Friday, December 21, 2007

We're going to DC!

So many things I want to blog, so little time. But we just accepted the internship in DC. I'm thrilled. Come visit me!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Anniversary!

Rob and I's 2nd anniversary is coming up in a few days, and I'm very excited about it. I never understood why people made such a big deal out of anniversaries, but now I love having the opportunity to just celebrate each other and our relationship.


Since my last post put me dangerously close to my cheesiness quota for the month, I'll keep this short. I simply had no idea that marriage could be this wonderful. Rob makes me truly happy, and I'm a better and stronger person because we are together. I'm absolutely blown away by his kindness and respect towards me, and I'm so grateful he is a part of my life.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tagged: Rob and I

Just for fun, this is a picture of Rob and me in Warwick Castle, while we were on study abroad. Anyways, I've been tagged by Lisa, so here goes. As for tagging other people, most of the people that read my blog don't have their own, but if you feel like starting your own blog to post, go for it!

1. What is his name? Robert David C.

2. How long have you been married? Two years on Monday!!!!!!

3. How long did you date? We officially dated for a year and a half, and we were engaged for four months. :) But you can add on two or three more months if you include the period where we went on dates, but I wasn’t interested in dating him exclusively.

4. Who eats more? Probably Rob, but I’m a close second. We eat like a family of four.

5. Who said I love you first? Definitely Rob. He said it, and I kind of awkwardly said “thank you” back because I didn’t know what else to say. I liked him, and I wanted the relationship to move forward, but I didn’t love him yet. This happened on a regular basis for several months until I felt strongly enough to say it back. :) Yeah, awkward.

6. Who sings better? My voice is probably a little better, but I’ll give it to Rob because it is infinitely cooler to be singing your own compositions while playing the guitar.

7. Who is taller? Rob.

8. Whose temper is worse? Neither of us really have tempers. We’re both incredibly mellow people. :) But we’ll give it to me for my stronger indignation about political and social issues.

9. Who does the laundry? We usually do it together, but Rob has been doing it on his own more and more frequently as of late (thanks Rob!).

10. Who does the dishes? We wash our own plates, silverware, etc, and then I usually do the pots because Rob prefers to let them soak, and I can’t handle them being all over my counters. But he’s totally willing.

11. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? Me.

12. Who does the cooking? We split this, but I probably cook 75% of the time now. It just depends on who is busier. When we were first married, Rob did 90% of the cooking. Let me tell you, it was paradise to come home from work and have Rob pull a ham out the oven.

13. Who is more stubborn? Again, we’re both mellow people, but I’m probably more stubborn.

14. Who proposed? Rob. He took me on a tandem bike ride up Provo Canyon to Bridal Veil Falls, and he proposed on the hike back down. Very fun.

15. Who is more likely to admit when they are wrong? One of us just has to look slightly sad about something, and the other starts apologizing profusely.

16. Whose parents do you see the most? This year, we’ll see mine twice and Rob’s once.

17. Who pays the bills? We’re both working, but I’m the one holding down the full-time job now.

18. Who wears the pants in the family? We’re very egalitarian in this. We really do make decisions together. I guess I’m the one that pushes us to actually settle down and make decisions, but we don’t make a decision unless we’re both comfortable with it.

19. Why do you love your husband? Wow, where do I start? He is the kindest person I have ever met. He is incredibly thoughtful, perceptive, and affectionate. He’s a very grateful person, and very committed. He’s smart and loves learning, and we can revel in our nerdiness together. He’s very, very musical (how cool is it to have a husband that writes you non-cheesy love songs on a regular basis?). He really encourages me in my education, work, calling, everything. He never judges me, and lets me find my answers on my own terms and own timing. :) And I’ll stop before I cheese people out.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Washington, D.C.

The big news of the week is that Rob has received his first job offer. He's been offered a position (OK, technically a 90-day internship that hires on around 90% of its interns) in Washington, D.C. I'm so proud of him - it was a competitive spot. We're really excited to have this opportunity, and we'll be praying a lot this weekend as we decide. On the one hand, it is a little scary to have to make this decision before most companies have even started posting their positions, but at the same time, how incredible would it be to not have to spend the next six months applying for jobs, flying out for interviews, etc? Wow, that feels really good. We feel really blessed to have this opportunity.

I'm absolutely giddy about the possibility - in fact, my coworkers said I was acting like a "high school girl that just got asked to the prom by the quarterback" when Rob called to tell me. DC is a very, very Erin city - museums, politics, history, music, public transportation, 3 airports, and plenty of friends living in the area. I love the idea of raising a family in or near a big city. I absolutely loved going to the Smithsonian Natural History museum when I lived in DC as a kid, and also getting to see where important historical events happened. It was a major part of what made me want to study in London. DC would also be good for me professionally - I'm very interested in the government documents side of librarianship, and DC would be a great place to be for that. And while cost of living is ridiculous (which is our biggest deterrent from accepting the position), entertainment is cheap, if you know how to work the city. I'd never have a reason to be bored.

We'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Omaha

I'm not going to be able to concentrate until I blog this.

I'm still figuring out how to respond. I went to Westroads all the time when I was still in Omaha. I always parked at the Von Maur (so I could remember where I parked). At this point, they think the shooter is a 19-year-old from Bellevue, my suburb.

I don't know why this feels so much more personal to me. It isn't the first time violence has happened somewhere familiar to me. I've lived in D.C., after all. I knew people that worked in the Pentagon. But September 11th made sense to me - there was a clear motive, and while I don't agree with their actions by any stretch of the imagination, I instantly came to terms with what happened.

Then there were the shootings in Salt Lake. A good friend of mine lived a few blocks away. But the casualty rate was much lower, and it made me sad, of course, but not in the same way as this. Same questions about human nature, but I feel it in a different way.

My immediate reaction to this news was to start praying that no one that I knew had been hurt. And then I stopped. I started wondering why my pain should be privileged over that of others. It feels so cruel - my reprieve is another person's pain. Am I selfless enough to care equally about the pain of someone I've never met? I want to, at least, and hopefully that's enough.

Now I'm praying for comfort for those that have been impacted, and for the doctors working on those that are still in critical condition. Join me?

I haven't heard from my parents. I'm not worried about their safety - they had absolutely no reason to be at the mall that time of day, and they aren't crazy about Westroads. But not knowing for sure is slightly unsettling.

I worry about whether I'm worrying the right amount. Sometimes I feel like many more innocent people die every day around the world, and in worse circumstances, and it is childish and selfish of me to privilege the people and places I know. But part of me feels like I don't care enough. Part me recognizes how easily the damage could be mine, and feels almost an obligation to recognize the loss that others incurred. It makes me feel callous that when I finish this post, I am going to make dinner, work on my research paper, and not check the news again until tomorrow, and that I will feel completely comfortable doing so.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Playing Games

Rob and I love games. We made sure to bulk up on some of our favorites when we got married, and we've put them to use on many occasions with friends. Unfortunately, we neglected to make two-player games a part of our collection. We finally got tired of playing the same two games over and over and treated ourselves to a new game that can be played 2-player: Ticket to Ride (Marklin Edition). Very fun - I highly recommend it. You get to be strategic, but it doesn't involve so much strategy that your brain hurts and you wonder why you thought it would be a fun break from homework.

You can learn a lot about yourself and others by playing games. This is what came out when Rob and I played this for the first time last night:
  • We can't be mean to each other, even in game format. We both had plenty of opportunities to block each other, just for the sake of making it harder for the other player, but neither of us could do it. Yeah, cheesy newlyweds.
  • Rob read the entire rule booklet out loud, word for word, before we started playing. :) I patiently sat and daydreamed, and let him explain the cliff-notes version to me when he finished. Can you tell which one of us has a scholarly interest in designing instruction?
  • Of the two of us, I'm much more likely to make impulsive plays. Much more likely.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Happy (belated) Birthday Doug!

OK, so I think my mom is the only one of us that looks decent in this picture, but I'm using it because 1 - It is the only digital picture I have of Doug, and 2 - It isn't every day you get to put a picture of a stone manatee on your blog. And for the record, I have no idea why I'm making the face I'm making. Or why I am hunched over like that. Moving on.

Doug's birthday was on Thanksgiving this year, so I missed out on writing this on his birthday. He doesn't read my blog (although he just got an email account, so maybe that will change!), but I'm taking this opportunity to wax poetic about my awesome older brother.

Doug has always been a fantastic brother to me. For years I've said the only mean thing that he's ever done to me was sometimes refusing to change my diapers when he babysat me, and I don't even remember that happening, so it doesn't count. Even though he is so much older than me, he always took time to sing "How much is that doggie in the window", take me sledding, and play ninja turtles with me, even though playing action figures with a six year old is the last thing most teenage boys want to do. After being the only child for so many years, many kids would have felt threatened having an attention-hogging baby around, but Doug was never that way - he showed me constant love and concern. I'm loving that now that we're older, we're able to communicate on more of the same level, and I've had a blast hanging out with him in San Diego.

Doug has a fantastic hands-on gift that I envy. Really envy. His garden is amazing - absolutely fascinating and interesting plants that flourish. He can fix machines and build buildings. His art is fascinating - I love his sense of pattern, color, texture, and geometry. Rob and I have spent big chunks of time just staring at the painting he stayed up all night doing for us for our wedding.

Doug has a gift with children. Children LOVE him. My cousin Patrick can't even hear Doug's name without getting really excited. He's so much fun with them, and he's very patient with them (even though he claims he isn't).

I love you, Doug. I'm so grateful that you are my brother.

Friday, November 16, 2007

How to cook like Erin...

Take a normal oven-based recipe. Chop it into little pieces. Cook on the stove top. Serve over pasta/rice/bread. :) Eat 30 minutes earlier than you would otherwise.

This is how I get dinner on the table. Hungry for meatloaf, but don't have an hour to let it bake? Shape the mixture into patties and cook them on the stove top (or bake in a muffin tin) to cut the cook time in thirds. Craving Chicken Parmesan, but it is too hot to turn on the oven? Dice the chicken, and cook it on the stovetop (I actually prefer it this way because there is more surface area for parmesany-goodness). Lasagna - break the noodles into pieces so they boil faster (or just use penne), and stir it and the rest of the ingredients into one big pot. It isn't pretty, but you get all of the flavor in a third of the time.

Hey, if it between ugly food and ramen, I pick ugly food any day!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

PJ Pants!




For those of you that don't know, I volunteer with the teenagers at my church. I absolutely LOVE it. They are smart, motivated, and fun girls, and I have a blast with them.

Over the past month, we've been working on sewing pajama pants. For fun, here are pictures of two of the finished products. I wish I had a picture of the two girls who used pink fabric covered in skulls - they were very, very cool pants. Oh, and I do know that their heads are cut off - I want to keep them anonymous. Given, they put themselves all over YouTube, but you know, I'm paranoid.

I'd always thought I was really sewing challenged. But I've discovered working on this project that I am sewing machine challenged - I have a very good sense of how pieces from a pattern should go together, and a good sense of how to modify patterns when problems arise. There were several occasions where the experienced sewers either had no idea how to resolve a problem, or were trying to do it wrong, and I was able to figure it out quickly. :) Maybe I will become a domestic goddess someday after all.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

McCormick's Creek State Park

More day-to-day adventures! A few weeks back, my friend Leslie, and Rob and I took a road trip to McCormick's Creek state park to get some quality Indiana hiking in. It did make me miss the mountains a little, but we had a great time.

This picture is of the three of us after we finished crawling through Wolf Cave. The pictures of the cave itself didn't really work out because it is dark. :) But I enjoyed getting to belly crawl my way through parts of it.


We took this one of me literally inside of a tree while we were hiking. I loved how green this park was.

You can't really see it, but we were hiking along a creek here, and there were all kinds of fun marine-animal fossils in the rock there.

For some reason, we didn't take a picture of the Indiana-big waterfall further up the trail, but here's a fun picture of the tiny falls further up the creek.


We really had a good time. I feel like being in the outdoors really recharges my batteries.

Halloween and pictures!

I just realized that I don't have any pictures of myself on my blog, or descriptions of what I've been up to in the past 6 months. :) So for those of you that have tired of my philosophical ramblings, enjoy a piece of Erin's day-to-day life.

Halloween is a big deal at my office because we host the campus-wide trick-or-treating for grad/professional students and their children. We got a little crazy this year and went all out decorating. This is a picture of Pat, our life-sized temporary secretary we gave life to Frankenstein-style. She had a great week with us at the office (perfect attendance), but sadly, she wasn't producing much work, so she is no longer with us. She also scared children. We didn't get any screams, but a lot of kids freezing at the door, wide-eyed, and not moving until their parents came and retrieved them. The funny thing was that some kids were more afraid of the owl than of the skeleton with a shrunken head.

For good measure, here is a picture of me with Pat. I'm not wearing my full surgeon gear (I also had the face mask, shower-cap for hair, and rubber gloves), but you get the idea.

We had a great time. There were a ton of little kids dressed up as monkeys. Not sure what the deal was with monkeys, but they were really cute.

Oh, and in response to my earlier post about skanky Halloween costumes, I have to add that at the party I went to that evening, there were more scantily clad men than women. Go figure.

More pictures soon!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

When did Halloween become sexy?

OK, I just handed in a big research paper that has consumed my life, and I am back to normal. Which of course means I've been voraciously reading the news.

This article made me very, very sad. Who on earth decided that a 10 year old needs a sexy Halloween costume? Women fought for years to be appreciated for their intellect, and the next generation of women celebrates it by drawing attention to their bodies at every opportunity they get. And why do they think they need to dress that way? Like I tell my young women over and over, if a guy isn't interested in you because you don't dress sexy, he really isn't the kind of guy you want to attract.

And for that matter, when did Halloween become sexy? Nothing is less imaginative than dressing provocatively. Halloween is about creativity and fun - half the fun was making your costume, probably because it was so darn cold out, you had to wear a coat over it anyways. But I loved coming up with a nutty idea and transforming everyday objects into something fun. And I'm sorry, turning a normal concept into a sexy costume is not creative.

So I'm hoping for a cold evening so the army of 10-year-olds in fishnet stockings will have to cover up.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Book-aholic


I had a beautiful 2 week period of my class where I had no homework. And how did I celebrate not having to read a dense non-fiction book a week? By reading 2 fiction books a week. And those are just the books I finished - I read parts of 4 others. I know, I need help. I think my body has been physically conditioned to require several hours of reading a day, and I was going through withdrawal. But it was glorious. I finally read To Kill a Mockingbird. Loved it. I'm a big sucker for books that acknowledge the ways that the world is screwed up, but still show the necessity of hope and of doing your part to improve it.

I've always said I love reading, but the obsession has gone to a new level. I squeeze reading into every little space in my life that I can manage. I listen to audiobooks while I do the dishes. I actually receive daily installments of classic literature in my inbox (currently working on Frankenstein in honor of Halloween). I started a book group at my church. I read on the bus. I frequent shelfari and LibraryThing for book recommendations. I even read when Rob and I pause the movie we're watching so he can refill his water glass. Am I going into the right profession or what?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Is it me?



Your personality is as friendly and appealing as strawberry ice cream (especially the kind with chunky bits of real fruit). You've got a slightly sarcastic sense of humor, and you rarely stress out or take things too seriously. You are cute and sweet, but with a mischievous side. You are a bit of a troublemaker, but only because you're determined to avoid a plain vanilla life.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan


I devoured this book in a day and a half, and I've been thinking about it ever since I finished it.

There are hundreds of well-written books about the way men oppress women. What interested me most about this book was the way that women oppress and commit acts of violence against women. Were male expectations behind these female actions? Of course - particularly in the case of footbinding. The women did this gruesome and life-threatening act to their daughters because they knew that it was necessary to attract a husband for her (which could be the topic of its own blog post, but many have discussed this before, and I have nothing new to say about what is wrong with the situation). And yes, these women had it drilled into them repeatedly that the only worth of a woman was to produce sons. But it seemed like in many cases, the women's cruelty went far beyond what was necessary. I found myself wondering where the accountability should lie. Yes, they have been broken emotionally in so many ways by their treatment, but it broke my heart that these women repeatedly found themselves unwilling or unable to turn to other women for the love and support they need - they instead reinforced the harmful stereotypes with an added measure of brutality. And sadly, I see this acted out in different forms in today's world.

The other concept I've been rolling around my head is the right of a woman to own her own body. The only value this society gave women was their ability to produce sons. They were simply vessels to fulfill male aims. While we've come a long way in that regard, as a society, we tend to instantly worry about what is best for the baby (born or unborn) and think less of what is best for the mother. And again, much of the verbal abuse comes from women towards women. It is a tough line to draw, but I think we don't show the understanding we should towards women in this regard.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Gives me hope

The Washington Post has a fantastic article on cheerleading squads for those with developmental disabilities. Sometimes the scale of the social problems we face in the world is overwhelming, especially when it seems like nobody cares. This article gives me so much hope. I love seeing the way that walls are coming down and the community is coming together.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Erin vs. The Salad


As a teenager and undergrad, the salad was my nemesis. I hated salad for what it symbolized to me. Salads were what girls would order on dates so boys wouldn't think they were fat cows - hence salad symbolized worrying about what others think about you. Salads were what 90 pound girls would eat while complaining they were fat - salad symbolized harmful gender expectations. I hated the whole diet/exercise routines for the same reasons - different genders were held to different standards, the media had far too big a role in what was considered acceptable, and at its essence, it meant not being comfortable with yourself. I was a vocal critic of these things, absolutely refused to weigh myself, and took pride in the fact I could eat like one of the boys.

But as I've matured, I've finally discovered that there is a difference between worrying about what others think and living healthfully. And I'm gradually making the move towards living healthfully. I still refuse to weigh myself, and I still refuse to call a leafy salad a meal (although I will count pasta salad), but I am making lifestyle choices I previously looked down upon to promote better health for myself. I certainly don't say no to every dessert that comes my way, but I don't say yes either. I don't have a crazy 4AM jogging routine, but I go to the gym twice a week (often to do water aerobics - can I just say that I LOVE water aerobics?). I'm paying a little attention to nutrition by trying to add more fiber to my diet. And yes, I even eat salads. Given, they are usually salads saturated with cheese and bacon, but still, this is a big step for me. While I am far from being a health guru, I am genuinely enjoying this lifestyle change, and this is a great place to be.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Dreaming about Chicago

Since I've spent most of the morning coordinating details for a conference in Chicago (which I sadly don't get to attend), I've been fantasizing about going there most of the morning. I've always loved big cities. I love the pace, the public transportation, the culture, and the diversity. So I can have an outlet, I'm going to blog about what I would like my Chicago trip to be like (and of course, I'm ignoring the fact that I can't afford the majority of the things I've listed).

Hotel Monaco
OK, the picture is kind of goofy, but I'm loving the window seats that look out over Michigan Avenue, the slightly funky look, and its close proximity to Navy Pier and Grant Park. It seems very nice, without being snooty.

Architectural Boat Tour


When my family went to Chicago right before my brother went on his mission, this was my parent's favorite thing. The architecture of Chicago is incredible, and I love being out on the water, especially in or near a city.


Deep Dish Pizza
Sounds delicious.

Navy Pier
Looks like a charming area to explore. I'm especially intrigued by the idea of the Shakespeare theater there.

Wicked
Alright, I know it is the cliche thing to do right now, but several people whose artistic taste I really trust raved about it, and I think it is the kind of play I would enjoy.

And I of course want to check out the Art Institute, Sears Tower, and Field Museum - but I thought pictures would be superfluous.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hoosiers don't know how to use quotation marks




I thought I'd share some amusing signs I've seen as I've driven around this state. Clearly, the teachers here have not communicated the concept of quotation marks well.

  • "Now" hiring
  • Westward "Ho" Campgrounds
  • Westward "Ho" Flea market (you can kind of see it on the left side)
And my personal favorite:
  • "Jesus" is coming
And to think that people in my town have a hard time getting elementary ed teaching gigs...

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I've got music ... who could ask for anything more?

Sometimes you acquire an item and then wonder how on earth you made it through life without it. Last time it was my rice cooker - this time it is my brand new mp3 player. I selfishly decided to use some of my birthday money towards the inexpensive and magnificent item you see above instead of, um, fresh vegetables (my daily vitamin will give me nutrients, right?). I cannot get over how much I love it. I listen to it at the gym (yes, I have started going to the gym - that will be my next post), and my workout flies by. I listen to it while I do long and boring copy jobs at work. I listen to it as I wait for the bus. I used to make fun of people that never removed their ear buds - now I'm checking out books on CD from the library in hopes I can listen to them while I buy groceries. I'm obsessed.

And if that isn't good enough, for my birthday Rob bought me a portable stereo/CD player for the kitchen, so I have been singing along to "The Way You Look Tonight" as I make enchiladas, and dancing to Eric Clapton as I do dishes (it's terribly attractive, believe me). Chores have never been better...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Before I leave Indiana

I've had the dawning realization that I could possibly be leaving Indiana in 8 months. I'm not claiming I'm heartbroken about this (no offense to you Hoosiers out there). However, there are a few things that I want to see before I leave. Ironically, only one of them is actually in Indiana.

Mammoth Caves

OK, so this is technically in Kentucky, but I don't know if I'll ever be in this region again. I've been caving in college, but I haven't been in full-on caverns since about the 1st grade. Mammoth is supposedly the longest known cave system in the world, and I would be very sad if I missed out.

Chicago


I have never been a tourist in Chicago - I have only gone there for events, and haven't hit any major landmark. I would love to take a trip to Chicago - the theater, the museums, the restaurants, the buildings taller than 7 stories high (sigh), the water ... need I go on?

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Sandy and rocky beaches, trees, hiking trails - what's not to love?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

On the creative process

I had a friend a few years back, upon hearing I was an English major, ask what my poems or novels I write are about. I quickly explained I was not a creative writing student, and I wrote literary analysis about creative works, not creative works themselves. Not easily distracted, he asked me what I would write about it I did write fiction. I was at a loss.

I never grew up wanting to write the great American novel. Part of it probably dealt with the fact that I can't recall ever reading a work by a woman in my entire high school experience, and I didn't (and let's face it, don't) care for the writings of dead white men, so I didn't really have a venue for seeing myself that way. Part of my struggle with the creative process is I wanted to be brilliant immediately. I wasn't willing to write the series of awful, tacky, immature writings that most writers go through before hitting on their form and message. My exploits into song-writing are the same way - I start something, and quickly get embarrassed by how cheesy it is and refuse to finish it. And I simply never felt the need to write. We'll just say I wasn't the kid who sat in my room writing stories about Alastaire the beluga whale and his exploits in the Bermuda triangle. I've never felt like I had something important to say, and it just seemed silly to have to come up with something to say to write.

But it has been on my mind recently. I've been thinking about what I would write. What do I have to say? What ideas do I want to explore? This is what I came up with.

If I were to write a work of fiction, I would want it to be about a polygamous wife back in the early Utah days of the church, and I’d want it to be complex – no trite “but she’s better off financially,” or “poor repressed victim of patriarchy” here. It isn’t a simple issue. I’d like to name her Grete, and I picture her as an immigrant. I’d want her to be quirky, maybe even seen as senile by those around her. I envision her relationship being the result of a man in her community being called to be polygamous. He feels like he needs to obey but doesn't really want to, so he asks his wife to pick the new second wife. Her, not being thrilled about it at all, but also feeling obligated, picks frumpy, elderly slightly senile Grete - the farthest thing from a sexual threat, and a bit of a punishment to her husband, in a way. I picture it being in journal format – I’d want to hear Grete’s voice. I wouldn’t beat around the bush about the sexual aspect of things. It would get into issues of what happens when we obey out of obligation, rather than true devotion. I’d want to focus on the real blessings and struggles of being polygamous in those times, for better and for worse. And on the blessings and struggles of being a woman in this church. I think that’s an issue I need to come to terms with.