Wednesday, December 28, 2011

To Sum Up

I've been meaning to blog...

...about Christmas and Christ and the blessings I have
...about how awesome being home (with a 50 degree Christmas) with my family is
...about watching Mackenzie play basketball
...about Kelsie
...about the one-handed make-out bandit
...about my uncle setting me a deadline to be married
...my New Year's resolutions
...a summary of my year
...pictures
...about my run in with my third grade teacher, which I can sum up by telling you that she said, "It's my favorite," meaning ME, "Heywood student!"
...about my first experience at a bar in Troy

But I've been too busy enjoying/experiencing all those things, that I think that it will just have to wait. Plus, people around here are using IE, and it's painful.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Women as Superiors?

...Obduracy can be overcome by determination. More insidious, and far harder to destroy, was women's internalizing of the notion that they were somehow inferior to men, a complementary species designed (in W.R. Greg's words) to 'complet[e], sweeten, and embellish the existence of others'. [Women] still chose to become nurses rather than doctors, secretaries rather than bosses: to be ill-paid facilitators for people no more talented nor, in many cases, better educated than themselves, but who simply happened to be men. The notion that they might be their bosses' equals penetrated only very slowly; the possibility that they might even be their superiors, though accepted in theory, has perhaps still not wholly sunk in.
Governess: The Lives and Times of the Real Jane Eyres by Ruth Brandon, p. 257

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Scrabble Tiles

This morning, I dreamed about my family reunion. A lot of my dreams take place at our family reunion, and always the one on the Armstrong side. Even though we go to Wesley Woods every year, my dreams never actually take place at the Wesley Woods that has not really changed in the 25 odd years that we've been going. This time, it was no different.

A lot of the details have escaped me throughout the day, but the exciting part hasn't.

I was talking to a relative and looked over to see my brothers and sisters, Julia (Brad's "girlfriend") and Kelsey (Mark's girlfriend) playing a word game. It was like Scrabble and UpWords and stuff like that that, only it involved little yellow plastic tiles. Because there were so many people, they were playing with multiple boards and so there were three different types of tiles. The older version had cardboard tiles, one had square tiles and the other had round, dome-like tiles.
 I was furious.

(Why am I always mad in my dreams????)

I was upset because they were leaving me out, again. They hadn't even bothered to invite me to play games with them and had left me talking to X relative, when they should have known that I would have liked to have played the word game with them. I walked up to the table and grabbed a handful of tiles and threw them, as though I were skipping a rock, as hard as I could and they flew like a bullet down the table and in to the board before going everywhere.

I felt immediately bad, knowing that I had acted out and was not being mature about the whole thing. And, I knew that I would have to be the one to pick up all the tiles, which were now being blown about in the wind and littered the grassy area. I started picking them up and the tiles led me down a hill where we were celebrating my dad's birthday.

My mom had pulled out this flat cake, but without her usual disclaimers as to why it didn't look right, she began cutting the string and taking off cardboard that had kept the cake flat. As she lit the candles, the cake began to inflate. It was the coolest cake ever. We sang as it continued to grow and grow, my mom standing aside with a smirk of satisfaction on her face.



After the song ended, I began to collect the tiles again scolding myself for being so immature. Julia came up to me and helped pick up a few and we talked.

Real Father vs. Fake Father

I've had some really weird dreams lately, and I've been meaning to blog about them, but I didn't know if I wanted to post them or not. What the heck? I'll just post.

The first one I call Real Father vs. Fake Father.

I was headed up to Idaho or something, and was to be meeting my grandmother at her house. I was running late and decided that I didn't have time to get dressed. So I took a shower and got in to my car completely naked. I was speeding the whole time, hoping that I would not get pulled over due to my state of undress.

There's been a lot of construction on I-15, and so I didn't catch the sign that said, "YOUR CONSENT IS GIVEN TO BE FILMED IF YOU CONTINUE ON THIS ROAD!" The road had split into two, and the one on the left had less traffic, so I took it. Apparently, they were filming for a movie, and by driving down that fork of the highway, you were saying that they could use the image of you and your car in the movie. The creative director had my car pulled over because he had taken a fancy to Louise, my silver '97 Plymouth Breeze, and wanted to use it for other scenes in the movie.

Nobody, including myself, seemed to be bothered by the fact that I was naked. They did give me a robe, and asked me to sit in the waiting room while they cleaned and polished my car -- primping her for her movie debut. While in the waiting room, my "dad" approached me. I was happy to see him and asked him how long I would be waiting for my car to finish up because he knew that I should be at grandma's by now. He got this really serious look on his face and was like, "Shelli, it's time you knew."

The dialogue gets hazy here, and I'm not sure what he told me. But at the end of it, he introduced me to my REAL father and I was pissed at fake dad.
Real Dad

 I didn't want to talk to him anymore and I immediately started cozy-ing up to my real dad, trying to get to know him and make up for all the lost years I've had with him. Dad told me that I should be nice to my fake dad because he had spent all those years raising me, and it wasn't really his fault that we had been separated. I didn't want to listen, but then I looked over at the table and my fake dad had morphed into a helpless two-year old.
Fake Dad as a Baby
I was annoyed and still very angry, but you can't just leave a two-year old to fend for himself. Fake dad, now in diapers, decided to go for a walk and out the door he went. I looked over to Dad, and he just nodded after the bald baby. I rolled my eyes and followed him out. The baby, or fake dad, walked to the store to get some milk and then headed to a bridge where it was pouring down rain and he was going to jump.

I was worried that he really would jump, so I scooped him up and carried him back to the waiting room.

Chopped

Update: There is still a bit of burnt popcorn smell going on in the kitchen. I have no idea how to get rid of it since I've tried vinegar, baking soda, vinegar + baking soda (fun!), SOS pads, soap, etc. etc.

But the real reason for this post is just to say that yesterday, I went from this:
To something much lighter and much easier to manage. This:
My first thoughts were, of course, that I loved it. Shorter hair just feels natural to me. I've been growing out my locks since April 2010, and every time I looked in the mirror, I would just be stunned at how long it actually was. Now that it is shorter, I am not surprised... just worried. I'm worried that it looks too much like a Utah haircut. And I'm worried that I will regret it. Even though, I don't really regret it. Or I'm trying not to regret it. I don't know! It is quite a bit shorter than what I was thinking...turns out, your collarbone is much higher up than I envisioned.

Oh, well. The great thing is, hair grows back. So if I decide that I do regret it, I can start growing out my hair again and a year from now, it will be long again.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Who Burnt the Popcorn!?

A few weeks ago, I was racking my brain for a treat to take to ward prayer and since in was Sunday, I had to figure out something with the ingredients I had on hand. Luckily, I remembered that I had been in the habit a few years ago to break out my air popper (a birthday present from my awesome roommates) and mix some concoction of brown sugar and marshmallows and pour it over the popcorn, and it was sugary goodness that was extremely addicting.

In true Shelli fashion, I waited until I had about 20 minutes to begin making my popcorn mix; I traded the marshmallows for Fluff (marshmallow creme) and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, my air popper overheated or gave out on me, and I was left with only 10 minutes, and little hope. Still, I persevered. I got out my big stock pot and successfully popped the popcorn. (The mixture was not the best, but I made do and that's a different story, anyway.)

Another Sunday, another need for treats; this time it was for myself. I find myself limited with ingredients and happily turn to the idea of air popped popcorn. I knew that it worked well last time, and so this time I didn't measure or anything and just went for it.

The next thing I know, smoke is billowing out of my pot, and it smells. Bad. I inhaled too much of the smoke, which from the smell alone, I can tell is pure carcinogenicity. I begin coughing and run to put the pot outside. I open the windows and turn on the oven fan. It's a disaster! My nearly new stock pot has a layer of black scorch marks and the whole apartment smells like burnt popcorn...

...mixed with pine trees.

Because yesterday, I bought pine smell for our front room, to make it smell more Christmasy.

I can't tell you how bad the combination is. And I can't tell you how sorry I am that I didn't have a gas mask and rubber gloves to take care of the problem. Not only does my apartment smell like the death-smoke, but my hands (despite numerous washing) still wreak of the toxicity.

I resigned myself to trail mix for a snack.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Red Shoes

I found what would have been the perfect pair of red shoes today. I have been looking for a pair of red heels for a while now; I know exactly what I want, but I haven't been able to find them. Today, I found them! Only, they were half a size too small.

Trust me, I wore them around the store for half an hour hoping that they would magically work, but by the end, I just couldn't get them. They were too small.

Dang it!

These perfect red shoes are a subtle glitter, cranberry color. They are pointy-toed and a slingback. They have kitten heels.

I want them! I need them! Stupid Ross! If only they had had just a half size bigger!

If anybody comes across a size 8.5 pair of Etienne Aigner red shoes, described above, please let me know!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Modest Extremism

Take a minute to look at this photo.

What do you see? What do you feel? If you are a man, are you stirred to inappropriate feelings because the "skinny jeans" are too tight? If you are a woman, are you rolling your eyes at the lack of tact and dignity presented by these clothes? Are you offended by this outfit in anyway?

No?...
...Really? ...

Why not?

I'd like to venture a guess. I'd say it is probably because there is nothing wrong about this outfit. There is nothing immodest about it. It's probably because your thoughts don't immediately turn to wayward, inappropriate thoughts at the sight of a cute, fully-clothed female. And oh, also, because those aren't skinny jeans.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where extremism is all over the place and I would argue, especially within our culture. I attended BYU and saw extremism all the time on campus, but never did it reach the heightened proportions that I have discovered and heard about as is found on the campus of BYU-I. Why is it that people feel it necessary to call out others in self-righteous judgment? Why do these people always land jobs in the testing center? It's so strange to me. The story goes: The girl in the above photo met with her bishop for her calling then headed over to the testing center in the same outfit and was turned away because her pants were "too tight". Now, BYU and BYU-I both have a dress code that limits the clothes you can wear on campus. Mostly they are the obvious: no bare midriffs, no butt cheeks hanging out your shorts. No sleeveless shirts, etc. But from what I can tell, there is nothing too "form-fitting" or again, immodest about this outfit.

If it were me, I'd be outraged.

The whole story can be found in this article here. I'd like to point out my favorite part: the flier.
A flyer was posted by university employees instructing students who felt that “skinny jeans” might be permissible to “go home and prayerfully visit with your Heavenly Father and recommit yourself to being a true disciple.”
Er...

It should be noted, that according to the article I linked to above, the flyer was removed a few days later and the school made a statement on their Facebook page that said, "
Wondering if skinny jeans are allowed on campus? They are. BYU-Idaho's longstanding dress & grooming standards promote principles of modesty and restrict formfitting clothing, but skinny jeans are not singled out or prohibited. In addition, the Testing Center issue reported in Scroll has been corrected and is no longer in force.
 ABC News also posted an article on the whole thing. They didn't really find students that had flattering things to say. While generally, I do not think that the dress code at BYU or BYU-I is "ridiculous" as the student quoted said, I do think that there are some who take it to extremes. From what I've read, mostly it stems from guys who probably think that girls at school should be dressed in a shapeless muumuu worn down to our ankles, not to be completely confused with a burqa. (I personally think that these guys need to go talk to their bishops about their porn addictions, because let's get real for a second: if you are completely turned on by the "shape of a girls leg", then you probably have some dirtier things going through your head, stemming from activities taking place in your bedroom. Just sayin'.)

The argument is modesty.

In junior high I owned two tanks tops that I wore to school. They had straps that were at least four or five inches thick and showed *gasp*shock* my shoulders, but that was all. I attended a broadcast with my mom, and the president of the church announced a new For the Strength of Youth pamphlet that encouraged us to not get that second pair of earrings that I had been working up my nerve to ask my mom for, and to not wear any item of clothing that was sleeveless.

Oh the arguments that I put forth! The sarcastic and belligerent comments I made towards my SHOULDER being put down as an object of lust! I hated it! Absolutely. My mom talked me down, told me that showing a little bit of obedience was more important than putting on display of my shoulder. Etc. etc. And for the most part, I have lived without that second pair of earrings. I have worn the Shade and the Downeast tops and put shrugs and cardigans to cover my shoulders. My shorts are all knee length. For a long time, my dresses and skirts were at my ankles. (Now... they might be quite a bit shorter, but in general, are still "modest".) I have no problem with modesty and the general dress code with which we are asked to adhere to. My problem is with those that turn it in to an extremist movement.

One of the quotes from the aforementioned article was from this blog. She talked about a specific Friend article involving a disappointed four year old and her grandmother's gift of a spaghetti strap dress. And she left with this thought,
I don’t want my daughters equating “modesty” with how much skin they choose to reveal or to cover. Sure, I’d like them to be modest, but modesty encompasses so much more than how much leg or cleavage or, okay, shoulder you reveal. Modesty is about attitude, demeanor, dispositions. It’s about moderation. It’s about avoiding extremes. It’s about feeling comfortable in your own skin.
I think that is the principle with which we should judge on what we choose to clothe our bodies with. For those of us not wearing garments, I know we should keep in mind that one day we will be wearing them, and shouldn't need to have to buy a whole new wardrobe for when we do. However, thinking that we need to dress in pioneer dresses or feed sacks is not the answer. And judging girls who choose to be a little more trendy, or whatever, is not up to us.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Interior Decorating

The office I work in gets a lot of compliments. We work in a historical neighborhood and Kevin has done a really great job preserving the integrity of our old building. While nothing but the exterior brickwork, the stained glass window and the staircase is original, a lot of it looks like it is just as it should be.

This is my third Christmas season at KMA. In previous years I've had a few red and green candles, some fake poinsettias and a Santa candy bowl to work with as decorations, but this year, I wanted to add a little more. So I asked our controller/Kevin's wife if she had any extra Christmas decorations laying around. Instead, she gave me permission to take some money to Thai Pan Trading Company (!), and pick up some things. She turned it all over to me.

So last Friday, I went to Thai Pan with my friend Ryley, and we had fun making out a floral arrangement and picking out different odds and ends that I really am pleased with the end result. I only wish I had had more money to buy a tree...






I am rather pleased with how it all turned out. What you don't get to experience, is the fact that our office also smells ridiculously good because of the scented wax plug-ins that we have running throughout the day.

Now if only I could have the money to decorate my own home!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Great Cover of a Great Song



I'm digging this cover of Adele's Someone Like You, which is perfect for this mopey mood I'm in right now.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Saturday Dinner

I pulled out everything that I bought last week when I went grocery shopping to take inventory of what had spoiled and what could still be used. Since it was my birth week, I ate out or ate leftovers all week long and didn't touch the stuff that I actually bought. Luckily, nothing is spoiled, yet. Unluckily, it is only a matter of time.

Anyway, tonight's dinner was made trying to use as many of the perishables as possible, without having to go to the store and get more ingredients. That, my friends, is the very definition of Hobo Food.

I couldn't decide if I wanted a baked potato with peppers or some sort of breakfast burrito, so I turned it in to a combination.

I shredded the potato into a pan to make hash browns and decided to add zucchini, cilantro, onion flakes and lime juice and then, on a whim, fresh jalapeno and some white pepper. I made some over-easy eggs and put it on top of the mixture and...

Success!

It was really delicious, if just a little bland. Even with the heat of the jalapeno it needed a little something else, and I'm thinking a fun type of salsa would have been just the trick. Or maybe some extra cilantro. Either way, I think I will make it again.

That is, if I have the same ingredients on hand ever again. Now I just have to clean it all up. Oh, and even though I thought this might be a completely original idea, I just Googled zucchini hash browns and there are several recipes that pop up... So I guess not.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Birth Month 2011

Today is the last day of the month, so it's the last day of my month-long celebration of my birthday. Sort of. I'm not opposed to celebrating myself the rest of the year, but I just can't invoke anymore birthday rights (not that that has worked this month, at all when I really wanted it to).

The month started out really promising with a few dates with the same guy. And while the whole thing was a flourish into nothing, it was not without having some fun in the process. (Read: It basically ended before it began, but it was fun while it lasted.)

I bought books and clothes.

I went to Idaho to visit some of my most favorite people. And even though it was a flash trip, it was really fun. I made plans to go see them again for Thanksgiving, but was instead surprised with a ticket home for Thanksgiving! For my "birthday", we went and saw Breaking Dawn and went to El Sombrero. They didn't make me wear the sombrero though. My mom got me a new GPS, because my old one broke. It was a smart move, because it saves her a lot of time and hassle when I have an actual computer to find where I am when I'm lost. Being home was by far the best part of my birthday month.

Another unexpected surprise was the fact that we got a new bishopric! I'm pretty excited about the new regime. It was no secret that our old bishop didn't really like me... and I really think that the old YSA 142nd Ward could use a pulse check and shock into some new ideas and activities. I have high hopes for our new bishop and his counselors.

At work, the guys bought a cheesecake, the one without the bug. (Thanks, guys!) And then I went to dinner with a group of friends to my favorite restaurant in Provo: Thai Village. The majority of us got pumpkin curry, which is heaven-made squash in a bowl served with rice. I love it. I want some more.

Megan bought me a MUSIC BULLET, which is as awesome as it sounds. It's a battery operated speaker that plugs in to iPods and computers and such. It will be a great addition to our summer swimming, and until then, I will be happy to use it whenever the opportunity comes along. Thanks, Megan!

Tonight I'm headed north for pedicures and Cheesecake Factory with the FTC. Vietnamese tacos are just what the last day of my birthday celebration called for!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Home for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has long been my favorite holiday. It probably has something to do with the fact that it always falls near my birthday (though, that has made my birthday somewhat less desirable sometimes) and the fact that it is about food and family. Not necessarily in that order. Our Thanksgivings are also like mini-reunions, since we used to all get together for Thanksgiving.

Of course, when I moved out to Utah in 2004, going home for Thanksgiving was out of the question, if I wanted to be home for Christmas. So I've spent the past seven years in Utah or California celebrating with different families and friends. It was always great, but never quite the same as what I remembered.

This year has been pretty tough on our family. We've had a lot of disappointments and heartaches and we are no where near the end of dealing with them. I don't think I've wanted to go home more for Thanksgiving. Although, I think that every year, it seemed important that I be there, and yet impossible on how to figure out how to get there. I toyed with the idea of charging a plane ticket... and then, I got an unexpected phone call from my cousin, KC, and he made it possible for me to fly home for the week.

It was so great to be there! Everything was perfect and it seemed like everyone who could be there, was there. My cousin who just got back from serving in Afghanistan was there with his wife and baby. My brother and his girlfriend were there. All of the cousins that I grew up with running around on Thanksgiving were there. They shot guns. We ate. We played cards. The rolls tasted better than I remember.

I was just so grateful to be there for a few days, to spend time with my family who I love so much. I miss their company terribly, and I really, really hate having to leave them behind.

Five days in Ohio is hardly enough time to do everything I wanted to do. But I started out the trip playing with Kelsie while Amy and Mom were at work. We galloped around like horses, fed cows on CastleVille and put on make-up. Then Amy and I took Kelsie to get her first haircut. She was so good by sitting really still, but I think she was more nervous than anything else. We didn't take off a lot of length, but we evened it up and got rid of the mullet.

Mackenzie had a basketball scrimmage, so I took the opportunity to watch her play. I am fairly certain that it is the first time I've EVER seen her play basketball. It was really fun. I don't know how to convince her that she needs to be more aggressive, though. When we weren't watching Kiki on the court, we were watching Kelsie make friends with the little boy that was near to her in age. They were having staring contests, and at one point Kels grabbed his little face and shook it back and forth. Dad yelled at her to stop and we explained that he didn't seem to mind, his mother didn't seem to mind so what was the big deal? "That's harassment!" he said. And we laughed.
I went to Friendly's with my friend from elementary school, Kate, and I got my usual candy shoppe sundae. Of course, I had to argue with the waiter about what the sundae was called, since they've changed the menu so many times since I've been away. Kate and I sat and talked for hours and it was great to catch up with her. The waiter happens to be the same guy Amy and our friend Esther often has when they go to Friendly's, and he commented on how Amy and I look alike and also how we drink water like it's going out of style. I probably had seven full glasses of water just because he continued to fill it up. At some point, it became a science experiment: see how long my bladder could hold out. I did want the waiter to think that he bested me, so I finished my glass and insisted that Kate and I get home quickly. It was a close call.

To celebrate my birthday, we (Mom, Amy, Chloe, Julia and me) went to go see Breaking Dawn. It was terrible as expected, but somewhat entertaining. Then we met up with my cousin KC and his parents and brothers at El Sombrero, a favorite Mexican restaurant in Troy, and had a birthday meal. The only picture I got was of Kelsie enjoying her sopapilla.

After dinner, we went home and had tons of desserts to make for Thanksgiving dinner. While we were making apple cheesecake, pumpkin and pecan pie, as well as apple pie, oreo dessert and heaven knows what else, Mackenzie and I decided we needed to give ourselves a little facial.
Brad walked in from work, so we told him to sit down and he did. He let us slather the honey, cinnamon, nutmeg concoction onto his face and then let it stay on there for the allotted time. He's a really good sport. Considering the ingredients, it doesn't smell as good as you would think. But I do love the way it made my skin feel after.

Thanksgiving day consisted of finishing up preparations. Rolling out rolls, and helping Mom in the kitchen as best we can. Then we drove over to my Uncle Craig's and the boys were already out shooting.
As I mentioned, dinner and family time was fantastic. The weather was great, so we were able to take some family pictures. Brad ate his entire dinner like a barbarian. He didn't touch his silverware.

It was so, SO great to see everyone and be home! I just can't believe I was there and I don't think I can ever pay KC back for his kindness. I miss everyone already.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bradisms

I had been in Ohio a full 24 hours before catching sight of my little brother Brad, though I was most looking forward to it since I was told that he was participating in No-Shave November. I've never really seen him scruffy, much less with a month's worth of "beard". He looks a lot different with his Wolverine-styled hair that hasn't been cut, and the No-Shave November participation is evident. It is a little more than scruff, but it's not.... quite a beard. He is a lot more patchy and hairless and blond than his older brother, Mark -- who is by all accounts, a beast. But I kind of like it.

We only have one bathroom here in our house, and so nighttime routines often collide. I was asking Brad in between flossing and face washing, what was No-Shave November actually for? Did he know?

"Just a chance for men to show what they're capable of," he said.

Then a few minutes later, modestly draped in his towel "air drying", he stood in the mirror, puffing out his biceps (which are formidable) and flexing his pecs.

"Is that part of your nighttime routine?" I asked. "Do you really do that often?"
"Not enough," was his reply.

Personally, I think he's hilarious.

Monday, November 21, 2011

With Bated Breath I Fly Home

Thanks to my very generous, very kind cousin, I had a flight scheduled to take me home so that I could attend family festivities for the greatest holiday of the year (Thanksgiving, folks). I have not been home for Thanksgiving since 2003, and so I am thrilled to be here. I hope it lives up to all my memories.

On the non-stop flight from Salt Lake to Cincinnati, I was assigned the seat 6B, which any frequent flier knows is a middle seat. Ugh! My luck with middle seats is not great. I usually end up between two very large, very smelly sorts of folks, and....

Honestly, I was just grateful that I had a seat.

I was the first to arrive in my row, so I sat down and waited, anticipating having to get up for the person who had the window seat. After a few minutes, a very cute bearded man with incredible brown/green eyes sat down with a friendly, "How's it goin'?" We watched as other people boarded the plane looking for their seat assignments, always targeting their glance further down the aisle. We were seated second row in economy, and so it was easy to see that each person was looking for a larger number than row six.

After a while, Beard mentioned that he thought that the passengers were likely to be all loaded, and we were not going to have someone sitting at the window.

I'm just not that lucky, and I told him so. I was going to wait a few more minutes, because they hadn't shut the door yet, and so it was very likely that the passenger was late, but most certainly on his way. The passengers were coming fewer and further between. And then they started coming in sucking wind, evidence that they had just run the length of the airport in order to catch their flight.

Every time someone appeared at the end of the first class cabin, my neighbor and I held our breath, hoping that we did indeed get to claim the extra seat.

"You've gotten my hopes up now," I commented.
"I think we're safe," he said.

I waited just a minute more and then moved over and buckled my seat belt. But the door wasn't shut, and there were still a few more passengers that had to find their seats. A Colts fan walked purposefully to our row and then looked around. We were certain we had his spot.

We held out breath again, waiting for him to ask me to move.

He moved on, and we both sighed in relief.

"I wish they would just close the door," I said.
"Any minute now," he confirmed, looking at his phone.

We talked about how he was a golf caddy, but currently it is off-season, so he just travels. He told me he was from Cincinnati, and asked why I did not fly in to Dayton instead of Cincinnati. We talked about the podunk airport he has to fly out of to leave the area of Oregon where he lives.

And then finally, they announced that the door was shut, and we were pushing off the gate.

Success! I broke out my Kindle, and enjoyed my window seat all the way home.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Movies

Last night a friend and I went to a late showing. He went off to the restrooms and left me to find us a seat. The theater wasn't crowded (which means, we did not see Breaking Dawn), and so I chose the best seats in the house -- the first row, right behind the guard railing, center.

There were several reasons for this decision. First, if the people behind us weren't there, I probably would have sat a few chairs down from the other people. The theater was seriously close to empty. But, the people were behind us, and they had their feet comfortably propped on the seats I would have sat in. They didn't look like the kind of people that would be pleased about moving their feet -- if they actually did. I like being in the center of the theater, dead center, and so I didn't really want to go further back when there were plenty of seats in the perfect location. The only problem was Jersey Porn, the unfriendly girl who was sitting just one seat off-center. She had jet black hair, and way too much make-up. Her lips looked collagen filled and her cheekbones too high. I entered the row and I asked if she was saving any seats and she said "No". I got the impression that she was annoyed that I was even talking to her, but I sat down anyway.

Now, guys have that unwritten rule that when they go to the theater together and there are extra seats, they sit one seat apart because they don't want to sit directly next to one another. That's fine, but, I didn't think girls have that rule, too. Apparently only people haters have that rule. I could feel Jersey staring daggers at me as I sat down and pulled out my phone, but I didn't acknowledge her.

"Are you expecting a lot of people?" She asked me after a moment, in her Jersey sounding voice.
"No," I said, "Just one more."

She didn't say anything, but I could feel the tangible hatred for the girl that just unnecessarily sat too close.

"I didn't want to ruin their foot rests," I felt the need to explain, pointing to the two behind us.

I didn't so much see her roll her eyes, as much as I felt it. At that point, I resolved to stay where I was. After all, it's a free country! And, besides, I hate when people come in late and have to climb over everyone to get to chairs. Not that there were going to be a lot of late people, but just in case!

I spent the rest of the film trying not to invade her personal space. I didn't share the arm rest with her, and I sat as close to Dustin as possible, without actually sitting in his lap. I probably could have moved, but at that point, I was just annoyed with how unfriendly the Porn star was, that I didn't want to let her win.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Power Flicker

Once upon a time, like, weeks and weeks ago, I tried to print out William's amazing pie recipe for the pumpkin pies I was making. For some reason, my printer wouldn't print. It wouldn't turn on. I unplugged it, plugged it back in.... did everything I could think to do and then gave up to worry about later.

Fast forward to five seconds ago and my lights flickered, my laptop chirped with annoyance as it lost and then regained power and....

My printer magically turned on and printed "William's Crust for 9" Double Crust Pie".

Ok?

At least I know my printer is working now.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thanksgiving Flowers and Toilet Paper

The other day my roommate walked in with these beauties just for me. It had been a hard week, and she was very thoughtful to think of me.

Not only are they beautiful, but they are very festive. Which is particularly important during this time of year. So many people are forgetting which holiday they are supposed to be celebrating. I LOVE that these are harvest colors!



Melissa and I have been having a lot of fun lately. It sort of started with a slumber party that kept us up until 5:30 a.m. a few weeks ago, and the giggling hasn't really stopped since. (We've decided that after last Sunday, we aren't allowed to sit next to each other in church anymore.)

A couple of months ago, we came up with the clever idea of starting a toilet paper roll collection. Of course, we had a very decided purpose. Our neighbor has issues with his roommate never, ever throwing away the empty toilet paper roll. He'll move it to the tank of the toilet. He'll move it out of the way. But he doesn't throw it away. It drives our neighbor insane. Knowing how he feels about empty tubes, we decided to collect them and when we had enough, we would do something like such as above.

He went out of town for the weekend, and felt that we had a pretty good stock pile. We tried to make a wreath, but it didn't work out well. We were lucky to have accomplished what we did, considering that Melissa sliced her finger after working on only three tubes.

We were going to make a "bead" curtain out of the TP tubes, but... neither Melissa nor I are very crafty people. We managed three rows, loved the way it looked hanging from Dustin's fan, and decided that was good enough. We sneaked over to our neighbor's place, had his roommate let us in, and we hung the sucker as well as left a trail of toilet paper tubes up the stairwell, and left.

I woke up to find a strand of it on my car, and was able to transfer it back on to his for a double whammy! the next morning.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Miss Representation

Over the weekend I stumbled upon a documentary that I think touches on a really important subject and I hope will inspire people to seek change.

The film is called Miss Representation and documents the sexualization of women in the media and how it affects our society and how it has changed the way girls view themselves. It showed staggering statistics and highlighted things that most of us probably think about in passing, but have generally accepted it as "just the way things are."

One of the things that hit me was the section it did on the past election with both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin in the mix, and how the media focused more on what they were wearing and less on their actual politics. I wasn't a huge supporter of either woman, but listening to the way they were referred to in the media made me angry.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "MISS REPRESENTATION")

BILL O'REILLY: Both you and Sarah Palin are good-looking women. I mean, you're attractive, young - relatively young - women.

MICHAEL SAVAGE: Kagan he's going to put on the U.S. Supreme Court? Isn't there such a thing about the aesthetics of the appointee? Let's put it to you this way, she's not the type of face you'd want to see on a five-dollar bill.

RUSH LIMBAUGH: I think I'm going to send Sotomayor and her club a bunch of vacuum cleaners to help them clean up after their meetings.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Cynthia McKinney, the former congresswoman from Georgia, was another angry black woman.

LEE RODGERS: Look at these ugly skanks who make up the female leadership of the Democratic Party.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: You know that ugly hag Madeleine Albright? Remember her?

Hags? Skanks? Really? How is this acceptable? One of the other points from the film talked about how in the media, when a women politician speaks out about a policy they are said to "complain" about it, but if their male counterpart said the same thing, they would have "stated" it.

The film talked about how in the 20s, 30s and 40s, women in films were often well-rounded, complex characters that played multiple roles within the movie. Now, we have the bimbo, the ho and the accomplished proud women that is seen more as a b*tch that needs to be taken down a peg (think The Proposal).

The more I watched the documentary, the more I realized that people need to be educated on this very topic. The documentary was shown on the OWN network on television, and there are scheduled screenings throughout the country. To my friends in Utah, December 1, in Ogden is our showing. I encourage anybody and everybody to watch it.

Start: December 1, 2011 7:00 pm
End: December 1, 2011 9:00 pm
Venue: Ogden Weber Chamber Auditorium
Address:
2484 Washington Blvd, Ogden, 84401, United States
Cost: Free

NPR interviewed the writer and director of Miss Representation, Jennifer Siebel Newsom. You can find the transcript here. Also, take a minute to check out the website, www.missrepresentation.org and their facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/MissRepresentationCampaign.



Remember, "You can't be what you can't see."

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Pancakes

When I was growing up, my mom always made us breakfast.

Really, I think she was making breakfast for Dad, and we benefited. She would make scrambled eggs and bacon or French toast or pancakes. Sometimes she made oatmeal with raisins in it. There were waffles. There was rarely cereal.

Around the time of junior high, my sister and I started to get self conscious. We didn't want to go to school smelling like pancakes. We had a good reason, too. Most the time, a friend or person would say that "something smells like pancakes", and we would know that it was us! After all, the hot griddle and the cooking spray made for a  really bad perfume. So we asked our mom not to cook so much. Or to warn us when she did, so that we could walk around the house in her robes, trying to keep the smell off of us.

We were lucky that when we started seminary, our house was close enough to the school that we could swing back by after seminary to eat a quick breakfast and finish putting on make-up or clothes. Friends of ours started swinging by too, and suddenly my mom was feeding our cousins and our church friends breakfast.

Whenever I go home, I like when my mom cooks breakfast. She doesn't do it as often, I don't think, because she has since started working and helping out with a grandbaby, and she is a lot busier than when she used to be. But she knows that I like the pancakes with the crispy edges and my waffles to be a little crispier and that I don't put butter on anything. I miss walking down the stairs and seeing my mom standing by a griddle asking us if we want pancakes or waffles.

This morning my roommate decided to make pancakes for breakfast, and she called up asking if I wanted a couple. Of course, I said yes.

Even though, now, I smell like pancakes.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Don't Call Me Crazy

I went to Kneaders for lunch today at noon. I hate going anywhere at noon for lunch, but especially Kneaders. It's always packed and the one in Orem has parking for about 10 cars. So I parked a mile away, walked to the building and walked in and my ears were immediately assaulted with Christmas music and there were Christmas trees and ornaments and all manner of "Holiday" trimmings.

The Thanksgiving "shelf" was on a small, separate counter. It had.... two Indians and one turkey. One miniscule corner of brown and then all sorts of red and green.

Sigh.

I know it's a losing battle, but every year I get so worked up. I had the thought that it was probably a good thing that I wasn't just a titch crazier than I am...and good that I don't carry a concealed weapon. I seriously wanted to pop a cap in the speaker blaring I'll be Home for Christmas.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Uno with the Bollschweiler's

Uno has always been a beloved game in my family. It comes from the Bollschweiler (my mom's) side. They tell of a time when my mom was passing cards between her toes in order to cheat. They are all a bunch of cheaters. And no one, not one person, is worse than my grandma. She looks sweet and innocent and has the, "Oh, did I do that wrong?" expression down to a T. But we all know better.

We are playing in the dining room. Across the hall and down the hall there are two babies sleeping trying to sleep. No one in this house knows how to whisper and when the game is getting heated, as it always does, we only get louder. I won three hands in a row and then they were determined to unseat me.

The worst part is that Uncle Allen and myself are the only ones quick enough to play our hands and keep an eye on Mistress Cheater - Grandma - and when we are arguing among ourselves over a disputed move, Grandma manages to slip two or five cards in to the pile.

She looks so innocent, but she's a horrible cheater!
Poor Kevin, a friend of my cousin's, claims to be from a family of cheaters, but was hardly able to keep track of Grandma and his own hand. He's just as loud as the rest of us, though, so he fit in perfectly.

We play Uno with the "matching" rules; things get insane when we try to add the "Armstrong" rules into the mix (trade hands on 0 and slap the deck on 9). The game goes by a lot faster with our rules than it does in an ordinary game, and honestly, I don't think I can sit through a boring old Uno game anymore.

I love this family.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Wait until December, Fat Boy

Nothing more needs to be said.

Oh no. She's cooking.

"You're going to love this...our roommate is cooking something in [a borrowed] crock pot..."
"I'm doing that. Turd. Does it smell OK?"
"It smells disgusting. Why did you use [that] crock pot?"
"It was the one sitting out. Really?? What's wrong with it? It was an experiment."
"Now that I look at it, it does look like hobo food. Is it for [a boy]?"
"No! It's for us! Lol."
"Uhh...I don't know if I can eat that. It smells good, but looks disgusting."
"Heheheheheheheheh... I'm sure it will be fine. It's just....Mexican Chicken!"
"I don't know about that..."

Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick-or-Treat

When I was younger, my sister, Amy, and I made sure that we plowed through all the neighborhoods, reaping as much candy as possible. We hit every house from the minute the porch lights turned on until past scheduled end time, until every porch light was turned off. We collected pillow cases of candy (though not as much as some of our more ambitious peers). And when we got home, we dumped it all into a giant, collective bowl. The bowl: big, yellow and plastic. It emptied of the good candies first, the chocolates and candy bars, then the licorice and gum drops until finally, the only thing left were those black and orange peanut butter things and the suckers.

We grumbled about putting our candy together, but my mom insisted. Even though Brad and obviously, Mackenzie, couldn't keep up with our feverish pace and didn't collect nearly enough. It didn't seem right that we had to put in all our hard earned candy, when they had only a few suckers to contribute.

That is, we grumbled up until we were too old to participate in Trick-or-Treating. And then we greedily looked forward to the giant yellow communal bowl filled to the brim with the earnings of our younger siblings. Free candy, and we didn't even have to work for it! YES!!!!!!!

Of course, that was the same time my mom decided that the communal bowl didn't have a place in our home anymore. Mark, Brad and Mackenzie all got to take their pillow cases and hide them in their closets, under their beds and in the cupboards.

Amy and I had to beg, bribe and steal the candy. My younger siblings are not often the most generous of kiddos, and after all, they had earned the candy while we had done.... what did we do during high school Halloweens?Anyway, it became a kind of game of how to win the candy from the younger siblings. And a point in our protests against the ill-treatment we suffered being the experimental group of kids. Why did you change your ruling at so (in)convenient a time, Mom? Why?


Now that I'm grown, I can buy candy whenever I want. The bags of trick-or-treating booty have somewhat lost their appeal. In fact, I have a box at work that is filled to the brim, most days, with the good candy, anyway.

Commitment

Yesterday at church, we had a combined meeting where the Bishop's wife talked about commitment. When she first opened up the discussion, I thought she was going to talk about commitment to a spouse or something like that, but it turned in to something much different. She opened up by asking what we thought of when we heard the word commitment, especially commitment to the Lord. Most the comments were really good, but they were very positive and if you had listened to those making the comments, you might not think that my generation and the generations after me were commit-a-phobes. Because that's all I could think. Fear of commitment. Lack of commitment. Inability to commit.

I've had the Judds' Grandpa song in my head all day.



One guy in the class talked about his job where he basically enforces contracts. He told us how people call wanting to cancel their contract, all the time, thinking that it's no big deal. And that's the world we live in. People sign a housing contract, a phone contract or a marriage contract, thinking that if things get too tough, or if they find something better, or if they just don't want to do/try/etc. anymore, they can just walk away.

I never hear people talk of honor. I think, (not that historical novels are much base for accurate representation of the past) that once upon a time, honor was something people were willing to die for. I tie commitment and honor together, because those who are committed to be honorable are the very best sorts of people. When searching for quotes on honor and commitment, it didn't surprise me that the majority of them came from people that were in 1925 or before.

This all comes out as Kim Kardashian, just two months after her ostentatious wedding, filed for divorce from her husband. Two months is short even for Hollywood standards, and I think that it is just plain ridiculous. Marriage is supposed to be a life long commitment, at least. I guess since no one knows what a commitment is anymore, I shouldn't be surprised, but it makes me sick that because some rough patch (and if it is the stress of "not cutting it on the TV show" or whatever thing that is clearly self-inflicted through selfishness) comes up, it's time to quit. No. It's not time to quit. You work through it. You see counselors. You remember why you agreed to the commitment in the first place. You don't quit. You don't throw your hands up and say, "This is hard! I'm through!" You do the honorable thing, because “Honor isn't about making the right choices. It's about dealing with the consequences.”

(I know that sometimes divorce is necessary. I was a huge advocate for my sister getting out of her marriage from her husband, even after she found out she was pregnant. There are some marriages that don't work out because of one reason or the other.)

In the Church, we are all given assignments or callings where we have the opportunity to serve in some capacity for our ward. In Single's Wards, a lot of the callings are made up, and just excuses to get people to work together on a committee. For instance, I'm on the spiritual living counsel. I help organize a prayer meeting on Sundays, munch-n-mingles, etc. When we receive the calling, we're asked if we will accept it. So even on days that I don't want to go to Ward Prayer, I go. And even though it's hard to plan and orchestrate a dinner for some unknown number of people, I do. My co-chair doesn't seem to have the same level of commitment, as evidenced by his not showing up to ward prayer for weeks in a row; not returning text messages when trying to coordinate the activity; he didn't give a damn that he left me all alone until the day of the event.

And even for that same event, I had some 18 people sign up to make chili for the chili cook-off. I sent reminders out on Wednesday or Thursday. I had two people let me know that they wouldn't be able to make a chili. One was in response to the reminder. The other was on Sunday a few hours before the cook-off. The ones that frustrated me -- saddened me -- were the ones who signed up and showed up, bearing nothing in arms. What a contrast to the one guy who signed up and ended up not going to the cook-off, but still made the chili and dropped it off at my apartment. Now that's commitment! Or better still, the ones who did what they said they would do.

One of the comments made in our meeting was about how we are all so attached to our cell phones, which has made it easier for us to shoot out a quick text that says, "Hey, I actually can't make it tonight," or "I'll be late," or whatever. I am the absolute worst about being on time, but I make sure I RSVP and do my best to follow through. (I won't go in to how much I hate the "maybe" option on Facebook invitations and the people who are cruel enough to use them. Or the ones that just don't respond at all. Seriously, people? RSVP!!!)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Zombie Song

A friend of mine posted this on his blog today, and I've been obsessed with it ever since. It's the best, most catchy, most awesome Halloween/Zombie song of all time.

New Hair

On Tuesday I had an appointment with my newest favorite hairstylist*. I was just going to get my second melt (or ombre) style, but I decided that I needed to be a little darker for the season and Ali was telling me about their coloring class that they had the day before where they learned the sombre style. So we decided to try that. I think it looks great! And I'm actually really happy to be back to being a brunette. Although, I might go back again in the summer.

It's nice to be able to change it up.

Before
After
I changed my bangs from swoop to straight across, but I didn't take a single snip at the ends of my hair. I've been growing it out for so long, I'm nervous to cut it again. Even though I want to. Desperately. It drives me nuts and I long for the days when I had short hair, and it only took me 15 minutes to completely blow dry it. But... I am trying to enjoy the length while I have it. It does look longer in the first picture though. And what you can't really see, is how much lighter it is on the ends of my hair than at the top. That's the sombre style.

*If you want to go to someone absolutely fantastic, call Ali Dastrup from Ella Bloom salon. 801-785-6777. She's great and talented. And she doesn't just do hair. She's also a master esthetician, can do spray tans, nails, last extensions, etc.

Masquerade




I'm sad that they didn't play Masquerade at all while I was there! That's a classic, and honestly, the song that I've had in my head every time I've discussed the upcoming masquerade... They should have played it every hour on the hour!

In books and movies and drama pieces everywhere, masquerades are scenes set where chaos, intrigue and basically anything can happen under the ruse of a simple party. The masks give people the anonymity necessary to act upon their passions, create mischief, etc. Masquerades have always seemed to me elaborate and full of pomp and circumstance.

Which is probably why I always thought I wanted to go.

So when Megan invited me to a Masquerade, I said "YES!", and then as my energy levels plummeted throughout the week, I began to wonder what I had agreed to. Plus, the part of the masquerade that has always appealed to me is the romantic side of it, and since we were inviting boys to come with us (because really, there are few boys of my acquaintances that would want to attend) I wasn't sure if I was ready for what I signed up for.

We did find a friend who decided he would come with us; luckily Peter was also the one who found my mask for the evening.

The mask made it difficult to smile, so I looked pissed off most the evening. I wasn't though.
When we first arrived, I was very concerned. We were there almost an hour after it started, and there was hardly anyone there. There were several people who went all out. They were wearing Napoleonic war costumes with masks and Renaissance costumes and I thought, "This is just the event to showcase all the weird people in Provo." (I ignored the fact that if I weren't as worried about appearances, I might just become such a one as them.)

After about a half hour or so, more people started to arrive and the party really started going. We even added people to our group with friends from the ward. The music wasn't horrible (though there was a LOT of Kei$ha, or whatever her name is, and Lady Gaga, and I have a hard time supporting them). And so we danced for most the night.

The masks aren't exactly absorbent. So imagine perspiring while dancing (totally) natural, but with no where for the sweat to go. It collects on the resin of the mask, and you literally feel like your face is melting. You can feel the beads of moisture start from your forehead and then somehow lodge between your brow or the tip of your nose, and there's not place for it to do. It's really, really gross. And hot. And uncomfortable. If I wear the mask -- or considering the price of it, when I wear the mask -- again, I will line it first with something more absorbent than the straight resin that was rubbing against the face all night.
Once the party got started, it was pretty fun. I did spend a lot of time missing my one-song dance party friends, though.

After the dance, we headed over for a little IHOP. I don't think there is another place in Provo/Orem I would rather be late at night when you are extending your evening fun. It's like a ritual. I do wish I had more connections there, though.

Thanks, Megan, for inviting me to tag along and giving me a reason to finally dress up! I think this is my Halloween excursion for the year.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Loved this Weekend

This weekend was great. It was the perfect mixture of good weather, good company, stuff to do and getting things done. Saturday I woke up at 10 a.m., made breakfast and basked in the fact that I had cleaned my room on Thursday, so there wasn't anything for me to do. I pulled out a book, read a bit and then Melissa texted me and told me to come walking with her.

So we went for a lovely stroll around Carterville park and enjoyed the perfect fall weather with Megan and James. I ran small bits of it, making me feel like I was doing some good exercise and enjoying the day. Even though I was told by a trainer at Gold's Gym that I shouldn't be running, I decided a little bit wouldn't hurt me. When did I start enjoy running? Never. I hate it. A lot. But there is something about running that makes you feel like you've actually done something productive and now that I've been told that I'm "not allowed", it has made me want to all the more. Plus, running in the fall is the best time to do it.

Melissa and I came home and read dumb magazines until it was time to get spruced up for our play. My friend Meghan had bought tickets to see My Fair Lady at the Hale Center Theatre, but couldn't use them and didn't want them to go to waste. So she passed them on to me, and I invited Melissa to see it with me. I thought initially that we were going to see Mary Poppins, but this was MUCH better!

We decided to stop and get something to eat before the show. Originally, I was going to go to Cheesecake Factory, but that's on the other side of Salt Lake, so we opted to go to La Hacienda, a favorite Mexican place of mine, but! we were worried about time, so we opted for a place called the Saigoon Noodle House. I didn't know what to order and ended up with Vietnamese crepes, which were more like flaky omelets with weird meat and shrimp and bean sprouts. I think I was supposed to eat part of it wrapped in the lettuce leaves, but I'm not entirely sure. So I dipped the meat and the shrimp in the spicy red chili sauce and enjoyed it. Melissa was pretty sure that the server was laughing at me, but that's fine.

We made it to the Hale Center Theatre, only two blocks away, after sitting in a line of cars for half an hour. Which was fine; we still had plenty of time, and even had to wait before they opened the auditorium for us. We had great seats, though, I think nearly every seat in the place would be good. It was a circular theater, which I have never been to before, which made it all the more exciting.

I love My Fair Lady. Of course, I have seen the movie with Audrey Hepburn. I loved it ever since I watched it in elementary school for music class, or when we watched it in Latin. I love the story of it, and that it's based on the mythological story Pygmalion (so is Pretty Woman). The play is better, even though it was done almost exactly like the movie. The music was so great, and the only thing that would have made it better was to have Becca sitting next to me -- seeing as how we often sing and dance to two of the main songs from this play, it would seem fitting to have her there as well.

The actors all did a great job in their respective characters. The only thing that I would complain about is that Henry Higgins, supposed master of the English language used the word "hung" instead of "hanged" where he was supposed to. I don't know if that was the actor's folly or the script. And Mrs. Higgins, Henry's mother, was a little.... less English aristocratic than I would envision. I didn't like the way the actress played her at all. However, Alfie Doolittle's character was brilliantly done. Normally I do not like his side story at all, but the man who played Doolittle was great.

There was also technical difficulties after the ball and they had to raise the lights and no one really knew what was going on. But that was hardly a problem. The show was great and I am grateful I had the opportunity to go.

After the show, we made it out and headed towards home. I hate driving back from Salt Lake any time after 10:00 p.m., because the traffic is always beastly. I headed towards home, knowing that I didn't need to take the exit to Las Vegas, because if I kept going, I should still end up on southbound I-15. Only, instead of hitting I-15, we were magically driving around Sandy. How did we get from West Valley to Sandy without knowing it? It took us a while to figure out. We could have sworn we teleported. That is, until we remembered that we had been on I-215 instead of I-80, which has totally different consequences. After we got our McDonald's treats, we located the freeway and drove happily home. No traffic, at all. It was really quite amazing.

So today we made it to church and afterward, I had a meeting for my calling. I like actually sitting in alongside the leadership of the ward and listening to everyone as we try to figure out ways to become more unified and better serve each other. The meeting went long, but it was almost fun and I have some really good ideas on how to improve my calling on the Spiritual Living Council. I headed home and Melissa and I decided to take a walk.

It was HOT! Which is such a good thing. The weather was absolutely lovely, and we walked for well over an hour and enjoyed every minute of it. We did not, however, get any good pictures. After the walk, we stopped by "The Boys'" where they re-hydrated us, and then my visiting teacher came over and then I went over to Megan's for dinner. After dinner, I spoke to my mom. Had Dustin come over to watch Kid History. Headed to Ward Prayer....

and then found out that Dustin had hacked my Facebook account.

Over all, it was an absolutely perfect weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Golden Age

Last night, Melissa and I went and saw the Woody Allen film, Midnight in Paris. I hadn't seen trailers for it, nor did I know anything about it before I went, aside from the cast list: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, and Marion Cotillard...

I should have known that it would be weird. Every Woody Allen film I've ever seen has been so strange. But I liked a lot about it. First, it's set in Paris and it has Parisian music. Second, it's basically about me. And third, the music and the fact that it had every prominent, artistic soul in Paris during the 1920s. The Fitzgerals, Cole Porter, Gertrude Stein, Picasso, Hemingway, etc. etc. etc. Most people I hadn't heard of before, or just vaguely remembered them from literature or humanities classes. I realized that I don't know enough about the time period, even though it has always been an interesting one for sure. There were a few allusions that admittedly went right over my head.

Why is it about me, you ask? Gil (Owen Wilson), the main character, is a writer that believes he was born too late. He idolizes the idea of Paris in the 1920s -- calling it the greatest time and place on earth; the Golden Age. His fiancé (Adams) is a spoiled brat who thinks that Gil is a romantic, and has little patience for his dreaming of the 20s. The movie takes an interesting twist, allowing Gil to get in to an old car from the 20s and attend some of the greatest parties of the time, intermingling and rubbing shoulders with the figures I've already mentioned. Gertrude Stein reads and critiques his novel in progress. He meets one of Picasso's mistresses, and she says that for her the 1890s Paris is the Golden Age, when the Moulin Rouge was up and running and people like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec ruled the day. And magically, a carriage comes and picks her and Gil up and takes her to the Moulin Rouge, where Henri could be found, sketching away. (I read that he did the sketches for the advertisements for Moulin Rouge. Most artists thought it was beneath them to be doing mere posters, but Henri took it on and was given his own reserved spot.) A few others join them and those in the 1890s start talking about how the real Golden Age was during the Renaissance and how everything then was so dull.

Gil is hit with epiphany and begins ranting about how they don't have antibiotics and how he now understands that no one is really satisfied with their present; everyone romanticizes some different past, because the present is messy. It's a long spiel that I wish I had to quote, but since I don't...

*spoiler* Gil goes back in to his own time, still loving the 1920s in Paris, but out to make a future for himself in his present day. Adriana decides to stay in the Moulin Rouge. I just sat there and thought how amazing it would be to time travel! I think I could go back to my present if I had the opportunity to go and explore 1812 or 1912... or any other time period but my own. Maybe I wouldn't want to stay there -- after all, I'm pretty happy with modern medicines and tampons and stuff like that. But it's not possible to take a little joyride to the time period of my fantasy and walk around in it for a few nights in a row.

What's your Golden Age? Is it now?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Eye Flirtation

Apparently there is a lost art in flirting that I had no idea existed, until I stumbled upon this little explanation. I guess we should all study up and practice our eye flirting. There's not much you can do with your eyes, but as you can see, it leads to some pretty interesting "conversations".

Creepy October Header

I haven't been using Picnik.com for much lately, but that will all change. They've put up pretty much the coolest features ever, and I will begin using my free time to turn people in to zombies.

I never knew I liked zombies, until now.

My Love Life

It's sad. But totally true.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weekend Update

Friday, Melissa had some friends over and we sat around and talked for a little while, but then they left to attend a concert. Melissa and I were trying to come up with something to do, but both of us were fairly exhausted. We didn't want to be lame by going to bed at 9:00 p.m. on a Friday night, so we read from A Compendium of Kisses. Really, Melissa was sleeping and I was cracking up over my inability to read out loud. Butchering words led to more laughter, which led to Melissa waking up long enough to see tears running down my face and her gasping and me wheezing... and finally we decided that we had enough and it was time for bed.

Saturday I woke up for a RS breakfast. We had French toast, which I sort of have a weakness for. And then I didn't do much until I headed up to South Jordan to meet up with Lauren. We went to an improv comedy show. I like improv, and I respect people who are able to be funny on the spot. That's not an easy thing to do. Provo has Comedy Sports, which is big on BYU/LDS culture and has a very defined theme and set up. It has its own venue. Push My Button is not as organized. They perform in a small coffee shop. They rely a little too much on audience participation, which led to some pretty strange and too elaborate prompts. There were some really funny parts, but for the most part, it wasn't that entertaining. They roped me in to "playing a game for prizes", and I won the Halloween trivia (answering 5 out of the 6 questions quicker than my opponent). Only... they gave the runner up a gift card to Applebees, and the winner got two free tickets to their next show.

...Ok.

Anybody want two free tickets to see Push My Button next month? Let me know.

Utah roads are an absolute mess right now. And on my way home from South Jordan, I had to navigate my way through all the detours and orange barrels. It was confusing and frustrating. They had closed the on-ramp to I-15, so I had to go up and around on a road that wasn't clearly marked as the detour, and I was only guessing where I needed to turn. Luckily, I guessed correctly. When I made it to Utah County, they had closed down the highway to one lane, and all I saw was red brake lights, so I decided to get off at American Fork and go down State Street. Unfortunately, I think I picked the worst exit to get off. There were two detours to take you to 500 East and back to the freeway. Then, because of the Haunted Forest, there were hundreds of cars wherever there weren't orange barrels. I got temporarily lost, guessed my way to State Street, and headed home... of course, that took a bit of time because State Street is down to one lane as well. Sigh.

Sunday we had stake conference. Both Melissa and I dragged ourselves there. The first meeting was fairly unremarkable, except, one of the speakers (the wife of one of the high councilmen that serve in our stake, approximately 45-years old) decided to talk to just the girls; she said that she was sad that the guys seem to get ripped in to every general conference, and that they were all great and wonderful and stuff like that. The girls needed a little constructive criticism; according to her, we need to "be less picky and more submissive". She didn't explain enough to know if that is what she actually meant -- if she actually wanted us to go back 200 years before women had rights and were imprisoned in insane asylums for speaking against their husband's ideals (I'm reading a book on one such case right now) or if she just wanted us to.... what? I don't know.

The usher didn't have a hunchback, or a droopy eyelid.    
The second session was better in way of speakers, but worse in the fact that there were a whole lot more distractions. The first meeting met in an auditorium. The second in a double chapel with hard folding chairs and an overheated gym. There was an usher who reminded me of Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame...he had really crazy, buggy eyes. And he just walked up and down the gym floor, hunting anyone down who wasn't in a seat and making sure we were packed in there like sardines. We had sad next to a bigger guy from our ward, and spaced the chairs perfectly, and along comes Quasi, and he makes us move down, making everyone uncomfortable and then continued to patrol the area so that we were afraid to move again. We did, though, during the intermediate hymn, finding our original places much more comfortable. He was so distracting, though. And every time he walked by, we wanted to punch him.

The speakers were better this time around. I really do like our stake presidency. They are good men. One of them is actually my mom's old seminary teacher from high school! Crazy, right? He's my favorite. And our stake president is Canadian, and really funny. He stands up and tells us how grateful he is to have his "first wife" in the audience. Then, he had to clarify that she is his only wife. He told us about this weird, old many that used to live in his ward boundaries that they used to make fun of. "We all have trials," he said, "some of us are heavy and weird and that's our trial." He then went on to say that this man moved to be close to the temple in Cardston, Canada, and did some 200,000 ordinances before he died in his early 80s. President Hatch talked about how this man, who didn't have a lot of friends and family on his earthly life, was probably heralded in to heaven by the 200,000 souls he did temple work for. The amount of awe and respect in President Hatch's voice was enough to know that he regretted having made fun of this strange individual, who obviously amounted to much more.

President Hatch also talked about the people that go in to talk to him before they get married, or as individuals, and express fears about the future. I guess it isn't surprising that my peers are all worried about what the world has to offer them. They are afraid to have children because the moral standard of the world continues to decline; the economy is never stable; divorce rates continue to rise; etc. etc. etc. He told us, "You have the brightest of futures of anyone on the history of this earth. You have more good and more joy to look forward to. Yes, there will be trials. But, miracles are born out of trails and sacrifice."

The whole time I was listening to his talk, though, I was thinking that I'm not scared to get married. I'm not scared to have children. I am not worried about how I would support a family -- I know that God sustains us. I am scared about the future, though. Because I'm scared of having a future where I am alone. For some reason, a lonely future sounds neither bright or joyful.

After conference, I went home and made pumpkin pies. They turned out delicious. I know, because I had some for breakfast. I'm pretty pleased with the crust, which we all know is one of the hardest things to pull off, and I didn't over or under bake them. Now, I just have to decide if I am going to share, or if I am going to devour them all up myself.

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