Saturday, February 24, 2007

Small Talk

One of the books I'm currently reading is called The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World. Which, of course, would be impossible for the author, A.J. Jacobs, because I am the smartest person in the world. There's just no way he can surpass me. But I digress. Jacobs decides the best way to become smart is to read the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica. While I won't actually review his book here (I will on my book blog as soon as I finish it), I will share some nuggets of knowledge and wisdom from the book:

Elves: "Elves in traditional folklore sat on people's chests while they slept to give them bad dreams. They also stole human children and substituted deformed fairy children."

Gandhi: He wasn't always the hero and saint the world views him as today. When he was a teenager he smoke, dabbled in atheism, stole minor goods, and even ate meat. Gasp!

Jefferson, Thomas: He apparently paid reporters to "libel his nemesis John Adams."

Language: A capitonym is when two words are spells identically, but the meaning changes when it begins with a capital letter. Ex: Polish and polish. A miranym is the word halfway between opposites. Ex: flat is the miranym of concave and convex.

Mechanics, fluid: If you buy gas on colder days you get more for your money. Liquids compress when chilled so you're getting more gasoline per gallon.

Nursery rhyme: "'Jack and Jill' is actually an extended allegory about taxes. The jack and jill were two forms of measurement in early England. When Charles I scaled down the jack (originally two ounces) so as to collect higher sales tax, the jill, which was by definition twice the size of the jack, was automatically reduced, hence 'came tumbling after.'"

Oyster: Can change their sex depending upon the temp. of the water! Crazy eh?

Patriotism: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, exactly fifty years after signing The Declaration of Independence.

Raspberry: Strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are really aggregate fruits, while bananas, pumpkins, and oranges are really berries.

Spanish-American War: "Spain declared war on the United States on April 24, followed by a U.S. declaration of war on the 25th, which was made retroactive to April 21." If the U.S. government can declare things retroactively, so can I. Like shotgun. Or in break-ups.

Time: Daylight hours used to be split up into 12 hours no matter the season. The length of one hour therefore constantly fluctuated.

I hope you all feel enlightened after reading this. Or at least like you have some interesting small talk for the next time you meet someone you have absolutely nothing in common with.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Uno, dos, tres...catorce?

April tagged me and now I get to tell you all six random and/or strange facts about myself. Six random things that most of you don't already know. Hmmm....

Here we go:

Uno: I tend to name my possessions. I have a plant named Greggory (who also happens to be dying at the moment), a mountain bike named Laurence Christopher, a road bike named Martin Jay, a Nissan Sentra named Jane, an iPod named Hank, and an SLR camera named Joseph. I also name my Christmas trees every year: Bruce the Spruce, Gramma, and Alba Leche to list a few. I haven't yet named my guitar or violin but if you have suggestions, feel free to let me know.

Dos: I recently found out that I'm allergic to celery. I've always loved the way it makes my tongue go a bit numb, but apparently that is a sign of an allergic reaction. I figure it hasn't killed me yet though, so I may as well keep eating because I really do like that slightly numb feeling. I do keep Benadryl on hand (just in case).

Tres: I despise the color purple. I think it's ugly. Every once in a while I'll still wear it because it happens to look good on me, but I think it's truly an awful color. My children will never wear purple.

Quatro: When I was eight, I was obsessed with The Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley High books. I loved Elizabeth (from Sweet Valley High) so much that I begged my parents to name my little sister Elizabeth. Luckily they liked it and we have ancestors with the name so I got my wish.

Cinco: I think I look horrid with my hair pulled back. Sometimes it's a necessity (working out, windy, etc.), but I usually wear it down.

Seis: One of my favorite Christmas presents of all time is the Official Scrabble Dictionary I got it a couple of years ago. I love both regular Scrabble and Speed Scrabble. A couple days ago I looked to see if there was an official Scrabble Club in Colorado Springs and was seriously bummed to find that there isn't. And then was tempted to not move because of it. I recently bought a mug that lists all of the "x" words out just so I could study them while I drank my tea. I have all the "q without u" words memorized. And sometimes I like to read the dictionary for fun. It's okay, I already know I'm a nerd :)

And now I'm supposed to tag some other people, so how about: Ellesappelle, Stacy, Mike, Ben, Andrea Jolene, and Heidi. Only if you want to though, no pressure, I'll still love you if you don't :)

Smackdown With The Donald

Who doesn't love two billionaires with bad hair going at each other? I know I do. If you haven't heard, The Donald, along with his massive ego, challenged Vince McMahon (WWE billionaire) to a wrestling match. McMahon suggested that instead of fighting each other, they'd pick WWE fighters to do the dirty work for them. And whichever billionaire loses will then have his head shaved. See video footage here.

Personally, I think The Donald will purposely lose because deep down inside he knows he would look better bald. There are maybe 4 people on this planet who think Donald's hair is sexy. Excuse me while I lose my lunch.

Which brings us to a fun (somewhat random) little question for you readers out there: Would you rather make out with Donald or crazy eyes Steve Buscemi (shown to the right)? Why?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Twenty Something

Lyrics courtesy of Jamie Cullum, one of my favorites:

After years of expensive education,
a car full of books and anticipation
I'm an expert on Shakespeare and that's a hell of a lot,
but the world don't need scholars as much as I thought.

Maybe I'll go traveling for a year,
finding myself or start a career.
I could work for the poor though I'm hungry for fame,
we all seem so different but we're just the same.

Maybe I'll go to the gym, so I don't get fat,
aren't things more easy with a tight six pack?
Who knows the answers? Who do you trust?
I can't even separate love from lust.

Maybe I'll move back home and pay off my loans,
working nine to five answering phones.
Don't make me live for my Friday nights,
drinking eight pints and getting in fights.

I don't want to get up, just let me lie in,
leave me alone, I'm a twenty something.

Maybe I'll just fall in love that could solve it all,
philosophers say that that's enough,
there surely must be more.

Love ain't the answer nor is work,
the truth eludes me so much it hurts.
But I'm still having fun and I guess that's the key,
I'm a twenty something and I'll keep being me.

I'm a twenty something
Let me lie in, Leave me alone.
I'm a twenty something.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Pst.... Let Me Tell You A Secret

Every Sunday, the PostSecret website (Note to my more conservative readers: The website may contain shocking material) is updated with new secrets people have sent in on postcards. The topics of the postcards are varied, covering topics such as : love, loneliness, happiness, humor, sadness, etc. Some of them are quite shocking in nature, others make me laugh, and some bring tears to my eyes. I always find ones that touch me personally and remind me that everyone has problems. I remember one roommate who always went around saying, "You never know the secret sorrows of others." And it's true. I'm constantly amazed by the things I find out about some of the people around me. Even some of the people I've known for a long time.

Every week I check the website to see the new cards and my favorite this week was this one:

Anyway, I thought I'd make a postcard of my own and share it with you all. It's not the most shocking or touching secret in the world, but if it was, I probably wouldn't be sharing it online :)

The other day I was watching "You've Got Mail" and after Meg Ryan's character, Kathleen Kelly, decides to close her bookstore, Bertie tells her that "closing the store is the brave thing to do." Kathleen protests, but Bertie insists something like, "You are daring to imagine a different life!"

I keep telling myself that I'm daring to imagine a different life, and it's true, I am doing that. But I'm also scared to death that it won't work out, that I won't be able to get a job, find an apartment, or make friends. Which is absurd. I will be able to find a job, as well as an apartment and friends. As a college student, I've moved A LOT in last few years and every time I have done so, I've made many fantastic friends. Friends that I now wonder how I lived without. It'll be the same in Colorado. So why is my irrational fear getting stronger?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Tri Geek

Two and a half weeks into triathlon training and I'm still loving it. Tired and loving it. I've decided that this is the world's best sport to train for. Since there's swimming, running, and cycling to work with, workouts are different everyday, catering to my slightly ADD tendencies. Sprints, endurance, and bricks (I think these are the most difficult). Bricks consist of an endurance bike followed immediately by a run. It's amazing how much harder it is to run when you've already spent your leg muscles on biking. I had no idea.

I'm even starting to like running. Sometimes. Because it's so much harder for me, I feel like I've accomplished so much more after completing a long, draining run. I've discovered that if I'm focused, it's easy to let my body go and for me to zone out during the run. If I'm not focused, I spend the whole time thinking about how much I hate running. Odd.

My favorite aspect of swimming is the feel of the cool water pressing in around you. It's such a wonderful feeling to slice through the coolness and hear nothing but the rippling of water. Unlike running, swimming forces you to focus on what you're doing. It's incredibly rhythmic since I spend the whole time counting strokes: one, two, three, breathe...

I love the speed and balance of cycling. It might be the most fantastic feeling in the world to speed down a steep hill after trekking up it. Wind blowing against your face and feeling it cool you down.

I'm addicted, it's true.

Friday, February 16, 2007

I'm Grounded

Okay, I've decided that I'm grounded from Ann Taylor's since I always find way too many cute clothes and shoes. Today I got this red skirt and a pair of nice tweed pants. I tried to find a picture of the pants, but no such luck.

Hick's for Valentine's Day

On V-day, I was leaving the hospital after visiting a friend. As I was approaching the elevators, I saw two twentysomething men imitating jackie chan moves on each other. Both looked like they had just finished rolling around in the dirt as they seemed to be covered from head to toe in filth.

I tentatively made my way to the elevator button when the tall one said with a deep drawl, "Are ya goin' down?" I nodded my head yes while already dreading the ride down with these two hicks. He replied with enthusiasm, "Great, come with us!" Great...

I stepped into the elevator and positioned myself safely in the corner, hoping that they wouldn't start their karate moves again in the confines of the elevator. I have a bit of an elevator fear without them adding stress to the ride. To my great relief, they started up a conversation rather than continuing their martial arts.

The tall one exclaimed, "My ma just woke up!"

Surprised I replied, "Well... That's great!"

They then proceeded to tell me how their mother had had a stroke and they were in her room when she started to open her eyes just a little. The short one was holding her hand and said, "Ma, if you can hear me, squeeze my hand."

He then asked for my hand and then demonstrated her slight reaction. They told me that after she had fully woken up, she was able to move both feet, both hands, stick out her tongue, talk, and remember everything.

It was just a short elevator ride, but the "hick's" excitement was contagious and really made my V-day.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


And so it's settled! My mamma has arranged her work schedule so that she can come out the last week of February and help me move. Woohoo! After becoming thoroughly frusterated with trying to find a job, I decided that I should just pick a place and then concentrate on finding a job there. I'd much rather determine the destination and be limited on job choices than the other way around. So I pulled up a United States map and started to look into places I wouldn't mind living.

Option #1:California. Coastal California. But most of the state was eliminated due to high living expenses. Someday I will be able to afford a living space in San Fran.

Option #2:Oregon and Washington. They were quickly eliminated after looking at the weather reports. Straight rain for a couple of weeks. It's no fun to bike in the rain. And I'd probably feel like killing myself after a week of straight rain.

Option #3:The Midwest. Been there done that. Way too cold. Way too many farms.

Option #4:The Southwest. Hot hot hot.

Option #5: The East Coast. Just as cold as the midwest and probably more expensive than California.

Option #6:The South. Absolutly no freaking way! I'd probably end up being brainwashed and flying a confederate flag in my front yard. (No offense to any of my blog readers that fly confederate flags in their front yards)

After looking at the map of the United States for about five minutes, I had successfully eliminated most of it.

But then there was Colorado. I had driven through it a couple years ago and remember being impressed by how beautiful it was. Especially Durango and Colorado Springs. So I looked into Colorado Springs and here's what I found out:

*The city is surprisingly temperate. The average high in January is 42 F and the average high in July is 85 F. Perfect! Although they have cold snaps and get snow, neither tend to last long. The absolute highest temperature it has ever reached was 101 F. Crazy. That'll be quite a lovely change from the hot Utah summers I've been enduring.

*Colorado Springs has a population of 360,890, which means that I'll probably be able to find a job somewhere.

*There are tons of people in Colorado Springs that enjoy biking, running, and the great outdoors. I'll find it easy to make biking friends and there are a couple of triathlons I'm already planning on signing up for. What an excellent opportunity to meet my future cycling husband. Wink wink.

Sold! I don't know a soul that lives there, but I'm excited to get away and make a fresh start. Although I'm sad about leaving some awesome friends, I'm pretty pumped about getting a clean slate to work from. Better to embrace change than to have it dumped upon you.

Monday, February 12, 2007

If You Love Someone, Tell Them

Time for a little reflection...

Over the past 4 1/2 years, I've undergone some massive personality changes. Some of them are good changes and some are most definitely not. When I graduated from high school, I was a girl who got along with everyone and never had trouble making friends, but I tended to follow the crowd and let other people decide what I was going to do. I rarely planned things or initiated activities. To sum up my personality in one word, I was extremely passive. I didn't know how to seek out what I wanted, I was constantly being pushed to and fro by others, and I never let people see my inner self and how I felt.

Somewhere along the line all that changed. I became someone who could tell people what I thought and wanted. I frequently express love for those I cherish dearly, appreciation for those who have influenced my life for the better, and admiration for people that I respect. Likewise, I am usually able to express my frustrations, sadnesses, and disappointments. I believe in communicating with emotional honesty and conversations built upon mutual respect and love.

Such communication is ideal, but I am starting to realize that it is not always possible. Communication cannot be one sided. If one of the parties is emotionally repressed, unwilling, or somewhat passive, emotional honesty can become a colossal challenge. Instead of freely expressing love, praise, and appreciation, I become apt to hide my feelings. Ashamed that I have the tendency to express them so frequently while the other party never does so. Instead of being able to deal with feelings of frustration, sadness, and disappointment in an adult manner, I become inclined to act in a passive-aggressive manner and/or more frustration ensues due to oppressed emotions.

There is no easy solution to this problem. Nope. I can't make others deal with things from an open and rational perspective, but I can hold myself up to this standard and never waver. From this point forward, I will in no way let others make me feel ashamed of my feelings, nor will I let people elicit the passive-aggressive end of my personality. I am committing myself anew to the mature expression of my thoughts and feelings. Problems are best dealt with before they are allowed to fester and grow into anger and bitterness. Love and appreciation are best built upon the expression of said emotions. If you love someone, tell them.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Putting the Mole in Whack-A-Mole

The last few months have not been easy ones. It seems I've been the mole in an intense game of emotional whack-a-mole with no end in sight. To my credit however, I have struggled to stay in the game, kept going even when I was being sledgehammered to death. Unfortunately, the last blow has been dealt and I'm officially raising my white flag. Crying uncle. Calling it quits. Congratulations team sledgehammer for a game well played.

In two weeks time I'm outta here. Goodbye Utah, land of jell-o, conservative politicians, and extended whack-a-mole.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

How to be a Well-Behaved Motorist

After almost being killed by several drivers today, I think it's time for the "How to Be a Motorist With Cyclists On the Road Chat."

Rule #1
Never infringe upon the biker's lane unless absolutely necessary. It's their lane. Treat it like a sidewalk. When pulling into a driveway you wouldn't run over poor pedestrians. If you absolutely must cross the bike lane, then make sure to signal and look to see if there's a biker approaching. If there is, then wait for them to pass.

Rule #2
If you're at a four way stop with a cyclist, let them go first. Even you were there first. Trust me, it's way easier for a motorist to stop and start again than it is for a cyclist. Especially if there are hills. The biker will love you forever, I promise.

Rule #3
If there is no bike lane, then technically the cyclist in front of you that you can't wait to get around has first dibs on the lane. If you try to pass them, make sure you're not crowding them out, forcing them into a pothole, or some other horrible fate. Some of those ditches on the side of the road are not friendly and you don't really want to be responsible for sending a poor biker head over handlebars right?

That being said, cyclists should always signal and if possible make eye contact with drivers for communication. I've actually heard that in some countries bikers must have bells on their bikes or they get slapped with a nasty fine. Not such a bad idea.

So close, yet so far

I would like to announce that tonight, I almost achieved one of my lifetime aspirations. So close! Yet so far away :( I managed to bowl a 97 with my left hand, just 3 points shy of 100. Woe is me. Sigh. Next time right?

In other news, my new blog dedicated solely to literature is up and running, so check it out and leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

St. George Triathlon

Well! I have started to train for one of my Lofty Aspirations (see sidebar). It's official, I will be competing in the St. George Triathlon on May 12 providing I'm still living within driving distance when May rolls around. If not, then I will be participating in some TBA triathlon.

Participating in a triathlon seems like a natural step since I used to swim competitively and I'm currently obsessed with biking. In fact, I now own a snazzy new road bike named Martin Jay. Woohoo! The only problem is the running part. I've never been much for running. It's boring, painful (mentally and physically), and worst of all you can feel yourself dripping with sweat while you're doing it. No good. People who love the sport baffle me. But I digress. I will not bore you with my training details (zzzzzz....), but I will say that the other day I successfully ran 3 consecutive miles without completely dying of boredom doing it.

Why didn't I die of boredom? Well, let me tell you. The fieldhouse (university gym) is a goldmine for those who like to people watch. There's the people playing tennis in front of you, all the wanna-be-bodybuilders trying to out-lift each other, the frat boys trying to pick up on the girls wearing sports bras and barely-there shorts, the people not-so-slyly trying to avoid people they don't want to talk to, and my personal favorite - the old, speedy Asian dude on one of the elliptical machines. Since I go to the gym at very random times each day, it's amazing that he's there 75% of the time. Totally kicking the trash of the twenty-somethings next to him, never breaking a sweat, and smiling through it all.

The Name Game

I've been tagged by Ellesappelle, so here we go...

1) REAL NAME: JenKneeBee

2) GANGSTA NAME (First 3 letters of name, plus izzle): Technically it's Jenizzle, but I much prefer JB Playa Flava

3) "FLY GIRL" NAME (First initial of first name, first 3 of last): J-Ber

4) DETECTIVE NAME (fav color and fav animal): Scarlet Tuna

5) STAR WARS NAME (first 3 letters of last name, first 2 of first name, first 3 letters of mom's name): Berjaasa

6) SUPERHERO NAME (fav color, fav drink): Scarlet Cranberry Juice. Soooo lame. Fuchsia Mint Tea? Also very, very lame. There's no hope on this one. Apparently I'm not meant to be a superhero :(

7) STRIPPER NAME (name of fav perfume): Very Sexy. Fitting for a perfume made by Victoria's Secret.