Thursday, April 27, 2006

My Preference for Crosswords

I know that Sudoku is the thing, now. My whole family has switched from crossword puzzles to Sudoku. At any point in time, you can probably find 5 Sudoku books lying around my parents' house. But I'm holding out, and holding on to my crosswords.

Why don't I like Sudoku? Partly it's because I'm stubborn, and I don't want to follow the trend. Which is just as shallow as being trendy is, I know, but I can't help it.

But, after devoting entirely too much time to considering this conundrum, I've decided there's a bigger reason. Although I've always been okay at math, I prefer the open-endedness of language to the absolute certainty of math. With the crossword clues, they could mean several different things. It feels like my brain is working harder to discover nuance and fit the possible pieces together.

I know that Sudoku is hard. I have been called in as reinforcements on one or two occasions. I'm not saying that people prefer Sudoku because it's easier. (Even I'm not that much of a crossword snob;) I'm just saying that I prefer the challenge of a crossword with words, instead of the sharp delineation of numbers.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Chakras Aligned?

So I just finished reading Lily Dale, a book subtitled "the true story of the town that talks to the dead." It's all about Spiritualism and mediums and whether it's possible to receive messages from the Great Beyond.

Like the author, I'm pretty skeptical. But I want to believe. I want to believe in something greater than ourselves, but I'm afraid of being duped. Which, of course, is the problem with holding any religious beliefs. How do you really know they're true?

Partly what fascinated me about the book is how the majority of messages transmitted were all about love and acceptance. People who have "passed" say that they're happy and still love the ones left behind. In particular, I felt an affinity for the author who was very driven and stressed herself out trying to be perfect at her career and life in general. The message she kept getting through mediums and student mediums was, "Let go. Relax."

I could use a message from the spirit world telling me that I can relax more. Everything will take care of itself. I feel like I would definitely be a more content person if I weren't always stressing out that I should be doing more, or doing better, or have a more solid plan for success. But I don't know how to stop. Maybe if I become more in tune with myself and align my chakras correctly, Grandma Stroh will stop by and tell me how.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Formerly Fastidious Pooch

As I may have mentioned, since moving in with my parents I’ve been walking their dog. She’s a wonderful dog and I love her very much.

One of her very endearing traits has always been her reluctance to “do her business,” as it were, in other people’s yards. She’s very particular about keeping her business in her own backyard, which I find quite admirable. Before we go for a walk, I let her spend some time in the backyard just in case, and then we’re off.

But, as of today, she has now twice pooped during our walks in the past week. Twice! What happened to the fastidious pooch that never, in nearly 8 years, has done such a thing?!? I’ve always believed that it was the job of the dog owners to pick up after their pets. It was easy to smugly argue for the conduct when it didn’t actually apply to me.

But now I am forced to carry plastic bags on our walks and there's a good chance I might actually have to use one. I don't know what got rid of the dog's inhibitions, but I don't approve.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Fancy a Cuppa?

I think it may have started in England, although I'm not sure why. Overconsumption is so typically American.

But I love big mugs of tea. Making an actual tea cup's worth of the beverage hardly seems worth the effort. If I'm going to drink tea, I want at least 10 oz., but typically it's more like 20 oz.

Why is this? I think that part of it is that the amount of tea imbibed is directly proportional to the amount of time one must sit to drink it. Hence, the larger the mug, the more time I spend on the couch in the morning, sipping and leisurely watching TV or reading a book. Does this make me late for work? Definitely. But I think it's worth it. The only question is whether future employers will appreciate the sentiment.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Living in Fear

We are now moved up to Cleveland and tucked away into the upstairs' bedroom of my parents' house. Coincidentally, my very same bedroom in the same house where my childhood was spent, from 2nd grade onwards.

You and I both know that this is only temporary, but it's still a little weird to move back home with your husband and share a bathroom and refrigerator with your parents. Twice now I've gone to the grocery store with my mom, and I'm living in fear that I'll run into someone. Anyone.

I enjoyed high school, and have many good friend from that era with whom I am still in close contact. (Perhaps some of you are reading this right now? Feel free to back me up.)

None of them live in the old hometown. 96% of them don't even live in the great Cleveland metropolitan area. This means that, if I were to run into someone while in the store or walking the dog, I will not want to talk to them. And I don't want to admit that I moved back in with my parents. I kind of want to carry around the signed contract on our house, so I can wave around irrefutable proof that this is just a temporary regression to childhood.

The first time I went to the store with my mom, she thanked me for the help and the cashier gently chided, "Well, don't get used to it. She'll only be home for a week!" Because obviously I'm in college. This is the same town where I get carded at the library for trying to access the Internet on their computers; if you're under 16, you need a parent's permission (I just turned 28). As soon as I cross over into my hometown, it feels like I lose a decade of experience and independent living.

Maybe I should just embrace it. Get a job at the movie theatre where I worked in high school and sit around wondering what I'm going to do for the rest of my life. But this time with a glass of wine instead of Coke.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Kitchen Diversion

I'll admit it: I'm writing in my blog to avoid packing up the kitchen. I'm mostly caught up on e-mail and have been surfing the web. After I got up, I laid back on the couch and took a nap. I just can't face the kitchen.

I don't know if it's the kitchen per se, or the fact that it's one of the last rooms. Maybe I've just run out of patience for dealing with bubble wrap and the puzzle of fitting as much as possible into one box, so as to avoid the cost and hassle of going out to buy more boxes that we're just going to dispose of once they're unpacked.

I do like seeing all of the writing on the boxes we have now. Many of them were part of Erin and Josh's move into their house and then were part of our move here. One box was Erin's textbooks, turned kitchen items last move, to hold the contents of the study desk this time.

I think the kitchen is so intimidating because of the number of cabinets. When I realize how much pots and pans and dishes and glassware we have tucked out of sight, it's enough to make me want to go back to bed. Again.

But I'll forge on. At least the fridge and pantry have been emptied, so the smelliest of the trash is gone. Maybe I can convince myself to put in a good hour's worth of work before being distracted by something else. Of course, the study does need to be dusted ....

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Moving Melancholy

I love to travel. It's an adrenaline rush, getting on a plane and getting off in a completely unfamiliar place. It makes me feel like I'm battling against the world with only my wits and credit cards on my side, and I (so far) have come out on top.

Even better is getting a chance to live somewhere different for a while. Not just see it for a day as a tourist, but really live there and establish routines. I loved living in England for a year, feeling like I was really part of the community. Getting to know things about British life that a tourist wouldn't notice, like how strikes are just an everyday part of life that's no big deal, and their delivery pizzas don't have very good sauce.

So it seems like situational irony that I'm awful at moving. This week Keith and I are packing up to move from Cincinnati to Cleveland. A move that I've said I wanted for ages, to be closer to my family.

And I do want it. And I think once we're there, I'll be happy. BUT I'm finally figuring out that, for as much as I like to travel, I'm really, really bad at saying good-bye to places. I get so attached to the everyday routine and even though it's my choice to move, I still feel uprooted and bereft when it occurs to me that I won't see that tree, or shop in that grocery store, or drive down that road anymore. I think even if I were to move a street over, this feeling of melancholy would still come over me about the stupidest things. "Remember how the bathroom door never locks, and you'd have to slam it shut? Those were the good days." So, in theory, I am super excited about the house and moving back to Cleveland and being near my family. But in reality, for this week at least, I think I'll be in mourning and I just need to accept it.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Trash Can Fairies

Tomorrow is trash day. And, as per usual, Keith and I took the trash cans out.

Which seems normal. Most people do take their trash to the curb on a weekly basis. However, do most of you share trash cans with 4 people living upstairs? And yet, you take the trash cans to the street 93.8% of the time? Hopefully that is not the situation for most of you, because it's extremely irritating to be carting out someone else's trash. Or 4 someones, when you live with one other person.

"Do they think the trash can fairies make it all disappear on a regular basis?" I mutter to myself as I drag the heavy plastic containers with a slightly sticky handle to the curb. Again. But we all know that's not it. They're lazy, and they know that we'll do it. Because we always do.

What are our options? We could try and take a stand. Ring their doorbell every other week and tap my foot on the front porch and point at the trash cans, waiting for them to do their part. (The neighbors, not the trashcans. I do not believe in trash can fairies.)

But that's wayy too much like being the house mother. I don't want to be their mother. I just want the trash to be taken out. And I'd rather deal with trash than people.

I also found many too many images of people in trash cans when I was looking for clipart. What's up with that?

Schizophrenic Sandals

What's the deal with the sandals? I know—we're all ready for Spring and warm weather. But just because you want it to be 70 doesn't mean you should ignore the fact that it's a cold and inhospitable 40 and wear sandals instead.

I can't pin down the exact day, but for the past two weeks or so, I've seen more and more sandals and flipflops appearing on people's feet. Usually women, but some guys, too.

These people must have decided that it's mind over matter. It had to be a conscious decision to wear inappropriate foot attire, right? Because the open-toed shoes should all have been pushed to the back of society's collective closet, waiting until the very first warm day to make an appearance, and then inexplicably to continue popping up over the next few weeks, when it's back to winter.

I don't think it's a fashion statement as much as a defiant stand against winter. I can admire the sentiment, but my feet get cold much too easily to join in the current toe exposure trend.