Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Simple Life

There is something incredibly empowering and therapeutic about organizing and de-junking. It has been my goal of late to rid our house of “extra” things: papers, clothes, magazines, newspapers, basically anything I don’t think we need. Now you see the real issue; it’s based solely on what I deem worthy of our keeping. Poor Andrew.

A wise man once said, “One man’s trash is another’s treasure,” (or something to that effect). Little did I understand that this also applies in marriage…we don’t always see trash as the same thing. :) Granted, I tend to not be very sentimental – perhaps less than the normal person. My poor husband feels nervous every time I mention the words trash, throwing away, getting rid of, donating, or any variation thereof. He sometimes goes through bags after I’m done just to make sure I haven’t gotten carried away.

The problem is, we both have genetics that include pack rattiness. :) I am bound and determined that these genetics will stay with previous generations and leave us in peace. Therefore, it is my philosophy that if you haven’t looked for it in the past year+, you probably don’t need it. Okay, I know this can be a bit extreme, but I’m certain we can live our lives with less “stuff!”

So, here’s to living simpler lives! After all, we can’t take it with us and we don’t need to be so burdened by it that we miss being involved in people’s lives!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Grocery Chats

Saturday, I went to the grocery store…I really don’t like going to the grocery store on the busiest day of the week! Anyway, I’m standing in line at the crowded check out, minding my own business, when a lady in the line next to me says, “You like the chunky, too?” As you can imagine, it took me a couple seconds to realize what she was talking about. I looked in my cart and saw the Campbell’s Chunky soup and replied, “Yes.” She then responds with, “I like the clam chowder.”

Me: Oh, I’ve never had that kind, is it good?
Her: It’s my favorite! You know they sell it in the little cans so you can try it.
Me: Oh really.
Her: Yeah, that way you can see if you like it.
Me: Okay.

It was so strange. She just kept kind of looking at me like she expected me to get out of line and rush to the soup aisle for the small can of clam chowder. :) Needless to say, I stayed in line.

Also, for all of you that are looking for a diet solution…evidently the South Beach Diet is great. This is according to another lady who was telling anyone and everyone who would listen that she has lost 7lbs. on it. So, for what it’s worth, the grocery store is an educational place!

**Disclaimer: This post is in no way advertising for or promoting Campbells Soup or the South Beach Diet. We do not receive any compensation by mentioning them. :)

Friday, January 27, 2006

Choking Brings Back Memories

Choking is one of those things that seriously grosses me out.  I can’t exactly explain why, but I think it is at least partly due to an experience from childhood.  Of course, with the unfortunate event of Wednesday, it brought to mind this memory:

Several years ago (at least 12 or 14), my family bought a new van.  We went to a nearby town in Illinois (we lived in central Illinois), to pick up this van.  My dad decided to make it a fun family event, so he asked the car dealer for a good restaurant recommendation.  The man said that Queens was the best restaurant and great for families.  My dad took his advice, and we headed there for dinner.  We were no sooner seated and preparing to order when a man at a table nearby began to choke.  Someone helps and evidently whatever was stuck became dislodged, but this caused the man to vomit on the floor.  (Let me say, I don’t do well with any throwing up, either.)  The next thing we see is him pulling his chair back up to the table, over the vomit, and begin eating again.  I am so upset by this point I can barely keep myself from being sick, much less order my meal.  

We tell the waitress what we want and then we hear a woman behind us order, “Um…I’d like the 12 oz. steak, but instead of steak, could I substitute cottage cheese?  And instead of the potato, could I have some cottage cheese?”  My sisters and I exchanged horrified glances: she can’t be serious?  Sadly, she is, and I think the confused waiter suggested she might just want to order sides of cottage cheese.  (Side note: wouldn’t it just be cheaper to go and buy a carton of cottage cheese?  She was dining alone.)  After this additionally disturbing event, we were convinced we did not want dinner…but it got better.  The man who choked finished his dinner and left – finally they can clean up the vomit we can’t help staring at!  The bus boy cleans the table and then brings out a broom and a dustpan and sweeps it off the carpet…no cleaning solution…nothing.  They reset the table.  My dad decides by this point, that we’ve had enough.  We leave, vowing never to return to this horrible restaurant.  

We have since heard that it went out of business…I wonder why?!  Who would recommend it?  It felt like a very bad joke.  The evening was looking up, though, when it finished with Baskin Robbins…I think my dad just felt sorry for us!  :)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

What to Check for to Avoid Unnecessary Embarassment

Well, it’s a bit later than I intended to be writing this, but I feel I must write about the incident yesterday.  There are not many dull moments in our busy dental practice and this was certainly far from it.  We see all different kinds of people because we are located in downtown…keep this in mind as I relate the following.

A sometimes great and sometimes not great thing about our office is it’s openness.  We have five rooms separated by three-quarter walls.  Sound travels and usually all five chairs are filled.  Yesterday started fairly routinely, but quickly became entertaining as we all began to listen to chair #3.  

You may wonder what caused us to begin listening…at first, it was the very loud explanation of what the problem was with her teeth.  After that, it was the singing.  Yes, it was like an American Idol audition in the middle of the office…and not a very good one.  I actually got up to see what was going on and there she was by herself, listening to a cd or radio, singing loudly and be-bopping in the chair.  She seemed oblivious to those around and evidently was waiting for the dentist to come in.  I laughed and returned to working on my patient.  She then came out of the room and loudly asked me if she could go to the restroom…I said sure, and asked if she knew where it was.  She said again loudly, “Yes, I’ve already been there this morning.”  Okay, TMI.  I smiled and went back to my responsibilities.  She returned, but before too long she announced she needed to be excused again and headed to the restroom.  This time when she returned to the chair, I saw something flowing behind her…

To my horror, I realized it was about 2 ft. of toilet paper stuck in her waistband.  Two other assistants also saw this rather comical sight and laughed until they cried….we all did.  I looked at one of them and said amidst giggles, “You have to tell her.  You can’t let her leave with that there.”  She replied, “I know,” and burst out laughing again (she was actually sitting on the floor laughing, which added to the hilarity).   A good 20 minutes later, I finally hear my co-worker say with a straight face, “Ma’am, you have some toilet paper stuck...”  The patient, seemingly unembarrassed, began searching for it (mind you it’s 2 ft. – we can’t figure out how she didn’t know it was there).  She said, “I can’t find it.”   “Oh, it’s there,” my co-worker assured her!

So, please be careful when you exit the stall…make sure you have nothing trailing behind.

3 Things

This will be a brief entry since I am exhausted! Here are three interesting things from my day:
  1. Someone twice my age asked for advice on her divorce…I guess that was because of my vast experience. ;)

  2. Someone choked at a restaurant and I had my first genuine use of the Heimlich maneuver...hope not to make that a daily practice.

  3. Someone in our office had something happen that made all of us laugh harder than I can remember in a long time...stay tuned for the details tomorrow!
Tomorrow’s headlines…Choking Brings Back Memories and What to Check for to Avoid Unnecessary Embarrassment

- Alaina

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Neoteric Mot Juste: #3 – Rhinotillexomania

     Rebecca (and Tom) get the extra credit for coming the closest to the correct definition (Congrats!); actually, I think they figured out the meaning, with a perhaps slight discrepancy in their etymology :)  According to a website entitled “Useless Information,” rhinotillexomania comes from “rhino=nose, tillexis=habit of picking at something, mania=obsession with something.”  While dictionary.com does not merit it a definition, www.medicinenet.com does.
     Once again, Mr. Meltzer receives the credit for enlightening me with regard to rhinotillexomania.  He also notes that the University of Wisconsin-Madison has done a study on it, and concludes that “thus man’s knowledge advances, a booger at a time.”  This report was, according to “Useless Knowledge,” actually published as “Rhinotillexomania: Psychiatric Disorder or Habit?” by James W. Jefferson, M.D. (Dean Foundation for Health, Research, and Education) and Trent D. Thompson, M.D. (University of Wisconsin Medical School) which appeared in the February, 1995 issue of The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (pages 56-59).
     But that’s not all, folks!  Just six years later, “A Preliminary Survey of Rhinotillexomania in an Adolescent Sample” was published by Chittaranjan Andrade, M.D., and B. S. Srihari, M.B.B.S., in the same journal!
     To learn more, you can find an excellent summary of some of the scholarly works on the subject as well as some good humor at the above “Useless Information” site.  You can also find a fascinating (no, really it is!) article, entitled “Self-induced Ethmoidectomy [there’s another medical term for you to figure out, Rebecca!] from Rhinotillexomania,” complete with X-rays (!!), here (unfortunately, the Journal of Clinical Pscych are not available for free on the ‘net, so far as I can find).  This is, indeed, too much fun!
     One serious thought on all this: while good for my blog, and amusing in a sense, isn’t there something wasteful about putting good research money into all this?  As the “Useless Information” aptly concludes, stealing my thought exactly, “when researchers are devoting money and time to studying the picking habits of the United States, it comes as no surprise that we can't find a cure for cancer or HIV.”

Monday, January 23, 2006

Neoteric Mot Juste: #2 – Verbicide

Although verbicide would appear at first glance to be a typographical error of herbicide, it is actually a very different word. And unfortunately, in this day, it has plenty of applications. If I were to suggest that a recent President was guilty of such, as Mr. Meltzer cites another of alleging, would you begin to guess its meaning and use? “One manager, Rep. Steve Buyer of Indiana, said the president really is guilty of verbicide for his linguistic gymnastics and personal definitions.” Meltzer, p. 152. What did Rep. Buyer actually say? “He [the President] murdered the plain-spoken English language.” Thus, verbicide is a distortion of words or of language, a true twisting apart. Interestingly, distortion and torture both derive from the same root (which itself has a tortuous (the pun is natural and entirely fitting!) etymology: Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin, from Latin. Thus, with verbicide, the torture of distortion obviously went too far.
Check back soon for Rhinotillexomania – and major kudos to anyone who knows or figures out what it means without doing a google search!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

A Tribute of Sorts

I am a chocoholic. Do they have anon. meetings for this? Seriously, I think the longest I’ve ever gone without any kind of chocolate is maybe a week. To my benefit, plain dark chocolate is my favorite, which evidently has health benefits…at least I’ll keep telling myself that. :) The problem is, I certainly won’t turn down any type of chocolate: white, milk, dark, bittersweet or any combination thereof. I can go a long, long time without eating chips or drinking pop but not chocolate. When I have attempted to “give up” chocolate, it works for awhile but not because I’m not craving it and thinking about it 24/7. I even went so far as to buy chocolate rice cakes to satisfy my craving as I’ve been converting to healthier, organic foods. The thing is, I actually thought they were good…dessert rice cakes! Yes, it’s an obsession; I keep working on it and telling myself I really don’t need it…it’s like a mantra, “I don’t need chocolate, I don’t want chocolate, chocolate is bad.” Somehow no matter how many times I repeat this, I still want chocolate (yes, I do have self-control!). So, here’s a tribute to chocolate…you have me right were you want me. Yes, I’m having a love affair with chocolate – it really is the best food ever! One of these day, maybe I’ll try carob…wait, isn’t that what my mom used to tell me was chocolate? :) I think I’ll pass.

Neoteric Mot Juste: #1

One of the things I would like to do on this blog is to have a word for the day. Ever since . . . well, I can’t remember when it started, but for a very long time I have had an interest in words, and for a while maintained my own dictionary of obscure words I found by scouring old dictionaries and books on the topic. Of course, with such an interest, I couldn’t just name this entry “Word for the Day,” could I? So I turned to a book I just found, The Thinker’s Thesaurus by Peter E. Meltzer, which as the subtitle proclaims, offers Sophisticated alternatives to common words, and found the word and phrase entitling this post. Neoteric, as the student of Latin and Greek would surmise, means of recent origin. (Of course, many if not most of the words to be found in this section in the future are not strictly of recent origin except in the recesses of my cranium!) Mot juste signifies the idea of just the right word or phrase (from the French mot, word, and juste, right).
Check back soon for verbicide.

Friday, January 20, 2006

End of the Spear

Okay, this one will be on the serious side. We just saw End of the Spear. Highly recommend it. It is powerful, moving, unforgettable, challenging, and overall very well done. It is beautifully filmed and the music is wonderful. For those of you that have read Through Gates of Splendor or other Jim/Elisabeth Elliot books, it takes a slightly different perspective because it is from Steve Saint’s view (Nate Saint’s son). What a challenge to pray for missionaries and to support them. It is very clear on the message of the Gospel! Half the profits are given to organizations to support tribal work. So, go see it! It is violent (but not gratiutous) and has partial nudity (tribal clothing or lack thereof) so I would not recommend it for anyone under the age of 12.

Blog Discoveries

            Perhaps it is too early to draw too many conclusions, but I think I can safely make two conclusions (the second more certain than the first) and an observation:
            1.  I really like blogging.  This was something of a surprise to me, for though I think journaling is great (although I do it less than I would like), I wasn’t certain I would like “journaling” in such a public forum.  I guess this is different in many ways than journaling, but at least now, three days into it, I’m hooked.  At the same time, however, I realize that my zeal flows at least in significant part from my second discovery:
            2.  I love getting comments.  I’ll admit, I’ve been a little disappointed that Alaina’s posts have received lots more comments than mine :)  But it just motivates me to try harder :)  But regardless, I like comments.  I’ll also admit that in the time I’ve been reading other people’s blogs, I’ve only left one or two comments.  Realizing how much I like them, and embracing the “do unto others . . .” principle, I am resolved to start leaving comments for other people’s blogs, too (that’s making the assumption that they, too, like comments, but I think it’s a safe assumption if they have enabled comments on their blogs!)
            3.  I think part of the reason I like comments is that it makes blogging a little more interactive.  It’s not just me, sitting and staring at a rapidly-filling computer screen posting entries that people may or may not read, and may or may not like.  Receiving comments a) lets me know people are reading, b) gives me some feedback as to whether they like it, whether they found it amusing (or in Alaina’s case, hilarious), or were enlightened, and c) reminds me that I’m not alone in this new cyber world and that I am actually interacting with live people out there.  Thus, ultimately, I’m more interested in dialogue than I am in agreement, so don’t feel like agreeable comments are the only ones welcomed.  (And to think that originally, as we set up our blog, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to allow comments at all!!)
            As I think about it, blogging is a combination between journaling and emailing.  It is obviously much more open and public than writing in one’s journal, although for some who are relatively transparent, it becomes close to the latter.  At the same time, it casts a much wider net (no pun originally intended) than does an email to a friend or small group of friends.  But it is the comment feature that really makes a difference and transforms the blog from a near-journal to a near-conversation. 
            So, if you leave a comment to this entry, you’ve contributed to the desired dia-blog (dialogue) and helped make my day!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Three Weeks in Heat

Well, as you can tell we have much to say; we should have started a blog much sooner! Actually, the three previous posts are all by Andrew, so here’s my two cents for today.

The past three weeks in our household have been, shall we say, interesting. Our adorable 8 month old, 7 lb. puppy, Pippi, has been the center of attention. This is not new, but the reason is new.

Three weeks ago, we (meaning Andrew :) instructed by Alaina) rushed Pippi to the vet with some unusual symptoms. Andrew returned home less than 1 hour later with the full report…Pippi was in heat. The vet did not charge for this appointment and we felt like rather stupid pet owners for not knowing or even suspecting this. The vet suggested that we might want to buy some diapers for her but didn’t elaborate. Andrew, already feeling a bit embarassed, didn’t ask anymore questions. He thought perhaps the diapers were to keep other dogs away from her; so we decided to postpone the purchase…after all, she is always indoors or out on a leash. The next evening at our small New Year’s Eve gathering we began to realize why the vet recommended diapers. If you don’t know why, please ask your parents. :)

To fast forward, the past three weeks have been full of barking, grumpiness, increased awareness of other dogs, and other untoward activities that cannot be discussed…all we can say is that some toys will be thrown away. :) The most unexpected or unusual side effect has been the hot flashes. You may question this, but we know what we are talking about. Precisely one hour after the lights are out and Pippi is settled under the covers in her usual spot, I will awaken to a flurry of activity as she desperately struggles to surface from under the sheets. She makes her way out and stands on the bed with her body burning up. She walks around the bed a few times before settling down on the top of the bedspread. This never happened before the heat!

Anyway, Pippi has seemed a bit confused by it all and frankly, we didn’t think she was quite ready for the talk. After all, she’s so young! We’ve been a bit confused as well and even went so far as to hire a dog sitter so we could head to Brown County for a weekend. :) You may wonder why we haven’t had her spayed yet. Well, please know that I’m working on that but Andrew still wants puppies. We’ll see.

The links are Andrew’s contribution. Please ignore the cute puppy pictures and tell him what a bad idea puppies are. :)

Heart-Breaking (and Stopping) Colts

     As I wrote one friend, this was not a fun weekend to be a Colts fan.  After such a promising season, to have it all end in one afternoon was hard.  By all appearances it seemed to be over for the Colts, and then there was hope, and then it was really over, and then there was a fingernail of possibility, but then that disappeared, until when all seemed lost, a thread, a ribbon of . . . hope? . . . appeared, only to be cruelly snipped.  
Apparently it was just too much for this diehard fan.  (I’m sorry – that was too good to pass up – and since he’s doing okay and met his idol, I don’t feel bad about saying it.)  It would be easy to judge and say that sports are just too important to people today, but I will admit that my heart, too, nearly stopped when I heard that at the last second the Colts had a chance to win (until Big Ben caught Harper) or force overtime (until Vanderjagt missed) but failed to do so.  
Why sports have become some important to people today is the seed for a future blog pondering . . .

Can Someone Explain Gas Price Fluctuation to Me, PLEASE?

Anticipating slower traffic this morning due to the snowfall overnight, we left a little early for work this morning. I was impressed to see gas prices for $2.09 at one station, and told Alaina we would have to stop there on the way home to fill the Jeep. I didn’t think we had time to fill it then, despite our early stop.
On the way home, as that same station came into view, my jaw hit the floor: $2.45! It was a 36 cent increase in less than twelve hours! As Alaina pointed out to me, things could have happened today that I don’t know about, but this was as if we had just declared war on Iran or something. We didn’t, did we?
So anyway, still reeling from the shock, and thankful to find another station selling unleaded for only $2.35, I began pondering, what in the world makes gas prices fluctuate so much – seventeen percent – in one day? Can anyone explain this to me, or point me to a site that does? My E201 Microeconomics class in college gave me some understanding of pricing based on supply and demand, but it didn’t prepare me sufficiently to understand this . . .

Overwelming Response

I must say I'm a little amazed by the response to our blog so far. As of this moment, we have 17 comments on our post from last night (although they are not all unique users). I didn't realize we were so popular or that our friends were so desparate to hear from us. I wonder if it is a "beginner's luck" situation, where the first light that goes on attracts lots of moths, but the second and subsequent lights (posts) receive only passing attention. I guess I'll just have to post this and see. And no, I'm not comparing any of you to moths -- take that analogy only as far as I took it :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

We Have Arrived

Well...we have finally joined the blogging world. As usual (remember no cell phones?!), we are probably the last people anywhere or at least the last of those whom we like to call friends to join this club. :) We are tired of being left out so thought we should stop pouting and create one dedicated to our life, thoughts, and of course to you our readers. Who are we kidding...yeah, we just wanted some place to vent. :) Anyway, welcome to our blog - come visit anytime. We love reading your blogs and seeing the great pictures! Hopefully, we will be able to keep up and post lots of pictures... now to figure out the digital camera...:)