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January 2007

The Winner Is Me!

January 31, 2007   

Seppo and I play funny games. I’m sure every couple or even friends who have known each other for a very long time do the same. Some of our games involve the following:

  • Singing songs with made up lyrics having to do with how awesome we are.
  • Closing our eyes and trying to land our index fingers on our respective noses/chins/tongues.
  • Going through the alphabet and trying to name animals (or songs or people’s names or movies) for each letter. This game is really good when you are standing in a long line.
  • Playing the thumb game. It’s complicated to explain but easy to play and involves smacking the losers mercilessly on the wrist. This is also good for standing in lines.

We’ve got a huge set of these that we rotate through, adding new games whenever we can think of one.

Last night, I introduced a new game that I read about. I had read about this a few days ago and was biding my time for the perfect opportunity to spring it on Seppo. I wanted to do it by the book and not deviate from the pattern set out in what I had read.

Ostensibly, I lost. But Seppo and I know both know who really won and who really lost.

Basically, you challenge your opponent to try to touch your face with their tongue as lightly as they can, and whoever does it more lightly wins. I let Seppo go first. He did his best, and I swear it was as light as a snowflake.

I granted to him that it was a really good effort and that I wasn’t sure if I could beat him.

Then I leaned in and covered his face in slobber and proclaimed my utter loss.


Checking in

January 30, 2007   

I just finished writing the last blog entry, which I had started almost a week ago.

Between a major milestone hitting today, eating better, cooking more, and walking the dog on longer walks, I’ve been too tired to blog this month. Yet, as Seppo’s blog entries will attest, we’ve been up to a lot of stuff that I wouldn’t mind recording for myself to look back on. Well, at least one of us did.

Singing. Seppo says my singing is better than it used to be. I told him that to me, I sound the same as I did before, i.e. a fun mix of flat and sharp and loud and quavery, but he says he can hear the difference. At least Mobi doesn’t grumble and lumber out of the room anymore. People say that all the time, but he really used to.

Work. I don’t remember if I mentioned it, but I have a fancy assed title at work now. I kinda love that the next one up sounds like a made up one. In other news, I am pretty tired from the milestone, but I still have a little wee bit left to do.

Dog. He’s learning a new game, “Where’s the treat?” It involves the following commands:

  • Sit.
  • What’s this? (This indicates to him that he should pay attention and sniff the treat I am holding in my hand.)
  • Stay. (I walk away from him and hide the treat while he is in “stay”.)
  • Ok, where’s the treat?

You’d think that being a dog, he’d naturally use his sense of smell to find stuff like treats and his favorite toys. You’d think that, but you’d be wrong. When we play hide-and-seek (not too different from this game but with one crucial difference that I think you can figure out on your own), he doesn’t try to figure out where you might be by sniffing you out. No, he simply goes from room to room to try to find you.

With this new game, he actually makes loud sniffing noises while trying to find the treat. In fact, he is getting much better at using his nose for something other than poking his squeaky toys, which is his primary way of making them squeak. You’d think he’d use his mouth like every other dog on the planet, but that’s another topic. Anyway, he seems to be able to zone in on the general area very quickly now. It’s neat! At the beginning, we’d literally walk five feet away from him and throw the treat down on the carpet in plain sight. He’d sniff around and walk in circles trying to find it, requiring up to a minute and plenty of human aid to find it. Now I can put it in a different room under a pillow and he can still find it.

House. Seppo has been really proactive about getting the roofers out here. They were here this morning to evaluate the current state of the rood and will start work soon. Yay! We are also going to get estimates on other repairs to the house. Seppo cleaned up most of our room the other weekend, prompting me to clean out my closet in its entirety and reorganize. I made up one and a half more bags of clothes to donate.

Gardening. I have some ideas of what I want to plant in the coming year, but it requires that I make a raised bed of some sort. Hmm.

Cooking. We have been trying all sorts of new things in the kitchen this month. I bought stuff to bake bread in our bread machine (inherited from a friend who moved away to NYC) and have baked the first loaf on Sunday. Fun! I wish it had a little window on it like my mom’s. It would make staring at the breadmaker more fun. Right now, I end up just staring at the white plastic, wondering what’s going on in there.

Two words

January 25, 2007   

Dilettante. I was called a dilettante for the first time (which happens to be the first time I ever heard the word) when I was a freshman in college.

I hadn’t known what this word meant, so I had looked it up and found something very similar to this Merriam-Webster definition:

1 : an admirer or lover of the arts
2 : a person having a superficial interest in an art or a branch of knowledge : DABBLER

“An admirer or lover of the arts” — how wonderful! But he had said it in a sort of mocking way, so I had asked what was so wrong with being someone who loved the arts. Apparently, he had meant it in the latter way, which happens to be the more common use of the word (as indicated by other dictionaries and people who are well-versed in Big Wordstm).

This riled me up back then and still riles me up now. There is definitely something to be said for someone who gains a deep and penetrating knowledge of a field. They move areas of research forward; they are the ones who break new ground and move us ever forward in the tide of progress. They are the pioneers and we’d be nowhere without them.

But that’s not to say there is something wrong with people who can see the wonder and joy of a variety of things and like to poke and taste at them. I look around the world and see so many items of interest, topics to pull apart, food to eat, media to consume, things to absorb. I love Toni Morrison but I also love Julia Quinn. I love La vita è bella but I also love Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. I drool at hightech gadgets but I also love that I can make something like a scarf out of something as low-tech as some yarn and two skinny sticks. I loved intro chem and organic chemistry so much that I used to beg people to let me tutor them but I still can’t help falling asleep at every corporate informational session they have. Oh wait… one of these is not like the other. It doesn’t fit the list paradigm! Arg! One more try… I loved chem but I also love to assemble IKEA furniture, except anything involving hammering. I suck at that.

I love things that have to do with etymology or current word usage or standard grammar but I also gleefully use “OMGWTF!” and have actually said the non-word “lawls” (phonetic pronunciation of LOLs) in real life. [edit: This was not a good example of what I meant to illustrate. Somehow, this morphed into a highbrow/lowbrow thing, instead of a deep knowledge versus shallow enjoyment. Damn.] Instead of, you know, actually laughing out loud. I know. I’m ashamed too. And this post will undoubtedly be full of mistakes which will force me to make incremental changes over the next few weeks, thereby embarrassing me in my assertion that I love grammar.

But whatever it is that I’m interested in, even if it is for just a short period of time, it really, really interests me and gets me fired up. I try to grok the material, at least on the level of what makes it an enjoyable thing. I throw myself into it. I love it and revel in it.

To sum up, being a dabbler is no crime. Take joy in whatever you want, whether it’s something that is generally considered frivolous or something that is generally revered, whether you only get into it for a week or a lifetime. There is so much awesomeness out in the world and only so much time.

In other words, do the dew. *ducks and runs*

Spendthrift. This is a word that has been haunting me for years. It is reasonable to say that it has in fact been bugging me for decades. Since the first time I ran across it, it’s driven me crazy. Trying to understand it as a compound word seems to make it clear that it’s a word that has to do with being frugal. Reading it in context makes it clear that it’s one of those odd words that means the opposite of what it looks like… Until you read something else and it sounds like what you originally thought it meant.

I’ve always been 85% convinced that it means someone who spends money like it was made of water, contrary to the seeming breakdown of the words. I vaguely remember even looking it up sometime during my high school years. The problem is that I remember the “A-ha!” feeling I had when I looked it up, but forgot which way the resolution went. Well, recently, a podcast from A Way with Words cleared it up for me. defines the word to mean the following:

1. a person who spends possessions or money extravagantly or wastefully; prodigal.
2. wastefully extravagant; prodigal.
[Origin: 1595–1605; spend + thrift]

The key is in the origin and the word “thrift“. The origin of the word is related to the word “thrive“:

[Origin: 1200–50; ME < ON: well being, prosperity; cf. thrive]

And the origin of that says the following:

[Origin: 1150–1200; ME thriven < ON thrīfast to thrive, reflexive of thrīfa to grasp]


So the contemporary meaning of thrift most likely comes from the part of the definition having to do with “grasping” or holding onto something, but the older meaning had more to do with the contemporary meaning of thrive. So a “spendthrift” is someone who spends with vigor!

I love it!

The Year So Far

January 16, 2007   

This year has been pretty dang good. We had our most active New Year’s Day ever. We’ve gone to a new-to-us Korean restaurant, revisited a neighborhood sushi boat place and found that it’s improved quite a bit (although they still make their sushi with fish that’s waaaaaaaaaay too cold), cooked at home about four days out of each week, and packed lunch for work much more than we used to.

I’ve lost somewhere between two to four pounds already between my very slow diet and walking the dog between thirty minutes to an hour about four times a week (shorter walks on other days).

I’ve hemmed three pairs of pants! Well, one pair was hemmed on December 30, 2006, so that one doesn’t count, but I hemmed a pair of Seppo’s jeans and my black corduroy pants. It’s so awesome having pants that are the perfect length. All three pairs of pants have slightly different hems, so I am learning a bit too. I bought a bunch of patterns, but have not bought any fabric yet. I dropped by Poppy Fabric on 51st and Broadway, but I didn’t buy anything except some hemming trim (or something like that) for the inside of Seppo’s pants.

I know that sounds like I’ve put rickracks on Seppo’s pants. Heh. But I swear I haven’t.

I’ve been pretty good about calling my family in the past few months. I try to do it when I’m walking the dog in the evenings on the days I work from home (or on the weeknds), so that the timing is pretty good for talking to both my mom and sis, as well as the nieces.

I’ve been reading a bunch of new blogs and am likely to post a round-up sometime soon.

I feel a tad restless. Not sure why.

I am officially an employee of a large company now, which means I have a strangely interesting title. I looked at the descriptions for what a holder of that title is responsible for, and it sounded like something someone ten years older than me should do, so it’s a little intimidating. Or I’m intimidated by me. Not really. It’s just funny to me, I suppose.

I haven’t really felt like I have something that’s really bubbling up out of me that I want to say. I really do think squeezed it all out for NaNoWriMo and am still recovering. My mind feels blank. I hope I have something interesting to say soon, because I’m going to put myself to sleep. Snore.

Ok, so everyone else is doing it…

January 10, 2007   

… So I’m going to jump off the bridge too! Via dre-2k2-f4i, niralth, and helava.

Your senior year in High School is supposed to be “the best year of your life.” Let’s see how much you remember. I know for some it might be hard for you to go back that far!

Year :: 1994

1. Who was your best friend?

2. What sports did you play?
Nothing. Why not a question about anything else I competed in?!

3. What kind of car did you drive?
Nothing. Didn’t drive.

4. It’s Friday night, where were you?
At bible study.

5. Were you a party animal?
Not at all.

6. Were you in the “In Crowd”?
There was no in-crowd. If there were, I wouldn’t have been in it. But I was also not a pariah.

7. Ever skip school?

8. Ever smoke?
Not in senior year, but when I was younger, just to see why people would do such a thing.

9. Were you a nerd?

10. Did you get suspened/expelled?

11. Can you sing the Alma Mater?
Let others sing of college days
Their alma mater true.
But when we raise our voices
‘Tis only, high, for you!

We’ll ne’er forget those days gone by
Those glorious days of old!
When oft we sang the praises
Of the crimson and the gold!

Dear high, dear Central high,
Thy memories never die.
Thy honor we’ll cherish <-- I had this line wrong the first time
And laud it to the sky!

I don’t remember the second verse/part.

ETA: I do remember!

On ballfield or in life,
In peace or deadly strife,
For thee thy sons will labor,
For thee, oh, dear old high! <-- I got this one wrong too. 12. Who was your favorite teacher?
Mr. Brooks, my crazy Pharmacology teacher (who also taught me Chem A.P. and Organic Chemistry). Half the kids were terrified of him, half the kids couldn’t stop laughing. I couldn’t stop laughing at the funny things he said. He was awesome and taught me so much about chemistry and made it make so much sense that I wanted to become a chemical engineer.

13. Favorite class?
World Lit, taught by Dr. Slepian, my other favorite teacher of senior year. She introduced me so much world literature, far beyond the normal stuff you usually read in high school. Her classes taught me to think critically about what I read.

14. What was your school’s full name?
Central High School of Philadelphia.

15. School mascot?

16. Did you go to Prom?

17. If you could go back and do it over, would you?
No, because everything that was great was so great that I don’t have any desire to change anything, and because everything that was terrible was so awful I don’t want to relive it.

18. What do you remember most about graduation?
Our Salutatorian gave the most inspiring speech about spreading our wings and flying, which sounds cheesy, especially when you take into account it included actual wing motions, which everyone started doing. You’d think it was all just a large joke, except she was such a great speaker that we were all really into it. I could see her becoming a senator one day.

19. Favorite memory of your Senior Year?
My little brother was born. I remember seeing him for the first time in the delivery room. I made sure to memorize his crinkled up features because I was paranoid he’d be switched with another baby by accident.

20. Were you ever posted up on the senior wall?
What the heck is this? I’ve never heard of it.

21. Did you have a job your senior year?
Yes. I tutored three younger students. I think I had four at some point.

22. Who did you date?
JCH. We were long distance. He was in Germany for most of the year.

23. Where did you go most often for lunch?
School cafeteria or to the little Chinese place across the street for the best spicy vegetable lo mein I’ve ever had, barring my friend’s dad’s. You know who you are! 😀

24. Have you gained weight since then?
Yes. I think I’m about 15 over what I was when I graduated.

25. What did you do after graduation?
Continued to tutor. Awaited eagerly for college to start.