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 New Year's resolutions
...a summary of my year
...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.


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?

...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.”

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...


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.

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