing so chintzy or self-aggrandizing).  The author, as far as I was able to find, is actually a young woman named Cherita Banton (  Being an establishment that is known for stressing the importance of correct citation, I figured you would appreciate this oversight being brought to your attention.  The mini biography of Pres. Obama, located to the left of the poster, was also disappointing: full of biased information and inaccuracies (i.e. distortions of his bipartisanship and senatorial accomplishments, etc.). 

Call me a critic, but I was also rather offended by the poster (titled "Freedom Fighters" with MLK Jr. and Rosa Parks super-imposed on the background).  King and Parks, two revered civil rights heroes, accomplished great things in the advancement of "liberty and justice for all" at a time where, in some places, black people were targets of horrible discrimination and injustice.  I feel that Barack Obama, while a very accomplished man, does not merit placement alongside them--he has not done anything to warrant the title "Freedom Fighter" in the same sense that they have.  His success may be one of the fruits of that movement, but he is not one of the founders of (or even, really, contributers to) it--his platform as president or senator had little to do with race or freedom or civil liberties. 

I was also sad to see that, with the whole of black history figures and events to choose from, Pres. Obama was the only one represented (with two posters not 10 feet apart). 

I realize this is a very lengthy email about something rather petty that would be changed in the next couple weeks anyway, but I wanted to let you know that there are people who do read and care about the content, quality and accuracy of your displays (which are normally quite aesthetic and interesting).  I certainly don't mean to be offensive, and I recognize it's likely that none of you had anything to do with the exhibits (for all I know they were put together by a student group), but I felt that you as leaders of the library should be aware that there are many of us who feel this way. 

Thanks so much for all you do.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What the Hail?

Yesterday was a muggy day that consisted of overall humid grossness punctuated by intermittent drizzling spells. It was evening, and Jay had just returned from his ultimate frisbee game when we heard a dull roar--the kind that can either be thunder or a big garbage can rolling down a hill. It lasted for over 15 seconds, so I discarded the thunder theory. But a few minutes later, the wind picked up. I started to get hopeful: we haven't had a good storm here in awhile. Apparently San Antonio is in a bad drought, or so the media says (but my dad always grumbles that if newspapers aren't whining about critically low water supplies they're screaming about floods, so take that for what it's worth). A few minutes later, I thought I heard rain, and then it was more than rain pounding against our walls. I ran outside and saw pebble-sized hailstones bouncing on the grass: the biggest I'd ever seen. I grabbed one and ran inside to show it to Jay; it looked like a clear half-marble in my hand. We ran outside together as the storm intensified and the hail came down bigger and harder than before, like the sky was hurling large marbles and small rocks as hard as it could. I was so excited. I started yelling at Jay to grab the camera as I tried to gather some of the stones without incurring a concussion.

When the barrage stopped about two minutes later, the rain picked up. Laughing like a maniac, I ran out and twirled around on our sidewalk, getting soaked after a few seconds. Did I mention I love storms? Anyway, feeling a bit foolish, I came back inside, shivering, and picked up my textbook, ignoring Jay's raised eyebrows.

Later that evening I decided I had to take some pictures of our beautiful tulips before they die completely. I love flowers, especially tulips and lilies, and we bought a huge vase with bulbs at the bottom at Costco for seven bucks. The cool part is that we got to watch them bud and bloom, and we've had gorgeous tulips on our table for the past couple weeks.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Because Sometimes I Just Can't Take it Anymore

On Mon, Feb 9, 2009 at 3:28 PM, MICROSOFT ONLINE PROMO <> wrote:

Dear winner,

We are pleased to inform you today that you are one of the five lucky
winner of the MICROSOFT 2009 anniversary draw, held on the 8th of febuary

Contact claims representative for 1 million GBP


forward your details to him for delivery process, Provide him with the
information below:

TICKET NUMBER:005-4432-971-878


Mr. Richard Lenox


date: Mon, Feb 9, 2009 at 4:33 PM

Dear "Mr. Richard Lenox":

Do people seriously fall for this? I mean, seriously?

First of all, you might want to get a spell checker. I counted 18 spelling, grammatical, or punctuation errors in your short message.
Second of all, a yahoo email address? Really? How authentic.

People like you need to go and find real jobs instead of spending all your time spamming and scamming. Maybe going back to primary school would improve your basic writing skills enough that you could actually write a resume or complete a job application and become a contributing member of society.

Most sincerely,
"Mrs. Beatrix Potter"

Monday, February 2, 2009

The "25 Things" Craze

So there's this Facebook craze that's spreading like wildfire where everyone has been writing 25 random things about themselves, posting it, and "tagging" 25 more people who are then supposed to come up with their own list.  To my surprise, I've actually enjoyed reading most peoples' lists--it's fun to get a bunch of quick, random soundbytes about a person.  I already posted this list on facebook, but I decided to post it here as well because I figured it would be a fun thing to look back at someday.  

1. I have been really wanting a pet off and on for the last 6 months or so. I alternate between a cat, a toy poodle (our neighbors have 2, and they are so cute and nice and not yappy at all), and a chinchilla. I probably shouldn't get the chinchilla, though, because they're so soft I know I'd want to sleep with it, and Jay would get jealous. (Case in point: Jay just read this and said emphatically, "You are NOT sleeping with a chinchilla!")
2. I cannot curl my tongue into a "U" or fold the sides to the midline.
3. I've always wanted to have buff, sexy calves.
4. I hate tv and have no desire at this time to ever buy cable or a satellite dish. I can watch the one show I like (The Office) online at my leisure. We'll probably buy a tv eventually for movies; right now I'm perfectly content with our laptops. 
5. For the past few months I have been fiercely wanting to move to Europe for a couple years, preferably somewhere in the U.K.
6. The number one thing on my "stuff I want but don't have room or money for" list is a baby grand piano. Jay promised me we'll get one someday. 
7. I am the absolute worst dancer in the world. No lie. Except for awkward dancing that's really and truly awkwardly awkward--I rock at it. Just ask my sister or my former roommates.
8. Sometimes I think I have borderline OCD. Maybe there's no borderline about it. 
9. I feel like my life is a movie with recycled extras--I swear I see the same people over and over again. It doesn't matter if I'm in San Antonio, St. George, Hawaii, BYU, California, or London--I always see people I'm positive I know from somewhere. 
10. I am a compulsive reader: I finish almost every book within 48 hours of starting it, and usually under 5 if I can read without interruption. 
11. I really dislike uncomfortable shoes. I wear old, nasty, cheap, comfortable flip flops whenever possible. 
12. I have a talent for performing well on tests (standardized or not). It usually hurts me more than it helps me, though, because I don't learn the material as well as I should.
13. I hate mornings. I really do. I don't talk in the morning half because my voice doesn't work and half because I'm afraid I'll say something I'll regret.
14. I like people, but I'm very introverted. I'd generally rather work on an assignment or project by myself than with a group.
15. I consider cold cereal to be the food of the gods. (For those of you worried about my husband, I do like to cook as long as I have the time.)
16. I like brownie batter and cookie dough better than brownies or cookies. 
17. I am not good at keeping in touch, but I often find myself thinking about people from my past and wondering how they are doing.
18. I have very strong opinions about almost everything, but I make an effort not to use them to condemn or judge people. I try to respect different viewpoints, and I expect the same in return. 
19. At 5'5", I'm tied with my dad and my brother for tallest in my family (my husband, who is 6'5", doesn't count).
20. I am a spelling and grammar nazi and cannot respect a business that has typos on its signs or advertisements. Ditto for newspapers, websites and books that are too cheap to hire a decent proof reader.
21. I took one of those "personality color" tests a couple years ago, and I was far and away Red. Like,
red red. With no yellow at all. Basically a red billboard with a couple tiny splatters of white and blue. Monochromatic. And I was so disappointed because of all the personality "colors," Red is my least favorite. Apparently I am also one of those people who puts way too much stock in personality tests. 
22. I really have a problem with people who move to the United States and don't learn English. 
23. When I was 2 or 3, I had invisible friends named Judy and Blobly, except I couldn't say my L's so I called them "Judy and Bwobwy."
24. I gave a talk, sang a duet with my sister, and sang in the choir all in the same Stake Conference (big church meeting with 1,000+ people) when I was 9 years old.
25. I am a hair wuss: I have never dyed, streaked, permed, highlighted, colored, or done anything remotely chemical to my hair. I've never had it shorter than my shoulders, and my one experience with layers was a disaster--I went back a month later and had them all chopped off.
26. I don't like fads or conforming, so as my own act of quiet rebellion, I chose to write 26 things.