27 September, 2009

Jesus gets it.

“The Lord knows who we really are, what we really think, what we really do, and who we really are becoming.” David A. Bednar

Tonight was the start of Yom Kippur, the Jewish high holy day which I can't even begin to hope to celebrate in any sort of legitimate way, seeing as I am 1. miles from any synagogue and 2. unwelcome at all but the most loose of all reform synagogues anyway. As James so eloquently wrote, I too put the "-ish" in Jewish. However, I can observe the spirit of the holiday, being one of forgiveness and atonement, things appropriate to be celebrated by anyone. Even if today were not the eve of Yom Kippur, I think this subject still would have been on my mind.

First of all I would like to publicly announce that today I attended Sacrament Meeting in a ward in Tooele, Utah, where the ward choir stood and sang the oft-maligned dirge (Kidding!) "I Believe in Christ" written by one Bruce R. McConkie, may he rest in peace. I would be lying if I were to say that this hymn is anything but my least favorite. But today--and I think it had something to do with the humility and love manifest in the members of this ward who sang this song for my friend who is leaving on a mission, because it is her favorite--I listened to all four long verses, and didn't feel irritated at all. I think I'm getting righteouser.

Here are some obscure references to things I am working on atoning for (Sort THOSE prepositions out, Athelflad!). Feel free to guess at what you think they are referencing. I think you may be pleasantly surprised!

1. There's a bag in my closet containing some small toys, a men's size 14 CTR ring, a "NO SMOKING" sign and some dish towels. None of these items were purchased for myself. There was also some candy, but I ate it.

2. Two things I wish were in the freezer aren't, nor should they be, but I still want them there.

3. Three numbers are bugging me. Two of them are wrong.

4. It's tempting for me to take a sharp utensil to all the pieces of fruit that don't meet my expectations of deliciousness. However, I must remember that even the mushiest pomelo belongs to somebody. Even if that somebody ain't me.

K, that one was actually pretty obvious.

5. Here's another obvious one: I need to set my phone for earlier, so I can read and run and study and pray and meditate earlier/at all.

6. I am not as awesome and flawless as I sometimes think I am.

7. Keep them feathers in the pillowcase.

8. Keep those words in the Bible where they belong.

9. I owe some people some quarters.

10. It's time to go go go before I slow slow .... oh no.

11. Three ghosts.

12. Bleach to the ceiling! Bleach to the sky! My things that needs bleaching piles a mile high!

13. G-g-g-gIRLfriends, on the phone, twice a day on the deity telephone.

14. Bring poetry back and sexy. Bring it all.

Man I am hilarious. Happy Yom Kippur, everyone. Or rather, I wish you a solid, introspective holiday, as mine was. Indeed.

25 September, 2009

Tonight I said to Brooke while walking: "I should never love anything ever."

This post has nothing to do with yesterday's post, for the record.

So I love our neighborhood because it has a really nice mix of families and college students (Being, you know, a whole six blocks from campus). And the families are nice and chill, not the uptight ones you see on Hot Mom Day at Costco. It's also pretty diverse. For Utah. There is a small apartment complex down the street from us that houses mostly Hispanic families. Fairly recent imports from Mexico, with Dads that bike to work (Awesome!) and kids that speak Spanish to each other, English to me. They love our house because we have two dogs.

Some of the kids in the aforementioned complex come by every once in a while and ask if they can take Sego for a walk. They used to come over and just play with him in the front yard, but because I know them and they are ten or eleven and have proved themselves to be responsible, I now let them take him out for a while when they ask. They usually go to the park and then bring him back. Such a nice little slice of real community life.

Anyway, today the little sister of one of the kids came by with one of her friends and asked if she could take Sego for a walk. She was younger than the kids that usually take him, but I figured it would be fine. This is a really safe neighborhood. I remember asking as they left, "Are you two going to be OK on your own?" She said yes. Two hours went by.

It was eight now and starting to get dark, and I got a little worried. The kids never keep Sego out after dark. So I walked down to their apartment complex. They weren't there. So I walked to the park. They weren't there either. I went back to the apartment complex and asked some of the older kids if they knew where they were. They said they had no idea. More walking around the neighborhood. Panic ensued. Luckily at that precise moment I ran into Brooke, who went back with me to the complex to see if we could talk to their parents. Tangent: I really really need to learn Spanish.

We found out which apartment the girls lived in and knocked. No one was home. So there were several possibilities at this point.

1. The girls were out somewhere with Sego at nine at night by themselves. What parent lets a kid that young run around any neighborhood after dark? I don't care if it is Provo.
2. The kids were out with their parents somewhere and had taken Sego with them. What kind of parent lets their kids take a strange dog in the car to another person's house on a Friday night? That also does not make any sense.
3. The girls had lost Sego or something bad had happened and they were afraid to tell me.

Because 1 and 2 seemed so illogical and I was already in a panicky mindset, my mind immediately jumped to number 3. My panic changed to near hysteria, but luckily Brooke was with me for support. A couple of nice boys from next door heard me crying and asked if I needed help. They actually rode their bikes around the neighborhood for about twenty minutes and looked for him to no avail. That was so nice of them and I was too preoccupied to get their names. I salute you, Bicycling Knights.

Anyway, obviously this story has a happy ending, but chronologically, it didn't happen for a while. The truth is we walked around the neighborhood for another hour and a half asking everyone we saw if they had seen two little girls running around with a black dog. Most people assumed we were looking for the kids, and I didn't correct them.

Here are the emotions I was feeling during this ordeal, if you care:

1. Guilt. I felt guilty for letting my dog into the hands of incompetent six year-olds where he had surely met some awful harm. I chided myself for not telling them what time to bring Sego back. I also felt terrible because a few months ago Sego lost his tag with my phone number on it and I hadn't bothered to buy him a new one.
2. Paralyzing fear. Every time we saw a lump on the side of the road (Remember, I don't have the best vision) my stomach lurched with the possibility that it might be Sego's body.
3. Rage. I wanted to kill those girls for letting something happen to my baby.
4. Embarrassment. I felt a little stupid about getting this worked up about a dog. If you've never had pets and/or aren't an animal person, I'm sure my reaction sounds completely irrational. That's cool. I understand. But I say unto you, I was NOT acting upset because I wanted attention. I was truly, genuinely hysterical--the exact same kind of hysterical I was when my little brother went missing for a few hours when he was three. Maybe even a little MORE hysterical, actually (No offense, David) because Sego is my responsibility alone.

To make a long story short, we returned home and Sego was there. The girls had brought him back and, finding no one home, left him inside. I have never been so happy to see a dog in my life.

In conclusion:
1. You know how sometimes people say they don't want to love anything because the possibility of getting hurt is too great? They're right. I seriously considered never loving anything or anyone ever again during this ordeal.
2. However, when Sego and I were reunited, I forgot about all that and remembered why I love that darn dog in the first place. Why I love him more than a lot of things. Possibly you. Just kidding! Maybe.
3. This experience made me remember that someday Sego is going to die and I am going to be completely devastated.
4. However, likely as not he will die old, safe and surrounded by people who love him, including the children I hope to have ten or twelve years from now.
5. Maternal instinct? That shiz is LEGIT.
6. Something about eternity.

Happy birthday tomorrow, Sego. You better know I love you.

24 September, 2009

A Treatise on Three Topics that Never Happened

All the things that didn't happen to me today:

1. I did NOT come down with the mumps.
2. I did NOT finish painting our hallway. Or any other room in the house, for that matter.
3. I did NOT eat anything worth mentioning.
4. I did NOT see, talk to, or hold hands with Christopher Walken. His loss.
5. I did NOT become fluent in French overnight.
6. I did NOT receive a mysterious package that may or may not have contained a bomb.
7. I did NOT buy contact solution even though I am out. And currently wearing contacts.

All the Foods I have Never Tried:

1. Blood pudding.
2. Haggis.
3. Homemade blue cheese.
4. Milk straight from a cow.
5. Count Chocula breakfast cereal.
6. Snails.
7. Goose liver.
8. Deep fried tootsie roll on a stick.
9. Deep fried anything on a stick.

All the Boys I Never Dated:

This is something I have been thinking about lately. Generally I try to operate under the assumption that it's better to take risks and know for sure about something than to live forever wondering if something would have worked out. And I'm not just talking about boys here, either. I am a much happier person knowing as I do that pig feet are gross, whereas if I had never tried them I may have lived my whole life wondering if pig feet were the tastiest delicacy on the planet. Probably not, but who wants to live with that kind of possibility? It's better to try one and know for sure that they are disgusting.

Another example is persimmons. Possibly the most delicious food on the planet. If Satan himself were to come and offer me one in exchange for something major, like leaving my home and experiencing hardship and agency and childbirth, I would seriously consider it. That's a lie. I would go for it without looking back. Persimmons are that good.

I was introduced to persimmons on my mission. Not because anyone offered them to me. I discovered them on my own. When I was serving with Ashley, every P-day I picked out a fruit or vegetable in the produce section that I didn't recognize, than sometime during the week I ate it. Sometimes whatever I bought was gross, but at least I knew for sure that none of the items available were poisonous. They don't sell poisonous produce in grocery stores in Hungary. A wise policy.

Anyway, so one week I go to the exotic fruit basket in the back corner of the produce section and start rifling through it. I find what looks like an orange tomato, and buy it figuring it will taste like one. Then one Sunday morning while my companion was in the shower and I had very little food left from the week, I reluctantly cut it up and tried it.

It was like a symphony on my tongue. It was so sweet and juicy and magical. The following P-day I bought like seven even though they were like three hundred forint each. Man, they were delicious. I regretted every month of my life that had not been spent eating more and more persimmons. I seem to recall that on that morning I actually went into the bathroom where Ashley was showering and demanded that she come out and taste this delight in my hands. She was so good to put up with me.

I should also add that I didn't know they were called persimmons until I returned home from my mission over a year later. I don't remember the Hungarian word for them, but I think it was something unhelpful like "Jerusalem apples" or something like that.

Some men are like pig feet. They appear to be a bad choice but you (well, I) try them just to make sure they aren't actually a whole lot of greatness in a lousy package. Always a disappointment, but never a surprise.

Some men are like persimmons. They appear ordinary, but once you try them you regret every minute of your life that was not spent enjoying everything that person has to offer. That kind of experience never wears off. I have never met a human persimmon.

Some men are pomelos. They look fulfilling and delicious but then turn out to be sour and gross. Consistently. A pomelo betrayed me once. And here I am talking about the actual fruit, not a person.

Most men, unfortunately, are like oatmeal. They sustain you through life but don't do much for you besides that. And sometimes some jerk puts shredded glass in your oatmeal, just to be spiteful, and almost die from your breakfast. It's true. I read about it once.*

Frequently, I assume someone is a persimmon, take a bite and find it filled with rolled oats, with or without the glass. It never ceases to disappoint me, though. Rest assured though, that someday I will be banging down your figurative bathroom door insisting that you try this persimmon. Meet this person.

And you will say to me, "Sister Koler, shouldn't you be getting ready for Church?"

"Let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry...have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well dressed. Let me be sincere-be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost."
- Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Ch. 48

*Well, in a novel.

14 September, 2009

NERD ALERT!!!!

So in the past few days I have lost two USB drives. That's right. Dos. They were nice ones too. Thus I decided I needed a change of plans.

Behold! A USB drive that fits like a key onto my keyring. It will never be lost again!

Also, it's 8 gigs. As Dave said, "That's like an iPod!" Word.

If you're interested you can buy your own here.

09 September, 2009

A personal flaw akin to Kayla's mortal fear of old people, except MINE will probably send me to Hell.

Reason why I am a bad person #12,679.5

There is a cute companionship of bright-eyed sister missionaries, in matching twinsets and comfortable shoes, who often hang out in the Wilk during lunchtime.

I was a sister missionary once, was I not? So you think I would be eager as a beaver to talk to them. And yet EVERY TIME I walk by them, my immediate instinct is to do the following:

1. Look down so as to avoid making eye contact.
2. Lengthen my stride (Except in a totally UNRIGHTEOUS way).
3. Take out my phone or my iPod (or both!) from my purse in an attempt to look busy.
4. Sometimes, I even TURN around completely and walk in a different direction.

I don't know why I feel this way. It's similar to my phobia of cops, except it makes no sense.

08 September, 2009

What to Expect

The other day while I was modeling I let my mind wander, as usual, and I started thinking about humiliation. Not because I find my job humiliating, mind you. Quite the contrary. One of the students was laughing about how his roommates often assume that drawing from life is a sexual or erotic experience, and how that can't be farther from the truth. Fact: one of the students actually said, "Picture drawing a bowl of fruit. Now picture the bowl of fruit is a person. Same thing." That made me laugh. Inwardly, since I couldn't move. Also, one of the perks of my job is that I have learned how to yawn through my nose.

In my psycholinguistics class we learned that one of the signs (Not a telltale sign, but evidence nonetheless) of autism is lack of a sense of humor. This is mainly because most autistic kids don't have enough of a handle on reality to recognize when something is out of the ordinary. For example, if a kid with normal cognitive abilities watches a Looney Tunes clip in which the Roadrunner is running down the road, as he has a tendency to do, and then suddenly runs into a mountain that is smack in the middle of the road, he or she (the kid) will laugh. A normal person would realize that usually mountains do not sit in the middle of roads, and thus will find that funny. The humor lies in the unexpected.

I think it's the same thing with humiliation. I think the root of feeling embarrassed about something happening to you lies in the fact that you don't expect it. As a slightly revelatory* example: when I was modeling (in a bikini) at BYU, one day I did a slightly athletic pose and my breast fell out of my top. Just for a moment. But I'll admit it was pretty embarrassing. Conversely, on Saturday I was lying on my back, while the teacher was leaning over me, completely naked, and didn't feel embarrassed at all. I think the main difference is that I was expecting to be naked and prepared for that moment, whereas the previous event had come out of nowhere.

Think about it. When you have a crush on someone and do something stupid in front of him/her, you are embarrassed not so much because of the act itself, but because in your mind, you don't expect to ever act like an idiot in front of someone you are trying to impress. If you fall in public, it's mostly because that wasn't your plan for yourself when you woke up that morning. The unexpected can lead to either great laughs or great humiliation, depending on which end you're on.

Which begs the question: If I start ASSUMING that I will ALWAYS do something stupid when I wasn't intending to, will I never feel humiliated again? Especially if I recognize that my doing something unexpected is helping someone else laugh/know for sure that they're not autistic?

I believe this could be another part of my quest in life to make things better for the people around me. Like the time Lori was having a really hard night, back in the day when we shared a room, and I fell out of my bed, just because I thought it would make her laugh. It hurt, too.

*If you'll forgive the pun. It was not intentional.

04 September, 2009

I love my little brother THIS much.

Today I spent a half hour or so talking with my little brother on the phone. This was his first week of classes at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. Additionally, I was talking to Cori last night and she asked me if I thought it was weird that my baby brother, almost seven years younger than I am, and I are both in college at the same time. Which, the more I think about it, makes me feel like a bit of a late bloomer. I am cool with this. I am so happy that my brother got such a nice break to attend such a great school, and--most importantly-- that for two of the three Koler children, the high school years are over. For the last one, they haven't even started.

Please don't take this to mean I am anti-teenagers or embittered to this day about my high school experience. In fact, last month I learned something new about myself. Apparently, I am going to be one of those parents who gets unnecessarily excited/emotional at high school graduations. I know this because a few months ago I was at my little brother's graduation from my own alma mater and while I was there I got that swelling feeling in my chest that generally only happens at religious events or when I'm reading an author I really like. Additionally, I actually stood respectfully and put my hand over my heart while the Shorecrest band played the national anthem, which I never do. Something about being there, watching my little brother participate in the same odd traditions, wearing the same green-colored robes and flat hat, gave me the willies, but in a good way. It also apparently resurrected some dormant patriotism inside me, though whether it was patriotism towards my school only or my country in general I don't know.

The Beach Boys sang, with little to no irony: "Be true to your school/ just like you would to your girl." I graduated from high school in 2003, ten months after September 11th. I attended, if memory serves, one football game. In fact, I went to said game in order to see a cute boy who played for our cross-town rival (ShoreWOOD, as opposed to Shorecrest) and during that game he broke his leg and had to be carried off the field on a golf cart. I decided I must be bad luck, and I haven't been to any sort of football game since. I went to a few baseball games, also to see a boy I had a crush on, but he never got injured so I suppose my curse only applies to football.

Now that I think about it, though, I don't think the baseball-playing boy I liked ever actually played.

My point is, I liked high school well enough, though I definitely wasn't one of those kids who LOVED high school. I didn't paint my face for football games or jump up and down at Caen Laida or deeply, sincerely believe that those were the best years of my life, even as I was living them. That being said, high school wasn't a living hell either. I had lots of good friends and quite a few good teachers. My school had lots of great writing opportunities and my car only got booted in the parking lot once.

I am also delighted to say that my physical attractiveness did not peak in high school. Thank God.

There were only two high schools in our school district, as I said before, and the dividing line between the two schools was ALMOST the same as the dividing line between the rich neighborhoods and the poor neighborhoods, with the exception of one small area. Shorecrest covered most of the poorer areas and Shorewood covered the more expensive properties close to the water. The one exception was the area by the mall which contained nice, big houses but fell into Shorecrest's boundaries. This was where most of the honor students lived. It was not where I lived, though most of the rich kids drove down the main drag on which I lived on their way home.

I remember feeling a sort of sick pride at being the more "ghetto" school, for you see back in my day we used the word "ghetto" as an adjective without irony. The outside perception of both my high school and my neighborhood seemed to be that we were low class. The main justification from the SW kids was that we were the school with a daycare for the teenage mothers. However, I believe we were magnet school for that program, so that reason kinda flies out the window when you think about it logically. Why people thought Shoreline was low class is beyond me. Personally, I think it's a charming little 'burb. Once Cori, (Cor, please correct me if I have this story wrong) told someone she met at some Seattle-wide event that she was from Shoreline, and the girl said in all seriousness, "Oh, I've heard of that neighborhood. The place with all the shootings."

There was like one shooting I remember in all the years I lived in that neighborhood. A few accidental deaths, but really, nothing serious. I never felt nervous or unsafe going anywhere regardless of the time of day. Perhaps I am an idiot, but the more likely scenario is that Shoreline was perfectly safe and some young people are ignorant and assume that if a neighborhood has houses that are smaller than yours, the inhabitants are therefore gang members. Silly, silly children.

I was going to write more about my high school experience but nothing is really standing out for me right now. Except that I wish someone had told me explicitly that being a young adult is ONE HUNDRED MILLION TIMES BETTER than being in high school, no matter what kind of happiness you achieve between the ages of 14-18. Also, that being rejected from various positions of prestige loses its sting over the years, and by the time you are almost 25, will cease to sting at all.

What would YOU like to know about my high school experience? Ask me and I will answer.

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