Saturday, March 29, 2008

Are Dentists Really Helpful?

I hate going to the dentist. I mean I really hate going. It's not that I hate people who are dentists, I just hate the whole experience. No matter what dentist I try, they still use the same scrapper thing and the electric polishing machine with bubble gum flavor. It's like they are in a club or something and all have the same torture tools.

What makes me crazy is that I've been to the dentists for, oh, the last 25 years and their methods haven't changed one bit! It's like they decided in the early 1900's what methods they would use and then formed a secret society that swore that no matter how technology changed, they would keep their archaic tools. It's a conspiracy, I tell you.

Joel and I haven't been to the dentist in like 16 months because of all of this. We've avoided it and made excuses. It's not like it really matters, right? Well, I finally decided I needed to go because they tell you it's important to go when you're pregnant. So I broke down and called a new dentist.

I am proud to say that Joel & I went to the dentist this week. It was a major breakthrough for us. Who chooses to spend their vacation time that way? In the end, this new dentist is part of the Dental Torture Society of America, but it wasn't all bad.

They were even kind enough to tell us we had no cavities. Bonus.

Friday, March 28, 2008


I didn't really put 2 & 2 together until I was an adult, but I firmly believe my current love of reading comes directly from my parents always reading when I was a kid. Honestly, I don't necessarily remember us reading together a lot--although we do have a lot of great kids books that I had memorized as a kid and somebody had to read them over & over to me! I mostly remember my parents having books all around the house. Usually my dad was reading 2 or 3 at a time. Then, when I was in college my mom really picked up reading even more and reads constantly--sometimes in the winter, almost a book a day.

Joel is also an avid reader, although he doesn't have any time to read for fun these days. Mostly he reads kids' essays from school and textbooks for his own graduate classes. But, he is still a reader at heart. I'm so glad about that.

As an adult, I love reading and find I don't have enough time to do it. I find time whenever I can and sometimes am able to just read through an entire book in one sitting. Sometimes. For the first time, I am part of a great book club. We read 1 book a month and meet to talk about it over lunch. It has been a great experience I have found that I've been missing a lot by reading so quickly.

I thought I would take a minute and review a few of the books I've read recently. Over the past year, I've really tried to break out of my typical reading genre--fiction novels with mostly female protagonists. I've started ready nonfiction--last summer it was about China--and then one about the crisis in Rwanda. My more recent genre has been young adult fiction (YAF).

The librarian at my school has been trying to build our YAF section, but in order to do that, she really felt like she needed to pre-read the books to make sure they were appropriate for our library. Mostly they had to pass the "PG-13" test...if the book was made into a movie, would it be PG-13 or less? If not, it doesn't belong on our shelves--not that it's not a good book, just that it doesn't fit our demographic. So, I've read three books for her...

Inventing Elliot--a great coming of age book about a boy who is constantly beat up at school. But when he attends a new school, he is accepted into a secret society called The Guardians--based on Orwell's book 1984. Longing to be cool, he joins the "gang", only to find out they may not be the best group to be a part of. Violent, but very good.

The next two did not pass the PG-13 test, but were great stories none the less.
Sweethearts and Looking for Alaska. Both were great stories but had constant foul language and sexually explicit material. That's right, you read that correctly. Sexually explicit material (Alaska more so than Sweethearts).

Here's what I learned: authors of YAF have agendas. They are pushing ideas and controversial issues on to kids who don't have a way of discriminating what they really believe. It's really quite sad.

I think it's great that YAF can include some ideas about coming of age issues--let's face it, kids are having sex and drinking and doing drugs--but does it have to be so in-your-face in every book they read? Why can't there be good books about cool kids who don't have to do those things to be cool? Or, better yet, why can't there be books about kids struggling with these issues and coming to an honest conclusion about them--not to do them at all?? Or facing the consequences of their actions??

Anyway, I'm hoping to read a few more books in this genre...anyone have any suggestions?

On a lighter note, I'm currently reading Prince Caspian in preparation for the movie coming out in May. What a great story. Why couldn't we have more CS Lewis-type writers? Or JRR Tolkien? Great books. Awesome stories. No foul language and certainly no sexually explicit material. See? I knew it could be done!

Next up? Three Cups of Tea--another non-fiction book about a man who decided to help build schools in rural Pakistan. I can't wait to get it from the library!

Friday Morning

Recently a couple of people have given me a hard time about not blogging more, so here I am. It's the Friday of spring break and I'm sitting here in my PJ's. OK, so actually they are Joel's pants. I only have one pair of pants I can wear to bed and they were dirty, so I had to bite the bullet and ask Joel. He has these pair of XXL pants (so they are long enough for him) and they fit me great--except they are about 2 feet too long for me. Oh, well, they are comfortable and he is gracious--mostly because he gets to laugh at the way they look on me.

I guess I haven't blogged much recently because we've been very busy and life hasn't been too interesting. But, it's about to be.

Next Thursday, April 3 at 2:45 we have our big baby ultrasound! I'm hoping we start right at 2:45 because I have to drink 16oz of water beforehand and you can't go to the bathroom during the ultrasound...I have to hold it. I'm a bit nervous. We are super excited to see Baby J and to possibly find out the gender of our baby. Obviously, we are most excited to see a healthy baby, but we do want to find out what the gender is. So, that will be exciting!

We're also about to enter the last phase of the school year--we only have about 9 weeks left and I am more and more excited! The weather is getting warmer (a bit)--and it will be summer vacation before we know it! (Joel isn't so convinced it will be here that fast...)

A few other random bits of information...Joel has once again started a new blog at and he has some great articles there. He is such a good writer. Check it out--he has some great "political" articles further down on his blog if the "Literary Death Match" articles aren't your thing.

We've had a GREAT spring break--here are a few things we've accomplished:
*relaxing--staying up way too late and sleeping in way too long--we're enjoying that as much as possible because we know with Baby J it will be a thing of the past!
*Joel went to Vegas to surprise his brother for his birthday (just Fri/Sat) and had an awesome time. It's always strange to say that he's going to Vegas because it's not the typical visit of gambling and whatnot--just a nice weekend with family!
*we had a great Easter celebration with Joel's mom, Rhonda,--it was a great day! I ended up going to a Good Friday service, our church on Saturday night and Rhonda's church on Sunday--it was a great way to celebrate Easter and what it means--salvation and eternal life for all who believe! (and the bonus was I actually found something nice to wear for Sunday, which is a miracle these days)
*we purchased the 2 player "Settlers of Catan" game and have played at least 10 times--which is pretty amazing because each game is about an hour+ long
*I've cleaned the upstairs of our house pretty thoroughly
*we went shopping for clothes and as usual, found clothes for Joel and not for me, even though I really need some maternity clothes
*Joel graded papers
*I've started reading Prince Caspian for my next book club book--I'm super excited about the movie coming out in May over my birthday weekend! :)
*we finally added a topper to our 1/2 wall in the living room--I've been working on sanding and painting it and it looks great! (here's a picture of it--it still needs 1-2 coats of paint--this is just the primer) You can see the complete process from start to finish on my blog at From Banister to Drywall
*our TV has hardly been on!
*yesterday, Joel spent the day with his best bud, Garrett and I got to spend time with two great friends, Janelle & Amy--who lives out of state. Much fun. And then last night, we had a great time with our small group--guys night at our house for poker and girls night at another house for talking--you know how girls are! So much fun--my stomach hurts from laughing!

All in all, we've had a great break which makes it all the harder to go back to work on Monday......

So, those are my random thoughts for blogging today. Hopefully my life will be more interesting so I have more to write about...

Sunday, March 02, 2008

6 Words or Less

The other day I was listening to the radio on my way to meet Joel for dinner. I admit it--I'm a radio junkie. I could listen 24/7. Usually the afternoon show talks about nothing of substance, it's mostly just "blather" as Joel likes to call it.

But last week they actually did something worthwhile. They asked people to summarize their lives in 6 words or less. Some were quite sad: "pregnant mom, husband leaving, any takers?" was one. Some were very self-absorbed "Too smart for my own good" and the like. Some were more of a list of words that described them like wife, mother, sister, etc...

So I thought about what mine would be. It's hard because you really don't want to leave anyone or anything out--your family, children, job, or other things that define you.

Here's what I settled on. I think it incorporates everything that is important to me.

I have been redeemed, have you?

What would yours be? I'd love to know.

Come On, Really?

A few weeks ago, Joel and I went shopping at Kohl's. We do most of our clothes shopping there. I no longer have time like I used to to run around and go to all the stores at the mall. At Kohl's, everything is always on sale and I can find basic clothes for work and comfortable clothes for the weekend. Plus, it's the only store we've found that carries "short" length pants for me and "tall" clothes for Joel.

We've always been happy with Kohl's--our one-stop shop for all our needs.

But I have a complaint. Typically while Joel tries on clothes, I wander around the men's department looking for anything else he might need or other sizes. Saves time--Joel likes to get in, look, buy & get out ASAP. So, I was doing my typical wander & hunt for him through the "boys" department--basically the clothes targeting 16-25 year olds. Sometimes I can find cool t-shirts or sweaters for him. Here's what I noticed, and hence, my complaint.

Every (and I really mean every) t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, and hoody in the entire department had an alcoholic logo on it. I was appalled. Half of the age group they are targeting isn't even allowed to drink. Come on, really? Is that really necessary? Appropriate? They can't wear them to school--most dress codes don't allow it. So why sell them?

Am I getting old or what?