31 July 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Mom and I in February of this year
Let me tell you a bit about my mom. I won't tell you how old she is, though I can assure you it's quite young. My mom raised seven kids, and has homeschooled them all. Technically, she's only about halfway through that job, with three kids out of the house and the youngest entering 2nd grade in a matter of weeks. At least I think it's 2nd grade; it could be 1st. She's also moved her gang in and out of any number of houses. Once, she lived with five of us kids--at the time we were all ten and under--in a 23 ft. motorhome that was parked in a campground for nine weeks. Dad was there too, but he was working, so he didn't have to be inside with us quite as much. I would say that she was a saint, only that would be patently untrue. She has carried the nickname "the Bad Twin" throughout her life, and used to regale all of us kids with stories from her childhood about all the times when she deservedly got in trouble and all the other times when she should have got in trouble but didn't. These stories involved exciting props such as dumpsters, shaving cream, broken doors, ketchup, garbage bags, toothpaste, hairbrushes, and shattered windows. She's always claimed that the part that makes her such a good mom is that she was such a bad child--she's knows all the tricks that a mischievous child might be up to. She is very smart, and doesn't have any trouble thinking outside the box when it comes to problem solving. For Mom, sometimes thinking outside the box means that if you want to get a new dining room table, you need to burn your current broken dining room table and 12 chairs before Dad gets home from work and fixes it, but, ya know, you do what you have to! Boy, that was quite the fire.

Mom's the one who taught me some of the most important things I hold onto in my life. Things like  "Sometimes it's better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission" and "It's better to look good than to feel good." She taught me that things are not important, not compared to people. When we invest our time and money and emotions into people, we're making a good investment. When we invest our time and money and emotions into things, it really isn't worth it. So don't scream at a kid when they break something expensive on accident--after all, which one is worth more?

Mom is Irish, for the most part, and her temper shows it. Most of the time no one in our family is willing to play Risk with her because she gets a bit vicious. She'll deny it, but all of us agree. There's a slightly better chance of beating her in Euchre, because she hardly ever gets dealt decent cards. She believes that the seemingly inevitable farmer's hands that she gets dealt are most likely punishment for her sins.

"Small, but powerful" is a phrase we often use to describe her, and it becomes ever more appropriate as more and more of her children grow to tower over her. She wore glasses her whole life until a few years ago, when she decided that she didn't need them any more. Just a little frightening, but no one can convince Mom that she ought to wear glasses if she doesn't think she needs to. She's proud of her gray hairs, and says she's earned every one of them through the various trials of parenting seven of her own children plus the many more who call her "Mom."

She considers Angel her son, and therefore considers anyone in their mid to late twenties the same age as her own children. Never mind the fact that in reality her children span in age from 5 to 21. She likes jigsaw puzzles and Korean dramas, and has put up with all manner of drama from her children, every one of whom she describes as "high-strung." We aren't a laid-back family, and we haven't lived a laid-back life. I love my mom because she's always made it obvious that she loves being my mom, whether I'm in the depths of despair or the heights of delight. Because, I'm Anne of Green Gables, minus the red hair. And I've always wanted a mom who could be bad, but wouldn't. Or at least, most of the time wouldn't.

 Mom and I, approximately 20 years ago.
30 July 2012

Love Story Part 2, in which Angel is a Hero

 And the saga continues....if you have read Part 1 this will make more sense.


Shortly after I left to stay with my family for the summer, Angel passed his NCLEX and left our college town to go live with his parents in Texas. He got a job right away in Texas, and in the fall, I came back to a college that was Angel-less. I didn’t mind much, though. By the end of my freshman year, I did think that  Angel was getting interested in me, but during the summer, we’d only emailed occasionally, and I’d decided that if he had been at all interested (and I never was quite sure, because I wasn’t confident in my skills of reading guys), that any attraction had passed. Angel and I kept in touch on and off, through occasional emails and a handful of phone calls. I missed him, as much as I would miss any good friend who wasn’t around, but after all this time, any inkling that Angel might possibly be interested in me had faded.

In December 2009, the way Angel tells it, he woke up one day with an overwhelming feeling from God that it was time for him to grow up and be a man, and that he needed a good wife. The accompanying thought was that his old friend from college, Rachel, would make a good wife. I didn’t know it them, but Angel confided in me much later that during our freshman year, he had told one of our mutual friends that he thought I would make the “perfect wife”—that thought came back with a vengeance that December. 

This was when it got weird. Angel called me for the first time in a long while on Christmas break. Then he called me again on New Year’s Eve. By mid-January, he was calling me every day. I’ve always been naturally inclined to construe any attention from boys as an expression of friendship rather than special interest. And Angel had already given me a false alarm before, but now, even I was a little suspicious.
Angel told me in early February that he had bought an airplane ticket and was coming to see me during my spring break. I still wasn’t quite sure what that meant, so I waited till early March, and asked him, “I just want to know, are you interested in me?” He was, justifiably, dumbfounded by my question. He had been calling me daily for two months at that point…but, I’m the kind of girl who needs some things to be stated outright rather than just implied, ya know? 

At that point, I warned him (as I had the year before, only less directly) that if he was serious, that he wouldn’t be able to just take me out on a date, but would have to meet my parents over a Skype call, and that they would probably interview him and decide whether they would allow him to court me. He claimed that he had never heard of courting before, but when I explained (once again! He was very good at forgetting) that it was based on the principle of not getting into a romantic relationship without input from parents and a stated purpose of leading to marriage, he was all for it! Or maybe he just liked me so much that he was willing to follow the rules required to get me. We scheduled the call for a few days into his short trip, and waited.

 The day Angel arrived for his visit. This was taken in my grandparent's living room and we look so, so awkward. I crack up at this picture every time!

I was excited to see him when he arrived for Spring break. We met up at my old homework spot and as he greeted me with a hug, he told me, “I don’t want to let any of our friends know about us until we know for sure we’re getting married.”

That was a slightly shocking greeting to my point of view, but I agreed with him. We went to our old Bible study that night and spent much of the week hanging out with our old friends. Angel told everyone that the reason he’d come back for a visit was because he had so much money he didn’t know what to do with it, so he had decided to take a vacation. Even I thought that was a bit of an outrageous story—after all, how much money could you have when you’re a nurse, less than a year out of college, and paying off student loans. Apparently everyone else bought his story, because all of our friends were completely shocked when we started sharing the news about us a week or two later.

After an in-depth, 75-question application and a 2-hour interview during Angel’s visit, my parents were already in love with Angel. Now, just to clarify, my parents are neither cruel nor evil. They developed what I think is a very practical way of weeding out any fellows who have nefarious intentions regarding their beautiful daughters. Few guys who aren’t serious about a relationship will submit to a probing examination of their personality, skills, and life experiences as presented in the application to court. Angel is the only guy who has ever attempted the application, so, so far, my parents have a perfect score on approving good guys for their daughters. I also gained a much stronger appreciation for my friend as I sat beside him during the interview, holding his hand and listening to his honest answers. I felt proud and happy as I realized how special he must have thought that I was that he would go through this tremendously scary interview.

But, oh my, Angel was nervous! One of the first things my mom said in the interview was, “After reading your application, I want to grow up to be you!” Poor Angel was so nervous, and had never met my mom, so he didn’t know whether that was supposed to be a good thing or a bad thing. I whispered to him that it was a good thing.

 This photo is from the morning after we were officially "together." We look significantly less awkward, which is always a good thing.

My parents gave us the thumbs up to begin courting, and the next day, Angel flew back to Texas. But not before telling me, while I waited with him in the airport lobby, "Just so you know, I'm not really comfortable with PDA."

And I said (no lie! I'd heard the initials before but never knew what it meant.) "What's PDA?"

He said, "Public Displays of Affection"

I was like, "Oh, okay, well that's good to know," and about five seconds later he kissed me in the middle of the airport before he went through security. Glad we had that "no PDA" discussion.

We continued talking on the phone every day after he arrived back home, and within two weeks, we started saying “When we get married…”


What happens next? Does courtship really work? How about long distance relationships? Find out in the next episode!
27 July 2012

Love Story Part 1, in which Angel is a Cheeseball

So, here's the beginning of a very short series with rather long parts. I should warn you that our supposed love story sounds different every time we tell it, because in some places it's even hard for us to figure out what happened, and besides, I'm sure everyone has multiple versions of their love story. There's the love story you tell each other, there's the one you tell your relatives, there's the one you tell your girlfriends, and here's the blog version of how the couple pictured below got together. It's still true. Well, as true as any of the stories I tell here...

Technically, I saw my husband, Angel, for the first time on my very first day of college. It was an inauspicious meeting, to say the least. I attended a fair that was held for the purpose of informing incoming freshmen about the student clubs on campus, and he was manning the table for the campus Bible study. He was talking to another student, and didn’t even greet me when I slipped up to the table and wrote my email address down on the sign-up sheet. To this day he says he doesn’t remember seeing me there.

I had just turned 17 when I started college and wasn’t all too happy to be there. Let me rephrase that. I most emphatically didn’t want to be there. I seriously considered not going to college, but my mom made me try it for a year. I lived off-campus with my grandparents, and because I didn’t have a driver’s license, my grandpa had to drop me off and pick me up from school every day. In college! Because of this, I wasn’t able to go to many extra-curricular events, but I was allowed to go to the weekly Bible study meetings every Friday night.

Angel was the senior student leader of the Bible study, and that’s how I got to know him. It was a small Bible study, and the students who attended regularly were a tight-knit group. After I finally got my driver’s license (at the beginning of my second semester of college), I was finally able to start hanging out with them more often—after Bible study was over and on Saturdays too. Most of the other students were upperclassmen, but even though I was young for a college freshman, I fit right in with the group. I loved their company, their joy, and passion for God. I wasn’t allowed to date, even on the rare chance that any of the guys I knew would have asked me, but I enjoyed spending time with the whole group. If it wasn’t for that Bible study and the friends I made there, I would never have stayed at college the full four years.

Angel  and I were always hanging out during the second semester of my freshman year, in the company of our mutual friends, of course! He and I worked together with other students from our Bible study on an evangelistic television show that was broadcast on our campus tv channel. We went to chapel together. At some point during the semester, Angel asked me to succeed him as the leader of our Bible study, since he would be leaving after graduation, and I said yes, so he started training me in the logistics of running an official student club.

 The cast of our little tv show

Looking back now, with the eyes of someone a little older and perhaps, wiser in the ways of men, Angel acted rather suspiciously during my freshman year. I knew that he had a girlfriend when I first met him, so for me, he was automatically “taken,” and I didn’t think of him at all as a possible romantic interest. I’m a good girl, I am!

I did notice, as time went on, that Angel’s girlfriend never accompanied him to our frequent group get-togethers. At some point I distinctly remember thinking that if I were Angel’s girlfriend I wouldn’t let him hang out with me so much! Angel discovered where I parked my car every day and the table where I habitually sat and did my homework. I soon found that he was parking his car next to mine every day, and frequently found that my regular homework table was already occupied by him by the time I got back from a class. Towards the end of the semester, Angel began inviting me to attend many events with him. I attended his senior banquet, his nurse’s pinning ceremony, and his graduation. Each of these events I attended in company with mutual friends—at this point I saw nothing suspicious in Angel’s behavior, but was only happy to have friends who included me in special events. 

Towards the very end of the semester, when Angel was saying things like 

“It would be good if you can meet my parents when they come for my graduation” and 

“I’m going to pray for tornadoes and thunderstorms come so that your plane won’t be able to leave and take you home” that I started to feel like maybe, just maybe, he had a crush on me. 

One evening, Angel came over to my grandparent’s house to play dominoes with me and my younger cousins. At this point, all of my extended family was put on high alert. They did not at all think it was normal for a 24 year old almost-college-graduate to consider playing dominoes at a friend’s grandparent’s house with a 17 year old “friend” and her pre-teen cousins a fun thing to do on a Saturday night. I insisted to them that they had nothing to worry about—we were just good friends.

Angel had, however, started grabbing my hands occasionally and holding them to “warm them up,” because, it was true, I was always cold. And, while I may have been rather innocent, I wasn’t that innocent. I also may have been conservative, but I wasn’t conservative to the point that I was against letting a cute guy hold my hands for a supposedly noble purpose of warming them up. Besides, in between the lectures on old-fashioned courtship, my mom likes to quote this line from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice there are very few of us who have heart enough to be really in love without encouragement.” So I figured I could give him a bit of encouragement.

 Angel's graduation, May 2009

Basically, Angel was a cheeseball, but I continued to be the cute, non-suspicious girl who secretly rolled my eyes whenever he exclaimed “Your hands are so cold! How do they get this cold? I’ll warm them up for you.” Because I was slightly suspicious at this time, I did manage to bring into the conversation, either smoothly or not so smoothly, the fact that I had never had a boyfriend, that I wasn’t allowed to date, and that any guy who was interested in me would have to contact my parents and get approval first, and that they wouldn’t get approval unless there was a strong focus on getting married in the near future. I told him that I didn’t believe in dating for the purpose of dating, and that I thought romantic relationships should only be entered into with the thought and purpose of them culminating in marriage, because otherwise, messy breakups are inevitable. I told him for this reason I could not even go out one on one with a guy friend, because it had the appearance of a date. {This was necessary because Angel is a cheeseball, so he would have been happy to take me out to dinner, movies, and other activities on our own and not call them “dates,” just “hanging out with a friend”} I told him I’d never kissed anyone.

I’m not really sure Angel heard anything I said, because if he did, he forgot it all instantly. During the last few weeks of our semester, all thought to final exams went through the window as he met me every day at my homework table and proposed that we go out for dinner or some other fun activity. I repeatedly refused to go with him unless he found a friend of ours who would go too. If a friend couldn’t be found, we’d go to my grandparent’s house and eat dinner or play monopoly. Angel was the only friend who I ever brought home to my grandparent’s house, and he came multiple times, but really, you can’t call it a date when your grandma is showing her medicine bottles to your almost-nurse of a guy friend. Plus, Angel had a run of luck, beating me at every board game we played, so that didn’t make me particularly happy with him. On my last day before going home, Angel seemed, even to my uneducated eye, desperate to spend time with me—but, as usual, I insisted on spending time together in the company of others. So, he took me to a graduation party for a classmate of his that I’d never met, and then in the evening, we tried calling our friends to see if they’d go bowling with us, but when they said  they couldn’t, because they were too busy packing, we went over to their house bearing gifts of Taco Bell and helped clean their kitchen. Angel dropped me off at home a scant minute or two before my midnight curfew.

And the next day I left.


Psych! What will happen now? Will we ever see Angel again? Come back soon to find out what happens next!

26 July 2012

The Foods I Don't Eat

It’s my personal theory in life that it’s okay to be a picky eater as long as you’re the cook. I have, to my mind, the perfect situation in that I have a husband who will eat anything I put in front of him. He considers me a picky eater, but since I’m the cook in the family, all I have to do is just not cook anything that I don’t like to eat, and everyone’s happy! I don’t intend to give our future children the option of being picky eaters though—I like a rule of "eat what’s on the table or don’t eat at all." Of course, sometimes I choose to not eat at all, which I don’t mind. But it is much more practical to be the kind of person who eats everything. However, I’m convinced that sometimes it can be healthy to be a picky eater. Take, for example, a sampling of the things I won't eat:

  • Pie. Occasionally I'll make an exception for a frozen french silk pie, but really, I'm not a fan most of the time.
  • Cheeseburgers. Cheese on a hamburger? No, thank you. I also refuse to eat hamburgers at all from the likes of McDonalds or Burger King.
  • Salad dressing.
  • Bell Peppers. Okay, these aren't necessarily a healthy thing to avoid...but I still don't like them.
  • Jelly and Peanut Butter. Eww. No, never. My Mom never gave me peanut butter until I was ten years old and that's probably why I don't like it to this day.
  • Meat with bones in it. Again, this is really has nothing to do with health, because I still eat meat, just not drumsticks or t-bone steaks.
  • Seafood. No lobster, prawns, squid, jellyfish, shark fin soup, etc. I occasionally make salmon or tilapia filets and I do eat them but they aren't my favorite.
  • Sushi. See "seafood," above.
  • Asparagus. No thank you.
  • Juice. Apple juice, orange juice, or cranberry kiwi guava grapefruit cocktail--any juice from a bottle. I got spoiled growing up on fresh-squeezed fruit juice.
  • Cake and Frosting. This isn't exactly true because I do eat one kind of cake: devil's food cake made from Betty Crocker's mix with store brand vanilla icing. I don't like any other kind of cake, especially cakes from bakeries.
  • Bacon. If I can get all of the fat off of it I might eat a bit...but then, bacon is really all fat, so I don't like it.
  • Microwave Popcorn. I'm totally spoiled by my air-popper.
  • Mayonnaise, Margarine, Ketchup. I'm not a fan of condiments in general. Occasionally I'll use a little mustard, though.  
  • Anything with nuts in it.
  • Lasagna. Funny story. In my teens I got so tired of making lasagna for my family that I declared, "I will never marry a man who likes to eat lasagna!" Later, when I was with Angel, I told my mom, "I'd even make him lasagna if he wanted it!" and she knew then that I truly loved him. But I still haven't made him any--it's never come up because I wisely make many other delicious dishes.
 This isn't to say that I boycott all unhealthy foods. I'm a sucker for potato chips with french onion dip, which I why I only buy them when we're having a party because otherwise I'll eat the whole bag. And pizza--Mmmm! And, if, by any chance I'm at your house for dinner, don't worry, I am well-trained enough to eat whatever is put in front of me and be grateful for it too. But when it's time for the dessert round, I'll pass on the cake or pie, and tell you that I'm too full from dinner. Unless you have mint chocolate chip ice cream. I always have room for mint chocolate chip ice cream!
25 July 2012

Guest Post Today

Hey! I'm guest posting today at Little Homemade Housewife about a tried and true man-catching strategy! Go check it out and maybe pick up a delicious recipe at the same time!

The Girl Behind the Blog [Vlog]

 Want to hear me talking rather than read me talking for a bit? On the off chance you do, here's your opportunity!

I'm actually very comfortable in front of the camera. I spent my childhood encouraging or maybe forcing all of my little siblings into performing plays with me which were recorded for posterity by my parents. The plays are genius. To this day I'm proud of them. However, I noticed in recording this video that I can't keep my eyes on the camera when there isn't a person behind the camera to focus on.

Scout's honor, I'm not as shady as my shifty eyes might lead you to believe. Just easily distractable.

24 July 2012

Birthday Celebrating

Angel and I both celebrated our birthdays last week. His 28th and my 21st! His birthday comes before mine, so he would like to point out that that he was 28 and married to a 20 year old for a few days. I get the impression that the older we both get, the more comfortable he gets with his cradle-robber status. When we had our 18th and 11th birthdays in the same week, he wasn't at all interested in focusing on the several day gap when I was 10 and he was 18.

Just kidding, ya'll. I didn't even meet the old man till I was 17!

Angel worked a 12 hour shift on his birthday, so I took him out the next morning for breakfast. In order to surprise him on his birthday outing, I made him close his eyes during the entire time that I was driving from our house to his favorite arcade, which made him very, very nervous. He tried to keep track of where we were going by the turns that he felt, but was unsuccessful, and surprised when we got to the arcade and played a few rounds of Dance Dance Revolution (his favorite game). At this point we can reflect on the differences between even the happiest of married couples. We both like Dance Dance Revolution, but he insists on playing at a difficult level and getting Ds and Es. I always play the easy level and get As and Bs. I don't understand, but I think it's just a demonstration of two different attitudes toward life.

Angel had been wanting a houseplant for some time, and when I saw the brand label on this one, I knew it was perfect! Can you read it? Exotic Angel Plants. Heehee. He also got several other of his favorite things, like M&Ms and Calvin Klein cologne and red tennis shoes to wear at work.

I haven't bought any new earrings in a seriously long time. Not since before we got married, anyways. I love earrings that are slightly unusual: my favorite earrings are a pair of gold pinecones, and the second-runners up are a pair of faux sparkly paperclips. I told Angel I wanted some really random earrings for my birthday, and this is what he gave me:

Humming birds and bumble bees! These definitely qualify as random!

What I love about the hummingbird earrings is that if I put them in the right way, it looks like the hummingbird is just about to snack on the tiny flower stud that I always wear in my second piercing. This amuses me tremendously! And, by the way, taking pictures of your ear is very awkward.

For my birthday, we had a small party with a few of my siblings, cousins, and friends. I love playing games, and most of the time the parties that I host are far too big for convenient game playing, So, with just a few people, we grilled pizza sandwiches over a bonfire and then played Bop it, Apples to Apples, and our own version of charades which included a tiebreaker round that involved acting out a word using only your facial expressions. I think my brother Isaac's facial demonstration of the word "taser" will go down in the family history. Too bad that we were all laughing too hard to even try guessing the right word!

Angel also gets a wonderful husband award for this birthday! He, amazingly, bought me a dress! He picked it out all by himself. It was a gorgeous, elegant number, from Banana Republic, a store that I would never shop at myself due to the high prices. Unfortunately, it was too big on me! It was a Banana Republic size 0, which I feel must be much more generous than the average size 0. Angel was smart enough to keep the receipt, so we returned it, but they don't make that exact dress in any smaller sizes, so that was disappointing, since I was already in love with it! We scoured the rest of the stores in the mall, but were unable to find anything else that was comparably amazing and that would, at the same time, fit!

But now I have a rain check on my birthday dress. I will find one, eventually! Do you have any good suggestions on stores or brands where I'd find elegant, slightly more grown up dress styles in smaller sizes?  Any advice for me? I'm 5'5'', so I'm not short, and I'm not super small--just slightly too small for a Banana Republic size 0, apparently!
23 July 2012

I Feel like a Bollywood Princess...

I don't really consider myself a collector of anything. I'm not really one to spend much, or any, money on knick knacks to decorate a room with, and there isn't really one go-to thing that everyone knows to buy me for special occasions. In fact, the things I like tend to be so random and change so often that my Mom has basically refused to pick out any presents for me herself ever since I reached my teens.

But, upon reflection, I realized that there is one thing that I have amassed quite a collection of, and it's a slightly unusual collection too. What I collect is clothes. I mean, I like clothes in general. But specifically, I seem to collect traditional Asian outfits. Many of  my outfits were gifts, although some I picked out for myself. I think the collection that I have now represents about 5 years of acquiring them at random times. While my brother was visiting this weekend, I got out all of my outfits and had a little picture-taking fun so that I could share them with you all!

I wasn't actually able to get all of my outfits photographed, due to the large quantity of complaining on the part of my photographer over the sheer number of outfit changes that this shoot required. He's not as fond of fashion as I am!

I am the proud owner of a yukata, along with a pair of geta, which you can't see because my feet aren't in the picture! Please forgive any sloppiness--I haven't worn this one nearly as much as some of my others, so every time I do wear it, I have to look up instructions online!

I love each of my saris, but this one is probably my favorite! Even though the purple apparently reflects off of my pale face? I've worn saris enough that I consider myself pretty much an expert at folding and tying them, and no, I'm not too concerned about them falling off spontaneously.

I present this photo from 2008 as proof that I occasionally do wear saris in random places, such as my college campus!

My fourth sari. Isaac was running out of patience after three saris, so I dug back in some old files for a photo of this one. I wore this to a friend's wedding, and I'm pretty sure someone else dressed me that day because that's a different style of wearing a sari that I'm not sure I know how to duplicate. Plus, I figured, with four saris, I have almost enough outfit changes to be the star of a Bollywood music video! Hurray!

I have 4 of these type of outfits, and I must admit, these are the ones that get the most use, by far! I often cheat and pair the tunics with skinny jeans, but I wore them to class all the time in college. The long tunics are both elaborate and comfy, and when it's winter, I just layer them with a long-sleeved shirt underneath!

As a Chinese major, I really ought to have a cheong sam or qipao. My family doesn't love this one quite as much, although Angel loves it tremendously; both of these reactions are due to the thigh-high slits on both sides of the skirt. Most of the time I wear it with jeans or leggings so make it a little more comfortable.

In searching for old pictures of my other outfits, I even found a mostly silly but slightly educational video my sister and I made a few years back about how to put on a sari, and I am debating with myself about whether to post it or not....
20 July 2012

Kittens! and Medicine.

I do not like pets, just for your information. I have written about that in the past, and about how I knew that Angel was the guy for me the minute he told me that he was allergic to cats and dogs. Hurray! No pets in the house, ever, for the rest of my life! Angel loves playing with cats and dogs though, and enjoys visiting with all of the pets at my uncles' and aunts' homes during any family get-together.

So, sometime in the first few months of our marriage, we got a barn cat. And named her Amoxicillin. And thereby created one of our very first family traditions: name all cats after medicines. With this tradition, it comes in handy that Angel's a nurse, and therefore knows lots of drug names. When choosing a name, he just lists lots of drugs for me and I pick the ones that sound like good names for a pet!

 Amoxicillin, or Moxi

Moxi had her share of quirks that we got to know over the year we had her. She invariably ran straight for the tires of our car as soon as we rolled into the driveway. This made Angel nervous, but I just trusted Moxi to be smart enough not to get run over. She also would walk in small circles, chasing her tail for 10 or 15 minutes on end. Sadly, she suddenly got sick and died about two months ago.

Angel was very eager to get another cat after Moxi, preferably a free one that was already used to living outdoors. I hoped that it would be a cute one, too! Craig's List came in handy, and we were able to pick up two 8 week old kittens, a brother and a sister, a few days ago. We promptly christened them Narcan and Clindamycin, or Clinda for short. 
Clindamycin, an antibiotic
Narcan, the antidote to morphine

They already like exploring the farm and have claimed the area underneath my car as their favorite hangout spot, which means I have to be careful whenever I want to drive away. Angel plans to put his new-found carpentry skills to work to build them a house from the rest of the lumber in our backyard!

19 July 2012

Cupboard Restyled

I'd been thinking for awhile that our porch could use some storage space, and because pretty furniture is so darn expensive, I thought I'd attempt what I hear so many others have done: score a solid but ugly piece of furniture at a thrift store and then pretty it up with a little paint. I even went to a few thrift stores in this quest, without finding anything suitable.

And then I remembered that I live in a 100+ year old farmhouse. With significant quantities of "antique" furniture hidden in nooks and crannies of the basement and surrounding buildings. I went in the basement, and lo and behold, I had 4--count them--4 cupboards to choose from! Now, before you judge me for not knowing what things are in the basement of my own house, let me tell you--my basement is the scariest thing I've ever seen. It's made of rocks and cement and spiders. I never go there. Angel does, every day, to empty the dehumidifier, but most of the time you couldn't pay me to go down there.

But I descended to the depths, and came back with the requisite ugly cupboard. Exhibit A:

And then this setting--a lonely, dilapidated, completely random piece of furniture inexplicably placed in natural surroundings reminded me of art photography.

So here's my mockery of photo art.

Back to subject. I used spray paint, for the first time in my life, although now I wish I would have stuck to regular paint and a paint brush. When I took the painter's tape off of the turquoise on the outside, pieces of the turquoise paint came off too, revealing the yellow paint underneath. First I was despondent, and then I decided that I'd meant for it to have that roughened look all along, so I went with it. And, in case bright turquoise wasn't gaudy enough, I used a paint pen to draw all over the cream panels with henna-inspired designs. I love the patterns and style of henna--Angel says when we get our own house, I can do one whole wall as an accent wall, covered in henna-type designs. I'm excited already!

What I'm most proud of is the inside, which is completely turquoise. It's an attack of beautiful brightness as soon as you open the door! I may, at some point, go back with a brush and fix the torn paint but for now I just decided to like it. But there you have it. The cupboard is still a piece of junk, but now it's a piece of junk that's pretty enough for me to allow on my porch.
18 July 2012

Captcha: My Perspective

In the weeks that I've been blogging, I've noticed a plethora of bloggers posting about Captcha. The gist of these posts is that captcha is annoying, and many bloggers ever so helpfully include screenshots of exactly the right buttons that all the unenlightened bloggers need to push to make sure that captcha is not enabled on their blogs.

To all appearances, no one likes captcha. It's like the unloved stepchild of spam-prevention technologies.

But I'm here to tell you that I do.

Now, I know that, most likely, very few are going to agree with me on this. It's not that I like captcha for it's supposed spam preventing abilities, although I suppose that could be a benefit, and is likely the main reason reason why so many bloggers continue to use captcha in spite of its vilification on popular blogs. No, it's not that.  I like captcha for the challenge it provides me. Every time I comment on a blog that requires word verification, I get a little thrill of excitement. With captcha, I have the opportunity to exercise my intelligence. To decipher the letters and numbers that have been twisted and blurred till they are all but unrecognizable gives me the kind of joy anyone would experience upon cracking a code.

When I'm faced with captcha, it's just another manifestation of the timeless battle between man and machine. Once it was John Henry versus a steam-powered hammer; now it's me versus captcha. Granted, my battle doesn't require nearly as many muscles, only good vision and a basic level of typing dexterity. And it probably won't be made into a song. But still, I am gleeful every time I triumph over captcha. I have lost track of how many victories I have earned, but I'm proud to say that as of today, I have been defeated but one time by captcha. I let my arrogance and previous victories cloud my thinking--my proven ability to triumph over the machine slipped, and I failed. That was two days ago. But I have not let that one failure break me! I continue to battle captcha every day, and I will remember the lessons I learned through my failure.

To all the bloggers out there who do use captcha on their blog comments, I want to let you know that I don't mind! I love the extra challenges you bring to my day!

Does anyone agree with me on this? Or am I crazy? Oh, and for those who don't agree with me, don't be afraid to comment--you won't have to do any word verification on my blog. I figured, after all, I don't comment on my own blog, so it wouldn't do me any good to have it here!
17 July 2012

DIY Picnic Table

Angel and I have a fire pit, or two, in our backyard, which come in handy when we want to cook dinner the old-fashioned way. Or when we need to burn the evidence. Either way, in addition to our two firepits we usually have one substantial log pile that we draw from to feed our fires.

Only currently, we have excessive quantities of wood in the backyard. See?

I'm not entirely sure where all this wood came from or where it is eventually going, but I know that it belongs to my grandpa, and that much of it isn't in very good shape, as far as wood is concerned. Other pieces, however, are in great shape, But it seemed that no one had any specific plans for much of this wood, until Angel had a great idea.

He looked at the piles of wood, and declared, "I want to make a picnic table!"

I have to admit, I was a little skeptical. Granted, a picnic table is not the most elaborate project in the world. But my husband isn't very experienced in building things. Our recent mission trip was his biggest introduction to the use of power tools and methods of contruction. Until the picnic table project, he had yet to use the drill that he received at our wedding.

But Angel's not one to let not knowing how to do something stop him. He got permission from Grandpa to use some wood, and found a picture of a picnic table that he liked. With the help of sundry power tools that he borrowed from my uncles and the wedding gift drill, he built a picnic table--for only the cost of the screws it took to put the thing together and the polyurethane we varnished it with!

The table in the early stages of construction.

 My man with a sander.

 The completed masterpiece!

Angel said that he wanted to make the table without having to work with diagonal cuts at all, which is why he chose this pattern over a more traditional table.

We already have a picnic table of our own, so Angel gave this gigantic one to my uncle and aunt. I hope they wanted one! It's a beast of a table, it took three strong men to load it and unload it off of a trailer to take it to their house. I'm so proud of my husband! 
16 July 2012

Guest Post from the Husband!

Everyone's in for a treat today! I somehow managed to convince Angel to write a post for my blog! I laughed hysterically at what he came up with, and after editing it slightly (sometimes a man's idea of what is appropriate to say in public is different from a woman's idea), I'm happy to share it with you all today. What I learned from reading this is that my Angel loves bullet points.

I would like to add a disclaimer. Everything below is Angel's opinion. By publishing this, I am not necessarily endorsing everything he claims.

"Rachel, way better than Leah" 

I'm here to inform you of Rachel, a very small part, from my point of view.

I'm a nurse and part of my job is performing physical assessments, which can include acts of daily life. So this is an assessment of my wife.

One thing I have noticed is that Rachel has what "we" (nurses) would call a strong gag reflex.

Here are a few examples:

  • A gag reflex is induced 100% of the time when Rachel brushes her teeth. There is no getting around this, I believe I noticed this one on our second day of being married.
  • She gags when she empties the food catcher in the sink.
  • And when she cleans the hair out of the bathtub drain.
  • She gags when taking out the garbage.
  • When talking about gagging there is a strong probability that she will gag and even in reading this she may already be gagging.
Rachel subjectively claims to be cold all the time which is why she clings on to me at times. Objectively I noticed that in bed she becomes a radiant heater. She also sleeps with her blanket, which I have named "the coccoon" every night, no matter how hot it is.

Rachel has a chronic cough which no one can explain, but I know it's precipitated by Popsicles, mint ice-cream, and cold drinks.

Now this part may be boring to some, but impressive to me. 
  • Rachel is a true genius. She has what I call fluid intelligence. Every other husband might say his wife or girlfriend is smart, but Rachel is the real deal. I could put her in school and she can make me lots of money, but true geniuses don't make a living.
  • She is an artist which comes from being left handed I believe. She can sew, paint, draw, stitch, and write in English correctly.
  • Her wardrobe is weird, strange, and costume-like. She either has an identity crisis every day or she just loves to dress up. She has Indian days, Gothic days, Victorian days, flower days, Jack Sparrow days, and cowboy days.
  • No doubt Rachel is a darn good cook.
  • Rachel gets up as early as 5:30-6:00am in the morning and when she gets up she is WIDE EYED awake looking at me waiting for me to open my eyes to ask me that one question, "What are our plans for today!?"
  • Rachel is the best female I have seen play on Dance Dance Revolution, thus far.
  • She is an actress. I have seen a few clips of her plays and stuff, but too bad she isn't Jewish or she would have been a real actress by now :P
Rachel is extremely intense and passionate. Here are some examples:
  • During a commercial Rachel cried and it wasn't even sad. (but she never cries during humane society commercials. She doesn't like animals)
  • Rachel likes to put up her hands in the car and dance side to side when a good country song comes on. She also dances in the store.
  • She becomes increasingly excited till she shakes when I buy her an icee at the Speedway gas station. But drinking the icee makes her cough.
  • Rachel's mood changes when she puts on her happy shoes and wants to just dance.
  • Vacationing with Rachel is not laid back. There are about 4-5 things to do in one day of vacation and it doesn't matter how hot the day is.
  • Rachel can get be excited all day until she forgets she is hungry or needs food. By then it's too late and she is already having a headache, feeling shaky, and nauseated because of lack of food.
  • When a Kohl's $10 gift card comes in the mail she is gone shopping for the day.
  • If Rachel doesn't like something or doesn't agree with it she literally and symbolically uses her fingers to perform an X and calls it X and turns away.
She loves reading. This is what she reads so far:
  • The Cat Who series
  • Agatha Christie books
  • Lemony Snicket series
  • Emily of New Moon books
  • People Country Magazine
  • Readers Digest
  • The Chinese dictionary
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • The Bible
This is what I've seen her reading since we got married. I'm pretty sure this is just a very very short snippet of her reading habits.

This is just a bit of who Rachel is so far.