At the end of winter semester, I had to put together a portfolio of all my work for my document design class. The teacher had warned us throughout the semester that it would be a lot of work to get this done, and told us several times to not leave it to the last minute because she would, under no circumstances, accept late work (this always brought back a vivid recollection of a friend who had taken the same class the semester before, calling me in a tearful panic because she was trying to get everything printed out but had forgotten her credit card and she didn't have enough time to go home and back if she wanted to turn it in on time).

I got the point: Do it in advance. Now I've probably set you up to think that this story is about me actually procrastinating what I had planned to do in advance. It's not. I did it in advance.

The thing was due on Saturday, so on Monday I went to Cougar Creations to get everything printed and organized for my portfolio. Here is an honest account of what happened at Cougar Creations.

There is a mac and pc lab at Cougar Creations that is not free; you have to pay by the hour to use the computers. It's beneficial to use them, though, because they print directly to the high quality printers.

The lab was not busy. Neither were the workers. The two girls at the cash register were very involved in their own conversation. I stood at the register. Girl 1 acknowledged me. Girl 2 saw me but didn't make any indication that my presence at her counter was supposed to alter her actions in any way. She continued to show her coworker pictures from a Pampered Chef catalogue and tell her what she needed to order. Meanwhile, Girl 3, sitting at a desk in the work area, watched---she seemed like she might have been the supervisor.

Finally, when Girl 1 finished her nice little chat, she decided to help me. We printed off a few things. The things I was printing required several trips to and from the cash register and specific instructions. Every time I went to the cash register, it was the same battle to get her attention again. At one point when I went up, Girl 2 had her hand bandaged in toilet paper and was getting help from Girl 1 to put red ink on the end of it so that it looked as if her hand had been severed. "Ketchup!" she cried. "If only we had Ketchup! Wait! Someone can probably run to the Cougareat and grab a couple packets!" I made eye contact with Girl 3: The Supervisor, and though she was clearly annoyed with the employees' behavior, she did nothing to stop it.

At another point, I gave specific instructions to Girl 1 about how I needed something to be printed. She cut me off half-way through, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get it." She didn't get it. When it was printed, she handed me the printout and I had to say, "Okay, if you had listened to me, this is what I was asking you not to do."

The whole time I was in there, I was wondering about those who would procrastinate their portfolios until later that week. I, understandably, was frustrated with them, but I had six days to get this done, not six minutes. I was glad that I had planned enough time for their obvious incompetence.

After I was done and closing up programs on the mac, another lab user asked Girl 3: The Supervisor for help. She came over and in answer to the lab user's question, said, "I don't know. This is a self-service lab---the customers are supposed to know what they're doing. I've never used a mac. So it's not that we're ignorant. It's just that we don't have to know these things."

I couldn't help laughing out loud when I heard it. "It's not that we're ignorant. It's just that we don't have to know these things." I think that's pretty much the mission statement of Cougar Creations.

Sour Cream

Remember that first day of school outfit that I was going to take a picture of? Well, something happened before I could get that picture.

Ambrosia and I have decided to start bringing lunches for each other throughout the week again. Today was her turn---she brought chips and refried beans and salsa, but didn't have any cheese or sour cream. I did, however, have both sour cream and cheese in my fridge, so I put some cheese into a tupperware container and some sour cream into a tupperware container and went to work. At work, lunch was delicious. There was more than enough cheese and more than enough (non-fat) sour cream.

Today my horoscope told me to remember the laws of karma---I reap what I sow. Well, after work, I called my mom and talked to her all the way home---including the bus ride, which was very, very rude of me. As punishment, at one point, I reached into my bag (you know---that new one that complemented my ensemble so well that I chose to carry my books instead of putting them in my bag?) and felt something cold and wet. I pulled my hand out, and it had some white goop on it. I thought maybe my lotion had exploded in my bag. So I smelled it. It didn't smell minty, like my lotion. I rubbed it into my hands anyway. I put my hand back into my bag to assess the damage. It got covered in the stuff and I realized it was the sour cream.

I got home and dug deep into the bag to find my keys. They were so covered in the goop that I didn't dare use the key to open my front door. Instead, I banged on The Boy's window so that he would wake up (he works graveyard shift) and come open the door. What a mess.

The Fifty-First State

Especially for Savvymom:

In my editing class today, the teacher asked, "Who thinks they came the farthest to BYU in this classroom?"

Of course no one wants to answer that. You don't want to raise your hand and say, "I'm from Idaho?" to have someone else in the class then raise his/her hand and say, "I am the first human being to have been born and raised in Antarctica." So no one answered for a while.

Then a girl raised her hand and said, "I came from Washington, D.C."

The teacher asked, "Is there anyone who came from farther away than that?"

I raised my hand and so did another girl. The other girl said she was from South Carolina.

I said, "I'm from Northern Ontario."

The teacher said, "That's great! Now, is there anyone here from outside the United States?"

Things I Learned at My First Day of School

  1. Holding your books and riding a bike at the same time is not a good idea. Next time, please bring a bag that's large enough to hold books since sacrificing practicality to fashion is not always very smart.
  2. There is a difference biking to school when you live south of campus as opposed to north of campus (where I've always lived). Now, riding to school is uphill and sweat-inducing. Riding home from school is carefree and exciting. Except for when you're carrying the books that you refused to carry in a bag because you wanted to use your cool new bag that matches your outfit and you're going downhill at very fast speeds and you think that also maybe your butt crack is showing and people behind you are laughing.
  3. The same really weird and annoying people are still studying English with you.
  4. You've forgotten everything you ever learned in French 321 and you will have to really review that stuff if you hope to pass this new class.
  5. Canada is not outside of the United States.

First Day of School

Tomorrow is my first day of school. Again. I was supposed to spend today setting up my desk, but the gods have conspired against me; Brother 1 and wife invited me up to SLC for dinner, and there simply won't be time to work on the desk. So instead of having a desk, I have a pile of wood and parts and instructions on my floor. We share internet with our neighbors, who transmit the wireless signal from their apartment. I like to do homework/use the internet in the living room---I always have---but the signal there is weak. Today it isn't working at all from the living room, so I'm sitting on the floor where my desk will one day stand (tomorrow?) and where the signal is strongest.

I have my outfit all picked out for tomorrow. The problem is that I like it so much that I wore it today to church. I do plan on doing laundry later today (when I get home from SLC?) so it'll be clean at least. The outfit is, in fact, so great that I think I'll take a picture of it and post it. It was always family tradition, anyway, to have pictures taken on the first day of school.

I'm excited. I always am excited to start a new semester. I went online today to copy down my class names and rooms---the school's system is always overloaded on the first day of school and anyone who has saved it to the last minute to write down their classrooms suffers. Tomorrow, I start with French linguistics at 8:00 with a professor who taught me French at 8:00 in 1999, my freshman year. And here I thought that schooling was supposed to be linear instead of cyclical. I'll go from French to substantive editing to Brit lit: Romantic authors. I have a great schedule this year---I have classes every day between 8:00 and 11:00, and work from 11:30 to 3:30.

Weekend Highlights

On Friday, we went up to my sister-in-law's family cabin. I don't know if it's a ranch or a cabin or a lodge---I was explaining to Mishkin, who came with us, that back home, there are cottages and there are camps and there are cabins. Cabins are for skiing. Camps are for hunting. Cottages are vacation homes at the lake. Miskin says that here, cabins don't have a lot of land, whereas ranches have land. I don't know what the definition of a lodge is. I don't know if s-i-l's edifice qualifies as a ranch---it has lots of land, but no cows. But it has horses. Anyway.

We were discussing this as we were driving out. We left Provo after 8:00 and s-i-l's directions to get there were perfect. I was worried that with my terrible navigating abilities, I'd get us lost. We were doing great until the directions (as dictated by s-i-l and transcribed by The Boy) said, "Weber Canyon Road... dirt roadities." Now, The Boy added the "-ities" onto "dirt road" for humor purposes, but as he's going 60 miles per hour in a 45 zone with no lights and curvy, twisting roads, and we have no idea how "Weber Canyon Road" is related to "dirt road," and I was trying to search the completely black and invisible surroundings for a dirt road, it was funny. In fact, it was aggravating every time I looked down at the paper, searching for some inspiration. Dirt roadities. I was sitting there, as we were turning around and retracing our route, only to find that we couldn't even find where we had come from, wondering if Mishkin had silently given up all hope of ever making it out to the cabin/lodge/ranch. We had no cell reception and no way to contact anyone who might be able to help us. Finally, we found a house that had lights on and asked for help. They offered us their phone and we tried to call the cabin/lodge/ranch number, but it was disconnected. The obliging couple then gave us sketchy directions that eventually did lead us to the dirt road (apparently Weber County Road turns into the dirt road). On the dirt road, we came across Brother 1 and s-i-l, who had come out to try and look for us.

After what seemed like an eternity on the dirt roadity in the dark (suddenly "dirt roadities" wasn't so obnoxious) we made it to the edifice-of-an-unknown-specification. The stars were amazing---it was hard to actually see constellations because so many smaller stars appeared.

After talking for a while with everyone (s-i-l, The Boy, Brother 1, and Mishkin) we all went to bed. There was limited bedspace, so The Boy and I had to share a bed. It's okay, though, because it was a king bed, so I hardly even knew he was there. Imagine my surprise, though, when I woke up not with The Boy at my side but with Brother 2! (My mom tells me that that's gross to even say because it all sounds so incestuous.) Brother 2 had arrived at 2:00 in the morning.

We didn't actually have much time on Saturday for ranchy activities since we had to get back in time for The Boy to go to a work meeting at 3:00 (which meant we had to leave at 1:00). But we had time enough for me and Mishkin to go exploring (which means that we walked on this uneven stones and I almost twisted my ankle beside a river, and we walked through a field that was being watered by sprinklers and we didn't even have the guts to run through the sprinklers) and time for a short horseback ride. This was better than my horseback ride from last year which scared me almost enough to never want to get on a horse again. This time, s-i-l didn't make me gallop or trot or anything. Phew!

We drove back into town and as if Mishkin and I hadn't already spent enough time together, we decided to go to DI and Target. I didn't find anything particularly exciting at either store. Later, Nemesis and I went to see Fantastic 4. It wasn't the best movie I've seen all year, but it was at the dollar theater and I didn't even pay Nemesis back, so I can't complain.

Then, not only did Nemesis pay for my movie, but she dropped off goods at my house---kitchenwares that I can babysit while she's in England---including a big ole' glass jar for punch that I've been coveting ever since I saw it at her swap meet.

And that's the weekend update.

Oh wait! One last gem from the weekend. When I asked The Boy if he was packed, he said," Cicada, we're only going till tomorrow at three. I don't need to pack anything."

Me: Uhhh... what about a toothbrush?

Boy: We're going to be back home at three tomorrow. I don't need a toothbrush.

Me: Boy, that's a night and a morning!

Boy: I'll live.

Me: But what about the rest of us who have to be around you??

He brought the toothbrush. Now, whether he used it or not, we don't know. And any of my former roommates/companions will read this story and think me a hypocrite because they know that I rarely brush my teeth or take off my makeup at night but to miss a morning! It's unthinkable!

Number One Interest

I'm interested in someone.

On a scale from 1 to 10, I am interested in him probably about a one. But that's something! As I explained to my mom, it pretty much makes him my number one interest. I don't think about him when he's not around. I hardly even think of him when he is around. He's not my type. He doesn't make me laugh. He's not ugly. He's not beautiful. I don't get excited to talk to him. I don't make sure that I'm up in time to do my makeup in the morning. I can hardly even say that it's nice to be interested in at least someone after not having been interested in anyone for so long because my interest in him is only slightly above disinterest. But there it is, nonetheless: I'm interested in someone.

Future Plans?

I met up with Switchback, a friend from the mission. Okay, so I know we're not supposed to have nicknames. But we did. It's not like we really called each other by these nicknames. We used titles and last names, I promise! But it's convenient not to have to think of a new nickname for her so that she can remain anonymous. Anyway. I digress before I even begin!

Switchback goes to school in California, but she's in town visiting for a while. We've been hanging out every night (I wish she lived here!). On Wednesday night, she mentioned this idea she had. She said that she was considering moving to Rome for a while and being a free-lance tour guide. So now I'm thinking of joining in with her, getting an apartment with her and doing free-lance tours as well. Here's the deal:

When her parents came to pick her up at the end of her mission, they went to St. Peter's. There was an American girl holding up a sign that said FREE TOUR. She gathered up a group of people and then proceeded to take them on a free, informative, thorough, and entertaining tour of St. Peter's. After the free tour, she'd then inform the group that she also did a tour of the Vatican Museums for twenty-five euros per person. She'd have groups of twenty to thirty people go through with her, and she'd do the tour twice a day.

I'm starting to seriously consider doing this for a summer.

The Skinny on Being Fat

That's the title of one of the articles that I have to write. Basically it's about women who are unhappy with their weight and yet refuse to do anything about it. Like me. I like chocolate so I eat chocolate. I sit at a desk all day long, and though I have a gym pass, I don't seem to use it. I find excuses---like the fact that the podiatrist told me not to exercise. Weak excuse, I know. The doctor tells you not to exercise? Well, the doctor also told me to take these pills twice a day until they were all gone, too, but I still have half the bottle left. Now I keep them on hand because they're great pain killers. But I really took the no exercise thing to heart.

I went shopping with Mishkin yesterday. I know he'll hate me to even mention it, but he's been working out and he's bulked up some this summer (I won't go into the details of his pecs or his biceps or anything like that...). So the shopping experience---which was supposed to be focused on him anyway---was definitely focused on him. I'm at my top weight ever. I don't fit into any of the clothes that I have and I certainly don't want to buy fatter clothes (I did... and then I outgrew them...) Mishkin on the other hand looked fantastic in everything I made him try on (well, almost everything... I maintain that no man looks good in a bikini, but it was still fun to see him wear one*).

So I need to start doing better about eating and exercising. And I need to write The Skinny on Being Fat because I think it'll be really funny. The thing is, I had no idea that school starts this next Monday. Don't get me wrong---I'm really excited, like I am any time I've taken a break from school. But now I'm wondering what happened to all the articles and the novel and the poetry I was supposed to write this summer. And what the heck happened to my waistline this summer? Okay. So the year in retrospecticus wasn't all that great for me, I suppose. I gained 25 pounds. I didn't put all the really great ideas I've had into writing. But I did win awards for two articles.

Hmm. Anyway. Goals for the year: Get thin. Write articles and win/earn money. Buy new clothes with the money.

*Mishkin never actually tried on a bikini and I never actually encouraged him to do so.

My Brain Feels Funny

I was up till 3:00 last night. Man. That means that if I wanted eight hour of sleep, I'd have had to have slept till eleven this morning. But it's ten o'clock and I've been at work since nine. My body woke up at 7:30, so here I am, but my brain feels heavy. Either I got smarter from all the culture I absorbed over the past couple of days, or I should have stayed in bed this morning.

I left on Monday to go to Cedar City with Nemesis, Streets of Belfast, Nemesis's mom and Kitty for the Shakepearean Festival. It was so. much. fun. On Monday we watched Stones in His Pockets. I feel like I should post some analysis, comment, summary, or reaction. But I can't because my brain feels funny. Comment: It was good.

On Tuesday we watched Camelot. Some lady didn't turn her cell phone off. It rang. People were annoyed. She still did not turn it off so it rang again. There was a mumble throughout the audience. Then it rang again and there was a louder mumble through the audience and some person yelled, "Turn it off!" The lady finally walked out and then came back in a little later. Later, it rang again, but the action on stage drowned out most of the ringing. After intermission, there came another reminder to turn the cell phones off. The audience errupted in applause. Then, someone else's phone rang during the second half of the play.

And so it was that as people were coming out of the play, half of them were talking about the play and half were talking about cell phones. I started to tell a story about a time when I accidentally left my cell phone on, and didn't know that it was my phone when it was ringing... but then I realized that if people overheard me, they might think that I was talking about that night's performance! So I started talking a little more quietly.

Other highlights:

We were going into an Irish pub/sandwich place, and it was mentioned that sometimes cast members eat there, and you know that it's someone from a play because others start pointing at the person. We thought that it would be really funny to the four of our group to enter the pub and for me to come in about five minutes later. Then they could all point at me as I sauntered about. Then one of them could ask me for my autograph. Then one could ask if please, oh please! could they have a picture with me? Then we could see if any other people asked me for autographs and pictures.

But we didn't do that.

One other odd highlight was the costuming seminar. We went and a costume director explained how they made different costumes. There was one elderly woman sitting on the front row, and---I'm just going to say it because it was true!---it sounded like she was having an orgasm. As the director would explain certain things, she'd gasp, "Oh! Oooooooohhhhh!" As he'd reveal costumes, she'd shout out, "Yes! YES! YES!" I mean, I certianly enjoyed the seminar. But not nearly as much as she did.

Anyway. All in all, it was an excellent trip. Now I'm going to give my poor brain a rest and get back to work.

Finding the Hidden Message

My parents are flying home today. They stayed the night in Salt Lake last night. Before they left, though, Mom left a message on my fridge.

I think that the real message here is, "Good riddance you hateful spawn! May I never have to sleep on a futon again!"

Getting a Brain Scan, Part 2

My parents have been in town and they've been oh-so-kind-and-generous (suddenly feeling like Natalie Merchant... na na na na na na na na) and have been buying us things we need for the apartment. Like new blinds to replace the ones I ruined. So Dad and The Boy went to Home Depot to have venetian blinds cut to our window's dimensions while I was at work. When I came home, and my mom came home from Education Week, she explained to me how to install the venetian blinds (since my father didn't have time to do it, even though this is what we classify as "man's work" in our family). She also explained that I can take out all the extra slats so that the blinds don't go waaaaaay below the windows, like they do in every room of my house.

Cicada: So what you're saying is, I could just remove the extra slats from the venetian blind that is currently there, and that would give us excess string, and then the blinds will be able to go down the whole way down.

[at this point, we both paused to really understand the full impact of what I just said and we also pondered our combined stupidity up until that point]

Mom: That is exactly what I'm saying. [in a tone of voice that indicates that she recognizes that we're both really stupid]

Cicada: I don't suppose that we can return these blinds that we just bought.

Mom: No... your father had them cut to the right size.

Does anyone need venetian blinds that measure 24.7 inches across? Because I could really use the money to pay for that brain scan...

My Bear Story

Where I'm from, if you want to see bears, you just go to the garbage dump. And people do go to the dump to see bears. You might even stay at the dump long enough to paint a picture (ew!). It's even a popular date activity. Well do I remember days of making out at the dump, watching the bears! (Mom, Dad, if you're reading this, I promise I am totally joking. I never made out at the dump!)
My grandparents and we had two cottages by a lake. My grandpa would often leave my grandma in the cottage alone while he went fishing with the neighbor. So for her protection, he bought her an airhorn. The drill was that if Grandma were ever in trouble, she just had to sound the horn three times.

Well, one morning when Grandpa was out fishing with the neighbor, Grandma was brushing her teeth. We didn't have plumbing at this time, so she went outside to spit. She spat and when she looked up, she was almost face-to-face with a bear, and noticed that her toothpaste foam had missed hitting it by a couple inches.

She hobbled back into the cottage and sounded the airhorn three times. The neighbor's wife came running to my Grandma's aid. When my Grandma spotted her, she rushed to the door and yelled, "QUICK! GET INSIDE! BEEEEAAAAAR!" The neighbor woman came inside and the two of them huddled, waiting for their husbands to come home.

Meanwhile on the lake, when the two men heard the airhorn blow three times, my grandpa turned to his fishing buddy and said, "What kind of a duck do you suppose that was?"

Try the Anus

Tonight I went to an Italian restaurant in Park City with my family. Conversation turned to Italian pronunciation rules. Specifically, I let them all know what the difference between penne (penne pasta) and pene (penis) is. Then, I let everyone know the difference between anno (year) and ano (anus).

Almost immediately after my Italian lesson, our waiter---who informed us it was his first day---came to explain the menu.

"The special this evening is grilled ano," he said.

The entire table burst out laughing. Poor waiter---he had no idea why. No one even caught what the rest of the specials were. I kept my nose in my menu as I convulsed and as tears welled up in my eyes. I was just wondering what grilled anus tasted like. Calimari, anyone?

Note for those who, like Puckish Mitya, might lose sleep over why the waiter was offering "grilled year": He was actually offering grilled ono, a type of fish. Only he pronounced it like I had pronounced ano when explaining the word to my family.

The Hot Dog Vendor: An MCTV/CTV Special

I would think that most of you know about this, but I think that several of you don't, so I'm going to need to post this PREVIEW so that you have some background before you see the feature film.

I worked one summer as a hot dog vendor. I'm currently writing a book about it. By "currently writing a book about it," I mean that I'm totally ignoring the book that I'm supposed to be writing about it. Pity, because I think that it'll be a money maker. It was a summer full of really interesting experiences. Turns out that my boss was connected to the mafia. It was a summer full of violence, vengeance and vending.

At the end of it all, on my very last day, I was sitting at my hot dog stand one morning before business had picked up. I noticed a reporter for the local news station (MCTV/CTV) who was standing on my street corner and filming the doors of the bank kiddy-corner to where we were. Obviously they were preparing for some report on the bank. So, since I was a street vendor and therefore it was part of my job to heckle passersby on the street, I said to him, "Are you here to do your exposee on hot dog vendors? Because today's my last day, you know. So if you want to do your exposee on hot dog vendors, today is your last chance." He laughed (a courtesy laugh) and I went back to reading my book (Atlas Shrugged, for the fifteenth time).

Later during the day, things got busy again. It was lunchtime, and I was feeding the masses. Suddenly, I looked over, and a woman from MCTV was setting up her camera. She started to film me, helping customers.

When there was a break in the mad rush of people who wanted to eat hot dogs and sausages, she strung me up with a microphone and started interviewing me. It went something like this:

MCTV: So what would you say is the hardest part about your job?

Me: I sell hot dogs. I'm a hot dog vendor. Anyone could do my job. Basically, there is absolutely nothing that is hard about my job.

[very awkward silence. Cicada's brain is racing to find something to say. reporter not asking a new question. find something to say! find something to say! What is the hardest part of this job??]

Me: [making it obvious in my voice that I'm stating something really stupid] You have to watch the sausages so that they don't burn.

MCTV: What condiments do people like?

[Really---what is this? There are only so many condiments that one can have on a hot dog or sausage. They're right on the table here. But I must answer the question! Quick! Quick! What condiments do people like?]

Me: [in a spastic voice] Cheese. Cheese. Everyone loves cheese. [must say something more... must say something more!] And I've found that people who like saur kraut really like saur kraut, but people who don' t like it just stay away from it. [brilliant]

[later, a man gets a hot dog and is filmed by the reporter. he puts his condiments on the hot dog but does not put on any cheese. as he walks away, the reporter calls, "Don't you want cheese on that?" the man comes back and loads the hot dog up with cheese as the reporter films it. this key footage is used when the interview is broadcast.]

MCTV: Do you ever get any suggestions?

Me: Oh, I get suggestions. One person even suggested that I start selling moose burgers. Well, they're suggestions anyway. [then I laugh the ugliest laugh that's ever been recorded]

Anyway. That night, my family gathered to watch the evening news. My interview aired at the end of the news program. Except that it didn't include any of the stupid questions---only my stupid answers. So you see me, saying, "You have to watch the sausages so that they don't buuuurn."

I'm telling you all this because after five or six years of heckling my mother, I finally have the copy that we taped that day from the news. I'll be taking it in to the library soon to get it transferred from VHS to DVD. Then I'll be having a hot dog party where we get to eat hot dogs and sausages (and saur kraut for those who like it, but not so much for those who don't and cheese! Lots of cheese!).

So if you're interested in coming, let me know, and I'll plan on you coming. I think that I might be shooting for an evening next week or next weekend. Cast your votes!

It Made My Father Cry

Last night, I saw my father laugh the hardest I can ever remember seeing him laugh. I honestly have never seen him look like that. When Brother 2 and I got into the car to go home, I mentioned that I'd never seen Dad laugh so hard. He said that he was just about to say the same thing. His face was completely scrunched up and there were tears in his eyes. He actually looked a lot like his sister, who laughs hard like that on a much more regular basis.

So let me tell the stories that made him laugh. I know that several of these will be repeats for many of you, but at least they'll be repeated more accurately since they're now fresher in my mind.

We were talking about Brother 2's best friend. They've been friends since they were in the dorms together up in Rexburg, almost a decade ago. We'll call him Victor. The first time I met him was at a Halloween party where he showed up in full snorkel gear---he had the wet suit, the flippers, the snorkel and mask---and he was all alone (the night before his first child was to be born). He would swim around in the indoor pool, and then come and sit, soaking wet, on the benches and watch the people partying. At one point, he dove into the foot-deep kiddie pool and started splashing around. This was my first impression of Victor.

At the Airport

Later that year, Victor drove Brothers 1 and 2 and me to the airport so that we could fly home for Christmas. He accompanied us all the way to the gate (back in the days before 9-11). We got to the airport at about 6:00, which meant that we'd all been awake since four or five. I, personally, hadn't had any sleep that whole night. So we were tired. Brother 2 and Victor were standing in line, talking together, and Brother 1 and I were standing behind them. At one point, the line moved forward, and before Brother 1 and I could move up with the line, two rather large girls cut in line in front of us. We were annoyed, but we didn't do anything. Instead, we continued waiting in line for a half hour. Finally, when Brother 2 and Victor were next in line to be served, Victor said to me and Brother 1, loud enough for everyone in line to hear, "Quick. Move up in line before these hefiers try to steal your spot again."

The "heifers" looked stunned. Victor responded to their stunned state by looking straight at them and saying loudly, "Mooooooooooooove over!" Brother 1 and I reclaimed our rightful place in line.

The First Time Brother 1 Met Victor

Brother 2 and Victor have done a lot of climbing together---they both really enjoy the outdoors. So one time, Brother 2 invited Brother 1 to come climbing with him and Victor. It was the first time that Brother 1 met Victor. They were up in Rock Canyon, and it was a fairly busy day. Hikers, rock climbers, and boy scouts all milled about. Brother 1 was on belay (holding Victor's rope) and Victor was ready to rappel down the cliff that he was standing on top of. It was sortof taking him a while, and Brother 1 was wondering why.

Finally, Victor's head peaked over the side of the cliff. He looked around, up and down the Canyon. Then Victor swung his body over the cliff. The only thing he was wearing was the harness.

The First Time Some of His Wife's Friends Met Victor

I love Victor's wife. Let's call her Patience (it was the name of several African women I met in Italy... so it works). Patience was at the same house where the Halloween party was hosted, shortly after she had married Victor. So there was an indoor pool. And a big indoor slide, too. Patience was sitting near the pool with some friends. The friends said to Patience, "So you got married! Is your husband here?" She said yes, and that he was just about to come down the slide. So the whole group of women looked to the slide (one of those long, curvy tube ones) and Victor came out of the bottom, face-down like Superman, with his bathing suit around his ankles. Patience said, "Uh, actually, I think my husband's the next guy."

The Time His Family Members Lost Their Appetite

Victor went to a dinner with his wife's extended family one day. When they were just about to eat the meal, someone mentioned that Patience's sister should get her newborn baby who was sleeping downstairs. Victor said, "Don't worry. I'll get her." So he went downstairs. Instead of grabbing the baby, he grabbed a doll and wrapped it in several baby blankets.

He came upstairs, holding the baby. So a family member said the blessing on the food, and as soon as "Amen!" was said, Victor dropped the "baby," which hit its head on the table and then bounced on a chair before it hit the floor.

There was absolute silence.

Then Victor reached down and picked up the doll to show everyone and said, "It's okay! It's just a doll! It's just a doll!"


Then the wailing started. No one was hungry anymore, so dinner was abandoned, and no one wanted to have anything to do with Victor, who was eating his dinner alone in a corner. His father-in-law finally approached him and said, "Well, I thought it was funny."

Dating Lance

I'm sure that many if not most of you have seen the DateLance site (http://datelance.com). My friend---we'll call her Kitty---received an email from a friend, suggesting that she apply. So while Kitty and I were volunteering yesterday, and we were oh so busy, we went ahead and applied for her to date Lance. Here's her application:

What is your idea of the perfect first date with Lance?

Kitty enjoys a wide range of activities. At first, I'd say that she'd love to go on a hike or a bike ride on a first date with Lance, but she recently hurt her foot while she was wakeboarding and the podiatrist has advised her to keep off it! So she'll need something a little less active. I've often heard that watching a movie on the first date isn't a great idea---she would agree. She loves to meet other people and listen and talk, so any activity that involves a lot of interaction is ideal. One of her hobbies is cooking (French and Italian food!), so cooking a meal together would be a great activity if Lance enjoys cooking as well. She's a cultured girl, so she's interested in plays, museums, or musical performances.

Basically, I think the ideal date would be for you guys to make dinner together and then go to an art museum or a symphony, or even a sporting event.

Please write a paragraph or short essay about why you should date Lance.

My friend Kitty(I call her Kit) is, in a way, my boss. We met each other at work five years ago and since then, she's taken on new responsibilities and has been promoted waaaaaaay above me. The great thing is that we're still close friends---that's the kind of person that she is. So let me tell you all the reasons that you should be dating her.

Kit comes from a large family, just like you. She is the seventh of nine kids. This means that she knows how to deal with large families and hey---it's what she's comfortable with, too. Making spaghetti for seventeen? She's all over it. Driving a minivan? It's what she aspires to.

Kit is also one of the most caring-on-the-ball-thoughtful-proactive people I know. I just recently moved into an unfurnished apartment with my little brother. She knew that I'd have no furniture, so she---without my ever asking her to---managed to collect a ton of furniture for me this summer. Every time she heard that someone was giving something away, she ran and picked up the item for me. When I was ready to move in, thanks to her, I had an entertainment unit, a dresser, a table and chair set, paper lanterns, an area rug, bulbs to plant in my garden, and picture frames. If I hadn't already had a bed and a TV, she would have found me those things, too. It's simply the way she is---she's always thinking about other people, and always finding ways to help out.

Allow me to tell you the really cool story of how Kit got me the bulk of my furniture. She is a Nazi visiting teacher---the one the Relief Society assigns to all the "challenging" sisters. Her philosophy is, "You will be visit-taught! You will receive cookies and candy and all that crap! You will receive happy notes from me so that you know I care!" (Have I mentioned that she's got a great sense of humor and has me doubled-over laughing every time she voices this philosophy?) She has to visit the sisters who peek through the blinds and pretend that they're not home when she tries to visit. She has to visit the sisters who hang up the phone when she calls.

So one day, she received a phone call at 2:00 p.m., while she was busy being my boss at work, that went something like this:

"Hi, Kitty? I know you're my visiting teacher because you keep leaving all this stuff at my door, and my mom told me I should call you and you could help me out... uh... I have to be moved out of my apartment by 5:00 today and I haven't even started packing."

Kitty started calling every single person she knew to help with the move. Three hours later, the girl was completely moved out of her apartment. Extra furniture (read: all the stuff that she ended up giving to Kitty to give to me) was moved into Kit's basement. The rest of the furniture and the rest of this girl's earthly possessions were packed into a U-Haul, ready to go to St. George. All done, three hours after making a call to Visiting Teacher Supreme, Kitty.

Kitty served a mission in Paris, France. (Ooh la la! Elle parle francais aussi? C'est superbe et hyper-sexy!) She graduated from BYU with a degree in marketing communications with minors in business and French. She will be finishing her master's degree in 2006.

Kit, in a word (since 934 words aren't sufficient) is funloving (I omitted the hyphen to make it into ONE word). Take her anywhere and she'll have a blast. She's got a knack for finding fun wherever she goes. Recently she was volunteering for a job that everyone else described as "boring." After five hours of sitting at a table and handing out name tags to people, two elderly ladies came up and commented that it must be a boring job. Kit said, "I'm having a great time!" She can make any job into a party---a productive party (refer back to the part where I said that she got promoted waaaaay above me).

Kit has so many other qualities. (You'll notice that this isn't a "short essay" and it certainly isn't a paragraph, and it talks about why you should date Kit instead of focusing on why Kit should date you, but hey. I'm the one who's breaking the rules, not Kit. And I'm a freaking English major, so I can't help but be verbose.) I could go on, but I need to leave something for you to discover on the first date and the second date and the third date and...

Try asking her about the following things:

*When she lived in Belgium and St. Lucia
*White water rafting
*Her love of traveling
*Her gosh-darn-cute nieces and nephews
*Her cute and available friend Cicada

So that's it! Why should she date you? Because you'll have a good time, she'll have a good time, and heck. It just might work out.

Oh, and did I mention she's REALLY HOT?

My Big Brake (Job)

In honor of posting stories where the customer comes out on top, I'd like to share this gem from several years ago.

When I lived in St. George with my grandparents and my cousin, my grandpa decided to buy a car for me and my cousin to share so that he didn't have to drive us around places. He bought a 1983 VW Scirocco. Never heard of them? Well, VW only made them for two years ('83 and '85) and then they were retired. He got the vehicle for $1200. It looked almost exactly like this picture, except I was the hooch clinging onto it in a bikini.

While I was using the car one day, the emergency brake broke. I thought that I could tell my grandpa, but he would maybe make me take off work and take the car into his preferred mechanic. But I had a crush on a guy in my ward who owned a different tire and brakes shop, so I didn't tell my grandpa that I broke the brake at all. Instead, I just brought it in to my preferred mechanic.

I never actually saw or dealt with my crush while my car was at his shop. I did deal with several other people, though.

I brought the car in so that they could look at it. I left it there and went back to work. A mechanic called me and told me that he'd fix the emergency brake, but that the front and rear brakes also needed replacing. He quoted me at $180---$40 for the emergency brake and $140 for the front and rear brake replacement. I told him to go ahead and do everything.

During the day, I thought better, though. I figured that if the brakes really needed replacing, then I'd best do it with my grandpa's and cousin's approval, and have my cousin pay half. So when I went to pick up my car at the end of the day (they weren't going to do any work on it till the next day), then I told the guy, "I thought about it again, and I've decided that I don't want the brakes replaced. Please just fix the emergency brake only and I'll get the other brakes done another time." So the guy said, "Sure thing!"

I took my car home, and I took it back the next morning. I talked to yet another guy. He said, "So what are we going to be doing with your car today?" I said, "We are not replacing the front and rear brakes. We're only going to replace the emergency brake. But we are under no circumstances to replace the front and rear brakes." I'm not even exaggerating here. I actually said "under no circumstances."

So. I went to get my car later that evening, after all the work had been done on it. A guy started ringing me up.

Tire Guy: That'll be $40 for the emergency brake and $140 for the front and rear brakes.

Me: Uh, I don't think that the front and rear brakes were replaced. I was very clear that they were not to be replaced.

TG: Uh... well, let's check. [He goes and checks.] Well, the front and rear brakes were replaced, so I'm going to have to charge you for that.

Me: I said very clearly that they were not to be replaced. I said that they were not to be replaced under any circumstances. And now they've been replaced. When I said that they were not to be. Not under any circumstances.

TG: Well... uh... they were replaced... so I guess I'll give 'em to you for $80. That's a very good deal on brakes.

Me: You don't understand. You're having me pay money for something that I requested clearly and specifically not be done. You can put the old brakes back on because I won't pay for brakes that I specifically and clearly stated were not to be installed.

TG: I can give 'em to you for $70. That's a very good deal for brakes.

Me: No, I'm afraid that you still don't understand me. This is not my car. This is my grandfather's car. I share it with my cousin. She is out of town and doesn't know that I've brought it in. My grandpa doesn't know that I broke his car and brought it in. I'm fixing it behind their backs. A new brake job is really going to tip them off that maybe I brought the car in to be fixed.

TG: $60.

Me: You're still not understanding me. I now have to go to my grandfather and tell him that I broke his car and then tell him that I brought it in to be fixed behind his back because I wanted to lie to him and trick him so that he never actually knew what I did. I said very clearly that under no circumstances were the brakes to be replaced. I was very clear.

TG: I'll give it to you for $30. That's new brakes, all for $30. And you don't have to pay that today! You can come in any other day and you just pay that when you have the money, or when you feel like it.

I thought that it was a fair deal. I mean, come on. A whole brake replacement for only $30?

I went in the next Monday to pay my $30. As soon as I walked through the doors, TG saw me and he said, "Fifteen dollars. Just give me fifteen dollars and we're even."

I went home and I told my grandpa the whole story. By the end of it, he was almost purple with pride. He said to me, "Why are you leaving for BYU this week?? That's not enough time for you to take my car to the shop!"

Back in Town

Well, I have been trying to think of interesting things to post---or more accurately, a single-themed idea to post---but I'm coming up blank, mostly because I'm focused on the pain that my menstrual cramps are causing me right now. But when I had to decide between spending my lunch passed out on the break room couch or writing a new post, I chose to write a new post, because Nemesis was complaining and I love her.

So. I didn't give an official goodbye on my blog. Sorry to abandon you all! I went to southern Utah this weekend to attend a family reunion. We rented an enormous lodge near Zion's National Park. I'll post some pretty choice pictures when we upload them (warning: adult content only! pictures of me in bathing suit!). I'm not saying "enormous lodge" to boast that my family is rich. No, I mean that my family is huge. My grandparents had eight kids (this is obviously not the side of the family from which I inherit all fantastic family heirlooms) and the oldest of them is now in his late 60s. So there was a range of people from my grandpa all the way down to my cousins' children. And although some of them have reached child-bearing age, we're glad that they're not bearing children just yet (the oldest of the fourth generation are about 18, I believe).

Higlights from the weekend included seeing Brother 3. We don't get to see him that often. He travels around the U.S.A. installing antrax detectors in the post offices. He's also made a goal to sleep outside for 100 nights this summer. He's already slept outside for about 77 or 78. He has so many hysterical stories about raccoons, wolves, bears, other campers, etc., that I've decided that I'm going to write his book. It'll be called A Hundred Nights: The Summer of an Anti-Terrorist. The family is excited about it, but he's already said that he's not that excited---he only likes to tell a story once, he says. I'll try to convince him otherwise.

We also experienced a mad book swap this weekend. Everyone brought a book, and once someone finished a book, he/she grabbed a book that someone else brought and read it, too. So I think that a total of three different people read the Something Something Something about the Dog Something book, and three different people were reading David Sedaris's Dress Your Family in Cuorderoy and Denim. I started reading Kitchen Confidential, which is a really cool book if you don't mind some rather foul language and some pretty terrible stories from our nation's restaurant kitchens. Brother 2 started reading Things Fall Apart. I think those were the main books that were making the rounds.

Like any good movie or family reunion, there was lots of gratuitous nudity. There often is when Brother 3 is around. When he was in grade 12, he fell off a bike on a gravel hill and slid for about 30 feet. It took the skin right off his leg and right butt cheek. Many, many people had to see his butt, and my mom had to dress his wounds every day, and the boy completely lost his sense of modesty. Eight of us were staying in one room of the lodge. The room had an attached bathroom. Brother 1 was in the shower when Brother 3 decided that he wanted in. So he just jumped in. We could hear laughing and fighting and screaming coming from the bathroom. Then Brother 3 called out, "Oh no! I dropped the soap!" About 2 minutes later, when Brother 3 was finished with his shower, he came out of the bathroom, naked as the day he was born, except for a towel that he casually held with one hand for censorship. He was standing about 3 feet away from our only sister-in-law (Brother 1's wife). My mother, who was not in the room, opened the door to the room, exposing Brother 3 to the rest of the lodge.

My parents keep asking themselves what they did wrong. Actually, when they ask, we tell them exactly all the things they did to make us who we are today, and I would write about those things, but I wouldn't want my parents to disown me for publicly exposing them.

We made a spur-of-the-moment trip to Las Vegas yesterday to drop Brother 3 off there so that he could catch his flight (this morning). We wanted to go to Bobby Flay's restaurant. So we went---all eight of us---and the hostess told us that we'd only have to wait a few minutes. During those "few minutes," I told my family all about how you're never supposed to eat Sunday brunches since that's when the restaurant tries to sell and get rid of all its leftovers and scraps (I learned about all this in Kitchen Confidential). The only thing that Bobby Flay's restaurant was serving yesterday was brunch (a whole day of brunch!). So we were all waiting for a few minutes... and a few more minutes... and a few more minutes. Finally, my sister-in-law (for the Pearceans---she's as red as they come) got up to talk to the hostesses.

S-i-l: So what's the holdup?

Hostess: Well, we're just waiting for some room for your party.

S-i-l: Okay. Well, are there two tables that you can push together? Because I've seen some tables that are free. Can't you just push them together and have us seated?

Hostess: We're waiting for a table space to clear up.

S-i-l: Okay, but I can see some tables that you can push together.

Hostess: Well, we're waiting for the large table to clear up. We've been able to let some smaller groups of people in before you, but we're waiting for room for your party.

S-i-l: So you've let others in before us? And you're not willing to push tables together?

Hostess: Well, we're understaffed.

S-i-l: Okay. So you're understaffed, but you were able to let people in before us. Look. I've worked this job before. I know how it works. It's not actually all that complicated.

Hostess: Well what do you want me to do?

Has the s-i-l not suggested putting tables together enough already?

A "few minutes" later, we decided to all walk out and decided that we weren't going to pay the inflated prices for Bobby Flay's brunch leftovers, because obviously he wasn't too eager to have our business anyway. I mean, I've never actually worked in the restaurant business before, but I would tend to think that you want to actually keep groups of eight really hungry adults. I guess I was wrong.

So it's time for me to get back to work and this blog entry is long enough anyway. Maybe if I'm lucky, eddie will laugh out loud, or I can get an offer for a ps2. Here's hoping...

Getting a Brain Scan

I may actually have a brain that does not function properly.

Yesterday I did a lot of cleaning and preparing for the parents (who are coming into town tonight). Among the severl things I found to do was cutting the blind cords. You see, in my kitchen we have venetian blinds on the windows. The problem is that they're obviously new, and the previous tenants never cut the cords to an appropriate length. They also didn't remove the WARNING tags from the blinds. So it means that every time the swamp cooler is on (always), then the cords and the WARNING tags keep flapping in the winds created by the swamp cooler.

So it was time to shorten the cords such that they would be out of the way of the gusty drafts. I cut them to perfect lengths. It did actually occur to me at one point that if I were doing something wrong, I'd be making a big, irreparable mess. But of course, when have I been known to do anything wrong??

Last night, when The Boy and I decided that we were done with cleaning/unpacking and that it was time to go to bed, I went to shut the blinds. Well, it turns out that I had cut the cords to one blind when the blind was down (good) and I had cut the cords to the other blind when it was up (bad). Now there is only enough cord for that blind to go half-way down.

I seriously need to check myself in for a brain scan to find out what is wrong with me!

Dominant Female

On the way to work today, I told my fellow bussing coworkers that my brother finally moved in yesterday. One girl commented that that must be so nice---she loves house-living because it's different from apartment-living. With house-living, you can put your stuff where you want it. With apartment-living, there is usually one dominant female who approves or disapproves all decisions.

I think that house apartment still has a dominant female.

So back to The Boy moving in... The other day, a friend dropped by to see my place. He even brought by a house warming gift (men can be so thoughtful sometimes!). It was a set of red decorative bottles that he had picked up at the D.I. He thought that maybe with my creativity, I could somehow make them work with the decor of my kitchen. Otherwise, he said, I could give them to Ambrosia and there would be no hard feelings. I wasn't sure if I could make it work, but I thought I'd give it a try.

So I put them on top of the fridge for the moment until the rest of my kitchen was cleaned and organized (at the moment, the buffet was serving as a tool bench and all counter space was being occupied by painting materials). As soon as The Boy walked into the house, he walked past my cool bulletin board in the living room that I had made myself. He walked past the table and chair set that I had spent hours painting and reupholstering. He walked straight to the new red decorative bottles and said, "These are awesome."

I guess I'll find a way to make them work.

I Only Dry Heaved Five Times

Soon after starting work at my current location, I met a boy. We'll call him Curry Boy. We found out quickly that we both had a love for curry, so one night I invited him to my house for curry dinner. It was a really great dinner. He then promised me that he would one day invite me over for his famous curry recipe.

It hasn't happened yet, but three weeks ago, he made curry for a party for coworkers that he hosted. I couldn't go because I was feeling ill that day. Curry Boy decided to bring the curry to work for me---a week after the party.

I was going to eat it that day, but the problem was that I'd just moved into my new place and I certainly didn't have any rice. So I left it in the fridge at work. And left it in the fridge and left it in the fridge and left it in the fridge.

Today, three weeks after the curry was originally made, the office manager cleaned out the fridge and asked all the employees to claim their tupperware and rotten food. So today, I had to admit to Curry Boy that not only did I not eat his delicious curry, I also left it in the fridge at work to rot. He said, "No! Now I have to clean out a container full of rotten curry?" I volunteered to do it since it was my fault that the curry was still there.

I went to the custodial closet to find a plastic bag in which to seal the offending food. I also considered grabbing the mask, safety goggles, and heavy-duty rubber gloves. I reallly should have.

I took the curry to the break room so that I could dispose of it in the largest trash bin available. When I opened the lid, I started to retch. My entire body went cold. My skin turned to gooseflesh. And I dry heaved upwards of five times.

I'd tell you that next time I'll eat the curry right away, but I don't think that Curry Boy is ever going to feed me his curry again.

Late Afternoon Reading

I've started reading lately. I meant to read a lot this summer, but somehow I never actually got around to reading much. I tried to read Fever Pitch, but since I wasn't all that interested in soccer, it didn't appeal to me much. I didn't finish it. Instead, I let Nemesis borrow it so that she can be bored, too. I did read Eats Shoots and Leaves, which I started last summer and never finished. So finally when Harry Potter came my way, I read that. Then I read He's Just Not That Into You. Then I read The DaVinci Code. Right now, I'm in the middle of reading Fast Food Nation, The Something-Something-Something About a Dog in the Night or Something, and, of course, The Book of Mormon, which I'm italicizing because I'm trying to read it quickly like a novel.

So last night I was on the couch in the late afternoon, reading on our futon. The windows in the front room don't open, so I open the door. This way, I reason, people in my new ward can see that my house is open and stop in. Of course, they don't, and I certainly wouldn't, but that's my reasoning, anyway.

Well, as I was reading (The Something-Something-Something About a Dog in the Night or Something), I noticed that a car with two old people in it drove by real slow. I figured they were probably looking for an address. A few minutes later, the same car drove by real slow and then stopped right in front of the house and stared at me. I stared back and they started talking, so I went out to the car to talk to them.

The driver was a man, probably in his late 60s. The woman, who was so tiny that her head barely peeked above the car window, was his mother. They started talking to me.

Son: My dad built this house himself.

Mother: Yep. He did all the work himself.

Son: This is where I grew up.

Mother: So many years ago!

Son: And my dad built this house. He built it.

Mother: That was back in 1937. He built this house and we had all our kids running around here.

Son: There were eleven kids.

Me (embarrassed because the yard is somewhat unkempt and the house is a little run-down): Wow, that's incredible! Well, I just moved in a week ago. I'll be planting the garden later this weekend, and I just love the house!

Mother: Do you like it here?

Me: Oh yes. It's a wonderful house. I love it here.

Son: We just live down the street, but we've never seen the door open before so we've never seen what the inside of the house looks like---we just wanted to let you know why we were staring.

Mother: That wall didn't used to be there in the front room. The whole front of the house was open, and the TV was there...

Me (wondering how they possibly fit in eleven kids): Wow! Well, now the other half is my little brother's room. He has to walk through my room to get there.

Son: That's what we figured! That's what we figured had to have happened!

Mother: There was a time when this place was full of children! Children all in the neighborhood, so many children! They'd run and play under that tree there...

Me: Now the neighborhood is just full of students.

Mother: Isn't that fun!

So we carried on for a while, and then they said goodbye and drove off.

It was an interesting experience to meet the people who actually built the home and who lived there for so long. The son even said that his bedroom was in the basement---and the basement is really scary! I can't believe that anyone actually lived down there! I feel an even greater need to take care of the yard and the outside of the house now (in addition to my sweeping away cobwebs and clearing off the walkway) just so that they can feel that their house is in good hands when they drive past in the future.

Tu cremallera esta debajo.

As long as I'm telling old stories, here's another one:

Two of my guy friends were once taking Spanish 101 together. One guy was French, the other Canadian. So one day, the Frenchie noticed that the teacher's fly was down. Not one to want to see him exposed like that in public, he raised his hand and told the teacher that his fly was down.

The teacher went red, ran out of the room, zipped up the fly, came back, and thanked Frenchie for letting him know.

A week or so later, Frenchie noticed yet again that the teacher's fly was down. He said to the Canuck, "The teacher's fly is down. Tell him."

Canuck: I'm not going to tell him.

Frenchie: Well, I don't want to tell him again. I don't want everyone in the class to wonder why I keep noticing.

Canuck: I'm not going to tell him.

The Frenchie then raised his hand and told the teacher, "Canuck noticed that your fly is down."

The teacher went red, ran out of the room, zipped up the fly, came back, and turned to Canuck. "Why didn't you tell me that my fly was down?"

Canuck, already completely red, thought quickly and said, "I didn't know how to say it in Spanish!"

Old Story

Well, since nothing interesting happened yesterday (beyond the fact that Brother 2 and I finished the HH series last night, and I spent hours reading The DaVinci Code and we found a ginormous spider at work that almost ate me and two coworkers and looked it up on the internet to find that it wasn't a brown recluse afterall, but we saw the damage that brown recluses do---gaping wounds, black skin, etc.---and so when I went home and found a brown spider on my ceiling, I freaked out and beat it to death with a broom) then I am forced to bring up an old story in order to post and entertain the masses.

Some of you may be aware that up until very recently, Ambrosia and I were roommates---even room-roommates. Some of you may even be aware that there was a plastic bag problem. Let me give the details of the plastic bag issue.

Before I went to Lake Powell, I needed to go to bed early as we'd be leaving very early in the morning, and my job was to stay awake with the driver and be the backup driver. So I went to bed early, but first, I couldn't get to sleep for a very long time, and then people started calling me---people whose calls I had to take because all the calls were about the Lake Powell trip. Finally, everything was resolved by about 1:00 a.m. and I was ready to try going to sleep again. I called Brozy, who was just downstairs talking to Timi, and let her know that my plans had changed and that I was leaving later than expected, so she was under no circumstances to wake me up when she came up to the room. If I had not made this call, she would likely have thought that I had slept through my scheduled departure time and woken me up to tell me that I had accidentally overslept. By making the call, I thought that I ensured that my sleep would finally go uninterrupted the rest of the night.

I did not take into account that a plastic bag was on Ambrosia's bed. When she finally went to bed (shortly after I had *finally* fallen asleep!), the removal of the bag caused lots of noise. I could have sworn she was jumping on the thing, or pretending it was an accordion, or shaking it about in a menacing manner. Curse her and her bag!

After I got back from Lake Powell, again, there was a night that I went to sleep because I desperately needed the rest. When Brozy came to the room, if the bag wasn't on her bed, it was somewhere nearby and she made a crinkling plastic ruckuss as she tried desperately to get rid of the bag without waking me up. I lay in the darkness, trying to imagine Ambrosia's thought process ("crapcrapcrapcrapcrap!") or trying to figure out how her prolonged beating of the bag was in any way an attempt to dispose of the thing in the quickest and noiselessest way possible.

Soon before I moved out of the apartment (and this may have been what pushed me to move out hastily), Brozy was out on Friday night and I was at home reading Harry Potter. I had taken him to bed with me (even though he's under 18, I don't think that there are laws against what I did) and realized at one point that I was falling asleep. I was too weary to even reach out infront of me and turn out my reading lamp; the last information my brain absorbed was recognition (as my eyes closed involuntarily) that there was a plastic bag on Brozy's bed.

I woke up the next morning with that feeling. It's a feeling that I get when I know I've been talking in my sleep, but I'm not fully aware of what transpired (one morning, I woke up with the feeling that I may have been telling Brozy that her date didn't understand his own sex appeal in the middle of the night---and Brozy confirmed that that was exactly what I had said). When I asked Brozy if we had talked or interacted the night before in any way, she laughed and explained to me what had happened.

She came into the room to find my reading lamp on, but I was asleep. As she reached over to turn my lamp off, my eyes flickered open. She said something like, "All good children are asleep at this hour."

I said, "I saw that there was a plastic bag on your bed, so I didn't really see the point of going to sleep."

Laughing, Brozy said, "I'm glad to see that your sarcasm is in tact after ten seconds of being awake."

Ahhhh. I'll miss Brozy and her plastic bags and our midnight conversations.

The Church of Latter-day Singles

Nemesis sent this article to me and a few others and ask for our comments. Read the article if you like---it's long, though.


My summary (without rereading it, so I might be getting a couple details wrong) is simply this: A girl from the D.C. area talks about being single. She is 33 and has recently moved from the singles' ward to the family ward. She is very liberal and quite candid. She even goes so far as to use the f-word a couple times.

I really sympathize with her situation. I am 24 and single, and I feel old (she comments in the article that once you are 24 or 25, you're "off the conveyor belt"). I won't lie and say that I don't envy pretty much every person who has found marital bliss. My mother can attest to the fact that I think about my single status a lot, and I am even known to whine and complain about it. Some days I'm downright bitter. I am painfully aware of when exactly the last time I was kissed was (one year, one month, 27 days...) and I'm also aware of the time I generally average between kisses (2.5 years). I have no idea when and if I will find a reciprocal and fulfilling relationship with the man of my dreams. So much of my life is uncertain at this point; I just don't know what the future holds.

All that being said, allow me to be at least a little critical of the view expressed in this article. What I believe is that we can all choose our attitude. I apply this to myself and to everyone else: I can choose to be bitter all the time about my status as a singleton, or I can choose to accept what life's given me now and work with it and be happy.

The article describes one particular Sacrament meeting where a young pregnant woman gets up to give a talk:

A very pregnant young woman totters up to the podium to deliver a talk on fighting impure thoughts. Before she begins her prepared remarks, however, she launches into her bio, ostensibly to introduce herself but effectively a laundry list of her "accomplishments": She and her hubby, both from Utah, began dating at 17; her husband served a two-year mission in Sweden; they married when he returned, both graduated from Brigham Young University (where the joke is that if you don't get married by graduation, you get your tuition back), and moved to Washington so her husband could attend law school; they have a 2-year-old boy and are expecting another child in a few weeks. The young woman recounts this with obvious pride. Although she looks as if she could still be in high school, her story is not only unremarkable in the church but also what the vast majority of young Mormon women aspire to.

The next paragraph is as follows:

Taylor snorts. "This is going to sound a little bitter," she says later, "but her resume was picture-perfect. There's a side of me that wants to scream, "What the f***? Why just get up and tell us that?" I have nothing to say except, "I've successfully stayed a virgin and I'm 33," or "I went on three dates last week and nobody touched my boobies." I have no other way to show my faithfulness. I'm being really irreverent, but it's true."

I'm fairly intolerant of being critical of those speaking from the pulpit. Sure, maybe some people deserve a bit of criticism, but I'd rather give people the benefit of the doubt. The majority of people asked to speak in Church are nervous to be speaking in front of everyone. They have not chosen their topic. They deliver a talk on their topic according to their own personal experience in the best way they know how to. Certain people have a gift for public speaking. Others don't. For the most part, the speakers are trying their best, and they are certainly not trying to offend anyone.

I guess I could go on and point out all the areas where I disagree with Taylor in her views or in the way that she chooses to express herself. I won't do that, though, because I've run out of time. What I will do, to reward everyone for reading this rant, is post the poem that I wrote in response to this article. Enjoy!

Sunday Singles Scene

I've heard it called the "Fashion Show"
where unwed men and women go
to worship God. Banana-clad,
they praise who wears the latest fad.

They come in late and choose the pew
that has an advantageous view
of who's dressed nice (and who is not)
of who, right now, is looking hot.

They fold their arms and bow their heads
and take the sacramental bread,
then pass the tray and take a peak
at who does not partake this week.

And during talks on Making Choices,
they gossip, all, in lowered voices:
"I hear she kissed the EQP!"
"But last week she was kissing me!"

And when their Sunday meetings end,
they look around to find their friends
and walk around and mince and mingle.
It's all part of being single.

I've heard the term "Meat Market" too,
where singles search for someone new.
The YSA attend their ward
to find a mate and love the Lord.

With candy words and sugar tongue
some say, "Oh well. Your time will come!"
to those, too many times rejected,
who wish their love lives resurrected.

Quote from Coop:

On the subject of God's sense of humor:

"How can He not have a sense of humor? Have you seen a baboon? Blue butts? Brilliant!"

Free Collagen Implants!

My new house has a mosquito problem. I subjected poor Nemesis and Brother 2 to an evening in my apartment last night. I felt bad for the following reasons:
  1. My house gets hotter inside than it is outside. In the late afternoon, I will set up fans to blow in the cooler air from outside, but in the evenings, I have to close everything up on account of there's mosquitos and bugs and stuff.
  2. I don't have a TV yet (still waiting for Brother 4 to move in...) and all I have that plays movies is a little laptop without external speakers. This means that we need to turn off all fans in the house so that we can actually hear the dialogue (and we don't want to miss a word of what Horatio Hornblower is saying!).
  3. The mosquitos found their way in anyway. So they attacked us during the movie. We couldn't see them because it was dark.
  4. Brother 2 was disappointed to find out that we were actually roasting our marshmallows (for s'mores) over the open flames of my gas range stove. When he saw me straightening wire hangers, he thought that I was working on some cool art project, not getting our marshmallow roasters ready.
  5. All our marshmallows caught fire.
  6. My freezer wasn't even up to the task of fully freezing our ice cubes. (My landlord has been uncharacteristically absent when it comes to responding to my demands for a new freezer/fridge combo.)

We took an intermission during the movie to get drinks and to kill mosquitos. Nemesis showed her mad skillz at killing them with the Ensign and I held my own with a broom.

Shortly after Nemesis and Brother 2 left, I went to bed. I found a screen for my bedroom window and put it in. That was exciting. I figured that I'd be able to sleep with the window open and the fan in the window and not have to worry about mosquitos so much.

Every time I woke up during the night, I had a 15-minute scratch session before falling asleep again. I think that most of the bites are from the past few days, and not necessarily last night, though there were a few new ones. I knew how to out-wit those mosquitos, though. I put the sheet over my entire body, leaving only a hole of about three square inches for my mouth and nose.

When I was in the shower this morning, I noticed that my bottom lip felt hotter than normal. It felt fatter than normal. It felt number than normal. When I looked in the mirror after getting out of the shower, I looked like a lop-sided Angelina Jolie. Ack! I have a mosquito bite on my lip. So much for me being smarter than the mosquitos.

**But since I'm a Canadian from Canada, I shouldn't be complaining about mosquitos because the mosquitos in Canada are larger, nastier and more plentiful.

Where Lies the Lying Line?

I once convinced a friend of mine that he had to grow out his hair. His hair was always just barely longer than a buzz cut. As it would grow out, it would start looking like a wavy coat---the kind that a rex cat has. And since blogger won't let me upload the rex cat picture for some reason, I'm going to have to give you the url (http://made-in-afrika.com/kittens2cats/braviout.cornish.rex.cat.jpg).

I realized that he had curly hair, and therefore the hair was worthy of being grown out. I promised him that if he did it, he'd be known as the Curly Haired Boy in his ward. Well, what can I say except that he's married now? I'm rarely ever wrong, folks.

And so we come to present day and my current dilemma. My coworker, DP, would have wavy, curly hair if he just grew it out! I'll admit it---when he came back from Spain with longer hair, he had me swooning. But then he cut it? Why? It was just getting longer again and today, I noticed that he cut it again.

I don't know what to say. I figure that if I say nothing, it's obviously insulting. Like the time that I got my hair cut---several inches came off---and no one said anything to me about my hair cut. Ouch. So then I see my options as being these:

1) "DP! You got your hair cut!"---obvious lack of any compliment, may lead to DP asking if I like it

2) "DP! Your hair looks nice!"---it does look nice... it would just look better if he would stop cutting it

3) "DP! You got your hair cut! I like it!"---I shall be thrust down to Hell with all the other liars

4) "DP! You got a hair cut. What on Earth were you thinking?? Don't you know that your curly waves make you infinitely more attractive? You cut it right before it was getting good."

Brozy suggests option 5, which is pretty good: "You got a haircut! I bet it's much cooler in this weather."

The sad thing is that it's no secret that DP is on the hunt for a wife. If only he knew where his locks of wavy hair would get him...

With all the religious sensitivity I can muster...

Not to make fun of anyone's religious beliefs or anything... If this post is going to make any sense to you, you're going to have to read the following article:


Now, I'm not sure which are the most disturbing things I should comment on here. First of all, without giving away my Secret Identity, I may point out that it's more than a little bit creepy that both my first name and my last name are in this article. That and the fact that all of this occurred just down the street from me...

I think that the most disturbing part of all of this is that during my trip to Allen's grocery store on Saturday night, although I saw all the washing machines bolted together, I did not stop to pay tribute to Heavenly Mother. What was I thinking?

My aunt points out that the other disturbing part of all of this is that her husband was the one to send me this article---and so I found out what's happening in my neighborhood from someone who lives on an entirely different continent.

My aunt also comments, "I am surprised you didn't clue into the fact that it was Heavenly Mother---after all there was a big hint there---washing machine, cleaning, caring for others..."