Thursday, August 31, 2006


You know what would be a really cool blog concept? Synchronicity. You could base your whole blog around the strangely-related events that happen in your life.

I was thinking this, and realizing: do I really know what synchronicity is? So I looked it up on Wikipedia. Apparently, the term is Jungian in nature (who knew?), and it describes "the experience of having two (or more) things happen coincidentally in a manner that is meaningful to the person or persons experiencing them, where that meaning suggests an underlying pattern."

Further on in the article, it suggested that a similarity could be found between people believing in synchronicity and schizophrenics, in the sense that "ordinary events are seen as having a direct personal relevance to the schizophrenic, but are seen as 'normal' by non-schizophrenics." Yet the next sentence relates the ability to see correlation between separate events in one’s life to a spiritual awakening, similar to those who have had near-death experiences or kundalini awakenings.

So what is it, really? I guess I sort of thought of it as similar to serendipity—a happy accident. Small incidents of synchronicity seem to happen so often, once you start paying attention. I don’t know that I ever really took it as a "master plan", but maybe evidence that the world is a small, orderly place and things do happen for a reason.

Does this make me schizophrenic or spiritually enlightened? Or perhaps just someone that thinks too much.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Healthy Drinking

I'm in caffeine-withdrawal.

For the past two days (Good lord, has it only been two days?!?) I've been trying to "eat healthier." I tell myself I'm not dieting—I'm just trying to cultivate good habits ... and if I happen to lose 20 lbs while doing that, so be it.

I'm pretty slow to start, though. Last night I went out with family to a Mexican restaurant and pretty much polished off my plate. But, to be fair: there were no beans or rice, and I had water to drink. Surely that counts for something, right?

Really the only change I've made is trying not to drink any pop, and it's killing me. It's one of those things where you never realize how high your caffeine-intake has become until you try to quit. I had a headache most of yesterday, and this morning my head's been pounding. Is it really worth it? Maybe I should buy some chocolate, and get my caffeine from somewhere other than pop. Can I still pass that off as "healthy eating"?

Or maybe my headache is somehow related to the case of beer I shotgunned before bed last night. But that's a habit I'll try to break next week.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Scrapbooking Basics

You'd think that, after having written an article about Scrapbooking, I'd be pretty good at it. Almost what one would call "an expert."

I'm not.

Even though I understand the basic techniques and tools, that doesn't mean I can put them together into a pleasing layout. And quickly—doing it quickly would help, too.

I'm going to a scrapbooking class tonight with my mom and sister. We're going to learn the Scrapbooking Basics. Hopefully it's mostly a refresher course, but I'm looking forward to actually, well, doing it instead of writing about how to do it.

We're supposed to bring 10 photos on a theme that we'll layout during the class. In looking through my photos, I realized I have pictures sitting around from 2002. 4 years ago! And with another England trip looming ahead of me in October, I'd better get my act together.

Monday, August 28, 2006


Okay, what's up with these shoes? And why do I know they're called Crocs? I don't want to know their name, and I never want to see another pair again.

They're everywhere. We saw people wearing them while hiking (through snow) in Glacier National Park. We saw them when watching the Boston Pops at Blossom outdoor amphitheatre in Cleveland the other weekend. I shudder to think of how many pairs I might see at Cedar Point.

Can they really be so comfortable that people throw all sense of fashion to the wind and wear these clunky plastic shoes everywhere? I can definitely understand the argument about wearing them at work for nurses, teachers, etc.—people who are on their feet all day. Wear them to work! I don't care.

But the only time I've seen them is at social functions. I'm not saying that everyone needs to be wearing stiletto heels or anything ... but a nice-looking pair of flats or mules, maybe? Is that too much to ask? Well, how about some Skechers, then? Rumor has it you can be comfortable and fashionable at the very same time.

This picture is actually from The Superficial, and it's of Jared Leto out on the town. I get the feeling he thinks they're so ugly they're cool. But I'm not buying it.

Friday, August 25, 2006

And the Cosmos Shifted

So Pluto's officially no longer a planet. Is that weird or what?

I actually think that it's kind of exciting. Not quite on the level of Galileo destroying the heliocentric theory, but still an important change in our understanding of the cosmos.

I've read/heard in several different stories the concern that the mnemonic device "My Very Educated Mother ..." won't work anymore for remembering the planets. Is this really that traumatic? Have we become so uncreative that we can't think of a new one, sans "P"? Surely they could turn the creation of a new mnemonic device into a reality TV show. Contestants battle it out to have their phrase win and be memorized by American gradeschoolers for decades to come. (I would say "time immemorial," but we've just learned that these things are not, in fact, set in stone.)

It's fascinating to realize how little we really understand not only our world, but the galaxy and greater cosmos.

I just hope that politicians don't start arguing that this is another sign of easier grading and dumbing down the curriculum to improve test scores.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Trivial Blogdom

I do try, but I may not always be the most "reliable" blogger. Rest assured I would love to post at 8:03 am every weekday with a fascinating and witty new entry, so everyone could start off their workday being amazed by my superior intellect. Alas, that's not how it works.

So I thought I'd give you all link to another blog that I really enjoy: Ken Jennings's Blog. You probably all remember him as the Mormon who won a million times in a row on Jeopardy! and had ridiculous amounts of trivial knowledge.

Well, Amy H. pointed out his blog to me, and not only is it trivial but he's a really good, funny writer. And--he updates it every day! Like, he doesn't have a full-time job anymore because he's a gazillionaire so he really does update it every day! (Now watch—today will be the first day he doesn't.)

Anyway, it's highly entertaining and focuses (loosely) on the theme of trivia. Which reminds me of an interesting article I read recently about our obsession with trivia contributing to the downfall of modern society. But then again, doesn't everything? I still take pride in my Trivial Pursuit abilities!

On KJ's blog there's also a weekly trivia quiz that you can sign up to receive via e-mail. Amy H. forwarded it to me once and it's freakin' hard. But a great way to waste a whole day of work! So obviously you'd prefer to read my stellar blog. But if I'm slacking, visit Ken Jennings.

p.s. I had actually intended to give a shout-out to my readers who I know are bloggers and post links, but seeing as how most of them are updated sporadically (Amy K. I'm looking in your general direction), I was afraid it would seem more like a reprimand than a shout-out. But feel free to give your blog props in the comments!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Convenient Store?

I like being able to walk to places. Stores, restaurants, movie theatres, etc. This is a big reason for why we chose to live in the area we do.

One of the stores that, while not initially of concern to us, has recently featured much more prominently in our errands and our budget: the pet store.

We have a small pet store that is within easy walking distance. It's no mega-jumbo store with 50 different flavors of dog bones, but it has all the basics and a bit more.

On the other hand, we also have a mega-jumbo store in the area. It's much less convenient, though, being at least a 10-minute drive.

So it should be a simple matter: for all the basics, go to the small, local store. For anything they don't have, make the trek to the bigger store. Easy, right?

But of course, nothing in life is easy. And here's the dilemma: there's a supremely annoying sales clerk at the local store and she works all the time. Last night I stopped on the way to the movie theatre (see how convenient!) and tried to scuttle into an aisle out of sight. I hadn't seen her, so I didn't know for sure if she was there, but I knew I didn't want to risk it.

Unfortunately for me, it took a few minutes to find what I was looking for, and by then she'd pounced.

Not only does she give tons of unwanted advice, it's where it's coming from. It feels to me like it's not coming from a sense of generosity and love for animals. She gives advice because she likes to be right and tell others that they're wrong.

While I was at the register, being criticized for adopting a kitten that was too young, putting her food too close to the litter, etc., Keith and Mon hid out near the cat toys and snickered. Sure, it's funny when it's not happening to you.

So I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm lazy, and I hate running errands. When I'm home after work, I want to be home. (Unless I'm doing something fun, of course.) And the more time it takes us to go to the pet store, the less time we're actually spending with the pets. But that woman! Can. Not. Take. It. Which is more important: convenience or my sanity?

Friday, August 18, 2006

A Real Snoozer

I think I may have mentioned that I find Don Quixote a little long. And boring. Apparently, so does Gomez.

She does, however, find it an entirely suitable place to take a nap. She curled up on the open book not once, but two separate times last night. While adorable, it's very bad for my page quota.

You know, I could go on about Don Quixote or kittens, but let's face it: you wouldn't really be reading the blog. You'd start skimming and your eyes would stray back to the picture because it's just so damn cute. So why bother? Just look at the kitten and smile.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Congratulations on your new baby Gomez!

My friends, it is with great relief and pride that I announce: baby Gomez has arrived! After dealing with the Cleveland APL yesterday, I starting googling and calling around to local shelters. I was done with waiting. I wanted a kitten NOW.

My mom had recommended Love-a-Stray and Purrfect Endings that are in Avon Lake and Avon, and had many kittens up for adoption. We were already planning on going to my parents' house for dinner last night, so we pretty much ate and ran to the shelter to pick out a kitten. We'll have to get back out to their house soon to actually spend time with them, instead of using them for food and dog-sitting! (Sorry, Mom and Dad.)

Gomez II is now happily ensconced in the downstairs bathroom. And we're so excited to have her! The people at Purrfect Endings and Love-a-Stray were wonderful to us in our time of need. They were extremely helpful, sending us home with—most importantly—a kitten!, but also plenty of advice, kitten food, litter, toys, and whatever else they thought we might need to get us through the first night. If anyone else in the Cleveland-area is looking to adopt a pet, I would highly recommend them. We've already heard from Mary Lou this morning, checking to see that Gomez got home alright, and reassuring us that she would be available if we had any questions or concerns.

This is exactly the kind of treatment we did not get at the Cleveland APL. They made it seem like they were doing us a favor and we should be grateful, instead of treating us like caring adopters. We're very happy we found Love-a-Stray and Purrfect Endings, and are excited to have Gomez (II) home at last!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Congratulations on your new baby Gomez!

I am seriously annoyed. To the point where I can almost feel flames curling up from the ends of my hair. It's hard to breathe because my chest is tight. I'm picturing the people (not the animals) at the Cleveland APL in many horrible, tortuous positions.

I first drafted the title of this post on July 27. Why? Because on July 21 we'd picked out a cute little kitten at the local APL. She was waiting to be spayed, but they said that we should probably be able to bring her home the following week.

And yet, I've never written the post. Why? You might reasonably ask. The unreasonable answer is that we've not been allowed to bring her home. About a week after we put a hold on her, she still hadn't been operated on, and she got sick with an upper respiratory infection. She's been sick ever since, which means that even though it's been a month, she's still on surgery wait, and actually still sick.

After Keith and I placed the hold on her, I started hearing stories from family and friends about how strange it was that they wouldn't let us bring her home to await surgery. Because when lots of animals are together they—surprise!—tend to pass around illnesses.

I completely understand why it's important to spay and neuter pets. Bob Barker has made it clear. And, as a responsible pet owner, I always intend to spay and neuter our dogs and cats.

I also understand that not everyone in this world feels the same way. So shelters need to do what they can to ensure that their animals are spayed and neutered. However, there are much better ways to get pet owners to have the procedures done. Like include the fee as part of adoption and give the new owners a certificate to have the animal spayed at a local vet's. That way they've already paid for it, so it's extra incentive to get it done. Or, Jen and Ben in Michigan said that the shelter will take extra money as an insurance policy that you have the procedure done. Once you have paperwork to prove that your pet's been spayed/neutered, you get the money refunded.

I just called again today. After waiting on hold for 15 minutes (which always puts me in a great mood) I was told that Gomez is no better--may actually be sicker--than before. They didn't say anything to indicate that she gets moved to the top of the surgery wait list because we've been waiting a month for her or anything like that. Just that the kitten's not available, and they'll call us when she's ready to bring home. I asked if we could bring her home and bring her back for surgery and was told, "absolutely not."

I hate to abandon a poor, innocent kitten, but this is f*&@ing ridiculous. Why would you make it this hard to adopt a homeless animal? As of this afternoon, Keith and I are trying to adopt elsewhere. If we're successful, we'll send a strongly-worded letter explaining exactly to the Cleveland APL why we did not adopt from them. I urge anyone that's in the Cleveland area: learn from our mistakes and do NOT adopt from the Cleveland APL.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Just Fitting In

It used to bother me that I was missing a hubcap. Like, really bother me. I felt like everyone was staring and pointing when I drove by. I personally may have looked like a young, professional person .... but I was driving a Neon that was missing a hubcap. I mean, really!

I don't know when or how it fell off. One day, it was just gone. It took a while to hunt down a replacement, but I was determined. I would not have people pointing and laughing at me—at least over something I could control. Apparently, you can't just buy one hubcap. You have to buy an entire replacement set. Which I did, more than a month ago.

And that's when I lost my obsession with the hubcap. I think it has something to do with the fact that, parking on the street at work in a not-very-nice neighborhood, it's better to make sure people know up-front that your car isn't worth breaking into. Between my missing hubcap outside and factory-issue tape player inside, I never fear for the safety of my little Neon.

I think it may also have something to do with the fact that, to me, the main hurdle to putting on a new hubcap was actually getting the hubcap. Now that I've found a set, well, I'm not too bothered about it anymore.

I guess we'll get to it sometime. Sooner, if Keith has his say. But I'm okay with my white-trash-looking car for now. Maybe I'll even run out and get some fuzzy dice and leopard-print seat covers. Except those might seem enticing to a thief; I'm sure their resale value is tremendous.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Chemically-induced Blog

So for reasons I don't want to divulge, I've spent a good part of this morning reading a list of analytical chemical tests on what is one of the ugliest websites ever. Circa 1993 web design.

Anyway, looking at these incredibly complex test names that make very little sense to me actually inspired me to mad-lib blog about them. Because, after a while, the words themselves start to look funny.

Just the other day, I was walking down the odorless light petroleum street when suddenly, out of the house in front of me, bursts a man made of petrolatum wax. It looks wildly about, and spies me and Beckett, standing innocently on the equilibrium reflux boiling point sidewalk.

"Kinematic viscosity!" it cries, a maniacal gleam in its eyes. I think it might have been high on mineral aggregates, because it twitched and saponified a lot. It started moving towards us at a bituminous pace.

Beckett and I turned and ran. Looking back over my shoulder, I could see the Thing congealing, still heading in our direction. At the corner of the street, as we turned, I glimpsed the interfacial tension of oil against water Thing as its foot caught on a Color-Indicator Titration tree root, and it fell.

Even though I thought the Thing was out of ash content, Beckett and I ran the rest of the way home. When we were finally safe inside, I was breathless and had the foaming tendencies of engine coolants in glassware. And that's why I was late to work.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Death Knell of Relaxation

In the past week or so, we've been very busy around the house. Our very first overnight guests will be coming this weekend. And next weekend will be a veritable influx of Lubbers family to the house. So we want it to look as good as possible and keep people coming back.

I've been sewing curtains and pillowcases, we've painted walls and re-arranged furniture. By far the biggest task of the week is hanging art on the wall, which we haven't done any of since moving in.

Last night, Keith hung the clock we got as a wedding present. It's a beautiful wooden clock that chimes on the quarter-hours. Last night and this morning as I got ready for work, I enjoyed the soft, melodious chiming that floated up from the living room.

But here's the thing: I'm awful at keeping track of time. Really, truly awful. And this morning the chiming was actually a rude awakening that I had only 10 minutes left to get ready for work and I was still sipping tea. Not a good feeling. The chimes somehow seem more real than any of the 20 other timepieces we have scattered around the house. Like seeing the time displayed doesn't seem nearly as urgent as hearing it, the death knell for relaxation.

I want to like the clock, I really do. It's not the clock's fault that I'm perpetually running late and lost in my own world. Maybe we can work together and form a mutually beneficial relationship. "Mutual" in that it helps me become a more timely person, and I don't smash it to bits.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Chilly Night's Sleep

Last night I slept like a rock. Like a Mesozoic-era rock that is completely oblivious to modern life's frenzy and turmoil. Last night, we turned the air conditioning up.

I was very excited when we bought and Keith installed a programmable thermostat. Reduce your energy bills by 30%! the package proclaims. And I was ready to. Not that our energy bills are outrageous--we've only been in the house a month! But I wanted to do my part from the beginning to use less energy. Leave a smaller environmental footprint--maybe a moderate size 6.5, instead of my clompy 9.5s.

But I was surprised to find out that, according to the preprogrammed settings, the temperature is set to dip around the time we get home from work and then raise again when we go to bed.

I like to be cold when I sleep. Or rather, I can't stand being hot. I'm not saying that it needs to be cold enough for me to have on a sheet, comforter, and blanket. I don't even care about the sheet. I just need to not be oozing sweat, which is what has been occurring every night since we got the programmable thermostat.

I want to help save the environment, I really do. I want to be friends. But when we overrode the hellfire setting last night and settled in-between cool sheets in a comfortable room, it felt fantastic. I'm willing to sacrifice many things for a better earth. But I'm just not sure if a good night's sleep for entire duration of summer is one of them.

Monday, August 07, 2006

A New Commitment to Writing ... From Home

In the past week, I've found a renewed dedication to becoming a full-time writer and working from home.

Currently, Keith leaves for work about a half-hour before I do. In the past, this has been a source of great pleasure. I leisurely get up after him, kiss him good-bye, and then take my time getting ready for work. Drink some tea, eat some cereal, watch a little "Good Morning America" (despite Charlie, who drives me crazy). It's a nice, relaxing way to start the day.

Since we got the dog, things have been different. I now get up an HOUR earlier so I can take the dog on a 45-min to an hour-long walk. We get back just as Keith as leaving and then I hop in the shower, scarf down breakfast, and rush out the door.

And yet, this is not the problem. It's not the rushing, which would be easily solved if I could drag myself out of bed 15 minutes earlier. (Which, of course, is harder than it sounds.) The real impetus for working from home is that I really, really hate leaving the dog.

This morning, as I ate breakfast, he came and sat by my side to be petted. I could picture it: after breakfast, I take another mug of tea up to the study to get started for the day. Beckett follows me and settles in on the comfy armchair while I get situated at the computer. When I need a break, we head out into the backyard for a vigorous game of fetch.

In the afternoon, I do briefly leave Beckett in his crate for an hour or two while I run errands. However, this means that when Keith gets home, we don't have to leave him again. Everybody's happy and feels loved.

Of course, the dog is probably sleeping right now, completely unaware that I'm not home. But imagining the idyllic scene is enough to push me toward the cycle of querying and rejection, with the hope that it ends differently this time, and I don't have to get up before dawn anymore.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Happily Ever Afterlife

Aha! You thought this would be the usual blog entry, but I've fooled you! This is a fake entry, because I've had another short story published on Romantic Short Love Stories. And I'm nothing if not crafty/lazy, so for today's blog I strongly urge you to view my fabulous short story. Here's the synopsis:
Adelaide is a high school art teacher with a secret summer life. Every year, this 35-year-old escapes with her two best friends to a Spiritualist camp in upstate New York to get in touch with the spirits and see what life has in store for her. Adelaide tells herself that it's fun and relaxing, and it's not like she really believes it ... until, after 5 years, she gets her first prediction about love. And James appears moments later. Are the spirits taking control of Adelaide's love life, or is this a self-fulfilling prophesy? Will James be her true love until Happily Ever Afterlife?
If you want to be amused and enlightened by the story, click here*. I hope you like it! (And feel free to tell the site administrator or any friends in publishing if you do.)

*Edited Aug. 2007: If you wanted to read the story, you're out of luck because the site's no longer there. Post a comment and I can send you the story, though!