Quote of the Day

When asked why IS bought nine jump knives for the full time employees:

"We need them."

Got Soul But I'm Not a Soldier

The Swiss Army officially owes me freaking royalties. The office manager just came back from the bookstore with a garbage bag-full (I kid you not---a garbage bag-full!) of jump knives and mp3 players. I was cool for a moment. Now I just blend right into the crowd.

In other news, I also got a response to my misdirected email, and she CC-ed someone else. Why? Why was that at all necessary?? She said:

I don’t think the intent is “fun” but rather an effort to know English major students better and to allow you the opportunity to know a faculty member more personally as has been the goal of the University—that each student leaves BYU having had at least one faculty friend during his college experience.

So my response that I'm not sending her is, "If I have many faculty friends, may I please be exempt? Oh, and also, how is it even possible for an English student not to make a faculty friend?" My response that I will send her hasn't been written yet. I'll update you when I write a good enough apology and send her flowers.

How? How did this day turn so bad when it promised to be so good?

At the Top of My Game

So I've been pretty happy to show everyone my new toys. In fact, my boss called over all the supervisors and made them all look at my toys. Then she went and talked to her supervisor and got clearance for all of them to go out and buy themselves jump knives on the department card! Some things are just not fair. Not only do they make more money than us, they also get toys that the department pays for! Also, at least seven people have sworn that they're running to the bookstore as soon as work is over to go and buy themselves the jump knife / mp3 player combo.

(As I am writing this, more coworkers have come to take away my toys and drool over them at their own desks... I don't know if I can handle all the popularity.)

So in this euphoric/traumatic state of knowing I got the coolest thing in the world and knowing everyone else is going to shortly have the coolest thing in the world, I received an email from the English department. It's about an Advisement Fair that all English majors must attend. If they don't, a registration hold is put on our records and we can't register when the time comes.

What I meant to do was forward the email to Ambrosia with a sarcastic comment. What I did do was reply to the original email (sent by the department secretary) with the sarcastic comment intended for Ambrosia's eyes only. I said, "Why do they call it a 'fair'? Do they really think that that makes it more fun?" Not as bad as it could have been, but still pretty rude.

And to think that just today I got an email from Daltongirl, asking if I was ever scared the the email I was forwarding to someone else with sarcastic comments would actually be sent back to the original sender. I said that I do constantly live with that fear. Only today, it became a reality. I wonder if they'll just put a spiteful hold on my record whether or not I attend the fair...

I am now pretty much the coolest person in the world.

Yesterday I needed to take a trip up to campus to do some homework and do get some large files I need for a project off of a school server. I searched frantically for my jump drive, aware that I haven't actually used it for the last several months, and knowing that I probably would have a hard time finding it, too. Then I thought that maybe it was time to buy myself a new one---one to go on my key chain. The price of jump drives keeps dropping lower and lower, so I was sure that I'd be able to find a good deal at the BYU Bookstore.

I had no idea how cool I was about to become.

I got to the bookstore and spent several minutes perusing their jump drive selection. There was a whole rack of school-spirit jump drives---ones with BYU logos on them. I considered buying one, but I thought that Mishkin would probably make fun of me when he got back from Indonesia and that, in addition to leaving my toilet seat up, would be unbearable. There were smallish ones and mediumish ones and largish ones.

But fate (I think the Spirit may have whispered to me to go to another aisle) led me in another direction. There was a rack of Swiss Army jump drives all on sale, with a special promotion:


I've included the picture so you can see how cool it really is. Seriously, folks. It's got a blade, scissors, a nail file/screwdriver and a jump drive. All it's missing is a tooth pick! Now other than the everyday coolness I will now exude, I will be prepared for the following situations:

*I really need to use a computer and someone won't let me on. I threaten him with the knife and he vacates.

*I break a nail while typing fuiously. I simply file it down with my jump drive / pocket knife / nail file.

*I have important and illegal files. I simply swallow the knife before they put me in prison, pass it through my system, and use the file to saw through the bars. Then I'm free and I still have the files.

*I meet a man. I show him my knife / jump drive. He immediately falls in love with me because, let's face it, if my other charms are insufficient in securing a man, my knife / jump drive will surely make up for what I lack.

So there we have it. Oh, and the mp3 player is tiny, light, comes with a arm band, and plays music. I love it. To all you iPod users: Until your iPods have knives, you'll never be cooler than me!

And one last note: Whoever thought of combining a jump drive with a weapon was a genius.

How is this even possible?

I'm sure that you all recall the unfortunate incident of July 4th---the one where I wanted to be independent, so I tried to ride my bike to Walmart but I popped a tire and had to walk it for a mile. Well, let me update you on my self-sufficiency since then.

I have gone several places all by myself on my bike. I went to Orem one night. Orem from Provo is uphill. Ugh. But I rode my bike all the way up to Orem and I would mention that it was dark outside but my mother will read this and get mad at me. But darnit, I was self-sufficient!

I went to a French friend's house last night in the rain. That was also a very uphill trip. I arrived, damp and very sweaty (my hostess forwent the habitual greeting cheek kisses and I didn't have to wonder why). I am learning that when a host or hostess gasps, "Can I get you something to drink" while running to the sink actually means two things: 1) I am sweaty and gross, 2) I am shamefully out of shape.

I went to the grocery store on Saturday while Perv was sleeping and I bought three full-sized pumpkins, five decorative gourds, and a pile of candy for all the guests that come to visit me (guests? What guests?). I brought them all home while riding my bike. Ha. When Perv woke up and saw the three large pumpkins, he said, "How did you do that?" I said, "On my bike!" He said, "You did not do that on your bike. There's no possible way you did that on your bike."

I went to the grocery store last Wednesday to pick up fruit for a large fruit salad. I was distracted by other things I wanted, like Chunky soup. So I only grabbed two things of Chunky soup (one must make sacrifices). As I was riding home, I heard a thunk, and looked back to see a can of Chunky soup on the sidewalk behind me. I laid down my bike, walked back and grabbed the can and put it in my purse. I inspected the bag and decided that despite the massive hole in the middle, the rest of the contents seemed sufficiently balanced on the intact sides of the bag, so I'd simply continue to ride. I rode slowly, but then realized that that meant the bag would have to hold up for a longer period of time. So I thought that I could go faster, but that meant that the bag would be subjected to more frequent and forceful bumps. Then I came across an automatic sprinkler system that was spraying the sidewalk. I couldn't avoid it since moving to the road meant a violent change in course and would put undue stress on the bag. So I went through the sprinklers. And I heard a thunk. I laid down my bike and went to grab my other can of Chunky soup, which was right in the middle of all the sprinkers. I went back into the four-square-meter monsoon and grabbed my can of Chunky soup. I returned to my bike and put the soup in my purse. I shoved the rest of the bags contents in my purse and as I did so, the automatic sprinkler system shut off.

So there you have it. Self-sufficiency. Well, Brothers 1 and 2 biked a century this weekend. That means they biked a hundred miles (actually, it was 103, which I think is cruel). They biked a hundred miles without incident.

I, on the other hand, wanted to go to the grocery store. I set out on my bike, and not three blocks away, I started to hear a hissing. "That better be a sprinkler," I thought, looking around and seeing nothing. Then I felt that my tire was completely flat. I have no idea what I even hit! But I had to turn around and walk my bike back home, unable to make a trip to the grocery store.

So much for self-sufficiency, again. Brother 2 is coming this week to help me replace the tube.

Nothing Else to Wear

I got up early this morning to finish the homework that I didn't want to do last night (honestly, when one has to watch four hours of Lost and catch up with old friends for a couple hours, where does one find time for such things as homework?). I've also realized lately that my weight-gain within the last few months is probably due to the fact that I don't walk anywhere anymore. That's what working at a place you have to drive or bus to does for your figure! So I decided that I needed to walk to school instead of taking the bus, which meant that I had to leave fifteen minutes before I normally do.

What all this meant for me was that I had no time to really invest in my outfit today. I've been procrastinating laundry lately, too, which obviously didn't help matters much. Fresh out from the shower, I put on a pair of jeans and a sweater that I haven't worn for a while. I tied back my wet hair with an elastic and put on a felt hat that I had picked up for five bucks at Old Navy last week. I didn't particularly rank high on the pretty scale, but out the door I went.

On my way to school, as I was walking quickly and imagining the pounds I would eventually shed, I felt my hair fall down around my shoulders. I'd lost my elastic and now what once was nappy pulled-back hair became even nappier, still wet, hat-head hair. I went to classes, low on the classy scale.

After classes, I walked home quickly and had a total of three minutes to pee, grab lunch, and find something to wear that is work appropriate. Since I've grown too large to fit into any of my work pants, I had to find a skirt that I wouldn't have to zip all the way up, and preferably one that went with the sweater I was already wearing so I didn't have to change both the top and bottom halves. I found a brown skirt. To go with my brown sweater and my brown hat. And I put on brown tights and brown shoes.

The hat made me feel 1920s-ish, and I fancied myself some Myrtle Wilson. She was a full-figured beauty---so beautiful, in fact, that Tom Buchanan was cheating on his wife just to be with her! And that, my friends, is true love. That's real.

On the other hand, all the brown in my outfit made me feel like Sherlock Holmes. It's an interesting combination, actually. One that makes my coworkers hesitate before complimenting me on my outfit.

"Oh this old thing?" I say. "Elementary, my dear friends! It's just something I throw on when I've got nothing else to wear!"


Hey, this is quick because I'm in the library between classes, but does anyone plan on watching Lost tonight? I finally finished the first season yesterday and I'm all ready to start the new season, but I don't have cable TV yet (it's coming on Saturday). So I guess the question is, is anyone planning on watching Lost and does anyone have enough space on their couch for two full-sized adults (me and Perv)? Or the floor! We'll sit on the floor! Or outside, if you want to crack the windows a little so we can hear the sound, we'll watch it outside your home, too! Please! Help me! Help meeeeeeeeeeee!

Of Mice and Boys

Tonight the whole family was at my place. Things were unusually calm throughout the afternoon. As I was making dinner, Brothers 1 and 3 were passed out in the livingroom and my sister-in-law was helping me cook. (Traditionalists? My family? Never! The men cleaned the dishes after dinner.) We ate our dinner and watched "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Then, after the food had settled and the sugar from the pot of candy I have in the living room went to my brothers' brains, things started getting rowdy.

Kit came over to discuss a book that she needs to do a presentation on in class tomorrow and while she and I were in my bedroom, the noise level in the kitchen started to rise. The boys had found my stash of useless mouse traps (the ones that the mice licked the peanut butter off of without ever setting them off) and started setting them and throwing them at each other. This continued for several minutes---they even had the decency to throw a couple into the bedroom so that Kit and I could feel like a part of it all.

Suddenly---and Kit can attest to this---we heard violent screaming and yelling coming from the kitchen. I thought maybe a mousetrap had clamped down on its nipple target (they seemed to like throwing them at each others' nipples), so I ermerged from the bedroom fully expecting to see a trap dangling from a nipple. Instead, I saw Brother 3 with a power drill.

"What happened?" I asked.

"Brother 3 drilled into his arm," said my sister-in-law.

I looked at my brother again to see that there was an indentation where he'd put the drill to his own arm.

"Wanna see?" he asked.

He put the drill to his arm again and turned it on. The bit grabbed his skin and twisted it so that it folded into a star pattern. He screamed again as the rest of us couldn't stop laughing.

This time he had twisted the skin enough to make himself bleed a little (and I do mean a very little). On closer inspection, we could all see that the area was starting to bruise quite nicely.

When the evening was winding down and everyone was getting ready to leave, and Brother 3 made me yell because I caught him rinsing off his neosporin-ed finger into my water filter, I opened the fridge to find the surprise that my brothers had intended me to find later. I had bought a fresh pineapple core a few days ago, and I'd been saving it as a treat. I never treat myself to fresh pineapple. I cut up most of it and put it in the fruit salad, but I saved a quarter for myself. When I opened the fridge, I found a set mousetrap inside the container with the leftover pineapple. As I brought it out of the fridge and started yelling at the boys for doing such a stupid thing, the trap went off, which only made it all funnier.

It's good to have the family all together.

Oh, brother! Cancel my weekend plans!

For several weekends in a row now, I've had no plans. Don't get me wrong. I actually love life a lot more when I have nothing planned for the weekend. It's wonderful and I'd never complain about it. But this weekend was going to be different. Yes, I'm still sitting at my desk, blogging at 10:00 p.m. on a Friday night.

The point is that I got a phone call that changed everything. Tomorrow at 3:00, I was supposed to meet with an old friend of mine who I haven't seen for about three or four years (remind me and one day I'll post the story of her incredible wedding). Sunday, I had finally made plans to get together with several sisters from my mission who I've been telling for months, "We have to get together sometime." We were going to eat crepes.

But like I said, a phone call changed all of that. Brother 3 is the kind of person you drop everything for. For the last year and a half, he's been traveling all over the United States, installing anthrax detectors in the post offices. Yes, you can see by the picture that he actually looks like the terrorists that he's supposed to be protecting us from, and yes, he gets pulled over for extra inspection every time he goes to the airport (which, with his job, is once a week). Last year in about October, Brother 3 was in Los Angelos. He found out how cheap tickets to Utah were, so he called us one day and arrived the next. In February, he was in Las Vegas, so we packed up the family (five full-sized adults in a five-passenger vehicle) and went to Vegas for the weekend. We're a close family, so any chance we get to all be together is basically blissful (and by blissful, of course, I mean that it includes such events as burning the hair on Brother 3's back with a creme brulee torch, kicking fire ants on each other, and other such sibling bonding events).

Brother 3 is currently in Pocatello. We had no idea. He called at 9:00 tonight to let us know that he'll be in Salt Lake by about 2:00 tomorrow afternoon. Of course, Brothers 1 and 2 are biking a century tomorrow, so once they finish that, then we can all get together for some good family fun. Anyone have a creme brulee torch I can borrow?

Sick and Wrong

It's coming... it's coming closer... and closer...

Imagine Jaws music playing in the background and now imagine me panicking like a swimmer who wants to get away from a shark that is bigger, meaner, and more pointy-toothed.

So I sit at a station where there are three computers crammed in together. On Monday, the guy who works at the farthest computer from me (a distance of two yards) came in to work very, very sick. I mean, we're talking just short of death here. He sat at his desk and coughed and hacked. Sometimes he'd make these wheezing noises that were sick and deathly and terrifying---the kind of human suffering that you don't actually ever witness unless you're watching graphic, violent R-rated movies. There was this gurgling noise in his throat as he painfully exhaled and put his head in his hands.

All the while, I was sitting at my desk, wondering why he even came to work. I realize that we're student workers, so we're naturally hard-up for cash, and we don't get paid sick days. But sometimes you've got to do something for the common good. Like stay home.

Yesterday, the girl who sits between him and me came in to work. She flopped down on her seat, wheezing. The guy gurgled, "You sick?" She croaked some unintelligible response. She proceeded to log in to her computer and work. Every now and then, I'd hear long, low groanings and moanings coming from her chapped lips. Several times, she simply put her head down on her desk and didn't make any effort at all to work. She'd pass out for long periods of time. I maybe should have poked and shook her to make sure that she was still conscious.

Instead, I ran to the front of the room where the Clorox wipes are kept. I brought them back to my work station and proceeded to Clorox the hell out of it.

Now, I realize that I'm likely to call in sick when I discover I have a hangnail. That aside, shouldn't there be some sense of What's Good for the Community when you're deciding whether or not you should go in to work? Don't these people understand that their persistence in coming in to work will cost their coworkers time and money lost in work missed (because at least some of us have enough sense to stay home), time in classes missed, assignments handed in late, and bottles upon bottles of Nyquil purchased (thereby increasing alcohol consumption)? Get a clue, people. You're sick and wrong.

Fun with Language

Fun with Italian

What you need to know: The Italian derogatory word for homosexual is finocchio. It’s pronounced like Pinocchio, but with an F. The plural is finocchi (pronounced fee-NOH-kee). Strangely, finocchio actually means fennel. In case you don’t know what fennel is, it’s “a Eurasian plant (Foeniculum vulgare) having pinnate leaves, clusters of small yellow flowers grouped in umbels, and aromatic seeds used as flavoring.” These are the little seeds you can find in Italian sausage. The stalks can be eaten like celery except that they taste a little like black licorice. What fennel has to do with homosexuality I don’t know, but it is a fact that fennel, in Italian, is equivalent to faggot.

On to the story: Today I went to the library and saw my last mission companion, studying Italian at one of the tables. She was sharing the table with a guy who was also studying Italian. I sat down with them and pulled out my French homework, studying carefully the difference between dorsum and radix. (See next story.) Suddenly, as is known to happen at tables where all persons speak Italian, a conversation started up. The guy was talking about different places in Italy and asking if there were missionaries in these areas. He asked about Capri, and when he was told that there weren’t, he said (with derision), “Good thing! That place is full of finocchi.”

My mission companion exclaimed, “Oh! I love finocchi! I could just eat them all up!”

Now, I understand that finocchio isn’t a word that they teach you in the MTC. It’s not a bit of vocab you pick up from studying the discussions (though it tended to pop up now and then during a discussion on the plan of salvation). But I can’t understand how she went through sixteen months in Italy without ever picking up on the fact that finocchio had a double meaning.

She finally learned today when the guy and I burst out laughing at the table. “I bet you could just eat them all up, you naughty girl!”

Fun with French

As I mentioned, I was studying for my French phonetics test. Part of what I had to study was a diagram of the sound-manipulating parts of the head. You know---the nasal cavity, the parts of the tongue, the vocal chords, the teeth, and all that good stuff. I had the diagram in front of me at the library. I traced over the diagram and labeled everything on a separate sheet of paper. It was all easy. The lips are the superior lip and the inferior lip. The teeth are the superior teeth and the inferior teeth. The tongue has three parts: the apex, the dorsum, and the radix. All easy.

So I went to the testing center. When it was time to label the parts of the mouth, I wrote down dorsum for the top of the tongue and rectum for the back of the tongue. But something just didn’t look right.

“Rectum,” I thought. “That just can’t be right! Dorsum . . . rectum. Dorsum . . . rectum.” At this point, I started giggling. You know, uncontrollable laughter when you’re with someone else is one thing, but uncontrollable laughter when you’re alone in the Testing Center is quite another. I sat, convulsing in my seat, imagining my teacher opening my test, grading the diagram, and seeing the back of the tongue labeled as “RECTUM.” The more I thought of it, the more I laughed. I erased RECTUM (and did a very thorough job, since I didn’t want him to even know that I had once written it there) and finally remembered radix. I labeled the radix, turned the page, and kept on convulsing.

Dog Opinions?

So Perv and I might be getting a dog. We decided that the added protection of a canine in the house would be a good thing for me. I thought a baseball bat would be good (no extra care/food/shots needed), but when I was talking to my mom this weekend and mentioned that Perv and I had briefly thought about getting a dog before we ruled it out as a possibility, she said that she thought that getting a dog was a very good idea.

We went to a dog adoption event this weekend at Petsmart, just to start to get a feel for the used-dog market. There was a beautiful chocolate lab and a sweet German short-haired (German short-haired what?) that were up for adoption. Perv and I also spent a lot of time online, looking a good match for us.

I also got things smoothed over with the landlord this weekend (meaning he responded to the letter that I wrote to him and he was surprisingly understanding and calm, so I've decided to forgive him since he forgave me for spending $178 of his money), and I asked him about the possibility of getting a dog. He says that his initial reaction is no (our contract says no pets) but that he'll think about it. So I know that even though Perv and I are starting to think about this, it may not even happen.

What I'm asking for, really, is advice. I don't need "dogs are stupid" advice or "don't get a dog advice." What I'd really like is experience with different breeds (there are 250 dogs up for adoption just in our immediate area, so there are lots of different breeds available), etc.

So what do you think? What kind of dog should I get? We have a small apartment. The dog would rarely be alone in the house since Perv and I have opposite schedules. We have a nice back yard where we could tie the dog up to let it play outside, and I'd love to take it for nice long walks and maybe even jogs. We'd like a calm breed, since it would not be a good idea to annoy the neighbors with barking, etc. (though they are with child, so in about eight months, there will be uncontrollable loud noises coming from their apartment) and since I'd need a good, calm breed to not demand all my attention while I'm trying to do homework. I'd rather not have a small breed; medium or large (not too large because it's a small apartment) would be great (but I'm thinking about beagles---they're about the smallest I'd be willing to go).

The Toilet Seat

I haven't actually blogged about this yet because I'm hesitant to post a story that even mentions the word "tampons." But here it is. This post will mention the word "tampons." I'll limit my use of the word "tampons" to only twice, however, so don't be afraid. If, however, you find that the word "tampons" makes you pink just to read, then I suggest that you read someone else's blog that has nothing to do with "tampons."

When Perv and I moved into this apartment (Perv, you remember, is The Boy's new name), he announced to me that as long as I never left any tampons in the toilet, then he'd never leave the toilet seat up.

"I've never had a problem leaving tampons in the toilet, Perv," I said.

"I'm really good about putting the toilet seat down," said Perv.

And so it was. I would make sure that my feminine products were properly flushed and he would put the toilet seat down.

Except that he didn't. He would always leave it up. There was a time when I was sorely tempted to deliberately not take care of certain feminine products, but that's just sick and wrong and I could never bring myself to do it. Finally, I started mentioning it to Perv.

Cicada: You know, if you don't start putting the toilet seat up, I'm going to have to stop doing what I said I'd always do.

Perv: I always put the toilet seat down.

Cicada: I find it up on a regular basis.

Perv: Well, Mishkin is over here quite often. I bet he's leaving it up.

Cicada: That's ridiculous. Mishkin is OCD and anal retentive. He spent forty minutes arranging our spice cupboard. He deliberately broke a plate so that we could have an even number of small plates in the house. He has not been leaving the toilet seat up.

Since then, any time I've found the toilet seat up, I've called it to Perv's attention, and suggested that maybe Mishkin was actually responsible:

"Perv! It's 8:00 a.m. and the toilet seat is up! Did you invite Mishkin over last night without my knowledge?"

I'll be even better now that Mishkin is going to Indonesia. I'll curse his name every time I find the toilet seat up. Wherever he is, whatever he's doing, it's probably all his fault.

I Bought a Printer

That doesn't explain why I haven't been posting for the last few days, but I'm still really excited about it. It prints and it photocopies and it scans. It's basically fantastic.

In other news, I've been busy lately. By "busy," I mean, "addicted to 24." I don't think that watching 24 is a smart thing to do at all. You just don't stop watching. And then you feel bad about yourself because you're basically a waste of human flesh.

In other news still, I've been having a little dispute with my landlord. I'd love to write out all the details right now, but I'm lying in bed right now with my eyes half-closed. It's only 9:21 today, but I think I'm going to go to bed early (hoorah!). Suffice it to say that I currently own a fridge. I'm not supposed to be a fridge owner. I'm not at the point in my life where it's very wise to own large appliances. But since my landlord asked me to buy a fridge for the apartment and then was very unhappy to find out how much I spent on the fridge, he seems to have decided to not reimburse me. Not yet, anyway.

Yesterday I went shopping with Puckish Mitya for five hours. Though that might seem like a wonderful dream to some people, to us it was not. we got to WalMart at about 7 or 7:30. First we looked for some clothes for him (for those who don't know, he decided a week and a half ago to just drop everything and go to Indonesia). Then he said that we needed to walk through every aisle of WalMart because he didn't actually have a list of things he needed; he'd simply grab what he needed as he saw it on the shelves.

Two and a half hours later, we dragged ourselves to the checkout stand. At this point, we were delirious. Intelligent or even coherent conversation had ended. Our communication was reduced to groans and sluggish gestures.

Right now, I'm waiting for him to come over, and I think that it's the last I'll see of him for the next three months. (Or even at all! He could get killed, you know.) It's truly a mark of love and friendship that I'm even awake right now.

According to R.E.I. Catalog...

Women are the smaller of the species.

The Perv

I think that it's time to change The Boy's name. This is not because of Savvymom, I promise. It's just that he fit Daltongirl's description of an Internet predator so well... So he will now be known as Perv.

In other news, he thinks that I'm sick and wrong for doing this to my eggs. I had to come up with some way of distinguishing the boiled from the regulars!

The Happiest Time of My Life

I got a phone call today from one of my mission companions. I haven't heard from her for several months. So you can only guess what she was calling about. Here, for your reading pleasure, is the run-down of all my companions' current marital statuses:

MTC companion: Called today to tell me that she's getting married on December 28th. Her younger sister is getting married on December 27th. They're going to have a joint reception/preception on the 27th, which her parents have got to be praising the Lord for. Two daughers, one reception. Does life get any better?

Trainer: Italian and not getting married any time soon. She'll stick it out with me for sure. Her options are severely more limited than mine are, anyway, and she's a hundred times more picky than I am. She dumped her first boyfriend after the mission because he was too hairy. When the dumping time came, he said to her, "I know why you're dumping me."

She gasped and turned completely red, ashamed that her shallowness was discovered. "You do?"

He replied, "Yes. I know. I'm simply not spiritual enough for you. I don't blame you in dumping me. I could never deserve you."

She was grateful that he had suggested a valid excuse, and went along with it. "It's true," she said sympathetically. "But you'll find someone. Don't worry. You'll find someone."

My Next Two Companions: This was my threesome (I know that some of you snicker at the term, but grow up). Both sisters married their zone leaders. And live happily ever after.

And Then...: My fifth companion. Carried a picture of a guy around in her wallet who pretty much had dumped her well before her mission, but she still liked to show the picture to people because she thought he was handsome. The next picture of him that I saw was on their wedding announcement.

Clat: (She always wanted a nickname during the mission but never really got one. When, after the mission, we all realized her initials spelled "Clat," we gave it to her as a nickname and she got mad at us. No, but seriously---mad!) Was my roommate from August to April last year. Had a boyfriend. Went to our mission reunion and announced to everyone she had a boyfriend. Dumped the boyfriend. Got back together with the boyfriend. Dumped the boyfriend. Repeat six more times. Sat on her bed and said to me (perhaps a couple weeks after the last time she dumped the boomerang boyfriend), "Will we ever get boyfriends?" A week later, she had a boyfriend, just in time for the next mission reunion. Everyone asked her, "How's your boyfriend?" She replied, "Great! Only, he's not the same as last time." Got dumped by the boyfriend a week later (he prayed, and she was not The One). Had a new boyfriend by the end of April. Boyfriend went out of town for over a month during the summer. They got married on August 20th.

My first greenie: Not married, and I don't know much about her dating life, either.

Gerb: Here's another one who got a nickname. We may have nicknamed her Gerb after an awful make-out game she confessed to once playing, involving an imaginary gerbil: I'm going to kiss the gerbil on its little nose. I'm going to kiss the gerbil on his little foot. I'm going to kiss the gerbil on its ear. I'm going to kiss the gerbil on its teeny mouth. Okay. I think our gerbil's tired. Now, let's kiss each other everywhere we just kissed our gerbil! Marrying the zone leader she hooked up with at Lake Powell. Mark off Thanksgiving on your calendars!

The Spaniard: Oh, the things I could say! Suffice it to say that I think her boyfriend was basically our ghost companion during our very, very long three months together. He did really fun things like tell her she was a sinner because she was allowing me to make her break rules. ("Babe! You need to repent!" is a direct quote from a letter that Switchback sneakily read over her shoulder one day.) Nevermind the fact that the mission president was aware of and approved our activities. She was a sinner and I was Satan's spawn. Oh---did I mention they were happily married less than a month after she got home from her mission?

Do You Like Milkshakes? My final companion, who actually once asked me one day if I liked milkshakes. Does anyone but the lactose intolerant actually answer no to that? Is that really an effective getting-to-know-you question? I could have as easily asked her, "Do you breathe?" Needless to say, I mocked her mercilessly the rest of the time we were together (lest you get the wrong impression, she and I actually did enjoy our time together...) I ran into her on campus the other day and said, "We really need to get together soon," the same way I say it to all people I have good intentions of getting together with. I added as well, "To get a milkshake, of course. Because I like them. Do you?" I don't know if she's dating anyone. She's not getting married. Maybe I'll update you when we get our milkshakes.

So there you have it. I called my mom as soon as I got the news about my MTC comp's double wedding (her and her sister, remember?). I did all the fake crying and theatrics that I could muster and we laughed and laughed and laughed at my patheticness.

"I haven't even had a boyfriend since being home from my mission!"


"I haven't even had a boyfriend in three years!"


"You are a prize," my mother assured me.
"A prize that no one wants to win!" I replied.


"I blame all my weight gain this past year on the patheticness of my lovelife!"
"That's actually a good point," she said. "It has been a really bad year for you."


She eventually dumped me so that she could get a nap in before company came over, but not one minute after getting off the phone with her, she called back.

"I forgot to say the perfect thing!" She was excited about it, whatever it was. "In Relief Society the other day, a sister was talking about a happiness survey among four groups of people: single men, married men, single women, and married women. The ranking was as follows: The happiest group were married men. The second-happiest were single women. Single men are the least happy, and married women were just above them!"

"So what you're saying is that all I have to look forward to is making some man really happy, while I actually go down on the happiness scale?"

"This is the happiest time of your life!" She was absolutely jubilant.

So there you have it, folks. I may be single, but I'm fat and happy! Now excuse me while I go swallow some of the mouse poison that I just bought.

The Nest

Well, I promised a few people that I'd finally post pictures of my apartment, and it's finally in a condition that I can take pictures to post. There are still a few minor things that I'll change with time and money, but for now, this is what it looks like. Enjoy!

Welcome to my kitchen. In my kitchen, like you've seen before, is my Scrabble fridge. Today, the message is as follows because when I was refinishing the chair, I got Armorol all over the kitchen floor. Despite my mopping, it remains a slippery hazard. You may come to my house but you may not sue me if you fall and hurt yourself. The hazard has been clearly marked.

Below is my sink area. This is all the counter space that I have in my kitchen, actually, which is unfortunate, but with just me and The Boy, we manage well enough. However, any time I cook, I end up putting the dish drainer over the sink to clear up a little extra space for me. You may notice that there's something weird about the pictures. I photoshopped the glare off of the one by cloning (and not very well) the other. So they're actually not identical prints, but they are complementary, so you get the gist of it.

Next we have the table and chairs that I spent so much time working on. They were a pain in the butt to do, but now that they're done, I'm happy. Except that I get nervous whenever anyone goes near them (but I've already forgiven Mishkin for dropping his plate of cake, breaking the plate, and spilling cake all over the seat of one of my precious, precious chairs).

Now we have the little built-in shelves unit. I love built-in shelves so I thought I'd give you a close-up. The print above the shelves matches other prints that I have on the wall around the table and chairs, but I didn't take a picture of that since the light coming in from the window was too strong to get a good shot. (By the way: Extra points if you can identify what items I'm babysitting for Nemesis while she's in England.)

Now on to the living room. I've really tried to make my house non-gender-specific. I was basically making all the decorating decisions, but I didn't want to make The Boy feel resentful (you should see his bedroom---the feng shui of it would kill you!). So you'll notice a monkey with headphones and prints from explodingdog.com. Very manly. Very manly, indeed!

Severance Pay

Well, if you didn't hear it from Brozy, you'll hear it from me. I got the chair (it was the second thing on my list). So here is the story of the chair, in full.

A few months ago, I gazed into the video editing cubicle---you know, the place where they have all the coolest equipment and 20-inch flat-screen monitors. Not that I'm insanely jealous or anything. I noticed that they had a sortof retro chair in there. I wanted it. I knew that they were making sure that everyone had nice, new, eronometric chairs, or whatever they're called, so I asked the office manager if I could have the old chair. She referred me to the Big Boss. So I asked the Big Boss. She told me that all furniture must go to the BYU surplus furniture sale, so no. I resigned myself to the fact that I would never have that chair, and I told myself that it was okay, since it wouldn't fit in the living room anyway.

Then the Big Boss quit. I was sad to see her go, because I actually really liked her. I also really like the woman who took her place, too.

Yesterday, I overheard the New Big Boss talking on the phone about getting rid of the old chairs in the video editing room. I ran up to her and said, "Well, if you don't mind... I've had my eye on this really hideous chair in there, and I'd love to take it home with me." I showed her the chair and she agreed that it had potential and said that I could probably have it.

Today after a series of emails back and forth between her and me, she finally confirmed that I could take the chair. Please read the series of emails:

From Cicada:
I don't know when you'll be replacing that chair, but if I'm still allowed to take the chair home, let me know and I'll make someone give me a ride home (instead of bringing it on the bus with me). I've found the perfect spot for it in my home and I'm sooooo excited. Right now, the only desk chair I have is this folding wooden one that hurts to sit on for more than five minutes... Which is unfortunate, since I'm supposed to be doing hours of homework at my desk. Anyway. Let me know, because I'm still very interested in taking that chair home!

From New Big Boss:
Yes you are. :-) The video supervisor said he didn't care if you took it. I'm not sure where he put it, though, I didn't see it back there this morning. You'll probably have to ask him where it is.

From Cicada:
I just looked and it's there right now. So does that mean that I can take it home today?

From New Big Boss:
Yes you may. But don't tell anyone, I don't want to make them feel bad that they don't get a cool retro yellow chair. :-)

From Cicada:
The secret is safe with me... And everyone who sees me carrying a chair out of the building... And the person who I beg to help me take the chair home... [And the whole Internet, with whom I share this story...]

From New Big Boss:
:-) That works for me. We appreciate all you've done for us Cicada.
--New Big Boss

Now, it might just be me, but "We appreciate all you've done for us" sounds a little like, "Take this chair and leave quietly. Don't make a big fuss and you can keep the chair."

Anyway. I still have my job, but I also like to look at the chair as a sort of severance pay. When the time comes to leave, I'll leave quietly. No fuss.

(I got it home and after a trip to Walmart, two cans of spray paint, a half-gallon of Armorol, and a pillow, this is what it looks like!)

Things I Want

Here is a list of things I want, not because my birthday is coming soon, but because I'm materialistic.

*Louise Attaque, the first album
*the 50s retro chair in the video editing room
*pillows to put in my living room (I already have everything I need to make them---I just need a sewing machine)
*a sewing machine
*a new, 20" iMac (with the Adobe suite, please)
*cable, or direct TV
*a TV that works better (I watched two epidodes of 24 on my television. I watched two episodes of 24 on my laptop. There was a whole lot more going on during that show that I didn't pick up when I watched it on my TV because my TV obviously doesn't handle dark scenes very well)
*ice cream from Coldstone Creamery
*a cool stereo
*a better mattress for my futon in the living room
*windows that open in the living room, or a screen door
*a painted bedroom
*a planted garden
*a boyfriend

This list, though not exhaustive, is a good representation of what I want. You'll notice that I didn't even say "a car." I didn't say that because I am not a greedy person.

Pure Tu Sei Bella

Today on the way to work, a creepy, overweight man on a bicycle drove up to me and said, "You're looking very beautiful this morning." I accepted his compliment graciously and kept on walking. I know that his intentions were probably very innocent. I think that he might be... simple, shall we say.

But it made me reflect on the glory days of Italy, where random men (simple and smart) would tell me how beautiful I was every day! And whether or not they were creepy, the compliments were very welcome! So here are some of the more comical compliments that I or my companions received during my stay in Italy, in chronological order.

On a Bus in Florence
My memory on this one is sketchy since Florence was my first city and my Italian was also sketchy. My trainer was Italian. Two guys approach us on the bus and start telling her how beautiful they think we are. She says, "That's great. We're missionaries!" They ask what missionaries are. She says, "Like nuns" and smiles an icey smile at them. Conversation quickly dies and they find seats on a bus that was previously too crowded for them to have found seats on.

On a Street in Rome
One of my companions (there were three of us) says as we pass a car, Bella macchina (beautiful car). The driver says, Bella tu. We keep on walking, but the driver calls us back. He has a creepy voice but a really nice car.
--Hai sentito? Ho detto, "Bella tu."
--Did you hear? I said, "Beautiful you."
--Si. Ho sentito.
--Yes. I heard.
--Quanti anni hai?
--How many years do you have? (How old are you?)
--Too few.
--Quando torni in America?
--When do you go back to America?
--Quando i miei genitori vengono a portarmi via.
--Until my parents come to take me away.
At this point, we leave.

At Trevi Fountain in Rome
A foreign man is trying to sell roses. He chases my companion with a rose, calling her beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I say, "If she's so beautiful, why does she have to buy her own roses? Shouldn't a man buy roses for her?" He turns to me and says, "I wasn't talking to you, ugly."

On a Boat from Sardinia to Rome

A guy is talking to my companion and me. He thinks my companion is beautiful. He goes on and on and on about how beautiful she is. Then he turns to me:

--Pure tu sei bella. Pero.

--Also you are beautiful. But.

And he shrugs his shoulders.

On a Train in Sardinia
My greenie comes up to me after having used the train's restroom:
--What does Sei bellissima! mean?
--What did you say to the person who said Sei bellissima! to you?
--I said, Si! because I thought he was asking if the restroom was free.
(Sei bellissima! means "You are very beautiful!" Si! means "Yes!")

At a Blind Woman's House. The Blind Woman Has Been Receiving Help from Sister Missionaries for Eight Years.
--Voi siete tutte belle! Tutte belle! Tutte belle e magre!
--You are all beautiful! All beautiful! All beautiful and thin!
There are three of us visiting her. She walks over to the thinnest of us and squeezes her arms. Magra! she cries. She comes to me and squeezes my arms. Magra! she cries. She goes to the third sister, who is hardly larger than me at all. She squeezes her arms. She hesitates.
--Tu, pero. Tu sei un po cicia.
--You, however. You are a little chubby.

On the Subway in Rome, Knowing that I Am Wearing a Perfectly Matched Outfit
--You are the most beautiful woman on the metro right now and all eyes are on you. (This was in English.)

On the Subway in Rome, Sitting Across from Two Drunk Guys

--Io sono bello. Pure tu sei bella. Io sono inamorato di te. Io ti amo.

--I am handsome. You are also beautiful. I am in love with you. I love you.

Pictures of My Bedroom

So I finally arranged my bedroom in a way that definitely works for me. I still need to paint the walls because they're an ucky white, but I think that I can probably convince my landlord to pay for the paint here sometime soon. Anyway. For anyone who cares, my room has been a mess and utterly unusable because of its ugly factor for the last month and a half. In fact, I have just been sleeping in the living room because the living room was much more beautiful, and I can only sleep peacefully in beautiful places. I couldn't think of anything to do with my bedroom. First of all, I only have three usable walls in my room. First, there is an entrance to my room from the kitchen. Then, the bathroom is connected to my room as well. Then, The Boy's room is connected to my room. So I have three doors leading into my room (not counting closet), leaving me with only one full wall and two part-walls to work with.

I didn't know how to arrange all my furniture, since I didn't want there to be a bed next to a night stand next to a dresser next to a bookshelf next to a desk. It all seemed too... ugly and imbalanced. Finally, inspiration struck during one of my classes this week, and I put my bed in the middle of the room and divided the room into "bedroom half" and "study half."

So on one side of my bed, I have my night stand and my dresser. On the other side of my bed, I have my bookshelf and desk. So here are pictures. I still need to do some arranging of the room (like hanging pictures), but this should give you a general idea.

(And please forgive the lopsidedness of the covers. Usually I make my bed more symmetrically.)

Without a Hitch

I didn't lend my copy of Hitch to anyone, did I?

Religious Reasons Why I Didn't Make It into Divine Comedy

*My mom says that they probably felt the Spirit tell them that I shouldn't be in DC because God knows that I won't have enough time for it, and I spread myself too thin.

*The One is obviously not to be found by working with DC.

*I had a stupor of thought. And by "stupor of thought," I mean, when they were doing improv, I couldn't think of anything.

I'm actually relieved more than anything, because I was already starting to worry about the time commitment. When I was waiting for the final news (phone call if I made it, email if I didn't) my mom and I decided that it would be good news either way.

I got in? Good news! I got in!

I didn't get in? Good news! Now I won't be involved in a time-sucking venture!

Good news, everyone! Good news! You can call me Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 to 10 because I won't be busy.

I'm Funny?

(That's supposed to be read like, "I'm Ron Burgundy?" which was the only funny part of The Anchorman. I slept through the rest.)

So my freshman year, one of the many things Magoo coerced me into doing was trying out for Divine Comedy. I didn't even know what it was (for those who don't know what it is, it's BYU's really fantastic comedy troup). I was completely unprepared and unfortunately joined the masses of painfully unfunny people. I am ashamed to say that I can't even remember what I did, other than an impression of a Sand Person from Star Wars. Not funny.

I've decided to try it again, six years later (whoa---am I seriously at BYU six years later? and can I possibly be funnier than a Sand Person?).

Tonight I went to the tryouts with The Boy, Ambrosia, and Mishkin (all there for moral support). We ran into Coworker M*, too, who needs a name, so we'll call him MFEO (which he and I are not, but I absolutely adore him).

I was nervous. Brozy thought it was funny to see me nervous. When it was time for me to walk down nearer to the stage (there were a couple hundred people in the auditorium), my legs were like rubber. I got up and I had two minutes to be funny. So I did my dating poems, of course. (For those who haven't ever seen these performed, I feel very sorry for you.) I had to change the tone of the first bit so that it could go fast instead of slow, and I had to drop a stanza from the second poem. I still didn't make it through, though, but at least when they called "Time!" I quit and left the stage, unlike other people who continued with their material.

So after I was done, I went back up and watched the rest of the auditioners with MFEO and Brozy and Mishkin and The Boy. After tryouts were over, I was waiting as Brozy was having a conversation with some friends, and a guy came up to me.

Guy: Hi. My name is Kenny.

Me: Hi. I'm still single.

Kenny: I really liked your stuff. How long have you been at BYU?

Me: Uh... for a while... since 1999.

Kenny: Oh wow. I've only been here a year and a half. Well, look. I am coming here as a recruiter for Laugh Out Loud comedy---have you ever heard of us?

Me: Yeah, of course.

Kenny: I really liked your stuff, so you should come to our improv workshops. They're free. So if---heaven forbid---you don't get called back for Divine Comedy, come work with us. Even if you do get called back for Divine Comedy. Come work with us.

Me: Oh yeah. Great! Thanks. Hey, I've seen your posters on campus---they're really great!

Kenny: Thanks! I'm the one who made all of those.

Me: I especially liked that one with the baby---I can't remember what it was, but it was so funny!

Kenny: Oh... actually... that was Brand X Comedy.


Me: Oh my. Okay. Well... uh... okay. That's awkward. Well, they have really great posters.

Anyway. Poor, sweet Kenny gave me his business card and told me to give them a call when they have a room and time set up for their first meeting.

I went home with the Gang, and put in a movie and slept through the entire thing (I really just wanted to be in bed). Finally, when I woke up after midnight, I went to check on the site, and it looks as if I've made the first cut. Crap. I mean, I didn't know that I had to be funny twice. I have to go back tomorrow! What on Earth am I going to do?? Anyway. I'll update you on what happens, I guess. For now, I really want to get to bed.

Its all about learning...

So I went to class today. To learn. And of course, since it's Team Spirit Friday (we don't get casual Friday here---instead, we're all made to wear the same white polo so we all look like lab technicians) I was wearing my nice BYU Independent Study polo.

I went to my editing class, where one of the first things the teacher did was pull out a brand new Independent Study poster calendar. We hand these out every year to every single office on campus, so the campus is flooded with these things. They're quite handy---they display the whole year along with important dates (like holidays! and add-drop deadlines!).

He said, "I found this slipped under my door last night," as he unrolled it. He held it up for all the class to see. "Where is the error?" he asked. "It's the very first word," he hinted.

In the top, left corner of the calendar is the sentence, "Its all about learning." (For those of you who didn't already cringe when you saw the title of my post, there should be an apostrophe in the Its.)

He then went on to explain, as I sunk lower and lower in my seat, "This had to pass by several people here. There was a writer involved and a designer. There was an editor and a proofreader. Several people saw this and yet no one corrected it."

I wanted to scream out, "I had nothing to do with it! I had nothing to do with it! I didn't even see that calendar until right this moment!" Instead I sat low in my seat for the rest of class, hoping the IS logo on my shirt would go invisible.