The Only Rule

I used to live in a house that had no washer and dryer. We were also nowhere near a laundromat. And I didn't have a car. As you can imagine, this made doing laundry difficult. Easier than borrowing someone's car and doing my laundry was buying a package of panties every time I went to Walmart. And so it was that I amassed a collection of 52 pairs of panties and extended my laundry cycle to about six or seven weeks.

Since I did laundry so infrequently, I could afford the nice Tide liquid laundry detergent. I could afford a giant economy-size tub of Tide liquid laundry detergent. I loved the smell of liquid laundry detergent.

One day when I desperately needed to do laundry, I called Captain Fabuloso to ask to borrow his car. I went to his workplace to pick up his keys and we had our traditional review of The Rule. As he handed me his keys, he said, "What's the one rule for driving my car?" I said, "No crashing."

I drove back to my house, threw my clothes hamper and detergent in the back seat, and left for the laundromat. I had four hours before I had to go to work. I filled several of the machines with all my clothes, read a book for thirty minutes, transferred the clothing from the washers to the dryers, read a book for an hour, took all the clothes out of the dryers and folded everything. It was perfect. My laundry was done and it smelled divine. I loaded it and the giant tub of liquid laundry detergent back into the back seat of Captain Fabuloso's car and realized that I still had about an hour before I had to return his car and go to work. I decided I'd go and run some errands that I'm never able to do because I don't have a car.

I went to Linens 'N Things. (Why did it close down while I was on my mission? Why?) I took my time, dawdled, and finally went back to the car to drive back to return it to Captain Fabuloso. I got into the car. My laundry smelled divine. I loved the smell of Tide liquid laundry detergent. It was so fresh, so clean, so... so... powerful. So very overwhelmingly powerful! I turned around to look at my fresh, clean, folded laundry in the back seat and found it bathing in a sea of liquid laundry detergent. I had forgotten to screw the cap back on my tub when I had finished laundry, and on the drive to Linens 'N Things, it had spilled all over my laundry and all over the back seat of Captain Fabuloso's car.

I was supposed to be at work in twenty minutes. I called in and said that I needed to take the day off due to a personal emergency. I spent the next four hours redoing all my laundry and trying to get all the soap out of the back seat of Captain Fabuloso's car.

When I returned his keys to him, I said, "Captain Fabuloso... you know that one rule that you have about your car?"

He got very nervous. "Yes...?"

"Well, I didn't break it. I didn't crash your car. But... I did spill liquid laundry all over the back seat of your car. But I cleaned it up. And the good news is that now your car smells like liquid laundry detergent, which smells really good!"

Any time I wanted to borrow his car after that, there was no longer one rule, but three:

1) No crashing.

2) No spilling liquid laundry in the back seat of the car.

3) No more giving reasons to make new rules.

(This post inspired by Daltongirl's post.)

Cicada can't be doing with love.

I don't know what that means. All I know is that someone googled that and found my blog. And like when I open the scriptures haphazardly and point to a verse, or like when I read my horoscope or a fortune cookie, I'm trying to find some way in which it applies to my life.

And since I can't, and since I've been lacking ideas for posts lately, I'll just share this picture that I made for Ambrosia this summer when she/we accidentally forgot to tip our waitress. We went back the next day when we realized we'd forgotten the tip, and tipped her for the previous day's meal before we even sat down (we didn't want her to spit in our food) and then remembered to tip her again after our meal.


Four Things
Because Ambrosia tagged me and although I never do these things, I have nothing else to blog about right now that couldn't get people potentially in trouble. All I'll say is that I started writing a blog post about what one of my professors did in class today, but I thought that publishing it on the internet could be damaging to him if the Powers that Be at BYU found out about it... but if you know me and want to know what happened, send me an email and I'll send you the story.

Four Jobs I've Had
1. editor/proofreader/actress/voice talent/web editor/receptionist at BYU Independent Study.

2. hot dog vendor (I never did invite you all over to see the movie of me being a hot dog vendor...)

3. office manager for a real estate company

4. courier for a barrister and solicitor

Four Movies I can watch over and over
1. Valentin

2. Sliding Doors

3. Sense and Sensibility

4. Notting Hill

(So what if I love romantic comedies---at least Valentin redeems me somewhat.)

Four Places I've Lived
1. Porcupine, Ontario

2. South Porcupine, Ontario

3. Arras, France

4. Rome, Italy

Four TV Shows I Love
1. 24

2. Lost

3. House

4. Law and Order

Four highly regarded and recommended TV shows that I've never watched a single minute of
1. Grey's Anatomy

2. The British version of The Office

3. Desperate Housewives

4. CSI---any version

Four Places I've Vacationed

1. North Carolina

2. Kenogamissi

3. Lake Powell

4. the Maritime provinces

Four of my favorite dishes
1. Spaghetti all'Amatriciana

2. baklava (dessert is a dish, right?)

3. Grandpa Frank's lasagna (recipe forthcoming)

4. Thai Ruby's house special

Four sites I visit daily
1. (I'm watching for your comments.)

2. (and

3. (at least once a week to get their free download which is really bizarre and good this week, by the way)

4. other blogger sites

Four Places I'd Rather Be Right Now
1. Rome

2. San Diego with Switchback

3. In bed

4. ?

Four Bloggers I am tagging

I hate to do this, so I'll choose people who I don't expect to do anything:

1. DP, so that he can have his first blog post ever.

2. Coop so that he can come back from the dead-to-me.

3. Scoop so that there's actually a reason for me to check his blog.

4. Limon, for when he doesn't have anything else to write.

My Uncle's Story

Call me lazy, but to tell the truth, no story I could tell today would outdo the story that I just read from my uncle's life. Allow me to cut and paste the story for your enjoyment. Just so that you know, my uncle is actually a rocket scientist. I'm sure that he used all his problem solving skills while he was working for NASA.

When I was a senior in High School (1975-1976) I worked for a sign painter doing odd jobs. One day my boss came back from a visit to his Dad's with part of his inheritance. A like new 1940 Chevy coup. Original dark green paint, clean interior, not a dent or a scratch on it. It immediately became his pride and joy. He brought it to work every day, and parked it inside the shop where it would be safe.

One day while he was away on a job and I was alone in the shop, I needed to paint some sign faces. The paint booth was open on one side, and parked right in front of it was that 1940 Chevy. I knew that overspray got into the shop, and I figured my boss would not appreciate white primer all over the front of his car. So I decided to move it. Right across the alley was an open field where I parked Dad's Pinto. I would push the Chevy there!

I opened the outside door, opened the driver side door, and started to push and steer at the same time. It was easy. The floor sloped towards the door, so I was going pretty fast when the open driver's door caught on the building's door frame and bent, and bent, and bent. When the car finally stopped the door was pointing forwards, and there was a huge crease in the bodywork in front of the hinge!

I ran out another door, got behind the car, and pushed. It might as well have been cast in concrete. So I went back into the shop and got a come-a-long; a portable winch. I hooked it to the front bumper, and then to the front support of the paint booth. Cranka, cranka, cranka. The car didn't budge, but the support column bent where the come-a-long was attached! Now what?

Well, Dad's Pinto was right across the alley. Maybe I could push with that. So I got right on the bumper of the Chevy, and pushed - and stalled. Dang clutch! So I pushed and stalled, pushed and stalled. The Chevy didn't budge. Maybe if I got a running start!

So I backed up across the alley, and gently as I could got my running start. I hit the Chevy's bumper, and an amazing thing happened. I watched in slow motion as the Chevy's spring-mounted bumper slowly compressed. The car didn't move. Then suddenly the Chevy shot away like an arrow out of a bow! Right across the shop, and into the front support of the spray booth! This straightened the booth's support column, but dented the front of the car!

Now back where I started, with the booth fixed, but with two dents in the Chevy, I started to put the come-a-long away. That was the moment my boss came back, and asked what I was doing. After I explained, and he had examined the new (and only) dents on his car, he went into his office and locked the door. I didn't see him for the rest of the day. I still don't know why I wasn't fired (or killed). He left the Chevy at home after that.

My mom's gym is better than my gym.

Yesterday morning, my mom woke me up to let me know it was time to go to the gym. I started getting out of the bed before I realized what time it was---it was 6:55, which was 4:55 in Utah time. But, I figured I'd committed at that point, so I rolled out of bed and put on my gym clothes.

It was odd going to my mother's gym. I'm used to going to Gold's Gym, south of BYU campus, where the young and vain gather to look and be looked at. Or at least whittle themselves down to the point where someone may actually like to look at them. We have the rare appearance of someone over thirty, but it's rare enough that when such a one enters our excercise mecca, we stare and reflect upon our own mortality for a few moments before getting back to our television program.

My mom's gym was different. There were few people under forty there (which leads me to believe that somewhere between Utah and Maryland, the thirty-something crowd is gathering at some gym somewhere...). The gym had a more mature, more subdued, albeit more hospital-like feel to it. It was maybe too white and too sterile. Where was the action music blaring over the speaker system? When we signed in, we were welcomed by a host of middle-aged men and women who were wearing "Columbia Association" polo shirts. Where was my host of perky twenty-somethings to scan my card, look up at me, and say, "Thank you, Cicada! Have a good workout!"

Once inside, I was ready to boast to my mom about the TVs at my gym. I was shocked to find that my mom's gym had five large plasma TVs at the front of the room. And that was just the general section. The premiere section had treadmills with individual television screens attached, plus the five plasma TVs at the front. (In my gym's defense, you can't watch your own DVDs at my mom's gym.) The televisions are set to stations like CNN, ESPN, and Animal Planet. In Provo, they're set to much less mature stations.

In the premiere section, there were pitchers of ice cold water, and ice cold water with lemon. My gym has a drinking fountain in front of all the aerobic machines where you have to bend down in front of a whole audience to satiate your thirst. It's cruel.

My mom's gym provides towels for all its patrons. My gym provides paper towels. I opt to simply wipe my sweat on the sleeve of my t-shirt. It may not be sophistocated and it may not be pretty and it may not be terribly effective, either... maybe I'll have to start bringing my own towel.

I guess in the end, what matters is that I only pay about $30/month for my membership. My mom pays $70. And for $40 savings, I'll forgo the plasma televisions and sterile white towels.

I've had better.

I hate flying. It's not that I have a fear of flying or anything. It's just that I think that planes are like flying buses with less room and fewer pitstops.

Today I flew from Salt Lake to Baltimore so that I can spend a week with my family, looking for jobs in the Maryland area. Whenever I fly, I try to get as little sleep possible the night before so that I can sleep during the entire flight. I truly outdid myself last night---I was up till 5:00. I had filled my evening with traditional Valentine's Day activities and day-before-the-deadline freelance work. I only got about three hours of sleep total, which was actually rather exciting to me, since I thought it guaranteed that I'd sleep for the whole flight.

I did manage to sleep through take-off. I woke up shortly after, though, when the old lady next to me lowered my tray and put my snack pack in front of me. I would have preferred to keep on sleeping, but that was sweet of her anyway. Throughout the rest of the flight, I went in and out of sleep; I certainly didn't get the sleep that I had been hoping for. I slept in the full upright position. I slept in the reclined (by two inches) position. I slept with my face pressed up against the window. But mostly, I didn't really sleep. That's the point.

As the old lady's elbow was poking into my fleshy, tender underbelly, I was reminded that I've had better.

On March 31st, 2004, I went to catch my plane home from my mission. I went to the airport with another sister who was on a different flight that left at the same time. We said our goodbyes (they weren't particularly tender or difficult to say) and for the first time in eighteen months, I went off on my own. I found my gate and went to check in for my Alitalia flight. Apparently looking at luggage through x-rays wasn't going to be good enough for my luggage---they informed me that they'd have to poke through my luggage themselves.

So I happliy hoisted my humongous bag onto the table and opened it for the little baggage-check guy to look at. As he riffled through my stuff, I chatted to him about any interesting things in my luggage, as well as my entire experience in Italy and how much I was going to miss his country.

This experience seemed somewhat new to the Alitalia employees, who don't usually have someone so happy about having the contents of their luggage strewn all over the place. As I went back in line, with my luggage intact, to officially check in, I heard one employee say to another, "She was cute. Bump her up to first class."

And so it was that I was bumped up to first class for the first time in my life.

When I got on the plane and tried to take a left into first class, I was immediately blocked by an older gentleman who demanded to see my boarding pass, while starting to show me the way to coach (in Italy, missionaries are of the same class as street beggars and pickpockets). Upon seeing my boarding pass, he immediately apologized and escorted me to first class.

And what a class it was! I won't go into all the blissful details. I'll only say that after removing her elbow from my upper intestine this afternoon, the old lady beside me said that first class is like the celestial kingdom and coach... well, it sure as hell isn't the celestial kingdom.

Things That Made Me Laugh Today

1) I went birding this morning (we have to get 75 birds this semester---I currently have 35). When we were finished and driving back, my mom called me. I told her that I couldn't talk because I was with birders. She called back a couple minutes later when I was still in the car with the birders, driving home. I answered the phone and whispered, "You just scared off a very rare bird that we were looking at, and most of the birders didn't get the chance to see it!" I'm still laughing. I started laughing about five seconds after I said it, but those five seconds were enough for her to start feeling really bad.

2) She had been calling to describe a bird call that keeps waking her up in the morning. It sounds like a cell phone, she said. I asked her to make the sound and she yelled into the phone, "RING! RING!" I offered to put her on speakerphone so that the birders could help her out but she declined and I laughed at her. Once she was off the phone, I asked the birder I was with if she knew a bird that sounded like a cell phone. She suggested the red-winged blackbird because it makes a sound like this... Only then she changed her mind and said that she wasn't going to make the sound. I said, "Come on. You can do it. My mom was doing it." She said, "I know. And I heard you laughing at her. I'm not going to do it."

3) Before moving into this apartment, The Boy bought a chair for the living room that would be his. I bought a chair that would be mine. Today, The Boy sat in his chair, and it broke a la Goldilocks. Only I had to laugh on the inside because he hurt his shoulder so badly that he became nauseated. I'm still laughing. On the inside.

4) I went to a Platonic Love Fest tonight where everyone had to dress as a love cliche. Dirtbag dressed as "Love is a many splendored thing." She was wearing many splendored things. I dressed as "I heard it through the grapevine." Really, I took the easy way out. I just wore a shirt that has children playing telephone. El Senor didn't have a costume but at the last minute he thought it would be a good idea to go with lipstick kisses on his face. Dirtbag layed on the red lipstick and did a fantastic job of planting several kisses on his face. After the party we went through the Wendy's drive-thru. When we got to the first window, the girl commented that it looked like El Senor was having a very good night. He got really embarrassed. So embarrassed that he tried to make a joke about it and couldn't finish his sentence. So embarrassed that when we went to the next window to grab our food, he never actually came to a full stop. He grabbed the food from the window as we rolled right through.

5) My favorite costumes at the Platonic Love Fest were two girls who dressed as "It's not you, it's me." They dressed like each other and then each wore a mask with the other girl's face. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

----- and Entering

Years ago at our house in Canada, my parents went to our door one day to find that someone had left a package inside our home. It was simply a package that had been delivered to the wrong address, but the fact is that the people who dropped it off weren't generally known to like us. And the fact is that when they came to drop it off, they didn't ring our doorbell. They just opened our front door and slipped the package inside. You can imagine that my parents were disturbed by the fact that someone who didn't like us had entered our home so easily and without notice. From that day on, we have always locked our front door even when we were at home.

I didn't carry this tradition to school with me immediately. In fact, I even stayed at one apartment in Provo where the girls refused to lock the apartment at all, ever. All night, the door was unlocked. All day, the door was unlocked. And though I tried to encourage them to lock the door, they never did. Not even after one of their cars was broken into in the apartment's underground parking.

In Italy all the doors lock automatically. In fact, most doors don't even have door knobs on the outside of the apartment---all you have to enter your home is the key hole. The Italians said that they always thought that it was a very implausible part of American movies when an intruder would enter a home simply by walking through the front door. That the front door would not be locked was inconceivable to them. When they finally saw Bowling for Columbine, they were shocked to discover that doors do actually remain unlocked in many American (and Canadian) homes.

I've enforced a strict locked-door policy since last year, when Tolkien Boy had a scary experience. While he was in his apartment in his bedroom, he heard his front door open. Of course, he assumed that it was one of his other roommates. He heard one of his roommates' bedroom doors open and then another roommate's door open, which was a little strange, so he decided to check in. He peeked his head into one bedroom to find a man packing up his roommate's laptop. When TB asked him what he was doing, the guy quickly left everything and ran out of the apartment. TB called his roommate before calling the police to double-check that he really hadn't been expecting a friend to stop by and borrow his laptop. While he was on the phone, he heard the other bedroom door of the apartment shut. There was still someone else in the apartment. He told his roommate that someone else was there, and that he was going to call the police. He asked the roommate to call a neighbor in the meantime so that TB didn't have to be alone in the apartment. After he said this, the second intruder came running from the other bedroom and left the apartment.

I only had to tell my roommates that story once before they decided that it was a good idea to lock the doors to the apartment.

The Boy and I have carried on the tradition in our apartment. Though one of us is in the house almost at all times, our front door is always locked.

Yesterday, a similar story to Tolkien Boy's happened to some friends down the street. One roommate was home during the break-in. The intruder came in, grabbed a back pack, grabbed a laptop, and left the apartment.

The only point I have in writing this, I suppose, is to tell you the stories and allow you to decide whether or not you want to lock your doors. But in a college town like this, people aren't breaking and entering. They're just entering. And we're making it easy.

Scoots. And Poops.

I've been promising an old friend a post for a while, and since nothing particularly interesting happened today (except for a professor wanting to publish a paper with me...) I think that today's a good day for an old story.

I have written about El Senior's friend Victor before. When El Senor was living with a couple guys during my freshman year, Victor named one of the roommates Mother Goose. Mother Goose earned his name since he was the condo owner and was anal about how the apartment was to be kept. To my understanding, there was a small degree of friction between Victor and Mother Goose. This may have had a lot to do with the fact that once at a BYU football game, when BYU scored a touchdown, Victor grabbed Mother Goose by the sides of his head and planted a kiss squarely on his lips. Mother Goose never quite forgave him.

El Senor's other roommate didn't have a nickname. He asked Victor one day what his nickname was and Victor immediately said, "Scooter." I have no idea why. Scooter was soon shortened to Scoots and told me that it was part of my duty to see that the nickname was implemented. I started calling him Scoots.

One day when their apartment was full of girls, I called him Scoots. One of the girls in particular started to giggle. She said, "That's your nickname? In my house we referred to... something else... as scoots..." All the girls started giggling and Scoots asked us, "What? What did you refer to as Scoots?" I said, "Poops!"

In that instant, his nickname changed from Scoots to Scoots and Poops. One day he admitted to me that every time he heard Scoots and Poops, he had an image of someone scooting across the ground and pooping. He dropped to the ground and started scooting around on the floor on his butt, leaving the pooping to my imagination.

While all of this was going on, Scoots and Poops and Mother Goose decided that I needed a nickname, but we couldn't really come up with one. One day, I was over at the apartment and one of the boys made some funny comment that was dependent on the word "phallic." I laughed along with the rest of them till they all turned on me suddenly.

One of them said, "You don't know what that means! You shouldn't be laughing!"

I said, "Please. I don't know what phallic means? Because it's a man word? That's like me making a joke with the word mammary in it and saying that you shouldn't get it because you don't know what mammary means because it's a woman word."

Scoots and Poops called out, "That's it! That's your new nickname! Mams!"

Mother Goose could never actually bring himself to call me Mams (if he was so traumatized at the idea of calling me Mams, think of how traumatic it was when Victor kissed him). He changed the word to Mums and thus my nicknames for that apartment were born. Scoots and Poops called me Mams. Mother Goose called me Mums. El Senor called me neither.

If I wanted water, I'd ask for water.

Okay, so basically no one's going to get that reference. Except maybe my family and marriedin. It's from an old Canadian beer commercial.

The point is that I want water. Today I came home from class and heard running water outside my house. I went inside and heard running water inside my house. I went to the basement to find a waterfall coming from behind our dryer. Luckily we have an unfinished basement with a drain in it, so all the water just came down the wall and ran down the drain.

I called my landlord and left a message. I called my apartment manager and left a message. I IMed Daltongirl and complained.

Eventually, though no one called to tell me they'd received any messages, my landlord's brother-in-law showed up to look at things. After realizing the job was too big for him, he turned off our water and called a plumber.

You may recall that I've been sick. Because I'm sick, I didn't shower this morning. That may not make sense, but the point is I didn't shower, okay? But I really really needed a shower tonight. There is an apartment of girls in my ward that I've fallen in love with during the past week or so, so I called one of them first. But she didn't answer. So I called my visiting teachers and asked if I could use their shower. Strange request, but nonetheless necessary.

I ran with my bathrobe and towel and soap for a couple blocks to their house. Not in my bathrobe and towel. With my bathrobe and towel. They led me to their basement and showed me into their bathroom and told me to enjoy my shower. They didn't leave me any showering instructions or warnings, so I assumed that all was well. I got naked, stepped into the shower, and started the routine.

Then the water went frigid.

Then normal.

Then frigid.

Then normal.

Then frigid. In fact, it was so cold that I actually almost screamed. The rest of the shower was painful. I'd step out of the stream of water when it was freezing, and then step back into the stream of water when it went warm again, vigorously lathering or rinsing my body in an effort to end the unpleasant shower as quickly as possible.

When I got out of the shower, the house was deserted. My visiting teachers left me a note saying they hoped I enjoyed my shower.

I came back to the house to find out that our plumber had said that our water would not be turned back on tonight since he didn't have the part he needed to fix the pipe. Ohhhhh, the misery! I have no idea when this is going to be fixed! But there are bright sides to this situation, I'm sure...

1) I don't have to feel guilty about not doing the dishes or mopping my filthy floor (even more filthy now that the plumber has walked through it seventeen times).

2) I have extra incentive to go to the gym now, since I'll need to use their workout facility and their shower facility.

And that is it. It's a list of two. Now, I'm hungry, but I don't want to make any food because I have naught wherewith to clean it up. I would go out for food with The Boy, but he already ate today. Woe is me.

I am a big, fat, sick hypocrite.

I know that I just posted a brilliant post an hour or so ago, but what I have to say now needs to be said. I know that my most true and loyal friends will comment both on this post and my other post today, in order to show their love and support of me.

I have been sick all week. I started coughing and getting a sore throat on Tuesday. It's been getting progressively worse. Puckish Mitya told me to go to the health clinic tomorrow, which I will do, but I needed something today to help me out, since I've already consumed all of my disgusting Hall lozenges. So I decided to sin.

I threw on my only sweatshirt and a pair of jeans and took The Boy's car to Smith's. As I was pulling in, I was surprised at how full the parking lot was. I will admit it. I did actually think to myself something along the lines of, "So the only people who'll be here today are non-members and sinners." But that is a very personal and self-righteous thought that normally I would never share with anyone but today I must share so that you can understand the absolute shame I then felt.

I looked down and noticed my sweatshirt. As it turns out, the only sweatshirt I own is a BYU sweatshirt. Crapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrap. Leave it to me to shop on the sabbath in a BYU sweatshirt. I could have blended in the crowd, but no. I chose to wear a BYU sweatshirt.

So I went straight to the pharmacy to grab cough syrup so that when I went to get the chicken noodle soup, people would at least see (if they looked closely enough, which, let's be honest, no one saw anything other than the BYU sweatshirt) that I had medicine in hand.

At the very least, I'm sure that I made all those who were shopping in suits or skirts feel somewhat validated. Just as they, fellow sinners, made me feel validated.

(As an addition to this post, I'll let you know how I chose my cough syrup. I was torn between the generic Koger brand or the Robitussen brand, which had alcohol in it. I thought that as long as I was sinning on the sabbath, I may as well go for the alcohol. But the alcoholic one didn't seem to really address my symptoms. So I chose the one that said, "temporarily relieves cough due to minor throat and bronchial irritation; helps loosen phlegm (mucus) and thin bronchial secretions to make coughs more productive" because the part about making coughs more productive actually made me laugh out loud in the medicine section. Which called more attention to myself. And my BYU sweatshirt.)

When in Blogworld, Copy Daltongirl

Featured on Daltongirl's blog is a brilliant persuasive essay written by Lola about Rome. Lola hit on several points that I definitely know to be true from my mission. Without her permission, and without Daltongirl's permission, I have taken the liberty of either providing supporting evidence for or arguing against some of her main points.

Step away from Rome for a second so you can find out their good and bad characteristics, the cruelty they had against others, and what it’s like to be poor.

I had to step into Rome for a second to find out their good and bad characteristics, the cruelty they had against others, and what it was like to be poor. Among their bad characteristics was their unwillingness to open their doors to the gospel. Among their good characteristics was their willingness to open their doors for any other reason.

Anecdotal evidence: When we'd knock at doors in Italy, a typical response would be for the person to yell, "Who is it??" from the other side of the door, while peering at us through the peep hole. If we mentioned anything about being missionaries or having everlasting happiness and salvation to offer, we'd be immediately rejected. If we stated any other purpose, the doors were opened wide and we were welcomed in. Once, I wanted to make my companion a zucchini dish but we didn't have a cheese grater in our apartment. We started knocking on doors in our own apartment complex. Finally, when someone was home, she yelled "Who is it??" while staring at us through the peep hole.

"It's the neighbors!" I replied.


"The neighbors!"

At this point, she cautiously opened her door a crack to peer at us.

"Hi!" I said. "We're your neighbors. We live a floor below you. I wanted to make lunch for my friend, but can you believe we don't have a cheese grater? I was wondering if you had one I could borrow."

Immediately, the woman threw the door open wide. "Yes! Yes! Please, come on in!" she cried. "I was just using it but let me wash it up so that you can borrow it!"

Another time, while we were tracting in the middle of the summer, we made our door approach to a girl our age and were immediately rejected. I was parched however, so I said, "Okay, that's fine. But is there any way I could have a drink of water? I'm very thirsty." She invited my companion and me into her home where her mother was cooking in the kitchen. They sat us down at the table, gave us water, cut us huge slices of watermelon, and asked us all about being missionaries and what exactly the message was that we shared with people.

Those were Rome's good and bad characteristics. Except for the fact that both of those stories happened in Sardegna. Oops. In Rome, on the other hand, I seem to remember having the police called on me twice and being yelled at from windows. Hmm. That was their cruelty against me. Oh, and I knew what it was like to be poor. Like one time, I wanted to buy a cameo that cost 200 Euros. But I couldn't.

First, everybody in Rome had a good heart, but they forgot about their good-natured selves when it came to justice and cruel entertainment.

This is true, though many Romans would tell you that it's true of everyone but priest and nuns. Man, some of them sure have it out for priests and nuns! As I mentioned, the Romans called the cops on me a couple times. That would be them not having good hearts when it came to justice. As far as cruel entertainment is concerned... Switchback went to a soccer game in Rome where she experienced both justice and cruel entertainment. Riots broke out at the end of the game, and the police came out and tear gassed everyone, including Switchback and all her missionary friends. Cruel. But entertaining. Justice.

Next, cruelty was a part of their daily lives—killing, gladiator fights, and unjust treatment. Everybody was doing it (watching gladiator fights), but killing people was very common in Ancient Rome, in gladiator fights.

Yes, cruelty is still a part of their daily lives. One day, as I was walking past the colosseum with my companion, a man dressed up as a Gladiator (pictured here---I got it from the Internet, but I swear it's the same guy) started heckling and making fun of me and my companion. It was a little stunning, actually. I thought, "Wait... are missionaries so low on the pecking order that men who dress up as gladiators and wear short skirts can make fun of me??"

“Killing Christians is wrong, because they should be able to have their own say in their religion.”

Unfortunately for the Italians, Christian is synonymous with Catholic and since we weren't Catholic, we weren't Christian, which meant, according to the above quote, that killing us wouldn't actually be wrong.

Now that you’ve stepped back and looked, I think you’ll agree the characteristics, cruelty, and poverty tell you to stay away from Rome.

Hmm. Well, when I stepped into Rome, I really liked it. And now that I've stepped away from Rome, I want nothing more than to go back, despite the characteristics, the cruelty, and the poverty. Lola, if I weren't poor, I'd buy you a ticket to and have you step into Rome with me.

Not Denise

Here's a joke I found on ebaumsworld:

An unmarried woman is newly pregnant and gets into an auto accident. She suffers a head injury and lapses into a coma for nine months. When she awakens in the hospital, she panics and asks about her baby.

Her doctor is called in and gives her a mild sedative, then he sits down to answer her questions. "I'm so happy to see you recovering", he says. The woman responds, "Thank you doctor, but what about my baby? Is everything all right?" He replies, "Yes, despite your injury, we were able to perform a fairly normal delivery procedure."

"In fact," he goes on, "you've given birth to twins - a boy and a girl". The woman is very happy and asks when she can see her new babies. The doctor replies, "Right away, but we've already sent the infants home with your brother. We'll call and tell him you're okay. While you were unconscious, your brother took care of everything for you. He even gave the babies names."

At this point, the woman gets upset, "Doctor, my brother is an idiot! What name did he give my little girl?" The doctor answered that her name was Denise. "Oh, Denise, that's not so bad. What name did he give my boy?" The doctor answered, "Denephew".

So my announcement is that Denephew is on his way! Captain Fabuloso and Peaches Mom will have their baby in June and I will be an aunt for the first time. This does pose a problem, however, in that now Captain Fabuloso and Peaches Mom are insistent that I change Peaches Mom's name. "Peaches" is the name that they've been calling the fetus for the past several months, knowing that it was a little feminine. Now that they know they're producing the heir, they've decided that "Peaches" is no longer an appropriate name.

My suggestion of "Bananas" was rejected.

More Opinions!

(Republicans can speak out, too, you know. I am easily influenced by any opinion.)

So once I had to host FHE. I hadn't been going to FHE all semester, so I certainly didn't know many of my FHE "siblings." But one evening, I graciously opened my home to them. After the spiritual high of our FHE lesson, a ward member reached into his jacket and pulled out a hand gun.

It really, really bothered me. But, trying to not come off as an absolute jerk in front of my "family," instead of asking the guy and his gun to leave, I made a stupid joke about it and allowed him and his gun to stay in my home. He wasn't doing anything with the gun... other than stroking it. There was absolutely no reason for him to have it in my home... other than obsession.

I have since replayed the situation in my mind and I have determined that I should have been more outspoken and firm in that moment. Here's how I imagine it going in my head:

[Guy pulls out gun so that he can stroke it.]

Cicada: Hi. I'm Cicada. I realize that we haven't actually been introduced. While I respect your lawful right to carry a gun [I think that nearly every guy in his apartment has a concealed weapon's permit], I would ask you to respect that you are in my home and I don't necessarily share your political views. The presence of your gun in my home, whether the gun is loaded or unloaded, makes me feel uncomfortable. I would kindly ask you to take your gun home. You are welcome to come back if you like, but please, in the future, do not bring a gun into my home.

Of course, depending on how that was received, I could potentially add, pointing my cell phone at him like a gun, "It is against the Honor Code to have a gun in BYU-approved housing and I have them on my speed-dial, you son of a -----."

Now, just so that you don't think I'm narrow minded, I may add that if Jack Bauer came into my house with a gun, I'd serve him up a tall glass of crystal light and ask him to marry me or at least kill all my exboyfriends.

***Okay, so Ambrosia, before I was able to post, pointed out that it's not actually against the Honor Code. So there goes that point. Oh well. This was all in my mind, anyway. Just like my dreams about Jack Bauer.