Monday, December 19, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Has my blog been a little Negative Nelly lately? It's so weird because I like WAY more stuff than I don't like. This stops immediately! In honor of Christmas, I'm going to give you a list of some of the things that I love. I'll try really hard not to get sentimental, but I make no guarantees! Stop reading now if you hate feelings.

1- Pancakes, waffles, french toast, anything you can drench in butter and syrup.
2- Twinkly christmas lights.
3- Mustard. Lots of it.
4- Music. I could write for days about all the particulars, but I'll spare you. For the sake of specificity and because I'm listening to him now, James Taylor.
5- Ducks. Oh my, they're cute. Not when they're mating though. Brutal. Have you seen this? It ruined me forever. It was fowl.
6- Potatoes. Any time, any way.
7- Baby laughter. Oh my goodness. Heart melts.
8- The Sound of Music. (See title of this post.)
9- The mountains. Hiking in them, camping in them, looking at them. I love the mountains.
10- Baked goods. Mmm Mmm Good.
11- Being creative. Or rather trying to be creative, occasionally succeeding.
12- My fambly. They're my BFFs. It's awesome having a family that genuinely enjoys one another. (Watch. One of my brothers will comment on this and tell me to speak for myself.)
13- Allegedly, this is an unlucky number. To avoid the risk of jinxing anything I'll skip directly to 14.
14- Here comes the sentimentality. I knew I couldn't hold it in. My niece and nephew. I wish I could explain the way I feel about them. Here's the best I can do. They light my soul. I love them big time. I'd do anything for them, dear, anything.
15- Hot water + water pressure= Amazing! I went without either for about a week and almost lost my mind. Talk about taking such a luxury for granted!
16- Dark Shadows. (To the deprived people who don't know what this is: I'll explain it to you later.)
17- I feel like I need another food item... I love food... Cheese. Cheese is good.
18- Travelling. I want to see the whole world. What little I've already seen, I've loved. Mostly.
19- Reading. Library, Be Mine.
20- The fact that this here list could go on and on and never be long enough. I have so so much to be grateful for, it's crazy. I feel like I've won the blessing lottery.

It's nice to sit and take account of all the wonderful things in life. I hope all 5 of you that read my blog have a beautiful Christmas surrounded by people and things that you love. Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

If You Wish to Render Me Broken and Dejected...

1. Respond to me by saying things like "Well, wait till you're married!" or "Just wait until you have kids. Then you'll see." I promise whatever I said was in no way meant to compete with your spouse/parent status. Also, all of my experiences are not obsolete just because I haven't said "I do." If you say some iteration of the above to me, be advised- I will fall limply to ground and begin foaming at the mouth.

2. Play any version of The Little Drummer Boy at me and force me to listen to it all the way through. That song makes me crazy. It makes me writhe. There's this instrumental version that I've heard a couple times on the radio this year that features this totally ridiculous bossa nova riff in between the verses. It's just so stupid. You all must know how much I love Josh Groban by now, right? I can't listen to even his version. Ugh! That song! I loathe it nearly as much as Christmas Shoes and Mary Did You Know?

3. Pretend like your opinion is fact. This can apply to anything. Politics, music, movies, life philosophy, you name it. It's all subjective. If you insist that your way is the right way and the only way and that everybody must agree or die, a wire in my brain will short out, I will lose power and shut down. You'll have to ship me off to Japan for a new microchip.

These things are like kryptonite to my soul. So if you happen to be a bitter enemy searching for a way to destroy me, I just gave you the keys to my undoing.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Car Trouble

When I went to start my car this morning, it was dead. I had left an interior light on overnight. I hate me. The only neighbors that I know were all gone for the day. I called my grandparents who live just a few blocks away from me but they weren't home either. I saw a couple people driving out of the parking lot, but I didn't have the guts to flag them down. I also didn't dare knock on random doors of my complex until I found someone home with time and jumper cables.

With nowhere left to turn, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I took a little fifteen minute walk to Lowe's. I bought one of those car battery jump starters on the hope that there would be just enough charge in it immediately after purchase to get my car going. The package said "Ideal for roadside emergencies." I would suggest they add "and people who feel too stupid and insecure to ask a stranger for help."

Unfortunately for me my new contraption didn't have quite enough juice to crank the engine. It just turned over a few measly times. In desperation I called my dad. He's a problem solver. He called my grandpa's cell phone who was just driving past, as it happened. He rescued me from my predicament and saved the day.

When I finally got to work an hour and a half late, the ladies I work with suggested I sign up for Triple A. I guess after all my incidents with locking my keys in my car (which has happened more times than I will ever admit), flat tires and dead batteries, they've decided I need intervention. "You're an idiot and a disaster when it comes to your vehicle" intervention. I think they're right.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

No Credibility

Not too long ago I took my car to a certain drive through car wash. I was enjoying all the brightly colored soaps squirting on my windshield and strips of felt swirling around and around, when I heard a brief scraping noise. "That didn't sound good," I thought. But then more soap and swishy things instantly grabbed my attention and I forgot all about the scraping sound until I got back to work. I got out of my car to inspect its cleanliness. I noticed two little chips of paint that had been taken off the roof! Lame!

The ladies at work convinced to go back there with guns blazing and demand they make it right! I'm not a big one for confrontation. It's the worst. So the whole way back to the car wash I was trying to talk myself into a real lather, you know, getting all pumped up for the big fight. I got there and quietly requested to see a manager. This like 21 year old kid named York comes out. How do you get mad at a 21 year old kid named York? I found myself being extra discreet and kind instead. My weakness was exposed.

I showed him the two paint chips. And this is where the whole operation started falling apart. He goes up the paint chips and runs his finger over them. Then he scrapes one of them off with his fingernail. It was a smudge of something white. Ouch! Major blow to the credibility! Strike one.

He goes on to explain all the reasons why their machinery couldn't possibly have caused the other real paint chip. "It's possible, though, that the car had been hit by a rock or something and chipped the paint and then the cleaning process took it off. You know, things happen to cars all the time. Maybe it's been there for a while and you just never noticed it before." He starts walking around my car looking for other chips and flaws with which he can prove his point. He goes to the front of my car where there's a big crack in the bumper. My best friend's sister-in-law had backed into it on my friend's wedding day. I hadn't gotten it fixed yet. He kind of points to it and looks at me and raises his eyebrows. Strike two.

He continues around the car. My case is looking really bad. He's walking towards my car's fuel door. It's ajar! I must not have closed it all the way when I gassed up! Maybe he won't notice... As he walks past it he looks at me again, and very deliberately shuts the door. My heart sinks within me. Strike three.

Any credibility I had left was destroyed. I accepted the outcome. I said thank you to York and got in my car to drive back to work. My pitiful attempt at speaking my mind and getting what I wanted was a major bust. In fact it left my ego a humbled, crumpled mess. How do I even live with myself? But I had to chuckle. I guess I just wasn't made for battle. So the chip stays. As a simile of my soul.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The (Ahem) Adult Photo Shoot

I've mentioned on this blog before how my friend Jared and I always have the craziest adventures together. Remember the gang violence? Yeah. Good times. Well there was this other time when we weren't so much in danger physically, but our minds and spirits could have been utterly destroyed!

I went to college in Logan, Utah which is the best place in the world in spring, summer and fall. Winters are hideous, but the other three seasons more than make up for it. There are mountains and caves and forests and lakes and rivers, and they're all right at your fingertips. One of my greatest pleasures on Sunday afternoons was to jump in my car and take solo drives into the unknown. I'd go a different direction every time and take strange roads until I found something interesting.

On one such occasion, I had found my way into the little town of Wellsville which is right up against a small mountain range of the same name. I meandered down backroads until I was right at the foot. There was a little trail leading uphill into the trees. Even though I was alone, I deemed it necessary to see where the trail led. I had walked for just a minute or two when I came into the most amazing forest I have ever laid eyes on! The ground was thickly carpeted with wild ivy as far as the eye could see. The ivy cascaded from tree branches like lush green curtains. It was exactly like Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest! I named it Enchanted Fairy Land. But evening was drawing near. I needed to leave, but i would return with a friend to enjoy the spectacle with me!

The next week, my go-to man Jared and I headed back to the mountain. As we drove to the trail head, we noticed another car parked there. "Ah well," I thought. "There's room for everybody in glorious Nature! Besides, they're probably hiking way up the trail and we won't even see them."

It was wonderful seeing Jared's face as we turned the bend in the trail and Enchanted Fairy Land opened up before us! "Isn't it incredible?" I asked. We were awe-stricken. Just then we noticed a gentleman standing in the ivy quite a way off the trail with a fancy camera set up. He appeared to be taking photos of one of those great curtains of ivy hanging from a branch of a tree. When he noticed us he kind of stopped and looked at us like a deer in the headlights for a moment, then went on, nervously clicking. Being the friendly hiker that I am, I raised my hand and waved with a, "Hello there!" He politely acknowledged me, and Jared and I continued silently down the trail.

Once we had passed the curtain that he had been photographing, I turned around once again as if to say, "I hope we didn't ruin any of your photos." From this new angle, I realized he wasn't photographing ivy. There was a woman standing there. She had blonde hair swept into an up-do. She had on glamour makeup. She wore no clothing. She had a length of sheer black lace draped across her. I made eye contact with her. A laugh caught in my chest. I shot my gaze forward, grabbed Jared's elbow and not so subtly quickened my pace. Once we were around the next bend in the trail and out of eyeshot of the er... photo shoot, my pent up laughter exploded out of me!

"Oh my gosh! Did you see that?!" I tried to whisper. "What?" Jared looked at me confusedly. He hadn't seen her! He was spared the horror and embarrassment of intruding on such an "intimate" situation. Well, it was embarrassing for me anyway. I won't say it would've been horrifying and embarrassing for everyone in that same circumstance...

An hour or so later on our way back down the trail I made sure the coast was clear before walking through Enchanted Fairy Land again. It's beauty wasn't tarnished by the strange occurrence. In fact, it's so beautiful I would totally use it as a location for a cool film or photography sesh myself... In a different genre, of course.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Regular Person in NYC

I recently went on a trip to New York City. Loved it. I went once before as a teenager and I enjoyed it then. It was very magical to me. There was something different about going back as an adult though... I don't know, I guess I felt more like a part of the mass of humanity. I didn't feel quite so alien there. The anonymity of being one of millions was actually kind of freeing. If that makes any sense at all.

Things I loved: The food. Theatre. Greenwich Village. The cute wallet I bought in Chinatown. MMoA. OMG.

Things I didn't love: So much honking of horns. When we got turned around and lost in the Ramble in Central Park. Walking through the dank, dingy, utterly frightening outer edges of Chinatown. We were looking for this bakery. We didn't realize we'd have to traipse through a nightmare to get there.

Wait! I lied! There was one place I felt completely alien! My cousin and I were walking down 5th Avenue, past all the fancy schmancy stores. She wanted to go inside Bergdorf Goodman and look around at the rich people stuff. I tried to talk her out of it. I didn't want to go inside a store where I knew I wouldn't be buying anything. She was unrelenting. So we went inside.

The moment we stepped across the glittering threshold, I felt like there was a big sign on my forehead with lights flashing "POOR PERSON! POOR PERSON!" The women in that store, you guys! They were all dressed in like Valentino skirt suits and diamond bracelets and earrings. They had impeccably coiffed hair and perfect manicures and Gucci-suit-wearing, indifferent husbands. My Old Navy jeans and I were feeling horribly out of place. Scarves there start at $350 dollars, friends. Who lives in that world? Who can spend $350 on a square of fabric and feel like it was a good purchase? Is there really satisfaction in it?

Weirder still was the fact that my cousin seemed completely immune to the uncomfortableness of the situation. She was unfazed. Is there such a thing as "inferiority complex"? Maybe I have it.

Anyway, overall it was an awesome trip.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Nerd

My friend Garit and I were team rowing in a little yellow raft on Lake Tahoe, enjoying the water, the sun and the beautiful woods around us. Garit pointed over to the shore where we saw a beautiful old tree. It's roots were big and exposed. They jutted away from the earth, forming a little cave between the roots and the hillside.

"Oh wow! That's cool!" I said. "You could hide from a Black Rider under there!"

I then proceeded to explain how Gandalf came to possess one of the three rings of power originally given to the Elves.

Nerd.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thoughts on Public Restrooms

1- People making conversation with me while one or the other, or both of us is locked in a stall, doing our business. Not cool. Not okay.

2- People talking on their cell phones while locked in a stall doing their business. Those poor unsuspecting folks on the other end. Suddenly the echoey conversation becomes lost in an great rushing of water. The realization hits. Weird.

3- One-ply toilet paper. It's the worst thing in the world. It just means that I have to get twice as much. Is that really saving you anything? I think not.

4- The toilet-paper-on-the-shoe phenomenon. I saw this for the first time in real life the other day. A lady I know was on her way out of the restroom while I was washing my hands. I glanced down just in time to see a string of toilet paper trailing behind her. The surprise was so great I didn't have time to tell her before she was out the door. I wonder how long it was there before she noticed? Hmmm...

5- I was in JFK airport and I went to find a restroom. The one I found was one of those that has a common entry, but then the ladies' and gentlemen's rooms split to either side of each other. For a moment, I thought it was one of those unisex restrooms I've heard of. I almost turned and left. If I were a more evolved person, I'm sure I wouldn't care. But I'm not and I do. I would rather hold it than go to a restroom with strange men. Don't you fret, though. I soon realized it was, in fact, a normal restroom.

Have a nice day.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Secretary Files: A Plague

Every summer the employee break room at my office becomes a disgusting, festering hot bed of revolting, ghastly plague! I'm not talking about a plague that everyone catches and dies. It's more like one of the Plagues of Egypt. In fact, it was one of the Plagues of Egypt.




The Plague of Flies.




Gross, huh? I don't know how they get in here, but they do and they're everywhere! At any given time there are probably 10 or so live ones buzzing furiously around the windows. Then they die and their rotting, shriveling carcasses litter the windowsills and floors.



They also make their way into the fluorescent lights on the ceiling. The silhouettes of death.



I don't know if the custodians of the building don't put this room on their daily rotation or if they're too terrified to enter, but the fly body count keeps rising. I don't want to sound like I'm blaming the custodians. Maybe the expectation is that the employees should take care of their own space. Fair enough.

One time, one of my co-workers went up there to heat up her lunch in the microwave. She said she opened it and a fly flew out. I died a thousand deaths.

Anyway, I pretty much avoid that room altogether this time of year. I only went in to take pictures. You're welcome.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Saying Please Doesn't Make You Polite

Have you ever spoken to someone and they're saying "Please" and "Thank you" but they have a tone and demeanor that says "Hurry up and do what I want" and "I don't like you"? They think they're being polite, but they're really arrogant, condescending, patronizing, selfish, and rude. I would rather have a box full of over-ripe greasy brown bananas hovering 2 feet from my nose for an entire month than talk to people like that.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Nerd

I went to a movie with my brother Dylan. There was this preview for a movie about a bunch of really attractive young adults who go on a summer vacation to a lake. Things seem to be perfect, until they all start getting picked off by what appear to be sharks. The kids are like totally freaking out because what in the world are sharks doing in a lake?!

I leaned over to Dylan and said, "They're freshwater bull sharks."

A few moments passed. Dylan leaned over to me and replied, "Nerd."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Must Look Like a Spouse

As of this weekend, I've been mistaken for my dad's wife/significant other twice, my brother Derek's once and now, my baby brother Dylan's once. Uhhh... Weird. Gross. I don't get it. I'm positive I'm not overly affectionate with my family members. Any of my brothers will tell you I'm exactly opposite that. Touching= Germ Transmission. Germ Transmission= Gross. Therefore, Touching= Gross. Just kidding! Kind of.

I don't know why strangers think I'm "with" my siblings and father. I guess once you reach a certain age around here, it's just assumed that you must be married. And if you go anywhere one-on-one with someone of the opposite sex, it's impossible that you might be friends or siblings or PARENT and CHILD.

I give you these excruciating stories in chronological order.

Example 1- I was 20 years old. Which makes this even creepier. I looked like a 17 year old at 20. I probably reached age 20 in looks at age 25. Although, I was mistaken for a high schooler earlier this year. Another story for another time. Anyway, I had gone with my dad to his hometown for an event honoring his old high school football coach. We were sitting there in the bleachers when a lady in front of us turned around and noticed my dad sitting there. Old friend exclamations started flying. "Oh my gosh! It's been so long! How've you been?!" etc... She then looked over at me with a smile and asked my dad, "Is this your wife?" I think I probably made a weird face and my dad kind of laughed it off saying, "Uh, no. This is my daughter." Awkward! They didn't talk for much longer after that.

Example 2- I went with my brother Derek to a western outfitter store. He wanted some sweet "go to meetin'" boots, and I went to help him choose. A nice lady was helping us. Derek would see a style he liked and she'd go to the back to get his size. He tried on a few pairs of boots and then we deliberated. The nice lady walked up just as I said of the boots he was presently wearing, "I like those ones. I think you should go with those." Derek agreed. She decided to throw in her two cents, saying to me, "Now all he needs is a hat and some Wranglers like Jason Aldean, right, Mama?" (wink and smile). I kind of stopped for a second and tried to decide what to say. I didn't want to embarrass her by correcting her when she was trying to be cute and funny. I certainly didn't want to agree with her, thereby confirming her suspicion of our marital status and implying that I thought my brother looked as hot as a country singer when wearing western garb. Shudder! I settled on a weak laugh and smile.

Example 3- I once went shopping for a new mattress set. My dad came with me. It's alright. Go ahead. Ewwwwwww!!! We walked into the store where a salesperson met us. I said, "Hi. I'm looking for a queen size mattress set." He smiled and nodded, then gestured for us to follow him. He said, "Okay now. Is this for the two of you?" I scrunched my nose and looked at my dad. I said as politely as I could, "No. No. Just me." It was all I could do to not pantomime sticking my finger down my throat and make a retching sound. I'm so grown up. I guess what we learn from this is that my dad looks like the kind of guy that marries himself a ridiculously young trophy wife and I look like the kind of girl who gets herself a sugar daddy.

Example 4- The time: this weekend. The place: The Golden Hills Restaurant in Mt. Carmel, Utah. My little brother Dylan and I were traveling down to Kanab together. We stopped for a little refreshment. Golden Hills has the most delicious scones. The restaurant was mostly empty. Only two other tables were occupied besides our own. One by one the other couples left.

Halfway through our meal, the server came up to our table and asked, "How is everything for you guys? Doing alright?" "Yes, it's great! Thank you!" we replied. Then she said, "I just want to let you know that that gentleman who left here a few minutes ago paid for your entire meal." My voice went up about two octaves and my hand flew to my heart, which had just grown 3 sizes. "Are you serious?! Oh my gosh, that is just the sweetest thing! I can't believe it! Why did he do that, I wonder?" The server smiled, sort of nervously and said, "Well, I'm not sure about this, but he said, 'Looks like love.'"

Then we gasped. Then we laughed. A lot. I reached across the table and took Dylan's hand. "Uh, this is my little brother." Dylan said, "And we do love each other very much." We all laughed uncomfortably for a moment. The kind man was long gone, so I couldn't thank him, but I left the server a big tip to try to pay it forward. Even though it was one of the most heart-warming, faith-in-humanity-restoring moments of my life, I felt a little guilty. He did it because he thought we were young and in love. And we are siblings. So he was wrong. His kindness was misplaced. I felt bad. Also, really good. Next time I go out, I'm doing that for someone. It was the best.

So there you have it. I'm not offended at all by the assumptions. They're fair and natural. But you have to admit it's a little weird.


Monday, June 27, 2011

A Totally Rational Fear

Here's the thing. For as long as I can remember I've had a deep and abiding fear of spiders. I can hear your eyes rolling from here! "Oh, brother!" you might say. "She's such a girly wimp. They have exoskeletons for goodness sake! You're 500 times bigger than them! Just smush them!" And your words would seem like wisdom but for the terror I feel every time I see one!

I once asked my mom if she remembered a particular moment in my life when the seed of fear may have been planted. She thought for moment and then recounted an incident. When I was a baby we went over to my grandparents' house. Their basement has always been an area of great concern to me because they get big, gray, hairy wolf spiders down there. Anyway, I had wriggled away from my mom while we were down there watching TV and crawled around, exploring the carpet beneath my little hands and knees. After a few minutes my mom thought she should probably locate me and check on me. She spotted me in a corner across the room with something in my hand moving toward my mouth. She jumped up to stop me and as she grew nearer she realized it was, of course, a big dead wolf spider, at which point she freaked out and probably squealed and smacked it from my chubby grasp. Shocked and startled, I started screaming and crying and the whole thing turned into a big trauma-fest. Who knows? Maybe this one incident in my very early development set me on course to have spider issues for the rest of my life.

It certainly didn't help that the room I inhabited for a dozen years seemed to be a spider migration zone. Over the years, I've gotten very good at spider-spotting. The second I enter a room, I can locate any spider on the floor or the walls and I know very well where the unseemly beasts may be hiding. When one would show it's ugly face, I would do the only possible thing: call for my daddy or nearest sibling to come take care of it for me. They tell me I have a "spider voice". They always know when I'm calling to them to rescue me from a spider situation. Sounds bogus to me.

I know you think I'm ridiculous. That my fear is unfounded and completely irrational. But I can tell you positively and without question that you are wrong. One deep, dark night my fear was realized and my phobia validated.

About five or six years ago, I was home on a short break from college. I had settled for the night in the bed of my childhood. All was dark and quiet when suddenly I was awakened from a deep sleep. There was a very loud crackling sound. My right ear was behaving very strangely. Half asleep, I reasoned that my ear must be experiencing some rare pressure thing and that it would be over any second. Then I felt an intense tickling, such as you feel when water runs out of your ear after you've been swimming. As gross as it seems, I thought maybe I was having an earwax explosion or something. But then the tickle stopped halfway through my ear canal and turned back around and went back into my ear where the loud crackling continued! Horrified, I snapped clean out of my stupor and leapt out of bed. I realized immediately what was going on! I ran up the stairs faster than I ever thought possible to my dad's bedside. In a manic whisper I said, "Dad! DAD! THERE'S A CREATURE INSIDE MY HEAD!!!"

He snapped awake and then lay back down thinking I was having a bizarre dream. "Go back to bed, Lacey."

"I'm not kidding!" I said, my voice shaking uncontrollably. "I can feel it running around!" I think he was convinced when I started violently smacking the side of my head trying to force it out. I was out of control. Every moment it became more and more unbearable. I don't remember everything that happened from there. I know I must have sworn at least a few times, because my dad mentioned it a few days later, crestfallen. I think I was crying and head banging on my hands and knees at one point. All I know is I felt completely insane. All I could think of was the thing in my head running around and around on my eardrum. My dad tried to shine a flashlight in my ear to see if it would follow the light out, but to no avail. Finally, whimpering, I threw on some clothes and we jumped in the car to head to the emergency room.

We hadn't been driving 5 minutes when I suddenly felt that intense tickling again! It was far out enough that I started brushing madly at my ear. I touched the beast with my hand! I felt it fall out! "STOP THE CAR!!!" I shouted. We pulled over and got out. We started searching wildly for the culprit. I focused on my clothes as my dad searched the seats and pulled up the floor mats. Now, I know what you're thinking. "Evidence, Lacey! Where's the evidence?!" I must regretfully tell you that I have none. We never did find the creature that turned my peaceful rest into a nightmare. But I'm not insane! And I would never make this up! I know what I felt that night and I know it was real!

It was so real, in fact, that for months I couldn't sleep at night. I would wake up from hideous spider nightmares, leaping out of my bed. I had no peace of mind. I tried everything from tissue and cotton in my ears to wearing a scarf around my head at night, but nothing worked. And so, in the most extreme phobic reaction I've ever heard of, I invented a thing of true beauty. I call them ear hats. Oh look! Here they are now!



They wrap snuggly and comfortably around my ears. After six months of wearing these babies at night, my sleeping habits were restored to normal and my dreams became tranquil visions once again. My college roommates had some interesting things to say about them. Some laughed me to scorn, some asked me to make them a pair after hearing my horrifying tale. I don't wear them regularly any more. Only after intense spider situations or when camping do I break them out of their drawer.

I guess my point in sharing this story is to tell you that a fear of creepy, crawly things is not irrational by any means. Those things can wreak absolute havoc in your life. So have a little respect for those of us who carry the fear. We are the ones who know the truth. It's only a matter of time before they come after you.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My First Kill

Today I am full of sorrow and guilt. I must report that I am a destroyer. I have snuffed the life out of one of God's creatures and left it a smeared mess on the highway. I did not do this horrible thing on purpose. It was completely unintentional. Up to this point the only things I've ever killed have been various bugs- houseflies, an ant here and there, spiders (shudder). But an actual intelligent creature, never.

It all started when I left my folks' house late last night. I opened the door to exit through the garage. A strong odor reached my nostrils immediately. The smell was unmistakeable! There was a skunk nearby! I tip-toed through the garage with heightened senses, ready to bolt at the slightest shuffle on the pavement or flash of black and white fluff. I reached my car unscathed and breathed a sigh of relief. If only I had know then that what I had just experienced was a dark omen of things to come.

I was driving down the dark highway. I was enthusiastically singing along to 10cc's "The Things We Do For Love". Some of the harmonies in that song are a little difficult and require a lot of focus to nail. I was at such a moment in the song... "You think you're gonna break up, then she says she wants to make up..." Suddenly a little black and white creature scampered into the beam of my headlights. There was nothing to be done. There was no way I was going to swerve. I know better than that. It was too close to slam on the brakes. I braced myself for the inevitable. I took my foot off the gas and let out a long high-pitched scream... THUNK THUNK! "Ooooooh..." Then I was overcome by the most powerful odoriferous stench of my life! I could hardly breathe! My eyes were watering! I rolled down the windows even though it was cold outside. The shivering was a small price to pay for not having to breathe that thick, poisonous air!

I had to share my ordeal with someone. Still in shock, I called up my brother to tell him. My tone was somewhere between stunned laughter and horrified guilt. After the expected, "Ew, gross! Does it smell? etc..." he closed the conversation with, "Well, congratulations on your first kill."

My first kill, indeed. It keeps playing over and over in my mind. It's all I can think about. I'll always be haunted by the beady-eyed, furry little guy whose remains now lie in the middle of Pioneer Crossing. And probably a little in the tread of my tire.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Mathematical Equation


ELO

+

80s Olivia Newton John

+

Lisa Frank

=

Adam's Album Cover

'Nuff said.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

It Drives Me Crazy!

You wanna know one of my pet peeves? The phrase "pet peeves". Whoever came up with this phrase is lucky it caught it on, because it's ridiculous enough to cause life-long scorn. If I had known that person, I undoubtedly would have made fun of him/her forever.

You wanna know another one? It really annoys me when the person in front of me driving down the road doesn't realize that their turning signal is on. It just blinks and blinks and blinks and they never turn. It's enough to make me twitch! How do you do that? How do you turn on your blinker and then not notice that it didn't flip itself off? It's clear they're not paying enough attention to the road. It's recklessness is what it is! They're blithely unaware that they've caused the confusion of the people surrounding them, expecting them to make a turn that never comes! It disgusts me!

But you know what's even worse than that?! When that person is me.

Oops.

Sorry, people surrounding me.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Secretary Files: A Dear Friend

Sometimes long days at the office can get boring, tedious, and even a little bit lonely. Other times they can be extremely stressful and aggravating. In the midst of either scenario it's important to have someone I can turn to, someone I can lean on for support, someone who willingly lets me vent my frustrations, even if it means taking out my frustrations on him. I am so glad and grateful to be able to say that I have just such a "someone" to get me through my tough times at work.

Meet Stress Ball.




He lives in the corner of my desk between my water bottle and my Kleenex box. Look at this guy!




Isn't he precious? So sweet and unassuming. I have this little friend beaming up at me all day long with his googly eye and single-toothed grin. Don't let the horns fool you. He really is a sweetheart. He's the perfect remedy for a difficult day.




Stress relief!



Phew! I feel so much better! That lady who yelled at me over the phone is nothing to me now! It's all a distant memory.



Now for those unbearably boring days. On stress ball's back is a strange little air bubble thing. When you squeeze it together it looks just like a mouth! I spend interminable afternoons making weird facial expressions or making it talk.

This one says, "Hi there! Happy to know ya!"



Bear with me. I was doing this one-handed all while trying not to get caught and questioned by my associates. Awkward!

This one says, "If that phone rings one more time, I'm gonna go postal!"



This one says, "It's not 5 o'clock yet? Awww, man!"



Now that's entertainment! I could go on for hours. I don't think I could make it through a whole day without Stress Ball. He is my constant companion and friend. I would definitely recommend a similar novel distraction to any working stiff out there. You'll never be lonely again!

Friday, March 18, 2011

OMGosh! The Karate Kid!!!

Since the announcement that Ralph Macchio would be appearing on this coming season of Dancing with the Stars, I've felt a joy and anticipation the likes of which I've never known before! I jumped off my couch and hopped around in circles, my head thrown back in blissful laughter! It's times like those I'm extra glad I live alone. Some of you may know this about me already, but I have a profound love for the original Karate Kid films. Like really and truly LOVE them. As in, if I were stranded on a desert island and could only take five movies with me, The Karate Kid parts I and II would be two of them. Many people have doubted and even questioned my regard for these remarkable movies, saying, "When you say you love the Karate Kid movies, it's a joke, right? You're just trying to sound silly and unexpected. Who honestly LOVES The Karate Kid movies?" I have to reply that honestly, those films move me. I laugh, I cry, I fear, I get goosebumps, and I always feel happy after I've watched it.

My love for these movies started when I was very young. I remember going to my grandma's house when I was a little kid and my aunt, who was a teenager at the time, watched those movies. I distinctly remember the part in Karate Kid part II when Kumiko is doing the tea ceremony with Daniel-san. The image of her beautiful, graceful hands was burned in my psyche for years to come. Jump now to my junior year of high school. I hadn't seen the movies for years. My awareness of them had all but faded away. My fellow movie-loving friend Robin and I were browsing at the video rental store. I walked past the Karate Kid movies and stopped short. Just seeing the covers brought back a flood of memories and adoration. We had to rent them! Thus we did and there was no going back. From that point, they became our constant study. They were our go-to choices for weekend movie nights. We went so far as to choreograph a short routine using Mr. Miyagi's defensive techniques (we were the coolest kids in school, too). We brought others into our obsession. I successfully dared one of my friends to come to school in Daniel garb: A baseball T-shirt layered under a small-plaid shirt, tucked into camo pants. That was one of the best days of my life to date.

For my eighteenth birthday I wanted nothing else but the trilogy on VHS and my mom obliged. I just about wore those things out over the next couple of years until it was released as a DVD box set. I went to the Wal-Marts at midnight the day it was to come out. To my shock, there was no line of eager Karate Kid fans to compete with. In fact, I had to ask the guy at the counter to bring them out of the back. He rolled them out, opened the box and handed me the top copy. I skipped through the aisles with elation! I wept the day Pat Morita died. I can quote nearly every line. I can whistle along with the music. I've seen every continuity error. I know every character. I can't even guess at this point how many times I've seen it. Not even an estimate. A billion, maybe.

Whenever I get into rough patches in my life I think about Mr. Miyagi training Daniel with hard work that seems to have no purpose but to make him suffer. I remember that I am, in fact, learning something bigger and greater that I could never learn otherwise.

I guess the point for me telling you all this is to encourage you to revisit the original movies if you haven't seen them in a while. I promise you'll enjoy them! Listen closely for hidden gem movie lines. They are alternately hilarious and profoundly wise. My love is real and I want you to throw off all constraints and preconceived notions you may have and give them a shot! You won't regret it! Annnnd... I feel like a used car salesman.

To give you a little push in the right direction, here's a little list of my favorite lines and behind-the-scenes info you might enjoy!

Mr. Miyagi: To make honey, young bee need young flower. Not old prune.

Tommy: Must be take a worm for a walk week!

Mr. Miyagi: Never put passion before principle.

Fact: The fight choreographer for the films also plays the main referee in Part I and the beginning of part II. He's also the silhouette you see doing the crane technique on the stump on the beach.

Ali's friend, Susan: She must be into fungus.

Mr. Miyagi: Walk on road right side, safe. Walk on left side, safe. Walk middle, get squished just like grape.

Tommy: Take a right! Check it out!

Fact: The music that mean nephew turns on in the car when he picks up Miyagi and Daniel from the airport in part II is the same music Ali dances with Johnny with at the country club in part I.

Someone somewhere in the stands: Johnny! You're a cream puff!

Fact: Part I features the worst first kiss in movie history brought to you by Daniel and Ali. A dead give away that they would never work out.


Mr. Miyagi: In Okinawa, belt mean no need rope hold up pants!


P.S. Vote for Ralph!!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Brass Knuckled in the Face!

I have this amazing friend named Jared. We've been buds since the day we met in college. Jared and I often go out seeking exciting adventures and we are never disappointed. Something about our combined energies causes the world around us to go utterly insane. I have no complaints about this because it makes for some awesome stories, even though it has placed us in some awkward, uncomfortable, and even potentially dangerous situations.

To wit, Jared and I decided to get together over Christmas break a few years ago. We met for dinner and some excellent conversation, then to go see a movie for which I had bought tickets earlier that day. The theater was inside a big mall, so thence we went. We walked across the packed parking lot full of happiness. Christmas lights were in the trees, music was in the air, and gladness was in our hearts.

As we approached the entrance, we noticed a police car parked by the curb. One officer was outside the vehicle, leaning against the passenger side talking to another officer seated in the car. The lights weren't flashing and they didn't seem distressed. I didn't give it a second thought at the time. But a strange thing happened as we walked through the doors. The mall seemed eerily abandoned for a pre-holiday evening at the mall. There were only a few people milling around a seating area outside the Sears just across from the movie theater. Again, it struck me as weird, but I didn't worry about it. We were a little early for our movie, so we started wandering. And, of course, our footsteps took us toward the very Sears Department Store outside which the few visible people were loitering.

What I saw: A couple scurrying quickly toward the exit doors, looking steadfastly forward.
What I thought: "La la la, the mall is fun! Oooh, pretty coat!"

What I saw: A group of young men wearing exceedingly baggy jeans, white t-shirts and various long, dangly necklaces and chains, nervously pacing.
What I thought: "Doo dee doo, Jared's my friend."

What I saw: Another young man sitting in a chair, his back towards me. He looked up at me as I brushed past him. I glanced down. Face. Open wounds. Blood dripping all over.
What I thought: "Whoa! What the... AHHHH!"

With no subtlety whatsoever, I grabbed Jared's arm and jogged briskly into the Sears and behind a shelf of high thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. Out of breath, we looked wide-eyed at each other for a second or two, then started babbling, "Oh my gosh! Did you see that guy?! Holy crap, his face was all like... and his blood was all over... and we were like... and what the heck?!?"

Once some of the adrenaline had subsided, we did the smartest thing we could possibly have done. We wanted a second look. So we oh so slowly and sneekily peeked our heads out from behind the shelf. And wouldn't you know it, we made such a scene from our first encounter that the whole group of guys were still watching the shelf behind which we had disappeared! Eye contact with the bloody guy! AHHHH! We jumped back behind the shelf, horrified.

With that we decided the best course of action would be to not exit the store the way we entered, thus making a third impression on the bloody fellow and his cohorts. We set off through the store to find another exit. We followed the labyrinth of tiled floor to an escalator going down, around small appliances and women's shoes until we finally found an exit. Several minutes had passed, and as we walked back toward the theater and, consequently, the crime scene, we noticed several police officers walking amongst the group of boys, some talking, some writing reports. There were some medical personnel on the scene tending to the bloody faced guy. Mall traffic was almost back to normal, people were going in and out of shops freely. We went to our movie and escaped any further involvement in the situation.

The next day, I went on the trusty intranets and searched to see if it could shed any light on the specifics of the night before. I came upon the story. Two opposing gangs had begun arguing in the food court. It escalated into a full-fledged gang fight. One participator had been... you guessed it... BRASS KNUCKLED IN THE FACE!

My theory is that we walked into that thing mere moments after it happened. I think those police officers we passed outside either hadn't even been notified yet or were the first on the scene and were waiting for some kind of back-up. I think the gang with the brass knuckler had already fled the scene and the guys that were still there were with face guy. I'm just glad Jared and I didn't have to see the actual violence perpetrated because I hate violence. It makes me extremely sad and uncomfortable.

Although I am kind of disappointed I didn't get to see the part where they danced around, snapping their fingers, bounding off the walls and singing their gang names back and forth at each other. That I would have liked to see.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I Saw Pioneer Woman!

For real in real life! I did! And it was epic. She was in Salt Lake last night for a book signing and I was fully determined to go as soon as I heard she was coming a month ago. My oh so wonderful sister-in-law and fellow PW reader Lorraine and I planned on it. Then, as it always does, annoying stuff happened. I auditioned for a play and got in and even though I had written that I would have a scheduling conflict last night, I got scheduled for a rehearsal anyway. Bad news! I took one for the team and woefully canceled my book signing plans. But then there was a glimmer of hope! Because we got so much done at our previous rehearsal, last night's rehearsal was supposed to go short! I told Lorraine that I would text her when I was done with rehearsal and see if I had time to make it up to Salt Lake. But then rehearsal kept going on longer, and Lorraine was fast approaching her place in line and I lost all hope again. Then, good news! Lorraine, being the amazing human that she is, traded her tickets with some ladies farther down the line to buy me time, even though I told her not to! Then rehearsal ended so I jumped in my car and started speeding really really fast to get to Salt Lake. I got off the freeway and I accidentally drove past the place, so I did a very illegal U-turn and found a place to park. Then I ran up to the front doors and they were locked! I ran down the sidewalk and called my big brother, Dan, who magically appeared there because at some point during all of this Lorraine's phone died, and Lorraine came out to find me. I was running through the dark across a frosty abandoned lawn when I heard her voice and she ran out from behind the corner of the building and we saw each other and celebrated! Then Dan let us back in the building because it was all locked up and he left. And then... this is the best part. Just trust me. We walked into the auditorium and there she was. An aura of fabulousness and loveliness surrounded her. PW herself! We ran down to the line because it was our turn right then at that very moment. We talked to a Swedish girl in front of us and I gave her some gum because she'd just drunk some coffee and didn't want her breath to offend The Great Pioneer Woman. While the Swedish girl was talking to her I was suddenly struck with this strange feeling. I was seeing this person and some of her family that I'd only ever read about and seen pictures of and they were moving and talking and living. They were real people! What?! Then I felt a moment of guilt because I was intruding on a real person's life. I felt like a weirdo for being a celebrity worshiper and then I told myself to shut up and quit being a psycho. Then it was our turn! She signed our books and talked to us. I made her laugh by saying these two simple words, "It's true." I welled up with elation! I made PW laugh! She was so sweet and kind and beautiful. Then we posed for a picture but one more bad turn had to happen. Lorraine's memory was full. In her camera, not her brain. But one more good news: the lady taking pictures had taken a candid shot of us talking to her! There is, in fact, pictorial evidence! Then it was over and we relished our autographs as we walked into the night air, high on adrenaline and life!

That right there is the longest, most incoherent paragraph in the history of the world. No really. I did research. But that's the way it's going to stay because that's the way it felt while it was all happening.

I think what made this experience most special is that my incomprehensibly awesome sister-in-law waited there for four hours so that I could enjoy that ten minutes. I won't ever forget it. It's true.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Hilarity of Being Wrong

Ever since I posted Universe: Altered I've had friends and family telling me their stories of mistaken lyrics and misunderstood movie lines. Turns out I'm not the only one who has been ridiculously incorrect. I guess I opened up a safe space for admitting to them.

My best bud Annie told me her best one the other night. Remember that song "Tubthumping" by Chumbawumba? She thought the lyrics in the chorus were "I got no job but I get overtime..." Death by mirth!

I'd like to open it up even more. These things should be shared! I hope any and all readers (I'm not under any delusions that there will be many) will leave a comment of just such an experience. Give us all a laugh! Please! No really, I beg of you. This return to freezing cold death weather is getting me down.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Secretary Files: A Treasure Trove

A lady in my office recently retired. She'd been working with this establishment for a good 30 years. She is smart, capable and shrewd. She has amazing, age-defying skin. And she has a beehive hairstyle. I'm not making this up. You know how sometimes people are really averse to change and they keep the same hairstyle for decades? Maybe it's the hairstyle they wore when they were happiest or felt the prettiest or maybe they're just scared to try something new. You see this phenomenon often with '80s hair, but '60s? Not quite as common. In any case, she has a full blown beehive and she's had it for most, if not all of her adult life.

Apparently her tightly woven connection to the past goes beyond her hair. As she was cleaning out her office, which she occupied for more years than I know, she would bring out boxes of office supplies that she'd uncovered from the deepest, darkest corners of her desk drawers. I was to go through the boxes and decide what to keep and what to toss. I didn't realize that I'd be delving into a smorgasbord of historical office supply artifacts.


A date stamp. Let's take a closer look shall we?


Notice the earliest year on that second to top line there. It says "1979" in case you couldn't see it. What the?! That date stamp is 6 years older than me! It was in first grade learning to read when I was born! Weird!


Paper clips. Oh wait! I'm sorry. Gem clips. Whatever, dude.


These are General's Kwik-Rite (that's a play on "quick write" if I'm not mistaken) fine tip markers. The felt tips have long since dried up and turned to dust, but I gather from the bullet points that they were once exceptional pens. Mae thae wrest inn piece.


This is my personal favorite. Solid head thumb tacks. Check out that catch phrase! "A good head for safety"! That's good advertising for you. Clever, compelling and concerned. That little white oval on the side says "Money Back Guaranteed If Not Satisfied". That really shows how confident they are in their product. I know how hellaciously picky people can be about their thumb tacks. Hold on. Let's zoom in on the top left. This is the best part.


I can't say exactly how old this box is by looking at this picture, but I'm going to go with really old. Like the '50s old. How does a box of thumb tacks survive this long? I think the quality of the product combined with the adorableness of this fabulously curvy, big-hatted, tight-jumpered girl-under-a-thumb-tack clip art saved it from being thrown away for generations. It has survived through moves and personnel changes and who knows what else! I plan to keep it in my desk drawer until the next person comes along, and hopefully they'll see its merits as well. Long live the thumb tack girl!


Finally, I give you this awesome gigantic paper clip! Oh wait! I'm sorry. Gem clip. I have no idea how old it is. Probably not old at all. It's just big and cool! It's depicted here with a pen to show scale. You could clip a book with this thing!

It was hard to see a person I had worked with and grown rather fond of leave. But finding these treasures made it a little sweeter.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I'm a Criminal

A couple weeks back I got pulled over on the freeway for my window tint. Apparently it's illegal in the great state of Utah. Who knew? I was issued the dreaded fix-it ticket! This was officially the first time I'd ever found myself on the wrong side of the law. I didn't like it. It wasn't thrilling. I didn't feel adventurous or bad to the bone. I felt annoyed.

I bought my car about a year ago from a used car dealership. It just came with the tint on it already. No one ever said a word to me that it might be against the rules. One time I locked my keys in my car (which I do far more often than I'd like to admit) and a guy at my office called one of his police officer buddies to come down and help me out. He unlocked my car for me without saying a word about the tint situation. Even just a friendly little hint would have been nice. I could have taken care of the problem
before I became a menace to society.

Did you know that peeling off window tint is the worst thing in the world? The adhesive radiates toxic death fumes that give you instant headache and nausea. By the time I had scraped away the last of it with rubbing alcohol and a razor blade I'm pretty sure blood was issuing from my ears and nose. And eyeballs. I'M NOT EVEN EXAGGERATING! Plus it made my car smell like sweaty armpit for days!

Finally this morning, after chasing down the last highway patrolman in the UHP parking lot to sign off on my ticket and going through security at the Orem Justice Court, my violation has been dismissed and I find myself on the right side of the law once more. It's good to be back!

Only until January 19th though. That's when my driver's license expires.

I should probably get on that.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Inexplicable Movie Crush


Wind in His Hair



Is it his intense jaw line and no-nonsense demeanor?


His beautiful bronze skin and flowing black hair?

His deeply emotional and powerful monologue at the end of
Dances with Wolves that makes me cry every time?


"Dances with Wolves! I am Wind in His Hair! Do you see that I am your friend? Can you see that you will always be my friend?"

I can't say for sure. All I know is I like him. I like him a lot.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Universe: Altered

Have you ever believed something so deeply and surely that you never even questioned that it could possibly be wrong? It never even occurred to you to doubt what you knew to be true? And then when you found out you were abysmally mistaken, your whole world turned into a blur and spun around you until it came to a dramatic stop and zoomed in on your ridiculous shameful face?

Am I going too fast? Is this making any sense? Let me explain.

The above scenario has happened to me 3 notable times in my life.

The first time was when I was probably a young teen. For years I had been ushered around in a van with my momma listening to the sweet, soft rock sounds of Air Supply. Oh, how I loved their breathtaking, romantic ballads! They were so passionate and sweeping! They must have been so in love! Like Sonny and Cher, Captain and Tenille, Beauty and the Beast. These people knew how to be in love. "All Out of Love", "Making Love Out of Nothing at All", "Even the Nights Are Better". His straightforward, masculine crooning the perfect foil for her bombastic alto voice. I asked my mom, "So, are they married?" Then it happened. She answered, "Lace, they're both men." We did not at that point get into any discussion about other potential explanations for two men singing love songs together. All I knew was that the tall, lean woman with brunette feathered hair I had pictured for all those years was a short dude with a blonde afro. Then came the spinning and the jaw-dropping and the embarrassment.

The second was much more recent and life-altering. Oddly enough it has to do with another music duo, the legendary Simon and Garfunkel. I was raised on them. The album cover of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" is burned into my psyche. For some reason- I have no idea why- I had it in my head that Paul Simon was the tall curly one and Art Garfunkel was the short, dark one. I lived with this grossly erroneous belief for my entire life. I think I just thought that "Garfunkel" was a short person name. Doesn't his voice sound like a short voice? I don't know. But that's what I wholly believed, and I was never challenged because they were seen as a unit. They were just Simon and Garfunkel, not individuals. Well, maybe 5 or 6 years ago I was in the mood to listen to "You Can Call Me Al" from Paul's solo days. I knew my dad had a hits collection of his somewhere, so I commenced digging. Then I saw it.


Thick black eyebrows. No blonde curls poofing out from under the fedora. "Paul Simon" written in bold along the side. And just like that my vision started to blur. My pulse quickened. The room around me was spinning. I felt like I'd been hit in the stomach. My world was turned on its head. I truly had a pit in my stomach for days after. Something I'd had no doubt about for at least a decade was pure falsehood.

But that could never happen with something as consistent and commonplace as a holiday song, right? All those carols are so ingrained from childhood, one couldn't possibly misunderstand so tragically. There I was. Just over a week ago. It was Christmas Eve. My sister and I were seated at the piano singing Christmas songs. We're cool and hardcore like that. She flipped the page of the songbook in front of us. "Sleigh Ride"! That's a fun one! She played and I sang along glancing down at the words occasionally even though I obviously knew all the words by heart. "Come on it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you! Let's take that..." My eyes found our place on the page. I read the words there. "Let's take that road before us..." I stopped. That was not what I was about to sing!

"Oh my gosh!" I shouted at my sister and she stopped playing. "Are those the words?!?" She read them, then looked at me baffled and confused. "Uh, yes..." she answered. "Oh my gosh!!!" I shouted again with a guffaw of astonishment. I dropped my face in my hands and shook my head. "What?!" she asked. "What did you THINK it said?"

I couldn't believe it! How could I have been wrong about this? Have I not heard this song 100 times every winter since my birth?!? Have I not sung along to it since I could talk?!? Why?!?

"I thought it said 'Let's take that ropey forest'!" I laugh-cried into my hands. She burst into laughter. I tried to explain what I pictured in my head to make those lyrics make sense. There's a snowy path that winds and loops like a rope all around in a forest. I know it's stretch, but I thought that's what the words were, so I made it fit. Oh the humiliation! I have a feeling I will struggle for the rest of my life to get the words right, or at least to not articulate the "t" of "forest" so as to avoid the mockery of family and loved ones.

There you go. Aren't you glad to see that my earth-shattering experiences are pretty much limited to soft rock and holiday tunes and not politics and religion and life decisions? Just keeping it simple. It's what I do best!