Nice skirt.

Seven years ago, I bought a skirt at Le Chateau, a somewhat hoochy Canadian store. Of course, the skirt wasn't actually hoochy (you could find good stuff amongst the hooch if you really tried hard enough). It was long, patterned, and unique. Very unique. In a really good way, I believed.

I didn't bring it with me on my mission. It was a wrap around skirt, so I didn't want to have to deal with that. It was also a hard pattern to match with a button-up shirt or a blazer, so altogether it was a bad choice for the mission. But sometimes when I thought of home, I thought of this skirt and how joyous our reunion would be.

Once I got home and reacquainted myself with my skirt, I began to wear it on a fairly regular basis. Every time I put it on, I looked in the mirror and thought, "Dang, this is a cute skirt!" I'd go out with confidence during the day (except for all the times the wind would blow my skirt open, because that gets annoying).

Then, one day, I realized something very interesting. On all these days that I wore my skirt, no one ever complimented me on my skirt or my outfit. I started wondering if my skirt were actually ugly to other people, whereas it was still really cute to me. I started paying attention to whether or not I was getting compliments. I wasn't. Ever. But I kept wearing the skirt because I really thought that it was cute.

One day when I was wearing this skirt, I stopped by Tolkien Boy's work for a quick visit. He greeted me with a smile and then said something like, "That is a very medieval-looking skirt!"

I was unsure how to take this. Tolkien Boy is a self-proclaimed fashionphobe, and so for him to comment on what I was wearing was something huge. But to call my skirt medieval? What did that mean? All I could think of was the Medieval Club, and in relation to that, "medieval" could be nothing but an insult. And yet, Tokien Boy had taken an Old English class... And so I probed.

"Medieval? Meaning...? Is that a good thing, or a bad thing, Tolkers?"

He gave an answer that was as vague as the original statement, and under pressure finally conceded that it was a nice skirt. My first compliment in years. From a fashionphobe. Apologies to Tolkien Boy, but I couldn't trust it.

Only then something strange happened. About an hour later, as I was walking outside, a stranger approached me to tell me that my skirt was really cute. Still later that day, I ran into Tolkien Boy in the library, and as we stood talking, a friend of mine passed by and---in passing---told me how great my skirt was.

The fact is that since Tolkien Boy's comment on my skirt, I can no longer wear the skirt without receiving compliments. Perhaps it was cursed or bewitched for a while and needed only special words from Tolkien Boy to break the spell. I'll never know, but I'll walk confident, knowing that the skirt can continue to enjoy years of looking good.

I must tell the world.

About two or three weeks ago, El Senor moved to Salt Lake City. He got a job up there, so he's been living with PM and CF while he has been looking at housing options. It must be said that for the past several months, El Senor has lived down the street from me and The Boy. I miss him. I knew that I'd miss him. Especially during fall semester, I wasn't doing anything socially with anyone on a regular basis besides El Senor. Additionally, he'd come over several nights a week and we'd watch our TV shows together. Monday's were for 24. Tuesdays were for House. Wednesdays were for Lost and Law & Order.

So today, The Boy came home to our apartment and said, "So is El Senor coming over for 24 tonight?"

I said, "Uh... El Senor lives in Salt Lake, The Boy."

He responded, "Since when did that happen??"

Apparently someone manages to stay out of the family loop, despite the fact that he lives with me.

Pretty in Pink (Panties)

I have admitted to owning over fifty pair of panties before. Today, this is no longer the case. I have less than a two-week supply of very sensible underwear, if you know what I mean. Sensible, plain, and white.

Except that it's not white anymore.

Today, being Saturday, I felt inspired to do laundry so that tomorrow I can wear clean underwear. I put almost every white article of clothing I own into the washing machine.

Shortly after, I went downstairs to move my laundry from the washing machine to the dryer. I opened the dryer and to my surprise, discovered a load of very pink clothing. This was baffling, since I was certain that I hadn't put my lucky red cap in with the load.

I pulled pair after pair of pink underwear and pink undershirts out of the washer. I pulled out my formerly white bath robe, now somewhat more feminine. I pulled out a formerly white shirt that belongs to El Senor. I pulled out my very pink sports bra.

And all the while, I was looking for the offending item. There was none. So I knew that the offenders were actually the couple in the other apartment of this house. When I asked them about it, they admitted that yes, they had been using our washing machine to dye clothing.

Many thanks to them to the several pink additions to my wardrobe. I feel pretty... oh so pretty!

Moments of Stupidity

We all have them. Moments where we think something or (heaven forbid!) say something truly stupid. And we should keep these moments to ourselves. But in honor of the fact that I just had one of these stupid moments, I'm going to share several from my life and from the lives of loved ones.


I was editing today and came across the word T-shirt. I thought to myself, "I need to double-check this. I can't remember if T-shirt is one of those words that always needs the capital letter..." Before I could reach for a dictionary, I looked at the word in a way that I had never seen it before. The "T" of T-shirt actually forms the shape of the shirt! The moment I realized it, I also realized that this is something that everyone else in the world has always known, and that I am waaaaay behind in figuring it out.

Magical Machine

A good friend was once washing dishes by hand at her sister's apartment in New York. At a moment of frustration, she thought, "Couldn't they, like, invent a machine that does all this for you? It could wash the dishes and then dry them, too?"

Sleep Deprivation

During my sophomore year, I pulled several all-nighters. In fact, I kept Mountain Dew in my apartment for these occasions. I knew that I hated Mountain Dew enough to never touch the stuff unless I needed it, so when I needed caffeine, it would be there for me. One morning, as I was walking to work at 7:45 a.m. and guzzling down a disgusting can of Mountain Dew (no such beverage should be consumed by anyone so early in the morning), I thought, "Couldn't someone invent a morning drink with caffeine in it? I can't believe no one has thought of this yet!" Then, seconds later, "Oh yeah... tea and coffee. The two beverages that everyone else in the world drinks every morning."

Not a Mind Reader

El Senor had a class several years ago where on the first day, the teacher was reminding all students to always put their names on their papers during the semester. He explained, "I'm not clairvoyant. Your TAs aren't clairvoyant. Please remember to put your names on your papers." A student at the front of the class raised her hand and asked, "Who is clairvoyant?" The teacher responded, "No one. I'm not. The TAs aren't." The student insisted, "No, but who is Clair Voyant?"

Visiting Teachers Bless My Life

This is the pathetic tale of my day yesterday, after 6:00 p.m.

I went home from school to get right to work on my homework. I'd have two solid hours before El Senor came over to watch Lost with me. I unpacked my computer. I unpacked my... hmm... where was my power cord to the computer?

Now you may remember that I mentioned recently that my batteries are absolutely dead. That means that without a power cord, I have no access to my computer. And I happened to have a group project due tomorrow and all of the group's files were on my computer. Crap.

So I called the library department where I had last used my computer. No one turned in a power cord. I called library security / library lost and found and no one had turned in a power cord. But the guy assured me that if someone turned it in, it would turn up in at least three days. Three days! He also let me know that if someone brought the power cord to the campus lost and found, it would be there, of course, but I'd have no access to it until tomorrow morning since it closes at 5:00 p.m.

So there was no way I was going to find my power cord tonight.

So I called Viper to see if he had a power cord that could work on my computer. I went to his apartment and tried every one of his roommates' power cords. Then I went to the neighbors' and tried every one of their power cords. Then I called Best Buy and found out that they had a compatible power cord, but that it would cost me $90. Then I called my visiting teacher and asked her to take me to Best Buy because I really needed the cord. Then I called my mom to complain, only my dad answered the phone and he was offended that I didn't want to talk to him and I only wanted to talk to my mom. Then I told the whole story to my dad. Then he said, "This is why we don't leave things to the last minute." Then I said, "This is why I like to talk to Mom about these things and not you." Then he laughed. A lot. Then my visiting teacher came to pick me up. Then we went to Best Buy and I paid ninety dollars for the power cord. Then I went home and spent a half hour opening the stupid package. Then I plugged in the power cord.

And nothing happened. Although it was supposed to be compatible with my computer, and although everything fit correctly, there was NO POWER going to my computer.

So I called my teacher and left a message asking him to call me that night (he never did). I called my group members letting them know what happened. They were very nice about it, and assured me that it was their fault, too, because they should have backed up the files elsewhere.

Then I called my mom again and again and again until she finally picked up her phone. Then I told her about everything that had happened. Then I told her that I could no longer talk to her because Lost was starting.

Then I watched Lost but couldn't stop thinking about my lamentable situation.

Then I remembered that one week, when Kit was out of town, I used her office. And I used her Dell DOCKING STATION. And it worked. On my computer. And there was no power cord or battery needed. Then I called Kit, because even though she is not my visiting teacher, she is the best visiting teacher in the whole world and is one of those people who is always willing to help others out. And I told her about my situation. And she said that of course she would come and pick me up and bring me to her office so that I could get the files off my computer.

Then I waited for her, and she showed up to my house with A) a power cord to try on my computer just in case and B) a piece of pumpkin pie.

And guess what? Her power cord fit! And guess what else? It's her spare power cord, so I can use it till I find my lost one!

And that is where I just about cried.

Engaged or Unchaste

Phone transcripts from this morning, transcribed by memory and edited for readability:

9:30 a.m. MST: Ring, Ring!

[Cicada checks phone. Sees that it is old mission companion / old roommate.)

Cicada: Pronto?

CLAT: Pronto. Hey. Did you get the invitation to go to the mission reunion?

Cicada: Yeah.

CLAT: Are you going to go?

Cicada: Uhhhhh... I don't know yet. [That actually means no.]

CLAT: Because I want to know if there are people there worth going to see. No one good came last time, and it was boring. Aren't you going to, like, bring your boyfriend?

Cicada: Wasn't planning on it. I didn't think it would be anything that would interest him. He's busy most evenings, he doesn't like to be paraded around, and I don't really see the point in bringing him anyway.

CLAT: Oh... are things not going well?

Cicada: No. Things are going great. It's just that I'm not really interested in bringing him to the mission reunion when I wouldn't choose go to mission reunions otherwise.

CLAT: Oh. Well, do you know if Switchback is going?

Cicada: Haven't talked to her about it.

CLAT: If she comes into town for it, I'll go. But I don't have her number.

Cicada: I'll call her now. It's early for her, but she should be up.

9:34 a.m. MST/ 8:34 a.m. PST

Switchback: Pronto?

Cicada: Hey, 'ssup.

Switchback: Are you engaged?

Cicada: You know, as I was waiting for you to answer your phone, I realized that you would think I was calling to tell you I was engaged.

Switchback: Yeah. Because why else would you be calling me first thing in the morning? Either you're engaged or you had sex.

I would like to take a moment and pause here to call attention to the fact that this was really funny. Apparently, the only two reasons for calling Switchback in the morning are because I'm engaged or because I'm unchaste. Going on...

Cicada: Yeah. Uh. Neither. Definitely neither. I'm calling because CLAT wants to know if you're coming to the mission reunion.

Switchback: I'm going to be in London. So no.

Cicada: Are you going to take a trip down to Italy?

Switchback: I should. But instead, I'm going to Scotland.

Cicada: Oh. That's cool and all. You know... that you didn't actually ever care about anyone on your mission enough to want to go back and visit them.

After this point, the conversation basically degenerated into a big fight over who's turn it is to visit whom. Of course, it's DEFINITELY my turn to go down to San Diego and visit her. But I don't have the time or money for something like that.

Now that I've shared those stories, let me share a fairly recent Switchback story. It's only a few months old. Again, this is a phone transcript from memory, so be aware that I've taken a little creative license, perhaps by making myself more witty and eloquent.

Switchback: So when my [non-member] date was dropping me off, I asked him if he wanted to come up to my apartment. He said yes at first, but then he said that he probably shouldn't, and he just walked me to my door and went home.

Cicada: I'm sorry, you invited him up to your apartment???

Switchback: Yes.

Cicada: Look. I think that means sex Switchback. I mean, I've never not been a member of the Church or anything, but I think that means sex.

Switchback: What??

Cicada: Yes! Look. I'm no expert, but according to every single movie I have ever seen, the words "Do you want to come up to my apartment" mean sex.

Switchback: No! Do you really think so?

Cicada: Yes! And then it makes sense what he said! He thought that you were being really forward and inviting him up for sex, and he said yes at first and then he had second thoughts and said that he didn't think that he should.

Switchback: Oh no!

Cicada: Oh yes! I mean, in Mormondom, that's totally fine. "Do you want to come back to my place" means hot chocolate and if the guy is really lucky, a board game, but in the real world, it means sex. You invited a man up to your apartment for sex. Nice.

And even more recently, a conversation about jocks:

Switchback: So that guy that I told you about? He broke up with his girlfriend, and he was totally on my jock all night. And I was like, Hey, you had your chance. But I won't deny that it felt good.

Cicada: Excuse me? He was on your jock??

Switchback: Yeah. Totally.

Cicada: What does that even mean? I didn't think you had a jock.

Switchback: You know what that means. On my jock! You know!

Cicada: I have never heard that expression before in my LIFE.

Switchback: You're not serious.

Cicada: I am serious.

Switchback: On your jock. You know. Like, totally all over you and interested in you and stuff.

Cicada: Huh.

Switchback: So how are things with you and your boy?

Cicada: I'm on his jock.

Ahhhh, yet another post dedicated to how much I miss Switchback. Love and punches to you, Switchback. Love and punches.

Longwood Twins

It's time for a new Mary Moo moment, since she sent me the picture of us at Longwood Gardens.

The months before my mission, I was living with my parents in Maryland. Mary Moo lived in the same city at the time, and so we had many opportunites to spend time together. One of those opportunites was a trip to Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania.

We both wore straw hats. We both wore large brown sunglasses. We both had brown courier-style purses. We both wore pink button-up shirts. We both wore khakis. We both wore brown sandals. And of course, we did it on purpose.

And to those who asked, we said that we were twins, of course.

A Short and Humorous Language Moment

In Italian, like in Spanish, the same word is used for both because and why. This word is perche (pronounced pear-KAY).

A sweet Italian sister was taking advantage of being surrounded by anglophones to practice her English.

On a particularly frustrating day, she dramatically raised her arms to the sky, shaking them, and yelled out, "BECAUSE!?!?"

Her patient companion corrected her: "It's why, sister. Why."

The Italian sister raised her arms to the sky again, correcting herself: "WHY!?!?"


Today I got my blog post inspiration by looking at old pictures and trying to find one that illustrates a story. Here's that picture:

You'll notice that I am a missionary. You'll notice that my mom and Mary Moo are in the picture. You'll notice that I look as if I've been traveling for hours (though remarkably fresh, because---you remember---I traveled first class). You'll notice that there are balloons. And you'll correctly assume that this picture was taken at the end of my mission. That glorious reunion with the family part. Only...

So when my nine hours of first class were over, I was carted onto this smaller plane to make the quick trip from New York to Baltimore. But as short a flight it may have been, no flight is short when you're so excited about seeing your family again and being home. After about 90 minutes---or in other words an eternity, I finally landed in Baltimore.

I got to my gate. Now, you know that I know that no one without a boarding pass is allowed at the gate anymore. So I didn't expect to see my family there. But I also didn't quite know where to expect to see my family. I kept walking with my heavy, heavy carry-on, wondering when I'd get to see my family.

Finally, I saw a set of doors that I knew led to the public area. Still not quite to the doors, I tried to see if there was anyone I recognized. I couldn't see any of my loved ones.

I got through the doors and scanned the crowd. And kept scanning the crowd. And kept scanning the crowd. In the distance, I saw a large bouquet of helium balloons, and attached to the bottom of them was my mother. She was busy taking pictures. Of my siblings. Who were sitting on a bench doing crossword puzzles. And Mary Moo was there, too. But no one---no one---showed any interest in me or the other people coming off the plane.

Instead of rushing directly towards my family, I tried to see if there was any way that I could make the moment immortal by inconspicuously making it into the background of a picture that Mom was taking of Richie and The Boy. I posed several yards in behind Richie and The Boy as Mom snapped several shots of them.

When I was done my little photo shoot, I decided it was time for me to join my family. Mom and Mary Moo were talking, so I walked up beside them and joined in their conversation. Mary Moo screamed. Loudly, actually. Mom nearly let go of the balloons. And after hugs and kisses, I asked, "Where's Dad? Where's Uncle Stu?" I was told that they had gone for a walk and a trip to Burger King. Not like anything important was supposed to be happening anyway.

As it turns out, the Church had given my family the wrong flight information. So while they had the right time, they were watching for the wrong flight. And the flight they thought I was on was delayed by fifteen minutes, so they thought that they had time to kill.

And not to complain, but if the Church had given my family the wrong information, it would have been better to have given them completely wrong information. That way, I would have a better story to tell---I'd be a real example of the missionary whose family didn't go to pick her up at the airport.

(And also by way of very sad news, I didn't make it in any of the pictures I posed for. Drat.)

Muddy Me

As promised, here is a picture of me in a bathing suit. Miss Nemesis, don't even try to beat this. No one's going to care that you're going to the Canary Islands once they see this. Everyone's going to want to go up to Northern Ontario and live my childhood. Well, people. You probably can't. But I don't blame you for wanting to.

At my request, my Mary Moo sent me this picture today. She's been wondering for a while now why I have never written a post about her. I told her that if she sent me this photo, I could tell a story.

First a little background---or why I have never called my Aunt Mary "Aunt Mary" and why she has always been Mary Moo. When Captain Fabuloso was a baby and started talking, he pronounced Mommy "Mah-i" (makes me think of tuna...). But since he couldn't pronounce Mary, he also called our aunt "Mah-i." She felt bad that he was using the same name for her and for his mother, so she said to him, "No, Captain Fabuloso. My name is Mary Moo." From that moment on, my aunt has been my Mary Moo.

Mary Moo is both funny and wild and she was the best aunt you could possibly wish for when we were growing up. She lived in the same city and she was single, which meant that she got to give all of her love to us kids. We had a hunt camp---like a shack---on a lake for the first several years of my life. We'd go there in the summers.

One year, after it rained, there were huge mud puddles everywhere. Mary Moo offered a dollar to the kid who would roll in a mud puddle. That seemed like really good money to me, so I suited up and rolled around in the mud.

After my roll in the mud, it came time for Mary Moo to pay up. Several adults (including family and close family friends) had witnessed the whole deal and told Mary Moo that what I did wasn't worth one dollar. It was worth ten. Mary Moo sat me down and explained to me that our original deal was for one dollar. But, after thinking about it, she had decided to give me five dollars. I thought that was five times fair!

Now, if Mary Moo can get me a copy of the picture of the day that we went to Longwood Gardens together, I'll have another good story to tell.

Cicada in a Bikini!


Long ago, I promised to post a picture of me in a bikini. I cannot deliver on this promise because I have never worn a bikini in my entire life. But I have worn one-piecers, and I do have a picture of me in a one-piece suit that I am ready to post and in honor of the fact that I still feel the need to justify the fact that I can do without the Canary Islands, I will post it. Just to stick it to Nemesis. Just so that you are aware and ready to look at it tonight, it will post at approximately 7:00 p.m., if I am anywhere near a computer at that time.

Prepare to be titillated.

Who needs the Canary Islands?

(Because I'm busy doing homework and craving cookies and because I can't think of anything to write, I'm going to cheat and copy and paste and email that I sent to Daltongirl, Sahkmet, and Nemesis today. My apology to all three of you excellent ladies. Oh, and the title of this post is obviously in relation to Miss Nemesis's trip, of which I'm not remotely jealous, because of the lotion I bought yesterday.)

When I was in Italy, I would use Dove lotion. It was wonderful and I loved it. Until I got a fungal infection on my legs, and instead of identifying it as a fungal infection, I wrongly blamed my blessed Dove lotion. There were two things that I loved about the Dove lotion: 1) the subtle scent, and 2) the fact that it left tiny gold sparkles all over my skin. Seriously. If you look down at your skin and not only does it smell divine but it also sparkles gold… basically, nothing made me happier.

Except that, as I said, I had to stop using it.

And it’s not available in the United States.

But yesterday when I was at the grocery store, I saw that there was this NEW DOVE LOTION! section with a tester out. The tester wasn’t the gold-sparkly stuff, and it didn’t smell like the Dove lotion. It was disappointing, but it made me hopeful that the entire Dove lotion line would one day come to the US.

And then I saw that Dove had some self-tanning lotion. The lotion cost as much as regular lotion. And I saw this little color chart showing progressively darker skin tones. It promised visible results after a week. So I picked myself up a bottle. Why not?

I showered last night and spread some lotion over my legs and arms. Usually I only ever put self tanner on my legs, but I figured that a slight improvement in color on my arms wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Then I realized that the self tanner has the scent that I absolutely adore. So I went to bed and dreamed of all the Italian memories that I have attached to that scent. This morning, I woke up fifteen minutes before I needed to leave for work. I threw on a long-sleeved shirt, a pair of jeans, and headed off to the office (we’re allowed to wear jeans at work right now because we’re in the middle of a renovation).

Then this morning, during a meeting, I looked down and saw this little patch of darkness on my hand. Weird. Then I lifted up my sleeve a little bit, and holy crap! Forget results after a week! I got results after one night! If I dare to wear short sleeves and short skirts, my professors are going to suspect that I took a quick trip to the Bahamas or something.

Anyhow. I highly recommend the stuff. I am satisfied with both the smell and the color. Now if only I could get some little gold sparkles...

Celebrating Twelve Years of No Longer Being in Junior High

I read Lola's post today about her jr. high blues and it caused me to reflect on some of my own jr. high experiences. In celebration of being out of jr. high for twelve years, allow me to tell you twelve jr. high experiences.

1. My First Break-up
I had a boyfriend in sixth grade. Sorry Mom, if you're finding out like this. He was one of the bad boys, of course, because all girls love the boys who don't do well in school and spend loads of time in detention... er... Okay, so he met my two criteria of 1) liking me, and 2) not being physically repulsive. So he was my boyfriend. In sixth grade, we'd go for bike rides after school, or I'd go over to his house. My mom didn't know, of course. And for the record, although he was my "boyfriend," there was absolutely no physical contact between us ever. We just played together. But he dumped me in seventh grade because he liked a girl named Jenny.

2. My Second Boyfriend
And he passed me on to this other guy whose name I can't remember. He met one of my criteria; he liked me. But when he put his arm around me during a field trip, I realized that he really was physically repulsive and I dumped him immediately.

3. My Third Boyfriend
One day a group of friends decided that a boy named James and I should be boyfriend and girlfriend. They decided it. We never discussed it, but we reluctantly agreed that we would give it a try. We never had any physical contact and our friendship didn't change at all. But someone told my mom that I had a boyfriend and I went home that day to find out that I was grounded for a week.

4. Writing Lines
My eighth grade homeroom teacher (meaning that she was responsible to teach us half our classes while we'd go to other teachers for the other half) fought to have me in her homeroom. Apparently, during the summer between seventh and eighth grades, during a meeting where all the teachers were dividing the students, she said, "I don't care what losers you give me, as long as I get Cicada." Her specialty was physical education, so she was also my gym teacher. Sometimes I'd purposely forget my gym clothes so that I could sit out and write lines instead of participating in class. I'd rush through all the lines I was supposed to write and then I'd write funny lines. They were always complimentary to her, of course. Then she'd hang my lines on her office wall. She never gave me an A in her gym class. But I always knew I was one of her favorites, and that was enough.

5. My Fight
I have already talked about my fight in great detail.

6. Sorel Boots
Although it was northern Ontario and winters were terribly cold and we had to spend an entire hour outside during recess, we as kids dumbly decided that it was not cool to zip up your coat. It was not cool to wear a hat. It was not cool to wear mittens. It was not cool to wear a scarf. And it really was not cool to wear Sorel boots. One day, my dad made me wear Sorel boots to school. I cried. A lot. They were so huge I could barely even shove them in my locker once I got to school. Later in the day, he brought me roses because he felt bad for causing me extreme humiliation. Some people might have been embarrassed to receive roses from their dad in jr. high. I was just convinced that I had the greatest dad ever.

7. Burned Pancakes
Mom would make us pancakes in the mornings on a fairly regular basis. She'd make them and then stick them in the microwave on 10% power for a half hour so that when we were ready for breakfast, we could just pull the pancakes out of the microwave. One day, Reggie Tenenbaum and/or The Boy put the pancakes in the microwave on 100% power for a half hour. After about twenty-give minutes, the entire house stank. It stank so bad that we couldn't go to the main level of the house and breathe. The mustard-colored silk shirt that I wore that day was permanently ruined by the stench. Our microwave was thrown out.

8. El Senor Hated Me
There's enough material here to write an entire post some day, but let's just say that El Senor and I didn't get along when we were growing up. Problems between us marked my entire childhood. One particular jr. high experience was learning that he had composed a song for his high school music class. It was called "Dropping Bricks on Cicada's Head."

9. I Had Really Bad Hair
Mom, what were you thinking? Not only did I have bad hair (my mom hasn't bought a scanner yet, so I don't have proof, but really---think a tight, short-haired perm, that I would gel... sick) but I had bad makeup. For some reason, my mom thought that jr. high was an appropriate time for a girl to start to wear makeup. My pictures from this time period have convinced me that my daughters won't be able to wear makeup till high school and then, only under strict supervision. Oh, and braces. Ugh.

10. I Liked Star Trek...
...way too much.

11. I Can Finally Admit I Had a Crush on My Geography Teacher
I did! I really did! But I haven't ever told anyone, I don't think, and now I'm telling the whole internet. I have denied it for years, but I may as well let it out now. The funny thing is that I swear I found him in our local paper's classifieds. I'd read the classifieds with a friend and make fun of all the single people putting ads out. One day, I read one aloud to her and asked, "Who does that make you think of?" Without any hints from me, she immediately identified the man as our geography teacher. The ad started with the words "No more games." The next day in class, I told him that I had had a dream with him in it, and then the words "No more games" appeared. He went practically white and I asked him, "What do you think it means?" He said, "I think it means you need to get back to work." I said, "I think it means I should stop reading the classifieds." Oh, the witty banter we had... Mr. Geography Teacher, where are you now?

12. I Had Big Boobs
It's true. I may as well admit this, too. And one day, I had to run a race for gym class. I was competing against one girl and I simply wasn't fast enough. After the race, my above-mentioned third boyfriend commented to me, "You would have won, but your boobs got in the way." And I know that I can share this with the internet, because it always made my mom laugh when I told her that, so she won't be mad that I just shared it with everyone.

Lola, I wouldn't trade places with you. But live it up while you can.

I know kung-fu... or karate.

Since I shared a story about spin class this week, and since my springboard diving class is one of my most popular stories, I thought I might share a new story this week about a class that I had the same semester as my springboard diving class. I took karate.

Every Friday we would meet for two hours. And as with spring board diving, I sucked at karate from the very beginning. Our instructor was a Korean fellow who spoke English with a very thick accent. He loved to show the class tricks and stunts and his sense of humor combined with physical antics reminded me a little of Jackie Chan.

One day, I went to class after donating blood. Donating blood had never caused any problems for me before, so I had no reason to believe that my physical performance would be hindered by my loss of blood. To warm up, the instructor brought us through a review of all the kicks we'd learned---ten kicks in all, and we had to do ten reps of each kick, all in succession. In case you can't do the math, that's one hundred kicks all in a row.

I was wearing down at about 50, but I kept on going, kicking more and more weakly as I continued. Although I technically made it to one hundred, I believe my hundredth kick was not more than two inches off the ground.

Then our instructor had us relax and breathe. And that's when something funny happened. I could feel the blood draining from my head, and my vision started to go black. Recognizing this as something that can happen when I get up suddenly from a couch or bed, I waited for my vision to return immediately as it always does.

Except it didn't. I realized that I was standing in the middle of all my karate peers with my eyes wide open, and yet I could see nothing.

Before this point, I'd been debating whether or not it was a good idea to go to the edge of the classroom and sit down. At this point, once I'd lost my vision, finding my way to the edge of the room was no longer an option. So I just sat exactly where I'd been standing.

I could hear the instructor's voice distantly. It was as if I was under water. I was aware of him approaching me. "Are you okay?" he asked. I managed to say "No" before he flipped my legs up in the air so that the blood could drain back to my head. As soon as he did it, my vision started to come back. He send me to the wall.

And I spent the rest of the class with my butt to the wall, legs in the air, relishing both my vision and the blood in my brain.

Before this time, it had been a joke amongst our classmates that our instructor didn't recognize any of us. From that day on, however, he recognized me. As we'd do kicks, he'd approach me, asking, "Dizzy? Dizzy?" One time later in the semester, we had a departmental visitor to the class, and I saw my instructor pointing me out and saying, "She faint! She faint!"

Other things can kill, too.

Several years ago, Captain Fabuloso came to me with a sore on his shin, asking me what I thought it was. I had no idea, and it didn't look too serious, either. When he suggested that maybe it was a spider bite, I agreed with him, dismissed the worry and went climbing with him and our climbing friends. The next day, I left for a weekend trip to St. George.

The night I came back to Provo, I was getting together with all my friends to climb again (we all had memberships to the Quarry). I got a ride with a close friend, who we'll call Dr. Tact, PhD (she'll have her PhD in a couple years...). She was a microbiology major and was fascinated by a number of things that were beyond me as an English major. As we pulled into the parking lot of the Quarry, she turned to me and said, "Isn't that crazy how Captain Fabuloso almost died this weekend?"

I was confused, then scared, then confused. I said, "Almost died?"

"Yes!" she said, putting the car in park and turning off the ignition. "Didn't you know?"

"Know what?"

"About his leg!"

"I know that he had a sore on it and wondered if it was a spider bite..."

"Oh, Cicada! He had a flesh-eating bacteria! It kept getting worse and worse and then he went to the hospital and they told him that if he had gone in one day later, he probably would have died, and they were mad that he had waited as long as he did to go into the hospital!"

I know that she kept on talking, shifting the subject of the conversation from Captain Fabuloso almost dying to the exact details of what a staph infection is down to the minutest level, but as her intellectual babble became fuzzy and distant, all my mind could process was almost died.

I knew that he was okay. I knew that he was joining us that evening for climbing. Yet uncontrollably, I started to sob. It was one of the strangest experiences of my life. Crying has never come upon me so suddenly and so uncontrollably. Dr. Tact stared at me wide-eyed as I almost hyperventilated between my staccato sobs.

And all the while, I kept thinking, "Everything's okay, so I can stop crying. Nothing's wrong; I can stop crying. It's okay. STOP CRYING!" But I couldn't. Instead of stopping, I just breathed out to Dr. Tact, "It's---sob---okay---sob---I'm---sob---okay!"

I was slightly shaken for the rest of the evening, but Dr. Tact at least learned a great lesson. First, it was to approach the subject gently when talking about the almost-death of a family member. Second, it was to not go into the exact biological details of how that person almost died and would have died. Valuable lessons, indeed.

(And I know for a fact that she told this story during a Relief Society lesson about four years after it happened, so I promise, she did learn the lesson!)

Making Out Can Kill

I hate to share the humiliating and intimate details of my friends' lives on the Internet, but... Oh, who am I kidding? I love it! Let me tell you a really funny story about MOTD, or Making Out Transmitted Diseases. Or at least one.

So I have a friend. We'll call her Urine Girl, because that's how I introduce her whenever I talk to my parents about her. ("You know... that girl who drank urine.") I met her over the Christmas break and immediately knew that she and I were destined to be friends. One thing that was noticeable about her over the Christmas break was that she had a rather large open sore on the top of her nose. She explained in the presence of our girl friends that she got it while making out. The guy she had been making out with was scruffy, and his scruff scratched the top of her nose. We're still not sure how, though we pestered her for details on how the top of one's nose could be so seriously scraped during a makeout. One girl cried, "You were kissing upside down, weren't you?! You were kissing upside down!" Still UG was sparing with the details.

When my parents asked her what she did to her nose, she explained that she had scraped it. My mom asked, "Scraped it having fun?" and the rest of us snickered while we watched UG try to come up with a response to that.

What I found out only a couple days ago was that the huge open sore on her nose had a staph infection, which explained why it was enormous and why it wasn't healing. Needless to say, it was good that the condition was diagnosed when they could still do something about it, rather than watch her die of a flesh-eating bacteria, contracted while making out.

Wherein I Forwent One Homework to Pursue Another

Last night, I put my hair in curlers and went to bed early so that I could get up early this morning and work on homework. I started my homework at about 5:15. At about 6:00, I started to hear birds singing around my house. No, no birds have come to my abundant bird feeder yet, and I'm trying not to take it personally. But I could hear birds singing, and thought about how strange it is that birds are diurnal, and yet obviously get up before the sun does. Everything was completely dark. Still, I wondered what bird was singing so sweetly and whether or not I could add it to my list.

By about 6:40, the sun was coming up, but I was still working on homework, so I continued to listen to the sweet singing melodies while I wrote about the idea of Europe. At 6:50, I could no longer stand it. And so, like a sexual deviant or a pervert, I emerged into the early morning outdoors in my pajamas, curlers, flip flops and with my binoculars. Not that I think that sexual deviants or perverts wear curlers. They might. It's just that you can't help but feel dirty walking around your neighborhood with binoculars in the misty morning.

I followed the sound of my singing bird and realized that it was in someone's back yard. Fortunately, it was in my former district leader's back yard. Though even if he walked out and caught me in his back yard with binoculars, there may have been awkward moments of clumsy explanation. Unfortunately, the bird in question was a robin. A robin? Yes, my disappointment was fairly bitter. Who knew they sang so sweetly? I have only ever heard them chirp.

I spent the next ten minutes walking around other people's backyards, since they all border on mine anyway. There was one tense moment when a police cruiser drove by, but I just jumped into the bushes with the rest of the starlings and sneakily snuck back to my safe little house where no one could judge me for wearing curlers, flip flops, pajamas, and carrying binoculars.

The Longest Forty-Three Minutes of My Life

For a while, El Senor and I have been meaning to go to a spin class together at the gym. Today we finally had the chance to go. Now, I haven't been working out the past couple weeks. I've been spending my time focusing on other areas of my life, like homework and... you know... homework. We got to the 45-minute class two minutes late, but were able to find two bikes together, right beside the instructor. For everyone who's never been to a spin class, let me describe the environment. The room is small and triangular with black walls. The only lighting comes from a traffic light at the front of the class. Music is pumping as hard as it would in a club. In fact, I imagine the whole thing is a club atmosphere (I've never been to a club) only with stationary bikes. Now let me detail the next 43 minutes.

43: Got on bike, adjusted bike with El Senor's help. Started pedaling.

42: Was instructed to exert myself at about a level 7 exertion. Exerted myself at what I thought was a level 7 exertion.

41: Was instructed to sprint. Started sprinting.

40-38: Was instructed to sit back and pedal at a level 8. Pedaled at a level 8. Started to feel funny.

37: Started to feel burning in my lungs and chest. Felt more funny. Leaned far over bike handlebars.

36: Started to feel seriously ill. Stopped pedaling so fast, seriously reduced the resistance on my bike.

35-30: Thought about the public embarrassment to physical discomfort ratio. I was feeling sick enough that I didn't care that everyone in the room could see I wasn't following the workout anymore. But I wasn't sick enough to walk out of the room. Put my head down on my arms on the handlebars.

29: Said yes when the instructor asked me if I was okay.

28: Wondered if when I passed out, my head would hit El Senor's bike or the girl next to me's bike before it hit the ground.

27-26: Wondered if I'd have an epileptic seizure once I hit the ground.

25: Tasted strange taste in my mouth. Wondered if it was a taste of death.

24-23: Listened to El Senor say, "Don't over-exert yourself." Laughed because I didn't know whether he was being sincere or sarcastic. Listened to El Senor say, "No, I'm serious." Reflected on the fact that for the last howevermany minutes, I'd been pedaling extremely slowly at zero resistance.

22: Wondered if after my skull fracture and seizure, I would survive long enough to make it to the hospital.

21: Wondered if Viper would come and visit me in the hospital in the moments before my death.

20: Thought about how my entire set of lungs and esophagus were still on fire.

19: Thought that maybe I was starting to feel slightly better, despite the burning organs mentioned above.

18: Thought about the public embarrassment to physical discomfort ratio. I was feeling better, and was more aware of the fact that anyone in the class could see that I wasn't working out at all. Started pedaling faster.

17-13: Smelled burned matches. The instructor said that whatever the smell was, it smelled like food. But it didn't smell like food. It smelled like burned matches. Wondered if the rest of the gym were on fire, would we notice in our room with the music turned up so loud. Wondered about emergency evacuation. Wondered if there were a fire blocking the door, would I run through the fire to escape, or would I stay in the tiny triangular room and die?

12: Stopped pedaling faster. Wasn't feeling as sick anymore, but still wasn't feeling up to any degree of exertion.

11-9: Thought about my homework.

8: Heard instructor announce that there were only eight more minutes. Rejoiced.

7: Realized that the fire in my lungs was out now. Still didn't really pedal faster. Wondered if I'd ever give spin a chance again.

6-2: Thought about the Oscars last night and how I disagreed with everyone's criticism of Jon Stewart's performance. I thought he was fantastic.

1: Realized I'd have something to blog about.

It won't happen to me.

NOTE: This post is somber and realistic. To avoid the realities of life, visit here.

Yesterday I found out that an acquaintance was snowboarding this weekend and had a bad accident. He will probably be paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of his life.

I guess I was surprised at how I reacted to this news. The fact is, I haven't talked to the guy for about five years. The times I have talked to him were only ever brief interactions---he was always just a friend of a friend. I even saw him in a ward in SLC over the Christmas break, but really, we weren't even close enough for me to run up and say hello to him. If he'd seen me, we probably would have chatted, but otherwise, there was no reason to seek him out and initiate conversation. We were never that close.

But when a friend IMed me this weekend saying, "Did you hear what happened to ____ this Saturday?" it took less than a second to think both that he just got engaged and that he just died. Instead, I was told that he had an accident and would be paralyzed. It started me thinking a little about mortality and about how strange it is that this guy I knew would now likely spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. I've been thinking about it all weekend.

Of course I have an "it won't happen to me" attitude. I think that most people do. And we also have an "it won't happen to anyone I know" attitude. If you told me that some guy you knew was in a bad accident yesterday, I'd say sorry and likely not think about it any longer than you wanted to talk about it. But hearing that it happened to an acquaintance---and a fairly distant acquaintance at best---has been disturbing and has made me think a little about the fragility of life and about this attitude that I have: It won't happen to me.

Of course, it's better than the alternative. I suggest that having an "it won't happen to me" attitude with regards to freak accidents is much better than having an "it will happen to me" attitude. It's probably a lot healthier not to dwell on the fact that at any moment, you could be wiped out of existence or permanently maimed. I guess it's just where we make conscious decisions for safety that makes the difference. I wear my seatbelt because I could get into an accident. I lock my door because someone could come into my house and steal my laptop and inherit my expired battery problem. I go to the gym because I could actually lose the weight I want to lose. (It could happen to me! It could happen to me!) Moving in that direction, I did enter into a drawing for an elliptical machine (valued at $3500) because it could happen to me!

But I don't wear a bike helmet, even though a friend of mine was killed in a bike accident when he was fourteen. Strange to think about the decisions we make.

Oh Baby Oh Baby Oh Baby

I've told myself for years that I'm terrified of children. I've told others, too. I've often prayed to be sterile, especially after reading Savvymom's or FoxyJ's blogs sometimes. Recently, as co-chair of my ward service board, I was responsible for organizing a huge babysitting event where parents with one or more developmentally challenged children could drop off all their children at an elementary school and enjoy an evening out. I talked to the girl in my ward who was part of this babysitting organization and explained to her that children terrified me. She told me that she'd stick me with the oldest group.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed myself. The children really weren't as scary as I thought they would be, and as long as I pushed them on this ride, they were all my best friends.

Later, I went to Maryland and had the opportunity to babysit the fraternal triplets of my mom's visiting teachee. Again, I was surprised at how enjoyable it was. Granted, they were all perfectly behaved, so I'm sure that helps. Also, my mom was there and she did all the diaper changing and tending to physical needs. I just got to do the entertaining. I sang all the verses to this really long French folk song and they all just stopped what they were doing and stared at me for the whole song.

I guess that's about all I have to say about it. I think my attitude towards children is changing slowly the more I'm exposed to them. Now, I don't think I'd be ready for a calling to the Nursery (like Nemesis) quite yet, but at least for the moment, I'm not praying for sterility.


Today I had the pleasure of running into someone who I haven't seen for a long time. We'll call him Fox, since that was his last name.

I met Fox during my sophomore year. I was working at Independent Study even back then, and our workplace was dominated by females. We didn't have a single male worker. And by a "single male worker," I mean both "not a one" and "not a single one." One day, a tall, muscular, strapping young man was interviewing in my boss's office. I announced to the girls in the cubicle (most of whom were married) that this was my chance. Independent Study may have just hired my future husband. All I could see was the top of his head over the cubicle wall, but I just knew that he was The One.

As he headed towards our cubicle, and we heard the boss starting to give him the tour, one of my married coworkers hissed at me, "Cicada! Ring!" I had the habit of indiscriminately wearing rings on any finger back then and I happened to have a ring on my left ring finger. As our new coworker stepped into the cubicle, I quickly switched the ring from the left hand to the right, looked up, and smiled at the newcomer.

He introduced himself as ---- Fox and gave us some getting-to-know-you details about himself.
  1. He was a freshman.
  2. He was in the ROTC.

Those facts, combined with his puppyish over-exuberance were enough to make me switch my ring back from the right hand to the left hand. There would be no future for me and Fox.

But Fox fit in quite nicely with the women of the office. He was excessively chatty and loved to join in our girl talk. That, and he gave great back massages. Now normally, I'm fairly closed to people physically (unless, of course, I'm not, if you know what I mean). But for Fox, I made an exception because his backrubs were exceptional. Blame it on the ROTC and his massive muscles. At 5:30, once all the superiors had cleared out of the office, we'd have a backrub break. Those days were glorious.

Because he was a freshman boy and because we were all women and because he loved to be involved in our love lives, one of us once decided to set him up with her freshman roommate. They went on a double-date. On Monday, our horrified coworker returned to the office to report to us all that she and Fox and their dates had gone to the HFAC for some musical performance, and in order to impress his date, Fox ate his program. As soon as Fox came back to the office, we lectured him on what does and what doesn't impress women. Thoroughly indoctrinated, and without having us tell him to do so, he called his date to apologize for eating his program. She said that he didn't need to apologize---it was impressive! Sheesh. Freshman girls.

Perhaps my favorite Fox story was the day when we were talking about the French R. At this point, we had another male coworker---Ben, a married man with a booming voice. I was trying to teach Fox to pronounce the French R correctly and said, "It's actually your uvula that's doing all the work."

Fox's eyes went wide and he asked, "I know what the uvula is, but why does it always sound so dirty?"

Ben, the married man with the booming voice said loud enough for everyone in the cubicle maze to hear, "It's because it's a cross between uterus and vulva."

Fox is now all grown up and he's even married. Yet I was still able to witness his puppyish exuberance. He even hugged me twice as I shed a tear for times gone by.

Battery Expired

Yesterday in the middle of a not-so-pleasant day, I noticed that the status lights on my laptop were blinking orange instead of green. I love orange, but blinking on my computer, it was not a happy color. It was indicating to me that my laptop batteries were completely dead, never to be recharged again. So on top of everything that was sucking, I found out that I'd need to pay $150 if I ever want to use my laptop without plugging it in.

Similarly, my body's batteries have run out. I haven't been getting the sleep I need lately. I have thought that I've been able to function properly anyway, but playing an online game with Daltongirl tonight proved otherwise. It was some word game and I kept on laying words on the board that were not actually words. I think that Daltongirl had to challenge me about seven times. I'd give you some examples, but without battery power, my short-term memory is shot. I do definitely remember BEAF. Because I really thought for a moment that BEEF was spelled BEAF.

I think I haven't been blogging lately for the same reason. No brain power.

Taking this into consideration, I think I'm going to go to bed about three hours early tonight. And try to recharge my batteries properly so as to avoid permanent damage. Good night.