Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Back in November my church had an event where the theme was changes. We had to make a list of things we wanted to change. (Example: Flossing my teeth more often than after eating corn on the cob or the day before a dentist appointment.) I looked at this like resolutions, but even with the reminder at New Year's, I'm still not doing well. Mostly because I forget or because I'm lazy. So I was considering ways to help me remember or motivate me. (The threat of gum disease or my dentist being disappointed aren't very good motivators for me on a daily basis.)

When my sister and I were growing up, during the summer our mom made us "stuff to do" charts. Not because we would get bored, but so we'd do something other than read books. The chart had several things on it like Read the Bible or Exercise for X Minutes. The goal was to do three of the things in one day, and for every five days we did, we'd get a small prize, like a stuffed animal or gel pens. We didn't have to do any of it, but we did any way because we were motivated by the prize.

Therefore, I've decided to make myself one of these charts with my six resolutions on it. I'm going to try to do three of them each day and once I've been successful for five days, I'll buy myself something I want, like music. If this works, then I may make it harder, such as increasing the amount of time I have to exercise or upping the goal to four items per day.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dream On

A poetry class I took in college once challenged us to write based on a dream we had. I think it's a great idea, since it's from your imagination anyway, provided you can get something coherent out of your dreams. Mine are usually pretty weird.

I like sleeping with music on. It's a nice way to fall asleep and wake up. The unanticipated side effect is how it affects my dreams. One time I had a dream that I thought was strange and unrealistic only to find out later that it was actually something real I heard on the radio!

Not all music is the same. I've discovered that when I listen to Hunter Hayes' CD I always have pleasant dreams. This works even when I listen to it like three nights in a row. A few nights ago I listened to the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack. That is a challenge just to get on a comfortable volume, because some songs are soft soprano ballads and others are pretty intense. (Do you have the organ music running through your head yet?) I was curious what this music would do, and it didn't disappoint. The bits of dreams I remembered were pretty weird and alarming and interesting. Plus it had at least one person I know (no, it wasn't you) and a celebrity. This is a scene I wrote from it:
The sun beamed down on the occupants of a roofless car as it motored past perfect houses along empty roads.

"Normally I don't mind driving drunk. Or after I've had whiskey," said Robert, somehow holding both a glass and the steering wheel. "But not today. Not on the anniversary."

I didn't ask him to explain, though I would have liked to hear him tell the tragic tale. Instead, I was going to tell Robert that he didn't seem incapacitated and that he could probably get us home. But just then he pulled the car over to the side of the road. It took me a moment to realize we were at the station. It looked like we'd be taking a train the rest of the way.
 Robert is the celebrity, so feel free to guess his last name.

The next couple of nights I just listened to Q102, and ended up having dreams where my life was in danger. In one I was waiting to have my throat cut. They drew lines on your neck with red lipstick and then followed them with a blade. If you had three you could live but if you had four they'd kill you. I was supposed to have three, but my lines got smeared so you couldn't tell if it was three or four. Fortunately I woke up while I was still waiting. Phew! The next night my dream wasn't that bad. It went like this:
I found myself in a bathroom that got progressively decrepit. The first stall didn't close because the lock was broken. Gillian told me that she had a friend hold the door for her. Instead of asking Gillian to hold it for me, I tried a different stall. This one closed just fine, but it was pointless because on one side of the stall, instead of a wall there was a shower curtain that was not big enough. Then when I went over to the sinks to wash my hands, there were no lights, even when I tried flipping the light switch. I decided to bring my flashlight when I came back the next night, but then I decided I might not come back at all since this bathroom was so far from my room and the quality was clearly not worth the trip. Despite the dark I was able to find a bar of soap and wash my hands. I never got the chance to discover if there were towels, because at that moment we heard a loud, earth-shaking THUD. A guy at the sink next to me (suddenly this wasn't a girls-only bathroom) said we had to hide in our cars or a tree. I didn't have a car. I considered running back to my room. THUD. I realized I didn't have time. I followed the guy and his girlfriend outside into the night since he sounded like he knew what he was talking about. They went through a hole in a chain link fence I knew he'd cut ahead of time. I passed the hole but then went back, found it, and squeezed through. THUD. I ran toward a line of pine trees along the side of the bathroom building. I wasn't sure why it wasn't safe to hide in there. THUD. I knew we had to hide in trees that were 20% smaller than the rest of the trees, although I didn't know why. I knew this guy trimmed these trees everyday so they'd be a safe size. THUD. What I didn't know was if I was supposed to hide at the base of the tree or try to climb up inside it. And even more curiously, I didn't know what kind of monster was pounding its way closer and closer. THUD. And just as I was getting close to safety beneath the trees, I woke up.
What do you think the monster was? I thought it was either a dinosaur like in Jurassic Park or the smoke monster from Lost.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Why I love Neverland and would read myself into Peter Pan if I was Meggie from Inkheart

My Mom just got me a cool copy of Peter Pan, so between reading that and watching the episode of "Once Upon A Time" with Captain Hook, I've been thinking about why I love Neverland and would read myself into Peter Pan if I was Meggie from Inkheart.

• Eternal youth/never growing up: No school/jobs, no doing taxes, no taking care of your car, no stupid boring adult responsibilities. Just living forever doing whatever you feel like.

• Flying: Who doesn't want to be able to fly? That's always been one of my favorite super powers.

• Peter Pan: He's an all-around awesome kid. He's so cocky but it works for him. I'd probably be a bit cocky too if I was immortal and could fly.

• Tinkerbell: She's a moody little fairy, but she's protectively jealous of Peter Pan, and I get that. Plus she's cute!

• Mermaids: They're pretty but hardcore. They'll sweetly drown you to death.

• Pirates: Enough said.

• Sword fighting: Any decent story has sword fighting.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Stuff I Like #2

1. Toast Handwarmers
You probably know that I'm usually cold, especially at work. I often wear fingerless gloves because my hands get so cold, but they don't help my fingers. So I got really excited when I saw these cute toast-shaped handwarmers on thinkgeek.com. They plug into USB ports on your computer and heat up. You can chose between a low or high setting (though I don't know what the point of "low" is). They work fine, but they don't cover as much of my hand as I hoped and still don't solve the cold finger problem. And they're also a pair of leashes that tether you to your computer, so—unlike fingerless gloves—you have to take them off when you need to be AFK. But they have the benefit of heating up which fingerless gloves can't do, plus they are fluffy so they make good cushions to rest my elbows on when I'm not wearing them. :P
2. Jiff Peanutbutter Cups
I like to put peanutbutter on celery or apple slices, but that isn't very portable to take to work. I don't want to take the whole jar and a knife with me, and when I put some PB in a small tupperware container it's hard to clean. Then one day when I was watching iceskating on TV I saw an ad on the rink wall which actually prompted me to go buy a product! Jiff has individual serving size cups of PB, which come in an 8 pack or less. It's so convenient to take in your lunch to dip your snack in, and you can throw it away when you're done—no messy clean up!

3. Stainless Steel Sharpie
This is the coolest Sharpie ever! It's shiny in both the literal and Firefly sense. The stainless steel looks and feels cool. It's more expensive than the regular ugly plastic Sharpies, but it's worth it, especially since it's refillable, so you don't have to buy a whole new pen when it runs dry. I've had mine for over a year and I haven't had to get a refill yet. Oh, and it's celebrity approved because Gabriel Farfan used it when he signed an autograph for me and he liked it. ;)
4. Jumbo Dr Pepper Lip Smacker Lipbalm
I am addicted to chapstick. I'm not sure how or when my dependency started, but now I have to have a stick in my pocket at all times because it drives me nuts if I don't have any. So, if I was stranded on a desert island, that is one of the things I'd want. And since I might be there a while, it'd be best to have this jumbo one, which is over four times the normal size! Plus, Dr Pepper is one of my favorite soda flavors. If only I could get a jumbo size of ChapStick's peppermint variety, that would be perfect! (But I can't even find Peppermint in a regular size anymore. :( )
5. Google Doodles
Since I use Google every day at work, I look forward to whenever they do something fun with their logo. You can count on a doodle for holidays, but it's the little things like the 115th birthday of some artist you haven't heard of that make it a really fun surprise. And it's even better when they are interactive. One of my favorites was the turkey for Thanksgiving that you could put in different combinations of outfits, some of which when matched up correctly turned into something else. I also like that since the 2012 Olympics started, they've had a doodle every single day, featuring a different sport. And the latest one is interactive—you get to make a guy run and jump over hurdles. Fun! I'm looking forward to what else they come up with.

Friday, June 8, 2012

"Why Haven't I Ever Thought of That?" — Culinary Edition

Here's a collection of interesting things to do with food that I've seen and thought "Why haven't I thought of that?" or that I came up with and thought "Why haven't I thought of this sooner?"

• I wanted strawberry lemonade, but I had pink lemonade mix, so I sliced up some fresh strawberries and stirred them in. Delicious!

• Frozen strawberries work well as ice cubes. They cool your drink without watering it down, add a little flavor, and when your drink is gone you can eat the defrosted berries.

• I normally don't like flavored waters, but slices of cucumber in water add a subtle, refreshing flavor.

• You can add other ingredients to grilled cheese such as slices of tomato, ham, or pepperoni.

• Make deviled egg boats by threading a triangle of thinly sliced cheese onto a toothpick to make a sail and insert it into the egg half. Instead of cheese you could use a tortilla chip, or if you want a more colorful sail you could use triangle-shaped slices of bell peppers (if you like those disgusting things).

Mike introduced me to some fun things to do with cheese dogs:

• Slice them up and mix them into mac and cheese.

• Wrap them up as pigs in blankets.

• Use Peeps as the marshmallow in s'mores or rice krispie treats.

• Dip bunny Peeps in chocolate to look like tuxedos.

• Check out more fun things to do with Peeps here:

Feel free to share any clever food inventions you like in the comments!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Inconvenient? Bank On It.

I'm reading Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States by Dave Barry. I like this section he has about banks:

"A major problem during the Depression was that people kept trying to get their money out of banks. To put a stop to this kind of thing, the government instituted modern banking regulations, under which:

* The banks are never open when it might be convenient.

* The customer is never sure what his bank's name is, since they keep changing it, usually from something like 'The First Formal Federal National State Bank of Savings Loans and Of Course Trust' to something like 'InterContiBankAmeriTransWestSouthNorthCorp.'

* There are always stupid people in line ahead of you trying to cash checks from the Bank of Yemen and using underwear labels for identification."

My bank switched from Wachovia to Wells Fargo 14 months ago. My only concern was whether I could continue using my Wachovia debit card. (I could.) Yesterday Wells Fargo just (finally) mailed me a new debit card, which you can set up by calling a phone number or going to one of their ATMs. So today I went to the bank for the sole purpose of setting up my new debit card at the ATM (because I HATE talking on phones). Of course once I got there I discovered the ATM was "temporarily out of order." Seriously? Are you freaking kidding me? Inconvenient.

And Dave Barry is so right about the bank not being open. The only times my bank is open and I'm not working during are for 45 minutes on Friday afternoon and three hours on Saturday morning (which I'm generally sleeping during). Inconvenient. And lately whenever I do get in there, they always harass me about changing my savings account. Just cash the check and leave me alone, OK? Thank God I have direct deposit.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The State of the Union

A year ago I posted this blog about the first three games of Philadelphia Union's 2011 season. Now that they've got the first three games of the 2012 season under their belt, I'd like to reevaluate where they stand. Last year Union won their first two games and lost the third. They finished the season well and even made it into the playoffs, which is incredibly significant considering that it was only their second year as a team and they sucked their first year. After this solid second season, management decided to make some significant and disappointing player changes, some of which I talked about here. So even before we began, the season was already disappointing. I'm trying to be optimistic anyway, but so far I don't have much of anything except proof that I was right to freak out.

March 12 — Portland Timbers vs. Philadelphia Union, 3-1
Let me start by tooting the Le Toux horn. (Toot toot!) (As I mentioned previously, Le Toux played for the Union until he was callously traded to the Vancouver Whitecaps a couple months ago.) This season Le Toux scored the fastest goal in MLS opener history (in the third minute). That's pretty cool, right? That sounds like a guy you want on your team, right? Lucky Vancouver.

Union could have used Le Toux in the game against Portland, since they didn't score a single goal. But wait, wasn't the score 3 to 1? It was. Portland scored all four. If it weren't for their own-goal, we would have had squat. I think our offense was lacking without Le Toux.

What about our defense? Zac McMath is the #1 goalie now that Faryd Mondragon left. McMath played seven games last season and didn't lose any, which is nice. The first half of this game ended 0-0, and McMath had some good saves. But in the second half he had a ball in his hands that then slipped into the goal. (Blame it on the rain?) Then Portland got two more goals past him. I don't think McMath is a bad goalie, but he just doesn't have anywhere near the experience that Mondragon does (he is only 20 years old).

Besides losing Le Toux and Mondragon (who I feel were our strongest offensive and defensive players), several other players were traded and we got some new guys. A lot of change happened—there's a new guy in goal (McMath) , there's a new captain (Danny Califf), there's a Le Toux-shaped hole up front that they're trying to fill, and there's a mixture of old and new players that somehow have to play as a team and work together. I'm disappointed by our season opener loss, but I can't say that I'm surprised. This isn't the same Philadelphia Union I dooped to the MLS playoffs last year.

Oh, and that knife that Peter Nowak stabbed in the collective back of Union fans just got twisted—Jack McInerney is now wearing #9. It's enough of a betrayal to trade Le Toux, and how you're slapping his number on the back of a guy who already had his own number with the team last year? What the heck for?! *sigh*

March 18 — Philadelphia Union vs. Colorado Rapids, 1-2
I got to see Philly's Home Opener in person. We had fantastically awesome seats right next to the field, and also had club access, which was cool.

The first half of the game ended 0-0, then the action really took off in the second half. Colorado scored 2 goals on us (Boo!) then Union scored a goal. I believe it was by Pajoy (a new player) with an assist from Torres. That felt good. Then the rest of the half was a nailbiter to see if we could make up the second goal, which we didn't. Colorado even had to play a man down for part of the second half cause one guy got two yellow cards—ha!

Torres was brought on as a substitute. He doesn't seem to start, usually, and I've come to realize that's because then we can't chant "Roger Torres clap-clap-clap-clap-clap" when he comes on. He didn't play in the first game because of an injury. In this game, Califf sat out because of an injury, so Carlos Valdes wore the captain armband.

After the game we went up to the club, where there is a special section for players to eat with their family and friends. We hung around in hopes of seeing the guys and maybe getting an autograph or two, which we did! McMath (#18) came through first, followed by others including Sheanon Williams (#25), Danny Mwanga (#10), Chandler Hoffman (#12), Porfirio Lopez (#24), Michael Farfan (#21), Gabriel Farfan (#15), and Roger Torres (#8). Torres almost didn't come over but we started calling his name and waving, so he did, and I even got my picture taken with him. :) Awesomesauce.

March 24 — Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union, 1-0
As these games go on I have less and less optimistic enthusiasm that Union will win or tie or do anything but lose. Right until the last minute I had hope we could tie the game, but we didn't. We lost. Sigh.

Now we've flat out lost all of the first three games of the season, which is particularly disappointing in a sport where a tie is an option! I hope the rest of the season doesn't go like this. I'm hoping that since they've had a lot of changes, they need a little time to learn to work as a team and what not. I miss Le Toux.

And now it's time to toot the Le Toux horn again. (Toot!) I will toot this horn forever and never let it go. With every Union loss I will make comments like "If only Union had a player who could play every minute of every game of the season and never be out due to an injury?" I will also mention that Vancouver had their first season last year during which they sucked and finished in last place, while this year they have won their first three games. Wow, what an improvement! I wonder how they managed that? Meanwhile, Philadelphia did quite well last year but has lost their first three games this year. I wonder why? (Toot toot.)