Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Resurrected from a 3 month hiatus... almost...

Apologies for falling off the face of the earth for the past few months. After a little Christmas vacation R&R, I almost feel like a human again... almost.

To celebrate my return to humanhood, I decided to do something I haven't done for months--exercise! I am lucky enough to have a buddy that engages often in hand-to-hand combat, and I figured he could teach me a thing or two about boxing. Unfortunately, buddy decided not to go easy on me despite my three-pronged explanation on why I was out of shape and should therefore be allowed to be a wuss. Instead, he suggested we do one minute sequences of "cardio-boxing". Seems easy, right? Haha. Ha.

First sequence: one, two, and three punch sequences associated with numbers. In other words, friend calls out a number, and I punch the (very heavy) punching bag with the associated punching sequence. Unfortunately, friend thought it was appropriate to call out "push-ups" a number of times during the one minute blitz and require me to drop and do 10 pushups. And by "pushups", I mean pushups on my knuckles with boxing gloves. Really? Oh, and friend was also kind enough to stop the one-minute timer during the interspersed pushup segments. Faaan-tastic.

Second sequence: one to four punch sequences, with the call for "defense"--which required me to drop to pushup position and then pop up and continue punching the bag. Unfortunately, my drop/pop wasn't fast enough, and friend decided to call "defense" after every punching sequence. An expletive may or may not have crossed my lips during that sequence.

Suffice it to say that after sitting on the ground with a defeated look on my face, friend and I compromised and made jumping jacks the occasional non-punching action during the next few minute blitzes.

While I will not bore you with the details of each workout, I will share with you the parting words friend and I shared as we walked out of the gym:

C: Um, I can't feel the pinkie or ring finger on my right hand. Does that mean I was doing something wrong?

Friend: Nope, that's just some nerve damage. Don't worry, you'll get used to it.


On a more positive note, I plan to purchase some boxing gloves for myself over the next couple of days. As much as I enjoyed scrubbing my hands and wrists with angry fervor to remove the *fragrance* that still remains, I think I'll opt for my own sweaty gloves next time.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

BP1 & BP2, RIP. BP3, please don't join your friends.


I am a plant killer. I've purchased a few plants in the past, and the people I purchase those plants from simply refuse to tell me exactly how often, when, and how much each plant needs to be watered. I blame them, and figure that my incompetence is really not my fault--my brain simply lacks to capacity to look at a plant, gauge its needs, and respond accordingly.

Despite my glaring weakness, however, I developed a love for fresh basil a few months ago--and immediately committed myself to changing my black thumb fate. After all, the thrifty (read: "cheap") person inside of me who refuses to pay $3.99 for 3 "organic" basil leaves at the grocery store is fighting the fat person inside who appreciates good, fresh food.

Solution: buy a basil plant ("BP").

My first attempt was a tiny basil plant purchased at a plant nursery in Utah. After potting it (aka getting Chantal to pot it), I forgot to water the little guy. Apparently, BP1's puny set of 5 tiny leaves wasn't enough to draw my attention to it, and my lack of attention killed the poor plant. [Note: I bought a mint plant at the same time. I've heard that mint is like a weed, which breaks boundaries and refuses to be constrained. For all you mint-haters out there, know that no water does, in fact, kill mint plants as well.] I left the dead basil and mint plants out by my sink for a few weeks as a reminder to always-water-plants, and then threw them away when my roommates complained about the dead plants surrounding the kitchen sink.

With the memory of BP1 firmly rooted in my mind, I then "upgraded" to a larger, already-potted basil plant at the Farmer's Market in SLC. I asked the seller detailed questions on how to maintain the plant--she responded in the usual non-committal, semi-informative style. I meticulously watered that plant, and said goodbye to it as it made its way cross country with Chantal (a plant lover/nurturer). During the move, that plant also went the way of the Earth, despite my frequent inquiries regarding its health and status.

Chantal, feeling badly that my basil plant died during its cross country drive, purchased BP3 for me and realized that the plant shouldn't be watered as much as I watered BP2. Unfortunately, BP3 is pictured here--despite my constant care (and moderated watering), something is attacking my plant. I've tried a potion I found on the internet of boiled oil/garlic and water to try to fight the bugs... but my plant is still dying.

Anyone? Anyone?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Another banking article...

I've been confused. This article on why the bailout plan would be a disaster rocks in clarity and logic.

Enjoy. (Thanks Jeff)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Uh oh banking...

It took quite a while (and a few angry phone calls to customer service reps), but I am finally a functioning member of society again with working internet, cable, and phone! Unfortunately, I have also been able to catch up on the glorious financial state of our country over the past 24 hours or so. Although you are probably tired of hearing about our country's financial woes, check out this depressing (yet highly) entertaining passage from an article published in the UK.

"Try a different take. Yes, the West’s financial infrastructure is in severe distress. Yes, more banks are going to crumble. Yes, there will be a recession. But allocating $700bn (it would almost certainly turn out to be more) to a clean-up programme for toxic assets, in effect socialising the poison of private greed, has no merit other than to delay the inevitable. No amount of federal cash can rewind the X-rated horror video."

Sadly, I agree. My economics guru and buddy Jeff also seems to agree. And, have I mentioned that if I wanted to live in a socialized country I would MOVE?

Sorry to beat a dead horse. As a peace offering, visit this link for a free cookie!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A poll... to fold or not to fold...

I would consider myself to be a pretty good aunt--I'm always willing to draw from my wealth of child-rearing knowledge when my sisters and brothers ask for advice on how to teach their kidlets. Who am I kidding... my child-rearing "knowledge" comes from watching Jon and Kate Plus 8 and occasionally playing with my nieces and nephews. Whatever. In any case, I was more than happy to receive (and respond to) the delightful email quoted below.

[Note: if you are easily offended by potty humor or general references to bodily functions, stop reading now for your own safety.]

"Hello family members,

A critical question - to fold or not to fold, that is the question.

Franklin and I have been having an argument over how to teach Kaitlin to wipe her bum (we apologize if you find the topic of this email embarassing) - so the question is - do you fold or wad your toilet paper? Franklin folds and I wad and we are wondering if we were taught this by our mothers and if our siblings are the same. Also, if you have children, what have you taught them to do?

Thank you for your cooperation.

The management."

I submitted the following response:

"I say fold. Wadding is for barbarians. Goodbye."

Paige, my fake sister-in-law, replied with the following:

"Well, if Catherine really wants to know how everyone does it, then I say wad. Folding is totally superfluous."

Christina, my sister, responded:

"Sorry Paige, I have to disagree. When you wad, there are always anomalies in the wadding. Some places will be many layers thick while other layers will only be one layer thick. Invariably, your kid will have a single layer between his/her bottom and his/her finger/thumb . . . and the microbiologist in me just shudders to think about the microbes that the kid, who may or may not wash his/her hands after every bathroom visit, now has all over . . . .

Of course, that's just my opinion. :-)"

Amelia, my other fake sister-in-law, disputed with the following:

"I am all about how long it takes. Folding takes so much more time than wadding AND with a more rough surface I find that wadding wipes better. To prove my point I have to say that I never take more than one wad to wipe while I hear Justin pulling toilet paper up to FOUR times, and folding the paper to wipe. And no matter if your child's hand gets a little poo on it while they wipe, that's what washing hands is for. Plus, any mom has gotten pee and poop all over their hands a million times from changing diapers, so it really isn't that horrible to get a little bit of your own poo on your hand and then wash it right off. I actually believe that folding makes you more susceptible to getting wet. A folded piece of toilet paper with no air in-between folds gets saturated through way faster then a wad with air and scrunches and that's a scientific fact that anyone can test.

Basically wadding is the only way."

Lastly, my sister-in-law submitted:

"this is one choice that you give to the child. just tell them to deal
with themselves and then wash their hands.


ps kent refuses to dignify this poll with a response. there are way
better things to fight about."

I now submit the question to you... do you fold or wad, and if you are willing to respond... why?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Please don't get banged up...

Please make it there in one piece...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Who says parents don't love and protect their children?

My family frequents the Chinese Cultural Center near the Phoenix Airport for random Taiwanese meals, dim sum, and delicious Asian supermarket treats. During one of our recent visits, we were happy to discover that the CCC would be having a celebration for "Zhong Qiu Jie," aka "Mid-Autumn Festival."

After treating ourselves to an appetizer of scallion pancakes and strawberry slushies with boba (anyone who served in Taiwan should now be salivating...), mom, Ron, and I made our way towards the performance area to meet with my brother and his family. I quickly abandoned my plan of sticking with mom and Ron after mom began pushing/elbowing her way through the dense crowd in an effort to get to the coveted/mostly occupied seats in front of the stage. Refusing to associate myself with such pushiness, I cased the perimeter of short Asian people straining their necks to see the stage in a quest to find the rest of my family members. After a joyful reunion, we joined mom and Ron who had somehow cleared almost a whole row of seats.

The ensembles of young girls doing Chinese fan/ribbon dances were cute and entertaining. (Not pictured).

Emcee "Miss Chinese Phoenix" in her formal wear was slightly mockable (and we did mock), but also entertaining.

And then she ("Lady") took the stage. (See picture, above right).

After a short introduction on how Lady missed her mother and her home country, she started her solo. And by solo, I mean a BLARING, operatic version of a self-written Chinese song that represented an ode to Lady's mother and homeland. Three of Kent's children's hands immediately went to cover their ears. [Kent's resulting look of death directed at each individual child communicated the message that the ear covering was inappropriate/rude. They then promptly dropped their hands from their ears; the looks of pain remained on their faces].

At this point, I glanced to my right and caught a glimpse of the picture to the left--the mom, sitting on the ground with her son on her lap, was gripping her son's ears as hard as she could to shield him from Lady's unconscionable decibel level. I determined that I simply needed a picture of that loving gesture... and aimed my CB over at the mom.

Unfortunately, after the first blurry picture... I drew some [embarassing] attention to the fact that I was taking a picture in the middle of Lady's performance. Lucky for both you and me, however, the mom retained her vice grip on her son's ears and despite the girl over her shoulder looking at me like I was a retard for taking the picture, and a moment of desperation where I re-angled the CB to pretend I was taking a picture of my brother sitting to my right, I caught the photo you see above.

Then the lady launched into her second... yes second... song.

Of all the songs in all the world to choose, she decided to translate 'Edelweiss' into Chinese. Uh... that song SUNG WELL is already a little... taxing. As the sound quality bordered on offensive, I glanced to my left and saw mom and Ron in the positions pictured here. I apologize for my inability to capture a non-blurry photo of the moment... but my hand was shaking as I was laughing uncontrollably [but silently].

We decided to leave the performance area to stuff ourselves on Taiwanese food after that performance. I'm thinking that decision was for the best.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New blog address

Due to all the psychopaths/cyber-stalkers out there, I'm changing my blog address in a couple of weeks to catherineconsult dot blogspot dot com. Come join me over there when you get a "blogger doesn't exist" message.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Brown paper--In or Out?

I know, I know... I've turned into a blogging maniac. Unfortunately, I have been presented with great blog fodder through spending some quality time with my mom over the past few days. After all, she HAS recently stepped off the boat from Taiwan and is experiencing the re-acclimation to American culture that can be so painful after living in a foreign country for years. (Officially, my mom returned to the US on a plane, but since I have been assaulted with blasting racial generalizations lately, why not add a few of my own to the mix? Let's say she's fresh off the boat).

Please note that I do in fact have a great relationship with my mom. So, for all you haters out there, please constrain yourself from leaving comments on how I'm a rude/disrespectful child. Pshia.

In any case, we made a stop at In-n-Out Burger today. As I was focusing on my food and eating my fries like a squirrel eats nuts (fast forward to second 18 for the true demonstration), my mom looked at me with a confused look on her face and asked,

"Is this brown wrapper around my burger paper? Because I have been eating it and wondering why my burger is crunchy."

Not even my reaction to the scummy-looking 17 year old with a low-riding backpack slung over his shoulders who said "heeeeeyyy baaa-by!" to me as I passed him on my way to the restroom could compare to the laughter that consumed me after realizing my mom had eaten 1/4 of the paper around the burger. Poor mom. For the record, the brown paper wrapped around those burgers isn't rice paper... or any other form of edible paper. Oopsie.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Thanks to Shiloh (and her never-ending resevoir of patience and kindness), mom and Ron learned to play Wii Tennis yesterday. Here are some of the jewels from the treasure chest of mom's questions last night:

1. "Hey--how come my guy won't throw the ball up" (while trying to throw up a ball for serve with her non-wiimote-bearing hand).

2. "What did I do wrong? No, really. WHAT DID I DO WRONG?!" (after swinging 2 seconds too early/late).

3. "WHAT IS GOING ON? I CAN'T EVEN SEE THE BALL?" (before whacking Shiloh with great force on her backhand swing follow-through.)

4. "Ron, WE NEED THIS GAME. Let's go buy one tomorrow, since I can't exercise unless I'm inside with the air conditioning on!" (Ron then responded... "but if we get this game, will you ever let me play?")

Despite all the confusion and resulting physical injuries, mom had a fabulous time and was quite pleased that we were able to find a pharoah-like hairdo to attach to her mii and call her own.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Given my total laziness in blogging lately, I feel like I should report on some awesome story to mark my return to the blogging world. Unfortunately, the best commentary I can offer right now is the following [dreadful] experience and its associated moral lesson.

I visited my brother's ward in Arizona for the second week in a row yesterday. Since Shelly's services have been commandeered by the Primary, I was forced to brave Relief Society alone. As I was sitting pleasantly by myself reading my (English) scriptures, an uber-smiley member of the Relief Society Presidency ("RSP") in her late twenties approached me and said "HI! Are you new to the ward or just visiting?!" I explained that I was visiting my brother and his family (who she knew) before heading out East for a new job and was asked...

"So where are you visiting from? [.5 second pause] CHINA?"

Apparently, the English scriptures in my hand, her familiarity with my brother (who is not, in fact, from China), and our conversation (in what I'd like to think is pretty good Engrish) were not enough evidence of my American citizenship. As I tried to stifle the laughs that threatened to exit my mouth that remained agape, the RSP went on to say, "Well, I know your brother's family goes back there often... I just didn't know which members of the family lived back there."

Note: neither I nor my brother have ever been to China. In the four years my brother has lived in Arizona, he has visited Taiwan once with his family. He has made no other trips to Asia.

Moral: So I don't continue to threaten to use this story as the base of a testimony (which I actually considered as a fleeting thought), let me share the following principles with you:

1. If you meet someone with red hair, do not ask if they are from Scotland and/or if they play the bagpipes.

2. If you meet someone with Latin/Hispanic features, do not ask how they eluded the border patrol on their way into AMER-I-CAH.

3. If you meet someone with olive skin, do not ask if they are from China.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Talk about issues...

Unfortunately, my commitment to eating my way through San Francisco prevented me from sitting down and watching the Beijing opening ceremonies. However, I remain as disturbed as can be about the Milli-Vanilli-inspired 7 year old that was presented as the face of the amazing singing talent to the right (the real singer deemed too ugly to represent China).

"This was a last-minute question, a choice we had to make," the ceremony's musical designer, Chen Qigang, said. "Our rehearsals had already been vetted several times - they were all very strict. When we had the dress rehearsals, there were spectators from various divisions, including above all a member of the politburo who gave us his verdict: we had to make the swap."

Apparently, the actual singer "simply did not portray the image that the Chinese wanted to convey to the world".

Poor little buck-toothed girl!

On the upside... three cheers for the men's 4x100 relay! I'm convinced that Michael Phelps is a fish. Or at least part dolphin.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A door is a door is a door...

Location: Shakespeare Festival, Southern Utah University, Utah

Text: "Caution! This is not a door!"

Interpretation: Please grab the handle to the right and proceed through the resulting opening, as to avoid breaking your face on the plane labeled "not a door."

Location: Some "trendy" (aka sketchy) bookstore, Broadway Street, San Francisco, California.

Text: "I am the door"

Interpretation: Please proceed.

Note: While the lack of a handle can surely be overcome with some well-placed force, the door's location is perplexing... along the back wall of the bookstore... underground (in the basement)... with no apparent destination in mind. Given the unsavory environment of Broadway as a whole... I'm not sure I want to go through that door.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

27 Going On 18

Ok, I recognize that I've blogged about looking like I'm a teenager before. However, this story simply must be shared.

After writing a complaint and threatening to sue our cable/internet/phone provider Mstar (that's another story in and of itself but be warned... Mstar is run by a bunch of teenagers and is SO SHADY), I felt a need to de-stress.

The venue: Pioneer Day Festival in Mountain Green (small town in Northern Utah)

Location: Cotton Candy stand (because who doesn't want cotton candy at 10:30am?)

I joked around a bit with the girl spinning my cotton candy who happened to have cotton candy covering her forearm like a cast. Her little brother (who couldn't be more than 17) came over and started talking to me.

17: Hey--do you live around here?

C: No... but my roommate is from around here.

17: Oh--who's your roommate?

C: Chantal Cardon.

17: Oh. Ok. So... where are you... where do you go to school?

C: Oh, I already graduated.

17: Oh, I know that... but... do you go to Weber?

C: [quizzical look]

17: Oh... you already... graduated... from college...

Yes, that's right. I was hit on by a 17 year old who thought I was a freshman in college. I didn't have the heart to add that I had finished grad school, worked for almost 2 years, and went on a mission. Let's be honest--I felt sorry for the little guy. As for me... my birthday is coming up pretty soon here. I guess I shouldn't be so stressed that I'll officially be in my upper 20s if I still look like I'm 18.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


At 9am, I received a call from an unknown number. I generally don't pick up unfamiliar numbers for a few reasons--1. I hate telemarketers, 2. I don't want to waste airtime minutes on randoms, 3. I don't feel a need to talk to wrong numbers or random stalkers, and 4. If someone legitimate is calling, they can leave a message.

When the same number called for a second time at 11am, I decided to take a risk and pick up the phone. This is the conversation that ensued with the phone caller ("PC"):

PC: Who is this?

C: Uh, you called me. Who are you?

PC: Oh. Um. Well... here's the situation. Do you have a Blackberry?

C: Uh... yeah.

PC: Was your Blackberry lost or stolen?

C: No.

PC: So your blackberry wasn't stolen?

C: No.

PC: So here's the situation--my friend bought a Blackberry from his friend, and the number on that phone is your number. Verizon says that your number is on the lost/stolen phone list, so he can't activate it.

C: Well, I've had the same number for years.

PC: So you have a Blackberry?

C: Yes. I've had the Blackberry for about 6 months, and the phone number for years.

PC: So it wasn't stolen?

C: NO.

PC: My friend can't activate his phone because the number is on that list, and we're in Illinois.

C: He's going to have to call Verizon and get it worked out.

PC: Well he already has a phone that works, but he just wants to get this Blackberry activate that he bought from his friend.

C: Yeah, I'm not sure what you want me to do about that. I can't do anything about it.

PC: Ok. Bye.

After 30 minutes, the same number called back again. I refused to answer, and received the following message: "Hi. My name is Tyler. You probably talked to my friend Colby earlier. Can you go ahead and give me a call about the phone? I want to clear up a few things and make sure this isn't your phone, so go ahead and call me back."

Um, buddy, if I lost a phone, don't you think I would have told you that when you asked? Also, HOW CAN THAT INACTIVE PHONE IN YOUR HAND be my phone if I pick up when you call my number?

So much for "buying phones from friends."

Breakfast this morning.

I can't figure out why my stomach hurts. Isn't that weird?

Monday, July 21, 2008

This is what we call service?

Location: Utah County Parks and Recreation Golf Course

Activity: Service FHE

Reason: Some doofus ("D") received a ginormous dirt delivery which, when topped with grass, would eventually create a nice driving range. After recognizing that the dirt was filled with trash, one might think that D would have rejected delivery or notified a superior that the dirt was clearly suspect. Instead, D proceeded to spread the trash-filled dirt all over the planned driving range area. Genius. Did you know that plastic isn't biodegradable? Further, did you know that all non-biodegradable materials must be removed before grass can be added to piles of dirt?

Result: We got to pick up the trash. And by trash, I mean the precious treasures pictured above. Like a billion of them.

One word: Scarred.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

THIS is what I live with.

This is a conversation I just had with my uber-righteous roommate ("R").

R: You shouldn't go with your boyfriend into a bedroom. Regardless of the situation (unless he's helping you pick out an outfit), people who are dating shouldn't be alone in a bedroom together.

C: Yeah, I don't see a problem with it. During college, I studied with guys in my bedroom all the time.

R: Were you dating those guys?

C: Yup. Don't think it's a problem.

R: [Grabbing Buttercup, the pear-shaped stuffed giraffe pictured here] Come Buttercup, let us pray for Catherine's soul.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

America... land of the Engrish speakers.

Happy Fourth of July! Besides a wee bit of almost-swearing while navigating through traffic, today was a great day. We spent quite a bit of time with our Asian friends who are in Utah studying English, and taught them a little about the significance of July 4th. More importantly, we made ourselves fat and happy via a BBQ, some BYU Creamery Kids Meals, a small water fight involving a combination of pool water and duck/walrus squirty toys, and a serious fireworks display in the street with some friends.

Our day was topped off by a little discussion about embarassing moments while learning (and incorrectly using) a second language. Chantal and I argued that Chinese is a very difficult language and that using the wrong tone typically causes you to be met with blank stares while the person you are speaking with is either wondering why you're so stupid, trying to figure out what the heck you are trying to say, or a combination of both. Chen*, however, countered with the argument that minor pronunciation mistakes in English can cause disastrous, embarassing effects. When we didn't believe her, she launched into her two recent examples.

1. Apparently, Chen was excitedly telling her friend about her visit to Las Vegas where she "played some slots". In Chen's defense, how many of you who know a second language know the word for "slot machine"? In any case, Chen unfortunately mispronounced the word "slots" by substituting the "o" in "slots" with a "u". Completely... different... meaning.

2. Chen's second embarassment came via an innocent Facebook status change. Chen is an incredibly positive, happy, and loving individual--while you could argue that the following is an unconventional Facebook status, Chen changed her status to "Chen thinks love tastes delicious." Unfortunately for her, however, "tastes" was misspelled, with an "e" replacing the "a". Oopsie.

Yeah, she wins. I guess English IS a hard language. For this and many other reasons, I am quite grateful to have grown up in America... where I learned from a young age to speaka the good Engrish.

* Name has been changed to protect the identity of the individual involved... c'mon now... if you talked about delicious "tastes" and playing "slots", wouldn't you want a little privacy?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hi! I'm your friendly librarian! I have the IQ of a rat.

Ok, I admit that title is a little harsh. Please suspend judgment until you've heard the whole story.

First, let me ask you--what do you think of when you hear the word "library"? Nice AC... shelves of books... free movies... little desks with internet hookups... free computers... all good things, right? Sadly, my good opinion of the local library has taken a serious turn for the worse today due to a little run in with a library minion, or "L" for short.

C: Can i check these out? I forgot my card.

L: Sure... do you have ID on you?

C: Yes. Right here.

L: Ok. Hmm. Did you apply for a card online?

C: No. I came in and got one.

L: Hmm. I'm just trying to figure out which one of these is you.

C: Can i see your computer screen?

[Note: There was only one person with my name on the entire screen. She could read my license, right? Take the high road, Catherine, take the high road.]

(Pointing to the only name that matched mine on the screen...) It's probably that one.

L: But if that were you, you would have had to apply online. Did you apply online?

C: N-O.

L: Hmm.

C: Can you pull up additional information about that account?

L: Yes. [click click. click.]

C: [foot tapping]

L: [click click. click.]

Oh here it is.

C: Yeah, that's me.

L: Really?

C: Yes.

L: So this is your information? Your address?

C: Y-E-S.

L: Well this account would have had to be set up online.

C: I did not set my account up online.

L: Hmm.

C: In any case, that's my account. Can i check out these books?

L: Well... if you set up your account online, you wouldn't have a card. You would sign up online, and then we would give you a card the first time you came in.

C: Well, I have a card. and I didn't set my account up online. It did expire at one point, so I had to call in when I couldn't log in to see my account from my computer at home, and someone at the library reactivated my account so I could log in.

L: Yeah, that wouldn't count as it being set up online.

C: Well, that bar code there... can you use that to check me out my books?

L: No. That bar code... yeah, that's not the same as your account number. I can't use that. You will need to bring in your card. I can put the books on hold for you for three days, though.

C: I live across town--coming back in the next couple days is going to be a hassle. Since you say your system doesn't show that I have a card, can you just give me a new card to use?

L: No, because if you already have a card, it will cost you $2 for a replacement card.

C: Let me get this straight. Your system shows that I somehow set up my account online, so I don't have a card. If that's the case, I'd have to come in and get a new card from you. But, since I told you I have a card at home, you won't give me a new card?'

L: Um... right.


Seriously? In any case, despite the run in with Madame L, I hit four different locations around town, saved a bunch of gas, and picked up the following items that nicely fit into my trusty dusty Camelback:

1. 4 packages of Udon (Who would can live without ready-to-make Japanese soupy noodles?),

2. A free Trek water bottle (Thanks, Starving Student Card),

3. 3 hard cover books (Weaseled out of the library by using Chantal's card. Take that, L.),

4. A head of napa cabbage (Why not?), and

5. Keys to my new bike lock.

All in all, I'd consider the afternoon expedition a success.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Blockity block block

Some of you might know that instant messaging is my primary form of communication with the outside world. Who am I kidding? Anyone reading this blog should know that. [I really did mean to pick up your call last time... it just shot to voice mail so fast... and then the message got erased... and I had no idea you wanted me to call you back... stammer stammer...]

In any case, I was at work today, dutifully minding my own business when an instant message popped up. Note that I pride myself on not adding random friends to my Facebook friends list or chatting lists... and I've been known to block a person or two in the past (oopsie).

Stephanie says:

Catherine says:

[I held myself back from responding in the same very excited, double-exclamation mark form I was greeted with. It was a conscious decision.]

Stephanie says:
how are you?!

Catherine says:
good... you?

[At this point... I'm searching through my contact list to see if I can find any "Stephanie" or person at the listed email address. No dice.]

Stephanie says:
ehh i'm alright

[Uh... am I supposed to ask her why she's just alright after that hearty greeting? Am I supposed to continue on to try to figure out who the heck Stephanie is?]

Stephanie says:
is that your new car??

Catherine says:

[Uh... is this person stalking me? Did I just disclose too much information? My license plate isn't shown in my profile picture, is it?]

Catherine says:
where are you now and what are you doing?

[In other words, who the crap are you, and why are you talking to me?]

Stephanie says:

Stephanie says:

[What? Are we starting to speak like horses? I'm pretty sure that horses say "neeiiigghhh," not "meee".]

Stephanie says:
i'm still in stinky hot tucson, i'm @ home, & searching for a job! what about you??

[Ok. May day, may day. I really don't know anyone in Tucson. It's time to take drastic measures. Be bold, Catherine. Be bold.]

Catherine says:
haha, i'm sorry... but i don't think you are the stephanie i was thinking. how do i know you?

Stephanie says:

Stephanie says:
its stephanie espinoza

Stephanie says:
youre catherine green? right?

Catherine says:
still not ringing a bell

Stephanie says:
from cross middle school.

Catherine says:
haha no

Catherine says:

Stephanie says:
your last name isnt green?

[Are you a doofus? I just said it wasn't, and hello, my email address listed here on the chat window lists my last name... which is not Green.]

Stephanie says:

Catherine says:

Stephanie says:

Stephanie says:

Catherine says:

[Stranger, I assume politeness and obligatory apologies are appropriate here, even though you started chatting with me. I'll even add an exclamation point for good measure.]

Stephanie says:
haha its ok

Stephanie says:
idk how i got your email

Catherine says:

Stephanie says:
weird ok well peace

[Result: BLOCK. And another one bites the dust.]

As a sidenote, my settings are such that I should have to approve anyone who wants to chat with me before allowing them to IM me. Where was the breakdown here? Mr. Gates, will you please resume your post and fix my MSN troubles? Do you really think that starving children and health epidemics are more worth your time?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

It's not your momma's trail.

South Fork of Provo Canyon = Nemesis

Paige (my semi-sister-in-law and then-roommate) took me on my first mountain bike ride about 4 years ago, shortly after completing her spring term mountain biking class at BYU.

Let's review.

Paige: buff, nicknamed "thoroughbred" (like a horse that can run and jump at super-human levels), and at one of the many peaks in her fitness level after recently completing an advanced mountain biking class at BYU.

Catherine: out of shape, working at least 55 hours a week, and mountain biking for the first time.

As you might have guessed, despite my fiercly competitive spirit, I gave up from heat exhaustion and general body death around mile 1.5. Since that fateful afternoon four years ago, I have attacked that same trail about 4 times... only to be turned back around somewhere in the middle of the trail out of exhaustion as the mountain laughs in the background.

One request: before you decide that I'm a pathetic loser, check out the trail description at, Utah Valley Trails, Windy Pass Trail. Among the highlights:

"Starting at 5700 feet altitude, you'll climb 3300 vertical feet to the pass. Out-and-back, it's 13 miles round trip. Because of narrow trail, loose rock, and injury potential, I'm rating this trail advanced technical, very strenuous aerobic."

"This is not an easy trail. I'd reserve this trail for an advanced rider (with good rock-surfing control) who's looking for a climbing challenge. If that's you, go for it."

"It's not your Momma's trail."

Despite this being advanced technical, strenuous, a climbing challenge and... all on all... not my momma's trail, Chantal and I attacked the mountain late last week as our first attempt to conquer it this season. [Note: the picture above does not come close to doing justice to the steepness of that section of the trail]. Shockingly, the result was a success, despite the fact that our success was tainted by the billion wormie guys along the trail who descended from the trees surrounding us. Chantal might not have classified the ride as a success, as she had to jam on her breaks, scream, and stop to try to get all the cobwebs and worms out of her face and off her body more than once during our descent. The picture above and to the right is of Chantal's handlebars after most of the cobwebs and all of the little worm guys were removed during a break in the descent.

Personally, I maintain that a tainted success is a success nonetheless. South Fork, take THAT!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Waffles, Wiffs, and Wii

I was given the option to start working part-time this week at my company. Two words for you: WOO HOO! In the poetic words of Ross, "I will take it."

Yesterday was my first day off, and the following was my "agenda":

10:00: Roll out of bed.

10:00-11:00: Make and consume Williams & Sonoma waffles in the shape of Mickey Mouse's head.

11:00-11:30: Drive through Trapper's Loop to a mountain biking trail called "Green Lake."

11:30-12:45: Take "Green Lake" by storm, cruising for 3 miles of steady uphill. (We would have gone longer, but we ran out of Gatorade.)

12:45-1:15: Shower to remove dirt, mud and chain grease.

1:15-1:45: Eat lunch. (My first Boca Burger... you'd think that a meatless hamburger would be nasty. Result: Surprisingly, not bad.)

1:45-3:30: Drive home.

3:30-7:10: Play Dr. Mario for Wii against random strangers via WiFi connection. (Note: my Mii's name is 'winner'. Could I be any more of a target?) Watch random shows on TLC to "rest" from my difficult morning.

7:10-7:30: Bike over to the church.

7:30-9:00: Play in the ultimate wiffle ball championship. Engage in trash talking after striking out at my first "at bat" (which, for those of you who know me, makes me a really happy camper. I LOVE being bad at sports!). Luckily, I redeemed myself.

9:00-9:30: Visit teach.

9:30-10:30: Watch more Jon and Kate Plus 8, What Not to Wear, and of course, play more Dr. Mario. My score is above 6,000 now. I'm still waiting for you to challenge me.

11:00: Sleep.

There's nothing like a hard day of work, is there?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Speaking of Purple People Eaters...

Meet: The One-Eyed Purple People Eater.

We made this little dude into a rocket for the purpose of blasting him up and across a giant lawn.

Please disregard the fact that I look like I'm twelve, and focus instead on TOEPPE's special features including:

1. One giant green eye, complete with yellow, curled eyelashes. (I tried to put the eyelashes far above his eye where an eyebrow would be, but was told that eyelashes should border the eye. Good to know.)

2. Pink shorts with yellow polka dots. (Note that after this picture was taken, we removed the purple from between the legs of the shorts. We can't have TOEPPE being indecent now, can we.)

3. A single horn, which looked more like a hat than a horn... which was then changed into the horn trifecta pictured here.

Result: Apparently, filling him with water and blowing some type of gas mixture up his bum really makes him fly... because despite his non-aerodynamic shape, he flew quite nicely.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Challenge Extended...

My life has changed for the better.

Enter: Dr. Mario Online Rx for Wii.

While Chantal may have loudly protested the "Chill" soundtrack incessantly blaring through the house as I tried to destroy all the viruses on the screen (for... ahem... hours...), I could not believe my good luck when I discovered that Nintendo has released this upgraded version of Dr. Mario.

I extend a challenge to anyone reading this with a Wii--pay $10, download the game, and let's BATTLE!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Thank YOU, Purple People Eater.

As I chase my 10th and 11th "Kirkland Extra-Strength Non-Asprin Acetaminophen" consumed in the past 4 days with a slice of bbq chicken pizza, I feel a twinge of appreciation that my company recognizes its effect on employees and provides Costco-sized bottles of Tums, Acetominophen, and Aspirin in our break room. There is nothing more comforting than a company that anticipates its employees' needs, right?