365 photo challenges

I'm thinking about doing a 365 photo challenge - maybe this one with Blissfully Domestic.

This challenge is pretty simple - commit to taking at least one photo every day for a full year.  In some of them, you put them on a blog.  Some you tag in a group like Flickr.  Some have a topic, like a color or a subject (the self-portrait one comes to mind). And I'm sure some people just do it, without rules or public disclosure.

I've thought about doing one starting in the days before our big move - say, Nov. 1, 2009 - Oct. 31, 2010.  I think it might be fun to have the first year of our new life out west documented.  

Have you ever done a 365 challenge?  If so, would you recommend it?  What did you do with all your photos when your year is over?


real and true happiness

One of the things about my husband that I find most endearing is his affinity for glass-bottled Cokes. I've always been a Coke girl myself, so we were a natural fit.

Cokes usually come in 8 oz glass bottles - the 12 oz variety doesn't seem to be made anymore. Even the bottles go for 'big money' - $4 or $10 at antique shops.

So when we were shopping at the Evil Empire the other day, we were thrilled to find that there was an entire palette of 6-pack 12 oz glass bottle Cokes. We picked some up, naturally, and have been enjoying their presence in our fridge, and our tummies, all weekend.

The only real hitch with these guys is that the caps are plastic, not metal. Some would consider this great, for the same reason that any resealable cap is great. And hey, they may become our new water bottles until we can make the move to aluminum or stainless steel bottles. But really, there's something a little odd about twisting a contemporary plastic cap off an old-fashioned bottle. This certainly won't stop us from making the most of our newly acquired "happiness in a bottle!!"

And as a side note: if you're into the nostalgia that Coke brings up, I'd recommend you check out the Coca-Cola store website. They have some super rad stuff.


Funday Monday

Today my workplace is hosting what has come to be known as Funday Monday. I am looking forward to the event - there are still a couple of folks I haven't met yet. There will be food, games, and general goodness running around this wooded park. And it will be the first time I will witness anything close to the whole staff coming together. What's not to love?

Besides the 2 hour commute each way, I mean.

And I, in true and typical girl fashion, can't figure out what to wear. I'm not supposed to wear jeans, according to my chiropractor, because they are too tight across the hips and will exacerbate my hip problem. But what else do I have that's appropriate to wear to a work function involving running around in a city park?

I have yet to figure this out. And I leave in an hour.


a little marriage advice

Last night I somehow stumbled upon my new favorite blog. And as I was paging through some of the recent archives, something called out to me.

At the risk of sharing too much information, I am a newlywed (by my own standards). We haven't quite been married 2 years yet. And while I love my husband very much (VERY much! extraordinarily much! i-don't-sleep-enough-some-nights-because-i'm-caught-up-in-gazing-at-him much!) our young marriage has not exactly been pure bliss. (That's what happens when you combine two passionate people, one of whom will go to excessively great lengths to ignore every problem no matter what and the other of whom feels the obsessive compulsion to deal with every single problem no matter how minute and get it dealt with and resolved.) (You can guess who is which.)

This blog currently is nothing but a collection of marriage advice from ...folks, I don't know where they come from - friends of the blog author, I guess, solicited to fill in the holes while she's on her email. And some of the advice is hokey (always go on adventures!) but some of it is really meaningful. Which brings me (back) to something that spoke to me.

In this entry, Anna Bond writes a quote that a friend had told her: "Love your other how they need to be loved, not how you need to be loved." This is something touched on in things like Gary Chapman's the Five Love Languages and in any number of sources for good sex advice. But really, that's it right there. That's IT.

The times when I get the most angry or frustrated with Brian are those when he is not loving me the way I need to be loved. I can only assume he feels the same way when the roles are reversed. Do I know how he needs to be loved? And do I know how to show that to him? If I'm honest...no, I don't really know how he needs to be loved. And that's hard to acknowledge, or accept. I am learning, yes, but relating to him his way, and on his level, is certainly not easy right now.

When we're in the midst of conflict, doesn't come naturally, and I can't read his mind.

I could say the same for him. I get so caught up in the martyrdom of 'he KNOWS I don't like this or I need that' that I lose sight of what he needs and how I can be or do that for him. I am not responsible for his actions and inactions - only mine. And mine need to be centered around him - the same way he needs to be focused on what I need instead of what I'm not doing for him, especially when we are arguing.

Talk about a reality check and a swift kick in the pants.


how now

Unless you live under an even bigger rock than the one I live under, you know that the US Open is going on. (What you might not know is that Roger Federer can play tennis so well that he can hit a ball, back to the net, between his legs, and it will go back over the net just out of his opponent's reach.)

And the US Open, as you may or may not know, is aired on CBS. Or CBSHD if you're high-tech. Which we are not (yet).

You know what else is aired on CBS - at least for the next week? Guiding Light. The longest-running television show in history. (72 years.) CBS canceled the show back in April, and its last episode airs this Friday. I've been watching GL since the latter part of 2005, when I was stuck in my old room at my mom's house, with a head injury that prevented me from reading and left me with radio or TV for entertainment, and all but maybe 2 of my friends had just moved away (graduation and all). I happened upon GL during a pretty interesting young-people story line, and my viewership stuck. I've been pretty bummed that the show is canceled, like many people.

So when I heard that 60 Minutes was airing some kind of special on GL, I decided to tune in. Except the US Open was still going on, and 60M was being bumped back.

It was while I was waiting for one irrelevant subject of great passion to wrap up so that I could watch a special on another irrelevant subject of great passion being wrapped up that I remembered that, despite a lifetime of tennis-watching and even playing, I still do not know how the sport is scored (sorry mom). I've got game-set-match down, and I know that 'love' means zero, and at some point or other, to win you have to have two more of something than the other guy does. End of tennis knowledge storehouse.

So after offering this new insight to my husband for his greater enlightenment, I proceeded to Google to educate myself. I typed in the word 'how' (as in 'how tennis is scored') and some Google suggestions popped up. Would you like to know what Google suggests for search terms beginning with the word HOW?

I knew you would. Maybe you'll see the funny correlation among the top 5.

Here we go:

HOW to tie a tie
HOW i met your mother
HOW to kiss
HOW to get pregnant
HOW stuff works
HOW to
HOWard University
HOW to lose weight
HOWard Hanna
HOW to make a website


Some books I read recently and liked

I've been doing some reading lately, and I thought that in lieu of writing a slew of book reviews (for now), I would post a list. You can find links to all of these titles to your right.

Here if you need me - This is something of a memoir by a game warden chaplain in Maine. She's Unitarian Universalist, which is...not exactly what I am. But she tells a great story, and she has some great stories to tell. I think I read this book in 2 days, and I loved it. You can borrow my copy!

The end of overeating - To sum it up, Food Industry = Head Games, and also, Understanding Behaviorism Will Help You Stop Eating Crap. I didn't really retain a lot of the science and really relevant stuff in this book, so I can't do much more than heartily recommend that you read it if you, like me, feel an internal tug of war with food. I am not one of the food-obsessed, but I do eat out of habit or availability a lot and I have about 30 too many pounds as proof. Reading this book shortly on the heels of reading Skinny Bitch (which I would only recommend if you can handle a healthy dose of profanity, and p.s. skip the animal slaughterhouse chapter) has had a big impact on my ability to 1. cut back on the crap I eat and 2. cut back on the desire to eat the crap I eat.

His Needs, Her Needs - possibly the second-best self-help book I've read, and I've had a generous dose of self-helpery in my time. (The absolute best self-help book in my opinion is It's Called a Breakup Because It's Broken.) Easy to read, relevant examples, and it just plain makes sense. It's in the genre of the Love Languages book, in that you have a list of needs and you learn to identify which needs are yours and which are your partner's. This is one of those books that I wish my husband would read.


Marginalia, by Billy Collins

I was charmed by this poem, found here (hat tip to @thatwhichmatters via Twitter). Maybe you will, be too. Unless you're my librarian-bred husband, in which case you will cringe. Me, I am often charmed by reading the responses in the marginalia, though for some reason I have never had the nerve to contribute my own. Maybe I will, now, next time I'm enraptured or otherwise moved.



Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.

Other comments are more offhand, dismissive -
"Nonsense." "Please!" "HA!!" -
that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
why wrote "Don't be a ninny"
alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.

Students are more modest
needing to leave only their splayed footprints
along the shore of the page.
One scrawls "Metaphor" next to a stanza of Eliot's.
Another notes the presence of "Irony"
fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.

Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers,
Hands cupped around their mouths.
"Absolutely," they shout
to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.
"Yes." "Bull's-eye." "My man!"
Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points
rain down along the sidelines.

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written "Man vs. Nature"
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

We have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.

Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria
jotted along the borders of the Gospels
brief asides about the pains of copying,
a bird signing near their window,
or the sunlight that illuminated their page-
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.

And you have not read Joshua Reynolds,
they say, until you have read him
enwreathed with Blake's furious scribbling.

Yet the one I think of most often,
the one that dangles from me like a locket,
was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye
I borrowed from the local library
one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then,
reading books on a davenport in my parents' living room,
and I cannot tell you
how vastly my loneliness was deepened,
how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed,
when I found on one page

A few greasy looking smears
and next to them, written in soft pencil-
by a beautiful girl, I could tell,
whom I would never meet-
"Pardon the egg salad stains, but I'm in love."