The Witch and the Hamster

A little while ago, The Boy and I went to PetSmart and we witness an intriguing spectacle. In its little cage, a hamster was running on a wheel while another hamster watched. The second hamster came to the right side of the wheel and watched as the first hamster ran and ran and ran and ran. Then, suddenly, the second hamster lunged forward to get into the wheel. The spinning wheel, powered by the first hamster's insane need to run, pushed the body of the second hamster right into the supporting bar of the wheel. The little hamster's body bent completely in half and the wheel came to a full stop.

Then, squeezing his little hamster butt from where it was wedged between the bar and the wheel, the second hamster got onto the wheel. Both hamsters ran together for a few moments until the second hamster pushed the first hamster off. The first hamster ran around from the left side of the wheel to the right side and waited and watched. Suddenly, lunging forward, he half-inserted his body into the wheel. Then, powered by the second hamster, the wheel pushed his body against the supporting bar until the wheel came to a full stop and the first hamster's body was bent completely in half.

Ths continued and never actually ceased to be funny.

It was so funny, in fact, that I was telling this story to Brother 1 on Saturday. "I certainly don't know why they feel the need to run run run run run!" I said.

"It's just funny that the hamsters can seem to do it but you can't," remarked Brother 1. I considered changing his name to Terd McFurgeson in that moment, but I didn't.

Today, I was both a witch and a hamster for Halloween.

This morning, I put on a black skirt and a black shirt and some black fish nets over red tights. When I went to work, I grabbed my pointy witch hat, my broom, and my cauldron full of goodies. I was a witch, and I was ready for both work and my ward party.

When I got home, I realized that my ward party was a dance party. The last time I went to a dance, I promised myself that I would never ever go to a dance again. I knew that I had to get out and meet people, but I also knew that doing so at a dance would be of no benefit to me at all. So instead, I went to the gym for the first time in months to run on the wheel. I really need to lose this weight.

When I came home, I took all the candy that I had meant to bring to the dance and put it by the door and turned the lights on so that trick-or-treaters could come and take my candy away so that I wouldn't eat it all. Some trick-or-treaters never came. We did have several kids come during the evening, though, and Brother 2, The Boy, and I all carved pumpkins.

Happy Halloween! (Nightmare Before Christmas by Brother 2)

Are you still reading? Also, the best part about tonight was when an 11-year-old kid came to the door with his siblings and butted to be first in line for the candy (because apparently if you don't get there first, people run out) and then looked up at my apartment and said, "Wow. Cool apartment! This is really cool." I still only gave him one piece of candy, though, because he's a butter.

Night Terrors

I have been known to be a sleepwalker. And a sleep talker. And a sleep singer. And a sleep screamer, but that was only a long, long time ago.

When I was a little girl, I used to have nightmares and wake up screaming. It was only this past year that I learned that this is something called night terrors. I can't remember these dreams that caused my screaming, only I know that one involved a bear being in our bathroom and another involved monkeys, torches, a cave, and my grandma.

Of course, I would scream and my parents would come running into my bedroom to find me safe and sound and soiled. Finally my father lost patience and yelled at me (I don't remember this). He told me to never, never do that again.

And I never have. At that time, if a bad dream woke me up, I would go to my parents' bedroom and kneel beside my father's side of the bed, and put my little face right up to his until he woke up. Of course, this would very effectively scare him every time he gained consciousness. He finally commented to my mother that he much preferred the screaming, but he didn't have the heart to forbid me to pursue this course of action.

The other side effect of my getting in trouble for screaming is that I have never been able to scream in my sleep ever again. I remember the first time it happened to me as a child. A fat boy was in my house at night and he was coming to kidnap me. He approached me and grabbed me and I tried to scream, but nothing came out of my mouth. He laughed and said, "You cannot scream!" And I tried, and I tried, and I tried. But I could not scream.

Since that time, with a lot of practice, I've finally been able to make noise. It's certainly not a scream, though. In my dream, I still find myself powerless to make noise at first, and then I try and I try and I try and... something... comes... out. I cannot even describe the noise in writing. It sounds like a very scary ghost moaning. Or maybe even a deaf ghost trying to approximate screaming. But it's not loud enough to be screaming. Generally, I make this noise until I wake myself up or some other person wakes me up.

Notable Times When I Have Made This Noise:

After my freshman year I drove home to Canada with a family from our ward. We stopped in a hotel one night. I shared a bed with the mom, and the dad and three other boys slept on the other bed or on the floor. I woke up in the middle of the night, aware that I'd been making That Noise. I hoped that no one heard and went back to sleep. In the morning, one of the boys said, "Cicada... you were... making... a... noise... last night." The entire family looked at me expectantly. The mother said, "I had to shake you till you woke up."

On my mission, I was always very good to warn my companions on our first day together that it was possible that during our time together, I would make That Noise (my psychiatrist in the MTC who threatened to send me home because I was a sleep walker told me to remember to warn my companions). My second companionship was a threesome with two great girls. We had to spend about five days in Rome at one point, so we were staying in an apartment with two other sisters. Of course, warning other people about That Noise wasn't something that I ever thought to do. My companionship slept in the living room while the other girls slept in the bedroom. I started making That Noise in the middle of the night until my companions woke me up. The poor unwarned girls in the bedroom were scared for the rest of the night and perhaps even scarred for life.

Thursday night. It was raining, and I sleep with my window open. As I was falling asleep, I was thinking, "This is sooooo nice, this pitter-patter of rain, I could really get used to thisssssssssszzzzzzzzzz." So I was asleep. For about half an hour. After a half an hour, I woke up, convinced that there was someone standing outside my window. I peeked, I was scared, and I went back to sleep. This situation repeated itself for the rest of the night. At about four o'clock, I woke myself up because I was making That Noise quite loudly. I really thought that there was a rapist or other scary figure coming after me. To make matters worse, The Boy wasn't home that night, so I was all on my own. When I woke up, panicked, at six a.m., I finally decided to stay up, because it simply wasn't worth it to try and sleep again.

And so there we have it. My night terrors continue, but I am unable to scream (and for the record, I also no longer soil myself). I guess what I really wonder is what would have happened if my father hadn't told me not to scream anymore. Would my neighbors have rushed to my rescue Thursday night?

As long as we're on the subject...

I should share an experience from last summer. It's about dating, and about when I finally decided that I would say no to a man.

See, I get so few dates that I never say no. I'm willing to give pretty much anyone a chance, really.

So last summer, I was on the YSA committee and helped to plan activities and such and such (this was on the East Coast). I helped to plan this weekend retreat where we went to a farm house for two days. On the whole, it was a success, but during the two-day retreat, I acquired a sortof stalkerish little guy.

Let's call him Virgil.

So Virgil wasn't what one would call an attractive man, and Virgil wasn't what one would call a mentally balanced man, either. I discovered that whatever room I was in, Virgil was there. When I got tired of socializing, I exused myself and went to the kitchen to wash dishes. Soon, I found Virgil standing in the doorway of the kitchen, watching me wash dishes, and waiting for me to start a conversation. I didn't really start a conversation, and he certainly didn't offer to help me wash dishes, but he did stay in the doorway to watch me the whole time I was cleaning up. Finally, a friend found me and said, "We're going to hop in the swimming pool. You coming?" I told her I wasn't sure. I was lying---of course I wanted to go swimming---but I didn't want to tip Virgil off to my whereabouts. My friend asked Virgil if he was going to come swimming, and he said he wasn't sure.

A few minutes later, as I was swimming in the pool, Virgil strutted on over in his bathing suit and canonballed into the pool, virtually emptying the pool of any water it previously contained.

The next day, it was time to clean up the farmhouse and leave. I took the vacuum and started vacuuming every room. Virgil followed me. He didn't do any cleaning work himself, and he didn't try to make conversation, but he did follow me from room to room, staring at me as I vacuumed.

I was dreading seeing him two days later at the FHE activity, but I successfully avoided him. At the end of the activity, he came up and stood beside me, and I knew that it was with the intention of talking to me for some very important purpose. So I avoided eye contact (I am a coward) and cheerily waved goodbye to him as my friends and I left the activity to go and get some Cold Stone ice cream.

I went with a couple girl friends and one girl friend's brother. He was 19 at the time and just about to go on a mission, and that night was the first time we were really hanging out.

When I was in line at Cold Stone, my phone rang: it was an unidentified number. More curious as to who it was than afraid of who it could be, I answered. It was Virgil.

Virgil: Hi. This is Virgil.

Cicada: Hi, Virgil!

[Very long pause as I wait for him to state the purpose of his call. Is this strange? I thought that it's generally the person who makes the call who is responsible for generating conversation.]

Virgil: That was a lot of food that we had at FHE tonight.

Cicada: Well, yes, it was. A family in the ward had leftovers from a barbeque they had, and they wanted us to eat up the leftovers, so we went ahead and threw a barbeque.

Virgil: Oh. I thought maybe it was leftovers from the retreat.

Cicada: No. Nope. Not leftovers from the retreat.

Virgil: Yeah, that would have been funny if they had been leftovers from the retreat because that means that the retreat had a lot of leftovers.

Cicada: Yes, yes, that would have been funny, but as I said, they weren't leftovers from the retreat.

Virgil: Well, because I was surprised at having a barbeque at FHE right after having the retreat.

Cicada: Yeah. But, you know, like I said, this family needed the food to be eaten so...

[Another very awkward pause.]

[Virgil's still not saying anything.]

[I had no other option but to end the conversation myself.]

Cicada: Well, Virgil, it was nice talking to you, but you see, I'm in line waiting to order ice cream, and there are machines that are making a lot of noise so I can hardly hear anyway, and I'm about to order, so...

Virgil: We'll just talk another time then.

Cicada: Okay. Another time, then. Goodbye, Virgil.

I got my ice cream and sat down with my girl friends and the 19-year-old. I started telling them what had just happened and sought advice for how to politely turn him down when he called to ask me out.

That started the 19-year-old on a tyrade:

19: That's just disgusting. That is just absolutely disgusting. It's girls like you who just make me absolutely sick. You're not even going to give this guy a chance! I can't believe it. I cannot believe it. People like you don't even deserve to date.

Cicada: I'm sorry, but I think that if I know that I have no intention of ever having a future with him, then it's only fair that I turn him down if he asks me a on a date!

19: I just can't believe it. Cannot believe it. Who is this guy, anyway? Who is he? Virgil? Who's Virgil?

We explained who Virgil was.

19: That Virgil? That Virgil? Oh my gosh! Do not go out with him! Oh my goodness! Now I completely understand. I thought we were talking about something totally different! Virgil?? No! Do not go out with Virgil.

At this point, he started laughing at the idea of me going out with Virgil.

Cicada: My problem is actually turning him down. I mean, I can't do it! I can't do it! I've never said no! I went out with a mentally retarded man when I was 18!

Now, a look of pure shock and disgust crossed my 19-year-old's face.

19: Don't ever tell anyone ever again that you did that! Why would you even admit to that?

Twenty minutes later, I was driving home and I got a phone call from an unidentified number. I had already programmed Virgil's number into my phone, so I knew it couldn't be him. I answered, carefully.

"A thirty-year-old mentally retarded man!" shouted the 19-year-old, on the other line. "What were you thinking??"

And basically, that's where the story ends. Virgil somehow picked up on the signals I was sending him and never asked me out. The 19-year-old became my fake boyfriend for the summer (I was, afterall, only four years older than him) and although I promised him that I'd write him while he was on his mission, I never have attended to my fake girlfriendly duties.

You know you're hard-up for loving when... get a crush on your bus driver the second he opens the doors to let you on the bus.

  • You realize you've got a crush before he even opens his mouth.
  • He's got you blushing as soon as you step on the bus because although you have no idea what he just said to you, you know that it was more than he had to say, because all bus drivers actually have to do is nod their heads when they see that your card is valid.
  • You stutter and can't get out a single real sentence when you ask him how long the bus takes to get to a certain point on the route.
  • He calls you something ridiculous like, "Little Missy," and you think, "I could get used to that."
  • You don't actually understand the rest of what he says because it's either in a hispanic accent or a New York accent or both, and you think, "Oooo! He sounds tough!"
  • You watch him get out of the bus (because you're at the beginning of the line and he's early) and look for a ring as soon as he whips out his Book of Mormon to read it in the park during the five-minute break he has.
  • You think, "Well, if he's a Book of Mormon reader, he must be worthy!"
  • You're wondering if your children will be like their righteous father who reads the Book of Mormon in parks during five-minute breaks.
  • You're wondering if you could ever marry a bus driver.
  • You're wondering how big your house would be.
  • You're wondering what your parents' reaction will be when you say, "Well, Mom, Dad, I've fallen in love with another foreigner who's significantly older than me."
  • You wonder if you detected a hint of flirtation in his voice when he announces your stop on the P.A. system.
  • You wonder if you'll ever see him again when you get off the bus.
  • You're thinking about him again, an hour later, as you're waiting for that bus again and you're trying to do the math to see if it's possible that he could be the bus driver of the bus that's coming.
  • You can't help a smile when you see that he's the driver of the approaching bus.
  • You're nervous that he won't actually acknowledge that he recognizes you.
  • You're thrilled when he acknowledges that he recongizes you.
  • You practice in your head what you would say if he ever asked you out.
  • You listen to every word he's saying to the other passengers.
  • You think he's so smart when he points out a guy riding a segue and says, "Da thing, ee move wit your body gravity!"
  • You wonder if you'll ever see him again when you get off the bus.
  • You're thinking about him again, two hours later, as you're waiting for that bus again and you're wondering if he'll still be on shift.
  • You're on the phone when he pulls up, but you both are still able to exchange a very meaningful, "Well hello again!"
  • You wonder if you'll ever see him again when you get off the bus.
  • You're thinking about him again, one and a half hours later as you're walking home in the dark.
  • You're wondering if it could possibly be him when you see an approaching bus.
  • You're frustrated because you can't see into the front window of the bus, but you know that if it is him, he can see you.
  • You're wondering if you should just run to a bus stop and hop on the bus and ride it all the way to Walmart and back just to spend some time with your new boyfriend.
  • You start waving vigorously when the bus passes and you notice that the bus driver is waving vigorously at you.
  • You wonder if you'll ever see him again.

My life has reached a new level of patheticness.

French and Italian

Here's a picture of me at a funny fountain. It was a really cool fountain on a really cool street that one of my comps and I discovered one day when we were lost.

A couple months later, we were both training some new sisters and we took them for a walk on this street, too. As we were standing near the fountain, two French men in suits started looking over at us. As I was walking past them, one said to me, pointing at my name tag, "Qu'est-ce que c'est que ca?"

Those of you who don't speak French might be frustrated that I just put in an untranslated quote, but that was exactly the point. The point was that they were being French jerks in suits, talking down to the ignorant American girls. They worked at the embassy nearby, so you would think that they had people skills and didn't talk down to people from different countries, seeing as how they were representatives and all...

He had asked "What's that?" when he pointed to my name tag, so I responded in perfect French:

Sorella Cicada: We are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

French Snooties: Ah! But you speak French?

SC: Yes, of course. I am Canadian. I started learning French when I started school.

FS: Ah! But you speak French very well!!

SC: Well, not as well as I used to. When I learned Italian, it replaced a lot of my French.

FS: Ah! But you speak Italian?

SC: [Switching into Italian] Yes, of course. Like I said, we're missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We've come to Italy to share an important message.

FS: Ah! But you speak Italian very well!

SC: Yes, of course. At the expense of my French.

I would have loved to have said, "And don't forget that neither of these is my first language, you pompass punks. I'd love to listen to you guys speek zee engleesh!"

Of course, I didn't say or think anything like that because at the time, I was full of love and charity. I didn't smile smugly as I walked away, reflecting on their surprise when I actually understood what they had said when they pointed at my name tag. I certainly didn't think, "Couchons imbus qui osent parler en francais et qui pensent que je ne comprendrai pas! L'impudence est tout a fait incroyable. Celui qui parle une autre langue et qui se pense meilleur des autres pour ce fait-la est un imbicile. Imbicile, j'ai dit! Imbicile!"

Oh... did I not translate that last little bit for you all? That's just too bad, I suppose.

** I am making a funny face in the picture to match the funny face of the fountain, so if you're zooming in on that picture, just know that I don't look that weird.

All Paul, Again

I have a headache and I really need to go to bed, so how about another couple of Paul stories today?

The Time that Paul Spent the Whole Day with Me and Dropped Me Off to Work

So one day, Paul called me up and asked if he could come over for me to edit some of his homework. It was a holiday---probably during the Thanksgiving break, because although it was a holiday, I was still allowed to work. This was in the day before cell phones. So Paul came over with his technical writing homework.

I helped him out for a couple of hours and then we sat and visited a while. Finally, it was time for me to go to work and for Paul to go to work. I asked him if he'd be able to give me a ride to work since I only lived a few blocks away and it wouldn't be so far for him to go. He dropped me off at work and then immediately drove to his own place of employment.

Paul worked with Brother 2. When Paul arrived at work, Brother 2 said to him in frustration, "I have been looking for Cicada all day! I have no idea where she is or how to get ahold of her!"

Paul said, "Oh."

That's it.


No, really. Paul didn't say, "I've been with your sister at her apartment for the past several hours." He didn't say, "Actually, I just dropped her off at work."

Brother 2 got ahold of me several hours later when he decided to try my work line. No help from Paul.

The Time that Paul Didn't Get Any Phone Calls from Our Dad

One day, we were expecting my father to come into town. His flight was coming in on a Sunday, but that was the only detail we had. We had no idea when to expect him. This was still in the day before cell phones. So Dad had Brother 2's apartment phone number.

Brother 2 was wondering when we'd get details of Dad's arrival. He talked to Paul Saturday night before leaving: "Paul. My dad's coming into town. Let me know if he calls."

When Brother 2 got home that night: "Paul, did my dad call?" No.

When Brother 2 got home from Church the next morning (I don't know why Paul didn't go): "Paul, did my dad call?" No.

When Brother 2 got back home after visiting a friend: "Paul, did my dad call?" No.

When Brother 2 got back home after visiting a neighbor: "Paul, did my dad call?" No.

Finally, my dad showed up. He was at the apartment with Brother 2 when Paul came out of his room and saw the two. His face brightened up, and he said, "Is this your uncle??"

**Note: There had never been any mention of any uncle that could have confused Paul. We have no idea where he got "uncle" from.

So there are your Paul stories today.

La Vita E Bella

I grew up "in the mission field" with a false belief that Utah was a dating haven. I thought that as soon as I got to Utah, I'd be participating in hundreds and hundreds of dates with beautiful, spiritual, and eligible men.

When I was eighteen, I moved from Canada to St. George and was ready for my love life to begin. I met a guy named Bob and immediately developed a crush on him. He was a geek, and I liked geeks. He was skinny and like Billy Joel. He also owned or managed the tire store that fixed my brakes while I was there.

Well, one day he came into my respectable place of work to buy some ice cream. It was a Friday, and I decided to ask him to go with me to see Life Is Beautiful, which was at the dollar theatre. If only I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have asked him. He said he'd already seen it. I should have clued in at this point that if the guy were interested in me, he'd have said yes, and gone to see it with me anyway. I was stupid though, and I persisted: "Well, did you want to see it again??" I guess he realized at this point that there was no way around it other than to lie (I have plans tonight) or tell the truth (I am not even remotely interested in you) or simply say yes. So he said that he'd pick me up at about 6:30.

I went home and I called my mom and told her that I had a date! So exciting. Life was truly beautiful.

At 6:30, I was waiting for Bob. At 6:45, I was still waiting for Bob. At 6:55, I was thinking about that movie that was going to start in five minutes. At 6:56, Bob came and apologized for being late. He assured me that since he'd seen the movie, he'd be able to explain whatever we missed.

We got to the dollar theatre, and I felt awkward when he paid for me since I had invited him, but I didn't really know what else to do. When he offered to buy candy/snacks for the movie, I declined, first because I felt awkward making him pay for my candy and second because I really wanted to get into the theatre to see the movie. He decided to buy candy for himself, though, so after I'd already declined candy, I still had to wait with him in line instead of watching the movie that I wanted to see so badly.

Once we got into the theatre, we took our seats and started watching. Guido (Benigni) kept stealing a man's hat. Bob leaned over to me and said, "He keeps stealing that man's hat." This annoyed me, because I thought that was pretty obvious. Bob continued to make very obvious statements about the movie.

Still near the begining, Guido and his roommate are sharing a bed. Bob leaned over to me and said, "They're not gay. They're just roommates." This was too much.

I leaned over to Bob and said, "I know. But thanks for clarifying that for me." What I wanted to say was, "Oh! Thank you! Thank you for explaining that to me, because if you hadn't told me, I would have thought this movie was about homosexual Jews overcoming their homosexuality in Italy during the Holocaust!"

Nevertheless, it seemed that the sarcasm from my thanks for clarifying that for me held enough weight. Bob was silent for the rest of the movie.

When the movie was over, at about 9:00, Bob and I got back into his car. At that point, I wondered where he'd take me. Would he take me out for ice cream? Would he ask me, "What do you want to do now?" As we talked about the movie, I noticed that Bob was taking the familiar route home. So it was that I was dropped off at about 9:00 on a Friday night.

"And good thing, too!" I shouted as I cried myself to sleep. I could simply never love a man who talks during movies.

Telling Kip's Stories

I have a friend, Kip. She commented on my blog today. She is someone I know who knows Miss Hass very well, so apparently Miss Hass has heard some of my stories long before she and I ever entered the blogging world. Well, since Kip has told some of my stories over the years, I think it's time that I highlight some of my favorite Kip stories.

First of all, you have to get to know Kip a little. We'll call her Celestial Sally, because she is the most near perfect human being on the face of the planet. Yes, so perfect in fact, that she is also perfectly humble and modest and when she reads this, she will wave her hands violently in front of the screen, shake her head, and say, "No, no, no, noooo."

She got the name Celestial Sally when I was commenting to some of our coworkers back in the day. "You know," I said, "I was thinking about Kip the other day. And I thought that if one of these days, she just doesn't show up to work, it will be because she's been translated. And then I thought about that again and I realized that if God came to take her away and to say, 'Kip, you're just so perfect that you can no longer be on this earth,' she would say, 'I'd love to go! I really would! It's just that... well... they're expecting me at work... and I can't really just not show up to work... you know... well, of course you know, but... I'm sorry!'"

So start to get a feel for Kip. She's the type of person who never offends and who always does the right thing. And that makes the following story all the more funny:

So Kip had this date one night (you'll forgive me, Kip, if I get details wrong---I've been telling the story for years, and I might have forgotten some stuff or embellished other stuff). It was a first date and the guy took her to the Salt Lake Temple to, you know, walk around a bit. How awkward. Kip knew that she had no future with this guy anyway, and the date was dragging on and on and on... so at one point, as they were on the sacred temple grounds, the subject of marriage came up. Kip turned to her date and said, "Oh, well. I've always thought the whole temple marriage thing was a bit overrated anyway." They were on the road back to Provo immediately.

Another Kip story is about the three Ss. Kip---I don't know if you can even imagine this after reading my previous descriptions of her---has (or at least used to have) an apologizing problem. She will apologize for anything that happens to you and find a way to blame herself. I swear the word "sorry" comes out of her mouth at least seventy times a day. So she and her roommate decided that they needed to set a goal to Stop Saying Sorry as often (that's three Ss right there, but we only count that as one, because there are two more coming). Their next goal was to Stop Being So Sarcastic. Kip? Sarcastic? I never even thought she was, but apparently she thought she was (and so she probably apologized every time she thought she was being sarcastic). Then, since they had chosen two quite difficult goals, they chose the third S: No Having Sex. It was brilliant, really. They added it because they knew that they had been really good at that their whole lives, and with the addition of that goal, they could go home every night and congratulate themselves on having accomplished at least one of what they set out to do.

Man, I wish Kip still lived here.

All Paul

Among the things I need to write is a book called All Paul. It will be a collection of stories about Brother 2's old roommate, Paul, who was quite possibly the strangest person on earth. Paul was very, very book-smart, but when it came to the rest of life, he was basically clueless. Each chapter of my book will be titled, "The Time that Paul ----." So let me share a couple stories with you.

The Times that Paul Met Me

The first time I met Paul was at Pie Night. I would go over to Brother 2's apartment every Wednesday night to make pies and watch Law and Order. Paul, at this time, wasn't living there yet; he was still just a visiting friend. When he came in the door, I was up to my elbows in flour and raw pie crust. Brother 2 introduced us:

"Cicada, this is Paul. Paul, this is my sister Cicada. Cicada, Paul served his mission in France and he knew our brother, Brother 3 when he was there."

"Ah bon?" I asked, and Paul and I started to talk in French about the mission, about when Paul's family lived in France when he was young, about Brother 3. It was a pleasant interaction and I was quite impressed with Paul. He spoke excellent French and he was dreamily good looking.

The next time I met Paul was at Pie Night. I was up to my elbows in flour and raw pie crust. As soon as Paul came in, I started talking to him in French. We talked about France, we talked about school, we talked about Brother 3. At one point, I made a mistake in French and corrected myself, adding an English "sorry." If you've never talked to me, you won't know that I pronounce sorry the Canadian way. As soon as Paul heard it, he perked up.

"Are you from Canada??" he asked. This was interesting, because I thought that the connection between me and Brothers 2 and 3 had been well-established by this point, and I thought that it was clear that we were Canadian."

"...Yes... I am," I said.

"Is that how you know Brother 2??"

I don't think that he knew that he was talking to the same person that he had been talking to the week before.

(As a side note, my RA from freshman year also met Paul about five times. The fifth time she met him and he asked her name, she said, "Paul. You know me. We've met. This is the fifth time that you're meeting me." Paul put on a winning smile, shook his beautiful head and said, "I don't think so!")

The Time Paul Dumped His Girlfriend

Months later, Paul had moved into Brother 2's apartment and as contact with him increased, so did the number of stories of the unbelievable things he did. Paul at one point had a girlfriend. His other roommate, Mother Goose, and I would watch him leave the apartment every day to go to his girlfriend's house. One day, on his way out the door, we commented that this one was probably a very special girl!

"No," responded Paul. "Not really. I don't actually like her!" This he said as if he were sharing a guilty little secret. And in fact, it was a guilty little secret!

"Paul!" I cried. "You don't like her? If you don't like her, then break up with her! It's not fair to continue a relationship with a person who thinks that you like her, and who likes you! That's called leading her on. What's the point in continuing to see her if you don't actually like her?"

But the point was rather obvious. Every night, Paul would head out the door to his girlfriend's house and come back a few hours later with a smile on his face.

Every night, Paul would get a pre-departure lecture from me:

"It's not worth it, Paul. You can't keep making out with her like this. She should be dating people who are interested in her. This isn't nice, Paul. Remember who you are!"

Finally, he went out the door, swearing he was going to do it. He was going to break things off.

The next time I saw him was at a BYU Climbing Club barbeque that Brothers 1 and 2 and I were hosting. I was making a conscious effort to go around and meet everyone in the club. I saw Paul and ran up to him.

"Did you do it?" I asked, eager. "Did you break up with her? Did you dump the tool? Did you lose the girlfriend??"

Paul's eyes went wide as he tried to violently, yet discreetly, shake his head. In French, he said through clenched teeth, "I will explain to you later."

I, still oblivious, said, "Well, don't say anything too important in French! My friend, Rags here, speaks French and he'll understand every word that comes out of your mouth!"

It was only a few minutes later, as I milled around and talked to others that I realized that there was this one girl that was tagging along behind Paul. In fact, she'd been tagging along behind Paul the whole time. In fact, she'd been standing right behind Paul when I asked---Oh, crap. Crapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrap.

I felt bad. I felt so bad. So I went home and immediately made a batch of cookies for Paul. Then I made a card for him, too (by the way, this post is inspired by redlaw's card share). The card had a drawing of me on the front, but instead of a head, I had two rosy butt cheeks. It said, "Boy, are my cheeks red." When you opened the card, it said, "Sorry I was such an ass." I delivered the cookies and card to his apartment. He wasn't there, so I dropped them off with Brother 2 and asked him to make sure Paul got them.

Later, after Paul had found the cookies and the card, he approached Brother 2.

"Uh, Brother 2?" he said. "Uh, your sister... she... uh... sortof... made me cookies?"

"Yeah, I know," said Brother 2.

"Oh." A smile of relief spread across Paul's face. "Okay, then."

Then Paul called me to thank me for the cookies.

"Oh, Paul! You don't need to thank me. Look. I wanted to say again how truly sorry I am."

"Sorry? For what?" Was it really possible that he'd already forgotten what had happened previously?

"For asking if you'd dumped your tool right in front of her?"

"Ohhhhhhhh, thaaaaaaaaaaaat. Oh, I just thought that was funny! I did dump her, but I promised to take her climbing one last time, so that's why she was there."

"Well, I'm sorry, Paul."

"Well, thanks for the cookies. And the card. I really liked the card."

"And I really felt like an ass, Paul."

He paused, like he was mustering the courage to ask something important. "Can I... can I keep the card?"

Health Food Addict

I made a pan of Rice Krispie squares and invited eleven friends over to share them with me.

Or at least that's what I'll tell The Boy when he wakes up to find a used pot, a box of Rice Krispies, an open bag of marshmallows, and an empty Pyrex 9X13 pan with a few sticky rice puffs in it.

It shouldn't shock anyone to know that I still weigh 175 lbs. The good news is that my weight hasn't fluctuated (I mean, gone up) since May. The bad news is that this time last year, I weighed 155. This would explain why I can't even squeeze into the pair of pants that used to be my "comfy pants for work" last year.

I think that I'm eating health food. I think, "I'll make Rice Krispie treats, because those are low fat! And they're made from cereal!!" and then I eat the whole pan. I may as well have just taken out the stick of butter that went into the squares and sucked on it like a popsicle. No, really. I should have. Because butter by itself induces vomitting. Bulemics the whole world round know that trick.

The truths are:
  • I'm not getting enough fruits and vegetables.
  • I have made myself dependent on chocolate.
  • I never, ever exercise, even though I have a gym membership.
  • I actively look for excuses to use bullets in my posts.
  • I don't have good eating patterns: I go one day without eating because I'm too caught up in what I'm doing, but I gorge myself the next day.
  • I eat out way too often.

So there it is. The skinny on being fat. (I promise I'll write the article! I promise!) If I don't change something soon, nothing's going to change. That's brilliant, isn't it!

*Kit: No, I still don't want to go on your 1500-calorie diet.

**Daltonboy: I exaggerate as much as I overeat. Here are this post's embellishments: 1) I cleaned the dishes and put the marshmallows and Rice Krispies away, 2) I actually ate less than half of the pan, 3) I probably weighed closer to 160 around this time last year, 4) Less than half of a stick of butter goes into a pan of RK squares.

Things I didn't embellish: 1) I actually weigh 175 lbs, 2) I actually have the proud thought that I'm eating health food before I do stupid things like this, 3) I really can't actually squeeze into those pants; the truth is horrifying, 4) I have actually witnessed the purging effects of eating butter straight at a raucous game of Truth or Dare, 5) I do promise to write the article "The Skinny on Being Fat."

Phyllo-Wrapped, Strawberry-Bedeckled Brie

According to Chicago, the second words in those compounds shouldn't be capitalized, but I maintain my right to capitalize them.

  • wheel of brie
  • phyllo pastry
  • butter
  • strawberries, halved, quartered, or sliced
  • powdered sugar

1) Butter a sheet of phyllo.

2) Wrap buttered sheet of phyllo around wheel of brie.

3) Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

4) Repeat steps 1-3 a few times. Maybe try 5.

5) Bake at 180 degrees Celsius (I didn't say 350 degrees because I don't know how to spell the other one) until brown. Record how much time this takes and write it on your recipe so that you know for next time.

6) Remove from oven.

7) Bedeckle with strawberries and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

The brie may be served with water crackers or baguette. If in a pinch, steal a loaf of French bread from Daltonboy.

I can't take this anymore!

Okay, people. I just checked Limon's blog and found out that I'm still the only one who's posted on his post, The Pit. What gives? If you're not reading his blog, then you're all missing out on one of the funnier bloggers out there. What about Now That's a Dandy!? At least he got a few comments on that one. But seriously now, folks. I know that many of you don't have time, but these posts are hysterical. Please don't miss out!

A Thank You Letter

To whoever was in possession of my wallet between 11:47 a.m. and 12:58 p.m:

Thank you for the prompt return of my wallet. Let me explain what happened so that you don't think that I'm a careless person who loses her wallet on a regular basis.

I'm the type of person who has to have keys in hand a full two blocks away from my house. If I am at the grocery store, my credit card is out after all my groceries have been loaded onto the conveyor belt. When I go to take the bus, I have the bus pass in hand prior to my arrival at the bus stop.

I'm the type of person who has several purses and bags. To the amusement of my fellow missionaries and the disappointment of my parents, I ammassed a small collection of Italian bags and purses. ("Uh, Sister Cicada, I was serving with you five months ago, and I swear you didn't have five purses back then...")

I'm the type of person who loves to have a putting-place for keys so that I can put them at the door and never have to look for them; I always know where my keys are.

Today, I went home after my classes and had a few minutes to change for work and get a lunch put together. After I had on a work-appropriate outfit (I'm not even going to talk about the girl who sits next to me who seems to think that "no jeans" means that sweat pants are okay), I headed out the door. On my way, I grabbed my wallet and phone and lipstick from my school bag and transferred them to my purse. I grabbed my keys from their hook and headed out the door.

Somewhere on my way to the bus stop, and I don't know where, I pulled out my wallet and removed the bus pass. I went to the bus stop, waited for the bus, and got on. I sat down in my seat and immediately realized that my purse was lighter than it should have been. I felt for the familiar objects and quickly discovered that my wallet was missing.

This caused me to question if I had actually brought the wallet with me in the first place. Did I absent-mindedly remove the bus pass from my wallet while still at home and toss the wallet back onto the couch? I called home and woke up The Boy to make him look on the couch for my wallet. It wasn't there. I pulled the cord to signal that I needed to get off the bus at, I swear, the longest stretch of road between bus stops that exists on this line. I got off of the bus approximately two miles from home and started walking home.

I called work to tell them I'd be late. I was informed that Gregory Hines was on his way home from work, and he'd be able to stop by the side of the road and give me a lift. He came, and brought me home.

I looked on the couch.

I looked in the bedroom.

I looked in the bathroom.

I looked in the kitchen.

I looked on the couch.

The Boy recently observed that when you find something you've lost, you always find it in the last place you look. Then he pointed out, "Of course you always find it in the last place you look! After you find it, you stop looking, so it's always in the last place you look!" My wallet wasn't in any of the last places I was looking.

I walked to the bus stop with my head one foot from the pavement. Try looking for a brown leather wallet in the fall. Not so easy to find among all the leaves. I walked around the bus stop. I walked back from the bus stop, still searching. I got home.

I looked on the couch.

I looked in the bathroom.

I looked in my bedroom.

I looked in the kitchen.

I looked on the couch.

I walked to the bus stop with my head six inches above the pavement. I walked around the bus stop. I walked home from the bus stop.

I called my bank to have them put a temporary hold on my cards: "I can call back, though, right? When it's found? I mean, I don't think that anyone actually stole it, but if they did, I really really don't want them to use the whole fifty dollars in my account." (Mom, Dad, Daltonboy, that is totally an exaggeration. I promise I have a little bit more than that. I'm just using my creative license which, fortunately, was not lost with my wallet.)

I called my bishop to let him know that my temple recommend was in my missing wallet, because apparently you're supposed to do that.

I called the police to register a lost or stolen wallet: "Officer, I really don't think that anyone stole it. I think it's just more likely that someone picked it up and is trying to return it to me."

I called I called the busline to ask if they'd found a lost wallet: "It only happened forty minutes ago. Couldn't you just have the bus driver look on his bus? I can tell you the line and the time I was on it." "No, ma'am, I'm sorry. You'll just have to call tomorrow to see if it's turned up."

I called my old roommate to tell her that I thought the address on my driver's license might be the same as the apartment where she was currently living, so could she please tell her roommates to accept my wallet if anyone comes by with it.

I called Bajio's to notify them that my card with two stamps on it had been stolen.

I called my employer but her line was busy so I left her a message saying that I didn't know when I'd come in to work because I had to wait for the police to call me back to file an official report, and we don't get cell reception at work.

I hung up the phone and immediately received a call from my place of employment:

Secretary: You lost your wallet, right?

Cicada: Yes. I was calling to say that I don't know when I'd be in, because I have to wait for the police to call me back.

Secretary: Actually, it's been turned in. Someone turned it in to our other office.


So during the hour that I was making the necessary phone calls, this is what I imagine you did:

At some point between 11:47 and 12:00, you found my wallet. You found it quite south of campus. I don't know if you were on foot or on bike or on car. You had to go somewhere that had internet to find my information on the school's system. You had to find out what the heck HCEB meant, because who actually knows that? You had to go to the HCEB (far north end of campus) either on foot or on bike or on car. I'm not surprised that all of this took you about an hour, and I'm very glad that you took care of the wallet thing right away, instead of procrastinating doing what was right. If you had sent me an email telling me that you found it, I would have somehow found your address (probably used DP's creepy stalker skills) and sent you a gift certificate to Chuck-A-Rama.

To Th. and any others who are interested:

The contents of my wallet
  • Student ID
  • Visa check card
  • ATM card
  • Driver's license
  • Bajio's buy-10-meals-get-one-free card
  • Temple recommend
  • Seveth Street Salon buy-8-haircuts-get-one-free card
  • Expired coupon for Blockbuster
  • Ticket stub from Sky High
  • ATM receipt pre-tuition (had the wallet-finder seen it, it could have tempted him/her to try using the Visa check card)
  • Coupon for 15% off my next hair cut at Seventh Street Salon
  • Nine pennies

Modesty, thy name is Cicada!

I have a lit class. Lit classes are very much not my specialty. We have a test tomorrow. Early last week, I knew that I wouldn't be prepared for the test without a lot of help, so I organized a big study group. The study group was very, very successful and the participants were very grateful for my role in organizing and conducting the study session. Little did they know that the whole time, I was merely leeching off of them to get their answers to the study questions.

Tonight, I received a phone call.

Caller: Hi, Cicada, this is fzzberfzzstenfzzz.

Me: I'm sorry. I didn't catch your name. Let me go outside to get better reception. [I go outside.]

Caller: Cicada, this is Professor BritLit.

Cicada: Oh! Uh... Hello!

BritLit: I was just calling to wish you luck on tomorrow's test and ask if there were any last-minute questions you had before you take the test tomorrow.

[Let's pause for a moment to admire this teacher. Has anyone ever heard of a professor who did something like this? It's not like he's new and ambitious, either. He's been teaching for a long, long time. He definitely scored major points with me and I'm sure every classmate tonight.]

Cicada: [laughing, because I still can't believe that my professor is calling about this] Actually, yes. Yes, I did have a question for you. Let me pull out my notes.

I proceeded to ask my question. He told me that it was an excellent question and he gave me his answer.

BritLit: I'm actually not so worried about how you'll do on the test tomorrow since your name has come up in several phone calls that I've made tonight. Thanks for putting together that study group. It sounds like you did a very thorough job.

Cicada: Oh, well, I just organized it, actually. Then I spent the rest of the time getting answers from everyone else while contributing absolutely nothing.

BritLit: [laughing] Oh, I'm sure that you contributed a lot more than you're letting on. Good luck on the test tomorrow. Have a good night.

So my honest confession of utter uselessness and parasidic feeding off others was mistaken for modesty! I ought to try that more often!

New Hair Cut

Looks like I had better luck than Limon. I got my hair cut on a whim today, and I'm very, very pleased with it. Now let's see if I'm still pleased with it after I style it myself...

The Bird

I don't have much time tonight, so you'll all get a picture. In Florence, there is a great big duomo which is a church or cathedral or something, I guess. Something few people notice, however, is that one of the statues really looks like it's flipping everybody off. And I tell you, any day that I saw this statue was a good day, because how can you not laugh at the idea of a little church statue flipping you off?

St. Pistoff

Not How It's Supposed to Go

I ran into my best friend from freshman year today (hereafter referred to as BFFY, not to be confused with BFF, which stands for daltongirl). He's one of the things that made freshman year fantastic. He was charming and ridiculously good looking. What's more, he expected to spend his first year of college in the library and didn't intend to make friends. He didn't expect to meet me. The two of us became almost inseparable and it was one of those great friendships where you know that there's nothing beyond friendship to the relationship.

He went on his mission and I went on my mission, and we got out of touch. We've managed to spend a little time together since our missions and we keep meaning to spend a little more together.

Like I said, I ran into him today. I sat on the bench that he was sitting on outside the Wilk, and we proceeded to catch up a little.

I will interject here to tell you that as far as tact is concerned, BFFY ranks abysmally low. I don't know if it's fair to say that one of his charms is his utter tactlessness, but it certainly is a huge part of who he is. Example: my freshman year, he was explaining to me why he might be interested in my roommate. "It's like this, Cicada. You're pretty. But your roommate is pretty-pretty." More recently, when I ran into him on campus, he said, "Wow. You're looking pretty snazzy. Not pretty. Snazzy." Read it over a couple times and maybe you can figure it out.

So we were sitting there, chatting about future plans. I told him that I'd love to just move to Rome, but it seems that a move to Italy would pretty much put a seal on my single status. He told me that I could simply choose a man to marry who'd let me wear the pants, and he can follow me around the world while I work and he stays at home with the kids. I told him that "choosing a man" implies that there is one or more to choose from.

He asked me how old I am. I knew then what was coming. The first time I entered one of these pacts was when I was about fourteen years old. You know. The My-Best-Friend's-Wedding sort of pact. The one where you say, "If neither of us is married by the time we're 22 [because at fourteen, that's desperately---nay---hideously old], then we'll get married." It's the mutual "let's save each other from the ugly fate of forever-singlehood."

I told BFFY that I'm twenty-four. He's twenty-five.

"Let's say this, okay, Cicada? Let's say that when---"

A guy approached us with a volleyball, asking if we wanted to play.

"I am practically proposing here," said BFFY, looking the guy squarely in the eyes. "A little bit of privacy might be nice." He turned to me again, gazing into my hazel eyes. "Let's just say that when you're twenty-eight and I'm twenty-nine, if neither of us are married..."

here it comes here it comes here it comes

"...let's both move to Rome and we'll get an apartment and live a completely asexual existence."

That was not actually what I was expecting. I stood up and started packing my books into my bag.

"An asexual existence?!" I said, shoving my coat into my bag. "An asexual existence?? I don't know about you but for my part, I would actually like sex to one day be a part of my life!"

"Okay! Okay!" He grabbed at me to make me sit back down. "We will live a life of immorality! It's okay! We'll go ahead and live immorally." This he said, as if marriage weren't even something that would normally be talked about in a case like this.

By this time, my raging face was completely red. "As long as we're being facetious and committing to something we know we're never going to do anyway, why don't we just actually say that we'll get married?! Is it so bad to say? Married? We can get married? As long as we know we're never going to do it, as long as we know that this is all some freaking fantasy world, can't we say that we'd just get married??"

He conceded, obviously, because I have always worn the pants in our relationship.

Where Are They Now?

In the manner of Where-Are-They-Now television shows, I will update you on what happened to my Number One Interest of Friday, August 26.

Today, the funniest thing happened. I went to get water at the drinking fountain and I saw him. He was wearing a nice sweater. I'm a sucker for sweaters. Somehow his face struck me in a new way. I realized that I had completely forgotten about him during the week that I hadn't seen him. It must be said that he gave me a ride a week ago, but between then and now, I had somehow completely forgotten that he even existed, and yet, there he was again, wearing a sweater.

My interest in him can now be safely put at 0.25. There was a time that he definitely dipped into the negatives. He invited me to his house for a barbeque and when I asked what I could bring, he said, "cute roommates." At that point, he descended to a -3.

Since then, I suppose that he gradually rose to at least completely neutral: 0. I only rank him at 0.25 right now not because there's a tiny bit of interest, but because I know that if he were interested in me, I'd give it a go, as opposed to other men, who if they were interested in me, I'd quash their little hopes and dreams unsympathetically.

Today, a friend of mine told me that she could be interested in my Number Zero-Point-Two-Five Interest. Territoriality is not something that we women practice when we're talking about interests that are below one, so she's good to go. To think! She was jealous of me for having been invited to the barbeque. If only she had been a roommate of mine, I could have brought her as an offering.

Women and the Priesthood

Yesterday in Church, I heard a ward member approaching from behind. He called out The Boy's name (as per Mother's orders, I'm no longer calling my brother Perv). The Boy turned around and the men proceeded to talk about home teaching. I walked on a little with a friend but I started listening in on the conversation.

The Boy: So my home teaching companion is this guy? [points to a name across from his]

Ward Member: No, this is your home teaching companion. [points to my name]

The Boy: So what you're telling me is that I'm home teaching with my sister.

Ward Member: Huh. Yeah. That might be a problem.

Me: Couldn't help but overhear. I think that I have to get the priesthood first. Should I go ahead and set up an appointment with the bishop?

Ward Member: Yeah. And don't bother going to Relief Society. You're welcome to stay in Elder's Quorum.

So persuant to Savvymom's discussion on girls stealing boys' names or boys stealing girls' names, let this be a reminder to you all that androngynous names can cause confusion.

I'm sorry. I don't drink.

No one ever really notices if you're not a milk drinker. It's not like it comes up in social settings. You don't go to a restaurant with your friends and order your drink only to have them all turn on you.

"Oh, come on and let loose just this once. You mean to honestly tell me you never drink milk?"

"No. I never drink milk."

"Not even at Christmastime with cookies?"

"No, not even on Christmas with cookies or on any other holiday or with any other food."

"But what about in recipes? Do you eat things with milk in them?"

"Well, yes. In recipes the taste is cooked right out, isn't it?"

"On cereal?"

"Cereal makes me dry-heave."

"Because of the cereal?"

"Because of the milk."

"Are you lactose intolerant?"

"No. I just don't like milk."

"Oh, but why don't you try it just this once?"

"I'm sorry. I don't drink milk."

It really never happens. When you're eating cookies and someone offers you milk, it's easy to say, "I'd actually love some water, please." Then, no questions asked, your host brings you the water that will quench your thirst rather than the milk that will leave you heaving and phlegmmy.

On Saturday, Brother 2 came to pick me up to take me to Salt Lake and Park City for the day. He brought muffins and donuts for our breakfast, and I noticed that there were two bottles of milk in the cupholders, too.

I thought it might be interesting to try milk again. Afterall, I haven't touched the stuff for the purpose of drinking it for about two decades. I screwed off the red cap and took a swig to wash down the bran muffin I had just eaten. To me, it tasted just the same as I had always remembered. I managed to drink the whole bottle and considered rolling down the window for a drive-by puking for but a few moments. Then I was fine, albeit with cow taste in my plegmmy mouth.

"There!" I announced to Brother 2. "I did it. I drank it. And I still hate it."

"You don't drink milk?" he asked. (If your friends at restaurants won't notice, why should your family?)

"Nope. I haven't for pretty much most of my life. Can't stand it. But today, I figured I may as well try it, for the calcium if for nothing else."

"Where do you get your calcium, then?"

"I suppose I don't." And it's true. I'll drink calcium-fortified orange juice, not because I love orange juice (which I don't) but because I know I need the calcium. But I don't drink that much anymore, either, because I don't want to consume the calories. (And forsaking it has made such a difference in my figure! I mean, I'm pretty sure that I can attribute to my zero weight loss in the past several months to no calcium-fortified orange juice consumption. If I'd been drinking the stuff, surely I would have gained!)

"You know that your body is supposed to get all its calcium before you turn twenty-five," he said. I swear that Brother 2 knows everything.





So I have approximately two months to pack in all the calcium I've not been getting my entire life. I'll get right on it. By December 15th, I'll either look like a woman who's not going to break her hips easily, or I'll look like a giant piece of chalk due to the complete calcification of my body.

A Handshake Instead of a Kiss

GH's reprimanding comment on my last post has reminded me of a series of stories that should be told. To escape reprimand once more, I'll be sure to promise you that all of the details of the following historical accounts are completely historically accurate in so far as the histographer was able to recollect the events. None of the following is an embellishment.

Scenes from My Doorstep
By Cicada

February, 1998

I had liked a friend of Brother 2's for years. We'll call him Jean-Louis because that was his name and because there is no need to really keep him anonymous here. He was French Canadian and had everything going for him. He was smart, he wanted to be a doctor, he was anabsolutelyfantastic dresser (no pleats). He was very good looking, too. Sometimes he had a little goatee, sometimes he didn't. He had the best freckles on a man that I have ever seen. He was a dream, an absolute dream. At this time, he was off at university in Southern Ontario, but one day, I received a phone call from him, letting me know that he was in town. We always understood that we shared... let's call them "feelings" for each other. So we went to the movie (I think it was The Wedding Singer). By a strange set of boring circumstances that I won't relate here, we had to meet at the movies, therefore we had to take separate vehicles. After the movie, though there was no hand-holding during the movie, I started to panic. He was walking me back to my car, and I knew that "goodbye" was coming very soon, and I didn't know if we were on a date or if we were just friends. Was it a date or just friends? Was it a date or just friends? Wasitadateorjustfriends?? We were getting nearer and nearer to my car.

When we finally got to the car, I quickly pulled the keys out of my purse and unlocked the door, thus readying myself for whatever---and I really had no clue what---was to come. I turned around to look at him and as I turned around, I saw his hands coming out of the pockets of his jacket and instinctively---this wasn't even remotely on purpose---instincively---and I blame the Church---instinctively, I put out my hand so as to give him a handshake.

We stood there, awkward for a moment, my outstretched hand filling the gap between our heaving hearts.

He slowly reached his hand forward to take it, and shook it. You know. With meaning. Then he said, "Well... can I at least have a hug?"

At least a hug! At least! That means that at most it was going to be a kiss! At most, I could have kissed the best dressed man I've ever gone to the movies with! My life is crap.

January, 2002

A guy from my ward called me up and asked me on a date. I accepted before even looking him up in the ward directory because, let's face it, when you're as hard up for love as I am, you take it wherever you can get it. "No" isn't a part of my vocabulary. Imagine my surprise and delight, then, when I got home, looked up his picture and found out that he was handsome! Imagine my further surprise and delight when I asked other people about him and they told me he was 6'5. Hmm. That's a whole foot taller than me.

Well, before I even met the man, before I even started to worry about what to wear, I started to worry about the doorstep scene. It was coming. I knew that sometime within the next 72 hours, I'd be at a doorstep with this man and I'd be expected to do something. What, I really had no clue. I talked to my coworkers about it. I explained that I'm not a very touchy person, and I don't like hugging people---especially those who I don't know. So the thought of thinking that maybe I had to hug a man who I didn't even know within the next 72 hours was driving me crazy. I think that I even demonstrated to poor Nemesis how awkward it would be by rushing at her on my knees and hugging her around her midsection. "A whole foot taller than me!" I shouted from her belly button. "A whole foot! I can't just press my head up against this stranger's chest!"

During the next 72 hours, I figured out what to wear, and I even calmed down a little about the doorstep scene. A single, male coworker assured me that hugging after the date was not obligatory at all. So I planned just not to hug the man.

What followed was the best date of my life. It honestly was. Everything was perfect and wonderful and the man was dreamy, just absolutely dreamy. Half way through the date, I started panicking about what if maybe he'd never ask me out again, and so I'd never have a date that wonderful again. I started panicking that maybe I send the wrong signals, and maybe although I was enjoying myself immensely, maybe he was getting "I'm Just Not That Into You" signals.

He drove me to my house and walked me to my door. As we were walking there, I figured out what I could say. I would simply say, "I had a wonderful time tonight." That way, he would know that I had a wonderful time, and I could get away with not giving him a hug but still sending him the right signal.

I unlocked my door and I turned around and as I was opening my mouth to say my brilliant line, he said, "I had a wonderful time tonight."

In my head: No no no no no no no no no! He just stole my line! That's what I was going to say! Quick, think of something to say, faster faster fasterfasterfasterfaster!

Before I realized what was happening, I said, "Ask me out again then." It wasn't even flirtateous. It wasn't even said with a smile. It was a command. An order. Ask me out again then.

He hesitated and then said a missionary's favorite words: "I will."

April, 2005

This, though not as dramatic as the other events, happened this past year, and is the story that GH's comment on my last post reminded me of. See, GH asked if the South American lady came by my place selling tamales. She didn't this week, but she certainly did last April.

I was on a date with a friend with whom I'd go on dates. It was a funny sort of relationship we had where sometimes we were out and it felt like just friends and sometimes we were out and I'd get that little giddy sensation in my stomach. It was all strange because we were (and are) very good friends. It was funny to me that sometimes I could actually get nervous around him when we were on a date. So, all of that explanation simply to say that it was at the end of one of those giddy-stomach/nervous dates, and we were getting to my doorstep, and I was wondering, "What's going to happen here?"

We got to my door, I unlocked it, and turned to face him. And the two South Americans who were standing right in behind him. South Americans? Not exactly who you expect to be standing on your doorstep with your date at 11:00 at night.

They asked if we wanted to buy tamales. We had no cash. They accepted checks. How much were they? Ten dollars. Oh, sorry, I just don't think that I could right now. Did my roommates want any? Let me check. No, no, none of them had any cash either. Did I want their address in case I ever changed my mind and had a hankering for tamales? Oh, of course.

And somehow at the end of all this, the nervousness, was gone, the butterflies were gone, and I calmly and eventlessly said goodnight to my date.

**It is to be stated here very clearly that since watching Hitch, I now know that I'm supposed to play with my keys at the doorstep instead of unlocking the door right away. I'll be prepared for my next doorstep scene, which should be coming in about another two to five years.

Give me some sugar, baby.

Tonight was the first pie night of the season. Since Lost is a new addition to my Wednesday night, I was unusually short of time tonight. I had about twenty minutes before it started to throw together the pumpkin pies so that they would be ready for Law and Order, when DP and Brother 2 would come over. I started grabbing all the ingredients from the pantry, only to realize that I had completely forgotten that I was almost out of sugar. I only had a little left in a small tupperware container. The recipe called for 1.5 cups. Of course I went to my neighbors first, but they ignored my knocking at their door, and I thought it best not to persist.

The next obvious choice, of course, was Gregory Hines. He lives only a few houses away from me, even though we've managed to make it into different wards. I could have gone to a ward member's house to ask for sugar---you know---get to know people in my ward a little better. But the last time I tried that, I saw a ward member walking around the house in his underwear, and really, I don't need to know my ward members that well. Gregory Hines works with me (or as he once put it, is my coworkers' coworker) and we sat beside each other every day in July and August. So really, if there's anyone I should feel comfortable borrowing a cup of sugar from, it's him.

When I knocked on his door, his roommate answered. He's quite geeky to be completely honest---rather emaciated, ill-fitting clothes, a mock-turtleneckish shirt. He's the type of guy you suspect has a committed relationship with a calculator.

"Is GH here?" I asked.

The roommate looked around. "No. He's not."

"Oh. Well, I'm here to borrow a cup of sugar. Could I borrow a cup from you?"

His grandiose bow indicated to me that I was welcome to enter and I followed him to the kitchen. The last time I was in that kitchen was over a month ago when GH had just moved into the apartment. It was a Sunday and I really wanted crepes but I didn't have vanilla or baking powder. GH offered me some of his roommate's vanilla, but unfortunately the roommate didn't have baking powder (this led to the previously-alluded-to event of the ward-member-in-underwear sighting). We put a couple teaspoons into a little container that I'd brought with me.

Since one feels a certain pressure to try to make conversation with the person who is giving one sugar, and since I was feeling this pressure, I just said what was on my mind: "I actually borrowed vanilla from you once, too. You weren't here, and I really needed it, so GH gave me a little of yours. Thank you."

The whole demeanor of my helper changed. He looked over his bony shoulder at me, then back into his cupboard.

"That would explain why it's lying on its side," he sneered, as if he'd purposely left it on its side this entire month as a reminder that he would have to get to the bottom of the mystery of the horizontal vanilla.

"Yeah, well, I was making crepes, and it was Sunday, so... And I didn't really know anyone in my ward, and GH was here... And I didn't really have anywhere else to go..."

"This is the real stuff. This isn't artificial vanilla, it's the real stuff."

"Yeah. I use the real stuff, too. You know, if you ever need to borrow anything from me, I just live about three houses down."

By this time, he'd brought his bag of sugar out along with a measuring cup. He looked into my tupperware container that already contained sugar.

"What," he said. "Have you been going house to house getting what sugar you need?"

"No," I replied. "I had this sugar already, but I am making pumpkin pies, and this isn't enough."

"Do you need exactly one cup?" he asked.

"Yeah. I do."

At this, he measured out less than one cup, as if there were some sugar shortage and he was only trying to protect his resources. I dumped the sugar into my ration cup and thanked him and left. He certainly didn't even see me to the door. He probably was taking his time making sure he put his sugar back in the cupboard in its proper vertical position. Had GH given me the sugar, I would have invited him to pie night in return. Heck, had GH given me his roommate's sugar, I would have invited him (GH) to pie night in return. Oh well.

When I got home, I dragged the flour bag out of the pantry and found a full package of sugar in behind it. I guess I can cross SUGAR off the grocery list.

**The events as told in this story may be a gross exaggeration, and GH's roommate, if you ever link to my blog from his and read this, I'm very sorry. In that case, this article is completely fictional and I think you are a very good human being.

Family Slide Show

I recently got all these pictures off of Brother 1's computer. I thought I'd share them with you all so that you can gain a better understanding of who I am and where I'm from. My parents moved to Maryland about five years ago, while I was away at college. Some people ask why I say I'm from Canada. Well, how could I ever claim Maryland when my childhood looks like this?

This first picture is of my grandpa. Good looking guy, isn't he? He was headed for pro hockey, but he injured himself so he went back home. We're all happy about that, though, since he married my grandma at that point.

And oh! What have we here? Their wedding picture? Is it any wonder that all their grandchildren are so good looking? No. No, it's no wonder at all.

Here we have a picture of Brother 1 as a baby. I really couldn't resist. We grew up in Porcupine, Ontario. My grandparents lived in South Porcupine, Ontario. (Which, intuitively, is west of Porcupine.)

This picture represents what may have been the crowning moment of my father's life---his four oldest children all on the hockey rink. In fact, every year, he'd make our very own hockey rink in our yard. He'd board off the spot with plywood, shovel it down to the gravel, and water it down with a hose until it all froze into a perfect skating rink.

Here are the two oldest boys with ducks. My parents---I don't know what they were thinking---allowed us to take duck feet or partridge feet with us to school for show-and-tell. If you pull on one of the tendons, you can make the foot open and close. Open and close. Open and close. Who needs a barbie when you've got a bird foot?

And of course, there was always playing in the boat with the dead moose. What child had a meaningful childhood without this fundamental experience?

Our parents and grandparents wanted to teach us the principle of stewardships. They gave us each a spot in my grandpa's garden where we were supposed to plant onions. Then, over the course of the summer, we'd watch and take care of our little patch of onions. Here's a picture of Grandpa with Brother 1 and his stewardship.

I often tell my friends about our cottage on the lake. Here's a picture of what I've always been talking about. Normally, we'd go there in the summers, but we'd try to make a couple treks out there in the winter, too.

Here's a picture of Brother 2. Brother 1 had cut a hole in the ice and went in for a dip. Brother 2 decided to do the same thing, but he also wanted to shampoo his hair. He got in the hole, put on the shampoo, thought he was going to die because it was so cold, hopped out of the hole, realized that the air outside on his wet skin was worse than having been in the hole in the first place, tried to rinse as much shampoo out of his hair as possible, and ran back up to the cottage. I also have a picture of Brother 1 in the hole, but for some reason, it wouldn't post properly.

So there are a few memories for you, and perhaps a little insight into what made me who I am today. It's a wonder after all that, that we all turned out so well-adjusted, and I'll say it again, ridiculously good looking. Here are two pictures of us: then and now. You'll notice that we have an addition to the family. This picture was taken at Brother 1's wedding to Sister-in-law (okay, okay, I know that they need better aliases!). For the sake of anonymity, I won't tell you which person in the picture is me.

A Shrubbery for SR

For all you do, this shrub's for you.

Face Lift

Notice anything different? It only took hours and hours of work. Also, check this out:

  • I
  • made
  • my
  • own
  • bullets.

Sometimes stuff like this can be really cool. By "sometimes," I mean, "when you can get it to work."

So today I'm not feeling well. It's good because really, what better day is there to be sick than General Conference day? You've already planned to spend the day watching TV anyway, so it works out perfectly. Well, except for the fact that I couldn't hear the speakers because I was moaning so loudly and calling for someone to please come and kill me.

Also, I got cable today. I feel like I've been passively productive today, as if getting cable were some personal accomplishment---something I did. Instead, I just sat here and offered the cable guy some water. Then I told him that the cable was probably coming in fuzzy because our cord sucked. Then I thanked him for giving us a new cord (which resulted in my signing beside the line where it said that the cable person came within the planned time window, which he didn't, but he gave us a new cord). I really can't complain. Then, when he was leaving and he said he liked the way my candle smelled, I pointed out that I tried to choose a manly scent since I share the place with my brother.

Currently, I'm listening to my ex-boyfriend's CDs. My mom sent them to me in a package. Thanks, Mom. I had actually been ignoring them in the hopes that someone would throw them out. Now please let me go back to moaning: SOMEBODY PLEASE KILL ME!