pocket change

I can't believe tomorrow is the first day of May. That's crazy. I'll be glad when April is over though. It's been a really long month. I always find it weird how time is so inconsistent in how it feels. Like, April feels like it's been going on forever. I can remember the first of the month and it feels like that was an eternity ago. So much and yet so little has happened during this month. On the other hand, I feel like we just moved up here, even though it's been over 9 months. That means we've been up here for 3/4 of a year. How does that make sense? Another example is that ORU's 2011 graduation is happening today. That means that 1 year ago, I finally graduated. It feels so long ago, at least 2 years ago (I even just checked the calendar to make sure it was last year and not the year before). Time feels weird. Inconsistent. I have this disconcerting thought that the inconsistencies are only going to get worse as I get older.

As a side note, many balloons and whistles for David. In a few more hours, he will be officially graduated. That's pretty crazy. I remember when he came to ORU for a college weekend. I can't remember exactly what year that was, but it was most definitely a long time ago. Jason said that he would introduce his little brother to me, but the promise was never carried out. I was disappointed. I wanted to see who this kid was that Jason was always going on about. At some point, Jason finally admitted that he liked me better, albeit in a different way, than David. I knew then that Jason had found his soon-to-be wife. :) So anyway, hooray for my sister, David. He's going to totally own med school.

I have really enjoyed the changing of seasons up here. Delaware actually has 4 seasons! Leaves actually change colors in the fall, and then they stay on the trees for longer than a week so you can enjoy the world in all of it's autumny splendor. When the leaves have finally fallen off (one, two months after they've changed color?), the temperatures are cold and wintery. Snow falls. Winds bluster. Winter arrives. It snowed often enough that my insides were completely satisfied with the length of time the ground was covered in glorious whiteness. No snowman was left unmade. And then, right when you think you may be ready for a change of scenery, spring arrives. It has been so neat watching everything come alive. In Tulsa I always felt like you could miss spring. Like, if you stayed inside for a few days in a row, spring could happen and be over without you even knowing. I'm pretty sure this must have happened to me more than a few times while we lived in Tulsa because I only remember one year that I actually got to see everything (all 10 of the trees) in bloom. It made me super excited to see little buds or flowers on the previously bare trees. However, less than a week later, the buds and flowers were already completely replaced by ordinary green leaves. So far in Delaware, it has been spring for about a month now, and I've enjoyed every minute of it. There's no way you can miss spring here. It's fascinating how spring is like fall in reverse. Seriously. The trees seem to bud (both with flowers and tiny little leaves) in the same color that they shed their leaves 6 months ago. There was a point when, with all of the fall colored buds, it looked like fall again. So neat. Now it's almost May so a lot of trees have their great big green leaves, but some trees still have their spring flowers and colors. You can see the green leaves overtaking everything though. I'd probably give it another week or so. Spring is glorious.

A couple random cardinal facts: They mate for life. The guy cardinal will often find a perfectly lovely seed and will hop over to give it to his wife. They'll turn their heads to opposite sides and he'll place it in her beak. It's sweet.

Panther is such an odd duck. Recently he's decided that he likes to sleep on a pile of sweats that we have piled on the floor by our closet. Why are sweats piled on the floor? I don't really know actually. Perhaps it's our tribute to winter being over. Perhaps it's a residual load of laundry that never quite made it to the wash. Perhaps we like navigating to our bathroom in an obstacle-course-type fashion. Whatever the reason, the pile is there and Panther likes to sleep there. The funny part is that he matches in with the pile (it's mostly dark clothing) so I usually nearly trip over him if I'm not paying attention.

Dimes are my favorite coins. I like that they are the smallest and thinnest coin. Oh, and they're shiny. Way better than pennies, or even quarters. You know it's true.

On the topic of cats, I sometimes have a horrible indirect thought. It's truly awful. I should be banned from cat ownership for indirectly thinking it. The direct thought? I wish Puma had a little kitten buddy to play with. Panther is such a grumpy pants. The only normal cat thing that he does is sleep for 20 hours a day. He will also curl up on you if it's an inconvenient time to do so. Oh, and he will ask for food. But honestly, that's it. He doesn't play. He doesn't scamper. He turns bird stalking into... not stalking. Puma, on the other hand, is such a cat cat. I love him so much. He plays whenever he's not sleeping. Even if he is sleeping, if you make any subtle movement that indicates playing, he'll rise to the occasion. He is neverendingly curious. He has such personality. Even though all of his traits aren't necessarily positive, they work within the realm of cats. He's super affectionate, even though his affections come with the slight tinge of cat-ish self-centeredness. He's such a great cat and I wish I could give him a playmate. A new kitten. Someone that will actually play with him instead of complaining at him all the time. Someone with enough spirit and energy that will put Puma in his place (initially with tiny kitten claws, and eventually with teenage cat strength) when he's being grumpy or rough-housing. The problem? Jason and I don't think Panther could tolerate another new animal. It took him about 4 months to "get used to" Puma. We feel it would just be mean to introduce a new kitten to him when he's already old and grumpy. It's a little disappointing though. I want Puma to have an actual playmate while he's still young and playful. I would hate for him to become grumpy and old-man-ish like Panther without ever having that young playful companion. And I feel like Puma would be more likely to remain playful if he had a playful friend. Plus, I think playful animals together are awesome. So the predicament? Yes, sometimes I find myself wishing for the day that we can get a new kitten to play with Puma. But this means that indirectly, I'm wishing for the day that Panther is no longer in the picture. Isn't that awful? As soon as I realize what I'm wishing, I regret it. I don't want Panther to die. I don't. I love the grumpy, all the time gross, black cat. I do. But I do wish he'd be more open to new friends. :/ That's all.

Alright, there are errands to be accomplished and productivity to be had. I shall go.

Would it be cruel to do this to your child?


Vacation, come quickly.

These have been a tough few months. Besides life, school has been harder than ever and much of the time I feel like I'm barely staying above water. It's a strange feeling knowing how much I know about math, probably more than 99.99% of people in the world, and then also understanding that I really just don't know anything compared to how much there is to know. Trying to get a PhD is a good way to spend a lot of time feeling like you just don't know anything.

I need a vacation.

My parents have some sort of Marriott vacation credit that was going to expire before they had a chance to use it, since they're going on David's graduation cruise this summer and won't have enough vacation time to also use the Marriott thing. So my awesome parents said Sharayah and I could use it. Basically you go on this website and there are lots of resorts and you just pick the location and date that you want. Since I only have a week off between finals and my research fellowship, the time was decided for us. So we got to go through all the various locations and pick one. We ended up choosing a place in Williamsburg, Virginia. We'll be staying at Williamsburg Plantation, which I hope is not really a plantation, or at least I don't want to work the fields.

We're getting 7 day passes good for Busch Gardens (the theme park), Water Country USA, and Colonial Williamsburg, which I guess is a part of town where they pretend it's still colonial times and I guess they have a new female blacksmith? I can't remember what that's from. Anyway. There are also parks and lakes and minigolf and horse trails and other things. We'll probably go out on a row boat and maybe go fishing. We'd also be in range of Virginia Beach. Lots of cool things. Probably we will put more details on here sometime later.

David is graduating this weekend. We can't go because ORU apparently ends in April now? And my semester didn't start til the second week of February, so I still have 3 weeks left. Anyway it's pretty cool for him, and he's gonna go to med school and learn to save lives while I ponder about the nature of numbers and things that are like numbers but are they really numbers and what are their properties, and do they retain unique factorization into irreducibles? But anyway, I am sleepy and I think maybe there's some ice cream and a movie in it for me if I end here, so I will go now.

but we were unaware


the almost title-less post

I think Wednesdays are inherently long days. Perhaps it's because they mark the middle of the week. Maybe Wednesdays have to be long and drawn out because once it's over, the rest of the week seems to just disappear. Maybe, secretly, Wednesdays have 25 hours and we're being unknowingly shorted on our Weekend Hours. I will have to look into this.

Wednesday's are particularly long this school semester because Jason is gone from 8am to nearly 6pm. Unpleasant. I miss him for pretty much 8 of those 10 hours (I figure I can't honestly say I am consciously missing him when I'm distracted by bird watching and animal gazing and such).

The PhD pursuit has been particularly difficult this semester. Between attending classes and seminars, neverending homework assignments, and just an overall rough April, Jason can't seem to catch a break of any sort. It makes my insides sad to see him get so caught up in the stress and frustration of it all. I've never been a very good encourager, so I'm not much good in that category. I can attempt to make him tasty things to eat, but my imagination and skill can only go so far. And how can you justify taking someone's mind off of something that is so long term? I greatly dislike not being able to fix someone else's insides. I can't wait until he finishes out this semester. I know he can/will do it. I don't doubt it at all. But how can you convince someone that you know the future? I can try to play the asian card, but I'm afraid he will say it does not apply*. Anyway, all this to say that Jason is the smartest, handsomest, most capable person I know. And I love him. You can do it, babe.

Sometimes it's fun to think of certain aspects of life as a video game. In my case, I have Backyard Birds: Attack of the Hungries. It's pretty amazing. Basically, the storyline is about a small Korean (you can actually pick your own race, gender, etc) who just moved to Delaware (you can also pick your own location at the beginning of the game, which determines the variety of birds available) who is given the opportunity to raise a successful bird habitat. She has various tasks to perform each day to ensure the attraction of new bird flocks and increase of their visit frequency. She is given 1 bag of birdseed to accomplish her mission. When you first start the game, only small birds show up on the Patio. Over time, if you do the right tasks at the right time, you will get upgraded to higher leveled birds. I started off with fluff ball Juncos and have moved on through the ranks of Redinals, Badger Heads, Tall Ones, Meanies, and Rock Spots. My greatest achievement happened the other day. I got upgraded to the epic Purple Chicken**! Obviously, it's not all fun and games. For instance, you have to keep the Wild Indoor Animals from scaring the birds away too frequently. However, if you're really good at Backyard Birds, you'll make your feathered visitors so happy and comfortable that they'll go through their courtship rituals right in front of you. I'm about a month into this game and so far, so good. I predict a lot of happy baby tweeters in the near future. Yes, I am that good at this game. Anyway, if you're looking for a fun, varying, educational way to pass time, BB:AotH is the way to go. Oh the things you can do with a bag of birdseed...

In 13 days, Jason and I will have been married for 3 years. That's, ridiculous. Being married does weird things to your head. I feel like I've been married forever, in such a good way. It's hard to think of pre-Jason years. I mean, sure, obviously he wasn't a part of my pre-college years, but if I don't actually think about the details, it feels like he was. He's so good for me. Jason doesn't finish the school year until May 25th so there's no chance of fitting in any type of Anniversary vacation on or around May 10th. However, we do have something planned for the entire time between when he finishes and when he has to be back for his summer research project. I'm not going to go into details yet because Jason is going to cover it somewhat the next time he writes***. But suffice it to say, it has earned the title of "The Vacation: 2011." Chew on that for a while. I.love.Jason.Robert.Vermette.

Let's see, one last random topic. Jason and I went to a Winter Jam concert a long while ago. Winter Jam is linked with Holt International. Holt International is the agency I was adopted through. While we were at the concert, we decided to sponsor a little South Korean girl. Enter Hui. Cho, Hui Bok to be exact. She was a replica of me 24 years ago. So, so cute. I wanted to eat her, if eating was an acceptable way to show how enraptured you are with a baby. It was a neat connection. We only got to sponsor her for a few months before a family adopted her, which was happy but also a tiny bit sad. In her place they sent us our next sponsor child, Raymonde from Haiti. A little while ago, we decided we wanted to sponsor 2 kids so... enter Zu. A few days ago we got the information packet for Xu, Zu Fen. She's an adorable little 7-year-old from China. She looks ridiculously sweet. In the picture we received of her, she's wearing a pink shirt with a fluffy gray cat on it. It could be a characterized Puma. Whenever I look at her picture, I just wish I could keep her and give her a home and fluffy cats and teach her to dance. But since I cannot, I suppose I shall just pray for a family for her who can.

Listen to David Crowder's "The Glory of It All." That's all.

To summarize all of these completely unrelated ramblings:
- I'm not a fan of Wednesdays.
- Purple Chickens are not the peak of the iceberg, but they're pretty close.
- Marriage = incredible beyond words.
- Holt International: Good organization.

Try not to laugh at the following series of pictures. And just hear "OBOY OBOY HERE I GO HYUP HYUP LEMMIE ATTEM HERP DERP" inside your head as you gaze on in wonder.

*The asian card always applies.
**Accurate names are not guaranteed.
***Now that I've set him up, he has to blog sometime soon. :)


sunday ramblings.

I like writing things just because. I rarely need a particular reason or topic. I just like letting some of my head out through my fingers. That's all. Really. Since I'm aware of this, I'm also aware of the fact that what I write has a tendency to be strings of seemingly unrelated things that carry no importance or meaning to anyone but me. I feel like I should apologize for this since this is a public blog and boring/confusing people isn't a very nice thing to do. However, in lieu of an apology, I'll offer this suggestion: "The following post is of no importance. Feel free to not read." There, now that my conscience is relieved, my writing will commence.

At this point, the only thing I think Delaware lacks is the ability to produce a good thunderstorm (and possibly a good whole foods type market). Other than that, I feel completely satisfied and content here. It's a nice feeling.

Weather is so peaceful in Delaware. I love sitting at my desk with the back sliding door open and just, listening. It's simultaneously a huge distraction and motivation when I'm trying to be productive. I can either listen to hours upon hours of raindrops, bird chatter, or rustling leaves. It is better than almost any of my Pandora stations (though Jason's David Crowder station is a tough competitor). Sometimes I forget how much listening to nature can calm my insides. It's a good Sunday.

If Jason and I were birds, I think we'd be cardinals. While I've been bonding with the cats by participating in their bird stalking (it is seriously addicting), I've noticed a few similarities between us and cardinals that I think would help make our transfer from human to bird smoother. Sure, there's the obvious fact that the guy is very attractive and eye-catching ('nough said) and the fact that the girl has a yellowish-brown tint (*insert brief explanation of racial [asian] skin coloring*). But besides that, I've noticed that cardinal pairs seem to need/want each other more than other birds (that is, compared to the other species in our backyard-ish area). The male typically arrives first to eat our generously tossed birdseed/bread crumbs. After a few seconds of cautious pecking, he will start calling for his mate (in between each bite, of course [he is male after all]). Peck, chirp, peck, chirp, peck, chirp. He will do this until his mate comes to join him. It doesn't matter if she comes within a few seconds or within a few minutes, he will call until she comes and then immediately stop. They will then eat in silence. It fascinates me for some reason. It's not like the male cardinal is calling to all birds that there is good feeding available. He just wants his mate to come join him. And she does. And as soon as they're both together, they're happy. And for some reason, it makes me inexplicably happy too.

They were doing baptisms at church today. It all had a very triumphant feel. It was good. Something I noticed was that the church provided everyone with shirts and shorts. My church didn't do that when I was baptized. I think my siblings and I all wore swimsuits underneath big, white t-shirts (possibly dad's old undershirts or just some over-sized shirts found on sale at Target?). Of course, I could be remembering my debut as a very non-prominent angel in a church Christmas play... It's hard to tell. Everything between the ages of 6 and 12 is kinda blurry and melded together. I wish I had consistently journaled back then. Anyway, because of the baptisms, the church service was done in a semi-reverse fashion with the message before the praise and worship. One of the things I like about this particular church is how they don't necessarily do everything in a traditional fashion or order. An example would be how they take the offering at the end of the service. We'll see how things go in the upcoming weeks.

This post is getting long so I'll just quickly throw out the following thoughts. Our stainless steel rice cooker is incredible, just further proving (to no one in particular) that stainless steel is >> stupid "non-stick." I still desperately need a haircut. I cannot win a game of foosball to save my life. I know there are only a handful of things to keep focus on to win, but I just can't seem to do it. Puma is absolutely adorable when he's sleeping. He's such a deceptive little fellow, but it just makes me love him more somehow. I feel like this doesn't make sense. Easter seems to be unusually late-coming this year. The tower of boxes that we've stacked for the cats' enjoyment is now 6 stories high. If Jason had pillow-hands, he would sleep on them. Chris Rice's song "Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus)" is really good. As is "Everything Falls" by Fee.

Sorrow may last for the night
But hope is rising with the sun
It's rising with the sun
There will be storms in this life
But I know You will overcome

When everything falls apart
Your arms hold me together
When everything falls apart
You´re the only hope for this heart
When everything falls apart
And my strength is gone
I find You mighty and strong
You keep holding on 

Good, good words.

I have a lot of other rambling things all squashed up inside my head, but I think I'll call it a day for now. So, summary!
- My fingers tend to type things that should hold the interest of no one but me.
- Peaceful insides can occur with or without thunderstorms.
- Jason does need a red tuft to be a cardinal.
- Water baptisms = !

PS: While I recognize that all things asian are awesome goes without saying, these asian silkie chickens are awesome + 2. Please look at their feet and squeal. Thank you. Anyone think these would be incredible pets for currently unborn little Vermettes?


The first nerdy math post.

Tonight we're having the homemade egg rolls from the "Us in 64 Words" section. It's very exciting.

Some good news school-wise. I got a 10 week research fellowship for the summer. We will be trying to answer the question "Which graphs are determined by their spectrum?" I will attempt to explain it in layman's terms, mainly because it might be funny.

Basically, in a branch of math called combinatorics, we study something called graph theory. These graphs are different than those old "x vs y" plot graphs you remember from middle/high school. Actually, they may seem a little easier to understand. In graph theory, graphs are just a set of points, some of which are connected, and some of which are not. So basically, a bunch of dots with lines connecting some of them. Now, given one of these graphs, we can make a matrix called the adjacency matrix, which is actually just a matrix like you may have seen in algebra 2 or linear algebra. The adjacency matrix tells you, for each dot, which other dots it's connected to (hence adjacency). Now, if you're still with me, in linear algebra you learn that, for a given square matrix, we can find a set of something called eigenvalues. I don't suppose I should explain what those are, but rest assured that given a matrix it's well known how to find its eigenvalues. If the matrix is n x n, meaning it has n columns, each with n entries, then it will have n eigenvalues. This set of n eigenvalues is called the spectrum of the matrix. So the question is this: if you tell me a spectrum, can I tell you what graph it came from, or could there be two graphs that have the same spectrum? So we'll be trying to determine which graphs have which answer.

So that's mostly it. I don't think it should be too difficult to understand the way I wrote that, except maybe that eigenvalue part. Probably what you'd really like me to explain is why anyone would care. I'm afraid that's a more difficult question. At any rate, I'm looking forward to it, and maybe I'll keep you all updated on our progress.

For anyone interested, here's my actual project proposal.

One last math related thing. I guess the math department has an intramural indoor soccer team. So I joined it. We've played one game. It was pretty close, 5-6, but we lost. Now, when I say it was pretty close, I mean that both teams played pretty bad, but it was still fun. I get the impression some of our players are a lot better than they seemed in that game. But then, we are all math nerds (and one geologist) so maybe not. Anyway we have 3 more games, and I think it'll be fun. Any team you can play a really bad game for and still have a good time is a good team, I think.

Well, I think those egg rolls are ready, so I am off.

are we fading?


My Friend Amber.

This past week was rough. Hands down, it was the saddest, most draining, wearying week that I have ever been through. I still feel the effects of it at the most random of times. I seem to have more instances of saying or doing things that I didn't mean to say or do. It's like my brain has decided to take brief vacations without my permission or acknowledgment. For instance, I just misspelled week (weak) and effects (affects) and didn't even realize it until I stared at the sentences for a while. I never do that. It's really weird, unsettling.

I have always considered myself lucky that I have only had a few people pass away that I've known personally. My grandmother in 2007, my grandfather in 2010, and that's it. I know that it was hard to accept the news when I found out about their deaths. I remember being sad. I remember crying. However, once the initial shock wore off, I remember normalizing. I knew that they had both lived pretty full lives. They were older. They were my grandparents. Even though it didn't remove the sadness, I had at least accepted that grandparents eventually pass away.

But Amber wasn't one of my grandparents. She was one of my most unique and favorite friends. She wasn't old. She was barely 31. A friend isn't supposed to die. As illogical as that sounds, that's apparently what my insides believed. She was technically my sister-in-law, I suppose. However, she was more like a long-lost sister. Our insides connected in this completely inexplicable way. We had our differences in opinion and in personality, but there was something completely indefinable that linked us. It was something that I can honestly say I have never found in any other person. She was special.

We had plans together. We were going to get our hair cut together soon. We were going to watch Ramona and Beezus and eat nutritional-yeasted popcorn. We were going to have our epic Puzzle Day (and find out if she was an over-controlling puzzler like I am). She was going to be the cool aunt of all my little half-asians. We were going to take pictures of the world when Delaware woke up from winter. We were going to explore the depths of NYC together, during a New Year's Eve, Thanksgiving, or both. There was going to be much dancing and laughing and random squeals of giddiness. It's so hard to believe that she's gone.

It is so hard to think/write about this type of sadness because there are so many conflicting emotions. Grief, peace, heartache, and very small glimpses of happiness. I can't even imagine what losing your spouse and best friend feels like. So many times this past week I've wanted to just selfishly cave to my own sadness. I would go back and forth between wanting to just curl up and cry somewhere and wanting to somehow relieve the ache that I knew Shawn was/is feeling. I don't think I could be as strong as he's been. It amazes me.

God is unendingly good. I know the thoughts of "Why Amber?" are normal. I know I may never know the answer to that question with the level of detail that I want. But I know that God's plan is bigger than anything I can possibly understand. I know that God is in control even when the story ends differently than I wanted. He has a Purpose in the midst of all our sorrow. So, even though I continue to have intense moments of heartache whenever I think of certain things, I can't help but thank God for every single moment that I got to spend with Amber.

I'm so incredibly thankful for the days we spent up in Tulsa last summer. When Jason and I went up for Roman's wedding, Amber and I stayed up late into the night just talking. We talked about everything. At 3 or 4 am every night that weekend, I would just wish and wish that the night wouldn't end. We laughed so much. So hard. We told so many stories. She was such an amazing listener. She made me feel like I was the only thing in the world she was interested in listening to. She had a way of actually giving her complete undivided attention to whatever I was saying, stupid or not. I loved when she laughed. She was an actual one-of-a-kind person.

While in a flower shop last week, I saw a picture frame that read "Our roots say we're sisters, our hearts say we're friends." For me and Amber, however, it would be the reverse. "Our roots say we're friends, but our hearts say we're sisters." Amber and I were somewhow connected in the oddest, yet rightest, way imaginable. I doubt that I'll ever find another Amber, but that's ok. When Amber and I get back together in heaven, it's going to be absolutely ridiculous. In such a good way. I love Amber.

So, if this post doesn't already make it clear, my insides are still intermittently chaotic, tumbled up and messy. I hope all of this doesn't come out sounding super selfish or self-centered due to that. I know things will gradually get better, more normal, as time goes on. And while I look forward to normalization, there's also still a part of me that gets scared that with time I might forget. And I don't want to forget. Ugh, such conflict.

I greatly dislike conflict.

Amber, you're missed by your little peanut. Thank you for everything. I'm glad we got to be sisters for these few years. If I ever patent Three Blind Mice, I shall dedicate it to you. I will try to laugh and be ridiculous enough for the both of us. I love you.

Some final notes:
- Amber has some amazing parents. I know why she loved them so much.
- My in-laws are incredible. They flew up here to Delaware as soon as they heard the news. Having them here all week made such a difference.
- Jason is such a strong man. I love my husband more than I know how to say.

love.love.love.love.love.love.love. To everyone.

God is God, and He is unendingly good.


things that are crunchy

Last night Jason decided he wanted granola. I thought I needed flour to make granola. We were out of flour. So we went shopping for flour.

We found flour. And fruit. But no step stool. And definitely no thyme. Sigh. We bought the flour (why would stone ground flour be cheaper than non stone ground flour?) and the fruit and returned home.

I found the granola recipe I thought I had used the last time I made the crunchy goodness. It did not need flour. I felt dumb. Jason argued that I was not. I made the granola not according to the recipe (as usual) and put it in the oven.

The recipe not requiring flour was driving me crazy because I was 72% sure I used flour the last time. I did some recipe searching. I found the actual recipe I used the last time. It did require flour. I felt dumb again. Jason argued that I was not.

The granola was not at all like the last batch of granola. But it's still tasty. I had added some banana and apples to it and they tasted splendiferous with the nuts and raisins and oaty goodness. I do not know how this batch will hold up with milk or soy milk, but we will see. If it fails, then it will just be eaten dry. Delicious.

Still on the topic of food, though not granola, we decided to try something new during yesterday's Costco trip. They're called popchips. We had tried them a few times when they were offered as samples and thought they were quite yummy. They're a bit on the expensive side so we could never bring ourselves to buy a bag. But we finally gave in. We bought a bag of popchips. Just to try. Just to see if they're just as awesome at home as they are in those little Costco sample cups. Turns out, they are. Basically, popchips are slices of potatoes that are just... popped. They're like potato chips, but so much more awesome. They claim to not be baked or fried, just popped with heat.  Ingredients are simple and all natural (I like when the ingredient list is short). If I had any complaint, it would be that they have a bit more salt than necessary (though, not more than any other potato chip, I'm sure). Other than that, they are ridiculously tasty and crunchy. Best potato chip ever. Seriously. I doubt that we'll get them very often since they are a bit on the steeper side price-wise, but they were definitely a nice treat. If you ever see them, you should try them. Warning: They are addicting.

Conclusion? Awesome things are those that are crunchy.

Ever wonder what the opposite of crunchy is? See below.


One of us is a ping pong champion. Spoiler alert: It's not me.

I'm not bad at ping pong. Really. I'm not amazing, but I could beat your average random guy off the street.

Sharayah is stupid good at ping pong. She only knows what I've taught her, so that is a limiting factor, but she executes flawlessly. I don't get it. She just doesn't mess up. Tonight, I think she was toying with me. I will demonstrate by outlining two games we played.

We play to 21 and trade off serves every 5 points. In the first game, I ended the first 5 points at 3-2. Next 5 points, she won and we were tied 5-5. It all went downhill from there. I only got 1 point on the rest of the sets of 5, so the rest of the scores were 6-9, 7-13, 8-17, and 9-21. It was a pretty bad loss. She does win most games, but I usually score between 15 and 18.

I know, I know, one bad game doesn't mean anything. She crushed me, but she wasn't toying with me, right? Well, we played again. I won the first set 3-2, then Sharayah wins the second set and we're 5-5. Sharayah remarks that it's the same way we started the previous game, and isn't that funny, and wouldn't it be hilarious if we played the whole game the same way. Oh, yeah, hilarious. Anyway, it wasn't very likely. Like I said, I usually lose, but going 1-4 four times in a row just doesn't happen very often. I usually score over 15, like I said. Well, the next set, I'm down 0-4 and barely squeak out the last point. 6-9. The next set, I scored on the fourth point, so I'm feeling a little more confident. I could ruin this little joke of hers by scoring just one more point. She would have none of it. 7-13. The next set again she holds me until the last point. 8-17. By now I can't believe it. She can just make the score whatever she wants? I score when and only when she wants me to? That's just sad. On the next set, I somehow score on the 3rd point. 9-19. What happened? Had I finally broken out of this slump? No. False hope. As soon as I scored, she says, "Oh look, you can totally stop me. I'd have to score 2 in a row to do it again." Really, 2 in a row? That's not even uncommon in a normal game between us. Still, I gave it my best shot. The last two rallies were pretty long, but she scored on both. 9-21, and there's nothing I can do about it.

Apparently, she really can just make the score whatever she wants, and I really do score when and only when she wants. I have a sneaking suspicion that 9-21 will be the only score for the next several games, until she has pity on me. *sigh*

we've got to get out


It's Friday. This makes me sad because it means Jason's spring break is nearly over. :( I mean, it will be nice getting back into a daily routine of sleeping, waking, eating, etc. I like routine. Routine makes me happy 93% of the time. What I won't like about the close of our spring break will be the return of that never ending mental game of "Is this productivity?" When you're on a self-declared break from the routine, it's easier to let yourself slide on being productive. It's a break. What are breaks for if not for... breaking? You can do anything you want without (too much) worry of not actually accomplishing work-type stuff. If you want to accomplish such things during break, you can. If you want. For instance, we decided to do our biweekly cleaning of the entire apartment a few days ago. It didn't really feel like work though. It still felt like break because we were doing it when we wanted, at the pace we wanted. Now that our break is just about over, my head is going to immediately switch back to the ever questioning mode of "Is this productive?" The answer to this question determines if the task should be done before or after 5 pm. Here's my problem: If you have 2 tasks that normally fall into the "productive" category, is it less productive to do the one you enjoy more? Sure, there are several variables to consider that could affect the answer to this question, but what's the gut-reaction answer? Right or wrong, my gut tends to answer yes more often than not.

Since moving up to Delaware, our shopping habits have changed a bit. In Tulsa, we'd basically do the majority of our food shopping at Wal-Mart since it was right down the road from our apartment. It was quick and convenient. If we needed something, we just threw on sandals and drove over to Wal-Mart. If we had an impulsive want at 10 pm, we would weigh whether it was worth the 5 minute walk to Wal-Mart. Here in Delaware, however, there are 2 Wal-Marts near us, neither within walking distance. The Super Wal-Mart is in Elkton, MD, and is where we shopped for the first couple of months. For a Wal-Mart, it was surprisingly bright and clean. I liked it. The drive there was also pretty (despite the frequent roadkill), especially in the fall with all of the gorgeous leafy trees. The other Wal-Mart is a bit closer, but about 10 times more Wal-Mart-ish in it's dirtiness and stereotypical employees and customers. So, given these 2 options (longer drive versus ickiness), we decided we needed a new go-to store. We chose Costco. Verdict? Awesome. They sell so much organic stuff, in large quantities, for pretty competitive prices. Their produce quality and selection is great. You can get nearly anything product-wise, plus some. And the topper? They sell organic soy milk in bulk for less than the price of regular milk. Win. A funny side effect of shopping primarily at Costco is that Jason now thinks all non-Costco shopping carts feel toy-like. I laugh at him.

- Friday indicates some form of productivity looming up ahead. Boo.
- Costco. Awesome. Soy milk.

It's April 1st, but I give the above ramblings a 10/10 for authenticity.

To conclude: Why do humans not have a natural (read: bodily) carrying device for multiple children?