Tuesday, December 30

exit row responsibility

Yesterday Doug and I flew home from a fun-filled Christmas in Oregon and Washington. On our last leg of the journey from Atlanta to Richmond we were seated in the emergency exit row.

As we first sat down in our seats, it occurred to me that the people around us might be sizing us up. I wondered if they were thinking to themselves, "If our plane goes down, we're turning to THEM to help us out?"

While the extra leg room is divine, I just don't think I'll pick to sit in the exit row again. The burden of responsibility is simply too much.

Wednesday, December 24

merry christmas, yo

This is how you'll find us Shafers this Christmas:

Whether your Christmas is white or not, we hope it's very merry.

Love you all!

Saturday, December 20


I often rate the quality of my age based on the quality of the number itself. For example, 24 is a great number because it's divisible by a ton of other numbers. I mean, just think of your times tables! 4x6, 3x8, 12x2, and so on. And what did I do the year I was 24?
- graduated from college
- started my first grown-up job
- got engaged
- got married

Now that's a good year.

I've been 27 since Thursday. At first I wasn't that excited about it, but I'm really starting to have good feelings. Sure it's got 3x9, but I think the real kicker is 3 cubed. You have to admit that's pretty awesome.

So stay tuned for a great 27, folks. It's going to be a good one.

Tuesday, December 16

a christmas miracle

Last August I purchased what Wal-Mart allegedly believed was a mum plant. It looked cute on our front porch for about 4.25 days, and then it became brown and shriveled. And ugly. I did all I could to revive it, but it wasn’t having any of it.

I decided to put the eyesore on our back porch until I could decide what to do (I have a hard time throwing things away, okay?!). Within a few weeks the plant actually started showing new green growth, so it renewed my hope. It kept growing taller and taller, but alas it was all green and no flowers. My sister warned me that mums only bloom once a year, so I eventually gave up on it.

But then... a few weeks ago after an especially wet weekend, I opened up the blinds to find this:

And do you what this is?

It’s a Christmas miracle.

(It's also a sign that Wal-Mart doesn't know how to properly label plants.)

Merry Christmas to all, and to all an unseasonably warm December!

Friday, December 12

i needed this today

Jessica sent this in a forward today, and it really hit the spot. Thanks, dude.

Happy Friday.

Now, if only we'd get some snow here...

Thursday, December 11

we're all swallowing 8 spiders a year

I am a big supporter of Snopes.com, a website devoted entirely to exposing the truth behind urban legends, email forwards, and other internet facts that get circulated so much that we begin to think they're true. If I ever get a forward that makes me say “NO WAY!” or “SHUT. UP.”, I head to Snopes to see if there really is no way or if it really should shut up.

It's enlightening--try it.

Now I don't know what makes me trust Snopes implicity, but I guarantee they do more research than I ever would on my own. And I respect someone that works harder than I do. And I recently started to respect them more after reading this story:


Oh the irony. A woman clearly writes that she’s making up the fact that we eat 8 spiders a year, and next thing you know I’m hearing it from a friend in college. She believed it and so did I. But Snopes? They didn't. They did their homework and now they're letting me sleep better at night.

So if in doubt, brothers and sisters, check out Snopes. It will save you from needless worry and spider eating. Trust me.

Tuesday, December 9

a friend to the animals

Doug performed a good deed the other day. He had just finished lunch with some folks on the fourth floor of the dental building, and was walking out of a classroom into a hallway. Suddenly a bird SWOOSHED (yes, swooshed!) past his head, and then got stuck at the end of the hall near a window. It kept ramming into the window trying to escape. Doug and friends tried to redirect it towards the stairwell and the doors, but to no avail.

So what did Doug Shafer, Bird Hero, do? He caught it in his lunch bag and released it outdoors. He said one of the best parts was a woman who got to watch him set down his lunch bag outside and then see a bird come flying out. Now that’s a fancy trick.

As a reward, this good citizen gets to take his last final this morning. He’ll then be free as a bird (get it??) until January. One semester down, only seven to go.

Sunday, December 7

hiya, bill!

Here's the scene: It's Friday night. We're at the event center at VCU. It's pretty darn packed. As part of VCU's 40th anniversary celebration, they brought in a special speaker to do a show/lecture. The tickets were free, but we might have paid to come anyway. And who was this payment-worthy speaker that we wanted to listen to on a Friday Night?



(Duh, his picture is totally right there, but hopefully some of you were still surprised.)

I'll be the first to admit I was star struck. My dad has been quoting Bill's stand-up stuff for my entire life plus a decade (the chicken heart that ate New York City is a personal favorite). We were also a big fan of "The Cosby Show" and I could even act out some of the episodes for you if you'd like. So when Bill walked onto the stage, we were stoked to even be breathing the same event center air!

Bill didn't disappoint. At first. He started off pretty strong with some pure-funny-Cosby things, emphasizing the point that people need to value themselves and set high expectations for themselves. Words to live by. But by the end we learned this:

1. Bill Cosby is 71 years old. He is a grandpa, and kinda rambles like an older granpda.
2. Bill Cosby can get VERY crude. And since he felt like most of the audience was students, he went for graphically crude.
3. Bill Cosby can start many stories and never finish them, thanks to a complicated string of tangents.
4. Bill Cosby can be really really crude.

He tainted our view of him a bit, I'll admit. So when he was still making us feel dirty and confused after an hour and a half, we decided to graciously tiptoe out before he could ruin our feelings for him entirely. And hey, the tickets were free.

So to VCU I say thanks for a free show, and to Bill I say thanks for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We'll try to not act awkward if we run into you again, but I can't make any promises.

Wednesday, December 3

giving the thanks, new jersey style

Last week we headed to NJ to spend Thanksgiving with Jenn, Cyd, and my mom (my dad couldn't make it last minute thanks to dumb ol' work--we missed you dad!).

We had a delightful time. We cooked, baked, Wii-ed it up, bowled, played lots o' Scattergories, and more. We had a fabulous time and felt annoyed that real life required us to come home.

Thank goodness for family!

To recreate Lex's cookie: Add 2 cherry halves to make red, beady eyes.
To recreate Chase's cookie: Add coconut. Add everything else. Cover it all in coconut.
Jenn and cute foster baby
The guys playing Wii. And apparently Mr. Potato Head.
Tyler shaking his groove thang
My overall score? 74. Shut up.

His ball was rolling so slowly he sat down to watch it go
This girl got a strike. Seriously!
Some sort of strike high 5. I like it.

Uncle Travis is a patient chap
Family pics late, late at night. Good idea, Jackie. Oh, and nice hair.

Sure do love these folks...

Monday, December 1


E-ZPass [ē'zē pās] The easiest (eziest?) way to fly through toll booths in a land riddled by toll roads. Pre pay and this little sensor lets you use the fast lanes, instead of using those slow-as-molasses cash lanes full of people that can't follow simple directions, such as having their cash ready.

How did I function before you came into my life? Seriously, how?!

Wednesday, November 26

an attitude of gratitude

With so much I can (and do) complain about each day, I wish every week I could feel like I do this week: full of gratitude.

We're not ridiculously rich, popular, or good looking, but sometimes a girl just feels hooked up, know what I mean?

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

Tuesday, November 25

eating at your desk...

...makes you feel like the noisiest eater the world has ever known. My coworkers might as well be sitting next to a horse.*

*But would a horse write such nice copy for email campaigns? I doubt it!


I am in love with this hairspray. It rocks my world. I've told Doug again and again about the depth of my devotion to this hair product, but I just don't think he gets it. Perhaps he feels threatened.

I once saw a woman attempt to go through airport security with one of those gigantor Tresemmé bottles, and you better believe the TSA guys snagged it. I'm not sure what universe this woman was from that made her think it could pass as a 3-ounce liquid bottle, but when you take into account how awesome it is, can you really blame her for trying?

Monday, November 24

decor disasters

In an attempt to be cool and trendy, I decided to do a simple-yet-hip painting for our downstairs bathroom. Our hand towels are a light blue, so I was sure to carefully match the colors so it didn't look weird. Sitting at the kitchen table, it looked like I had matched the blues like a dream. I was really proud of myself.

However, when I finished the canvas and brought it into the bathroom, it turns out the lighting in the bathroom the blues horrific together. Just awful. I was so annoyed I let the painting sit on the floor for about a week. Finally I just hung it in a hallway near the bathroom as a symbol of how close I got to perfection.

Soon after I was on a cleaning rampage and I decided I would wash our bathroom rugs. I threw our dark brown rug from downstairs in with our very light tan rug from upstairs (typing this out it all seems so obvious...), and what did I end up with? A dark brown rug for downstairs and a nasty PINK rug for upstairs. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Teamed up with our pink tile, that bathroom now reminds me of Grandma Shirley's house. Awesome.

Sometimes I don't think I'm qualified to be a housewife. Or maybe I just need to stop decorating bathrooms.

Friday, November 21


I'm going to see "Twilight" tonight. I bought the ticket on Monday. I'm excited.

And I'm not ashamed to admit it.

*Update: I was thoroughly entertained! It wasn't exactly the same as the book, but it's a movie and not a book so I was okay with it. And I felt 15 again watching it. I'm also not ashamed to admit THAT.

Thursday, November 20

reach out

To fit in at Capital One, it's essential that you use the phrase "reach out" at least once in every meeting.

Reach out [rēch out]
As in “I’m going to reach out to Tom and his group so they know of this change. Then I’ll reach out and hug them.” An abstract and confusing way to let other people know you’re going to contact someone else. It implies a type of human contact that seems weird, weird, weird in the workplace.

Really, it's essential.

Tuesday, November 18

two years

I'm sure glad I signed up for this.

Happy Anniversary, Babe.

Monday, November 17

the default pose

In honor of our wedding anniversary tomorrow, I'd like to pay tribute to what Doug and I like to call "The Default Pose." Side by side, Jackie's hand on Doug's chest or abdomen. Our formula for success. 

When it comes to taking pictures, apparently it's all we can think to do.
You can dress it up...
...or keep it casual.
It works for Jackie's graduation...

...the first day of Doug's graduation...
...and the second.
You can take it on vacation...

...whether you're visiting Sea World...
...or simply hiking.

Try it sassy...
...or in an awkward moment.
Use it when you're thoughtfully diverting your eyes...
...or when one of you is a rodeo clown.

The diversity of this pose will astound you.

So, on Anniversary Eve, here's to 2 years of a good thing!


I'm so sorry to see Sylmar, California all over the news because of wildfires there. Sylmar was my first area on my mission.


Thursday, November 13

that's funny, I thought you were studying...

Doug's in dental school. Dental school requires carving tiny teeth out of wax. Carving tiny teeth out of wax can get a bit dull. So when such times come around, Doug apparently does this:

My favorite? Du-nu-nu-nu-nu-nu-nu... BAT TOOTH!
(If our camera weren't so detail-handicapped, you'd be able to see the carefully carved face. Hilare.)

I was under the impression he was studying when he went to school. Weird.

Wednesday, November 12

tag time

Brittany photo-tagged me! And since this was a fun, easy tag, I was happy to comply.

So here's the fourth picture in the fourth folder of our computer's photo collection:

This is Doug on his first day of his new job at the physical therapy office. I already blogged about this, and I was careful to note that his smile was 100% forced by his pushy wife. Poor, poor Doug.

Let the tagging continue! I invite my sisters and sister-in-laws to participate (that means YOU, Stace, Jess, Cyd, Jenn, Kadi, and Whit).

survey says...

Thanks to all that participated in my public restroom survey! The overwhelming response from you, my beloved friends and family, lets me know that I'm not the only hyperanalytical, OCD one out there. Thank you.

So what were the super-scientific results? I've sifted through the data and this list shows the stalls ranked by popularity (1 being the most preferred):
1. Stall 1
2. Stall 4
3. Stall 6
4. Stall 5
5. Stalls 2 & 3 (a tie)
6. The sink

So after careful analysis, here's my conclusion: Most of my coworkers are either using the first stalls or the last stalls. Or they're using the middle stalls. Or the sink.

Really, that's all I can conclude. So if I really want the peace of mind of having my own bathroom, I'll either need to (a) stop overthinking this issue and just use the restroom like a normal person or (b) start driving home every time I need the security of my own bathroom.


Tuesday, November 11

brothers don't shake hands...

... brothers gotta hug.

We loved having Ben (Doug's bro) here last weekend. Here are the highlights:
- Doug and Ben played racquetball, a Doug and Ben tradition.
- Our ward had a pinewood derby for the adult men, and the car Ben and Doug made together got fourth place. Not bad!

- Ben ran 10 miles. Doug and I slept in.
- We visited Belle Isle for the first time. It's an island in the middle of the James River. You walk across a suspension bridge that's hanging below a stretch of the highway that crosses the river. On the island there are paths for hiking and biking, but we liked the huge rocks in the river the best.

- We hit up Maymont park, this sweet park in the city that has animals and gardens and all kinds of cool stuff.

- We saw a movie at the lovable Byrd Theatre. The movie, "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor," was less lovable.
- We drove up to DC and dined with Janaya and Burton.

Brothers = the Best

(We found "DS love BS" on Belle Island, and we knew it was fate.)