29 December, 2008

Strange Urges: report from Mexico, day one

One of the most disconcerting things about travelling for me is the reconciliation between how I imagine a place to be and its reality. When I envision Hungary to be like Russia with less snow, and it turns out to be more like Boston. Cities and countries are always more complex and multifaceted than the travel brochures I create for them in my head: messier, the people's faces more pinched, the food greasier, the streets less swept with more missing cobblestones, the stray dogs slightly more menacing. It's always something to get used to, but it's never bothered me before, and I've always ended up liking the real thing better.

When my mom and I started planning this trip to Mexico, months ago, not long after the divorce, I envisioned Mexico as I've seen it in movies, especially "La Misma Luna," one of my favorites. Bright orange stucco buildings and handpainted billboards. Children everywhere. Young guys in leather jackets riding mopeds. Shacks in every available space, some ramshackle, some not, selling tamales and tropical fruit. Reggaeton blasting out car windows. My mother told me that we would be staying in a resort, but because I've never stayed in a resort before, that did nothing to my perception of what this experience would be like. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, when you stay in resort in foreign country, the resort is the experience. The goal is not only isolation from the real country, but from reality in general.

When we crossed the border and drove through a small city on our way to "the Mayan Palace," I saw Mexico exactly as I had envisioned it. Orange building here, handpainted fruit stand there. A young guy in a denim jacket stood on a street corner holding six roses, obviously waiting for someone. He looked adorably, preciously vulnerable, and I wanted to hug him. But we kept driving. We passed the last gas station in town which advertised the loteria mexicana, and kept driving. We got so far into the middle of nowhere I almost expected us to be going on walkabout, with only a flask of water and our wits to keep us alive. But no. We eventually reached a large compound of buildings. I'm sure the goal of the location was "oasis" but all I could think was "prison." Like in Holes, perhaps this place had the only water for miles. After two security checks, we were allowed inside.

From a distance, the place looks like a mental hospital, or a residential/office park that is on its way out. Once you get closer, you see the overlarge fake Christmas tree, the machine-driven fountain. All non-ocean waters feel artificial. The pavement is Disneyland smooth. But it isn't until we enter the main lobby that my stomach hits my knees.

Mayan Palace is a pretentious name, let's face it, and the whole resort experience to me is a big-budget, long-anticipated epic film that all critics pan as "missing its objective." All swelling John Williams score when the characters embrace, no real chemistry. The whole place smacks of "trying too hard." Trying to do what? Win my loyalty? Lull me into a trance? I still haven't made up my mind.

For a Mayan Palace the place feels vaguely Roman to me: the staff all in white, bustling about importantly serving comped margaritas, the vastness of the marble front corridor, the pillars, the smokeless fireplaces. I feel like I should be lounging on my side eating grapes. The concept is Hollywood Mayan Palace--perhaps the way Walt Disney would envision it--everything is a little too clean and polished to be real. All the opulence of the Mayan empire without the human sacrifice, without the messy, embarrassing blood. Even the quasi-authentic replica of a Mayan statue is too shiny, his tiny walnut-sized junk set back from the edge of the table, completely unlike the near-pornographic virility of the real statues I've seen in museums. He looks unsexed, castrated and impotent. Mayan culture de-offensive-ized for the wealthy sensibility. I feel sorry for him.

I don't know if I'm being stubborn or foolish to feel this way about the resort after one day. I know I'm being reactionary, but the whole place is obviously designed to evoke strong emotion. I feel manipulated, because that is the nature of the beast, as it were. The hallways are big and echo-y. Each apartment door feels isolated and surreal. There's an ashtray every few feet and I feel a strange urge to start smoking.

What really surprises me is how being here changes my perception even of myself. What kind of people come here? What kind of person does that make me? Am I self-indulgent? Xenophobic? What's the point of coming to another country and staying in an artificial environment? This is a cruise ship on land. I feel sick.

When I get undressed to take a shower, I stand naked in front of the full-length mirror. The too-bright fluorescent lighting accents every dark vein, every stray hair--every imperfection. I feel bloated and freakishly white, like a cooked lobster. I also feel a strange urge to circle all the parts of my body that I don't like with a black magic marker. I start to jump up and down in front of the mirror, to see what jiggles, then remember I learned that trick from a girl in high school who was anorexic, so I stop.

On the one hand, it's a testament to this resort's power that I feel this way. One place evoking so many emotions, and so strongly I feel I can't control them. But the power feels ill-gotten, despotic. Being a student, I would never qualify, but most guests here fall victim to the allures of a timeshare promotional presentation, which can last up to three hours and have hundreds of dollars attached to your mere attendance. The mindset reeks of an aggressive religious revival, or perhaps organized crime. I've never been so grateful to be poor in my life.

This is the hardest thing for me to say, but I'm still going to say it. Most of the people here like it. They like the isolation, the illusion of safety it offers. I say illusion because although I am less concerned with the possibility of mugging (and crime in general) than I would be elsewhere, when my little brother went missing this morning I had the same visions of him being loaded into a van and sold for scrap organs as I would have back home. I was still just as relieved/pissed off when we finally found him. But still, what is the difference between me and the people who enjoy this environment? What is wrong with them, or me? That's a real question, and one I will try to address later.

My final disappointment is this: I feel that the time I spent practicing sassy Spanish responses to catcalls with Chandler was completely wasted. I've been stared down, but not catcalled. Everyone here speaks English anyway. No Spanish catcalls so far. And I was really looking forward to that. Oh well.

25 December, 2008


Merry Christmas! And now, a public service announcement by Elisa Koler.

Every year, my family spends Christmas Eve with our extended family, and then on Christmas Day, we spend some time with Carlos' birth family. They are open, generous people, and I am so glad they are in my life. They take nothing from our Christmas celebration, in fact they add to it. None of them could care for Carlos, but they still love him. I love my little brother so much, and I can't imagine my life without him. I am grateful this his birth mother recognized that she could not provide a stable home for her son, and had the wisdom and unselfishness to let him live with people who could. I hope one day she will be clean and sober, and I know my brother will continue to support her in that goal.

I read the book Oliver Twist when I was a senior in high school, and it really pissed me off. I hated the implied concept that family members who don't even know each other would be able to recognize one another on the street. Families aren't born. They're made. I love my adopted brother just as much as I love my biological brother (truth be told, he even looks more like me).

So on the off chance anyone who reads this is considering adoption, let me offer my full support. Adoption is the ultimate act of love, for everyone involved. Not just for babies, either. Even though we missed Carlos' babyhood, he is still my parents' son, and my brother.

23 December, 2008

Two Crucial Requests

I know that the holidays are upon us (Holidays, coming from the term Holy Days ... which leaves Kwanzaa out, most assuredly, because it has no religious significance whatsoever ... but no one I know celebrates Kwanzaa, especially the black people I know, who I think would be insulted if I assumed that they did ... anyway), but there are two things I need from you, my dear friends.

One, could you, this very evening, get on your knees and say a substantial prayer that I will be chosen for this class? It's a screenwriting class that you can enroll in by application only. Here are five reasons why this is really, really, important to me.

1. There is a stipend. Meaning, money for just being in the class. Note that the stipend has nothing to do with whether or not you "do well" in the class. That's right. Free money and credit.
2. There are not very many classes at BYU or elsewhere that have an application process. Meaning that if one is in the class one was chosen. Being chosen is basically the same as winning. I love winning.
3. This will show all the dumb kids that teased me in high school, both my ex-boyfriends, other boys that wouldn't talk to me because I had/have glasses, and my three female cousins who are older than me and always got to do the things I wanted to do without me, that I was chosen to be in a special class with a stipend. Equals, ultimate revenge.
4. It will be the gateway for future fame and glory. I just know it.
5. I love to write. It is my passion and I would love an opportunity to experience a real professional writing environment.

Psych! I just want the stipend.

Pray for me guys. Seriously. OK. Now that you're all on board with that, onto favor number two.

Screenwriting is really, really cool. Thus, only really, really cool people can participate in it, and only really cool people will get chosen to participate in a screenwriting class, which is the gateway to screenwriting fame and fortune. I am positive about this.

Here's the problem, though. I am not cool. I am a four-eyed, chubby nerd with few friends. I am not a sweet awesome hipster like I'm sure Matt Groening is (see above photo). I still love and accept myself, but these people will not! We all went to high school! Cool people are RUTHLESS!! Here is my plan to combat my squarosity:

1. Glasses. No big deal. Wear contacts.
2. Ten pounds overweight. Wear loose-fitting, billowy clothing that is the style of late, which will cover up self. Make sure NOBODY TOUCHES me, because then they would find out where fabric ends and I begin.
3. Nerd factor. DO NOT mention Star Trek, literature (except appropriately hip literature) or being Mormon. Mormon is totally nerdy. Don't talk about anything weird. This one will be hard.
4. Lots of friends. This is the real challenge, folks. What I am going to do? Bring my "posse" to the interview? No! There is no interview! Just an email application. However, I have a blog. Did you know that? There is a feature on blogger that allows you to ACTUALLY MEASURE HOW MANY FRIENDS YOU HAVE and, by extension, how cool you are.

This feature is called "following."

Lest you all bust out your catsuits and night-vision goggles prematurely, allow me to explain that following me does not involve any physical effort on your part. All you have to do is go to my blog (Oh my goodness! You're here now, aren't you?), go to the section that reads "people that follow this blog" and click on "follow this blog." That's it!

I promise that if you do this and I make myself cool enough to be chosen for this class, I will give you a concrete share of the fame and fortune I will someday receive. That's a promise you can take right to the bank. Metaphorically speaking.

21 December, 2008

I got home from my mission ONE YEAR AGO today

Here's where I was one year ago and two years ago, respectively. These are, in case you can't figure it out on your own, emails from my mission.

18 December 2006

To everyone:

Merry almost Christmas! I'm pretty sure the internet places are all going to be closed next Monday (as well it should be) so I will try to make this two week's worth of Koler Nővér action. This is shaping up to be a great Christmas: I don't have to stress about buying presents for anyone (family, I bought a little something for you, but it's going to be more of a Valentine's Day present).

I have a new companion. I need two weeks before I can say anything concrete about her. [Pollock, that was you]

Taking Gillespie Nover to Budapest to go home was a little like taking a beloved family dog to be euthanized. I knew it was all for the best, but inside I was dying because I knew SHE didn't want to go. I tried to be enthusiastic, for her sake, but it was rough.

"C'mon Gillespie! We're going to Budapest! Oh boy!"

It's funny: often I expect things from people, particularly from my fellow missionaries on my mission, but I am always surprised to find out that everybody is different. In Hungarian we have a saying "Nem vagyunk egy formak." That means "We are not the same" but it means more than that, really. Like you can't apply one certain way of thinking or one certain idea to everybody. Except the gospel of Jesus Christ. That works for everybody.

I'm really sorry but I have to go. I wish you all a merry Christmas filled with all those things that bring actual happiness, which are, in fact, not things.


P.S. If anyone has had a baby recently, please send me a picture.

17 December 2007

My very last general epistle from Hungary:

My heart has been beating in my fingers and my ears all day today. For a lot of reasons.

I ended my last week with a lot of programs, a Zone Conference, a really cool tracting experience (more on that in just a second) and a baptism. Not someone that we taught, hanem a woman from Kazincbarcika. She has a very strong testimony of Elder Ady, who is going home with me in two days. Coincidence? She is a nice lady but at the baptism she hugged Elder Ady and kissed his neck repeatedly ... she is at least 60 ... really disturbing.

Elder Ady and I had an interesting conversation the other day (at the baptism) along these same lines. I have noticed (or rather, experienced) that female missionaries get sexually harassed a lot here, which doesn't happen to male missionaries very often. On the other hand, male missionaries have a lot of problems with investigators or members -- generally older, lonely single women -- falling in love with them. That has yet to happen to me, thank goodness. Elder Ady theorizes that older women here fall in love with the IDEA of a young, handsome guy that wears a suit every day and abides by a strict moral code and is nice to everyone. But that isn't a realistic perception. Nevertheless there are a lot of inactive women we meet with who pretty much joined the church because some elder charmed them all the way down into the waters of baptism.

Although if you saw how slim the pickings are in Hungary, how hard it is to find a decent man, it would be a little more understandable. And because there are so few nice men, they don't have to fight for women at all, and the ones who treat women badly make out OK too. What a mess.

Anyway, last night I got sexually harassed for what I hope is among one of the last times by these two drunk idiots. I try not to let it get a rise out of me, but it always does. It's especially hard now that I understand everything they say to me.

When we got home Sister Loveland reminded me about a blessing she got our second transfer together when she was sick, which said that she was going to have a great mission, that her and her companion (me) were going to be like the apostles of old. Then she showed me this scripture in Matthew:

"Blessed are ye when men shall revile you."

That made me laugh.

Also, we were an hour late for Zone Conference because there was construction in Budapest and we got lost ... we were in the car with the elders ... it was really embarrassing. So I missed the talks and the training, but was there in time for lunch.

I gave a really short departing testimony because I was the only one. I don't remember what I said. I had promised myself I wasn't going to try to give advice about missionary work because it's not like I know anything they don't. So I just said a lot of stuff about Jesus. I might have cried. That's all I really remember.

The coolest thing that happened to me all week is as follows: I may or may not be a little tired and burnt out this past two weeks, but lucky for me my companion is a slave driver and doesn't let me get away with anything. She drags me out to go tracting even if we only have an extra 15 minutes to spare. I complain a lot but I appreciate it, I guess. So the other day we had about 20 minutes before Angol Ora was supposed to start, and she dragged me out to go tracting, like usual. We were on this small street near the branch house, and because it was dark and cold, people were all telling us to go away. Then at house number 22 this happened.

(knock on door)
Me: I wish I had a greenie.
Loveland: Why?
Me: Because then I would be in charge! And if it were up to me we'd be inside right now.
Loveland: Shut up. You love this.
Me: Do not. I'm freezing. (no one has come to door yet) This guy isn't home. Let's go.
(porch light comes on, woman comes out and walks to gate) (it's my turn to talk)
Me: Hi, my name is Sister Koler, and me and my friend represent Jesus Christ's Church. We would like to share a message about Jesus Christ.
(I wait for her to tell us to go to France)
Lady: (smiles) Oh, please come in.

It was like a Church movie. Not even kidding. She let us in and cried during the opening prayer. She's totally sane.

So maybe I will miss all of this a little bit. A lot, actually.

See you soon. I love you all.


14 December, 2008

Again? Really? So Soon?

Yes, I am blogging twice in one day. Shut up. I'm awesome.

What I Want:
1. To be happy.
2. To find a new job come April that pays better and makes the world a better place (and my interpretation of that can be as broad as I want to make it, because it is my life).
3. To get published.
4. To start writing poetry again (not necessarily for publication).
5. To buy wood flooring for our house.
6. To fall in love with someone who actually loves me back.
7. To read lots and lots of books.
8. To find my great-grandfather and his ancestors, so I can do their work.
9. To do well in school, per my own standards.
10. To potty-train Sego.

What I Got:
1. A dog that poops in the house. But come winter I may sign up for obedience classes.
2. School-wise, I am, actually, doing pretty well in the subjects that interest me. My progress in my science GEs leave something to be desired, as does my motivation to do something about it. Oh well, semester's almost over.
3. A lead to German military records at the Family History Library that may or may not have the information I want. Sadly, I will have to wait until next year to find out. Stupid snow ruining my trip to Salt Lake...
4. Not a lot of time, but lots of books I want to read. Right now I am in the midst of A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again and am enjoying it immensely.
5. Lots of love, and even more uncertainty! I don't know how much longer I can put up with this limbo business. Either you like me or you don't, right? Not that hard.
6. Carpet that is so stained no one knows the original color.
7. Some ideas, but even more trepidation about whether or not the poetry I might write will be any good. Onwards and upwards, I guess.
8. A phenomenal writing opportunity next semester that I don't want to say any more about, because I don't want to jinx it. Stay tuned!
9. A lot of ideas, but it's too soon to know for sure.
10. Against all odds, and in spite of #5 (pretty much the only source of real sadness in my life ... I know, right? I need to count my blessings), I am happy. Really happy.

(Speaking of poetry, this is a chiasmus!)

This Made Me Cry

This pretty much sums up what I want, in life. What a beautiful message for kids!

13 December, 2008

Tagged by Cori and co.

1. Do you like blue cheese? Sure do. I didn't know how it was made until after I had already fallen in love.

2- Have you ever smoked cigarettes? No. And yet I crave them all the time. Probably because they boost dopamine levels.

3- Do you own a gun? I hate guns. I will never own one.

4. What flavor Kool Aid was your favorite? I have no idea. I assume one of the red ones.

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Not really.

6. What do you think of hot dogs? You know, I loved them on my mission for some reason. Maybe because they reminded me of America? But when I got home it went away.

7. Favorite Christmas movie? A Charlie Brown Christmas.

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Carrot juice.

9. Can you do push ups? No. Embarrassing.

10. Favorite hobby? At the moment, swimming.

11. Do you have A.D.D.? Yes.

12. What's one trait you hate about yourself? I obsess about things that are not as important as the things one ought to obsess about.

13. Middle name? Anne.

14. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment? I'm kinda bored. I can't believe I was out until 6 Am last night. My tummy hurts.

15. Name 3 drinks you regularly have. Carrot juice. Water. Chocolate soy milk.

16. Current hate right now? Drama. Why can't everything in life just fall into place like it should?

17. Favorite place to be? The mountains.

18. How did you bring in the New Year? I think I went to the ward party and danced with Shoshauna's kids, then went home before midnight. Listen, I had JUST gotten back from my mission.

19. a place would you like to go? Iran.

20. name three people who will complete this: dumb question. Next.

21. Do you have slippers? Negative. I like being barefoot best.

22. What shirt are you wearing? My blue sweater.

23. Do you like sleeping on satin? Say what?

24. Can you whistle? Yes.

25. Would you be a pirate? I'm with Cori. I'm pretty much only down with the pet monkey aspect of piracy.

26. What songs do you sing in the shower? Oxford Comma by Vampire Weekend, I like Birds by eels.

27. Favorite girl's name? I hate answering this question because after even a moment the person who asked can tell I have thought about this way, way, way, WAY too much. So I am not going to answer. But know that when I do have children someday, their names will. be. AWESOME.

28. What's in your pocket right now? Nothing. These jeans are too tight to keep anything in the pockets. I mean, what?

29. Last thing that made you laugh? Pamela's totally inappropriate story. Use your imagination.

30. Favorite bed sheets as a child? Pocahontas.

31. Worst injury ever? I guess when I slammed my finger in Helen's van door. That is one of my few emergency room visits. Geez, though, it wasn't even broken.

32. Do you love where you live? Sure do!!!

33. How many TVs do you have in your house? 2. Neither are mine.

34. Who is your loudest friend? I feel pressure to say Sariah, but I would have to say Noelle.

35. How many dogs do you have? Two, baby. Assuming that Toby does indeed count as a whole dog, and not just a joke.

36. Does someone have a crush on you? You tell me.

37. What is your least favorite book? Summer of my German Soldier. Man, I HATED that book.

38. What is your least favorite candy? Those purple candies that look like tylenol, that everybody gives out at halloween. Now and Laters?

39. What is your least favorite Sports Team? *noncommittal shrug* The ones with racist names?

40. What song do you want played at your funeral? Live and Let Die.

03 December, 2008

This I found scribbled somewhere.

"Being a Mormon missionary is like having Christmas every day, in a parallel universe where Christmas isn't any fun."

June 19th

28 November, 2008

Something I'm grateful for ... one day late

At the beginning of each period in my Middle English class, someone gives a brief devotional from the Wycliff Bible. A few weeks ago, the person assigned to give the spiritual thought wasn't there, so the graduate student who is helping us with Magnus Herodes shared a scripture with us.

Isaiah 54: 4-5

In Middle English:

4 Wile thou not dreden, for thou shalt not be confoundyd, ne shamen. Forsothe it shal not shamen thee; for of the confusioun of thi youthe thou shalt foryete, and of the repref of thi widewhed thou shalt recorde no more. 5 For lordshipen shal of thee that made thee; the Lord of ostes hys name; and thin ayeen biere, the holi of Irael, the God of al erthe shal be clepid.

In PDE (or at least, the King James version):

4 Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the ashame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the breproach of thy widowhood any more.
5 For thy Maker is thine ahusband; the bLord of hosts is his name; and thy cRedeemer the Holy One of Israel; The dGod of the whole earth shall he be called.

What really struck me about these verses is the word "Redeemer." In Middle English, the terms used is "ayeen biere." Translated directly, that means "again buyer." So basically, "one who buys again." I had never associated the term Redeemer with its Old English roots: re- = again + deem = to buy. But that makes so much sense. Here in mortality, we sell ourselves short whenever we fall short of perfection, which is, of course, every day. We sell ourselves to sin. But Jesus Christ loves us so much that He buys us all back through His Atonement. No matter how cheaply we sold out or how much it costs to redeem us, He redeems all of us.

For thus saith the Lord, Ye have asold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without bmoney.
--Isaiah 52:3

I am very very grateful for this.

27 November, 2008

Funny Stories from my old journal

To distract myself from the fact that my phone is on the fritz and I can't seem to fix it for the life of me ... and that my roomies and I are going to a sale at one in the morning, making any attempt at sleep a pointless endeavor, I am now going to write in my blog. Again. Instead of, you know, doing homework or something like that. I was bored recently and reading over my old journal, and found some pretty funny shiz. So I thought I'd share. Here you go.

Saturday, 20 September 2003
"Anti-ode to an ice cream machine

Oh ice cream machine, thou art as foul and cruel as the most devilsh demons of the infernal pit!
I would never enter in unto thy odious presence, yet thou callest to me with the most irresistable and delicious flavors.
Ice cream candy bars, you are not necessary for my survival, yet the ice cream machine holds you tauntingly before my face.
Ice cream machine, why do you choose me as your victim?
Why not that skinny blond girl on the third floor with an annoyingly vacant expression?
Though I will never fully comprehend your powers, you remain the bane of my existence and my diet.
Because of you I shall gain an extra 310 calories per day, leading to my romantic ruin.
Ice cream machine, I am forced to descend to the ill-lit basement to heed your ceaseless calling.
How I abhor you and your scrumptious sinful selection.
Oh ice cream machine, thou art as foul and cruel as the most devilsh demons of the infernal pit!"

Thursday, 6 November, 2003.
"So in my English 195 class, there's like 100 people, right? And since the class is "Introduction to the English Major" it's sort of like a really lecture-based career exploration class, and it's kind of a waste of my time. Our only assignments are papers, one a week, each about the lecture from the previous week. And they're graded on completion only, so let's just say mine have been a little ... reluctant. OK, sarcastic. Very sarcastic. Also short. 13 point font. So today I get my paper from this week back, and there's a note from the TA that says "Please see me after class." And I'm thinking, "Oh, flippin Alabama, he's gonna tell me that my papers are sub-par and obnoxious, and I'm gonna fail or have to do them all over. Crap in a fireplace." So after class I approach this guy all reluctantly, and immediately start apologizing for the low quality level of my papers. And he says: "Actually, I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your papers. They make me laugh so much. You really have a gift, and I'd like to see you pursue it. You are an excellent writer." And then I said "Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ... thanks." And I booked it out of there with a goldfish-esque expression on my face. Man."

An addendum to this story is that the TA emailed me a few weeks later and asked me on a date. I was only 18 and he was a lot older than me ... or maybe he just felt a lot older ... either way, it freaked me out when he did that, and I totally blew him off. To this day, I find it funny that he developed a crush on me via my sardonic homework assignments. What a trip.

Monday, 5 July 2004

"The theme of the day is "Accidents." I will start with the least distressing one: today as I saw leaving the gym, the person at the desk told me to "Have a nice night." I responded "Thanks" but I forgot to add "You too." It's strange, the insignificant things that make me feel really, really gulty. I feel rude when I do things like that. Anyway.
Accident the second: Today the Tananator employed myself and the Cori to transport a free goat from this area of the middle of nowhere (Snohomish) to her new house in Bothell. The purpose of this goat is to offer companionship to the mule that she (Tana) has also purchased. God only knows why anyone needs a mule. Anyway. So we put this goat, whose name is Ginger, into the back seat of the van and drive her back to Bothell.

Ginger: *sniff sniff sniff*
Cori and Elisa: awwww... *scratch behind her ears, etc*
Ginger:*makes a sound like gumballs coming out of a gumball machine*
Elisa: *looks down* Aughhhh!
Tana: What is it?
Elisa: Your goat crapped on me!
Elisa: It's all up in the cuffs of my jeans!


Cori: That was SO FUNNY.
Elisa: Shut up. I hope she pees on you.
Cori: That would be worse.
Ginger: *makes sound like when you squirt a juice box at someone*
Cori: Aughhhhhhhhhhhh!

I love that goat.

The final accident: I went to Walmart. This was a mistake because I spent money. Spending money is bad."

Tuesday, 2 November 2004
"BARACK OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you weren't married to that gorgeous woman I would totally have your babies!!!!!"

I really have been a Barack Obama fan for a while. Longer than you. Although the above entry is not the most well-rehearsed argument as to why, it gets the point across pretty effectively.

Thursday, 9 June 2005
"Cori comes in 2 hours. In the meantime, the wait is going to kill me.
Lucky, my neighbor's dog, was outside today with no water. What the cruelty to animals? It's like 80 degrees out. I took matters into my own hands and left him a tupperware full of water. When he's done with the tupperware, he can chew on it.
Today there was a big scary bug inside, and I took him in a cup and left him outside.
I think I'm a closeted Buddhist.
I'm generally pretty anti-doo-rag (or is it do-rag?) but yesterday the love of my life was wearing one while he was showing me how to jump a car. I'm a suck suck suck suck sucker.
He likes dogs too."

See below for part two of this story.

Sunday, 12 June 2005

"I am not sure if I can articulate the DISASTROUS goings-on that encapsulated today, but I will venture.
This morning, Cori and I slept in until about 11 on the couch in our collective living room, seeing as we had two beds in our basement bedroom, but only one mattress. This morning my father (who is visiting) and our family friend Bryon arrived to drop off a rejected mattress at our apartment. He called just as Bryon's Suburban pulled into our driveway, and we answered clad in sweatpants and sweatshirts, hair ascance. Which of course is no big deal among family or (older, married) friends. However, when I went upstairs to get my running shoes to show Bryon (he designs orthotics) our doorbell rang. I answered it, and who should it be but Clark (heretofore known as "Mark," but I tire of pseudonyms) whom, as regular readers know, I have a mad crush on. Cringing inwardly, but not wanting to turn him away, I let him inside, and took him downstairs to meet the rest of the gang, Becca included. My father did not look even remotely surprised enough to meet the guy I had been talking about all weekend, which ought to have tipped me off right there. Clark and my father got along famously, or at the very least Clark is an excellent actor, and he left after helping my father give Cori a blessing. Later, when I was speaking to my father privately, he revealed, to my dismay, that he had GONE OVER TO A COMPLETE STRANGER'S HOUSE AND ASKED HIM TO COME OVER. He somehow figured out which apartment he lived in, and I suppose the fact that he had never met Clark did nothing to dissuade him. This, to a guy I have a crush on. I used to live in morbid fear that my father would one day, do something that would really, really embarrass me. My fear left me far, far too late.
Did I mention that when he was over I also had acne medication on my face? I didn't notice that until later.
Embarrassing moment the second: today I sat on a chair in our kitchen and broke it, Goldilocks-style. I felt very fat. Really, though, the chair was missing an important engineering piece, but it still sucked. Cori, naturally, thought it was right sportive."

I am pretty sure this event is the reason why Clark is now married to someone else.

Tuesday, 28 June 2005
"When I run, I don't listen to music or anything like that, I just let my mind wander and think about random things. Today, for some reason, I was thinking about the game "Two Truths and a Lie" and how I have such great material for that game, but I can never think of good ones when the time comes to play that game. Thus, I will now proceed to make a list of amazing but true things about me, for future reference. In no particular order:

1. My mom was a nun. (Always a classic)
2. My dad was Hindu and lived in an ashram in India.
3. My parents met in prison.
4. I shook hands with Howard Dean.
5. I dressed up as a Sprite can to promote recyciling on BYU campus. (That one isn't actually that good, but it is true)
6. I had not tried steak until I was 18 years old.
7. I had not been to Utah until I was 18 years old. (That would be a good one to use *in* Utah)
8. I have been to Jimi Hendrix's grave.
9. I saw Jesse Jackson speak at a Democratic rally on UW campus.
10. I run 36+ miles a week.
11. I placed second in a university-wide poetry contest my freshman year.
12. I have been to a Bob Dylan concert.
13. I have been to a Neil Young concert. (Ah, hippie parents ... )
14. My car is older than I am.
15. I have been to Sweden.
16. I performed in the Seattle Fringe Theatre Festival.
17. I went to Tokyo Disneyland before I went to the American one.
18. I have been to the original IKEA in Sweden.
19. I have been to the Pippi Longstocking theme park in Sweden.
20. I have seen all the Harry Potter movies on opening day.
21. I have held a three-day old baby that was not related to me.
22. I sang with Pete Seeger in the Seattle Folklife Festival.
23. I have been in several anti-war protests.
24. I once fell off a 25-foot cliff and didn't die.
25. I have never been stung by a bee.
26. My Dad sued Sir Mix-A-Lot.
27. I spoke at my high school graduation."

10, 14, 20 and 25 are no longer true. The rest still stand.

Well, that was fun. I'm going to go to that sale now.

26 November, 2008

Making up for the last two: A serious post about trust.

"Trust is tough to muster these days, since its perils have never been more obvious: Trust the government and end up in some Godforsaken desert across the seas, launching heavy munitions at sleeping innocents based on bad intelligence. Trust in the institution of marriage and find yourself penniless with three hungry mouths to feed after that dreamy tall-talking bastard skips town for the last time. Trust the stock market and watch your life savings evaporate in a few days, reappear and evaporate again, defying the common wisdom of every investment guru on the planet. Trust in your family and feed on a daily diet of small disappointments as they fail to live up to your enormous expectations of them. Trust your friends and struggle in vain to free them from their favorite bad habits, year after year, until you're all too old and insufferable to tolerate one another's company anyway." --Heather Havrilesky.

I have been thinking a lot about trust lately. Specifically, for the last two months or so. Even more specifically, since 8:05 PM 2 October 2008, when I met someone whom I want to trust more than I have ever wanted anything. No, really. A-ny-thing.

But it's tough, trusting people. Well, tough for me. I can't speak for all of humanity here. But I would wager that most people would agree with me on this. Those that don't must have had very boring, predictable lives. Or have never been dumped on their birthday. Via a four-sentence email. I'm just saying.

Seriously, you guys know what I'm talking about, right? Trust equals vulnerability, and that is really, really scary. You never know when someone is going to turn on you suddenly, like a pit bull from the pound. It seems simple enough at first. Lesson learned: avoid dogs with locking jaws.* But then somehow, after one bad encounter and a few close calls, every dog starts to remind you of that damn pit bull that tried to rip your face off, and almost succeeded. You look at the scar on your leg and remember the hospital and the five stitches and you think to yourself, what if this happens again? Am I ever going to be able to have a dog sit at my feet and know, with absolute certainty, that this creature would never, not in a million years, hurt me? You keep thinking that you will reach that point, but maybe the dog will flinch while he's sleeping and it all comes rushing back to you, and you end up cowering on the other side of the room.

So you get a cat. Not really. I'm divorcing myself from this analogy and returning to the subject at hand.

A lot of bad things have happened to me. I don't care to enumerate them, but know that there are plenty, some worse than others. People, and institutions, and ideals have failed me when they shouldn't have, and made me into the badly adjusted person I am today. I feel a lot like the quote at the top sometimes. How can anyone really let go of their fear and paranoia long enough to have a happy life? Is it possible to not live in constant fear that you're going to lose what you have and never get it back? On the other hand though, if you're too afraid to let something (or someone) into your life in the first place, your chances for happiness are clearly zero. So what is there to do?

I know the answer to that. It wasn't a rhetorical question. The answer is: Let those things (and people) into your life even though there is a distinct possibility that you will end up hurt. Give them a real chance to flourish, not just a half-hearted one (see my post on Alma 32). Learn to ride it out if (Not when? Look at me go...) you do end up hurt. And then keep moving forward.

It sounds so simple when you put it that way, doesn't it?

*Addendum: The "Locking jaw" thing with regard to pit bulls is a myth. I know that. I was just using hyperbole, for emphasis.

25 November, 2008

Continuing with the trend towards the shallow...

So. I saw the Twilight movie last night. Ready? This is a real shocker.


I truly, unabashedly enjoyed that film. It was BETTER THAN THE BOOK. The book was ridiculous and at times painful. I finished it out of morbid curiosity. The movie was also a little ridiculous, but it recognized that it was and so pulled off something the book could not: it was romantic and funny, and those parts overlapped, at no one's expense.

The actress who played Bella was perfectly cast. Her looks and mannerisms were exactly the way I pictured her. She is, alas, much better looking than I am, so those among my friends who got a kick out of picturing Bella as me (I'm looking at you, Ashley) are in for a rude awakening. The actor who played her dad was great too. He was sweet and bumbling without being over-the-top.

The vampires, OK. Their make-up was pancake-tastic, and they all looked like they were constantly practicing their Zoolander blue steel faces. But come on, people. This is a pulp film about a girl that falls in love with a teenage vampire. What were you expecting the vampires to look like? And true, Bella and Edward never actually say "I love you" on screen. But that stuff is private. Maybe that was a last-ditch attempt to be post-modern.

And Kayla, I totally checked out Rosalie's butt, and you're right. It is to die for. I would sell a kidney to have a behind like that. Maybe I'll start doing squats.

In short, aside from the Linkin Park song at the end, I find no fault with this film aside from the following lines:
"You caught that?" --Jacob. (In context, it was silly. Trust me.)
"Hold on tight, spider monkey." -Edward.

Edward: And so the lion fell in love with the lamb.
Bella: What a stupid lamb.
Edward: What a sick, masochistic lion.

Compared to the number of times a line in the book would send me running to the basin, that is downright spectacular.

Go see twilight, guys. The end.

Lighthearted, whimsical post

Alli tagged me to do this (technically, she tagged Cori and I, because we are one person).

5 TV Shows I Love to Watch:
1) The Simpsons
2) The Office
3) Sesame Street (Shut up. I'm awesome.)
4) Star Trek: the Next Generation (I'm not even ashamed)
5) Yo Gabba Gabba (true, I've only seen it once. But I liked it!)

5 Favorite Restaurants:
1) The papusa place on Center Street that's so authentic it doesn't even have a name.
2) The Ethiopian place in Seattle that is so authentic I can't even begin to spell its name.
3) The green restaurant in Miskolc with the really snooty waiters.
4) Thai Ruby.
5) Any place that sells Indian food.

5 Things That Happened Yesterday:
1) I chose not to go to my last class of the day and it turned out that the professor was in court watching his daughter formalize his granddaughter's adoption and he didn't make it back on time, so class didn't happen anyway.
2) I pondered the possibility of my being psychic.
3) I wrote an ABSURDLY low-quality paper about global warming.
4) I worked out at the gym for an hour.
5) I rehearsed Magnus Herodus with my group and our adviser.

5 Things I Love About Fall:
1) Leaves. Leaves turning colors. Leaves falling. Leaves crunching under my boots. Leaves leaves leaves.
2) The "First Day of School."
3) Busting out my tweed winter jacket and my purple galoshes. Sometimes together.
4) Little kids dressed up in costume.
5) Thanksgiving.

5 Things On My Wishlist:
1) True love.
2) To learn Spanish.
3) For Sego to stop pooping in the house permanently.
4) For Grady to stop drawing on the walls when I leave him alone for two seconds. Little jerk.
5) A cure for scleroderma.

5 People I Tag:
1) Ashley.
2) Kayla.
3) Alan.
4) Vilja.
5) Evan.

20 November, 2008

Funny Conversation with Cherie

Background information: a big group of us have decided we want to go to a showing of Twilight on Monday. None of us are real fans, but we thought it would be fun to do as a group of elitists, or ironic intellectuals, or whatever we are. So we looked up the tickets on fandango, and accidentally bought tickets for a showing in North Carolina. Crap. Of course the tickets are nonrefundable. Soon after, Cherie and I had the following conversation via facebook chat (I cut out some stuff that is a little too personal):
10:54pm Cherie

Elisa-Did you buy a ticket for North Carolina? If you did, please let me pay for your Provo ticket to make it up for my poor posting of Twilight. I don't know what I was thinking posting (and buying tickets) for a theater in NC.

10:50pm Elisa

dude I fell for it too

I should have paid attention

10:51pm Cherie

I am so so so so sorry-It is totally my fault-you only trusted me, who didn't pay attention to where I was buying tickets from. I am buying your Provo ticket and that is that.

10:51pm Elisa


it will be a funny story for later

10:53pm Cherie

Don't even mention it. I am more embarrassed than anything. Both you and Chris contacted me to point out that there were no tickets available at the Wynnsong at Provo-which should have been like my first clue, but I just though you guys weren't able to link in to right page-which of course you weren't because it was for NC. Anyways-it will make a funny story, and I'm purchasing them now.


I love you.

10:55pm Cherie

You too-I'm glad you're coming! And I'm so excited for the movie-I hope there are lots of screaming fans.

10:56pm Elisa

we should dress up

and bathe in ice cubes beforehand


our skin would be so cold. I'm already pale enough to pull off the vampire look.

10:57pm Cherie

have you read the books?

10:57pm Elisa

just the first one

I skimmed the most recent one for the honeymoon scene

and was sorely disappointed

10:58pm Cherie

I have read all four-the last one was by far the worst one

10:58pm Elisa

I won't lie, I read the summaries of all of them on wiki

I just love the cultural phenomenon it has become

It feels like watching the world burn, a little bit

but in a funny way

10:59pm Cherie

why were you disappointed with the honeymoon scene? Not sexy enough?

11:00pm Elisa

I guess a little. it felt like a letdown


11:00pm Cherie

i totally agree-it is bizarre-the whole phenomenon

11:01pm Elisa

this mormon girl has a little fantasy that makes her SUPER RICH

how am I not so lucky?

maybe my fantasies aren't interesting enough...

11:01pm Cherie

That's funny-I honestly found all of the sex scenes to be some of the creepiest sex scenes I have ever read-I've read way worse stuff, but i got the hebegebees with her stuff

no-i bet they are, you just aren't that lucky

11:02pm Elisa


11:02pm Cherie

it's not like they're actually good

11:02pm Elisa

do you think she's a good writer?

cause some of the phrases, at least in the first book, made me laugh in derision

but I'm kind of a jerk

11:03pm Cherie

no-i think that her story is interesting (until the fourth book-it got a little weird) but she is a horrible writer

11:03pm Elisa

see, I think J K Rowling is brilliant

11:04pm Cherie

my friend was listening to them on tape at work (well her coworkers were) and can you imagine those horrible phrases and dialogue actually spoken out loud

11:04pm Elisa


I can't

it's too horrible

11:04pm Cherie

i agree with your assesment of jk-she's so much better-you can't compare the two-although many people do

from what i hear the english department is trying to divorce themselves of her

well at least the creative writing professors are

they're claiming they never taught her

11:05pm Elisa


Shameless Plug...

...for the SEGO Arts Foundation.

I owe Amalia for my paltry involvement in this, but SEGO is a nonprofit that works to bring art to Utah Valley--both to give local artists the exposure they need to make it in the art world (not eat) and to make everybody in Provo aware of art in general.

SEGO makes me happy. http://www.segoarts.org/

Tonight I went to an artists' lecture where a couple of the participants in the recent juried show talked about their work. Nothing too fancy. There wasn't even any cheese. But I loved it there. I feel so alive in that space. And I'm not even a bloody artist.

I realized that night, just with more fervor, that I really really really miss doing creative stuff. I mean, I create blog entries, and term papers, but I really really miss writing poetry.

16 November, 2008

Thanksgiving Project Installment 1

So I took this challenge that I read somewhere of taking 30 pictures of 30 things I am grateful for during the month of November. Obviously November isn't over yet, but here is what I have so far.

Heating. Not dust.
Cell phone. Especially when I have a new message.
My pink headphones.
My wallet. It's yellow so I never lose it.
My planner.
My hands.

15 November, 2008

Poems and assorted crap.

I miss writing poetry. I need to get back into it, but for some reason I hesitate to do so. I think it's because I'm afraid I lost my touch. This is going to sound incredibly egotistical, but hear my out: I was reading over my old stuff the other day, and I was surprised how good it was. No, really. I don't remember most of these poems being that good when I wrote them. So I used to be pretty talented, it turns out, but what if I try to write now and it turns out I'm not anymore! That would be awful. However, I do think poetry might help me in my quest to stop being so emotionally constipated. A few of the poems that stood out to me were the ones I wrote about my various emotional woes, years and years ago. A few are reproduced below.

1. The "I'm in love and it scares me" poem.


I have found a very great number of exceedingly beautiful theorems.
–Pierre Fermat

I have decided I love you.
Surprised? I don’t blame you, because
je ne parle jamais beaucoup.
Let me explain: I think it was
when we spoke Wednesday night. You paused
and spoke to me about the rain
and physics; subjunctives and
some tired superlatives. Does

lightning strike those runners, shod
in rubber soles, racing streetlamps?
Could I be a victim of God’s
fury at my folly, the camp
I try to pass as prayer? The lamp
shone on your cherubic smile as
you spoke Science, my mother’s god.
Swollen and weak, my left brain has

farther to go. As you tried
to heft my burdens on your pale
and skinny back, I chided
my bête qualms. Male and female,
tall and short, light and dark; entails
that once together, we are whole,
cells matched in every last detail.
I’m too smart to believe in soul
language, too cynical, maybe. Fail

me, my intellect, let this be
the answer I’ve been searching for.
Scrawled by stubby chalk, let this be
my Last Theorem, à la rigueur.


2. "Creepy childhood memory" poem.

Ode to Potato Bugs

What is a childhood without them—those armored pearls,
a single bead of caviar shielded with dull silver slats
that layer into each other like shingles:
armadillos in miniature, noseless and with more legs.

Potato bug or roly-poly, pillbug, slater, chuggy pig or cheeselog:
all better names than oniscus asellus—the common woodlouse.
Not to be confused with the vulgar Jerusalem cricket
whose faces are cruel and legs sting instead of tickle.

These are terrestrial creatures, breathing the smoky Seattle moisture
like a good drag of cigarette, sucking in loggy dankness through their
gills? Who knew? Who knew Pacific gardens housed crustaceans?
Who knew Woodlouse females “gave birth” to pink potato puppies?

Magda claimed she knew about bugs and that god who made them,
who gave horseflies their stained glass wings,
and jesus bugs their nanogrooved microsetae
(you just had to trust her on that one).
Who culled queen ants. Who killed her father.

She and I collected mason jars of potato bugs
instead of rocks or stickers, a veritable colony
of non-communal captives. We prayed over butterflies
enmeshed in spider’s webs and turned over beetles
to watch them somersault and writhe.

Wearing black in heavy procession, Magda’s family of mourners
looked like an order of beetles. Magda and I stole away
from the funeral to play in the St. Mary’s garden, until Magda’s tia found us
and slapped her hard across the face.

We had been looking for potato bugs, our comrades
and prisoners, who never bit or stung or stunk
but when faced with predators or fat-fisted children
rolled into oblivion, invincible, like we wished we were.

3. "Ironic religious" poem.

Dreamt Encounter with St. Elisa

I met my saint the other day.
St. Elisa, smiling serene
among the Nicaraguan green,
her fingers starting to decay.
The statue taller than me, but
pale, without the Church, an afterthought.

I can’t recall what she stood for—
Patron of Ethiopia
or kids dead from diarrhea,
or taxes—nothing great, for sure.
That’s why I never cared to see
if Elisa wished speak with me.

Her eyes were grave, almost angry
as if she longed for some more time
to perform her Life’s Work Sublime
(whatever that was). Was she hungry
to do more good before her death,
fingers worked raw till her last breath?

The clay and glazed woman then spoke
and told me that I had shamed her
by bucking tradition; what’s more:
leaving the family’s faith, the smokes
of incensed cannibalism.
I told her I didn’t miss them.

I shrugged. “I have no need of you.”
Not meaning any disrespect
to her, only my former sect.
She’s dead, and what can dead saints do?
I then walked home with blistered feet
and found the Devil there, waiting for us to meet.

4. "Estranged family member died" poem.

An ode of some sort to my grandmother

Yesterday, Dad left a voicemail for me
to tell me the expected had transpired.
That she had died that morning. I admired
my mother’s outward stoicism. She,

the only one who had the right to mourn.
Because she remembered when Dorothy’s soul
was smoked and smiling, intelligent, whole.
That soul was gone by the time I was born.

Dad pushed me: to write about her. I said
I felt nothing, he snarled at my sloth. Try!
I could neither console my mother, nor cry
I tried to recall that stranger, now dead.

Fragmented second-hand tales shoved my brain.
Dull and worn, like glass surviving a flood.
But when I touched them, they still drew blood.
Our blood, two steps from her heart to my veins.

Unlike my mom, I don’t harbor regrets.
I don’t talk to strangers, and neither would
Dorothy. Neither she nor I ever could.
Those stories make me want a cigarette.

Secondhand seaglass, gift from neither parent, is not
homeless, a parasite in my memories.
These foreign fragments might have come from she
who once had a life. I almost forgot.


There are a few lines in Dreamt encounter with St. Elisa that made me cringe a little. They were too predictable, and I'd like to change them. Maybe I can start with that. Stay tuned.

This is hilarious.

11 November, 2008

I have arrived

Here's how I know I am a real parent figure in my kids' lives:

Today, when everybody was playing outside, I took down the Halloween stash from the top shelf and liberated 2 snickers, 1 butterfinger, and 5 tootsie rolls.

And I didn't even feel bad.

10 November, 2008

I'm really bored (thanks Alan)

I feel loved when...

The Five Love Languages

My Primary Love Language is Quality Time

My Detailed Results:
Quality Time: 9
Words of Affirmation: 8
Acts of Service: 7
Physical Touch: 6
Receiving Gifts: 0

About this quiz

Unhappiness in relationships is often due to the fact that we speak different love languages. It can be helpful to know what language you speak and what language those around you speak.

Tag 3 people so they can find out what their love language is.

Take the Quiz!
Check out the Book


17 things I am afraid of

1. Police Officers.
2. Fireworks.
Most people think I'm crazy for this. I trace it to when my parents and I were walking around Cederbrook on the Fourth of July when I was three or four and a drunk guy threw a firecracker at me.
3. Jumping from high places.
4. Hot oil or very hot water.
Specifically, putting food into hot water or oil when there is a danger of said hot water or oil splashing my hand. Stop laughing! It hurts!
5. Asking favors from mean people.
6. Exposed electrical wires.
7. Insulation.
That's another weird one. I trace it to the time my dad was remodeling the blue house and installed insulation without a mask. He coughed blood for days. I was ten.
8. My debit card getting rejected at a store.
That happened once, but it wasn't my fault. Stupid Boeing Employees Credit Union...
9. Crocodiles.
I have never actually seen a crocodile in the wild. But I know they're scary.
10. Accidentally stapling my finger with one of those electric staplers.
11. Nail guns.
I'm sure my father never envisioned that trauma he would cause by making me help him with all his home-improvement projects...
12. Meeting an apostle and having him look into my soul and tell me I'm a bad person.
No lie, when David A. Bednar came to visit our mission I was PETRIFIED. I was sure he was going to look me in the eye and tell me to go home. He didn't. For the record, he was very nice. I think he could tell how frightened I was.
13. Stepping in a bee's nest.
I was stung by a bee for the first time in August. Before then I thought there was a distinct possibility that I was allergic to bee stings.
14. Falling through a window.
This has actually happened to me. However, it was a plastic window, not glass; and on the first floor, so I didn't get injured.
15. Rats eating the bottoms of my feet while I sleep.
I wish my father had saved his stories of living in Samoa for when I was a bit older.
16. That I'm crazy and everyone realizes it but me.
Seriously, how much would that suck?
17. Spraying some sort of noxious chemical into my good eye.
I'm not sure how but I'm pretty sure this one is Dad's fault, too. Think of what a well-adjusted person I could have been!

04 November, 2008

Proud to be an American!

"We're voting for McCain. He's the white one." Nathan, age 6.

"Mom, are you crying? No. I'm drinking elderberry wine." Me and Mom.

Congratulations to Barack Obama and Joe Biden for winning this crucial election. They proved that there can be a higher plane of politics in this great country. Class, not smear. And the fact that I can tell my grandchildren that I was there when our first black President was elected ... and that I voted for him. That is a marvelous, wonderful thing. ¡SI SE PUEDE!

01 November, 2008

Want to know the one thing that always cheers me up no matter what?


Here are some of my favorites:

29 October, 2008

The Miracle of the Bra

Brothers and Sisters, I have a testimony that God laughs. Mostly at me.

I could cite numberless examples, that would have you all crying at my misfortune (NOT with laughter, you callous fiend!), but I will spare you this time because whenever I start an epic post that tries to summarize more than three events that have happened in my life, I neglect to finish it.

Today, however, a miracle occurred. Because I believed.

I work at the temple Wednesday nights, as the three people who read this blog already know. I would wager that even the most Jack of Mormons knows that in the temple, one wears white. This includes white hose, white slips, white undergarments, and of course, for those who need it, white bras.

So this afternoon I arrived at the temple about ten minutes before my shift started, congratulating myself for being on time for once in my life, mostly because I had chosen to wear a skirt and blouse to school that day. I sauntered into the dressing room, feeling pretty good, and that a thought assaulted my brain that made me stop in my tracks.

I was wearing a dark maroon bra.

This one, in fact. Which would so show even underneath a camisole, slip, and dress, because this is MAROON and all those other items are WHITE.

Seriously? My life is a joke. But now, the miracle!

In the locker room the sisters keep a little box of little bitty bras for my fellow sisters who also occasionally, ahem, forget. To be honest, most of the bras in the box are so small I figure a girl who needed one of those would be just as well off forgoing the bra altogether. My less-endowed girlfriends do it all the time. But maybe some girls find that gross. Anyway, I started going through the box. 34A. 36B. 38A. I hated my life. Then one of the sweet elderly sisters saw my distress and came to my rescue. Together we dug to the bottom of the box. Aha! 38D!

That is, in fact, not my size. I'm actually a DD, if you care. If you don't, then why are you still reading this, you weirdo?

I haven't fit into a D in years. Nevertheless, the adorable lady told me to go try it on, and see if I could get it to fit. I figured it might not be the most comfortable evening of my life, but I could probably manage something.

I went in unto the locker room. I took off my shirt. And to the sound of a chorus of numerous concourses of angels ...


Like a glove. Like the widow's oil cruse. It's not a perfect metaphor, I know. But I was so happy I almost cried. Holy tender mercy, Batman.

I'm expecting a letter from the Vatican any day now.

28 October, 2008

The Brain Game ... or I go off the deep end in a matter of paragraphs

This weekend I went home for no reason at all except that I wanted to. As a bonus incentive, Cori was there and I don't get to see her (or Donovan) nearly as often as I would like. It was a good weekend. I even enjoyed the 13-hour drive, truth be told. It was nice to listen to music/NPR (my secret shame) and focus on one thing for so long. It was like meditating while operating heavy machinery, which I am sure all experts recommend. For the past five days I haven't thought about school, my plans for the future, the state of my personal finances or all the ways in which I fall short of my own expectations for myself. All I thought about during the drive was:

1. Is Sego OK? The answer was always yes. I am blessed to have such a chill dog. He travels beautifully.
2. Where did this song on my iPod come from? I like it/it sucks. I want to put it on a CD/delete it.
3. Do I have enough gasoline? The answer was also yes more often than not.
4. Am I hungry enough to actually stop and buy a meal? The answer was no every time except one.
5. How many miles to Boise/Ontario/Seattle/Provo/Babylon?

I should mention that as a result of my let's-not-think-about-anything weekend, I completely forgot about a midterm I was supposed to take today. Whoops.

Unimportant. What is really important is how wonderful my family is (Cori is included therein) and how happy it made me to be with them for a few days. My parents are getting along so well these days that sometimes I forget they're divorced. Don't ask me if that's good, bad, or weird, because I still haven't figured that out. My point is it was a weekend sans conflict, which is my favorite kind. David and Carlos are crazy old, and awesome. Donovan is freaking adorable. My grandma and I had several tea party jam sessions during which we talked about politics and reviewed family gossip. The members of my former ward not only remember me, but are glad to see me when I visit. We went out to dinner at a Mexican place near Southcenter and the waiter put a sombrero on my head and sang to me in Spanish. Good times, I tell you.

There are a lot of raw concepts and orphan sentences swimming around in my head, and I can't make sense or cohesive paragraphs out of any of them. Themes include ways in which Cori has changed since getting married and having a baby, and ways in which she hasn't changed at all; Scott's leaving for Kuwait and what lies in store for him there; my Aunt Debi and our conversation over tea about self-esteem and balancing career with family; David's college applications; my absentee ballot; sugary cereal and cartoons with Carlos; ordering the only vegetarian dish at a diner even though I knew it would be vile ....

Now I'm home and I should be studying, doing laundry, and drafting an email to my professor begging for mercy re: the midterm I missed today. But part of me just wants to stay in that limbo between home and here, doing the things I want to do with the people I love (who spread themselves across many continents, unfortunately) and conveniently disappearing from things I don't want a part in. Which I know is impossible.

A friend of mine wrote a note to her husband on facebook that made me think. It started with, "I know I could never beat you at the brain game..." One of those phrases that gets stuck in my head, like a bar from a song. The phrase, independent of its original context, got my mind heading in a strange direction. Two girls from my ward got married recently. Arranged marriages both. No, like, literally. To guys from India. An old friend of mine is getting married and has changed his glasses and the way he dresses, even his goals for the future, to appease his fiancee and future in-laws.

I've been thinking about that all weekend. When is it good to change for someone else? Is it ever? What does it mean to be self-actualized, and when does that concept drift into selfishness or eccentricity?

I picture the version of myself that is truest to who I really am, and I'll be honest, she's pretty odd. Then again, even the version of who I am right now is passionately against selling out in any form. If I do decide to stay this way, and be the kind of person who takes off for a weekend without telling anyone, like a cat, will that bode ill consequences for my future? Will no one want to hire or marry me? Should I care?

Now I'm just stalling. I'm going to bed.

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Andy Warhol Art of the Day