Blue Christmas

El Senor said that he's been noticing a theme to my blog lately (other than lack of posts). So today, I've decided to switch gears and blog about another brother. The fun brother.

Not that they're not all fun, but Richie is the one who really ups the fun to its highest notch. In fact, I had a dream two nights ago that he died, and I thought, "Oh no! Family gatherings will never be as much fun again!"

I was supposed to pick Richie up at the airport today. Unfortunately, he was supposed to fly through Denver. When I talked to him this morning, he said that air traffic was backed up so badly that he probably wouldn't make it out here to SLC until Christmas day.

He lives in Maryland near my parents, so I guess the three of them and my grandpa all convened to figure out a way for him to get to SLC. Now, my dad enjoys teasing others and one of his favorite teasing methods is to sing appropriate songs. (If there's no appropriate song that already exists, he'll make one up for the occasion. I'd blog about a time when he made up a song about El Senor's girlfriend and sung it to El Senor's roommate and El Senor got really mad, but I promised that I'd write about another brother today.) So Dad started singing "I'll have a blue Christmas without you..." And then Mom started crying. And then Dad started crying. And then Richie redoubled his efforts and found a way to get to SLC from Christmas Eve to December 29th.

So the fun brother is coming, and it won't be a blue Christmas after all.

Santa Claus?

I think that it's an appropriate time of year to share this story. For those under the age of eight, please read no further.

In our family, Santa never wrapped gifts. He simply placed our Christmas bounty around our stockings, wherever we'd lain them the night before. One year, I received a huge doll house from Santa.

A couple years later, that doll house was still on display in our basement, where I'd go to play with it. One day, a member of our ward came over---you know the type... one of those members. The kindof crazy, kindof clueless ones. He saw my doll house and said to me, "I remember when your mother was making that!" I said, "No, my mommy didn't make this." He said, "Oh yes, I remember! She was working on it in the garage!" I said, "No. Santa gave this to me." And suddenly the ward member became a little flustered and no longer tried to convince me that my mother had made it for me.

I took the day to really think about it, but by the end of the day, when I was in bed, I finally figured out that Santa was a lie. I was eight, so it was about time, but still, I started to cry. Captain Fabuloso and El Senor both heard me crying and in a rare moment of kindness, El Senor came into my room and asked me what was the matter. I explained to him that Santa wasn't real and he did his very best to convince me that yes, in fact, Santa was real. He did so well in fact that I was relieved and reassured of the reality of Santa.

Then, El Senor left my room. Captain Fabuloso was waiting in the hall to find out what was the matter. El Senor said to Captain Fabuloso, loud enough for me to hear, and in a rather gruff and impatient voice, "Cicada just figured out that Santa's not real."

My belief in Santa was destroyed, restored, and destroyed again and I cried myself to sleep.

Dead Serious

Just because someone has passed away doesn't mean that we have to be morose all the time. I'd like to share a few of the funeral week humor highlights.

Word Choice

  • When DP found out that I was in Canada, he wrote me an email asking, "What brings you up to Canada in the dead of winter?" Perhaps he could have chosen better wording...
  • When I was doing the funeral program, I asked my aunt what the deadline was. Again, there may have been a better way to phrase that...
  • I did the program quickly and didn't have much of a chance to proof it. It was perfect except that my uncle was giving the euology, not the eulogy. This led to much discussion on exactly what a euology is, and what a euologist might do. We finally concluded that because most of the eulogy was in the first person (my uncle read exerpts from my grandma's personal history), a euology must be a first-person eulogy.

Phone Faux-Pas

  • Although I didn't listen to my voice mail while I was in Canada, once I got home I listened to the messages that had accumulated while I was away. I received a message from Rice saying, "Cicada. I'm calling to tell you that you have been very lazy about your blog. I went online today expecting to be entertained, but only saw your old post about Dwight that I had already read. You need to be better about updating your blog. What could possibly be keeping you from maintaining it? Get back on the ball." Apparently immediately after calling me and leaving that message, she called El Senor and found out that I was in Canada for our grandma's funeral. Rice began to worry that maybe I'd be offended... Well, I was, Rice. Deeply hurt and offended. We're not talking anymore.
  • As we were making funeral preparations, my mom called a ward member to ask if she could play the organ. Her five-year-old daughter answered the phone and before passing the phone to her mother, dutifully asked who was speaking. Without thinking, my mother said, "This is Sister [Last Name]." The little girl started gasping, "Oh! Oh! Oh!" She covered the mouthpiece and called to her mother, "Mom! It's Sister [Last Name]! She's ALIVE!" Then she said into the mouthpiece, "Sister [Last Name], I thought you were dead." My mother then had to explain to her that she was just the daughter-in-law and that Sister [Last Name] was, in fact, dead.

Canada Doesn't Have the Internet

At least that would be the easiest excuse for why I haven't been blogging for the last little while. So please accept my apologies and I'll move on to more interesting things.

You know, I always think that I don't have money for a trip to Canada. Last year when I was a student, I planned a trip to Toronto to spend time with Spartacus and her brother Dave (it's such a generic name that I don't worry about using it). But I canceled last minute because I was worried about spending that much money. It turns out that at that time, it was the right decision to make. But since then, I've gotten a job that offers vacation time and pays well.

Tuesday night, I found out that my grandma died and suddenly I had enough money and motivation to make the trip. The Boy and I were on a plane Wednesday morning. Between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, there's not much time to make travel arrangements, and it was as I was walking out the door that Dave called me back and let me know that he and Spartacus could pick me up from the airport (otherwise we were just going to fly to Toronto and figure it out from there).

And so The Boy and I got a sort of mini vacation mixed in with a funeral. I'll tell you something, being back in Canada in some ways makes me regret that I ever left. Dave and Spart picked us up at the airport and took us out to eat and do a little shopping. At the mall (which, I must say, was a nicer mall than any I've seen in the States) I saw stores that I haven't seen for years. It's opportunities like this that I must seize in order to get clothing that no one else back home has. The cultural diversity was nice to see too (in Toronto---once we got up to Timmins, the only cultural diversity you get is English, French, and Native American).

The evening with Spart and Dave was great, and I can't help but think it must have made my grandma more than a little bit happy. It's never been a big secret that our families have always thought that Dave and I make a good match and that my grandparents especially have always thought that Spart and The Boy make a good match. I'm certain that my grandma was thrilled that her death brought about this double date. Special thanks go out to the two of them, by the way, because Spart took that evening and the next morning off of work so that she could look after us (The Boy stayed the night at her parents' house and I stayed at her apartment) and Dave took the evening off of law schooling during a very busy time of year to spend time with us.

There's so much about this trip that I can say, and I think that's been one factor in my not blogging for so long---trying to figure out what to say without going on forever. In the next few days, I'll have a little more to say perhaps about the funeral and my grandma, but for now, I'll just focus on the fact that it's surprising how quickly you can throw together a trip to Canada.

On our way back through Toronto (right now I'm at a hotel waiting for my flight home to SLC) we met up with Dave again---Spartacus was busy with work---and I let him know that I took my vacation to Canada and now it is his turn to come and visit me in Utah. We'll see if he lets me get away with using two evenings as "my turn" or if he makes me take a real Toronto vacation before he makes his way to Utah.

And I might also mention that though I am impressed with Canada and though I've recognized all those things that I've been missing for so many years, I don't think that Canada is better than the USA or that the USA is better than Canada. If I moved to Canada, there would be so many things about the USA that I would miss as well. And perhaps sometime soon I'll make a list for you of exactly what I miss about Canada and exactly what I would miss about Utah.

Not Quite Dwight

Yesterday I promised El Senor's coworker that I would post a picture of him with Dwight Schrutte glasses. You see, apparently El Senor has told his coworkers about my blog and tells me that I have a silent following over there. So, to reward my silent voyeurs, I present to you the childhood of Cicada and El Senor.

You see, it's funny that the two of us have ended up living together after all these years and all that's happened between us. We never liked each other growing up. He was by far my most trying brother. When he was seventeen, I once ran outside to cry about what a horrible person he was, and my mother came to comfort me, letting me know that he probably would never treat me nicely until after his mission.

We had a bad history. When I was nine, he'd put Weight Watchers and Shape magazines on my bed and tell me to use them. When I was eight, he'd comment on my disgusting unshaven legs, or he would tell me to "suck it in" when we went to the beach and my little tummy was showing. I once walked into a room and he looked at me and said, "Holy crap, you're ugly."

I was nasty to him in return. I would deliberately provoke him. My mother saw me provoking him one day and watched the ordeal. I annoyed him to the point that he finally hit me. He got in trouble and was sent to his room. My mother came to talk to me and said, "You knew that he would hit you if you kept doing what you were doing. Why did you do it?" I replied, "I like seeing [El Senor] get in trouble."

Fortunately for us, we both grew out of it. One day things simply changed---and it was even before he left on his mission. I'm not exactly sure what did it, but things have never been as bad as they were. Sure we have our moments, like when El Senor comes into the living room at 3:00 a.m., claiming that my silent typing is keeping him awake. Or like when I get in trouble for leaving a bowl in the sink overnight, but he never gets in trouble for leaving a cereal bowl beside the couch all night. Or like when he gets mad that I drink from a new glass every time I get a drink. Or like when I call to tell him that I went out of my way to buy him a Costa Vida burrito and he complains that it will be cold by the time he gets home and it'll be no good reheated. But seriously, things are better. Like now, instead of ordering me to read Shape and Weight Watchers magazines, he politely encourages me to read Shape ("You know, you can get a subscription to Shape for only $6 at") and encourages me to participate honestly in Weight Watchers ("Don't worry, Cicada. I'll eat all that pumpkin pie you made. You don't have to even have a bite!").

And fortunately for us, we also grew out of what we used to look like back then. But mostly, I blame our parents for that. I present to you some pictures of El Senor with Dwight Schrutte glasses.

(Consider this last one my special bonus to you. Notice that Captain Fabuloso has a nice manly pair of hockey skates, but El Senor is wearing a cream colored coat, a dainty scarf, and figure skates.)

My Boyfriends

It has come to my attention recently that I have a number of dysfunctional boyfriends. They are, of course, my TV boyfriends, but still their dysfunction disturbs me. Why can't I love a normal man? Let's examine together my TV boyfriends.

4. Gregory House

I wrote about this last year. While it's still true that Gregory House is one of my TV boyfriends, he has been demoted to the least of my TV boyfriends (which isn't bad seeing as how none of the men from Lost have even qualified as a TV boyfriend). Let's review his qualities.

Why I Shouldn't Love Him:
He is mean, misogynistic, self-centered, emotionally unbalanced, and addicted to pain killers.

Why I Love Him Anyway:
He is good looking. (But you didn't see me falling all over myself for Wooster, now did you?) He is brilliant and hilarious and gifted and dreamy.

3. Gob Bluth

Here is my secret confession, which I have only ever confessed to Redras and which I am now announcing to the Internet. I heart Gob Bluth. For those of you who don't know who he is, you have no idea how sorry I am for you. For those of you who do know who he is, I can explain! I can explain! My attraction to Gob Bluth is purely hormonal, but when those hormones rage, so does my attraction to Gob. Redras understands.

Why I Shouldn't Love Him:
For goodness sakes, he's Gob Bluth. He's moronical, unethical, and selfish. He's a magician and he sucks. He treats women and his family poorly.

Why I Love Him Anyway:
Hormones. Only hormones.

2. Jack Bauer

How can a girl not love Jack Bauer? Even straight men cannot deny their crushes on him. He is absolutely irresistible and indestructible. It's a killer combination.

Why I Shouldn't Love Him:
The man manages to kill anywhere between seventeen and one hundred and two individuals per day.* He stops at absolutely nothing to get the truth. He cannot manage any relationship (by the way, Audrey isn't in the previews for season 6 and the actress who plays her is now starring in another television show, so either Audrey gets killed or decides to no longer be with Jack). People whom Jack loves die (highlight the following space for a list of names, not in any order: Teri Bauer, Nina Myers, David Palmer, Tony Almeida, Richard Walsh, George Mason, Michelle Dessler, Ryan Chappelle, Gael Ortega, Edgar Stiles). He behaves rashly and breaks rules all the time. He doesn't follow correct government protocol. I hate to think that Jack Bauers exist in the real world.

Why I Love Him Anyway:
He's so hot when he's got his gun pointed at someone else's head and yells "WHERE'S THE BOMB" and blasts off knee caps. He's vulnerable when no one but the camera is watching.

1. Danny Taylor

Danny Taylor is my full-time TV boyfriend, and I'm embarrassed to admit that my DVR allows me to watch all ten hours of Without a Trace that air every week. He is not as troubled as the men previously listed, and he's also not a boyfriend that I have in common with many women, which is nice not to have to share. But I realize that although I love him dearly and almost desperately, I still wouldn't love him in the real world. Why?

Why I Shouldn't Love Him:
He is an FBI agent and he kills people fairly regularly. It's got to be tough leaving that baggage at the office. I shouldn't hold this against him, but he's an alcoholic who's been sober for years. Like I said, I shouldn't hold it against him but I can't help but judge. He's too smooth with the ladies. I catch him making eyes at women all the time. He's a cocky sonofagun with a really bad temper. We can blame the temper on his Latin American blood (he's Cuban). No, really, sometimes he's just too cocky. He blames himself for his parents' deaths (again, baggage).

Why I Love Him Anyway:
He is so dreamy. And he's strong and he would protect me. And he's smart and he comes from a rough background but he pulled himself out of it. And he is pretty much the best dresser I have ever seen. How many suits can a guy afford on an FBI agent's budget? Because the man has many, many different suits. And different coats. But I caught him wearing boots with---I hesitate to say---heels on them. He doesn't need to be any taller, but does any man who is straight and not a cable installer have heels on his boots?

So there are my TV boyfriends. Recently, I told Rachel about my number one boyfriend, even Danny Taylor. Before I told her who my boyfriend was, she said, "It better not be Jim Halpert because he's mine." When I told Redras about my TV boyfriend, she remembered my feelings for Gob but knew from the context that it couldn't possibly be Gob. She asked who it was, telling me that her TV boyfriend was Jim Halpert. Not that I want to steal anybody's boyfriend, but...

I simply must add... Jim Halpert

Jim Halpert is the only stable, non-violent man on television right now, from what I gather. Of course he's every girl's TV boyfriend! Of course he's what every girl is looking for!

Why I Love Him:
He is down-to-earth. He's hilarious. He's normal. He's sweet. He's perfect.

So as much as I love my Gregs, Gobs, Jacks, and Dannys, I need to find a Jim. I need to find a man who is stable and funny and doesn't kill people. In the meantime, I'll continue my turbulent love affair with Special Agent Danny Taylor and just borrow Jim every Thursday night.

*These are not precise statistics.

This Laptop Will Self-Destruct... four years, two months, and two days.

Captain Fabuloso and Captain Mom met during their law school orientation. Captain Fabuloso was on crutches, Captain Mom offered to help him carry around his books. I wasn't there for it, but I am sure that they were excited as they got to know each other and discovered how much they had in common. Most important of all these common characteristics, I'm sure, were their twin laptops from Dell. Back then, $3000 could buy you a black laptop, weighing a mere twenty pounds, with a mighty four-gig hard drive.*

Captain Fabuloso and Captain Mom eventually married. They've kept their computers and used them until this weekend. On Sunday, October 29th, Captain Fabuloso's laptop died. On Tuesday, October 31st, Captain Mom's laptop died.

I'm sure a lot of other creepy things happen on Halloween, but the death of two identical laptops within two days of each other? I smell a Dell conspiracy.

Unfortunately, my Dell conspiracy theory doesn't survive the hard evidence that Captain Fabuloso's computer actually died because he dropped it. Still... it's just too perfect....

*This is an exaggeration. Though I don't know the specs of their computers, I'd say they weighed about ten pounds or more each and had twenty-gig hard drives.


I'm the type of person who can't use things up when they're almost spent. The cupboard under my sink is full of various hair products that are 98 percent used up; I can never bring myself to use the last little bit because something in me makes me need to save it for when I'll really need it. My bedroom is littered with mint containers with one mint left in each. I can't use the last mint, but I can't throw away the container until all the mints are used.

This same phenomenon has prevented me from either using or throwing away my special Italian umbrella for a year and a half.

In Italy, it rains quite a bit. Because I am One Who Prepares, I would pack my umbrella every day. For the first year of my mission, it was a light-weight umbrella that had been given to me as a mission gift---until it was stolen by a church member. After that was stolen, I simply would grab one of the many umbrellas that inevitably collected in each mission apartment---not that it really mattered anyway; as long as you are in a big city, the moment a drop falls from the sky, mobs of foreign street vendors surround any umbrella-less person, offering an umbrella for five euros. No? Four euros. No? For you, bella, two euros. Sold.

And so, with a rain coat and an umbrella, you would think that I was set anytime it rained. But I wasn't. See, because I was One Who Prepares, but my companions never were. Or at least they saw that I had an umbrella and thought that they were covered, literally. But let's review the sorry lot of One Who Prepares:

Rain or not, One Who Prepares must carry the umbrella all day long.

When it begins to rain, One Who Prepares gets the job of holding the umbrella over the companionship for hours.

Because there are puddles, even when a companionship tries to walk closely together, inevitably they must sometimes diverge to avoid stepping in puddles and on those occasions, One Who Prepares still tries to be kind to the umbrella-less companion and stretches out her arm to make sure that the companion is covered as she steps around the puddle.

One Who Prepares, despite her preparation, gets wet.

Basically, One Who Prepares is screwed over completely. Get it?

It took me MONTHS before I finally clued into the fact that the situation was wholly unfair. Three months before the end of my mission, after we had about two weeks of straight rain, I told my companion that I was no longer sharing my umbrella with her. The torrential rains had claimed the lives of all but one of the umbrellas in the apartment. I told her that she could have the remaining umbrella and I would go out and buy my own.

I bought the most fantastic umbrella I've ever seen. First of all, it was name-brand. Second of all, it didn't cost two euros. And it didn't cost five euros. Third of all, it was beautiful and sturdy. I bought it and spelled things out clearly to my companion: I will never share this umbrella with you. You are welcome to use the other umbrella every day, but if you don't pack it and bring it with you, I'm not going to get myself wet because you failed to prepare.

Really it was an empty threat. As much as I would have loved to leave her out in the rain and stay dry under my beautiful umbrella, I was too conscious of the Church's public image to allow the Italians to see a companionship where the one sister wouldn't even share her umbrella with the other. But it worked. I never had to share my umbrella again.

The umbrella served me well for the last three months. And I loved it so dearly that I hand-carried it back to the United States. It was too long to fit into my luggage. I used it during the summer I was home before returning to BYU and the day I was flying out to BYU, I had it at the door, ready to hand-carry it to Utah. But I got distracted and left it there, at the door. When I got to Utah, I called home and asked my mother to please put it in the closet until I came home for Christmas.

I don't recall telling her that she could use it in the interim. But when I got home for Christmas, I opened up the umbrella and noticed that one of the spokes was slightly---ever-so-slightly---bent.

I hand-carried the umbrella back to Utah but as I used it, I noticed that the slight bend in the spoke was causing a slight rust spot and a slight tear in the fabric. And in that moment, the umbrella became like a can of almost-used hair spray or almost-consumed tin of mints. It was too precious to use and too precious to throw away. It went into the back of the closet for safe-keeping and I brought out an old, trusty umbrella that I didn't really care about.

I've been using old trusty for the past year, but forgot it in my car earlier this week, so yesterday morning, when it was raining and I needed to get to my car, I grabbed my beautiful umbrella, and popped her open.

Or at least I tried.

Sometime during a year and a half of disuse and two moves, the shaft of the umbrella was bent out of place, now preventing the umbrella from opening completely.

I can't bring her back into the house---I know that now, she's officially garbage. But she'll probably sit in my car for another year and a half before I can bring myself to trash her.


Tonight, after David Sedaris shared three pieces I'd never heard before, he filled some time by reading entries from his diary. These entries were short, to-the-point, and hilarious. One mentioned that in a conversation in French about his experience observing work in a morgue(?) for a week, he tried to sum it up by saying, "On the whole it was---" only to realize that he'd forgotten the French word for unforgettable.

Sedaris's performance tonight was certainly inoubliable---unforgettable. But I hope that, in a way, his experience with me might have also been just a little inoubliable. It certainly made an impression.

Let me start at the beginning. Rachel came and picked me up a little early. She opened my car door, and there was a bouquet of flowers waiting for me in the passenger seat (my mom was worried that people might think that I'm gay because I ended up choosing Rachel for the date, and I must admit that in that moment, I felt just a little bit gay). In just those two gestures, she outdid any other first date I've ever had. We went to Red Rock Brewery for a delicious meal (paid for by Rachel) and then we made our way over to Capitol Theater.

We immediately saw my ex-boyfriend, Big-D. It's hard not to see him---at 6'5, his head always pokes above the crowd. Big-D and I are certainly not uncivil towards one another. In fact, I'd venture to say we're on pretty good terms these days. So we stopped to talk and he told me about his horrible book-signing experience with David Sedaris. He'd given his book to Sedaris to sign, and Sedaris started asking Big-D about his ex-girlfriend as he drew a picture.

"Do you have one particular ex-girlfriend who you really hate?" he asked.

"Uh... actually..."

I don't remember their conversation verbatim, but after David Sedaris drew a picture of Big-D's ex-girlfriend (that's me) throwing up on the title page of Big-D's book, it came out that Big-D was gay, and that he did not, actually dislike his ex-girlfriend, and in fact, she'd be there at the performance as well.

I guess for some reason, having David Sedaris draw a picture of me vomiting in Big-D's book was not what Big-D was expecting, and Big-D was upset. I still don't understand this, but it's true. Big-D was upset.

After the (spectacular!) performance, I got in line to have David Sedaris sign my book. I was a little nervous at the thought of actually meeting him and actually having to say something to him. Instead of having him sign my title page, I asked if he would sign my favorite essay, "The End of the Affair." He wrote, "To [Cicada], my---" here he stopped to think.

"Do you go to the movies all the time?" he asked.

"Well, not all the time," I answered.

He thought a little more and explained that he just couldn't figure out what to write. I said, "Well, earlier this evening, you drew a picture of me vomiting in my ex-boyfriend's book."

He certainly remembered the experience, and told it from his perspective: "I just got this great new idea, that I would just draw a picture of some guy's ex-girlfriend vomiting in his book. So I did it, but this guy was not happy about it at all, and it turns out that he and his ex-girlfriend are actually still on good terms. He really was not pleased that I drew that picture in his book."

"Yeah," I said. "That was me."

"Well then." He started to finish his autograph in my book. "That's it, then. To [Cicada], my mistake."

So maybe, in a small way, Big-D and I were inoubliable. Or maybe tonight, Sedaris will go to sleep and completely forget about that time that he drew a picture of a gay man's ex-girlfriend vomiting and upset his fan. For my part, I will always remember that I am David Sedaris's mistake.

Free iPod

I appreciate the concern of those who thought that I should be getting a free iPod. To be honest, I thought that I didn't qualify for one because I thought that maybe I got all the paperwork done a little too late. But on Thursday after work, I went to my bank to get some rent money for El Senor. While I was there, I decided to at least ask about the iPod, since all my friends were reporting receiving theirs recently. To my surprise, I was informed that I did qualify in time for the free iPod and I should be getting it any day.

Then I went home and it was sitting at my doorstep. O Happy Day! It made me very glad that I returned the one I bought last week. Now I only have to buy the pedometer and shoes and I'll be all set. I'll be doing that next weekend.

And the winner is...

(Crappy formatting of this post brought to you by Safari, the wanna-be-browser.)

Because I try to be a courteous dater, I have determined the Go on a Date with Cicada winner one week in advance. You may note that October 24th is less than a week away now, but rest assured, I informed the winner yesterday by email.

The winner was determined by a completely unbiased mathematical calculation of suitability for this date. Feel free to review your application to see why you did or did not win and how you can improve future applications to go on a date with me.

Saule Cogneur____5

+2_____being the first to apply
+3_____being male
+3_____offer to make me bread and subsequent private endorsement by Ambrosia
+3_____offer to take me out for Thai food at a future date (I love me some Tom Ka Gai)
-2_____trying to be funny by using bad English in his essay---I didn't know if this was a play off from Sedaris's "Me Talk Pretty One Day" or just pointless bad English. The uncertainty caused a loss of points.
+2_____sucking up
-5_____insincerity/uncertainty---I didn't know if he was just filling out the application to be funny or because he really wanted to go out and see David Sedaris.
-1_____the missed opportunity of sneaking in some French to woo me


-3_____being female
+3_____sincere offer of dinner
+3_____previous knowledge that David Sedaris was in town and attempt to find someone to go with her
+3_____ownership of several David Sedaris books
+3_____love of David Sedaris strong enough to make her take a picture of his door
-4_____creepiness factor of having taken a picture of David Sedaris's door
+1_____offer to speak Canadian French
+1_____funniness of extreme yahtzee comment


-3_____being female
+2_____turning her application into her own blog post
-1_____use of bilabial plosives in her application
+1_____disclosure of her non-sexual crush on me
+3_____links to possible outfits
+3_____knowing David Sedaris from NPR
+1_____writing a poem (only one point because poetry comes so naturally to her)
-6_____having to buy a plane ticket for her to attend the event with me


+3_____being male
-3_____admitting defeat before ever actually applying


+3_____being male
+3_____being funny
+3_____futuristic date promise
+6_____promise to sing French songs
-3_____obvious unfamiliarity with David Sedaris
+2_____sucking up
-15____the fact that he was cringing so violently during _The Producers_ that I thought he was going to implode (proves unsuitability for a David Sedaris performance)

The math doesn't lie---Rachel is the best-suited date for this event! Congratulations!

Thank you all for applying. Remember, any of you are eligible for a future (or futuristic) date with Cicada. Please note where you lost points and try to improve those areas in the future. Possible dates include:
* a trip to the Tracy Aviary followed by hot beverages and chili or soup
* dinner and a movie
* I'm already out of ideas, but seriously, cash in on that trip to the Tracy Aviary while there's still time!

Self-Control, No. Repentance, Yes.

[I bring you a break in telling you my friends' stories to tell you about my repentance today.]

Today was like any other Saturday except that I as soon as I woke up, I remembered that today I wanted to go and buy a sweater. Not just any sweater, but the same sweater a friend of mine had been wearing last night because it was so cute. I didn't shower because I have no clean underwear. I also want to do laundry today, but that priority came after buying the cute sweater.

So I took the Trax to Nordstrom and I bought the sweater. And it is so cute.

And when I was in Nordstrom, I saw these shoes that my boss was telling me about yesterday. They are Nike shoes that have a space for a pedometer that hooks onto your iPod nano. It tracks your running and your speed and distance and everything. You upload your info onto your computer and then the Nike site tracks all of your running stats in really beautiful bar graphs and stuff. The shoes were $159. I looked at them, looked at the iPod pedometer thingy (really, it only costs $30!) and thought, "Yeah, that would be cool," as I walked away.

But then I was already downtown Salt Lake and I was already enjoying the fact that I live in a big city, so I decided that I should walk over to the Gateway and go to Barnes&Noble and pick up a book to read while I do laundry. Only then I picked up three books because I am a working woman now and I am single and I can spend all my money on myself.

But then I was sortof sucked into the Mac Store because, you know, it's right there.

And again, I was drawn to the little pedometer that conveniently hooks into your iPod. Only, you know, I don't have an iPod (I never got that free one...). But I exercised restraint.

But then I walked down to see the other stores at Gateway because, you know, I was there and everything. And then I just happened to walk into Dick's sporting goods. And I just happened to walk over to where they sell the Nike shoes. And they just happened to have a gorgeous pair for only $109. And then they just happened to fall onto the cash register and before I knew it, I already swiped my credit card. I mean, really---only $109! It's a steal!

So then I had to go back to the Mac Store and then the guy in the Mac Store showed me the colorful graphs that track your running progress and it was beyond cool, people. And I just happen to be training for a half marathon, and so I knew that I really needed this, and it wasn't a want, after all.

So then I bought an iPod nano and a pedometer and an arm band for my iPod nano.

And then I took Trax home as I read one of my books, trying not to think about the fact that I'd just spent $500 on impulse buys.

And then I convinced myself that if El Senor would tell me that I made good purchases that I could keep them.

But El Senor wasn't home.

And I'm sorry, but nothing, and especially not my bank account, can justify $500 of impulse purchases.

So I'm going back to the Gateway. And I'm going to return all the cool stuff that I need to train for my half marathon. Because Switchback has run half marathons and marathons and she never had this stuff.

But my birthday is coming up, people.

Ruth and the Big Bag of Condoms

This story is a little longer than the last one and I'll probably get a few of the details wrong, but as I remember it, here's Switchback's contribution to my all-time favorite stories ever. (Not that there's only three---but that I'm currently telling three of my favorite all-time stories.)

Switchback grew up in California and when she was about 19, a friend of hers went to a health clinic and was given a huge bag full of condoms. The friend asked Switchback if she wanted them and Switchback said that she didn't have any use for them, but the friend accidentally left them in the trunk of Switchback's car.

Months later, Switchback had completely forgotten about the huge bag of condoms when her mother, Ruth, asked her to borrow her car. Ruth borrowed the car to go out of town. She found the bag of condoms before her trip and had several days away from home to think it over and think about how to talk to her daughter about her lifestyle.

Ruth returned on a Sunday, and Switchback and Ruth would often go for Sunday walks. So when Ruth invited Switchback to go for a walk with her, Switchback didn't think that it was anything out of the ordinary. As they walked, Ruth finally brought up what was on her mind.

"[Switchback]," she said, "I found what was in the trunk of your car."

Switchback, still forgetting about the condoms, assumed that her mother found her skanky spaghetti-strap tank tops that she would wear when she was away from her parents. She said, "Oh, Mom, I can totally explain about the clothes---"

Ruth said, "No. No, [Switchback], I'm not talking about the clothes. I'm talking about the large bag of condoms." She bravely continued. "You know, [Switchback], I was married at your age, and I know what kinds of urges and desires you can have, and I know that it can be really hard not to act on those. Now, I would have hoped that you had chosen otherwise, but I just want to make sure that if this is the decision you're going to make, you're being safe about it."

Finally Switchback spoke. She said, "Mom. Those aren't my condoms."

"They're not?"

"No. They were my friend's and she left them in my car."

"So I can take them away and you won't care."

"No! Of course I wouldn't care! I don't need them! But Mom, I have to say, you score major points on being a good, supportive, and understanding mother."


A while later, Switchback decided to go on a mission. After her bishop's interview, Ruth called to see how things went. Switchback said, "Well... you know that whole raising the bar thing? The bishop and I discussed it and we've agreed that it's probably better that I wait a year and work some things out."

Ruth replied, "Okay! That's okay, [Switchback]! We can do this. You can come home and work here for a year, or you can finish up your schooling. That's good. You can get a lot done in a year!"

Switchback said, "Mom. I'm joking. The bishop says I'm good to go. But seriously, Mom, good job on mothering skills. I give you a ten!"

Ruth said, "I hate you."


And I'm sure you can understand how I developed a healthy respect for Ruth while I was on my mission.

First of Three

Last weekend I had a very special opportunity to spend the evening with three close mission friends. As we were all together, I realized that these three friends had three of my All-Time Favorite Stories. They were stories that they told me on the mission that I have since repeated to others. Because we were all together, and because El Senor was with us, I asked them to please each tell their story to El Senor so that he could hear them straight from the source and so that I could enjoy the wonderful experience of hearing them told first-hand again. Over the next three days, I bring you three excellent stories.

Today's story is from Clat. When she was in junior high, she decided to start running on the treadmill after school. One day, as she was running, her older brother walked past and said, "Run, Tubby! Run!" Clat got off the treadmill and ran to the bathroom to cry. The older brother immediately went to the bathroom door, and said in a very concerned voice, "Whatsamatter, Chrissy? Did someone say something mean to you at school?"

Thanksgiving in a Hurry

I should have clued in to the fact that today was the Canadian thanksgiving when DP emailed me on Friday asking if my job gave me the Canadian thanksgiving off as a paid holiday. I didn't. But I did when he called me Sunday night to ask where in the Vally he'd be able to find a thawed turkey. The answer, of course, was nowhere; give up immediately. I did suggest that he go to the grocery store at 12:01 Monday morning, buy a bird, and thaw it in the bath tub (oh, how many times I've thawed my bird in the bath tub!) and I also suggested that he buy a chicken instead of a turkey. He invited me down to Provo to celebrate and what was really sweet was that when I fairly firmly stated that I would not, in fact, drive down to Provo for his thanksgiving feast, he nevertheless repeated the invitation just as firmly as he had the first time, with almost the same expectation that I would say, "Sure. See you there."

What was really going through my head was whether or not I could really afford to forgo tradition and let the Canadian thanksgiving slip by uncelebrated this year. I grew up in Canada and we were always diligent in celebrating both thanksgivings every year. It's a tradition that the brothers and I carried on here in Utah. But it snuck up this year, just like General Conference did (I mean, the Saturday sessions were in September for heaven's sake!).

As soon as I got off the phone with DP, I went to the living room where El Senor was still diligently working on the floor. I told him that Monday was thanksgiving.

"What should we do?" I asked. "Should we just go ahead and celebrate it? We could always get a little chicken. And some Stovetop dressing..."

And so it was resolved that we would celebrate thanksgiving the cheater's way. I called up the rest of the siblings to let them know that they could come to our house for thanksgiving.

Today I got off work at 4:30. I went to Walmart where I bought three rotisserie chickens, two boxes of Stovetop, beverages, paper cups and plates, potatoes, and pumpkin pie ingredients. I got home by about 5:45 and a whole thanksgiving feast was done by 6:45. I cooked while El Senor did the last touches on his floor. The Boy came before anyone else, and he was juggled between El Senor and me---fishing cables through walls and base boards one moment and mixing together pumpkin pie filling the next. But really, it has to be said again: We threw together a thanksgiving feast in one hour.

At the end of the night, when everyone was gone, El Senor thanked me for my work in putting together the meal today. I told him that it was certainly the fastest thanksgiving meal we've ever done and he said, "You know, it's a 500% improvement in time and only a 20% decrease in food quality..." No, we won't skimp on tradition in the future. But we'll always remember that in a pinch, thanksgiving can be done in an hour.

[Bath tub thaw in Rome, 2003]

Fat and Lazy

El Senor thinks that I'm a fat, lazy slob. He objects to how much I eat and he objects to how much time I spend watching the television and he also objects to the amount of time I spend on the computer. And what bugs me the most is that he chooses to communicate this to me passive-aggressively.

When we moved into this place, he told me that it was my responsibility to provide TiVo for the condo. Well, I found out that TiVo wasn't an option because we don't have a telephone line in the condo, but I did some research and found out all about Comcast's DVR. So I made the phone calls and yesterday the Comcast technician came over and set us all up. Digital cable. DVR. Comcast on Demand. It's all pretty sweet. So last night, I sat on our brand new couch (so long, futon!) and programmed in all the programs that I want the DVR to record repeatedly. Most notably was Cast Away, which I've been wanting to watch again for years, but always seem to forget when picking out a movie. It was airing tonight with limited commercial breaks (which means fewer times that I would have to fast forward the commercials) and I had everything set up to record it.

So what happens? Well, I drive home from work today, all excited about watching Cast Away and I walk into the house and notice a couple of odd things. First of all, there's no more TV and DVR in the living room. El Senor disconnected them and put them on the floor of my bedroom. You may not know this, but a disconnected DVR will not actually record Cast Away. It won't record Without a Trace. And I doubt that it will keep the recordings of Design on a Dime and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report that were already recorded on it.

My computer was not in the living room where I usually leave it. It was in El Senor's room. It's not like he was using it, either. He was just keeping it away from me. He has his own freaking computer.

If you think that's bad, though, just wait to find out what comes next. He put the couch (which he knows is too heavy for me to move by myself) in the kitchen. It takes up all the room of the kitchen, so I have no access to the refrigerator, cupboards, dishes, pantry---anything. He's cut off all access to food.

He also put the dining room table and chairs in my bedroom, like just to rub salt in an open wound: "Ha. You can't eat food, and you can't even sit at the dining room table and think about eating food."

My room is now crowded with furniture and a useless television and DVR. Of course I stole my computer back when he wasn't paying attention, but seriously! I am starting to think that maybe living with him wasn't such a good idea.

Oh, so you want his side of the story?? Like that's important? Well, according to him, it's necessary to move everything out of the living room and dining room in order to install his hardwood floor this weekend. Of all the lame, transparent excuses. I suggest that a cheaper solution next time will just be to confront me about my television, computer, and eating habits instead of inventing reasons to block my access to my vices.

This is a picture of the floor that he's "installing."

This is a picture of my bedroom that he's shoved things into.

This is a picture of the impossible kitchen. What I wouldn't give for a nice warm cup of hot chocolate right now... Did I mention that to further deprive me of comfort, he left the doors open all day long today? Hmph.

What's Been Keeping Me Busy

  • Discovering new television shows.
  • Getting a DVR so that I can discover even more television shows and I can record them all to watch at my convenience.
  • Watching television shows on to catch the episodes that aired before I got my DVR set up.
  • Going out to dinner with The Boy to celebrate his helping me understand how my new DVR and digital cable work.

As you can see, I've been very busy. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to watch Ugly Betty.

application to go on a date with cicada


What: David Sedaris at the Capitol Theatre
When: October 24, 2006 at 7:00


I have purchased two tickets to see David Sedaris---one for me and one for Mystery Date. If you are interested in the position of Mystery Date, please fill out the application below and either post it in the comments section for everyone to laugh at you or email me at so that I can laugh at you privately.* Women are free to apply but men will be given preferential treatment.

*I am not actually interested in finding a stranger to take on this date. Mostly this is just to be funny. If you know me, feel free to apply and I may choose you. If you know someone who knows me, feel free to apply and fill out the "references" section. If you don't know anyone who knows me, forget it. You have no chance. Buy your own freaking ticket.

Although this application is specifically for seeing David Sedaris on October 24, if you would like to go on a date with Cicada on another day, feel free to compose an essay explaining why you would be a good date for Cicada.

(to see David Sedaris on October 24)

Are you homophobic? (If yes, you need not continue.)

Will you be put off by potential use of the f-word in the reading/performance? (I will not be using the f-word at all during the date.)

The tickets were not inexpensive. What are you willing to do to show appreciation? (Check all that apply.)

0......arrive on time
0......bring flowers
0......dress nicely
0......compliment you (Cicada) on how nice you look
0......treat you (Cicada) to homemade dinner
0......treat you (Cicada) to restaurant dinner
0......take you (Cicada) on a future date
0......make out at the end of the evening

I don't want to waste this ticket on someone who isn't familiar with David Sedaris's works and isn't incredibly excited to see him live. Please write a brief essay on which is your favorite David Sedaris piece. If you are not familiar with David Sedaris but feel that for some other reason you should qualify for this date, write a brief essay detailing your reasoning.

Shamelessly suck up to me right here:

Thank you! I will be announcing the winner as soon as I find one. To all my friends who actually love me, please refer a friend.

The Jack Bauer Conspiracy

Recently, Ambrosia posted about government and torture and I congratulated her for being more up on current events than I am. I have heard news about our government and torture, though, and I've come to an astounding discovery.

Last night I put in an episode of 24 because I miss my boyfriend Jack Bauer (I tried to reconnect with him in The Sentinel but it just didn't do it for me). And during this episode, I watched as a suspect was interrogated by someone who was not Jack Bauer. The interrogator couldn't get anything out of the suspect. But Jack, believing that the suspect had very time-sensitive information, broke into the interrogation room, pulled out his gun, and started yelling at the suspect. The suspect didn't give up any information, so Jack blasted a cap into the guy's leg. As the guy was screaming and as Jack was sticking his gun into the wound to make it hurt more, the suspect gave the information that Jack was looking for. It turns out that Jack and the good guys were seconds too late to stop the bad plan from happening but gosh darn it, Jack got the information.

I'd love to see the stats on how many guys Jack Bauer tortures on average per 24 hours. Let's not forget that episode where Jack gets a guy out of prison, shoots him dead, and cuts off his head so that he can take it to go undercover and prove to some bad guys that he's a bad guy, too. And we ("we" as in 24 fans) watch this stuff and we love Jack (and if we're anything like me, we love Jack and want to have his killer babies). We love him as he breaks all the rules. We love him as he goes against government protocol because Jack makes things happen. I've heard it said that if everyone just did what Jack Bauer told them to do, the show would be called 12.

Allow me to quote a little from Wikipedia:

Bauer's behavior and actions are consistent with the philosophy "the ends justify the means". When innocent lives are in danger he behaves as though obtaining a desired result is more important than how he obtains it, and he frequently performs controversial actions if he thinks they will achieve an important goal. His philosophy was perhaps best expressed after he shot and killed a witness in front of George Mason, then-CTU Special Agent in Charge. George expressed dismay at Jack's extreme action, and Jack replied: "That's the problem with people like you, George. You want results, but you never want to get your hands dirty." Lying, torture, stealing, and even cold-blooded murder are all viable options to Jack, a stark contrast to the vast majority of fictional heroes. Comparisons with the very people he battles are inevitable. As stated by George Mason in Day 1, "Rules don't apply to Jack Bauer. He does what he wants, when he wants, and he doesn't care whose life it affects."
So the question: Is 24 actually a government plot to get people to support the government's right to do whatever it takes to get the job done? We love and praise Jack Bauer for what he does, and whatever measures he takes during torture, they always yield accurate results. We never see the victim of torture confess something that is not true just to escape the torture. We just see Jack Bauer doing what he does and getting results.

Flying High

I work a few miles from the airport, so I see planes coming in for landing all day as I gaze out my window (did I mention my office has a window?). They're close enough for me to determine what company they are---Southwest is the most recognizable to me because that's who I always fly with. And the more planes I see, the more I get excited for next week when I pick Switchback up from the airport.

But all this plane watching reminds me of a simpler life that I once lived. I grew up in Timmins, Ontario where we had a two-terminal airport. One room was Terminal One and the other room was Terminal Two. People left from Terminal One and came in at Terminal Two. It's a small enough city and a small enough airport that air traffic was rather limited.

We also happened to live on a hill in those days, just a few miles from the airport (almost anywhere in the city was "just a few miles from the airport"). So when we were waiting for someone to fly in, instead of keeping up on whether flights were on time, and what new time they were supposed to arrive (do flights ever come in on time), we'd just keep a watch out the window. When we saw a plane coming in to land, we'd pile into the car and drive to the airport to pick up the arriver.

I think that I can get back in touch with that simple life from my office here. I think I may just find out who Switchback is flying with and keep an eye out for the plane while I'm at work. When I see it coming in to land, then I can hop in the car and rush to the airport.

Truly Grotesque

Most of the time, I know where my dreams come from. The other day, I was planning on what I would wear to work as I fell asleep and that night, I was at work in my dream and looked down at what I was wearing and realized that it wasn't what I had planned. That's when I woke up and found out that I had slept through my alarm and should have been at work at that very moment.

But I don't know where last night's dream came from and because the images are still in my head, I must share them with you.

I dreamt that there was a group of anorexic women who were suffering from a disease that ate away the outside of their bodies, too. So in addition to being rake-thin, these women's bones, sinews, and muslces were exposed. It was all a pus-yellow color. They looked like the undead.

I was in a class that studied these women and particularly the unfair treatment they received in society. The one case study that I can remember was one girl who went to try on a prom dress at Bucovetsky's (a department store back home). While trying on a dress, she projectile vomited a lot of blood. It covered the dress she was trying on and the floor. The store manager told her that she didn't have to pay for the damage, but later in the day, called her to tell her that he changed his mind and she would have to pay for the dress that she ruined. This was supposed to prove that these women were treated differently in society.

So, so strange. I only wish I could get ride of the image of this undead, rake-thin, pus-yellow woman spewing blood in a prom dress.

Rhonda's School of Dance

One of the best pranks I've pulled in my life was Rhonda's School of Dance. It was a couple years ago when I was working in "the closet" (a long, narrow room at work with no windows) with Ambrosia and Logan. Every day, a guy named Jimbo would pass our closet and say hello. He was the gregarious sort, and he worked in data entry in a closet a few doors down. Our editing department had absolutely nothing to do with data entry, so we didn't really know Jimbo and his coworkers but one day we decided to form a "closet alliance" between our closet and theirs. We met all of them and started sending emails back and forth a little introducing ourselves. We even brought them stale, 90%-off treats from a nearby BYU Creamery.

One day, I realized that I could get access to their data entry telephone number and we could actually call them. So at about 10:00 one morning, Logan called from his cell phone.

Data entry: Hello, this is Jimbo at Independent Study. How can I help you?

Logan: Yeah, I'm calling about the Rhonda's School of Dance radio contest? The answer is plie. Am I the seventh caller?

Data entry: I'm sorry... this isn't a radio station, this is Independent Study. I'm afraid you've got the wrong number.

Logan: Oh geez. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

He got off the phone and I immediately called from my phone.

Data Entry: Hi, this is Jen at Independent Study. How can I help you?

Cicada (in a hyper, high-strung voice): Yes, hello! The answer is plie! Am I the seventh caller?

Data Entry: I'm sorry... this is Independent Study. You have the wrong number.

Cicada: But---but---but, this is the number they gave out on the radio! [I repeated the phone number.]

Data Entry: Right, that's our phone number, but the phone number is for Independent Study, not a radio station.

Cicada: But they gave this number out on the station!

Data Entry: I'm sorry.

Cicada: So does this mean I don't win?

Later that day, Jimbo swung by our closet. He said, "Hey... you guys... have you been receiving, like, weird phone calls today?"

We said we hadn't, and he explained.

"Apparently some radio call-in show gave out OUR number by accident, so people have been calling in for some dance studio thing. And this one girl---we thought she was going to cry. She just kept on repeating over and over again, 'But this is the number they said on the radio!'"

Of course, we were all laughing uncontrollably, but Jimbo thought that it was just his impression of the pathetic girl who was calling in.

At 10:00 a.m. for the next few days, we'd call in our answers to Rhonda's School of Dance. When we realized that we also had access to their printer through the network and started printing logos and pictures of ballerinas and stuff, they finally got wise and figured out that it was their new, intelligent editor friends.

Mark your calendriers!

At work recently I was charged with editing some French Canadian calendars and asked to pay particular attention to the French Canadian holidays to make sure that they were all there, all on the right days, and all spelled correctly. I was thrilled to get a job that allowed me to not only use my French, but to use my French Canadian. As I read each holiday (sometimes in my head, sometimes outloud) I made sure to pronounce it with a French Canadian accent and add a tabernac!* for good measure. But by the time I got to 2 janvier, or January 2, I became very concerned that a crucial French Canadian holiday was missing...

[segue into story]

Almost a decade ago, when I was still living in Northern Ontario, my mom and I heard of a wonderful shopping city called Rouyn-Noranda. Of course, we'd always known that the city was there (in Quebec) but we didn't know that they apparently had good shopping (in Northern Ontario, you can't get Gap, you can't get Banana, you can't get Old Navy---you can't get any of the stores that one takes for granted). We decided that we needed to take a road trip one day to check it out.

So on January 2, 1998, or 2 janvier, 1998, Mom, The Boy, my best friend, and I all hopped into our car and undertook the three-hour drive to Rouyn. On our way, we listened to my mother's Proclaimers CD and determined that those twins make strange Scottish noises in every single song they sing. But that's beside the point.

The point is that after three hours of driving through snowy wilderness, we arrived in Rouyn. We first saw a large Walmart and noticed that the parking lot was eerily empty. We assumed that the Walmart was brand-new and hadn't actually opened yet. We kept on driving, but noted that store after store after store was closed. Nothing was open except a little diner. Realizing that our three-hour trip to Rouyn would be wasted if we didn't do something (and being hungry after our three-hour trip), we went into the diner for lunch.

When our waitress came to take our order, I asked her why all the stores were closed. If you thought that French snootiness was restricted to France, think again. In her snootiest, French Canadianest French, she told me, "C'est le lendemain du jour de l'an" and walked away, leaving me to translate for my family: "It's the day after New Year's."

But of course! Mais bien sur!
Le lendemain du jour de l'an! It's the forgotten holiday! No one else in the world celebrates the day after New Year's but in Rouyn it was sacred enough for me to be sassed for even wondering what was going on.

And yet, now years later, I am left to look over the French Canadian calenders and wonder where le lendemain du jour de l'an is. Because even though all the stores in Rouyn may close down that day, there's no evidence to support that kind of behavior on the French Canadian calendar.

*If you speak French, this will not make sense to you. If you speak French Canadian, you'll either laugh or be offended. Caulice.

Time Management

Time Management seems to be a whole new game post graduation. Back in August, I was working a part-time job, taking classes full-time, trying to finish projects in time for graduation, spending time with my family in town, trying to get in my last hours of fun with Redras, and job hunting (including going to several interviews in SLC when I was living in Provo). You can imagine that every minute of my time was packed.

But now? It's strange to have entered the Real World and realize that beyond work from nine to five, I have no other commitments. I find myself bored a lot or watching too much television. I need to get a couple of hobbies---I have a couple of projects in mind, but one I can't start until I get a sewing machine and the other is a family history project and there's no excuse for not starting so I'll probably start it today.

Makes Me Happy

Picture the stereotypical Utah Valley girl. You know the one---straight, long, blond hair; really thin; very beautiful; probably fairly ditzy.

Now picture the stereotypical grandma. The one who's skinny, tiny, and has short, curly grey hair.

Two weeks ago, I saw the stereotypical Utah Valley girl driving a huge Geneva steel truck.

Today I saw the stereotypical grandma driving a semi.

It's small things like this that really make me happy. I mean, how cool is it to break out of your stereotype and do something completely unexpected?

Some Roommate Stories

Currently I'm living with El Senor. Before El Senor I lived with Redras who---apologies to any of my other former roommates who may be reading this---was my all-time favorite roommate. She wins the prize.

Nevertheless, it's the bad roommate experiences that drive me to choose to avoid roommate situations and live with brothers. Here, for your enjoyment, is a small collection of roommate stories---from heinous to unbelievable to incomprehensible. I apologize if all of the facts are not correct. I'm trying to be as faithful as possible to the facts that I remember.

My Worst Apartment

I moved in with a friend the summer after my sophomore year. There were four of us in the apartment and the space was incredibly cramped. My bedroom had bunk beds and I was on the bottom bunk (the top bunk was very low). Our air conditioning was broken and my roommate refused to sleep with a window open because the noise prevented her from sleeping. So she would sleep directly under the ceiling fan and I would suffocate on the bottom bunk. In addition to that, my roommates were messy. I decided to conduct an experiment one day---see how long I could not wash other people's dishes before someone finally took the initiative to wash the dishes herself. I waited two weeks while dishes piled up (I started eating out every day so that I knew that I was in no way contributing to the mess). After two weeks, there were dishes on every horizontal surface of the kitchen (stove top and fridge top included) and I finally broke down and cleaned them all. I can't even remember how long it took me. The clincher, though, was when my roommate was letting our tiny bedroom get more and more cluttered with her mess. It got to the point that I could hardly walk in my own room and one day, I got to the bedroom and there, in the middle of my messy, messy bedroom floor, was a used tampon applicator. That same day, I started looking for new housing. I moved out about a month later.

Redras's Roommate

Redras once told a story about a bizarre roommate but I can't remember what the story was because at the very end of the story, she flippantly added, "But then she joined the military and got mono and died."

Scoots (and Poops)

This story has nothing to do with scooting or pooping, but you may remember that Scoots and Poops is El Senor's old roommate's nickname. El Senor and Scoots lived together when they were in Provo, but they originally met in the dorms in Rexburg when they were going to school there. Scoots had a sortof odd roommate who could get upset about strange things. One night, El Senor and his roommate could hear Scoots's roommate yelling from across the hall. Soon after, there was a knock on El Senor's door. Scoots was standing there with his mattress tucked under his arm and announced, "I'm moving in!" What was the cause of Scoots's roommate's tantrum? Well, every day, Scoots was the first person to leave the dorm room so he'd run and pick up the mail. But Scoots's roommate wanted the experience of going to the mailbox and discovering what new mail awaited. (Clearly this was grounds for getting angry.)


A good friend of mine---we'll call her "Twin"--- is back from her mission and moved to SLC so we've been spending a little time together. Friday night, we were both wearing black shirts and jeans---I asked her if it bothered her that we were wearing similar outfits. She said no, but that it would have bothered an old roommate of hers. She went on to explain that she and this roommate had a similar fashion sense and would often buy the same or similar clothes. One day Twin showed up to class to see that she and her roommate were wearing a similar outfit. She laughed and said, "Look! We're twinners!" She didn't think much more about it. Over the next little while, she and her roommate would occasionally wear similar outfits. Her roommate would get ready and leave the house before they ever saw each other, so if ever their outfits matched, it was purely coincidence. One day, Twin went home to find her roommate and her roommate's boyfriend at home. When the roommate saw her, she noticed that Twin's hair was curly (Twin does her hair curly, wavy, or straight). Her hair was also curly (though a good six inches shorter than Twin's hair). Suddenly she raged out at Twin, accusing her of always copying her. She yelled and screamed while Twin stood dumbfounded. Finally Twin was able to tell her roommate that if it really bothered her that much that they wore similar outfits and similar hairstyles, all they had to do was talk every morning and arrange what they'd be wearing and how they'd be doing their hair. The roommate continued to yell and scream at Twin as she ran to the bathroom and put her head under the faucet. While drenching her hair, drying her hair, and straightening her hair, she continued to yell at Twin.

And for all those reasons, my friends, I choose to live with brothers whenever possible. But Redras, dear Redras, the offer is always on the table for you to be my roommate.

Start Having a Good Life

Here are my reasons that I am thrilled to be in the Real World now. I wonder why I took so long to graduate---seriously, why was I afraid to move on?

Jeans Friday is better than Team-Spirit Friday. Yes, Team-Spirit Friday in which we were supposed to think that all of us wearing the same shirts was really fun and "special." Jeans are so much more comfortable and special.

Corporate meetings / parties / events: I'm coming from a job where they wouldn't spend money on a roll of double-sided tape for me. Yesterday, I spent the day at a company kick-off meeting where we had about two hours of meetings, two hours of movie-watching, and one hour of catered lunch. And although that only totals five hours, we were paid for eight. And during the meeting, we were provided with free beverages. During lunch, we were provided with, well, lunch. During the movie, we were provided with free popcorn, beverages, candy bars, and peanuts.

My own office, or my own cube, if we really want to be technical. But the point is that it's mine and it has a window. And I'm the only one in the area who has a cube, so it's not like I'm lost in a cube maze. And I get drawers in which to put fat-free fig newtons and I even brought a milk crate in to work that I can leave under my desk and use as a foot stool to put my feet up whenever I want to. This is much different from last summer when I was sitting so close to my coworkers that when they sneezed, I got wet. (No exaggeration.)

Getting paid to work out: I will never get over how cool this is.

Having a name badge that opens doors: It makes me feel so much better than all of you who can't walk in the doors I can walk in.

Employee discounts: 30 percent is a wonderful thing.

Testing merchandize: The company I work for makes handbags and brief cases and totes. The guy who designs them is a real Italian import and his office smells like leather. He has told me to stop by his office and pick up a bag that I can use and give him feedback on. For someone who already has a mild purse fettish, live doesn't get much better.

Flexibility: My previous student job could be very strict on punctuality and schedules. They said that they were preparing us for the Real World. Well, it turns out that the Real World by all accounts is much more flexible. Get in your hours. If that means you show up at 8:00, great. If that means you show up at 9:00, more power to you. Want to eat lunch at your desk and leave early? Go for it.

I love the real world. Love it. I'll love it even more next week when I get my first check. I mean, seriously, they pay me to have this much fun?

Sleep Music

Back in high school I worked for a lawyer who one day complained about having troubles sleeping at night. I told her that I had a mixed tape of sleep music and if I was having trouble sleeping, I just put that on and within four songs, I was asleep. She laughed at me and told me that when I was older I would have a lot more to think about at night and much more trouble getting to sleep.

I haven't listened to that cassette tape since high school but recently I was reunited with my high school stereo and decided that it was time to recreate my sleeping mixed tape. Only this time, I made it into a CD. Because I can't remember all the songs on the original CD (beyond the first four), I have had to revamp the mix a little. It's updated now and better than ever. I am pleased to announce that I have yet to stay awake beyond the second song. I guarantee you---the sequencing of the music is key to sleep promotion. Here is my play list, and I recommend it especially to Daltongirl. Oh dearest Daltongirl, your sleeping woes would be so easily cured if you just listened to my sleep mix...

1. When You Dream---Barenaked Ladies
2. I Love You---Sarah McLachlan
3. I Grieve---Peter Gabriel
4. Le ciel dans une chambre---Carla Bruni
5. Change of Season---Matthew Good Band
6. 13 anni---Tiziano Ferro
7. L'encre de tes yeux---Francis Cabrel
8. Fade Out---Radiohead
9. Douglas Mountain---Raffi
10. Chanson triste---Carla Bruni
11. Sing---Blur

Seriously though, don't pay attention to anything past song four because you'll never make it.

(Former sequencing of the first four songs was 1, 2, 5, 3.)


Here is a picture of me on my last day of work. This picture will have particular meaning to Ambrosia and anyone who ever worked with me who was forbidden to sit in these awful chairs.

You see, at my previous place of employment, our company rented space from another company that owned the building. I should be very clear with you that the building (which I have called a cement bunker) is not pretty. It is not a place where you want to bring people. It is not decorated nicely on the inside. It's junky and old. There. I said it. And I'm in no danger of losing my job because of it.

Well, the other company has about five or six hideous turquoise leather chairs in a hallway that I suppose they thought doubled as a reception area. No one is ever received in this area. When Ambrosia and I first started working there, we were informed that the chairs were off-limits to student employees.

Later at a meeting, a supervisor made it clear to everyone that the other company had been complaining about student employees using the chairs. We were not allowed to use them. Period. We were specifically not allowed to sit in them while we waited to leave, sit in them while we talked on cell phones, sit in them to do homework, or sit in them and sleep. Off-limits. The other company said that those seats were there for visiting dignitaries.

Visiting dignitaries. What a joke! None of us had ever seen any visiting dignitaries.

Well, before I left, I had the chance to see visiting dignitaries in our building. There was a small group of Japanese dignitaries who had come to visit. However, they were not using the chair. They were standing in a row by the door and when I approached, they opened the door for me and then bowed as I walked through it.

And I thought, "Hey. I could really get used to this dignitaries thing..."

An Impressive Person

Often it's the small things that people do that make them impressive. Several years ago, I was waiting for my mission call. My papers had gone in and I was expecting my call any day. I'd been told that if you lived on BYU campus, calls generally arrived on Tuesdays, but if you lived off campus (like me) calls arrived on Wednesdays. They were mailed from Salt Lake City on Mondays.

On a Monday I was at work talking with my coworkers about when I might possibly receive my call. I didn't know if it was too soon to expect it. A coworker told me that her mother worked in the MTC mail room and that they had access to the shipping info on mission calls. She could call her mother and find out for me if it was in the mail yet.

She called her mother right away and I listened as she made the call: "Hi Mom. I was wondering if you could check to see if the call for Singing Cicada has been shipped... Yeah... uh-huh... oh, okay... uh-huh. Great. Thanks, Mom." When she got off the phone, she said to me, "Yep, it's been shipped. You'll probably get it on Wednesday."

I was thrilled. In just two days, I'd find out where I was going. As expected, I received my call that Wednesday and was shocked to find out that I'd be going to the Italy, Rome mission (in fact, I had to repeat "Italy, Rome" to my parents on the phone about three or four times before they could understand me).

At work on Thursday, everyone was asking me where I was going on my mission. They too were all shocked and excited (and jealous) to find out where I was going. Later during my shift, my coworker came to me and asked if I'd received my call. I said that I had and when she asked where I was going, I told her. She smiled and said, "Yeah, I knew." I thought she was referring to the fact that she found out from people in the office. But then she explained.

When she was on the phone with her mother---when I was standing right in front of her listening to her half of the conversation---her mother had said, "Yes, her call has been shipped and she's going to the Italy, Rome mission."

I am impressed with this girl's discipline. She could have gotten off the phone and teased me that she knew where I was going and I didn't. She could have let me know that she knew where I was going and offered to tell me. Instead, she respected tradition and recognized the fact that opening my call with my family and finding out where I was going together with them would be a more meaningful experience for me. And not only did she not tell me, she didn't tell other coworkers that she knew where I was going, either. She allowed me to have the full mission call experience. I am still impressed with her and I doubt that I'd have the discipline to act the same way.

Road Rage

I think that quite possibly road rage is one of my biggest pet peeves. And I'm not even talking about the dangerous out-of-control road rage. I'm talking about general anger and frustration that people feel when they drive. It really bothers me as a passenger to hear a driver complain about other drivers or get angry at others on the road.

I don't get angry when I drive. Take today for example. I was listening to the radio of course---I'm always listening to the radio in my car---and I was singing along to "Hey There Delilah," which is a nice, mellow song. And as I was driving up the I-15, minding my own business, a car almost merged into me. Then he zipped ahead slightly and cut me off, causing me to slam on my brakes. I am fairly sparing with the horn but I felt that he deserved a little blast, so I honked at him, all the while singing "Hey There Delilah." And then I saw him flip me off as he zoomed forward and started zipping in and out of traffic ahead of me. Through it all, I was singing "Hey There Delilah" and although I had some pleasant thoughts of this man possibly being pulled over by the police, I didn't think much more about the incident.

When I drive with other people I get very uncomfortable as they complain about other drivers. People yell at their fellow drivers even though they know the drivers can't hear them---they just need to voice their frustration, I guess. People complain to everyone in the car about the other drivers on the road. People call out the driving decisions that the other cars should be making. And really, it's always uncomfortable and unpleasant for me as a passenger. It's like one-sided contention. I feel that very little of what happens out on the roads and freeways is rage-worthy. As we drive along we should all be aware that we're making decisions that perhaps other drivers are unhappy with, and we can be forgiving of drivers on the road who are making decisions that we disagree with. There's no need to complain loudly or get frustrated about it.

Another Perspective

Last night, I heard El Senor's version of "The Breakup" story for the first time. And I think it's hysterical. For those concerned for my safety, I should mention again that the only reason I allowed WTB to come over to my house was that El Senor was there. And El Senor is my most protective brother (with The Boy coming in a close second).

We were actually waiting for two guests that evening. WTB was supposed to come over, and kellyroxanne was on her way over, too. It was her first time coming to visit our place and she didn't have a cell phone with her. So if my directions weren't clear, she couldn't call us to help her out. What we didn't know was that she was driving up from Mapleton, not SLCC. So after what we felt was a reasonable amount of time for her to make it to the apartment from SLCC, we started taking turns walking around our apartment complex to see if she had arrived and was looking for our apartment. In fact, it was while I was out on one of these rounds that WTB arrived. When I got back to the apartment, he was there talking with El Senor.

Initially, WTB and I were in the apartment with El Senor, but after a while El Senor felt that he should probably go outside to look for kellyroxanne again. He was torn because he didn't want to leave me in the apartment alone with WTB but felt that if he was gone for only a minute, I would probably be okay.

While El Senor was out of the apartment, WTB invited me out for a walk, which I thought was fine as long as we could stay in our gated complex. And, like I mentioned, I had my phone with me. While El Senor was out, he also found kellyroxanne. (We walked past them but they were sitting down and talking and facing the other way. I didn't want to interrupt in case they were talking about something important. Apparently El Senor was just giving her the background on WTB so that she was prepared to meet him when she came up to the apartment.)

El Senor was panicked when he returned to the apartment to find us gone! He checked the bathrooms for my massacred body or a blood trail at the very least. He checked the laundry room and our bedrooms, and our enormous walk-in closets. There was no trace of us!

He immediately went outside and called my phone and was relieved to hear me answer right away. "Where are you?" He asked.

"We've gone for a walk," I said.

"Are you okay with that?"

"Yes, I am. It's okay---we're in the complex."

At that moment, we walked around a corner and El Senor and Kellyroxanne were standing there. We waved, and I brought WTB over to meet kellyroxanne (because I knew she would want to see him and I knew that I was going to try and get him to leave without having him come back into the apartment).

So I do appreciate everyone's concern for me. I appreciate El Senor's concern most of all, and I'm glad to say that he didn't find my body in the bathrooms. I'm even gladder that I wasn't massacred in my huge walk-in closet either because I'd hate to stain the carpet in such a beautiful room. I think that I did learn a lesson this time and I do want to be more careful in the future, but this time, I figure that thanks to El Senor, I was pretty safe.

The Breakup

I apologize if I'm somewhat out of sorts today. You see, I broke up with my boyfriend last night.

I know, I know, none of you knew I had a boyfriend. Let me explain. I didn't want to say anything on the Internet for fear of sharing information that was too personal. But now that things are over I feel I can use the Internet as a tool to sort through my feelings of utter heartbreak... or not really remotely of heartbreak at all.

It all started two weeks ago when I had a storage container delivered to my home. I won't mention the company, but you know these places that deliver storage containers and then store them for you and then deliver them to your new home? Well it was one of those sorts of things. The guy---we'll call him WTB (B=boyfriend, T=trash, and I won't tell you what W is, but it's a color)---called me at 6:40 a.m. to confirm the delivery of my container. I thanked him kindly and I did not go back to sleep.

He arrived promptly at 8:00 and I watched the whole ordeal of getting the container off the truck and into my driveway. It was pretty impressive and when WTB asked if I was watching to make sure he was doing it right I assured him that I was only watching to see how it was done. When WTB was done, he waved goodbye and left.

WTB returned that Saturday to pick up my container. I waved to him when he arrived, but a hired handyman arrived at our apartment at the same time, so I went to take him through the house to show him any problems. WTB called out to me, "You're not going to stick around?" I assured him that I was just going to show the handyman into my house so that he could get started on his work.

When WTB was finished loading the storage container onto his truck, he came to talk to me, as if goodbyes were somehow in order. He came, I said, "Welp. Thanks!" and he still stood there so I said, "Do you work in Salt Lake City, too, or just in Provo?" He said, "Oh, I work in Salt Lake, too." I said, "Maybe I'll see you there next week, then." He said, "Oh, I hope so." We shook hands and then I waited for Redras to get home so that I could tell her that I thought WTB had a crush on me.

This past Saturday, WTB brought my storage container to my new house. He maneuvered it into the parking lot and when he was done, came up to me. He said, "Can I ask you a question without you getting all offended or thinking I'm being unprofessional or anything?" I gave him permission and he said, "Can I take you out sometime?" And I looked at his little goatee and his earring and of course I said yes, because he had just done what apparently all BYU males are incapable of doing.

I thought it was a cute story and I really had no intentions of things going anywhere. I figured we could go on a date and it would either be mediocre or miserable and we'd end it there. On Sunday he sent me a text message. I should have known that things were soon going to come to an end when I was more annoyed than excited to receive a text message from him. Nevertheless, we had a text message conversation strung out over a few hours. He asked if he could take me out on Thursday. I still said yes.

Yesterday this texting continued until I told him that I didn't have unlimited texts and that our conversations were getting expensive. He said that he would pay me back for all my text messages and then called to ask if he could stop by my place on his way home from work. Because El Senor was home with me, I said that he could.

And what can I say? He came and immediately upon seeing him, I thought, "Crap, what have I gotten myself into?" But we sat down on the couch and had an awkward conversation (in which I found out that he's five years younger than I am) and then he invited me to go for a walk with him. I stayed within our gated community and kept one hand on my phone and the other hand in my pocket. During our romantic walk around my complex, I did my best to let him down gently. He was full of hopes about our future and I was full of hope that I could make our future as short as possible. I pointed out that I felt we had nothing in common---at all. He countered with "Well, what kind of music do you like?" I mentioned Modest Mouse, Death Cab, The Postal Service, and Dashboard Confessional. He'd heard of maybe two of those. So I guess we couldn't fall back on music to be something we had in common, either.

When I mentioned that he described himself as kindof LDS but I would describe myself as very LDS he promised me that for me, he would start going back to church. I couldn't help but wonder why he was already so attached to me. I mean, we'd had minimal interaction and he'd only ever seen me in basketball shorts and a bandana. What could he possibly be attached to?

When it came right down to it, I told him that we had nothing in common and I couldn't see us going anywhere. He said that we just needed to get to know each other better. I told him that the fact that that didn't sound exciting to me at all was a good indicator to me that I wasn't really invested in this relationship. He asked if that meant that Thursday was off. I said yes. He asked if we could hang out sometime as just friends. I said no. He asked if he could walk me to my door. I said yes because El Senor was home. He walked me to my door, we shook hands, and that's where it all ended.

And really, I felt like crap because I probably shouldn't have said yes to his invitation in the first place. Whereas a simple "no" to his asking if he could take me out sometime would have hurt a little, telling him that I wasn't excited by the idea of getting to know him probably was a lot more hurtful.

Now comes time for the discussion part. See, I didn't want to say no when he originally asked if he could ask me out because I felt that his bravery in asking me out should be rewarded. Instead, now I feel that the way I did things ended up punishing his bravery more severely. So what is the best thing to do when you're asked out by a guy you know you're probably never going to be interested in? Just say no? Give it a chance? I'd love feedback and discussion here.