As the Move Continues...

I'm still in the process of moving. It seems that something comes up every night that I want to work on the apartment (which is every night). We got the bulk of the work done on Tuesday, but there is still so much to do, and I find that I work circularly instead of linearly---I start doing one thing, I go into the next room to get scissors, I see something else that needs to be done, I start doing that thing, I go into another room to throw away garbage, I see something else that needs to be done, I start doing that thing...

Also, the absence of Internet, television, movies, and even books has effectively ensured that I can do nothing to relax after I'm too tired to work anymore. So I've just kept working since the only two other options have always been 1) go to bed, or 2) stare at the wall. Last night, I finally got some books into my apartment (Brother 2 moved into a new apartment unexpectedly yesterday, so I helped him to move and I grabbed a few of his books in the process). I was thrilled to stop working on my own apartment at 8:00 p.m. and actually sit down with a book. My entire body was buzzing. I was so exhausted. And then I realized that I had absolutely no food in the house.

Okay. So that's an exaggeration. I had one bottle of water, two cinamon rolls and a can of baked beans.

I had to go buy groceries. I realized that it would only get harder the longer I procrastinated, so finally I left at 9:00. I walked down to Allen's (people have warned me that it's ghetto, but I haven't even moved my bike to my new place yet, and it was the only place within reasonable walking distance). The problem was that I wasn't even hungry when I was at the grocery store, so nothing even appealed to me. I wandered the isles for a half an hour before I had any idea of what to buy.

I walked out of Allen's with a rather large back pack full of groceries. It was full to overflowing, even and I slung it on my back with difficulty. As I trudged home, I wondered what it would be like if I were that much heavier---if the load that I was carrying on my back were actually converted into fat under my skin that I had to lug around with me everywhere I go. I thought I must have had a hundred pounds of groceries on my back.

So I weighed in when I got home. With the back pack full of groceries, I weighed 210. Without the back pack and groceries, I weighed 175.

Huh. That's 35 pounds, which is exactly how much weight I want to lose. Now that I know how much that is, then I realize what a daunting task I have before me.

Didn't I say that I weighed 175 pounds and wanted to lose 35 pounds a month ago?

I'm a Hand Model

Well, here's something new to put into my portfolio. Not only did I make the delicious curry featured in a picture in an Independent Study course, but now I'm a hand model, too!

In Japanese, they show numbers with their hands differently than we do. We needed a graphic of this for the course, so my wonderful graphic artist took pictures of my hand and made them into a graphic. Cool, huh? I'm so famous.

The Nest

Brother 4, or "The Boy," as we have always called him, has noted in the last several months as I've been obsessing about our new apartment that my nesting instinct is rather strong. He's right. I've been thinking about and obsessing about this "nest" for the last several months. When I got the email from the landlord telling me that the keys were in the mailbox and we were able to move into the house, despite my exhaustion, I leapt for joy and ran down the stairs yelling to Ambrosia to come and check out the new place with me.

I'll be honest. When we first opened the doors, I was scared. It was dank. I'm not sure that I've ever really used the word dank before, but I think that it's the best word to describe the house. Really. It smells old and the previous tenants didn't do a good job of cleaning it out. It was also a good twenty degrees warmer than outside, which was disturbing to say the least. My first instinct was to open the living room windows, but then I saw that the living room windows do not even open.

This was in stark contrast to the kitchen window, which was practically non-existent. There was a plastic window pane that was supposed to be above the swamp cooler. Instead, it was lying on top of the swamp cooler and the entire window area was open. Of course, I contacted my landlord and got this fixed before moving any of my precious stuff into the apartment.

Moving farther into the apartment, we got to the bedrooms. One bedroom is accessed through the other, and we didn't really see a problem with this until I noticed that there is actually no door between the bedrooms. Now, I love my brother. But I'd still kindof like a door separating our rooms.

So on Tuesday we started the big move. A wonderful friend of mine from Maryland---let's call her Life Saver---volunteered to help with the move. She came to the new apartment at about 9:00 a.m. The Boy and I left her to clean our apartment while we rented a truck and moved furniture.

First we went to Home Depot to rent their truck---they rent it for $19/hr. We waited in the rental department for twenty minutes while the man helped someone in line before us. When he was finally done serving that customer, we told him that we wanted to rent the truck. He said that someone had called fifteen minutes earlier to reserve it, and Home Depot policy was that the truck went to those who called first. Well, never mind the fact that The Boy and I had been waiting for twenty minutes in the renting room. Sorry. The truck goes to caller number one. Let's also forget the fact that half-way through telling us that the truck was unavailable for us, the worker took another phone call and spent over five minutes on the phone while we were waiting for him to finish telling us that he couldn't help us.

So we went to U-Haul. It sounded like a good deal---they'd rent us a moving van for $19. Plus $14 for insurance. Plus 69 cents a mile. It sounded good until I started to figure that maybe the trip to Spanish Fork and back would kill us...

So we asked if they rented pickup trucks. They didn't, but the guy suggested we try Enterprise. So we went to Enterprise. We went in and asked how much it would be to rent the truck. The guy did all the calculations, and it came to over a hundred dollars plus gas. Ugh.

So we walked out of there, too. Just as we were getting into The Boy's car, a different Enterprise employee came rushing out after us.

"Wait!" He said. "How much would you expect to rent a truck for?"

This was my moment of truth. I had to go low enough to get a good deal, yet high enough to make it acceptable to him.

"Fifty dollars," I said. He told us to come on back into the office, and he'd swing it for us.

It took him a lot of swinging, actually, since The Boy and I are both under twenty-five, and he's supposed to charge an extra ten dollars for those under twenty-five and he's not even allowed to rent trucks to those under twenty-five. So we got a deal. And a freaking huge and cool pickup truck. And we got it for twenty-four hours.

We finally got back home with our furniture four hours after we'd first left. Poor Life Saver! All alone and cleaning that whole time!

So the rest of the day was spent cleaning, moving, etc. Puckish Mitya (Mishkin) showed up to help, too.

I finally went to bed at 1:00 on Tuesday night. Yuck. The apartment is nowhere near being put together yet. I was so tired yesterday that I didn't end up doing anything, either. I'm waiting for Brother 2 to come and bring the hardware that we're missing to assemble our futon for the living room. I have bags of clothes that I need to put away at some point, and I have stuff at the old apartment still, too. I have to do laundry. I have to paint the table and chairs. I have to do tons of other stuff, too.

But I'm nesting, so I'm happy.

The Springboard Diving Fiasco

Yes, it was a fiasco. But I've been asked to share, and so I must share it in a public forum so that that truth can be exposed, as my breasts almost were. Ah, but I'm already resorting to cheap tricks to draw in your attention... is it working?

I had that one friend that everyone does or should have freshman year---the one who really pushes you to do wild and crazy things, the one who crosses the line, the one who persuades you to cross the line, the one who drags you body and soul across the line---I had one of those and her name was Magoo. My name was Magoo, too, come to think of it, but that seems like another story for another time.

At the beginning of winter semester, Magoo persuaded me to take a springboard diving class with her. It didn't take much persuasion---she just told me how cool we'd look during the summer after our freshman year, going to pools and performing flips and twists and all those things that everyone never knew they aspired to do, too.

We added the class after it had already started; we only missed the first day. We went to the RB and got our bathing suits---Magoo was a size 2. I was a size 12. That doesn't matter to the story at all, but since I was painfully aware of the difference every day, you may as well be, too.

At the time, all students had to wear university-issue swim suits. What a disaster it would be if students wore a suit that was an inch too high in the thighs or an inch too low in the chest! So they made us wear theirs. Theirs were used, old, falling-apart and semi-transparent swim suits. Later in the semester, Magoo would one day come out of the water after her first dive and be shooed back into the change room by the diving instructor who would yell, "It's totally see-through! I can see everything! Go back and get a new suit! Go back and get a new suit!"

When Magoo and I awkwardly stepped into the pool area and found our class, we approached the teacher and said, "We added your class online. Is it okay if we join?" She glared at us from beneath her mass of red hair and sneered. "Do I have a choice?"


The first day, she had Magoo and I practice what all the students had learned the class period before. It was not so slow in coming. In fact, thirty minutes later, I think that Magoo and I were quite pro at Step-Step-STEP-and-bounce!-ing off the springboard.

After our first class, Magoo scheduled a private tutoring session with her friend who introduced her to the class in the first place. She raved to me about him---he had taken the class and he did so many cool tricks! We were treading water in the pool when I heard Magoo welcome her friend. I turned around to see him and saw all three hundred pounds of him (I am not actually exaggerating at this point). The man was massive and fat. "He," I thought, "can springboard dive?" Our fat tutor got on the board and showed us a few things to practice to get ahead of the game. We followed his instructions and even learned a few things. Then he busted out all the tricks. The man started flipping, twisting, twirling, and spinning off that board like an enchanted hippo. It was incredible (no, really---unbelieveable!), and Magoo and I were psyched as ever for our turn to learn the moves that he so effortlessly made.

And I think that the most effective way for me to tell what really happened is just to say that our hopes and dreams crashed about as hard and fast as my body did into the water twenty times an hour, two days a week. Magoo and I were the only ones in the class who never actually learned how to springboard dive. I remember one particular day.

After each class, we changed and then exchanged our used suit for the suit that we would use next class. One day, I was handed a particularly old, misshapen, and worn-out swim suit.

"Don't you have anything better than this?" I asked, disappointedly looking at the rag I had been handed. "I mean, this is supposed to hide my nakedness and all..."

Without looking at the stock, the worker replied that it was the only one. I think that's what she told anyone who tried to get a better bathing suit. She probably thought to herself that people were foolish for demanding the best, or the newest. The old suits worked just fine.

But I remembered to bring my own suit to wear underneath the transparent sham of a suit that she had handed me that day, and the next class period, I showed up wearing two suits---mine underneath, and BYU's modest suit on top.

I doubt that the two suits affected my performance much. Chances were that had I only been wearing the one suit, I still would have dived that fateful dive in the exact same way... I remember hitting the water and realizing that my breasts had actually taken most of the impact of the failed dive. I surfaced and limply wiggled over to where Magoo was holding on to the edge of the pool, waiting her turn to dive.

"Magoo," I said, with barely a voice. "Have you seen my left breast? Because I think I may have left it floating over there." I pointed to the middle of the pool where I had flopped ten seconds earlier. Then, to ensure that they both were still there, Magoo and I looked at my chest.

The BYU-approved suit had ripped horizontally, nipple to nipple. I stared down at what appeared, in my delirium, to be a gaping mouth, eager to proclaim to the world What Had Happened.

I grabbed the lower jaw and started making the tear speak: "My, my, my," it said, "BYU has gone mighty lax on its standards!"

The instructor glared at me again (it seemed to have become a semi-weekly ritual---I'd screw up every dive I tried to make, and she would curse the day she ever let me take her class). I wore the torn suit for the rest of the class---afterall, the suit that I had brought (my own---which had a neckline higher than BYU's and thigh-lines lower) covered me more than adequately.

I received an A in the class, in case you're wondering. At the end of the semester, we had to write a paragraph about what grade we thought we deserved and why. I wrote a dissertation. I pointed out many solid reasons for why I deserved an A+---among them was the fact that I endured more pain than anyone else in the class, because those who could dive, didn't experience as many back flops, side flops, belly flops, and---yes, it must be said---enemas as I had. And my pain wasn't worth a C or a B. I concluded simply:

The only reason I wouldn't deserve an A+ in this class is the fact that I simply cannot dive. Taking that into consideration, I'll settle for an A.

Apumpabolt Conditioner

At work:

For some reason, a married male coworker---we'll call him MMC---and I were talking about use of shampoo vs. conditioner. He said that shampoo is used much more quickly than is conditioner. I didn't agree. I said that I had a pumpable shampoo bottle and a pumpable conditioner bottle and so I just gave myself the same number of pumps of each every time I washed my hair, so I always had even amounts of each.

It took him a second to get it, because he thought I said that I had "Apumpabolt" shampoo---as in a name brand or something.

Ambrosia turned around and joined the conversation---she asked if I really used the same amount, because she uses more conditioner than she uses shampoo. MMC was arguing the opposite---more shampoo, less conditioner. (To MMC, conditioner is a new concept. He never had a need for it before marriage, but now that it's in the shower stall anyway, he chooses to apply some so that his own hair comes out silky and smooth.)

Ambrosia at one point added that too much conditioner makes hair shiney and limp. I guess I didn't really catch the part where she said "too much" because I thought that she was using the word "limp" to describe one of the positive effects of conditioner.

And suddenly we had a new product...

No Longer Numb, But Feeling

Sweet mother of pearl, the freezing wore off!

How does the good doctor actually expect me to get around without a pair of crutches! I swear, the more time passes, the more my foot hurts! And I think that Ambrosia went to the library to study because she was tired of me making her go to the grocery store for me, fetch me a glass of Crystal Light, fetch me my medicine from upstairs, fetch me a glass of Crystal Light... But what am I to do!? I really had to go to the bathroom a few minutes ago and of course there was no toilet paper in the main floor bathroom---there never is when you want there to be---so I had to actually go up the stairs, which hurt a lot more than the last time I went up the stairs an hour ago!

I'm supposed to be moving this weekend!

What on Earth did he do to my foot?? If steroids are actually this crippling, how do althletes possibly use them and succeed!? I mean, at least my foot was usable before today---not perfect, but certainly usable---now I'm an absolute cripple! I am not Cicada, the brave! I am not Cicada, the resilient! I am Cicada, the gives herself a day off work whenever she sneezes! The pain I'm going through right now is worth a month off of work! The doctor should be paying me!

And now I'm also experiencing a cold sweat, and I don't know if it's because I turned up the air conditioning and the day's sweat is now freezing to my body or if it's because my body cannot tolerate the pain that it is experiencing! I may not actually survive this! And I'm craving chocolate!

Ohhhhhh, the horror! The horror!

I Didn't Even Scream

But only because the loud noises I made don't count as "screaming."

So I went to the podiatrist's today for another follow-up visit. A bit of history: Since October I have been having serious pain in my foot. It took months of my limping about for my friends to finally convince me to see a doctor. So I went to the health center in May to see their podiatrist and to figure out what's wrong with my feet. I have a Morton's Neuroma, which means that some tissue has grown, surrounding a nerve between my third and fourth toes, which means that I am in a lot of pain quite often.

Since that visit to the health center, I've had several follow-up visits to the podiatrist's clinic. He'd love to surgically remove my bunions ($4000 each) but tells me that we won't do that till I have insurance that actually covers it (I've known my whole life that my bunions would have to be removed one day...). On the first visit, he made molds of my feet so that he could fit me with orthotics. Two weeks later, I went back and received not only the orthotics (I thought they'd be these cushy gel in-soles or something. Instead, they're hard plastic meant to reshape my feet---like braces, but for feet) but I also received the ceramic molds of my feet ("If you have them, then we'll always know where they are"---clearly they don't know me well---did I mention that I had to walk to the clinic this morning instead of bike because I couldn't find my bike lock?). I went in a couple weeks later, after showing no signs of improvement, and he readjusted the orthotics and told me that if there was no improvement in three weeks, then he'd have to inject my foot with steroids.

I knew it would hurt.

I even asked my mom (who has had every kind of foot problem there is---and I'm so grateful that she's left me a few as an inheritance) and she said it would hurt.

I went in today. I sat in his seat, barefooted, and I thought I knew what was coming. He asked me about improvement. I told him that I could still only wear two pairs of shoes and even wearing running shoes was impossible. He said, "Well, we'll put a little medicine in there." As he said it, his eyes flashed a certain way that indicated that he was keeping some secret from me. But I knew what the secret was.

I knew it would hurt.

He came back a little later with a long needle. He started spraying my foot with this freezing cold numbing stuff. He said, "Now, this may hurt a little bit." Again, there was the look in his eyes. The look that made me know he was lying. Then the worst part. He said, "So where are you from?" I knew that it was only something he was using to distract me and "Ontario" was the last thing I said before he jabbed the wretched needle into the top of my foot (to reach the bottom!).

The only thing I could do was laugh because it was the only socially acceptable noise that I could make. I laughed a sharp, hyena-like, barking laugh that got louder and louder as the pain increased (he wiggled the needle around and squeeeeeeeezed the steroids into my foot).

"You---weren't---kidding---when---you---said---ITWOULDHURT!" I said, unable to control the volume of my voice (I could imagine other patients, nervously squirming in their seats).

And after about seven seconds of intense pain, it was over as soon as he withdrew the needle. "Ontario? Boy. That's a beautiful place!" He probably would have said it about any place: "New Jersey? Boy. That's a beautiful place!"

He added, "I had to warn you that it would hurt a little, but I couldn't tell you how much it would actually hurt because I didn't want to scare you." Thanks, doc.

I'm just proud I didn't scream.

The Brute Force

Here I lay down all the details of the fight that I got in when I was in the seventh grade. I was eleven years old.

There was this girl at school named Jennifer. She was fairly new and she was quite smallish for her age. I have never been smallish for my age. In fact, I've probably been clinically obese (according to Y-Be-Fit standards) since I was a baby. Also, I grew up with four brothers who made me strong. My parents would pit me against them in wrestle matches for Family Home Evening when we were growing up, for heaven's sakes!

Well, Jennifer just happened to tell Jamie (a boy---and one of the biggest losers in our jr. high) that I had a crush on him. She did it to be cruel. Suddenly he was following me around and stuff, asking me on dates (during my childhood, the dating at 16 rule was usually a convenient way to get out of dates that I didn't want to go on). So one day I called Jennifer a very bad word that may or may not have been "bitch."

I forgot all about it, actually and so, three days later, when Jennifer and her two hench women, Amanda and Some Other Girl Whose Name I Can't Remember, came to me and told me that we were going to fight, I had no idea why. They informed me that the fight would take place in behind the Archie Dillon Sportsplex, where all high school and jr. high school fights took place because of its central location. I lied to them. I told them that I couldn't go and fight after school because of my piano lesson. I had no piano lesson. I hadn't had a piano lesson since I was 4 years old. But for some reason, it was the first thing that popped into my mind as a Good Excuse to get out of fighting Jennifer at the Sportsplex.

The girls resheduled the fight. "Would Monday work for you, after school? We think we have some time between 3:30 and 3:40."

It gave me time to think about how to get out of it. And it gave the rest of the jr. high time to anticipate the fight and plan to also be free from 3:30 to 3:40 on Monday after school. Over the weekend I cried to my mother about what to do. Her response was simple. I just did not fight. Period. No fighting. It seemed easy enough.

So Monday after school, I got on the bus while half the school went over to wait for me at the Archie Dillon Sportsplex. Jr. high school students can be so unforgiving. These people---these bus mates---who I thought were my friends---started making fun of me. All of them were chanting and teasing and taunting and mocking me! They humiliated me during the 20-minute bus ride home.

I had the evening to cry to my parents about it. My mother, still very serious, told me that I did the right thing and that I could not, under any circumstances, go and fight this girl. My father, amused by the whole thing, told me that there is nothing the brute force can't fix. My mom scolded him for even saying it and he laughed and repeated it again before taking it back. But the damage was already done. My mind had latched onto it as a sort of mantra: There's nothing the brute force cannot fix.

The next day at school, I endured another six and a half hours of taunting and teasing for not having gone to the fight the day before. So I said I'd go.

After school, I walked, surrounded by a hoarde of students, to the Sportsplex. Various boys reminded me not to fight like a girl---keep my fists closed, they said. Justin, a boy I had never even been that good of friends with, reminded me that I was a girl, so scratching and slapping were totally valid moves, as was hair-pulling. I didn't pay too much attention to him, because I figured that I was going to the Sportsplex to talk my way out of it and not have to fight at all.

But the masses that were there! High school students, jr. high students! It seemed that everyone had heard about the fight! Jennifer and I ended up surrounded by everyone else in our own little "fighting ring." I told her that I wasn't going to fight her and I was certainly not going to make the first move. She stood there, tiny before me. She said that she wouldn't make the first move, either. It was ridiculous since she was the one to schedule the fight in the first place. Suddenly, all the school kids (who'd seen more fights than I ever had) started pushing us towards each other so it's actually unclear who did make the first move, but suddenly we were fighting. I don't remember the actual fighting in great detail. There was scratching, punching, slapping, hair-pulling, name calling. And in the whirr of all this action, she had the never to call a "puffer break." Yes. Apparently people with asthma, even when they initiate a fight, have the right to call the fight to a halt to be able to try and start breathing again.

It was ridiculous. The shameful part (and this is something that I think I may have admitted once to someone else in all the times that I've told this story) is that I finally told her that her puffer break was over, and if she wanted to fight me, she'd better get back to it.

That's when Amanda stepped in to take her place. Now there was a solid girl. She was always one of the althetic over-achievers and she actually was actually a fair match for me. So we started fighting and there was a repetition of the scratching, punching, kicking, slapping, hair-pulling (lots of hair-pulling this time, I remember well).

It finally stopped when I took a step back and yelled, "Enough!" (This is the climactic moment, by the way. Imagine a swelling of music and then silence as I speak and teach everyone a very moral lesson.)

"Enough!" I yelled and turned around to see the masses crowded around me. "I will not fight anymore!"

It didn't satisfy Jennifer and her hench women. They said that we needed to "finish it." What exactly does that mean? I mean, did one of us actually have to die for the fight to be over? As it was, I'd lost quite a bit of hair.

At this moment, we introduce Sabrina, who came rushing out from the back of the crowd. Sabrina was an eighth-grader, and she had already had several counts of assault filed against her. Everyone who had any sense was afraid of her. She came into my fighting ring and faced my three opponents and said, "My friend said she didn't want to fight anymore. Now run." She took off after them and the three girls ran fast and screaming.

And that was the end of the fight. I got in trouble with my parents of course. I was grounded for a while. I remember taking a bath when I got home and finding tons of hair in the bathtub that washed loose from my scalp.

The next day at school, the three girls found me and told me that they didn't want to fight me anymore. Then they added, "You never told us that Sabrina was your friend." The truth was, I hadn't known she was my friend, either. We had participated in a Jump Rope for Heart competition when I was in the fifth grade and she was in the sixth. Who knew it would prove so useful years later?

As a sort of epilogue, the principal called us into his office later that day. He was a long-standing friend of my father's. He expressed his disappointment in us and even threatened suspension. He turned to Amanda and said, "I know your father, and I know that he wouldn't have supported behavior like this." Turning to Jennifer, he said, "I don't know your father, but I don't imagine that he would be happy about this. Then he turned to me and said, "And I know your father. And I know he wouldn't support behavior like this."

I said, "My father said there's nothing the brute force won't fix."

And although the principal denied it, I knew and he knew that my father would have said something exactly like that.

Prophetic Italian Midgets

About two years ago in Rome, I was walking through the streets with my companion who had a fettish for watches and leather bracelets. Every time we passed a watch store or a store where they sold leather jewelry, we had to stop and look. I didn't complain---the fettish was semi-contagious. Whereas she would admire and buy, I would admire and wish I could buy.

One evening at the end of our p-day, we were returning to our apartment for the evening. We were on Via del Corso when we met a midget selling leather bracelets. He was rough looking and greasy, with long, stringy black hair. Imagine Hagrid as a midget and you've pretty much got it. We stopped and looked at his work---it was fantastic! There was this one bracelet that both of us loved, but it cost 38 euros (I'm still not to the stage in life where I can be spending fifty bucks on a bracelet). We looked at his other stuff and I fell in love with this one bracelet that he had made. It was simple---just a strip of black leather with a black star tacked on. That's it.

And it cost 15 euros.

I thought I could certainly argue him down on the price. I think I may have asked to buy it with ten, because I didn't have fifteen. I thought that he would readily agree. Instead, he brought me around to his side of the table to talk to me. He held my bracelet in his hand and said, "It takes a lot of work to make one of these. I'm an artisan. I don't make this stuff in a factory. I do everything myself. I cut the leather myself. Then I file it [he makes filing motions to show me exactly how he files it] and then I dye the leather black myself. I do it all myself. So you can see how much work goes into this [he gestures, indicating that he has to file all ten edges of the star]." I thought that by being stubborn, then he would cave. I said, "Well, I can only afford ten euro." He said he wouldn't sell it to me in that case and as I walked away he said, "Don't worry. I know you'll be back."

There's something uncanny about a miniature Hagrid telling you that he knows you're coming back in Italian. It just seemed so... prophetic. He said it the same way that I would say to people, "I know that families are eternal." He was bearing testimony to me that I'd be back to buy his bracelet.

It haunted me. I thought about it for days and weeks and months. Every time I thought about it, I thought that if I returned to buy the bracelet, then I would only be fulfilling the midget's prophecy. He knew I was coming back. My last day in Italy, I considered stopping by and buying the bracelet, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. The midget couldn't be right!

I went home, still unsure as to whether I had always wanted to return because the midget put a spell on me while my back was turned or because I really wanted the bracelet.

About a year and a half later, I met a man whose hobby is leather working. I explained the story to him and asked if he would be able to make the simple bracelet for me. He assured me that he certainly could! He didn't ever actually make it for me, and months later, it became apparent that he never would, though he'd frequently remind me, "I haven't forgotten about the bracelet!"

We were talking about it the other day and it finally hit me that I passed a leather supplier twice a day on my way to and from work. So on my way home from work that day I stopped in at the store. I went home and cut the pieces and got them ready for putting together. The next day on my way home from work, I stopped in at the store again and got the store owner to help me to finish it. Now I have a bracelet exactly like the one the midget was selling.

The thing is, it still haunts me. Did I fulfill his prophecy by making it myself? Does my wearing the bracelet bring some sort of curse upon me? I guess I'll have to wait to find out.

The Bracelet (of doom)

Hundred-Dollar Pillows

Well, I'm trying to finish my second matching pillow. I made a blanket, then a pillow to match the blanket, and now I'm trying to finish the other pillow. So far I've worked on the second pillow for about fifteen hours (I didn't keep track of time on the first pillow). I think that I have another five hours to go at least, and that's not counting another trip to Walmart to get another thing of beads. So far, I've spent $6 on fabric and $8 on beads. Not too bad when you think that what I'm getting for it all is a fantastic bed spread and matching pillow set. All for $14.

But in terms of time spent on the project, on the other hand... Well, if we estimate that my time is worth about $10/hr (that's low-balling it, folks---you all know I'm worth way more than that), then these pillows cost anywhere from $150 to $200 each. The blanket is probably another $150. So that makes my whole bedding set worth about $550. Dang. I wonder if that means that if I design the bedding and then set up a sweatshop for kids to bring my fabulous ideas to fruition, then I can make my millions...

Other ways of making my millions:
Sewing ribbons on lampshades (15 hours per project)
Making papier mache boxes (3 hours per project)
Making leather bracelets (1 hour per project)
Making bridal shower invitations (I'm estimating about 5 hours for this one)
Making record bowls (6 minutes per project)

All this reminds me that maybe I should explain the story of the leather bracelet...

Camptown Ladies Sing This Song

I had an interesting conversation the other day. I related the following story, and afterwards, a heated debate ensued.

My grandma didn't use proper names for body parts when she was raising my father and aunt. You know---how the psychologists tell you to use the right words? Well, my grandma taught my aunt that boys had a penis and girls had a doo-dah. Imagine how severely scandalized my aunt was when she went to a Christian summer camp and all the girls around the campfire were singing "camptown ladies sing this song, doo-dah, doo-dah."

My dear friend then said that she wouldn't use proper names when she had children. They simply didn't need to know what those things are called.

I told her that the psychologists say that the mature use of proper names is better for children than little nicknames. She didn't see the value in what I (or the psychologists) had to say about it.

"What are you going to call them, then?" I asked. "And by them, I mean penises and vaginas."

I think that her body had a miniature spasm when I mentioned the unmentionables.

She wasn't forthcoming, either, in sharing what she'd call these parts. Finally, she let the word "wiener" slip.

"Wiener??" I yelled. I couldn't control my rising voice at this point. "WIENER?? You're going to teach your children that a penis is a wiener. What about when you feed them wieners and beans?"

She replied, "I hate beanie-wienies. I'll never feed them to my kids."

I responded, "I wish I were an Oscar-Myer Wiener? You're seriously going to teach your children to call penises wieners?"


So then we moved on to the vagina, of course. She stated simply that this part doesn't need a name. Her children don't need to have a word for it at all. No vagina. Not necessary. Why does anyone need to know the word vagina, anyway?

I'm just wondering if she just expects her children to pick up these words from the other kids (which they will quickly, and without a mature understanding that parental instruction would have helped them to develop), or if she expects to one day sit her children down when they're sixteen and allowed to date and explain to them, "Boys have a penis and girls have a vagina."

My Mom Thinks I'll Get Married

Last week I was talking to my mom about the eventuality of she and my father serving a mission. I asked if they were planning on serving any time soon, or if they'd wait a while to see if any more of their children got married. She said they'd wait a while. Then I told her that Brother 2 had commented that the best way for them to get the four single kids married off as soon as possible would be to serve a mission. It would ensure that the four of us would get married during the time that our parents wouldn't be able to come and see the wedding (we're talking Murphy's Law, here---I'm not saying that we'd all go out and get married intentionally to spite my parents).

She said that she was thinking that maybe they'd go when Dad was sixty-five. I said, "Well, I hope that we can at least count on me being married by then." (It's thirteen years away from now.)

Mom: Well, I don't know about that.

Me: Um... You did say "sixty-five," right? As in six-five, or did you say fifty-five?

Mom: Oh, no. I mean sixty-five. We're not ready to leave the business yet.

Me: Well, I should hope that I'll be married at some point in the next thirteen years!

Mom: You never know, though. Your father and I have been in this house for four years now, and look at how fast that time has flown by.

What I got from this conversation: My mother has her doubts that I'll be able to get married within the next thirteen years.

Today I was talking with my mother on the phone again. My Mom made one of those I-wonder-if-I'll-ever-have-grandkids remarks. I responded:

Me: Well, you have your doubts that I'll even get married in the next thirteen years.

Mom: I never said that.

Me: Yes you did!

Mom: When did I ever say anything like that?

Me: When we were talking about you and Dad serving a mission! You said that you weren't sure that I'd be married by the time Dad is sixty-five!

Mom: I don't remember saying anything like that!

Me: Were we talking about two different things? Did I think that we were talking about me getting married and did you think that we were talking about something else?? I said that I figured I'd be married by the time you and Dad went on a mission when Dad was sixty-five. You said that you didn't know about that. I said that I would hope to be married by that point. You said "Just think: Your father and I have lived in this house for four years, and that time has passed by so quickly!"

Mom: Was I reading the newspaper while I was talking to you?

Me: You were probably smoking crack.

Mom: That was probably it. In any case, it was the crack talking, not me.

Me: Good to know.

Mom: I do think that you'll be married within the next thirteen years, by the way. I certainly didn't mean to say that I didn't. What was I thinking during that conversation?

Heaven only knows.

Me and Brother 1

Brother 2 Shopping

The Outdoor Movie That Was

After work yesterday, I got a phone call from my dear friend, G, who informed me (without even knowing about my quest to find an outdoor movie!) that there was an outdoor movie up in Park City. After making sure that it was not Spellbound, I eagerly agreed to go. Brother 2 come along with my neighbor and her boyfriend (the neighbor used to live in a ward with Brother 1 and Brother 2 and the boyfriend used to be Brothers 1&2's roommate) and Tolkien Boy (good to see him after a long time).

We got up to the park in Park City and met up with G and her friends, a guy and a girl who were under a blanket together. The girl immediately told us, "We're not together, I'm not committing adultery---he's my brother." So I decided that it was important to state for the record that I, too, was not dating my brother, nor was I dating Tolkien Boy, because obviously it's best to have all dating-relationships clearly established when you first meet people.

Brother 2 and TB and I all ran to the 7-11 to get some snacks for the movie (I hadn't eaten dinner). Once in the store, I decided to use their facilities---or facility. I really didn't expect much from a 7-11 restroom in the first place. I went in and it was as gross as one might expect, but nothing out of the ordinary. Of course I chose to hover because a girl does such things in such places. But when I came out of the restroom to wash my hands (there was no sink in the actual facility), an employee immediately went into the bathroom and sprayed the whole thing down with disinfectant, and did I imagine it, or did he really cast a sideways glare at me? I hovered! I hovered!

Once we got back to the park, the movie had already started. It was The Maldonado Miracle (, which was really cute and highly enjoyable. I recommend it.

Of course, it being an outdoor movie, there were elements of the outdoors that contributed to the movie-watching experience. I don't know what it is I love so much about outdoor movies. I never actually saw the bottom of the screen (when they'd speak Spanish, I had to rely on my rudimentary Spanish comprehension skills, or prop myself up higher on my elbows to see the subtitles). Park City was colder than Provo and the huge blanket that I brought was being sat upon by Brother 2 and TB, so there was no way to warm myself. People smoked. A dog barked during a very important scene and the audience errupted in laughter because (have you ever noticed?) during movies in large crowds, whenever anything ordinary happens to detract from the movie you're watching, it automatically becomes hysterical.

But it all contributes to the outdoor movie experience and I don't think I could have asked for anything better for my Friday evening.

Buried Treasure

Yesterday was a great day. I realized at work during the morning that it was time to buy flatware and glasses, the two purchases that I had been leaving till the very end (nine days till I move to my new apartment). Of course, since I had already decided what flatware I wanted to buy, and that it's absolutely fabulous (see picture), then I wanted to go out and buy it immediately. I slyly asked Brozy where she'd be going for lunch. She said that she had packed a lunch but needed to get out of the building and would take me wherever I wanted to go. I told her that my "restaurant" was about five miles away.

My restaurant was Walmart (they have food!). I skipped over to the dish section, humming and singing all the way and grabbed my very own set of flatware (was it naive of me to search through and get the one with the fewest minute scratches since all my flatware will have minute scratches once I start to actually use it?). Since I could only afford quality flatware for four, then I also grabbed bundles of forks, knives, and spoons for a dollar each (this is the flatware that I'll let my little brother use).

I didn't mean to buy glasses at Walmart. I actually meant to buy glasses (12 for $9.99) at Bed Bath & Beyond. But Walmart had matching glasses that I could buy 12 for $5.50. So I went with the Walmart brand and then guilt-free bought a set of four wine glasses for $3.50.

The result of all of this is that I feel like a pirate. Yes, that's right. A pirate. The type that buries treasure. When I got my purchases home, I looked at them from every angle. I sat back and closed my eyes and imagined them in my new apartment. Then, I carefully packed them under my bed with the rest of my buried treasure. The space under my bed hides all the little purchases I've made in preparation of moving to my new apartment, plus all the old things that I already owned but haven't used in years (one roommate here keeps the entire kitchen stocked with her stuff, and really, I'd prefer the whole apartment use her stuff rather than using mine). I have gorgeous cheese plates, two 16-piece dining sets ($5 each at Macey's), mugs that look like Hermie and Santa (from that Rudolph Christmas classic), six turquoise plates (DI), six green plates (DI), four navy plates (DI), four matching dessert plates (DI), four fantastic blue bowls, four matching blue plates, a VCR, a rolling pin, and many other things that I can't even remember, but will reacquaint myself with in a little over a week. Now I've added the glasses and flatware. I am like a pirate.

I'd Rather Milk Cows

So tonight we had a ward activity---an outdoor movie. I love outdoor movies. A few years ago, I went to see Charade with Nemesis and another friend. We had blankets and snacks and the whole evening was perfect. Last summer, my city in Maryland would put on outdoor movies every Friday night on the lakefront. I went to see Return of the King with my brothers and some friends. We had blankets and camping chairs and snacks and the whole evening was perfect.

This summer, I've been looking out for an outdoor movie. I even asked the 100 hour board about when an outdoor movie would be playing---so imagine my excitement when I saw the announcement for our ward activity: an outdoor movie in Kiwanis Park. The flyer wasn't very pretty, but despite the weird capitalization issues, it made me excited. It said:

21st Ward movie Night!!!
Wednesday 9 PM
In the Field behind Chatham Town
Refreshments served
Bring Blankets, Chairs, Etc.
Bring Your Friends!!

So I went out to try my luck at the second ward activity that I would attend this summer. I was so proud of myself when I tried to attend a ward activity the first time, too... s'mores up the canyon. I love s'mores! And I got up there and was overwhelmed by the number of people. The fire was way too hot to even approach with a stick and a marshmallow. Brother #2 ended up calling me to try and stop by my house. I made him come up the canyon instead and the two of us separated ourselves from the group and spent a wonderful evening in each other's company. And my parents wonder why we all have such a hard time finding potential future spouses...

But I digress. This time, I wanted my attempt at ward sociality to be more successful. I went out with a nice big blue blanket and a body pillow. By the time I got there, everyone was already settled. I set my blanket and pillow up beside some girls in the ward that I like. And then I turned to the screen to see what was playing...


There was a man and a woman on a couch being interviewed. Now, I think that When Harry Met Sally starts with couples being interviewed. I can't quite remember---there's some romantic comedy that starts with couples being interviewed and ends with couples being interviewed. I really didn't think that my ward was cool enough to actually be watching When Harry Met Sally (would that it were!), but I thought that I was in for some sort of treat.

Until the interviewing didn't stop.

I turned to my friends and said, "What is this??" They told me it was Spellbound. No, not the cool Spellbound with Gregory Peck. The Spellbound that is a documentary about spelling bees. Now I'm not going to do something so foolish as argue that Spellbound sucks. I have heard great things about it from many people. But I will suggest that maybe it wasn't the best choice for an outdoor movie at a ward activity. You don't want to go outside with all of your ward friends and watch a freaking documentary! I'm still trying to figure out whose dumb idea it was.

I lasted about 30 seconds. Once I had established that they really weren't kidding and that Spellbound really was the film for the evening, I grabbed my perfectly positioned blanket and pillow and went back home. I watched The Importance of Being Earnest. As I explained to my friends, I had time to be entertained, but I didn't have time to waste.

Lake Powell

Gas to and from Lake Powell: $250 ÷ 7
Entrace fee to Lake Powell: $36 ÷ 7
Campsite at Lake Powell: $30 ÷ 7
Food at Lake Powell: $160 ÷ 7
Watching my Zone Leader hook up with my greenie at Lake Powell: Priceless

The Cleaning Checks That Were

Here is a rundown of my cleaning check experience today:

*Got home at 4:40. Didn't need a nap. Didn't want to clean.

*Went upstairs with Ambrosia. Saw her lying on her bed. Lay on my bed.

*Suggested we take a nap before cleaning. Decided to be wise and set alarm clock for 45 minutes.

*Woke up an hour and a half later. Poked Ambrosia till she was awake.

*Cleaned for hours and hours.

*Didn't eat.

*Am hungry.

*Am tired.

*Am going to bed.

Not Even Related to HTML

Well, Nemesis. I congratulate you on being HTML's daddy. I am clearly of no relation. Today, I spent hours fiddling with a whole new look (in Spanish, that's "Nuevo Look" as you can clearly learn from the salon on State Stree in Orem) for my blog. I got it to a point where I actually liked how it looked mostly. Then when I visited the actual site, I found that all the cool things that showed up in my preview didn't actually work when the site was accessed. Woe is me.

I'd like to report other productive things I did today. I declined two invitations to the dollar theater because clearly I need to clean tonight in preparation for Thursday's cleaning checks (for real this time). Only I haven't cleaned. I've just been wading through HTML crap. And I just went to make myself something to eat because I haven't eaten all day, only I made myself way too much and ate it all and so now I'm soooooooo tired and I want to go to bed and I surely won't be doing any cleaning tonight.

Oh, but if you could all see what I've done with the HTML---the stuff that didn't work! You would all love me more. Infinitely more. Okay. I'm tired and full. I'll either go to bed or keep sitting here in this chair and avoid getting up.

My Independence Day

I don't have a car. I don't say it to complain, either. I don't have a car and I'm fine with it. I actually considered buying Nemesis's car until the same day I started considering it, Ambrosia's car broke down. I realized that I've made it this far without a car, and I can keep going still some day when I might even be able to afford car maintenance, gas, insurance, and air fresheners. In the meantime, I've decided that I need to become more independent. Ambrosia complained about the bus because it makes her dependent on someone else. Public transportation works the opposite way for me---I am not inconveniencing a friend. At work I claim I do it to protest gas prices. Toaster Oven points out that if you can't afford the tip, you can't afford the restaurant. It's the same with me and gas, I guess. If I can't afford the gas, I can't afford the car.

So. Two weeks ago (or was it three?) I decided to give this whole self-sufficiency thing a try. I decided I'd go to Walmart and back on the bus all by myself. The problem is, I took the wrong bus and it stranded me a couple miles away from Walmart, and across the freeway from my little brother's (Brother 4) apartment complex. So I decided to forego self-sufficiency for the day and beg a ride. I called him and waited for him to rescue me and take me to Walmart.

I decided to give it a try again today---the self-sufficiency thing, I mean. It's Independence Day, afterall, so I should declare my independence. I decided that I would bike to Walmart this time since that way I would get exercise and also. I checked on mapquest and it was only about five and a half miles one way. Of course, I wouldn't be taking the quickest way because I wanted to avoid the major roads (namely University Parkway). I found a route that used four basic roads---Bulldog, Columbia Lane, 1700 North, and Sandhill Drive. It looked pretty simple on google maps. I didn't make it all the way to Sandhill Drive, though and ended up taking Main Street in Orem. When I passed a man and his daughter selling cherries, I asked how to get to Walmart. He gave me simply instructions that I clearly did not understand. After driving around and going up and down a lot of hills, I finally found myself a block away from University Parkway. I decided that I'd bike the rest of the way on University and then take Sandhill home. I wasn't on Parkway for more than a minute before I ran over a three-inch nail and popped my back tire. So I ended up walking from that point (near University Mall) to Walmart, still hoping that I could be Indpendent by simply getting someone at Walmart to help me with the tire.

There were supplies to do the job at Walmart but no one to help me do the job. So I called my brother---a different one from the one that I called two weeks ago. I told him to take his time in coming to help me and I would wander around Walmart. I got the cleaning supplies I needed and wandered the isles for the next hour waiting for Brother 2 to come. So much for being self-sufficient.

And so much for spending the rest of the day cleaning for cleaning checks like I'd planned. Instead, Brother 2 and I went slack lining in the park and called a few friends to join us. Now it's 4:00 and I still haven't showered... and I picked up a few things at Walmart for new projects...

(By "Brother 2 and I went slack lining," I really mean that Brother 2 slack lined and I watched.)

Map of My Independence Movement

(Click to enlarge image. And the green circle around Walmart means that I actually did walk my bike all the way around Walmart before finding out that they have no bike racks.)

Slack Lining

For those who don't know what slack lining is:

It's like tight-rope walking except the rope isn't tight. You set up webbing between two immovable posts (like trees) and even though you pull it as tight as you can, the nylon webbing still gives when you put weight on it. So it's actually more difficult than tight rope walking because the line is always moving as you're walking across it. When my brother and his friends set up the slack line in the park, other people in the park just sortof stop and stare. It's really cool. I suck at it, but my brother does it really well---he's smooth and graceful.

Weekend Projects

or "Why I Haven't Been Blogging"

So here are pictures of the things that I've made this weekend. I won't include a picture of the pillow cases that match the blanket yet since they're not done, but they've been taking up a healthy chunk of time. I've made a mess of my house as I've been working on all these projects, and I'd love to say that I'm sure my roommates don't mind, but if they were doing the same thing, it would drive me crazy. Here's to being hypocritical!

Scrabble Fridge

I found official Scrabble tiles on sale at Walmart---just a box of tiles and nothing more---sold for craft purposes. I originally bought them so that I could play speed Scrabble whenever I wanted, but then I thought that it would be unfair of me to not use them for their craft purpose. I glued magnets to the back of each tile and now I have a Scrabble Fridge. I can write any message I want---provided I have enough letters. Now, I might get in trouble for posting a picture like this on the Internet. I got into lots of trouble this past week...

Check out these links if you want to have a laugh at the expense of overly-sensitive people.

(NB: I am Phatty McPhatt in this story.)

My question to the board:

Someone's overreaction:

Other people's reactions to the overreaction: (Thank you, Ambrosia.)

One person's reaction to other people's reactions to the overreaction:

My apology: Forthcoming. It didn't post when it should have, but it should probably post tomorrow morning, at which point, I'll add it to this blog entry.

Record Bowl

My friend says that these can sell for $60. Ridiculous. Saturday morning I hopped on my bike and went down to the DI (the biking is part of my self-sufficiency kick). I shopped around and found a few records for a dollar each. I made a bowl from two of them according to the instructions I found on Later (maybe today maybe tomorrow... maybe another time) I'll make boxes from the album covers---also found on digsmagazine. ("I'll take anal bum cover for seven thousand." "That's An Album Cover, not anal bum cover!")

I made two bowls---this one will be great for fruit or something. Once I move in to the new apartment, I'll use the other as a pot for a houseplant.

Record Clock

I happened to have the make-your-own clock motor and hands, so I decided that a record would be an ideal thing to make into a clock. It doesn't really fit the living room decorating scheme in this apartment, but I don't think that anyone cares as much as they want a clock on the wall. So it'll stay here till August 1st when I move.