Monday, July 28, 2008


I love my job. Did you know, between Sept. and Jan., I will be visiting FOUR states that I've never visited before? And three of them are brought on by work travel? And not boring, shut-up in a conference room travel, but fun, CHARTER FLIGHT, exciting, go-with-the-flow travel?

Mm-hmm, that's right. You can all be jealous now.

In September, Jeremy and I are going with the Cougar Football team to Waco, Texas to play Baylor. It will be a quick trip, but super easy for me, because I'll just be getting on and off of busses and planes when I'm told. Oh, and did I mention that it's a chartered flight? My favorite parts (besides the DirectTV in every headrest) are the "get off the plane and straight onto the bus on the tarmac," and the "never wait in traffic because we have a police escort" parts!

October/early November will take me to L.A., Corvallis, San Jose, and Phoenix. I'm hoping I can send my dance team coach to one of the first three, because that's a lot of travel. But I've never been to Phoenix!

Then, over Thanksgiving weekend, I'm going to Honolulu, Hawaii with the team as well. The football game is on my birthday. So yes, I'll be spending my birthday in Hawaii. I guess the downside is that I'll spend Thanksgiving Day on a plane. Oh well, such sacrifices must be made. We'll be there for a full day on Friday, and I'm going to make the MOST of my one-day vacay in Hawaii. (Thursday and Sunday we're travelling, Saturday is the game)

In December, my whole side of the family is going to Nashville, Tennessee for my cousin's wedding.

Then, in January, I'm taking the Crimson Girls dance team to Orlando, Florida for the Universal Dance Association's Collegiate Nationals Competition. The competition is INSIDE Disneyworld Resort, and preliminaries are on the Indiana Jones outdoor stage.

Okay, I'm done bragging. I just feel incredibly blessed by my job - it has taken me some truly incredible places. (Last year: Wisconsin, Tucson, L.A. (twice), Seattle (twice), Eugene, San Jose (twice), Vegas, Denver, and Charlotte, N.C.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Who knew there was a jungle on the Palouse?

This is my back yard. Basically, it's 60+ years of overgrowth that I strive to retain, every week. After living in this house over two years, I have given up hope of ever really USING this back yard, mostly because it's on a very extreme slope and it would take a backhoe to get enough of the prickly shrubs (garden roses, holly, etc.) out of there for us to inhabit it.

Don't get me wrong. If someone had the financial means to actually get a backhoe down there, terrace the slope, and sod the lawn, this could be an extremely nice little area. But we don't have those financial means, and we don't have green thumbs. SO, I just do my best to keep the pathways clear and cut back enough so that when we go to sell the house, the buyers won't think it's TOO much of a hopeless jungle.

BUT the upside of having 60+ years of overgrowth means that I find real jems every now and then. For example, there's a plum tree back there! It grows those yummy little plums and they are ripening right now. Here are some other things I've found back there:



Sweet Pea

Pink/Red Roses

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Updated: USA Olympic Gymnastics Team

Well, this is a follow up to my post about our Olympic Gymnastics team. Here was the team I predicted:

Well, turns out, Jana Bieger is just an alternate. Here's the actual team:

So I was pretty close. This is the article on the team selected by Martha Karolyi.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Get Pumped Up

Go Cougs!

Product placement

This is for all of you who have dogs. Specifically, those who have big, strong dogs. Reggie is quite a chewer, and always has been, so usually I don't get him any plush squeaky toys. It usually takes him about 15 minutes to shred them and pull the stuffing out all over the house. But I also feel like a very mean and guilty mother because I am denying him that joy.

SO, I found a solution. Well, two solutions, actually. The first is a line of "Tuffie Toys" that you can find at Petco. These are really tough squeaky plush toys that are almost impossible to rip apart. Reggie has the cow.

The second is "Egg Babies." Basically this is for dogs who are obsessed about getting the squeaker out of their plush toys. Reggie's fish comes with five eggs that you stuff inside its pouch, and then he has to work to get them out. Then he feels like he has accomplished something, and I don't have to clean up the stuffing for a half hour, and the toy's not ruined!! It comes in other animals too, including an alligator, a turtle, or a hedgehog. I found it in Vancouver, B.C. and paid way too much for it. It's affordable on the website above.

Here's Reggie with the Fish. :) Mom and Corrie, there's the "new" living room rug that you haven't seen yet. Yes, I even vacuumed it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Dark Knight

I absolutely loved Batman Begins (see here). So I was really excited about The Dark Knight, especially because the reviews were great and it was so critically acclaimed. I thought BB was a dark film, so I was surprised to see the Gotham world get even darker. I had heard a lot of Oscar buzz for Heath Ledger's Joker, which I attributed to a "pity nomination," because of his passing.

HOWEVER, after seeing his performance, I wouldn't be shocked if he was not only nominated, but won the Academy Award. Where Jack Nicholson's Joker was goofy and comic-booky, Ledger's Joker was the most horrifying, gruesome villain I've probably ever seen. brrohg! - gives me the creeps to just think about it!

The movie was great, maybe a little long (almost three hours), but they had to make it so in order to (minor spoiler) give both villains adequate screen time.

There's a great scene in Hong Kong, and the chase-sequences are fantastic. Aaron Eckhart plays a very strong Harvey Dent and I thought Maggie Gyllenhall was a much better Rachel than Katie Holmes. I give this one a very solid A-, and I think I only rated it so low because I had to look away in fright/horror a couple of times.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

It isn't just a game.

Rick Reilly is one of the best sports writers in the business. He used to write the back-page column for Sports Illustrated, but has now moved to ESPN. I don't think it's a conincidence that when Reilly left SI, Jeremy and I cancelled our subscription. The following is one of Reilly's final columns for SI. We have it up on our fridge, but I wanted to share it here as well. I think it speaks true for those of us who truly have a love for sports. Enjoy!

It Isn't Just a Game
By Rick Reilly

When I was a sophomore in college, working on the town newspaper, a professor took me aside and said, "You need to get out of sports. You're better than sports."

I still get that crap. "So when are you going to graduate from sports and go write for Time?" strangers will say. "You know, do something important?"

I stamp my feet and hold my breath and insist that sports is important and worthy of my devotion. And they go, "Why?" And that's when I look at them like a poodle at a card trick. But now I'm ready with my answer.

I love sports because . . .

- It's about loyalty and passion and family. We love the Vikings because Grandma loved the Vikings, and nothing and nobody is going to make us switch. Sports isn't an escape from life - it's woven into the fabric of it.

- It leads to instant parades. How cool is that? Name anything else in life that galvanizes a city to pull off a parade involving 500,000 people with two days' planning? And then the guys in the parades do jigs in kilts.

- It's the best kind of reality TV. That's real blood. Those are real tears. There's no director hollering, "Cut! Effects!" I was covering the NBA once when Seattle's 7'2" Tom Burleson fell hard under the hoop. No foul. As he was running downcourt, hand to bleeding mouth, he suddenly whipped something that hit me in the chest and plopped onto my notepad. It was his tooth.

- It gives us a sense of place. Even if there isn't a single Indianapolis Colt from Indianapolis, the players live there, they eat there, they take out their trash there. They carry the flag for our town and our friends. And in the era of one-Starbucks-per-parking meter cities, sports gives us Wrigley, Fenway, and Lambeau. Remember that the next time they want to tear down your stadium and put up a damn Invesco Field.

- There's no back door in. If you're Aaron Spelling's daughter and you want to act, you get to act. If you're a Trump, you get to build. But nobody in sports makes it onto the field because he caught a lucky sperm. Jose and Ozzie Canseco were identical twins. Jose played 1,887 major league games. Ozzie played 24.

- And sports doesn't care how you did last month, either. If you're Derek Jeter and you stop hitting, it doesn't matter how many Visa commercials you've done, you're toast. And yet Flavor Flav still puts out CDs.

- It turns hardened people to mush. Truck drivers weep over it. Nurses are overcome. Tell me the last time the ballet did that.

- The No Way That Just Happened moment seems to happen every 20 minutes. Fifteen laterals to win at 00:00; 41-point 'dog whips No. 1; kid overcomes cancer to clinch World Series. The notion that anybody can become president is pretty much dead - but in sports, anybody can still grow up to beat Michigan.

- It encourages good, healthy hating. If I'm an Auburn fan, I can hate you, an Alabama fan, from the bottom of my hater, and it's alright. I can seethe about it and write blogs about it and boo about it without getting arrested or hit with a restraining order. Who knows where all that hate would go without sports?

- It's cheap. With HD, who needs tickets? We've all been the guy who spent a week's salary to go to the game and ended up wishing he was back on the couch eating queso dip with his buddies. (That's another thing: Without sports, would there even be queso dip?)

- It's black and white, there's no gray area. Every night there's a winner and there's a loser and nothing in between. There's no waiting to see the third-quarter fiscal report. It's open to zero interpretation. I've never been to a game yet where, at the end, the ref announced, "O.K., Cleveland won 14-13, but the Cleveland coach was blocking his deep-seated childhood need for validation. So, actually Buffalo is the winner." There's a score and it's fair and clean and easy to understand. Except for figure skating, of course.

- It's new all the time. A Rolling Stones concert is the same 80 nights in a row, but an Avalanche-Red Wings game is a new, epic novel every time.

- It gives us something safe to talk about at Thanksgiving without upsetting Aunt Harriet or causing Grandpa to storm off in a huff. It's not religion, politics, war, or money. Sports is a way in. One of the best emails I ever got was from a 25-year-old: "Thanks for writing what you did about the RedSox. It's the first time I've been able to talk to my dad in five years."

So bite me, professor. Thirty years later, I still don't think I'm better than sports. In fact, it's been the other way around the whole time.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Operation weekend = Success

I actually accept the fact that today is Monday - embrace it, really, because my weekend felt like such a success. Friday I drove to Spokane to see if my dad's mechanic could save me some cash on a needed car repair. I had gotten two very high estimates here in Pullman. Turns out, making the trip saved me $500!! Praise God. A shout goes out to Manito Automotive (product placement).

Then, since I was already up there, I got to hang out with my sister at her pool and go to lunch at China Garden (I highly recommend it, especially since my brother-in-law works there and my sister used to!). Then, I drove home to Pullman and cleaned my house because we had a "Sushi and wine party." Jeremy slaved for hours making a TON of sushi and we gobbled it up in no time. So Friday was very eventful and fun.

Then, Saturday morning I went to the farmer's market in Moscow and got some amazing deals on produce (a bunch of carrots for 50 cents and two ears of corn for $1). Then I picked up my new dance coach, Erika, and we drove to Richland for Crimson Girls dance team bonding time! We spent 7 hours lounging by the pool and eating the food one that of the girls' dad kept barbecuing for us!

By Sunday after church I was exhausted and loafed around all day with Reggie (see below). Perfect!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I saw the trailer for Hancock way back in January and got really excited about it for two reasons:

1. It seemed like finally someone was making the movie about how unfulfilling it might feel to be a superhero, and how costly the damage could be to the city.

2. And with Will Smith on board, the previews looked hillarious, and I thought they had the potential to make a well-done "spoof" movie about a reluctant superhero.

It turns out that this movie is way more serious than it's preivews suggested, almost a character study of the Hancock character. I was a little disappointed, because I had been wanting this to be a comedy (there's some good laughs in the first 30 minutes) and got something completely different.

There have been plenty of bad reviews of Hancock, but I disagree. I liked the movie, even though it was not what I expected. Despite the negative reviews, Will Smith once again wins out with his 4th of July release date (see Men in Black 2, Independence Day, I-Robot, Bad Boys II) - Hancock has already made $104 million. I agree that he is probably the only truly bankable movie star alive today.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fourth of July weekend

I hope everyone had fun over the long weekend! Jeremy and I went to Coeur d'Alene Lake to my parents' float house, and lazed around until Sunday morning at 5 a.m., when we drove into town for Jeremy to compete in the 1st Annual Race The River Triathlon. He did a FANTASTIC job for his first triathlon. We were exhausted by the time we got home last night, but that was exactly what I would have asked for a holiday weekend. I've posted pictures below. More pictures available on Facebook. I think I'll spare my sister the embarrassment of posting the drunk video I took of her. Aren't I nice?
Corrie teaching Jeremy to play Cribbage.
Jeremy and me on the porch of the float house.
The men's transision area at Race the River.
Jeremy getting set up (5:45 a.m.).
Jeremy's start group - males 29 years and younger. (1/2 mile swim)
Starting the bike leg. (11 miles)
After the run portion (5k). Jeremy had a GREAT finish time! 1 hour, 18 minutes. He was 9th in his age group, and I'm very proud!