Sunday, June 29, 2008

Nursery, again; Hawaii, again

Today was our every-other-Sunday to lead the 3- and 4-year-olds in Nursery. It was great! The past couple times, I've been really nervous and uncomfortable, but today was just the best! The kids were fun and really good, and I felt way more comfortable playing with them and knowing how to talk to them. Except when I asked one little girl to read a pop-up book to another little girl and me -- she looked at the book, then looked at me and said, "But I don't know how to read!" Oops.

I was just so excited about having a good day in there, because I've worried about not being good with kids. Everyone has said, "Oh, they always put the newlyweds in there and it ends up being like birth control." But actually, these kids are like the opposite, whatever that is! I kind of want a 4-year-old! Skip the whole baby thing!

Lately I've been kind of ... I don't know the word for it -- anxious? Bratty? And I realized something that helps is to pretty much only listen to classical music when I'm in the car. Before, I listened to harder things, and I think that, combined with a touch of road rage, has been making me an unpleasant person, especially when I'm driving. Sometimes I have to remind myself, "That's a child of God in that car," or more effectively, "What if that's the Bishop in that other car?" Is that bad??!

I'm excited and sad to go on a weeklong vacation on Wednesday. I'm looking forward to it because I'll be going to one of my favorite places, Hawaii (!!!), but I'm sad to leave Neil! I wish he could go with me :( When I got my ticket it seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I am being pathetically dependent. Maybe we went a week without seeing each other when we first started dating, since we lived an hour apart, but I don't think we've been separated for more than a few days since we started seriously dating, and I've seen him every day since we got married. I'm really looking forward to having fun with the Robertsons (Jr. and Sr.), just chilling and getting my tan on, but it would all be infinitely more fun with Neil there. Plus, he'll be going up to NYC while I'm gone, and I wish I could go there, too. I'm so selfish! I've learned my lesson -- no more separate vacations!

I guess this trip will be like when I was in Hawaii two trips ago, Dec. 2006, to run the Honolulu Marathon. I went on my first date with Neil Nov. 14 and I really liked him, but I didn't know where it was going to go. The trip was kind of like a make-or-break thing: If we kept in touch while I was gone, we'd probably date some more, but if we didn't talk for that whole week, things would probably cool off, possibly irreversibly. Luckily, he txted and called pretty much every day, and I was quite impressed by that. He really cared about me and not just when I was nearby! It was so cute and thoughtful. Soooo let's hope he's just as good about keeping in touch now that he's "got" me :)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Holy Moley!

Sometimes I really do want to post, but there's nothing to say. I asked Neil for a topic, and he suggested:

1) His quills (spiky shoulder hairs).
2) Yesterday's Washington, D.C., gun ban law that was reversed by the Supreme Court. (The best sign held by a supporter, which was in the main photo on the Nation/World News page I designed at work yesterday: "If guns kill people ... do pens misspell words?")
3) Obama. Or maybe that was my idea.

None of these is really something upon which I care to elaborate here. I do like plucking and Obama; not so sure about the whole gun thing.

I need to teach Neil how to whistle, and he needs to do a backflip for me. These were things we promised would transpire during the honeymoon, and they never did! Neil is also bitter that I didn't remove his moles, which was also something I promised him I would do, which is the only thing I've totally went against my word on with him.

He always reminds me that a CERTAIN family member of his has moles, and this family member's devoted wife removes them via the following method:

- Locate mole
- Tie dental floss tightly around base of mole
- Allow mole to die a slow, horrible, constricted death whereon it shrivels up and eventually falls off -- basically killing the mole.

That's sick, if you ask me. I promised I would do it, but I think I said that just so he wouldn't do it himself. The truth is, I like his moles. They're cute and not at all nasty or unsightly. He had one surgically removed from his neck shortly after I met him. Then he killed one of his moles in the above-mentioned way shortly before we got married. Sick. He wants me to get a couple hard-to-reach ones on his back. I think it's really gross and sad to kill them. He says I lied. I say it was to protect the moles. I'm just afraid he's going to cut them off himself. Is it an urban legend that you can't stop the bleeding from a mole?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Falling Street Lamps and Geckos

I had the weirdest day last Tuesday. Odd things happened. Neil forgot his work ID, which is highly unusual, so I brought it to him. After leaving his office, I drove through Crystal City, down Jefferson Davis Highway, for you locals. Right after the intersection of Jeff Davis and 20th St., in front of the Radisson, and RIGHT in front of my car, a street lamp fell over and crashed onto the road! It was one of the craziest things I've ever seen, right up there with the UFO. And it wasn't like there was a car or two in front of me; it fell RIGHT in front of MY car! It was just like "TIMBER!" and fell. After it fell, it was laying perpendicular to the road, completely blocking traffic, and it's a very busy street. Luckily, the Radisson has a circular drive that created a detour. I pulled in there and called 911. The Radisson porters put some cones in front of the street lamp. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to wait for the police, but I doubted they needed to talk to me at the scene.
I stayed until a firetruck came. A utility guy was there, too, and I heard him tell the firemen this is the second street lamp on Jeff Davis to have fallen in the past month! Dangerous! They just rust out at the bottom and fall. I figured it was time for me to continue to my next errand, which was to purchase a gecko.

PetSmart didn't have any, so I went to PetCo. They had one "House Gecko" left. Perfect. And he only cost $5.99. We don't want a pet -- this gecko has a job: This is so, so nasty, but we've seen a few roaches in the apartment. It's weird -- we didn't have any during the winter, and it's just been in the past few weeks, since it's gotten warm, that they've infiltrated our fortress.

In Hawaii, we had geckos roaming in the house that ate the bugs. So that's what this little guy's job is. His tail is growing back and is just a nub, so I call him Nubbins.
If you didn't know, now you know: Geckos are chameleon; they can change color with their mood or environment.

I brought Nubbins home and released him beside the AeroGarden. Hopefully he noticed the little dish of water I set out for him and he'll be able to find it again. He was behind the dresser for a couple days, but now I don't know where he went. Yesterday he came out from behind a picture when he saw his new gecko friend I got at another PetCo a few days later! His friend is a little bit bigger and has a long tail and no name. He is hiding behind a mirror on the wall, but he ventures out in the evening across the wall near the ceiling and even across the ceiling. They're both pretty much nocturnal. I just hope they're doing their job at night.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

"Hurry Up and Wait"

Well, I got a letter from the State Department yesterday.
The good news: I passed the final review.

The annoying news: My name has been added to a list of candidates to start anywhere between now and 18 mos. from now.

I am really excited to start this job, so I hope I get called up sooner than later.

In other news, we had our second day of leading nursery today. The kids sang the "Daddy" song in Sacrament, which was very cute. They were really fun during nursery, but it took me a little while to warm up to them and vice versa. I just don't know how to "get in there" and join what they're doing when I first come in. I feel idiotic trying to talk to them in a chipper, high voice about whatever they're doing. One of the moms was there for a little while and she probably wondered why I was even there. I did, too. But it got better.

In news news, I have only worked two Fridays in the past 6 mos. (I love my schedule -- except that it means I work Sundays) and one of them was last Fri. 6/13. At work, we're all tuned to CNN, so I heard the news break about Tim Russert's passing.
I never watched "Meet the Press," but he was definitely recognizable from the commentary and correspondence he provides on other programs. This was one of those things I wished could be taken back. From my limited knowledge, he definitely is an irreplaceable figure, and was a really great, smart individual.

In old news, I'm always a little startled when I see this infomercial guy on TV:
Because he looks alarmingly like my old boss:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Who Says There's No Money To Be Made In Journalism?

Well, at least there is at the top.

The VIP "Reserved Parking" spots where I work -- Gannett/USA TODAY headquarters.
L-R: Mercedes, Aston Martin, Porsche.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Of Boston, Brazil and B-Boys

Brazil vs. Venezuela
Boston, Mass.
Oh, no she di'int! Yes, she did. The Brazil fans were ka-razy. This was the most alarming show of support I saw. The thought process: Is it totally rude to take a picture of this woman? No, if you're wearing something like that, you're begging for attention! And I not-so-discreetly snapped away.

Neil and I drove up to Boston this weekend to visit my friend Mwashonga. We had a great time on our whirlwind tour. Mwashonga is a huge soccer fan, and one of his girl friends works for Harvard, through which she gets cheap tix to sporting events. She got us $60, 10th-row tickets to the Brazil vs. Venezuela game at the Patriots' stadium. It was our first pro soccer match, and it was awesome!

There were 58,000 people in attendance; a sea of green and yellow. Which made it all the more ironic Brazil lost, 2-0! The game was awesome, but even more exciting were the fights! There were about 3 of them in our section alone, with a couple fan ejections. On the field, unfortunately, two players got carried off on stretchers -- it's a rough game. There was also a half-naked (top half, fortunately) "streaker" who ran out and hugged one of Brazil's usually amazing players, Robinho, before security threw him to the ground and escorted him, handcuffed, off the field. Soccer has trumped basketball in my opinion as the ultimate spectator sport!

Saturday we toured around the city, and the weather was absolutely gorgeous. Do you remember the book "Make Way for Ducklings"?
I never realized it is set in Boston. I bought the book for posterity and got our picture in front of Duck Island. In the Quincy Market square, we happened upon a breakdancing crew that was drawing a huge crowd. We made our way to an opening where we could see them, and crazy enough, it was a crew we have seen now in 3 cities! We first saw them last summer in L.A. at the World Hip Hop Championships. Then we saw them this spring in VA at the Circles 9 battle, "one of the largest hip hop charity events on the East Coast." They hail from Boston, so I feel like we're stalking them, but they are pretty amazing!
This is some of them in-between amazing breaking.

The whole way up, I was craving a lobster roll. I'd heard about them, and knew they're available in Maine, but hoped I could get one in Mass., too. I was obsessed! I like to experience new places through my stomach, so I got one for lunch and felt I could go home having experienced New England to the, um, fullest.
I also saw a shop selling popcorn. Shout out to my uncle Dale and cousin Thomas.
Sorry if you guys had plans to open an eponymous popcorn shop.

I'm a pretty wild driver, so I never thought I'd say this, but drivers in Boston are the worst I've ever seen in my entire life. It's not that they drive crazy or fast -- I do that, but other than speed, a cop would be hard-pressed to actually cite me. It's the utter lawlessness with which Bostonians drive. Pulling out into oncoming traffic? No problem. Cutting other cars off? Hey, it's a free-for-all. Using a turn signal? Never heard of it. Picking a lane? Two is better than one. Terrible, terrible stuff. I was completely dumbfounded by the abundance of this:
Driving on the shoulder!!!! And everybody was doin' it! I was appalled and flabbergasted and every other thing like that, all at once. Until I saw roadsigns that said something to the effect of it being OK to drive on the shoulder in certain areas. Still, totally weird! No wonder they drive like maniacs, with state-sanctioned crazy driving!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Soulja Boy

I found this months ago when I was looking for ballet barre exercises. I never found a good barre routine to follow, but this little gem cracks me up every single time I watch it. Watch the little boy in the front, he's HILARIOUS. I think if Neil and I ever had a kid, he'd be just like that.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I Made It Through Nursery!

Today, Neil and I got set apart in our new calling as nursery leaders. We helped out with the class we will be leading, the 3- and 4-year-olds. There were 8 little kids, and they were hilarious! It didn't start out so well, though. I was really scared to do it! I was probably more scared than the kids were the first day their parents left them in nursery. There were 5 adults -- the two current leaders, another new leader, and us. Neil dove right in and sat down with the kids who were playing with Play-Doh. They were laughing and having fun in no time. I stood to the side with one of the current leaders, getting as many instructions as I could. This is SOOOOooo pathetic, but I'm going to tell you anyway -- I almost started crying, I was so uncomfortable and scared to interact with these kids. I teared up and wanted to leave, and if it hadn't been little kids, I would have left to go compose myself, but I couldn't. I looked up and blinked to get the water out of my eyes, finally got myself under control and headed over to the Play-Doh table where Neil got the kids excited about the cube of clay I smushed together. I am SO not a natural, and I felt like a complete idiot and I was basically mute, but the kids didn't seem to hate me. I was really surprised that the 2 hrs. passed by quicker than 1 hr. of Sunday School. A lady came in and led the music time, we played games, had snacks, colored and had a lesson. These kids have an attention span of about 1 min., which was really surprising to me, and pretty funny. They were all really cute and have such STRONG and different personalities. By the time their parents came to pick them up, one of the little girls was sitting in my lap. I know it sounds silly, but I was pretty proud of myself for overcoming this huge fear.