26 January, 2010

My Hero.

Today I was volunteering at Deseret Industries and while I was organizing some clothes in the ladies section this song came over the speakers:



and this SUPER classy old lady with a fancy updo and a tweed coat started SINGING along. She must have been at least 80.

She knew all the words.

This is who I want to be when I grow up.

23 January, 2010

I am a genius


I was fixing my nativity set before packing it away and I superglued my fingers together.

I am not going to type anymore because typing is really really hard.

21 January, 2010

Parasymbology

I want a job, but I still haven't found one. In order to add to my piddling, hideously inadequate paragraph of qualifications, today I spent eight hours learning CPR and first aid by practicing on Red Cross manikins of varying sizes. The course covered infant, child and adult methods, so we got to practice pressing on little baby Claire's (apparently that was her name, according to my instructor) chest and creating a seal over her tiny nose and mouth in order to fill her minute lungs with air. It took only the slightest puff of air from my grown up lungs. The video instructor kept reiterating, ludicrously, I thought, to always keep in mind that "babies are very small." Yeah, duh, I thought smugly as we watched the video. But then when I really had to practice resuscitating an infant, it hit me--holy majoly, babies are really, REALLY small.

Also--and this is so pathetic I hesitate to write it, but it's important--I have forgotten how easy it is to let my mind and body assume that a plastic doll is an actual infant. I loved dolls as a kid, and played with my baby dolls in secret long after my friends had ditched them for make-up. While we were listening to Judy's instructions on infant CPR, I was unconsciously holding the manikin the same way I would hold a normal baby of about four months--back resting against the crook of my elbow, head leaning forward on my breast, my other arm circling the opposite way supporting her legs. Next to me, the cute nineteen year-old boy who had come with his father, twice stricken with heart attacks, started absently bouncing the baby doll on his knee. I looked around the room and everyone else was also holding his or her baby doll as if it were real--the burly mid-forties swim teacher, the mother of four who is hoping to start an in-home daycare, the woman about my age, perhaps younger, who is going to adopt a child. The only one who didn't seem to get in the spirit of holding Baby Claire was the security guard immediately to my left, who I think might have been mildly handicapped.

The really bizarre thing, even more bizarre than a room of reasonably educated adults playing with dolls on a Thursday afternoon, was how much I (consciously or unconsciously) enjoyed holding that manikin. I tried to send a text to Brooke explaining the scene and how it made me feel, but I couldn't whittle it down to 160 characters so I gave up. She is accustomed to me unloading my broodiness on her more often than I unload on anyone else I know, for she is one of the few people on this earth who doesn't think I'm freaky or obsessive or sad or pathetic or demented for liking children, for wanting children. Actually, she might think I am all those things and just hide it very well.

Here is the truth. I love babies. And not the way I love giraffes or penguins, although God knows I like those too. I have no illusions about how exhausting infants can be, and how terrifying and dangerous it is to be responsible for eight pounds of organs and nerves and skin that could go limp at any moment when you might have to use two fingers to pump oxygenated blood through their lilliputian body while trying not to break their little ribs. However, there are only two things I am good at. At least, good enough to be able to admit in public that I am good at them. Good enough to be able to say yes, I think this is one of my gifts. These two things are writing and taking care of children. This is a poorly written piece so please ignore the former, for now the latter is my matter of subject.

From the time I was about eight years old, when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I never had any fast opinions about it. Because, to be honest, the only thing in my head was who cares? I just want babies. Even amongst Mormons, it is not considered hip to like babies too much or talk too much about wanting children. Not because it's not expected, but rather because it's not really under your control, when or if it happens. Assuming too much about when you will get married and have children, or whether you will get married at all is dangerous. I have recently, in my old age (psh), come to the conclusion that in many ways, it is better to plan for the worst, a life of spinsterhood, and then be surprised when you somehow end up fulfilling your duty to the universe along the way. Better that than to sit on your hope chest all your life. Also, to tell others about how much I have disappointed myself in the past quarter century of life, how far my life is from what I had expected and hoped for, always sounds too sad to explain to others, especially when it connotes being somehow unwanted.

How did this end up being a post about being angry at God? It always comes down to that, though. I know God, and I know that He can deal with my anger just fine, so there are times when I just can't help throwing a little bitterness His way. I have never literally shaken my fists at the sky (that I can recall) but always my reaction, when I see a picture of another friend's baby or read another article from a parenting blog I still follow even though I am no longer a nanny (Embarrassing true confessions galore!). Sometimes I'm even jealous of my acquaintances who are stuck in miserable marriages because hey, at least they have kids. It's times like that when I can really let God have it, with words (in all caps) along the lines of HEY BUSTER HAVE I OFFENDED YOU IN SOME WAY? I MEAN REALLY? HOW IN THE HELL IS SHE MORE DESERVING OF CHILDREN THAN I AM? And so it goes. Of course, I am able to recognize the many ways in which I have been blessed. But that doesn't make it any easier when people I know, especially people I don't particularly like, kvetch about the difficulties of parenting small children. That's when I look up at the sky and say (again in all caps) SO THAT'S A CURSE HUH? WELL, SMITE ME, B*TCH!!!! Also, when people I know with children try to comfort me with words like Hey, it's not all fun and games. That's when I say OH WOW I KNOW THAT OKAY? Usually though, I just sort of grimace in response.

I can throw platitudes about patience and the Lord's time and all that jazz at myself even faster than other people can throw them at me, but the fact is, reassuring myself that someday MAYBE I will have children feels about as effective as telling a sick person about Heaven. Soothing in theory, but in the thick of the moment more frustrating than anything. It's much preferable to be cool--and oh! I really want to be cool!--and pretend that it doesn't bother me. That I have better things to do even though I am not sure what they are. One more shaken fist at Heaven for that, if you'll permit me.

If this is starting to sound like thousands upon thousands words worth of bitching, that's because it is. However, I don't think I have laid out my feelings on the matter in such an honest way before. It feels good. Still pathetic, but good.

You know what I was intending to write about tonight? This movie. I saw it at the Admiral and it was pretty good. Not what I expected, and I little absurd for my taste, but definitely enjoyable. Here is a quote from tonight's film that struck me, patched together from my memory and the internet:

“Your life is like a river. If you’re aiming for a goal that isn't your destiny, you will always be swimming against the current. Young Gandhi wants to be a stock car racer? Not gonna happen. Little Anne Frank wants to be a high school teacher? Tough titty Anne. That's not your destiny. But you will go on to move the hearts and minds of millions. Find out what your destiny is and the river will carry you. Sometimes events in life give an individual clues as to where their destiny lies."

It would, given everything I have just written and my mindset and the line about Anne Frank, who I assume wanted to grow up and have adventures and die in her sleep as much as I do, be easy for me to remember that quote and think to myself: OH SHIT*. Perhaps being a mother is not in the cards and I should just buy a tract of land and raise dalmatians.

I choose not to interpret the quote this way. Rather, that there are missions for each of us to fulfill in life, and sometimes things work out differently or not at all, and it all turns out OK. You recall my botched trip to Thailand. There was also the time in high school when I tried out for the school dance team and I was good, really good. Good enough, I thought, to make the team. Then I botched the audition and got rejected and hated myself. But a few weeks later while I was in Hawaii, I went swimming during a thunderstorm and busted my knee when a wave threw me onto a rock. So I wouldn't have been able to dance, anyway.

I still get notices from that hospital in Hawaii every once in a while informing me that my bill is paid in full.

I am currently choosing to believe that everything that has happened to me so far will eventually lead to all the things I have wanted all my life, but perhaps will be better or (certainly) more appreciated because of all the time I spent anticipating them. Like getting to eat ice cream for a week after getting your wisdom teeth out!

My mother made terrible analogies, my children will say.

*I know I've been working on the cussing thing. It's a process. Allow me this one indulgence, will you? Thanks. Also, please note that I starred the other cuss because I only wanted to do eight minutes of abs tomorrow. I have a busy day planned.

19 January, 2010

2010 books

Here is what I have read so far this year.

Small Steps by Louis Sachar

This is not quite as surprising as Holes, but just as interesting and character-driven. Louis Sachar does this a lot: takes a supporting character from another story and gives him his own novel, referencing the other storyline but not leaning on it. This one develops the character Theodore/Armpit from Holes. Really good and surprisingly romantic.

The Two Towers: Being the Second Part of the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

I had no idea how much I was going to love these books. I'm glad I waited to read them until I was an adult though, because I think a lot of the sophisticated stuff Tolkien does with the names and languages and analogies to our world are most interesting to adults. Especially adults with degrees in Linguistics. If I am a language nerd, Tolkien is the president of ALL language nerds.
Also, you read right. My degree posted, gents!!!


Nickeled and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

To be fair, I have read this before, but I think everyone should read this book multiple times. Even though it's a nonfiction account of Barbara working undercover at several minimum-wage jobs and trying to live on the money she makes, it reads like a novel. You love and hate the characters (who have fictionalized names). Also, she makes some great points about poverty and the assumptions people make about the working poor, especially single mothers. Really good.

These books are on my hold list at the library:

Push by Sapphire
I don't think I can bring myself to see Precious, even edited. Movies about rape are way too traumatizing for me. However, I am interested in the book, although from the few pages I read at Costco it seems like it might read a little like Flowers for Algernon + stereotype-driven Black English, which might get old fast. We'll see.
The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh I am so excited to read this. I mean, I've seen the movies so I know how it ends, but I have found that I am starting to like the books better. It took until about halfway through the Two Towers, but now I am starting to appreciate how verbose and tangential Tolkien is. Also, I have a huge crush on Faramir. He is so strong and sensitive.
Stay tuned for my future blog entry: "How Lord of the Rings ruined me for all actual men"
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Probably someone is going to KILL me for not having read this yet. I have no excuses. However, I insist on reading the book before I see the movie (if I ever do). I'm actually a little worried it won't be as good as everyone says it is. Luckily, the waiting list is so long by the time I get it I will likely have forgotten most of what I have heard about it. I don't think I have read a dystopian novel that I haven't liked, which is heartening.
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
I was SO EXCITED to read this right when it came out, but then I lent out my copy of Hunger Games and she never gave it back and then it just sort of slipped out of my poor, afflicted mind. When I eventually get a hold of this book, I will once again be excited to find out what happens to .... uh oh. What is the main character's name again? I need to buy another copy of that book. It was a HARDBOUND too. Darn bookthief. It's the worst kind of theft!

So these were the four books I was hoping to check out when I went to the library today, but all four of them were unavailable and had long, long waiting lists. So, I need some suggestions regarding what to read, seeing as I'm unemployed and out of school and free to do WHATEVER I WANT SUCKER. Like go to the beach every day it doesn't rain.

Janssen and Rachel, I'm looking at you.



16 January, 2010

Things I Will Never Like (AKA a rant about inanimate objects)

Because inanimate objects can't write obnoxious comments on my blog when all I want to do is express some healthy frustration. If you, the reader, like some of the things on this list, rest assured it's not personal. It's just nice to know there are some certainties in life.

1. Bacon. I know it's going through a massive cultural revival, but I have always found it gross. My cousin Jordan says that he thinks it's hilarious when vegetarians claim to not enjoy bacon. Laugh it up, Jordan. It's NUMBER ONE on the list.
2. The following bands/singers: Creed, Nickelback, The Ataris (sorry Courtney), New Found Glory, Michael Buble, and Muse. If that upsets anybody here, you're the problem. Just because I have a different opinion than you do, you felt personally attacked instead of focusing on a bigger issue: why do you listen to terrible music?
3. Sour candy. Why should candy be sour? It's supposed to be sweet and delicious on my tongue. It's not supposed to burn a hole in my esophagus.
4. Surge cola. Remember that stuff? Maybe you don't. Because it was totally gross. Luckily I'm pretty sure they stopped making it because it killed people, so I don't have to worry about Surge Cola anymore.
5. The sticky floor at movie theatres. I don't understand why people think buying a ticket to a film exempts them from the responsibility to clean up after themselves.
6. Learning the names of countries in other languages. If you ask me, we should all just use the name of the country that exists in the country's foremost language. Thus:

Germany = Deutschland
Hungary = Magyarorszag
Japan = Nihon

France, the U.K., Iraq, Iran, and lots of other countries would be the same, except people would pronounce them properly instead of embarrassing themselves by saying I-wrack.
7. Menstruation. This is not, for the record, the reason for my crankiness. But the curse of Eve is and always will be completely and heartily unfair. Why do my boobs hurt? Why does my back hurt? MY UTERUS IS IN NEITHER OF THOSE PLACES.
8. Guns. I hate them. They smell funny and they make loud noises. Also, they kill things.
9. Redundant rules. I'm finally starting to slow down a bit.
10. Movie reviews that act SURPRISED that movies like Transformers 2: Rise of the Fallen are pointless action romps with bad writing. Shouldn't you have to pay attention to what kind of movie you're about to see before you review it?
11. The texture of insulation.
12. Mirrors that are meant for anything besides looking at yourself. Wall mirrors? No. Space creating mirrors? Not in my house. If I want to look at myself, I better have to go FIND a mirror, not be faced with my pasty reflection at every turn.
13. Conspiracy theories. I don't care if your theory has good solid research behind it, as soon as you say, "this is what THEY don't want you to know," I don't care how much I like you, you DESERVE to get punched in the face.
14. Throwing up. You hate it, too? Weird.
15. Beer. I know it makes people invulnerable to criticism, but I really don't like the way it tastes. I don't even like extra-yeasty bread. Yuck.

Well, that was therapeutic. Hope you enjoyed that.

Do you know something I DO enjoy? Obscure pop culture references. There were FOUR obscure pop culture references in the above blog entry. Anyone who can guess the location of the references (and by that I mean, guess which phrases or sentences were quotes and not just me being my hilarious self) and/or what they were referring to will win a prize: a cool postcard from my collection, sent to you very own home! So get cracking.

13 January, 2010

The New Year has begun in earnest.

I found the 2010 planner I bought last month.

Also, Seattle has done terrible, terrible things to my hair. But considering that's my only complaint so far, I'd say we're doing pretty good.

07 January, 2010

These sorts of things take a few weeks to set in.

I have moved away from the my first grown up place of residence. Every other city I have lived in, I lived there because that is where my parents lived. Utah is the first place I CHOSE to live in. How ironic.

I am back in Seattle now.

Sego is practically suicidal. Last week we stayed with my mom and the Count's fat and flatulent bulldog, who by all accounts under-performs as everything but a doorstop. Then we drove 800 miles and stayed in a Motel 6. He was just getting used to living with Austin, Brooke and Ashley while I spent a day and a half packing the car, then BAM! Motel 6 part deux. BAM! One thousand miles in the car, again. BAM! New house in Seattle, this time with an agile young cat who by all accounts could Kung Fu Sego's metro little rear back to the days of the Sabertooths (Saberteeth?). All in all, we have driven almost 2500 miles and slept in five different beds. He is currently lying down in my room and refuses to budge, even when I offer him food. Poor dog.

Comparatively, I am doing quite well. I made the drive in two days instead of the three I had planned, partly because of a storm report slated for Friday, but mostly because I was in the zone. The Driving Zone. I felt like I could just keep going until I reached my destination. The drive went without incident. I never even stopped to eat. I ate leftover Christmas candy, apples, and Slim Fast. If you want to know how my insides dealt with that, I'm afraid that's too awkward even for the internet. Sorry.

In other news, although my degree is nearly posted, I am not done with studying. I have to take a standardized test to qualify for the teaching program I am applying for. I also have to take a couple of classes. There is lots to worry about and organize. Being a college graduate is quite similar to NOT being a college graduate. I feel so lied to.

Besides application considerations I have no concrete plans at all, except tomorrow I am going to join a gym and schlep that depressed dog to a dog park. Magnussen, or if I'm really especially ambitious, Marymoor.

02 January, 2010

Conversation.

Me: Remember that one week where all we did was hang out and eat pizza and In N Out and watch Star Trek and the Simpsons?
My brother: Thanksgiving?
Me: No! Now!
My brother: Oh. But that's all we ever do, right?
Me: Yeah.
My brother: Yeah.

Darth Vader Quotes

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Andy Warhol Art of the Day