Thursday, May 22, 2008

Peace Corps Update

It seems like nearly every day I have someone else asking me if I know where I'm heading for my Peace Corps service, or when I'm leaving. Believe you me, when I know... every one of you will know. For now, to keep the questions at bay, here's the latest:

- I completed all of my medical examinations, got a whole bunch of lab reports and doctors' signatures. I sent my packet to the placement office in DC a little over three weeks ago. I have not heard from them since then, in fact, until this morning I didn't know if the packet had even made it to DC.

- This morning, I received an update declaring that they received my medical packet as of May 21, 2008.

So, now I wait for them to review my medical kits, hope that they don't need any more information from me (which would certainly mean giving more blood and getting more shots - not to mention more waiting). Once approved, they will then start looking for a place to send me. And then I receive my invitation in the mail. We're looking at about a month or two before I know where I'm heading.

The "good" news is that they send the invitation at least six weeks before your departure date. So, I can start planning my future a minimum of six weeks before I leave. Argh...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Outwit, Outlast, Outeat

I don't know how many of you have seen the movie Alive, but for those of you who haven't, here's the basic plot:

A Uraguayan Rugby team suffers a plane crash in the Andes Mountains in 1972. No search team is coming to rescue them, and they need to gain strength to find help for themselves. Unfortunately, they have no food left. The only solution: to eat the dead. (Based upon a true story.)

The movie forces people to ask themselves the question, What would you do in this situation? Would you eat the dead or not? On our way home from softball a couple of weeks ago, Matt and Justin took this idea a little further. Sure, it started innocently enough as Justin affirmed that he would want all of us to eat him if he died first. Matt concluded that he would indeed have no reservations about eating Justin - his former roommate of many years. I was a little less certain about eating Justin, and Lauren was just absolutely appalled that our drive home had taken such a terrible turn.

They theorized that if they found themselves in a similar situation, you know that everyone would just be hoping that the fat guy dies first - absolutely willing him to death in the hopes of food for all. But, wait, maybe we want the most muscular person to die first - more meat, less fat. After only a couple of short minutes, the question of whether or not to eat the dead was no longer the issue - these guys were beyond eating the dead. They were now eating AND mutilating the dead without hesitation.

I'm not sure who started it, but they began imagining all of the ways they could use the various bones and appendages of the person they had just devoured. At this point Lauren and I were begging them to stop, assuring them they had taken it far enough, we were turning up the radio to drown out their discussions about using the jaw bone as a saw, and adorning their bodies in the carcasses of their comrades - like the indians would do, they claimed. After enough complaining, the conversation finally took a turn...

Matt and Justin had now jumped to the following scenario: you are alone, with no friends left to eat. At what point do you decide to eat your own arm? I found myself trying not to laugh at this point. It's one thing to talk about eating another human being - a dead one, at that - but to begin eating your own body, while you are still alive (obviously) is beyond imaginable for me. But, Matt and Justin were very easily capable of imagining it. I don't know if the rest of you have thought this through, but here are Matt and Justin's pointers for anyone considering eating themselves:

1. Eat your left arm first (if you are right handed).
2. Next, after making certain that there are no berries left to scrounge or any method of saving yourself by foot, move on to the legs.
3. Make sure you leave the other arm, otherwise you will be unable to cut up the rest of your body.
4. Take it slow, pace yourself.
5. To eat your second arm, is to admit defeat.

How any one person, not to mention two could begin to devise such a plan is beyond me. We all laughed as they imagined the rescuers finally showing up to save you, and finding the savage survivor with nothing but a torso left.

In conclusion, should any of you find yourselves on vacation with Matt and Justin, you better hope you are not the fattest or the most muscular, you better not give up, and you better be willing to Outwit, Outlast, Outeat.

Got Milk?

Friday, May 16, 2008

7 Random Things About Me

I'm taking inspiration from Lailah. I guess I'm supposed to choose seven things about myself that most people wouldn't know. I'm resorting to this blog because I'm stuck. In life, I'm stuck - I still don't know where I'm headed or when (Peace Corps), and my blogs are starting to resemble this issue. I thought maybe this fun little post might un-stick me. (Please ignore the bizarre thoughts possibly conjured up of a Post-It just then. Just me? Nevermind.). So... 7 random things that I think most of you won't know about me.

I have a very small family.
My entire extended family (including the spouses and kids of my cousins) is only 22 people. AND all of my grandparents are still living. So, this number has not been reduced by deaths in the family - this is the whole thing. I have five cousins, three aunts, and two uncles. As a result, I find myself wanting more kids than the average person from my generation.

I jumped out of a plane.
This doesn't come up in daily conversations and as a result I guess not too many people know about it. In March of 2005, I had to leave my house to get some studying done in a quiet place. I went for a drive and parked. I saw a whole bunch of parachutes falling from the sky in front of me. I turned the car on and found a skydiving facility down the road. I convinced three friends to come with me and in April of 2005 we jumped. I loved it even though I look like a mentally handicapped individual in my video as we're getting ready to tumble out of the plane - long story.

I grew 7" during high school.
When I entered Sequoia High School I was 5'2". By the summer of my junior year I was 5'9". I had many painful months.

I'm ophidiophobic.
Big time. We're talking, I have to change the channel or cover my eyes when I see a snake on TV. I used to just think I was afraid of snakes like some girls are afraid of spiders (which don't really bother me), but then I had a professor who explained the difference between fear and phobia. He said, imagine there is a snake in a box in the corner of the room, if you are afraid of snakes, you wouldn't go near the box, if you have a phobia, you couldn't be in the same room as the box. I would not be in the same building as the box. Needless to say, I don't understand why anyone would want to see the movie Snakes on a Plane.

On the SATs my Math score was 260 points higher than my Verbal score.
This is only worth mentioning because I graduated from college with a Bachelor's degree in English. I was admitted to UC Davis as an Econ major, and took classes including Statistics and Calculus during my first year at Davis. It wasn't until I took an elective called Creative Writing: Fiction that I officially changed majors. This was after a series of other considered majors including Exercise Biology (I wanted to be a Pediatric Physical Therapist). I haven't taken a math class since that quarter, but there was a time when my math skills were much higher than my English skills, believe it or not.

I screen my calls.
This is true of just about every phone call I receive. I don't think there is a single person whose phone call I have not ignored at least once. It's not because I don't like everyone who calls me, but there are just some times when you don't feel like talking on the phone. And unfortunately I experience these moments more often than the average person. So, I'm sorry in advance because if I have not yet ignored your phone call, I will once during our friendship - it's basically inevitable.

I have to wet my toothbrush before I put toothpaste on it, and then wet it again with the toothpaste.
I know, this is so random but that's the point right? AND I got stuck on number 7. I couldn't think of anything. So, when I brush my teeth I guess I'm really paranoid about making sure the brushing is going to be sudsy so I have to make sure everything is wet. I used to be the same way about washing my hands, wet them, soap in them and then wet again. I've decided that's a waste of water now, but I can't quit the tooth brushing habit.

Now that I read this list over, I'm realizing that the few people who read this blog fairly regularly (my faithful readers as Lailah and I would call them) probably know almost all of these things about me. But for those of you who don't... now you know and surely feel exponentially more enlightened than you were before you stumbled across this post.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


As a kid, I was always covered in dirt and almost always had stains on my clothes. I was that kid that just wanted to get into everything and when my parents took me camping I was the first one to find some way to get dirty. There's a picture of me, at the age of three where it looks like I could have very well been eating dirt and then spreading it all over my body, I'm covered in layer of brown - the tannest I've ever been.

Again, at about the age of four, is my favorite home video of all time - a birthday party of mine at the gymnastics center. We basically rented out the place for an hour and just ran and ran and ran. We jumped into the giant foam pit and climbed in and out of big foam structures. It was basically a four-year-old's dream, just uninterrupted playing for an hour. Included in this deal was a gymnastics instructor - basically a babysitter who was paid to wear us out while our parents stood on the sidelines chatting.

Part of the fun were these big (3' x 3') foam blocks that were stacked on one side of the gym in a pyramid that stood probably 9' high. All of us kids would climb onto the pyramid and jump off of it onto a big pad in a fit of giggles. My adventuresome spirit came out and I got the brilliant idea to upstage my friends with a new dismount. I climbed onto the top of the pyramid, turned around so my back was facing the pad, lay down and slowly slid off the block backwards with my arms hanging on to the top of the block. As I got ready to drop, my arms caught the block and as I fell the block came tumbling after. First, I hit the pad, and then the giant block landed on top of me. My mom was videotaping the whole thing while talking to a friend of hers, and as the viewer watches me fall, you hear my mom simultaneously saying "whoop! there she goes..."

But here's the ridiculous part - I didn't get hurt. I'm sure I cried for a little bit out of shock, as four-year-olds do, but not a bruise or a scratch on my body. I share this story only to point out that I would often do the most ridiculous things, and I suffered no injuries.

Even with this adventuresome spirit of mine, I surprisingly never broke a bone (excluding a couple of untreated fingers during volleyball season) and I've never had stiches (although I probably should have that time my dad hit me in the head with a wrench - nice little scar from that one, thanks Pops!).

I've been playing sports since I was eight, and of course there have been the inevitable minor injuries - sprained an ankle once, a floor burn or two and a potentially broken finger from volleyball, a handful of raspberries from softball, but those were just part of the deal. I had friends that were tearing their ACL's, breaking bones, getting awesome casts in festive colors, but me - I got nothing.

What I have found is that while I escape the major injuries I'm constantly experiencing little accidents. Megan won't let me live down the time I parked in front of her house, jumped out of my car to run inside and somehow managed to trip on the curb, skid on the sidewalk and tear a hole in my jeans. I'm sure if I allowed them, my friends could recount many more of these types of stories.

Until recently, I've felt relatively accident free. In the past four or five years I don't feel as though I've done too many stupid things or fallen unexpectedly. Granted, there still haven't been any major injuries suffered, but for the lack of dangerous situations I've been placing myself in, I'm getting hurt a surprising amount. Just in the last few weeks... I looked down at my hand and saw that one of my fingers was bleeding after packing up camp on our recent camping trip. I smashed my thumb in my desk drawer scraping off a chunk of skin. I've got an inexplicit cut on my knuckle that's scabbing over, I ran into the corner of our couch the other night leaving a mighty bruise on my thigh. Not to mention the slice I took out of my finger with the serrated knife while chopping onions (see prior post)... and to top it all off, I got a terrifyingly fast softball to the shin while playing third base at our game on Tuesday night.

I'm afraid that it's all starting to catch up to me. All those injuries escaped during my childhood might be coming back to haunt me. If this is the case, you might as well stick me in a bubble because I'm pretty sure the worst is yet to come.

Monday, May 5, 2008

My New (Unwelcome) Houseguest

Friday night, as I was watching TV in my room (yes, I had very big plans Friday night) I started to hear scratching above my head. It took me a few minutes to figure out what was going on, but then I realized that something was scratching around in the attic.

About a year ago, we had a similar problem -- rats had managed to make their way into our attic. My dad solved the problem by littering the attic with rat poison and eventually we terminated those nasty vermin! Unfortunately, one of the terminated rats was found underneath my mom's car as she pulled out of the garage. Needless to say, she freaked! She tore out of the garage, closed the door, and called my dad at work to warn him that the dead rat better be gone by the time she got home from work that afternoon. He disposed of the carcass, but my mom has never quite gotten over that morning.

I managed to sleep Friday night with no more interuptions from our guest in the attic. But, I had made the mistake of going downstairs and telling my mom about the rat - having become, myself, a little spooked out by the thing. She had to load her car up Friday night for an early morning photo shoot on Saturday and couldn't stop picturing the rat underneath her car from the year before. I got in a little bit of trouble for (unintentionally) freaking her out.

If it hasn't been made clear by now, my dad was out of town this weekend - so our rat exterminator was not available. Saturday night, I crawled into bed and proceeded to be woken up about every 15 minutes from 2 am to 7 am by the guest upstairs. At one point I was convinced the rat was going to gnaw a hole through the ceiling and fall into my bed. This was enough to keep me from sleeping soundly the rest of the night, in addition to the loud noises above my head.

So, here's how my Saturday night went. Fifteen minutes of light sleep, then loud scratching wakes me up. I stumble to my feet on top of my bed and jump up and down slamming my palms against the ceiling. Then I collapse back on to the bed for fifteen more minutes of sleep before repeating myself. After about two hours of repeating this routine, I started thinking of alternatives - I made my way into my closet where I found an old volleyball of mine. I climbed back into bed with the volleyball in my arms and fell asleep. The next time my new friend woke me up, I grabbed the volleyball in both hands and threw it against the ceiling a few times, and then curled back up with it. It was one of the worst nights of sleep I've ever experienced.

I called my dad on his way home from Oregon, and warned him about the attic guest and that my mom was surely going to get on his case to terminate the thing as soon as he walked in the front door. So, he came home loaded with rat poison and climbed up into the attic. I still heard scratching last night, but it was much less powerful, so hopefully the poison is weakening this guest of mine already. I also forced my dad to assure me that there was absolutely no way the rat could gnaw his way through my ceiling.

Now, apparently I just have to wait until it drops onto my mom's car. :)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Dear Conditioner

Why on earth can you not manage to last half as long as your dear friend Shampoo? I mean, just look at Salt & Pepper, they've got it totally figured out. One salt shaker lasts equally as long as a pepper shaker (unless you are my dad, who feels the necessity to drown every item of food in gallons of pepper - but that's a rare case, not to mention disgusting). But you and Shampoo have some serious work to do. I shouldn't have to buy two bottles of you for every bottle of Shampoo that I buy.

I don't mind if you are bigger than Shampoo so that you last as long... but maybe you have a complex about being so much larger than Shampoo? Get over yourself, Conditioner, everyone loves you more anyways. It is you, Conditioner, that makes my hair silky smooth and shiny. Shampoo has got nothing on you - EXCEPT that Shampoo has the longevity factor that you can't seem to get a grasp on. You must understand that you are thicker and you don't make suds like Shampoo, therefore a dollop of you doesn't go nearly as far as Shampoo.

Who can buy Conditioner without feeling it necessary to buy your counterpart Shampoo? Not I. My shower is filled with half-empty bottles of Shampoo and one sole, rapidly depleting, bottle of Conditioner. You are a duo that should not be separated, but I am starting to think that I am simply going to have to start buying extra of you to make up for this problem. And this is not a solution that I appreciate.

So, Conditioner, I beg of you -- get your act together and banish this problem I have.

Love (for now),