Friday, December 19, 2008

Reflecting on an eventful year

On Saturday Matt and I are going to Battle in Seattle (GO ZAGS!!). We are so excited to go. And not just because it will be a great basketball game and we get to see many of our good friends, but it was at this event last year, Matt and I met for the first time. (See picture below from our first night can tell we had fun being goofy together from the very start.)
It is pretty remarkable…

In less than a year’s time we fell in love and got engaged. Now I can’t imagine my life without Matt. Plus I moved to Knoxville, Tennessee and started a new job. So much has changed in a short period of time! What is even more remarkable is how naturally all the change has happened. Falling in love with Matt has been unlike anything I even dreamed of. He is my perfect match. We couldn’t possibly be apart so that made my move to Knoxville an easy decision. And the transition has been wonderful…even the hard days don’t seem that bad because I’m with Matt through it all. (I know, this is sappy overload, sorry!)

Tonight we get on a plane to fly back to the NW. I’m so excited to be traveling WITH Matt this time instead of traveling by myself to see Matt. Think good thoughts of safe and smooth travels for us so we can be sure to cheer on the Zags Saturday and toast a tequila shot in honor of the first night we met.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Have you seen anything cuter?

Matt and I are resisting the urge to get a dog, but when we do (the plan is after January 2010) we will get a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. This video proves that this breed really is the cutest thing you've ever seen!

Btw, we aren't doing very well at resisting. We already have a name picked out for our future dog. And I might have stopped by the humane society a few times since being in Knoxville. :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Calling all dog lovers!

Do you love dogs? Have you owned a dog? Dreamt of owning a dog?

If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, go out right now and buy or check out the book Marley & Me by John Groban. Especially if you have traveling plans for the holidays—this book is perfect light reading for trains, planes and automobiles!

Why you ask? I ask you…have you ever regretted reading a book:
  • That made you continually laugh out loud AND brought you to tears?

  • That you can totally relate to?

  • That makes you reflect on your own memories?

  • That you just CAN’T put down?

Good books are the ones you are sad to finish…Ones you want to tell all your friends about. Marley and Me was this type of book. Matt watched me read it and after seeing me laughing and crying while reading, he was too intrigued not to read it. Less than a week later, he’s already done reading it!

So go get it already! Or ask to borrow our copy, I’m happy to share! I hope the movie lives up to the book; it looks promising with a good cast (Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson).

And while I’m recommending books, I’ve been on a good streak lately and HIGHLY recommend: "Eat, Pray, Love" and "Kabul Beauty School"

I’m also taking recommendations. I need a good book for my own holiday travels. On my shelf that I’m contemplating are: Middlesex, Kite Runner and Atonement. Care to help me chose? Or even recommend others!

And here's the dog I am most excited to see when I am home:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Proud Auntie

I meant to post this awhile back but kind of forgot about it...

Megan (my sister) has been wonderful with keeping in touch ever since I moved to Knoxville. I get regular emails with stories and pictures plus she blogs and we also talk on the phone. But this piece of mail has to be one of my favorite "updates" I've gotten:
It says: "Auntie Cara...I love you!...Are you having fun...Hi Matt...Love Corbin" And the picture is pretty clearly labeled that it is Corbin and me. This card itself is pretty stinking cute. But the cutest thing about it is Corbin's attempt to mail it. He made the card, sealed it in an envelope, wrote my name on it, put a sticker where a stamp normally goes and tried to put it in the mail just like that. Megan got to it and put it inside a bigger envelope with a real stamp and my address.

So cute! And I'm so impressed that Corbin wrote the card and drew the pictures without any help at all! This blog is the first that Megan has seen of it. Can't wait to go home and see the fam!

Friday, December 12, 2008

BE -short for Bathroom Ettiquette

I debated whether I should blog about this topic. But when I expressed my concern to Matt, he said that bathroom etiquette was an acceptable topic and that people should read and learn about it. So I’m going for it!

In my opinion, there is an unspoken bathroom etiquette (BE). I have no idea where it originates and I think it’s something an individual just picks up over time. At the age of 26 I think I follow most of the unspoken rules. But if I’m being honest, I have to admit I have been on my cell phone and answered my cell phone while in a public bathroom…sorry if you’ve been the person on the other line! I believe that phone use in a public bathroom falls as questionable BE, but I could be wrong, I could be partaking in unacceptable BE in which case I apologize!

This topic came up after an incident at work earlier this week. A nice woman at my company walked into the bathroom while I was washing my hands. We politely greeted each other (acceptable BE). While standing in the sink area, she asked me when I am heading west for the holidays (acceptable BE). As I was answering her question she headed into the bathroom stall (questionable BE…I hardly know this woman so talking while she is going to the bathroom is a little odd. I will gladly talk to my friends while they are peeing, but even among friends this is questionable BE).

It gets worse…

My response about traveling was “Next Friday.” To which she says, “Oh, you are taking the week of Christmas off too.” I was thinking, “Phew. End of conversation, I can quickly make my exit.” But no, she continues on to tell me that she is taking the week off but isn’t traveling…she wants extra time off to just be at home, get ready for Christmas etc. You might be thinking, “Cara, that isn’t that bad. She was just carrying on a conversation.” But there is one more factor to consider. During this conversation, with me standing awkwardly by the sink, already done washing and drying my hands and coworker X in the stall, I can CLEARLY hear this woman going #2. Yep, she was pooping and it wasn’t subtle. There were definite farting and blopping sounds (very unacceptable BE). Ew. So I wrapped up the conversation as best I could and hollered back, “See you later” as I fled out the door.

Now if you do this type of thing, I’m sorry if you are offended…but please stop. It is awkward and not compliant with the unspoken bathroom etiquette.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sleeping trials and tribulations

When I wrote about Matt turning into a pillow swiper, I got a lot of responses. Turns out, Matt isn’t alone in his late night criminal behavior! …So I thought you all might be interested in more of our sleeping trials and tribulations.

Matt is a much deeper sleeper than me and it is most apparent when alarms go off in the morning. Neither one of us are morning people. Quite the opposite, we are night owls and aren’t very strict about our bedtimes. This means mornings are slow moving with lots of snooze hitting.

Well, two nights ago Matt set his phone alarm for 6 am. He left it on the dresser across from the bed and had it set to vibrate. When it went off, I woke up. Matt didn’t. I told him that his alarm was going off but he was not interested. Apparently since he didn’t wake up to it, it didn’t exist. So I, not being an early riser, chose to try and ignore the vibrating phone. But five minutes later, it went off again. Again I tried to tell Matt that he needed to turn his alarm off. Still, Matt was not interested. Repeat this a few more times. Matt kept getting more and more irritated with me. He told me that I was being ridiculous, it was barely audible. Eventually I got up out of bed and turned the damn thing off myself. When we finally got up, we had a good laugh about it. And we agreed, Matt shouldn’t bother setting his alarm because I’m the only one that wakes up to it anyway.

Last night, Matt’s sleepy morning behavior continued. We were going to try and get up early to work out. My alarm went off at 5:50 a.m. and I hit snooze. Five minutes later, I hit snooze again. And again. And again. I reset the alarm 7:10 a.m. and hit snooze AGAIN. And again. And at 7:15 Matt woke up to the alarm and asked, you ready to go to they gym? In all seriousness! He thought that was the first time the alarm went off, apparently he really was dead to the world for the first 10 times Pink’s song, “So What” blared out of my phone!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Holiday Spirit

I love the holidays. I'm really excited to be home for the holidays. But Matt and I wanted to decorate our Knoxville home for the holidays even though we won't be here for Christmas or New Years.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving we braved a craft store to get some festive decorations. It was well worth the long check out line, we got 60% + on everything!

Also in the spirit of the holidays, we bought ourselves a Christmas present...a new dining room table. Kmart is closing here so we got quite the bargain on an already very affordable (read: cheap) dining set.

The last step in the holiday spirit was baking! I made all kinds of delicious cookies this weekend: no bake peanut butter chocolate cookies, peanut butter kiss cookies, chocolate WOWs, chai shortbread cookies and snickerdoodles. We made plates to give to some friends in town (see picture)...of course we saved plenty for ourselves too!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Caught: pillow swiper!

You’ve heard of blanket stealers and bed hogs, but pillow swipers might be a new one. It sure surprised me! Matt and I mostly sleep just fine in the same bed but he has been known to do the signature blanket roll. He’ll be on his side facing me and grab the blanket while rolling to his other side, leaving me sans blanket.

But last night he took it to a new level. He swiped my pillow right out from underneath my head! I woke up to the thud of my head hitting the bed. I quickly realized what happened and got the giggles. I tried to tell Matt that he stole my pillow but he was half asleep and had no interest in my giggling babble. I finally audibly told him that he stole my pillow. Without saying a word or even opening an eye, he handed me the reject pillow that he had tucked between his legs. This sent me into another fit of the giggles and I tried to tell him that I wanted MY pillow back. No use…he was back to sleep. So I got out of bed, walked around to his side and found his pillow abandoned on the floor. I grabbed it and went back to snooze for another hour before our alarms went off.

Next time Matt better look out because I won’t be so nice, I’ll be swiping my pillow back right from under his head! (And I’ll try not to giggle. But I’m giggling right now just picturing sleepy Matt snatching my pillow from me so I’m not sure I can keep a straight face with this issue.)

What kind of shenanigans do you all encounter? Sleep kicking? Sleep walking? Dogs or cats pouncing on you?

Home sweet home and not-so-sweet home improvements

When I first saw Matt’s townhouse (now our townhouse) it was clearly “boy.” Not just “boy” but “boy in grad school with no time or money to invest in beautifying a home.” (Sorry for outing you Matt, but you’ll admit it is true!)

Since it is now our home, we are trying to make it feel more home-like. In August we started with slipcovers, curtains and throw pillows….8 throw pillows later, the living room looks more put together.

Next step: brighten the place with paint. Everyone knows painting is a chore. And we knew that going in, but it’s so much more of a chore than we ever expected. As this morning, nearly all the house is painted. (WOOHOO!) If you look at Matt’s earlier blog you can see his remarks on painting. Last weekend we painted the hallway and stairwell with a light, creamy yellow. Check out the great lengths we had to go to get the entire wall!

While using the long poll, Matt was pushing with great vigor to fill in the heavily textured walls (read: walls that are painstakingly hard to paint and driving us absolutely nuts). Suddenly there was a *crash*. The roller broke in half and went flying down the stairs! Thankfully we took little care in keeping paint off the carpets since we will be replacing them anyway. But we had to go to Ace Hardware and buy a new roller. There we discovered that are different roller pads for different levels of texture. AHA!! Brilliant! So we bought several for medium-textured walls and it actually makes a difference. Hopefully it will make painting the entire downstairs a little less painful. And make a little mental note for yourself in case you ever find yourself painting annoyingly textured walls!

It’s all worth it in the end though! I can’t wait to post all the finished products! And for kicks, Matt and I started getting goofy with all our painting...with the amount of time we've been doing it, we had to mix it up somehow. Pictures to prove it:

I had fun labeling Matt with painting tape. And you have to love my AWESOME tied died, eighties-hippy style painting outfit.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Food critic

Since leaving the comfort of the PNW, I’ve been put in a whole new food element. I thought I’d share some of my discoveries and critiques.

Soul food:
I went to Baton Rouge for work and learned that soul food must be an acquired taste. Most of what I encountered was either very spicy or very fried. I don’t do spicy. And fried food doesn’t agree with fitting into a wedding dress…which left me to order the only food that wasn’t fried or spicy, which, as it turns out, isn’t very good.
**But “soul food” from a really expensive restaurant is indeed good. However, I broke down and ordered one of the fried dishes…so that probably explains it.

Convention food:
Even in a fancy, schmancy hotel, food made in mass quantities just isn’t very good. And note to the meal planners: don’t serve chicken on the bone when people are dressed nice and trying to eat gracefully. I’m trying to engage in conversation with people for the first time, meanwhile I’m flinging chicken on the floor as I try got get it off the bone and in my mouth!

Back to fried foods:
Fried chicken here in Knoxville is delicious! I’ve never cared for fried chicken until I tried Guthrie's. It’s delicious and the sauce is even better. They do do it better here! (yeah, yeah, I know…still not good for the whole wedding dress thing…)

Smashed sweet potatoes when done right = my new favorite side dish!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Go Zags!

I'm so excited that Men's College Basketball season is here! I just can't get into football, baseball or any other sport. But basketball, basketball gets me fired up!

This year I get to follow the Gonzaga (GO ZAGS!), Kansas (Rockchalk Jayhawk!), Tennessee (Go Vols!) and WSU (Go Cougs!).

And I get to go to two Zags games this year, so they better deliver! I'll be at the Battle in Seattle in December. And Matt and I get to cheer on our Zags against Tennessee in January at UT. We don't expect to see many other GU fans, but we will proudly wear a Gonzaga gear!

The best news for the season so far is Dick Vitale's latest prediction for the final four: ZAGS IN THE FINAL FOUR!!!

If this comes true, I really don't know what I'll do! Can't wait to see it all play out. And of course, put some money in a pool for the tourney (last year I made $350 when I won!).


Friday, November 14, 2008

Always Learning

When I decided to move to Knoxville I was really sad to leave Vancouver –for many reasons, one of which was leaving a job I enjoyed and wonderful coworkers that I love.

When I was offered my current job, I was overjoyed…mostly because it meant I got to move to Knoxville and be with Matt. But the opportunity to try my hand at something new also excited me. I wasn’t entirely sure what my job actually entailed, but it sounded very promising. As I’ve made the transition and am learning what my job really is, I still greatly miss my old job and my old coworkers. I haven’t made up my mind on how I feel about my new position and my new company, but I definitely know that I am enjoying the lessons I am learning.

My old company was small-medium in size with a “flat” organization (I put flat in quotes because I don’t think flat actually exists, but it definitely wasn’t a traditional hierarchy). My new company is the corporate world. It is my first taste at working in this environment. Now I will be able to say that I understand both the corporate and the non-corporate setting. It’s great experience for my professional growth and good old resume.

I only starting to realize how different it is, and how that will affect my actions. And WOW what a different world! I’m realizing that in corporate America you start to question what people’s intentions are more than non-corporate settings. Are your peers just trying to work up the corporate ladder? And I’m also noticing how for some people, hierarchy gets in their head and they become power hungry. There is more of a need to self-promote, you have to get to know the “right” people, you have to make certain people happy and not worry about others. And when I list it that way I get a little put-off. That doesn’t interest me, it isn’t how I work.

That being said, I don’t think acting in that way necessarily gets people where they want to be. I am choosing to keep doing my best work, striving to keep learning and bettering myself, being a good team player, helping the company meet their goals and I’m confident that my approach will pay off (not necessarily pay off in a promotion or raise (which I won’t complain if it ever does) but in my own personal satisfaction. But I can’t be naïve…I’ll definitely look out for my best interests.

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's a new day!

In Megan’s blog, she spoke about the new day created when we elected Obama as our next president. When he won, I was really happy and hopeful for the next 4-8 years. But it hadn’t really sunk in how monumental it is to elect a black president. I think for me I have just seen Obama as qualified--as a president we can be proud of, a well-composed man and someone that aligns with my political viewpoints. In my evaluation of him as a presidential candidate, his race never played a piece—even though it was a well-communicated element in the election.

Megan pointed out that Becca, my adorable niece, will never know a time before having a black president. Then the immensity of Obama’s win started to sink in. But it didn’t fully hit me until I went to St. Louis for work. I was there visiting some of my company’s charter schools to see EdisonLearning education in action (great experience for me overall, BTW). The four schools I saw are all about 95% black. Quite a different scenario than any school I ever went to or have even visited—actually pretty much the exact opposite.

I arrived on November 5th, the first full day we knew Obama would be our next president. Bulletin boards littered the hallways with information about the election. Many were displaying pictures kids drew, or sentences they wrote with their thoughts about the election. Some showed bar graphs, pie charts, etc. of who the students wanted to win. Others said why they would vote for Obama (cute to see what kids say or think is most important). I think everything I saw was supporting Obama. In the entrance to most the schools, the front page of the newspaper was hanging up to announce the election results. Election information was everywhere!

First, it is just awesome that kids get to learn about the political system in America and for many, this is the first election they will ever remember…and what a good one to have in their memory banks!
Second, it was really neat to see how proud and supportive kids and staff were of Obama. In these St. Louis schools he has quite the fan base! Now when these kids say they want to grow up to be president, they know it really can happen.

Now I wonder when we will elect a female president…

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Joined the Wii club

When I told Matt that I wanted to move to Knoxville, we agreed that that meant we needed a Wii. I argued (not that Matt was in any way against the idea) that I was moving to a city where I only knew him and a Wii would be a good form of entertainment.

So that was that, we decided to get a Wii. And then when I found a job earlier than planned and got here in October instead of January, we decided that the Wii purchase should come prior to Thanksgiving. This way I wouldn’t miss being with my family on Thanksgiving because I could just play the Wii instead. Okay—so this concept is a little ridiculous, and don’t worry family, you can’t really be replaced by a video game. I am just telling myself this to feel better about missing Turkey Day in Battle Ground.

A week or so ago we decided that if we ever saw a Wii in the store than we’d just buy it since they aren’t always in stock. That day was Sunday. We went to Lowes to get more paint for the house and decided to swing by Target for a few things. Turns out they had Wiis in stock (Sundays are the best day to find them) and were having a special on games. Without hesitation, Matt and I made the big purchase. A wii, several extra remotes, 3 games and a recharging station later, we have a whole Wii set-up (and a hefty price tag).

It has been great fun so far. Turns out I’m rotten at video games and Matt is pretty good. This frustrates the competitor in me, but I think I’ll catch on soon (I really hope!). I’m convinced that it is also a good purchase to help me get in “wedding shape.” I’m not dieting or on any sort of fitness plan for the wedding, I just want to improve the look of my arms. Ideally I will have toned hot arms to show off. In comes the Wii! It might not be doing THAT much, but it certainly can’t hurt. And maybe it’s just from painting all weekend, but my arms and shoulders are actually sore!

According to this article, Wii activities really can result in weight loss! (Sorry if the link doesn't work, it was earlier today but isn't right a nutshell, this guy did 30 minutes of Wii every day for 6 weeks and went from 180 lbs to 171 lbs withouth changing any other aspects of his eating/exercise regimen)It may be a bunch of hogwash, but I’m choosing to believe it! (But I won’t be replacing my workouts with Wii games just yet.) Once we get the Wii fit, look out!!

(PS-Isn't hogwash a fun term? I'm glad I got to throw it in the mix!)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Prim and proper? Definitely not me!

Matt took me to my very first UT football game this weekend against Alabama. His old roommate, Quinn came to town with his fiancé and stayed with us for the night. His fiancé, Deborah went to Alabama so they were sitting with other Alabama fans and the people we hung out with at the tailgate were mostly Alabama fans.

I got decked out in a bright orange Vols jersey, jeans and tennis shoes. And since we were tailgating, I was ready for some beer drinking. Turns out, I was a little bit of an oddball in the crowd we were hanging with.

APPARENTLY if you are a girl and an Alabama football fan you need to act and dress ladylike for the event. You should wear your nicest wool coat, scarf, leather gloves and of course, don’t forget your designer purse (it can’t be an understated designer purse—it should be the type of purse that clearly states “Juicy,” “Coach,” etc. People should know you spent a lot on it). And drink beer? Definitely not! Ladies don’t drink alcohol! (I’m sure these girls would also claim that ladies don’t fart, poop or burp either.)

Anyway, all the proper southern girls were very nice. But I’m not ready to conform just yet. I proudly wore my jersey and slammed back a few beers. That’s what football weekends are all about where I come from!

Oh, and we lost. Bummer. But I can’t wait to go again and cheer the Vols on to a victory!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I heart NY!

I went to NYC for work this week. I spent most of my time in an office building listening intently in meeting after meeting. But my first night in town I did take time in the evening to go to the Top of the Rock. (Rockefeller Plaza that is.)

This is my favorite picture looking up at Rockefeller Plaza from below. I had to kneel down on the ground and look like the ABSOLUTE tourist to get the flowers to frame the shot...but the embarrassment was worth it (and after all, I WAS a tourist).

I also looked like a total tourist when I took a picture of a street sign...but I couldn't help it:

New York driving cracks me up. They even have a New York edge to their street signs. And not surprisingly, as I took this picture, a car pulled up and parked in front of the sign. Things like the driving and the excessive honking, the bad taxi car driving and the piles and piles of garbage that collect on the sidewalks all remind me that NYC is a fun place to visit but I'd have a really tough time living there. I do hope the next time I go to NYC for work that I can stay a little longer and Matt can come along for a couple of extra days. I'd love to go back to Times Square, ice skate at rockefeller center and really really want to go see Wicked on Broadway!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Is it November 4th yet?

I get these email newsletters from Aaron Karo, a comedian. They are pretty entertaining. Here's an excerpt (and I apologize for the foul’s not me talking!):

“We are in the midst of one of the most divisive elections in history. Democrats hate Republicans. Conservatives hate liberals. Everyone hates the debate moderators. But there is really one group that we can blame for all the negativity and vitriol that has enveloped this campaign: “undecided” voters. Obama and McCain don’t care about those of us who have already made up our minds, and with good reason. All their speeches and ads are now targeted to those people who claim, that after a year-and-a-half-long media blitz, they still don’t have enough information to make a decision. I don’t call these people “undecided” – I call them fucking idiots. Forget about hockey moms and Reagan democrats; what the candidates are really courting… is the moron vote.”

Now I won’t call undecided voters morons as Karo did, but I seriously do wonder how people can still be undecided. At this point, what in the world are they going to make their decision based on? We’ve heard all there is to hear, make up your mind already!!

And another excerpt that just cracks me up:

“Think about how old your dad is. Now think about how many years you’d have to add for him to be 72. Now think of your dad at 72. Now think about your dad at 72 running for president. Even if you love your dad as much as I do mine, your conclusion will invariably be the same: no fucking way.”

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Trent the lion

Meet Trent the lion.

He's just about the cutest lion ever! (And no, its not just because I'm his Auntie, he really is the cutest.)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Beer and pumpkins make me like politics

When election season lasts for two years (which is crazy, just crazy) the political campaigns really have to get creative.

Here are a few ideas that I recently learned of and LOVE:

Hop Obama: buy beer to show your support!
I like it!

Half Moon Bay Brewing actually sells an Obama AND a McCain brew. Unfortunately they are only sold in California so I won't be showing my support. But the good news: Obama beer drinkers are really kicking those sorry McCain beer drinkers' butts!

And if you love fall like me, you can go to the pumpkin patch. Pick out the perfect pumpkin and then go to and find lots of stencils. When you finish your masterpiece you can upload a picture and everything. I already carved a skull and cross bones in my pumpkin so I missed my opportunity.

Go Obama!

Falling in love with fall

I just love fall! And it turns out that it is a great time of year to move to Knoxville! Ever since I got here the weather has been warm (80 degrees and higher!) and the skies have been bright blue for the most part.

In an attempt to fully embrace fall in Knoxville, Matt and I drove out to the country to go to a pumpkin patch and corn maze. The drive was beautiful. So many of the trees had already started to change colors, bright reds and oranges everywhere! Plus I made pumpkin muffins the night before so we could enjoy them on our drive and have a true fall-themed day.

The pumpkin patch and maze was really fun. It was almost too warm for us, or rather, we just wore the wrong clothes...thinking fall here would be like fall at home: chilly! Instead we had a nice sweat glow going!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Living in the South

Now I’m sure I will come across countless things about the South that seem odd to me as a northwesterner. I hope to share some of the regional oddities in my blog. Here are some of the most recent observations.

*Subarus are few and far between. In Portland every third car you see is a Subaru. Though it isn’t really surprising, they are marketed as great cars for the outdoorsy folk and that sort of suits the PNW.

*Names here are really different. A lot of people use two first names (like my coworker Jean Ann). Then there are names that just sound southern, Dolly (a woman working in the Knoxville airport). And then of course, there are made up names. Names I’m certain wouldn’t be found in the baby book of names... It seems that parents just take an ordinary name like Shaun. Add a couple new letters and you have your son’s unique name: Vashaun. Or your daughter’s name: KaShawna. A twist on my own name: JaKara.
And so on and so on…

*One of my friends here invited Matt and me over for dinner. She has a two year old daughter and when she does something she isn’t suppose to, Jennifer says (read with a southern accent), “Maddie, no ma’am. Don’t put that pea up your nose.” I actually love the use of “no ma’am” and hope maybe one day to use it with my own kids!

*Church is definitely viewed quite different here in Knoxville. It seems that most people I encounter are religious in some fashion. And you just see more churches around town. Matt and I drove out in the country on Saturday and drove past 3 Baptist churches within 3 miles of each other…and we were seriously out in the country, with very few houses around but lots of churches. In our outing on Saturday I counted a total of 8 Baptist churches.

*Along those same lines, there is a pregnancy help center right by our house. The sign says that all services are free. They must perform abortions there because all day every day there are anti-abortion protestors along the street. I personally don’t think it’s appropriate to protest there. I doubt that the only thing this clinic does is in abortions. And it isn’t exactly fair for some girl who thinks she might be pregnant but doesn’t know where to go (and fully intends to keep the child) to have to walk past protestors who are probably judging her. BUT that’s not the problem, people can protest…go for it. I am up in arms with what I saw on Sunday afternoon. It was right about the time people get out of church, when a big group of people joined the protest. It was a couple of families with kids in tow. They walked right past a big playground and made young kids (probably ages 5-10) hold signs up on the street. Really??? Seriously!? Kids protesting? How did you explain to them what abortion is? They shouldn’t even know what that means yet! Shouldn’t you take them to the park to play on a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon?!? I just hope they didn’t have any graphic pictures included in any of the brochures or signs.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Become a rap (or pop or rock or country) star!

What is your rap star name?

Make sure you check male/female to get the right gender name. And try out pop, rock and country names too!

My rap star name: LADY SIN

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Patience is a virtue (and I guess I lack it)

I hate waiting for things! Apparently I'm impatient.

That's all.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Meet Becca Rose!

Megan had a healthy baby girl on August 21. We're all thrilled to have a little girl in the family (she won't be spoiled at all!). I'll upload more pictures soon.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Bite your tongue

I was showing off my beautiful ring at the hair salon earlier this week and started talking about all the ugly rings that are out there. (Matt and I saw the official worst-ever engagement ring. It was hideous. It was thick, black and reminded me of a crow...not a good thing for an engagement ring in my opinion.)

But I guess, to each their own, right? ...I still kind of wish they just wouldn't produce ugly jewelry. Like heart-shaped diamonds. I'm just against them. I almost shared my disgust for heart-shaped stones to the two girls at the jewelry store but decided I better not...just in case one of them loved hearts. Good thing I did. The next thing the one girl said was that she and her boyfriend designed her engagement ring themselves with a heart-shaped star sapphire. Ew. She doesn't have the ring yet so I couldn't see in person how ugly it is, but I'm guessing it’s bad (not as bad as the crow ring, but bad).

*Vote on heart-shaped rings in the poll to the right*

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


After 4.5 months of blissful dating, Matt got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him. I squeeled "Absolutely!!!" We embraced in the best hug either one of us has ever experienced. After a few minutes of hugging, Matt pointed out that I had shoved the ring out of the way without even taking a glance at it. I kept my tight grasp on Matt, saying that the ring wasn't my concern--marrying him was!

I finally let Matt reveal the ring and slide it on my finger. It's no wonder he wanted me to look at the ring, its absolutely beautiful. I love glancing down at my hand and seeing that shiny reminder that Matt and I will tie the knot in the somewhat-near future.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Toilet talk

In our new office we have fancy toilets. They are the kind that flush up for liquid waste and down for solid waste.

The handles are even labeled as "coated" to protect them from germs. ...I think that's odd. Cool, but odd. I only flush public toilets with my foot anyway, but my shoe is now exposed to fewer germs. But I do wonder, is this a coating that never wears away or one that gets reapplied.

Anyway, I like coated toilet handles!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The weirdest thing

Matt and I were driving in Vancouver the other day, right around 5 pm. I was stopped at a red light behind several cars and several cars in the right lane next to me. Suddenly we heard some loud, long-drawn out honking. I looked in my rearview mirror, a little confused where the honking was coming from and who it was directed to. Come to find out, it’s a woman in the car behind me. She’s honking and honking and honking…with no sign of her stopping. I kept an eye on her through my rearview mirror, conscious of the red light and the nearby drivers staring at us.

Matt and I were totally boggled. Do I know her? Does she think the light is green and we’re just stopped for the heck of it? Maybe someone stuck a “F*** you” bumper sticker on the back of my car. Or maybe she hates Gonzaga and my license plate frame offends her. She must think I’m someone else. I don’t think I cut anyone off. Maybe she had a bad day at work…

Then I saw something flying out of her driver’s side window (the honking is still going strong). She started throwing change out her window. And not just pennies! I saw silver mixed in there. Is she trying to tell me something?

The light turned green. I hoped that the movement of traffic would put a cease to the honking madness. It didn’t. She was driving close on my trail and still laying on the horn. Maybe it’s stuck on? I decided that she might be in a big hurry so I got into the right lane so she could move on through. Only she followed right behind me into the same lane. HM. Okay, at this point Matt and I are even more confused.

It was about time for me to make my left hand turn to our destination. I was a little nervous that she would follow us into the parking lot and chuck change at my head. But I turned left. She kept honking and glaring at me, but she drove on. And the honking stopped. Matt and I looked at each other and spent the next half hour analyzing what this crazy woman might have been thinking. I guess I’ll never know.

What do you think was going on???

Quick and dirty post

I don't really have time to post but I know my blog is really I'm sharing a brief glimpse into my trip to Alaska. It was beautiful that it makes my novice photographs look much better than they really are. The kayak/beach picture is my favorite.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


I'm flying to Tennessee today. For as long as I can remember, upon hearing the word "Tennessee" this Arrested Development song pops into my head. And I can't help but start saying, "Tennessee [said in a low voice]...Tennessee [said in my normal voice]." If you haven't heard the song you probably think I'm crazy, but just listen to the song..then you'll get what I'm talking about and hopefully you too can hear this song playing in your head at every mention of Tennessee.

Oh, and did I mention how excited I am!? Knoxville, here I come!!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Weekend Retreat

Last weekend I got to puppy sit for my sister. They have a one-year old boxer named Zoey. I'm a total sucker for her, she's so damn cute! Plus I can't have a dog of my own right now so pretending to be Zoey's owner for the weekend really was a retreat for me. (Thanks Megan!)

She how cute she is? I think we played ball 80% of the time I was home, she never got tired of chasing that thing down the same hallway and bringing it back nice and slobbery for me.

The weekend was also quite strange as far as weather goes. I guess its just how Spring is. You can have hail, snow, rain and sunshine all in one day. I can just be grateful that I'm no longer on the Eastern side of Washington because the snow would actually accumulate there. Here's a not-that-great picture of the cherry blossoms Zoey and I saw on our walk. It was hailing like crazy ten minutes before this picture and you'd never be able to guess by looking at the pic.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A theory.

I have this theory about dorks. I’ve always accepted my dorky side. I actually like school (enough to spend 6 years in higher education). I scrapbook. I was a DECA dork in high school. I watch the Disney Channel of my own free will on occasion. I work at a company where we could debate a hyphen for at least an hour—and I’m not even kidding. Like I said, dork.

But it’s not that simple. I didn’t get beaten up in school. I never wore glasses. I even played sports and was in Student Body. I love going to see live music. I know how to party. I plan on skydiving this year. Not just a dork.

So here comes my theory. There is a dork-edge continuum. People can fall anywhere in the spectrum between DORK and EDGE. For example, I’d say the people I work with all have a certain level of edge, none of us would fall under the just plain “dork” category. Yeah, we debate hyphens and geek out about the Chicago Manual of Style (DORK). But we also go to bars in the middle of the day to watch basketball. And our company events are known to have Jello shots and free-flowing champagne (EDGE).

So what are you? A dork with a little bit of edge? Or are you edge with just a touch of dork? Maybe you’re all edge and you’re wondering what the hell a hyphen is. Take the poll to the left. Spread the theory around. Maybe one day I’ll write a book about it and teach academics all about my profound theory about dorks and edge, or edgy dorks depending how you look at it.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Find your edge

People constantly say that they want to be more hip. And when someone discovers something that classifies them as “hip” it makes their day and gives them bragging rights. I like to call this “edge.” Others might describe it as “cool” or “gangsta”—no matter the description, people strive for this edgy status.

How to get your edge:
Step one in making yourself appear edgy is to alter your language. Don’t go overboard, steer away from phrases like “jiggy.” Small simple changes will give you that subtle edge you desire. And it’s easy! Just mix up the endings of your words.

There are several ways of doing this:
1. Take off the ending of the word.
Instead of saying “That’s hilarious.” Say “That’s hilar.”

Instead of saying “My favorite song is Senorita.” Say “My fave song is Senorita.”

Instead of saying “I was busting up.” Say “I was bustin’ up.”

Be careful though, I’ve heard people say “ridic” instead of ridiculous, and this just doesn’t sound right…probably giving you negative edge points!

2. Alter the ending of the word:

My fave example is saying “preggo” or “preggars” instead of pregnant.
Other options:
Add “ster” to the end of a word.

“That guy was such a creepster.” Or “That guy was such a clingster!”

Add “ilicious” to the end of a word. “That’s nerdilicious.”

3)And if you’re ever in doubt of what to say, just bust out “Ohhhh, snap!”

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I'm an Oregonian

Yesterday I had to stop and get gas in my stupid Grannie6. If you've talked to me in the last month you probably had to listen to me complain about the rental car I have right now (the aforementioned stupid Grannie6). I probably told you the dash is 100 miles long and then complained that my four-door rental sedan is longer than a station wagon AND a minivan. The Pontiac G6 and I don't get along, we just aren't meant to me. But I can appreciate the stupid Grannie6 for one reason, it caused my first "I'm an Oregonian" moment.

In my 11 years of living in the Portland metropolitan area, I've been a Washingtonian. I frequently visited the booming metropolis of Portland but never actually lived on that side of the Columbia River. In September I made the move to Portland, but I still cling on to my Washington roots. I work in Washington, I bank in Washington, my family is in Washington, my chiropractor is in Washington. You get the idea; I haven't fully embraced my Oregon residence.

Yesterday I officially became an Oregonian: I didn't know how to pump my own gas.

In just a few months I've got very accustomed to other people pumping my gas for me. So my stupid Grannie6 has the low fuel light on and I have to fill it one last time before gleefully handing over the keys. W
hen I pulled up to the self-serve gas station in Vancouver, it felt a bit odd. I have to get out of my car? Gross!
It took me a minute to reacquaint myself with pumping gas. Do I first put in my debit card, or do I remove the gas handle first? Without too much difficulty, I paid for my gas and chose the appropriate octane. But here's where the difficulty came in... I couldn't get the gas tank open on the stupid Grannie6. I tried and tried but it didn't just twist off like any normal car. Stupid rental. I quickly realized how pathetic my situation was. "Shit! Am I really going to have to be THAT girl who goes into the gas station asking for help pumping gas?" I couldn't accept the title of the ditzy girl who couldn't pump her own gas, and being stubborn, I fought with that stupid Grannie6 gas cap until it popped open. I don't know what I did. I probably couldn't do it again -- thankfully I turned the rental back in today. And in my own defense, it’s not just that I'm ditzy or that I'm an Oregonian now. That dumb Grannie6 gas cap had a picture of the owner's manual on it. You shouldn't need an owner's manual to get gas. Stupid Grannie6. So yeah, big moment for me yesterday (and I turned in the stupid Grannie6 today, also a big moment).