Nina's Stillwater Calendar

Friday, September 28

Being Self-Centered

Like some 2-yr-old who keeps watching the same movie, my first question for Brad after wakeboarding last Saturday was "When can we go again?" And like the parent who doesn't really want to watch Pokemon again but gives in eventually anyway, Brad took me wakeboarding again on Thursday. I know cajoling someone into wakeboarding almost sounds like a favor, but Brad has been wakeboarding longer than I've been shaving and he has taught hundreds of people to get up on a board. So I suppose some of the novelty has worn off. I knew when I emailed him and called him to ask if we were going, when we were going, how we were going, that he really didn't want to go. But I still didn't say "If you don't want to go, it's alright." So maybe I am self-centered, but I thought I was making progress by noticing I was walking all over someone and even feeling a slight twinge of guilt about it. In fact, I felt quite good about myself until I got home that night.

Scott was already in bed so I turned off the light and crawled under the covers. Then Scott thanked me for turning off the light. And not just "Thanks." He had several sentences of thanks describing how much he appreciated me turning off the light. I was surprised since it was just a light and I only turned it off. It turns out I often crawl into bed, after Scott is already laying down, and leave the light on so that he has to get up to turn it off. By often I mean three times in the past week. And I've never noticed. Apparently I haven't made as much progress as I'd hoped.

Monday, September 24

Why don't I mind staying up late with Algebra?

I was working the Algebra homework with Melissa last Tuesday night when I waxed perfectionistic and said something I already regret. She was feeling tired and wanted to quit and go home. This is a perfectly understandable reaction to working seemingly intractable Algebra problems at 11pm. And I popped up with something along the lines of "I don't mind staying up late because I am such an anti-social studyholic that I do homework for the pure joy of it and I don't even care about the grade." Which isn't true. I know it isn't true because I go to Real Analysis three days a week and spend the entire 50 minutes day-dreaming. And then I pout about doing the homework. But then do it anyway for the sole purpose of getting a passing grade. So I am clearly not into the "pure joy of math" thing. The part about not minding the late hours was true though. So what did I really mean?

"I don't mind staying up late because I actually like this topic and I am fickle and self-centered enough to think I should only have to study things that look interesting."

"I don't mind staying up late because I have gotten good grades so far and the professor thinks I understand what he is talking about and if I don't do well on this homework the professor will realize I don't get it."

"I don't mind staying up late because it gives me an excuse to sleep in tomorrow morning instead of getting up and exercising or otherwise making myself useful."

"I don't mind staying up late because sometime last year the rational voice in my head that used to tell me that 2 am is much too late for math homework suffocated and died."

Sunday, September 23

"Wanna Experience" List

Well, I moved Wakeboarding from my "Wanna Experience" list to my "Wanna Learn More" list. In the past year I've checked items such as Bake a Gingerbread House and Kayaking off that same list. And next weekend I get to check Geocaching off. So I thought it was time to review my "Wanna Experience" list and see what else I might check off someday soon:

"Wanna Experience"
1. Go to China
2. Make jerky
3. Hike the Narrows in southern Utah
4. Wakesurf (just added!)
5. Backpacking
6. Build a tree house (Don't worry if it doesn't make sense. I don't know why either.)
7. Visit Havasu Falls in Arizona
8. Jump off something tall
9. Eat at a French restaurant

Unfortunately, this list competes with some of my other lists for resources:

"Have to Do"
1. Dishes
2. Laundry
3. Grocery Shopping
4. Homework
5. Vacuum

"Wanna Learn"
1. Fight
2. Play the fiddle
3. Garden
4. Fly something (glider, small plane, helicopter, anything)
5. Chinese (working on this one)

"Wanna Do More"
1. Paint Minis
2. Play DnD, Wii, GuildWars
3. Wakeboard (new addition)
4. Remodel
5. Cook
6. Kayak
7. Afternoon Tea

"Really Important"
1. Visit my nephew and cousin in California
2. Learn math
3. Be nice to my husband
4. Be spiritual
5. Exercise and be healthy
6. Sleep

And if I only have so much money and time, which do I do? Do I keep doing things I love and get better at them, or try new things and only get a taste for any of it. Of course the answer is somewhere in between, but where?

At an internship interview I was asked what I liked to do. I started listing them: painting, rollerblading, cooking, remodeling, etc. The interviewer was stunned. I was the first person he interviewed that had responded with a list of things they liked to do. The others all had organizations they were in (e.g. Student Council) or impressive things they had accomplished (e.g. Ending World Hunger). So, not to be outdone, here is one last list:

"Impressive Things I've Done"
1. Didn't scream and run for help when I saw a spider that one time.
2. Married Scott and loved him anyway.
3. Went without a shower for 6 months. Hey! Watch that dirty mind of yours. I don't mean I didn't take a shower. I mean I didn't have a working shower in my house.
4. Let my little brother watch the same awful Pauly Shore movie (Biodome) three times on one Saturday.


Yesterday a friend took me wakeboarding for my first time. When he invited me, I was under the impression there would be the four of us and a few other people. The few other people turned out to be eight other people. So 12 people who barely knew each other were crammed onto a boat for 6 hours. For those who didn't know, once upon a time (sophomore year, actually) I was thin. Not a toned sun-goddess, but still pretty thin. That was about the last time I felt entirely comfortable stripping down to a swimsuit and hanging out in cramped quarters with a bunch of strangers for 6 hours. So I kept a t-shirt and board shorts on over my swimsuit for awhile. But it was hot (91F) and the water around the boat was much cooler so eventually I shed the shirt and jumped in. But the shorts interfered with my movements so eventually I shed those too. And eventually I was having way too much fun swimming and wakeboarding and watching Brad wakesurf to care about showing off my pudgy belly or flabby arms in a swimsuit. Instead, I just had a really good time. I even managed to complete the first three steps in beginning wakeboarding:

1. Squatting up on the board.
2. Standing up on the board.
3. Face planting in the water.

Brad offered to let me wakesurf but I was too scared to try it the same day I tried wakeboarding. And then I kicked myself later. So someday I hope to have a similar starting list for wakesurfing, but not today.

While I lived near the Columbia for the summer I learned people had developed many ways to follow a boat on a board. And there were enough fanatics out there that companies made boats specially designed for dragging people on boards. Which led to more ways to for people to follow a boat on a board. Here are a few I've learned about:

Wakeboarding - Sticking your feet in booties attached to a board and then holding a rope while a boat drags you along.
Wakeskating - Wakeboarding, but no booties, just high grip material on the board.
Wakesurfing - Follow the boat by surfing in the wake with no booties and no rope.
Kneeboarding - Just like it sounds.

Thursday, September 20

Posting (in)Consistency

You may have noticed that most of my posts this semester seem to occur on Sunday, Monday and Thursday. That's because my schedule this semester is as follows:

Sunday: Procrastinate all homework by goofing off, cleaning the house, going to church, whatever.
Monday: Feel somewhat guilty about procrastinating and mollify myself by 'accomplishing' little tasks, like writing in my blog.
Tuesday: Stay up until 1am finishing the Algebra homework that I should have started earlier.
Wednesday: Spend the day recuperating in an Algebra-induced haze.
Thursday: Celebrate recuperation by procrastinating homework and writing on blog. Followed by staying up until 1am finishing the Analysis homework.
Friday: Spend the day recuperating in an Analysis-induced haze. Followed by escaping the sad reality of my life by playing DnD.
Saturday: Prepare to procrastinate in comfort on Sunday by going grocery shopping. Followed by staying up until 1am having fun.

To Scott and Chris: Just in case you didn't think I cared, that link to the definition of mollify is for you two.

Monday, September 17

Teenage Marriage, Part IV: Feelings

This isn't really related to being teenagers when we got married. It is more related to the fact that I'm not particularly nice, especially to my husband. And I found a little comic that sums it all up which I just had to post, so I am stretching the series topic a bit to encompass this gem:

I suppose I could change and become sweet and loving. I know Scott wishes I would occasionally. He even asked once. We were on the subway in DC. He was feeling cocky about the fact that I completely failed to notice something very obvious and observed that he can see and hear better than I can. I countered with "Yeah, that's true. But I smell and taste better." He thought this was a little low and asked me to start being sweeter. So I did...for about 20 minutes. I relented when he begged for mercy. I really didn't lay it on very thick. He just can't handle sweet.

Sunday, September 16

Teenage Marriage, Part III: Gusto

I titled this little series "Teenage Marriage", but what do I know about teenage marriage? I mean I got married as a teenager, but how is that different from getting married at some other age? A 30-year-old probably gets a better honeymoon, a side effect of owning more than $34 in small bills and a 20-yr-old Oldsmobile on her wedding day. But her 30-yr-old husband will promptly start acting like a man and she will have stories much like mine. So what makes a teenage marriage special?

I am going to guess the answer is 'gusto'. I'm not putting down all those loving, happy marriages that started off with maturity and resources and the ability to legally purchase alcohol. But there is a certain enthusiasm that comes with being young and stupid that we lose as the years go by. Of course this enthusiasm can lead to overrun credit cards, ill-advised pregnancies, and other assorted precursors to a bitter divorce. It doesn't have to end that way. It can also end in a bitter middle-aged marriage, kept together because of kids and habit, suffused with resentment over lost opportunities. This is why teenage marriages aren't typically encouraged.

Obviously, I am laboring under the impression that my marriage is an exception to the aforementioned pitfalls and that the gusto in my teenage marriage was a good thing. At their best, maybe teenage marriages can provide a cushion of support that allows both partners to pursue all of the opportunities available to young adults. Having a permanent back-up is nice at all ages. When I head out of town for conferences or internships, someone is home taking care of my house and dogs. When Scott is working all night, someone brings him dinner and a pillow. We'd go to internships and work all night if we were single too, but it is easier and more fun to do it with a back-up person available. But teenagers are particularly prone to needing a back-up:

Umm, sweetie? I missed the bus...again.

Did you know that particular cleaner could melt plastic?

Well, I didn't
realize I left the cell phone in the pocket when I threw them in the wash!

I can't do this problem. I am way too stupid. Why did anyone let me into school anyway? I am going to fail. I should quit now.

And marriage (at its best, at least) gives teenagers a built in back-up that loves them even when they leave their shoes on the floor and wash their new cell-phones and start crying over an algebra problem.

Thursday, September 13

Will "Old Friend" please stand up?

Time for a short digression from the adventures of teenage marriage. I learned a lot of lessons when I lost my brothers and, as a result, two of my best friends. I don't have that many friends and the ones I do have I lose track of 20 minutes after they or I move away. I just don't put effort into it and then I feel guilty about it. So it is something I very much want to change. An "old friend" commented on my blog this morning. There are only a few people that old friend could be and at least two of them I have tried to contact in the past year and haven't been able to find. So will old friend please please please email me? My username is ninadawn and I use gmail.

Monday, September 10

Teenage Marriage, Part II: Housekeeping

I was at my parents house and I took off my shoes and left them sitting in the middle of the living room. My dad tripped over them on his way in to the room and yelled at me. Really not so different from the hundreds of other times I had done the same thing over the years, only now I was married and had my own apartment so my dad altered his speech a bit with this rhetorical question: "You don't do this at your house do you?" I think he was trying to make the point that I take good care of my apartment so I should take good care of his house too. Obviously, Scott and I just stared at him somewhat confused. Why wouldn't I do that in my apartment? Who's going to stop me? Well, no one ever stopped me. But who's even going to yell at me for it?

Teenagers aren't well-known for their housekeeping prowess and when two of them are free to junk up an entire apartment as much as they can stand, scary things happen. And I had a history of junking things up. Scott and I went to a residential high school where my room was known as "the pit" for reasons that are best left to the imagination while Scott's was the model room. Seriously, the admins literally used his room as a tour stop for potential donors and such. At the time I hoped he would relax a bit. Incidentally, I got my wish. And now wonder why I ever wished it. But back to junking up apartments, we really did try to keep it habitable. Which led to its own sorts of adventures:

Scott is really wonderful about doing things around the house when I ask him. So when I was cleaning our tiny first apartment and asked him to please shake out the kitchen rug, he obliged by promptly picking it up and shaking it out. In the kitchen.

Speaking of kitchen chores, in my house, the husband always does the dishes. After all, I made dinner. But one afternoon I decided to do the dishes myself, to be extra nice. I had never run a dishwasher before, but I'd seen him do it and how hard could it be? I loaded it up, grabbed the dishsoap I always use for washing dishes, started the dishwasher, and walked away feeling very proud of myself for doing a bit of housekeeping. And I kept feeling very proud of myself until I walked back into the kitchen for a drink and stepped into the cloud of soap bubbles covering the kitchen floor. That never happened when Scott used the dishwasher! I must have used too much dishsoap. So I grabbed some towels, cleaned the floor, put away the dishes and generally hid all evidence of my little adventure. After all, what new wife wants her husband to realize she can't run a dishwasher? Two days later, I knew Scott would be out for a few hours so I tried again. And walked right into another sud cloud. What could I be doing wrong? Load dishes, add soap, start machine. What can I be messing up? I waited another two days until we had enough dishes for another load, then I loitered around in the kitchen after dinner waiting for Scott to run the dishwasher so I could see how it was done. He pulled a bucket of white powder out from under the sink. It was dishwasher detergent. Who knew? I mean, isn't one dishsoap good enough? How was I supposed to know a dishwasher required its own special soap? And being the stealthy spy-type I naturally am, I immediately exclaimed, right in front of my husband, "Oh, it has its own soap!" Whereupon he demanded an explanation. And a very embarrassed wife explained to her husband why the floor looked so sparklingly clean earlier that week.

Sunday, September 9

Teenage Marriage, Part I

Like many couples, we have a wedding picture up on our wall. What do people think when they look at these photos? Maybe it is good things:

I had no idea how lucky I was.

That was the happiest day of my life.

Or maybe not:

He sure was thinner back then. Except his hair. That was thicker.

I hated that suit. Why'd she make me wear it. I should've realized how pushy she'd be then.

That was the happiest day of my life. They've all been downhill since.

If they had a teenage wedding like I did, they are probably thinking something like:

I married that boy?!? What was a I thinking? Weren't there any men left?

Specifically I wonder how I could have I married a guy that looks like those silly little freshman boys at the university. How did I not notice I was marrying a kid? And what does he think when he looks at me? I looked even younger than the perfectly legal 18 years I really was. Se we each married someone with no money, no maturity, and no idea what they were doing. I know that probably sounds like a recipe for divorce, or at the very least, somewhat irresponsible. But getting married while so young and stupid inexperienced has led us to many adventures we would have been too boring responsible to undertake otherwise. Those adventures will be the topic of the next few posts.

Tuesday, September 4

To Daddy

My Dad called me today to ask why it was that there are photos or trips Scott and I took this summer, but none of any trips we took this summer. I would like to point out that I am doing this blog in reverse chronological order when it comes to the summer. Which is why I haven't gotten to it. But my dad is more important than a well-ordered blog, so here is a photo from the Grand Tetons:

Now, since I was sweet enough to put up a photo, do I get something special this year for Christmas?