Wednesday, April 30, 2008

to do

For those of you who are wondering, we leave in THREE DAYS.

As in, Saturday morning we will rise with the birds (I SWEAR it's mating season because it is really out of hand these days) and head to RDU, the airport with the most fabulous indoor parking. It looks like an indoor mall. But instead of stores, cars. And not new cars, abandoned cars.

The good news is, we've signed a lease on the new apartment we will move into within two weeks of our return to North Carolina. (Bye bye birdies.)

The bad news is, we still need to:

1. Pack - Now I know that females understand the complications of packing, but this is above and beyond my normal stress as we have to pack for Utah (we'll spend some time there before and after Asia) and Asia, each with different packing requirements. I've determined that I will be doing some shopping in Utah to bulk up my "cheap t-shirts to destroy in Asia" supply. That way I won't have to truck those items to Utah as we depart for Tokyo from SLC.

2. Clean this joint - There is nothing worse than returning from a vacation to a dirty house. Particularly when I'm going to be doing cartwheels to see that bed again. I might start crying if I talk about how much I'm going to miss that bed.

3. Laundry - I need to have all articles of clothing available for packing. It's going to be quite strategic. Three months in two suitcases. And don't forget that I'm totally high maintenance in regards to my workout clothes needs.

4. Clean out car - The poor RAV is just going to chill here all summer. So if my ghetto neighbors decide to break in, well, all they'll have is an old bag of sunflower seeds, and a half a bottle of lotion. Enjoy.

5. Update Garmin - I fully intend to upload Japan maps and information. Then when I find myself utterly lost, I will hit the "Go Home" button, and start walking. Good thing I'll already be an awkward American, because how awkward will I be walking around with a little box talking to me: "In 300 feet, turn left on Yamaguci Street. Then turn right on Konichiwa Canal." Comical.

So I feel like I should be more stressed. But mostly I just feel like taking a nap.

Packing, shmacking.

The duck butt picture has nothing to do with anything. It's just a picture I took months ago at Duke Gardens that I think deserves a little time in the spotlight. (And I had nothing to post with this entry. Deal.)

Monday, April 28, 2008

adaptable achilles

So this is what Achilles tendonitis looks like.

When I overuse (or misuse) the poor thing, it swells up. It's not the grating pain like I had when it flared with a vengeance about six months ago, but because I've been running Duke trails instead of a nice and even treadmill (surprise! our ghetto apartment complex has TWO busted up treadmills), the up and down has caused Achilles to throw a small tantrum. So shoes like this hit in just the right place to be rather uncomfortable. And because flip flops aren't exactly part of the dress code at work, I've adapted my footwear to accomodate my angry little tendon.

Now the real (mythological) Achilles was pretty much indestructible, except of course for his heel. (Naturally. Huh?!) One arrow to the heel, and he was a goner. And so the legend goes that our metaphorical weakness is termed our "Achilles heel." Now I find it rather annoying (and obnoxiously ironic) having a literal physical weakness that is my Achilles heel.

And if you're obssessed with running (as I will self-admittedly proclaim), it's par-tick-you-lar-lee ironic, as your fitness regimen can be literally wiped out by one itty bitty weak tendon. Dang Achilles.

But I'm determined to make weak things strong. I've adapted my footwear, I've adapted my exercise regimen ("Hello stationary bike, it's good to see you again," not really, but I'm just trying to be nice) and I'm avoiding people who regularly carry arrows.

You should too. Because that's just weird.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

self entertained

We had our good friends, the Jesses, over for dinner tonight. In the first place, we should thank them again for being the guinea pigs on a new meal. (Good news - it was a hit. It was pretty much like Cafe Rio in a crock pot, which is a big deal as even the concept of "fresh Mex" has been totally obliterated by vinegar-based Southern barbecue. And if we're being honest, I have no idea what the big fuss is all about. My western tastebuds just don't get it.)

But secondly, we just want to say how much we love their little one. Here's baby Miriam entertaining herself. In our house that is totally not baby friendly, she still managed to find something to do. I'm pretty sure our DVD shelf was something akin to Disneyland. She was a riot to watch tear the thing down, complete with grunts and squeals of delight at the success of her destruction. :)

Thanks for us Baby M!

Friday, April 25, 2008

text fight

So last night, at about 10:45 as I was getting in bed, I got a text message from a random St. George number. Here's the series of messages that followed:

Random: Hey lovely what's up? :)
Me: Who are you?
Random: It's Rhonda.
Me: I don't know a Rhonda. I think you have the wrong number.
Rhonda: Isn't this Katie -----?
Me: Nope. You really have the wrong number. Seriously. Stop texting me. (It was like 11:15 p.m. by this time - I was trying to sleep.)
Rhonda: $!#@ off. It was a simple question.


So I decided that instead of an immediate witty WWF style slam, I'd hold out and text her when I woke up at 6 a.m. (yes, that would be 4 a.m. her time) with the following response: "And it was a simple answer." (Take that Rhonda.)

But then because the F word was stuck in my head, I automatically started singing "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus" to myself (yes I sing hymns and Primary songs in my head when I'm trying to get rid of bad words). And of course with that song rolling around in the ol' noggin, I couldn't in good conscience send a text message to some random (albeit snotty) girl in St. George at 4 a.m.

So I let it drop.

So if you know a Rhonda in St. George, let her know that I was merely trying to sleep (I really didn't intend to be rude), that I'm at least as lovely as Katie, and that Primary saved her one seriously early wake up call.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

planned spontaneity

If I had to choose three words to describe me, "spontaneous," would not be one of them. ("Tall" on the other hand would.) I like a plan. I like knowing (every)things. So this whole Asia thing sometimes causes stress. The kind of stress that you know is just brewing unsightly blemishes in your pores, the kind that turn up right on your nose. It's like the zit is saying: "She's stressed. Just thought everyone within a one mile radius would like to know."

Now unless you include San Fran's Chinatown, my travels, which have been semi diverse and unique (although not as varied as I wish they were), have come nowhere near this country I'm about to call my home. I really have NO IDEA what to expect. (Except of course, a small one bedroom apartment - as in the whole apartment is one bedroom.)

So how much do I love that one of my sweet co-workers, who quite randomly went to Tokyo last week, brought me back THESE.

I'm okay with spontaneity. I just prefer to plan out spontaneous moments whenever possible.

meteorologist me

So predicting the weather here is as easy as eating soup with a fork. And our local news station's "weather on the ones" (that would be any time the clock has a :11 in it) has become somewhat a comedy. The meteorologists are always off. But you can't blame them - it's totally unpredictable. Saturday it was a balmy (read: HOT) eighty degrees. Sunday we drove home through a hailstorm with little ice balls seriously threatening bodily harm to the RAV. And then yesterday we got drenched in rain.

Personally, I like the "after the rain" part the best. (And not only because Glade makes an air freshener of the same name - as if a bottle could contain the smell of wet cement and foliage.) The air is fresh and clean. And the trees that have found their green again (after a seriously ugly dead winter) seem to be even more green. It's like the leaves are little sponges, absorbing the rain and becoming wetly dark. (I double dog dare you to question my use of "wetly.")

My latest theory is that the meterologists get together for breakfast in the morning and sort of collectively decide on the forecast for the day. Maybe the way they have their eggs determines the weather.

So I had wheat toast this morning - I think that calls for a partly cloudy day with a chance of rain and sunshine.

And a side of hailstones.

Monday, April 21, 2008

no bake skin

So if you know me, you know that for the better part of the last, oh let's just say EIGHT YEARS, I've had this unusual healthy, uh, glow. Always. In the summer, of course, but in the winter too. Occasionally, someone would ask me how I got so tan, and I would tell them, of course, that my dad is an Indian. (You'd be surprised at what people believe these days.) And when a friend coined the Pocashauntas nickname, it stuck, naturally.

In real life, I'm white - pale, ghostly. Thank you Mother. We have this sort of translucent skin that the Roman goddesses would have envied. Then along came Island Tans. I started working there just out of high school. And while the job actually turned out to be one of the better moves I've ever made (I could blog about the life changing experience Island Tans was for me, seriously), I also found the beds of bulbs.

I also discovered just how much I love being tan. Love it. I can't even tell some of you how often I went: (1) You will realize how fraudlent my skin tone really was, and (2) You'll all tell me I'm going to die of cancer.

And yes, I'd say that given the amount of time I've spent baking, I'm at risk. (But then again, pretty much everything gives you cancer these days. I fear cancer.) So roughly a year ago, when a certain redhead, whom I was not yet eternally attached to, told me I was killing myself and challenged me to not tan for a month, I of course took him up on it. (He didn't think I could do it, and I enjoy proving people wrong.) And I haven't tanned since.

Now I will be the first to admit that I miss it. I miss the tan, I miss the warm twenty minute break. However, because it is a battle I cannot win as the redhead has significantly better arguments (uh, cancer, oh and then there's, um, cancer), I don't bother. (Plus it costs money.)

Oh, and then I discovered Jergen's Natural Glow lotion. Sure, I may look like I have a fake tan, but at least this fake tan doesn't contribute to real cancerous cells. (Until, of course, research is developed that links bronzers to cancer.)

But really? I'm enjoying this glow. It's lovely. Straight out of a bottle sunshine.

(However, I'm really looking forward to baking next to a swimming pool this summer. Don't tell.)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

how many pairs?!

So there was a time when many of you were dying to get your hands on a pair of Dr. Martens. Admit it.

For a while there, they were the only cool shoes to wear. But as my parents didn't prefer indulging us with overpriced, incredibly thick-soled boots and sandals, they were hard to come by in the Christensen household. (Payless came out with some excellent imitations, however. Only drawback? The smell...) However, when I accompanied my dad to England when I was 16, I insisted that we visit the Dr. Marten Superstore. And we brought shoes back for all (including a miniature pair for baby Danielle). We were especially cool (at a fraction of the cost) as we had them before they reached the U.S. (So cool.)

Rissa, number three in the Christensen line up of daughters, was particularly enthused with the footwear. During the Dr. Marten craze, whenever we purchased something of substance, Rissa would always say, "Do you know how many pairs of Dr. Martens you could buy with that?" And she would calculate it and let us know.

Last night, Jess and I finally bit the bullet and purchased our airfare to and from Asia. Now we leave in less than a month (!) so yes, we're cutting it pretty close. And given our place in the game, the price tag for said airfare was bordering on insane.

And all I could think of as we purchased our overpriced (coach) tickets was:

"Do you know how many pairs of Dr. Martens we could buy with this?"

Dozens Riss, dozens.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

sore loser

So I've been doing lots of crunches lately. It's an attempt to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. (And my gut.) So my abs are sore.

And then our fantasy NBA league wrapped up, leaving me not in the bronze medal slot I had been aiming for, but in fourth place. FOURTH PLACE?! Fourth doesn't get any sort of medal. It's like the best loser place. If you're going to lose, you might as well lose. Fourth is like, "You almost made it, but oh, not quite."

I feel so much like Wilbur. He may have been "some pig," but that didn't get him the ribbon. I'm some pig (cue the crunches), and I see no ribbon.

The best part is that Mr. Bronze's strategy was to just play, play, play. I initially tried to strategically create my line ups and play smart, and I mocked those who didn't. But by the end, if you'll recall, I just wanted it to all be over. Like a bad dream. Just let me hit the ground already. I adopted Mr. Bronze's strategy, but it was like three dozen games too late.

I hate losing.

And my abs are sore.

So here's to being a totally sore loser.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

pillow talk

So last night I hit the sack before Jess. (The NBA has some serious pull right now.) I fell asleep shortly after the two gunshots just outside our door (okay, so a car backfired twice, but you never know in the Dirty D). And this is what I recall happening some time later:

Jess came in and cozied up to me as I was obviously nice and cozy, and he was freezing. Being thus semi-awakened, I remember I said something. I also remember Jess asking me to repeat myself several times. (I'm told it didn't make any sense, thus the requests to repeat. And unfortunately, I don't remember what I was saying or the dream that prompted said speech.)

But I do remember that my thought process went something like this:

"Wake up. You're talking."
"No. I don't want to wake up."
"Then shut up. Stop talking. You sound stupid."

And in my half awake state, I just listened to him asking me to repeat myself, but I wouldn't.

But I refused to wake up as well. So there.

Good thing I argue with myself. In my sleep.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

in my opinion

We're down to seven folks. And I did come upon the realization this week that I will indeed miss the finale of my Idols while I'm in Asia. However, I will have the Internet. So I'd like to thank in advance those YouTubers who post their bootleg, usually a little fuzzy, renditions. I'm sure it's possible to enjoy my fuzzy Idols over a bowl of curry.

David Archuleta: It's hard for him to do poorly. I think the song choice was a little cheesy, but he busted it out. And it doesn't matter what he does - those little tweens would love him if he belched the alphabet.

Carly Smithson: So I really like her. But is it just me, or does she seem to look angry quite a bit? Not when she's talking, but when she's singing. It's like she has to wrinkle her face up in a scowl to get the big notes out. But I thought she did quite well tonight. She has a beautiful voice. But Simon doesn't like her much...

Brooke White: Didn't she sing that last week?

Syesha Mercado: Was that really a song? The judges enjoyed it. I thought she sounded all over the place. Strange song. If Mariah couldn't make it popular, um...

Kristy Lee Cook: Okay, I really do think she's getting better. I thought she did awesome tonight. However, I am a country girl at heart, so I like the twang that she twists her songs with. And let's just be excited that she left the Wranglers home for once!

Dread Locks: I feel like he needs to go find his surfboard and guitar and sail away.

David Cook: He deserves top honors tonight. I absolutely loved his version of "My Baby." He made it so unique, especially for a Mariah song. And I couldn't help but be emotional about the whole performance because my had already let me in on the secret that his older brother, who is dying of brain cancer, was able to attend tonight's show. With some serious rallying and fundraising that provided a private jet and medical staff, his doctors permitted him to attend.

I say vote for David Cook tonight. He's tuggin' at my heart strings, and he performed his guts out.

Monday, April 14, 2008

reunited (and it feels so good)

Andrea and I met when I moved into the house that my family still lives in. We were eleven years old, and she and her twin sister, Wendy, became my fast friends. Some of the best stories are those of the twins tricking teachers and others with their identical appearance. If you didn't know them, you really couldn't tell them apart. They drove our bus driver, Allen (affectionately referred to as "Nella") absolutely insane. Wendy was fond of acting up, Andrea was more studious. But when Wendy misbehaved, she used Andrea's name. Poor Nella never knew who he was yelling at.

Wendy found a boyfriend pretty early on, who went to a different high school, so we didn't see much of her :), but Andrea and I were pretty inseparable. I did her paper route with her on Sunday mornings so she could come to church with me. We went to Lake Powell, Brian Head, we played in the marching band together (clarinet, baby), and we endured not only the typical teenage angst but also some heart breaking times. Andrea spent most of our high school years as a fifth sister. To this day, she calls Lichelle (my mom), "mom."

Just after we graduated, Andrea joined the Marines. I saw her occasionally, but her tours of duty took her to the far reaches of the earth. She got married, had a baby (who is now six!), gave four years to the Marine Corps, and a myriad of other experiences while I did the education thing, a couple years at Dixie, a couple more at BYU, and then some years in the workforce.

Just before I got married, I was absolutely determined to find the twins. I called every number I had on them, all of which were dead ends. I called mutual friends. I searched the phone book for their relatives. Nothing. Finally, when I was absolutely desperate, I abandoned my pride and called Wendy's ex-husband. He was very gracious and gave me the last number he had for Wendy. I called it, just praying I'd get something. It was Wendy's new husband. He asked who was calling:

"Well, it's Shauntel, an old friend."
"Shauntel? I've heard about you! Wendy - it's Shauntel!"
Wendy: "Shut up. No it's not."

Wendy was able to catch me up - Andrea had since divorced, but was living in, you guessed it, North Carolina. (As a Marine, she was stationed here.) I gave Andrea a call and we were able to reconnect. Andrea is now seven months pregnant (with a baby boy) living with her beautiful daughter Elise. They flew out to Georgia today, and because the airport is closer to me than her, she drove down last night and spent the night with us. It was an absolute joy to see her again and to see how grown up her Elise is. We ate layered bean dip (one of my mom's specialties that Andrea loves, good thing I'm a mini mom, plus a few inches) and sat around chatting, just like old times.

I love that we have lived incredibly different lives, but have found our way to the same place once again. I'm so happy to have her close, if only for a few years. Such a beautifully small world we live in.

no fear!

So I try to eat healthy. But sometimes my PB&J on (sandy) wheat bread just doesn't hit the spot. I mean, it's filling and all (what with it's twelve grains, how couldn't it be), but doesn't everyone need a little bit of not healthy in their life? Doritos in particular.

So I went to the vending machine here at work to grab a bag. And on the screen, as I walked up to the machine, were the words, flashing in green: "HAVE NO FEAR!"

Um, okay.

So I fearlessly deposited my .80, defiantly pushed one-oh-six, bravely put my hand in the machine, and walked away, totally without fear, bag of Doritos clutched close to my side.

Who knew bravery was just an .80 bag of chips away?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

lake powell day

Time for flip flops, my friends. Time for flip flops. Beautiful day today. I'm just embracing the warmth. And not thinking about the fact that it's spring. And that summer will be, um, more warm. Hot even.

However, I'll be Tokyo. So it will be hot and humid, with a dash of pollution. :)

But I'm not thinking about that. Because I'm seriously loving today.

It's a Lake Powell day. That's the only way to describe it.

A Lake Powell day.


1. I think I've kicked the can again. And yes, Sunkist left me with massive hangover headaches for two days. I feel like we really need to spread the word - SUNKIST IS CAFFEINATED! Ignore it's sunny facade!

2. Japan News: We will be living in an apartment that is - in total - the size of our current bedroom. Sweetness. Now I can count on one hand the number of people that I allow in my space. Good thing Jess is one of them. Because we will be leaving ownership of space back in the U.S. of A. :) Also, and perhaps my most favorite news yet - two loops around the Imperial Palace (which Jess is working across the street from) is a handy (and popular) six mile run. :)

3. I led you all astray - someone is getting kicked off of Idol tonight. Now I know she's likely to be in the bottom, but Kristy Lee Cook pulled one out of her hat on Tuesday - I think Syesha might get the boot. Although I think that Jason Dreads should get serious point deductions for his tight pants and tiny ukelele.

4. I think my allergies were actually a cold. (As I've said, I regularly self-diagnose myself.) Because when it was raining, my "allergies" were the worst, which is kind of nonsensical. And now that the pollen is a blowin' again, my "allergies" are actually basically gone. Whatever the case, I'm grateful to have my face back.

5. This morning, because my radio show seemed to be on hiatus, I switched over to the CD player. In the deck was a Mo Tab CD that Jess had thrown in last Sunday. One thing I love about Jess (among many things) is that on Sundays, he always puts on good Church music or videos. I'm usually bustling around, preparing my insane nursery props, flattening my hair like a pancake. But he's Mr. Calm. Jess is my calm.

So I switched it over to Mo Tab. One of my most favorite hymns is one that is no longer in the hymn book, "Come Thou Fount." I think that it is so beautiful, both in melody and words. And today, in particular, the words struck a chord deep within me. I know that I tend to get a little crazy, I stress out, especially when I'm scared. (Cue Asia.) But in the end, it's the moments like the one I had driving into work today that help me remember it's all going to be okay. I'm so blessed, and sometimes I let that get away from me.

So here's to the moments of calm and peace that I'm so grateful for.

Come Thou Fount
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

(This is my favorite verse. Click the link above for the whole song, or
here for the words. :) )

Monday, April 7, 2008

items of business

1. For any of you who have kicked the can recently, as I (thought) I had, please be aware that Diet Sunkist, while it seems sunny and harmless, is actually caffeinated. Here's to kicking the can, AGAIN. Who knew?! (I should have listened to my sixth grade self and stuck with Sprite, I know.)
2. I've been doing some research on Japan. The best news I've discovered - the subway has signs and maps in English. Good thing, as my Japanese is limited to phrases like: "Ramen (noodles)," "Curry," and "Coca Cola." (It's been my experience that the latter of my Japanese phrases is incorporated into the vernacular of any given country. Too bad that given my first item of business, my latter Japanese phrase will be virtually useless.) (And those men with the white gloves are for real. Don't be jealous.)

3. To watch General Conference this year, we jimmy rigged our TV to display the contents of our computer monitor. Not only was it an ingenious idea, but it also prevented me from surfing the Web during the addresses. :) We were pretty proud. And then we realized that the local cable company actually carried conference this year, making all our smarts pretty much nil and void. However, we now know that we can check our email in high def. Take that Time Warner Cable.

4. This week is Idol Gives Back, which means no one is going home. So for those of you stressed out about Kristy Lee Cook's eminent departure, you are safe for one week. Instead, you get to enjoy a charity event, sponsored by a bevy of celebrities. (I know, it's really not as fun. Maybe they should send one of the celebrities home. "Brad Pitt, you are in the bottom three. Take a seat on the stools.")

5. I'm totally over my allergies. Well, mentally. I've decided that although my ears, nose and throat may think otherwise, I'm totally over them, and I won't mention them again. I'm moving on.

And I'm taking my non caffeinated WATER with me. (It's the only safe beverage, well, for the most part.)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

desert darling

I was oh-so naive. Look at me smiling. Little did I know.

Confession: I belong in the desert.

Although I've spent the better part of my quarter century on earth indicating my utter disgust of heat, especially my hometown's summers, I would much rather have my skin tightened by the hot St. George wind, my fingers scalded by a flaming steering wheel, than the allergies that are yet still upon me. I don't like this at all. I want to be healthy again - and the allergies just won't leave. In fact, they persist.

So yes, I belong in the desert, where the cactus is my friend, the tumbleweed a safe and welcome pollen-free neighbor. And this would explain my actual joy when Jess suggested we land in Phoenix after law school. I'll take it. I'll probably curse the summers (and we all know I won't do it quietly), but at least I won't be staring this NC pollen down.

The fact of the matter is, this could all be remedied if a/c was as useful in combating allergies as it is in combating heat (a great idea for any of you Einstens looking to invent the next big thing).

So to those of you I left in the desert, enjoy that hot, pollen-free air. It really is a beautiful thing.

Here's to an extra shot of Afrin.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


It's real folks. I left work early today due to my allergic sneezing fits and exploding head. And I headed home (after buying some new kind of allergy medicine(s)) with one purpose in mind - vacuum up the devil's pollen that is surely smooshed in our carpet, just waiting to seize my brain.

Well our kitchen table doubles as Jess' desk, so it's often covered in papers and books and such. Today he cleared off the majority of it to take it to school. But guess what had been left behind?

The. Yellow. Death.


pollen face?

So yesterday, my nose started running, my ears started caving in on me (you know that feeling you get when you dive too deep in a swimming pool), and I thought that surely Picasso face was upon me again. But then one of my co-workers suggested it might be allergies.

They say that the pollen gets so thick here that it actually creates a yellow film on the world. They call it the yellow death. You literally have to brush your car off in the morning. And keeping the windows open during those months isn't recommended. One co-worker, when she first moved here, called 9-1-1 because she was sure that the yellow foam in her stream was some industrial waste accident.

So maybe I don't so much have Picasso face as I have Pollen face. Either way, it blows. Or I blow. Like every five minutes. And for those of you who are wondering, it is indeed possible to be awakened by a SNEEZE. Seriously.

In Idol news, last night was a really good night. Our boy did great, and so did the rest of the crew, particularly Carly and Michael Johns. And although Syesha chose one of the heftiest songs in the world - "I Will Always Love You," made popular by the incredible Whitney Houston, written and first sung by music icon, Dolly Parton - I thought she did an amazing job. My prediction for the boot tonight? Ramiele. She did fine, but her pint-sized little baby face is driving me insane. Dough eyes can only get you so far, sister.


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