A Special Spice Cupboard

I'll tell this story at my mom's suggestion. I highly approve of people suggesting blog ideas to me, because as you can tell, I've been uncreative lately.

In September of my freshman year, my roommate announced to me that she was going to have a birthday party at her grandparents' house. Then, she announced to the whole ward that she would be having a birthday party at her grandparents' house and extended the invitation to everyone who wanted to come. It was a new ward and people were still getting to know one another, and because we were freshman and had no other friends, most of us showed up at the party.

We arrived at the grandparents' house and all of a sudden I noticed that people were acting strangely. They'd say things to my roommate like, "You never told us who your grandpa was!" or "Oh my gosh, are you serious?" or "Is he here? Is he showing up later?" or I most particularly remember a guy standing in front of an open spice cupboard saying, "Oh my gosh, I'm looking through Lavell Edwards's spice cupboard!"

I still had no clue. I had no clue for the rest of the party, either. Not even when Lavell Edwards himself showed up and some of the guys almost passed out from exhilaration. In fact, I had to wait until I went home, made sure my roommate wasn't around, and called my mom to tell her about the experience. I don't remember the precise exchange that occurred between us, but I do remember that the telephone lines between Canada and Utah effectively carried the words "are you stupid??" to my stupid little ear.

I could go on to tell stories about my cooking crickets in Lavell Edwards's oven later that year, but what is there to say beyond "I cooked crickets in Lavell Edwards's oven"? I think all the relevant information is right there.

What is relevant to the immediate story, however, is that after the party, all our ward members went back to their dorm rooms and bragged to everyone who didn't go to the party. One particular jerk who hadn't attended the party talked to my roommate about it later. I won't mention this absolute jerk's name but in my own smugly subtle way, I'll allude to it. After finding out an invitation to my roommate's grandparents' house was actually an invitation to Lavell Edwards's house, he was, in a word, pissed. And so he decided to talk to my roommate about it. Now, this was almost seven years ago, so forgive me for forgetting all the specifics, but the guy cornered my roommate and started yelling at her for not having informed the ward who her grandpa was when she invited the ward to her birthday party. Despite the fact that she pointed out that she was inviting people to her birthday party and the point was to get to know each other better and have fun, he insisted that she had been hugely deceitful in not disclosing who her grandpa was. Because, of course, he would have gone if he'd known who the grandpa was. She had a resource that she could share with people, but she was selfishly keeping it from people. And the guy didn't let up. He just kept tearing a strip into her. And here I am, getting mad about it seven years later.

I have no resolution to this story.


Name Dropping

Viper loves name dropping. The thing is, the kind of name dropping he participates in takes about five minutes of explanation per name: "You know The RM, the movie?" Uh... yeah, I watched it a while ago. I can't really remember it. "Well, you know how he's in court at the end of the movie?" I think I vaguely remember something like that, yeah... "Well, he's got this lawyer. Do you remember the lawyer?" No, not really... "The lawyer tries to tell him to do the wrong thing, but then he does the right thing." Oh. Yeah. Okay. I think I sortof remember that. "That's my friend. My friend Curt."*

And the fact is that if I do a google image search for Curt, I find his picture, and that's already pretty cool. When I do a google image search of my name, I get this. No joke.

Viper admits that he loves name dropping. He'll say to me, "I just think it's cool. I think it will be cool to one day see Curt on television and say to my kids, 'I know that guy. That's my friend, Curt. Here, let's give him a call.'"

I smile and nod and he asks, "Don't you think that would be cool?" I just keep smiling and nodding, giving off the impression that really, I'm too cool to think about such things.

The fact is that the moment I'm away from Viper, I start bragging to everyone who'll listen to me. Today, I announced to my English class (a class in which I've never spoken to anyone until today) that last night, I hung out with the guy who played the guy whose wife was dead in that Easter movie. You know. Finding Faith in Christ: "Yeah. We totally hung out. We even talked about relationships and stuff. We're thisclose now. Can you believe it? The guy who plays the guy whose wife was dead!"

The day after I hung out with Kirby Heyborne, I told each of my coworkers individually: "Good morning, how are you doing?... Good?... Oh yeah. Me too. I'm just a little tired today. You know, I was hanging out with Kirby Heyborne last night.... Oh, you've heard of him?... Yeah, yeah, he's a good guy. Seriously. Yeah, I would say that we're pretty good friends... Yes, he is very nice in person. You know, my boyfriend looks just like him. They could be twins. Well, maybe not twins, but definitely brothers or something. I think it's got something to do with their closely-set eyes. No seriously. I wouldn't be surprised if they asked my boyfriend to play his brother in his next movie. Because my boyfriend's an actor too, you know. Yeah, he's actually a little bit of a celebrity, too."

It's true, actually. He played a missionary in a short commercial or inspirational video or something. They played it between General Conference sessions one year. Oh, you don't remember him? Well... he was one of those missionaries... I'm sure that if you were paying attention at the time, you'd remember now. And that's not all. When we go places together, people almost throw themselves at him and say, "You're my favorite player at ComedySportz!" Or sometimes they're more subtle. Like when he and I were looking at cell phones and he made a couple of jokes and walked to the other side of the booth. The salesman leaned in towards me and said in a conspirational sort of way, "He's my favorite at ComedySportz. He's great. Is he funny in real life?"

"Why yes, he is. He's very funny in real life. And you know, he also knows that guy. That guy who played the guy whose wife was dead in Finding Faith in Christ. And to tell the truth, I know him too. Oh, and have you ever seen The RM? Because there's this one scene where Kirby Heyborne---yeah, I know him---goes to court, and the lawyer..."

*Several details in this blog post have been exaggerated for comedic effect. Any dialogue I claim comes from Viper is actually a more accurate representation of what I sound like when I'm name dropping.

Late, Late, Late

In high school, I had somewhat of a birthday tradition where my father would take me out to lunch. One year, we had our lunch but I was a little late getting back to school and I needed a note to get in. Dad looked around the car for paper and decided to use the back of one of his business cards. Then, in kid print, he wrote:

Cicada was late today because she was at lunch with her daddy.
--Her Daddy

I laughed and told him they wouldn't possibly accept that, but nevertheless, he refused to write me a new note. I brought my father's note in to the secretary. She took it, looked at me suspiciously and said, "Did your father really write this?" I assured her that he did and she allowed me to go to class. While I was in class, she called him at work (his phone number and picture were conveniently on the other side of the note).

"Mr. ---------," she said, "I'm calling with regards to the note you wrote your daughter today."

"What note?" my dad asked. And after stringing her along a little while, he admitted that he had, in fact, written the note. She thought it was funny and asked my father to please, in the future, sign his real name to any notes instead of signing "Her Daddy."

A couple weeks later, my computer ate my homework at 8:00 in the morning and I cried and cried. My daddy (who hates to see me cry) assured me that I could simply redo my homework and go to school late. So I redid my homework and he wrote me a note: "Cicaida is lait to skool today becuase she wuz having problems with the cornputer." He signed his name. I brought it to school and the secretary was thrilled to receive it.

I happened to be late a lot this year, and a couple weeks later, I needed another note. My dad wasn't around, so I asked my mom to write the note. She wrote me a regular note and I brought it to the secretary. She took it eagerly, read it, and said, "Oh. Your mother wrote it. It's a boring note."

Again, shortly thereafter, I was late for school. I had told my mom about the secretary's reaction to her last note, and my mom was offended. My dad was funny and entertaining, but she was boring. So she wrote me a boring note:

This is Cicada's boring mother writing her another boring note, giving her another boring excuse for being late to school.

I brought it in to the office where the regular secretary was gone and a substitute secretary took her place. I gave her my mother's boring note. She read it, gave me the gosh-awfullest dirty look I've ever received, and sent me on my way to class.

From then on, my mom would have my write the notes for her, which she would then sign her name to. I got creative with those, too. I seem to remember one that went like this:

Please excuse Cicada for being late to school today. It is totally my fault and I am a bad mother. She clearly informed me of the exact time she needed to be to school, and reminded me when exactly I needed to leave the house to get her to school on time. But I did not listen to her because I thought that I was smarter than she is. This is clearly not the case.

When I handed it to my mother to sign her name to, she added the note, "Not entirely true, but you get the idea."

The War

Today a coworker returned to work after her vacation to Italy. It was rumored that she had left food at the secretary's desk (where communal offerings are left) and so I went up to inspect. There, upon the secretary's desk, sat a pile of poo cookies.

Now, I hate the word poo, but really, that's just what we called these cookies: Poo cookies. There are different brands, shapes, flavors, sizes of poo cookies, but the two things they all have in common are they they 1) are inexpensive and 2) come in a bag. Poo cookies would often feature at meetings. The only time I would allow myself to buy poo cookies was when they were accompanied by a jar of Nutella. There was nothing so exquisite as Nutella piled all over a poo cookie.

When it seemed that we'd soon go to war with Iraq, the mission president asked us all to buy enough food and water to be able to stay in our apartments for two weeks if necessary. Among the war provisions in my companionship (there were three of us) were three bags of poo cookies and three jars of nutella.

War broke out two days later, and after we received the phone call telling us to stay in our apartment, we all walked solemnly to the kitchen to bring out our war provisions: Nutella and poo cookies. And it was the best war ever.

Reading Days

I know that I have been a bad blogger lately. The thing is, I'm taking two English lit courses and all of my homework basically consists of reading novels. So every day, I'm doing all my homework away from the computer. I wish that I had access to an outdoor pool. I'm not at all a pool person, but when I get out of class at 2:00 every afternoon, and I walk home in the sweltering heat, and I realize that the only thing I'll be doing for the next several hours is reading novels, I kindof like the idea of sitting by a pool. Well, ideally, a lake. Ideally, I could take all my homework to my old cottage in Canada and do it there. And ideally, there would be no black flies, horse flies, deer flies, mosquitoes, or sand flies. And as long as I'm living in a fantasy world, ideally, I would weigh 130 lbs.

Books I've Read in the Last Three Weeks:

The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
Jazz (Toni Morrison)
Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
All the Pretty Horses (Cormac McCarthy)
The Last Report of the Miracles at Little No Horse (Louise Erdrich)

While I read the next several novels, I'll try and think of some good stories from my past that I can tell. Family members and friends I've known for a long time could always help me out by submitting special requests.

Time Management

Today something I saw at the office that caught my attention and caused me to rise from blog death.

The student employees work in an open area where there are four long desks with about eight or ten work stations each. There are no dividers and no privacy (that's not a problem because unlike last year, there is actually space now, and it's convenient for socializing with coworkers). What that means is that when someone is doing something out of the ordinary, everyone knows about it. Today I heard a buzzing noise and turned around to witness a coworker shaving his face with an electric razor. He was staring intently at the computer, using the mouse with one hand and shaving his face with the other.

It made me think that I've obviously been misusing my time. I have compiled a list of things that I have foolishly been doing on my own time that can now be brought into the office.

Brushing teeth: No longer will I waste time brushing my teeth at home! With very little preparation (a rinse cup and a spit cup) I can now brush my teeth at my desk!

Blow-drying hair: When sockets abound at work, why waste my own electricity and precious personal time making my hair look perfect? Instead, I can bring my hair dryer to work, plug it in, and blast away for a few minutes while I read correct grammar on the computer screen.

Waxing legs: I have never done this, but now that I have four paid hours every day to attend to my personal hygiene, I may as well start. Think of all the work I can get done while I wait for the wax to harden sufficiently!

Pedicure/manicure: Again, what better time to attend to this than when I'm already planning to stay in the same spot for four hours? At the beginning of my shift, I can do my toes, then work on my fingernails. For the rest of the time, as long as I'm careful typing, I can the enamel dry perfectly.

Bleaching my mustache: This is something I've only ever done once, morally supporting a friend who realized that she needed it after seeing this picture. But now, why not do it again?

I believe that the personal care possibilities are endless. And in the spirit of office unity and camaraderie, when someone asks, "Pass the epilator, please," I will reply, "With pleasure."

Holy Crap

This is one of my favorite stories ever.

My freshman year, I lived in Deseret Towers. For those who don't know, DT are towering dorm buildings that have about forty girls per floor. Each floor also has two bathrooms, with a few shower stalls and a few toilet stalls and several sinks.

One day, we all had to get together for a mandatory floor meeting at which several things were to be discussed. During this meeting, our Residence Assistant said the following:

"I don't know how it is in the other bathroom on this floor--" (she lived on one side of the floor, so she didn't use the same bathroom that I did) "--but in our bathroom, girls are leaving their crap all the time."

I had a horrible image of girls not flushing That Which Should Be Flushed and started looking around to see who all lived on that side of the floor and figuring out who among them would be a non-flusher. The RA continued:

"There's crap left in the stalls. There's crap in the showers. There's crap all over the sinks."

I was absolutely horrified. This was not a matter of non-flushing. This was absolute, deliberate, utter filth and I wanted to know who on that side of the floor was doing it, and why the first time I heard about it was at a floor meeting.

And as I sat, trying to judge my neighbors, someone started to laugh. And then someone else started to laugh. One by one, those who'd been confused began to realize that by "crap," our RA meant "stuff."

Crime and Punishment

When I am a parent, I want to find appropriate punishments for my children when they misbehave. You need to find a punishment that fits the crime and that teaches the child why what he or she did was wrong. I think one of the greatest examples of this was what my freshman roommate's mom did to discipline her ten-year-old son.

He had been caught at school writing profanities on the walls of the school in permanent marker. Not only was he writing these profanities, he was misspelling them. As punishment, his mother made him write (and spell correctly) profanities all over his own bedroom walls. Then, he had to live in his defiled room for a week. After the week, he had to completely repaint his room so that there was no trace of the profanity.

I think that this was brilliant. It taught the boy the following:

1) The importance of correct spelling, no matter what the circumstance.
2) The fact that profanity on walls makes a place ugly, and it is unpleasant to have to live in a place so defiled.
3) The fact that it takes a lot of work to clean up that sort of vandalism.

Daltongirl, I wish you the best of luck finding appropriate punishments for your children's sins.

Can I pique your interest?

I'm editing a course right now. I came across a sentence that talked about "peaked interest." Of course, I changed it immediately to "piqued," but then was interested to know if the majority of people use this correctly or incorrectly. Please review my google results:

"peaked her interest" = 455
"peaked his interest" = 965
"peaked their interest" = 857,000

"peeked her interest" = 428,000
"peeked his interest" = 342,000
"peeked their interest" = 238,000

"piqued her interest" = 27,000
"piqued his interest" = 45,300
"piqued their interest" = 18,900

This is fascinating to me, and I'm comforted to know that this should also fascinate some of my readership. Why such low numbers of "peaked interest" compared to "peeked interest"? If I had to choose between those incorrect forms, I would always choose "peaked." And why does "peaked their interest" yield more hits than any of the others? Especially when "peaked her interest" and "peaked his interest" yield such low results?

Ideas? Hypotheses? Too bad I'm not taking any more Elang classes; I could do a study.

Out with the Old, In with the New

The Boy left me. This is sad on many levels. I absolutely loved living with him. Sure, we had our moments, like when we argued over who was leaving the toilet seat up (I may mention that for the last six months, I swear it's only been left up once) or when I talked to him about eating the ingredients I had bought for recipes and I talked to him about eating the ingredients I had bought for recipes and I talked to him about eating the ingredients I had bought for recipes. I guess he never quite got that. But who am I to complain? He's kept me supplied with Crystal Light for the past nine months. And he's done really sweet things. Take the other night for example.

I was in bed with the window open, listening to the creepy sounds outside my window. This used to be a bigger problem when he was working the night shift and I was all alone. Last summer, I finally realized that the "footsteps" I was continually hearing was actually the sound of the trees hitting the shed beside my window. But the other night, as I tried to convince myself that the creepy noises were just the trees, I began to realize that the creepy noises were not the trees. There was something alive outside my window. And it was moving.

I sent him a text message: Come here.

Seconds later, he was in my room, and of course, the creepy noises had already stopped. But, being the brave man he was, he said he'd go out and investigate. "I'm just happy I have this!" he said. I expected to see him with a gun, a baseball bat, or even a golf club, but he was wielding a flashlight.

I heard him go outside and around to the side of my house where my window was. And then I heard a cat meowing. He found the culprit. But then instead of just shooing the cat away and coming back into the house, he did a full circuit around the house, inspecting the back yard, too, to make sure that there were no other unwelcome guests. He's a sweetie.

(Another reason I'll miss him: The other night, I saw him coming home. I was sitting in the living room with the lights out. I went to the door and waited for him to come in. He opened the door and I jumped at him and yelled. The look on his face was one of sheer terror, but it was nothing like the look on my face when he immediately punched me in the boob. He had no idea what he was doing, but it was the fight of his fight-or-flight instinct.)

I have replaced The Boy with a roommate I'll call Redrass. I'll call her that until 1) she discovers my blog and 2) she demands that I change it. Redrass is a friend of mine from class this past semester. We had three of our Tuesday-Thursday classes together, so we ended up spending a fair amount of time together. She is one of the very few people who I've met in class and chosen to hang out with outside of class. She's simply cool enough.

So welcome Redrass and goodbye The Boy.