Thursday, July 31, 2008

Jumper Sex

Someone from Dammam, Ash Sharqiyah, Saudi Arabia found my blog today by searching for "jumper sex." You know...Polka Dot JUMPER and the SEX and the City post. Makes perfect sense. But what exactly is jumper sex? Is that sex while wearing a polyester, zip-up jumper? Is it sex while sky diving? Or maybe it's sex in the UK wearing sweaters. (The Brits inexplicably call those things jumpers.)

I have no idea, but here's a welcome to my new Saudi friends. I hope Polka Dot Jumper is one tenth as interesting as whatever jumper sex site you ended up on.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

You Do, And You Will Clean It Up

A song came on the radio tonight that reminded me of this guy I used to know. He was taking voice lessons from some completely unqualified voice teacher and ended up learning how to sing the lamest pop song out there. So tonight, during the four minutes it took for the song to whine its way into my ears, I flashed through scene after scene of our interactions. And the feeling over all was...well not great. Yep. I can't think of this guy now without shaking my head and remembering that crazy place he was in at the time. His life wasn't exactly going like he planned and he was like a cat in the water, floundering around and taking down anyone who got very close to him. I happened to be in the water at the time too and all the splashing made it really hard for me to breathe. Plus he was incessantly clubbing himself and everyone else with his insecurities trying anything to make himself feel more worthy. It was a recipe for disaster.

I've since lost track of this guy. He wandered off into some other cult-like self-help group and I haven't really seen him since then. But thinking about him makes me wonder if I've left people out there who would roll their eyes when they think about me. I've done my share of floundering and I wonder if I've inadvertently splashed people and never cleaned it up. I probably have; and I wish I could go back to them with a big towel and maybe some ice cream or something that would make them feel better. Or at least make me feel better.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Hero

My friend Rob showed me an interesting quote from Ayn Rand's book The Fountainhead.

"Jules Fougler said in last Sunday's Banner that in the world of the future the theatre will not be necessary at all. He says that the daily life of the common man is as much a work of art in itself as the best Shakespearean tragedy. In the future there will be no need for a dramatist. The critic will simply observe the life of the masses and evaluate its artistic points for the public."

It's Rob's premise that nothing is heroic any more. It's just as interesting and fulfilling to watch regular people doing regular things. From Survivor to Big Brother to The Bachelor and all the incessant cable reality shows. We are a culture obsessed with watching ourselves. And it doesn't take greatness to be famous or talent to be emulated or intelligence to be rich.

I guess that's really not the first time we've heard this though. Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead was published in 1943. As for nothing being heroic, I think she would optimistically disagree.

We all need a hero once in a while.

Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods?
Where’s the street-wise Hercules
To fight the rising odds?
Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss and I turn and I dream of what I need

I need a hero
I'm holding out for at hero 'till the end of the night
He's gotta be strong
And he's gotta be fast
And he's gotta be fresh from the fight

I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero 'till the morning light
He’s gotta be sure
And it’s gotta be soon
And he’s gotta be larger than life
Larger than life

--Bonnie Tyler

Monday, July 28, 2008


I feel restless tonight. I've felt restless all day with this strange sense of impending doom. I know it's made up, but I still feel it. So I thought I would try to work it out at the gym. I climbed on the treadmill and started walking, faster and faster with the incline incrementally higher until my legs were burning and my lungs had that sharp little tickle. Me with my headphones, lost in my own little musical world, with all the other hundreds of treadmill walkers and runners like a sea of humans marching along to nowhere on their infinity machines. It's very surreal--the gym experience. And it didn't exactly lift my spirits like I hoped it would. It's a lot easier for me to focus on the people running faster than I am. But they aren't actually getting anywhere either, so I don't know why I even look.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Never Iron Your Sheets

I've done something very bad. I hate to admit it, but I ironed my sheets (and my pillow cases and my duvet cover). Here is how it happened: I washed my sheets yesterday and left them in the dryer while I was gone all day. By the time I got home they were incredibly wrinkled and bunched up from lying in the bottom of the dryer in a ball for 17 hours. So, I thought to myself, I'll just iron the top so it's not so wadded up. Then before I knew it I got carried away and ironed everything. And it took FOREVER.

After my little ironing marathon, I made the bed and slipped in. It was heaven! My sheets were like butter--soft and silky and smooth. My bed looked clean and new and everything laid perfectly flat and tight. The sheets felt cool and crisp and smelled fresh like Downy and Magic Sizing. Last night was a spectacular sleeping experience from start to finish.

Now I am ruined. Who the hell has time to iron their sheets every week? Who wants to? Not me. But now I'm spoiled for the slightly wrinkled sheets of yesterday. I don't know if I can go back.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Rap the Lake

My brother Micah and I drove to Idaho today for our traditional family Bear Lake day. We've been going there every year for...well as long as I can remember. Probably since I was three or four and that's a long time.

Micah and I had a lot of time in the car together (three hours there and three hours back) and he has a new iPod, so I got a crash course on rap. I got the history, the current state of the genre, the genealogy of rap artists and who is connected to whom. This was a sociological lesson I clearly needed desperately.

Here is how the six-hour conversation went:

Loud, base-dominated song full of expletives starts.

Micah: You know who this is, right?

Me: No. Should I?

Micah: OF COURSE. He's only the best rapper of all time.

Me: Oh, who is it?

Micah: (Insert rapper's name here.)

Me: Oh. Got it.

Next loud, base-dominated song full of expletives starts.

Micah: You have to know who this is, right?

Me: Umm. Nope. Who is it?

Micah: Only the greatest rapper in the world.

Me: Oh really? Who?

Micah: Dr. Dre/2Pac/Eminem/Jay-z/Snoop Dogg/Notorious/Ludacris/Insert Rapper's Name Here.

Me: Oh

Next loud, base-dominated song full of expletives starts.

Micah: Well, you HAVE to know who this is, right?

Me: (Thinking really hard.) Not really.

Micah: You are kidding me. Only the most famous rapper of all time.

Me: Oh. Duh.

You get the picture. Obviously there are a LOT of greatest rappers of all time and I should be able to recognize all of them. In fact, after a six-hour cram session, now I can.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Thank God It's Friday. I've had plenty.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A World That Stands as One

Barack Obama spoke in Berlin today. This speech is one of the most inspiring and elevating speeches I've ever heard. I know it becomes an unusually long blog entry for me, but I think it's worth printing, worth reading, worth pondering. It gives me hope.

July 24, 2008
A World that Stands as One
Barack Obama

Berlin's Victory Column in Tiergarten Park
Berlin, Germany

"Thank you to the citizens of Berlin and to the people of Germany. Let me thank Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Steinmeier for welcoming me earlier today. Thank you Mayor Wowereit, the Berlin Senate, the police, and most of all thank you for this welcome.

"I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen - a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.

"I know that I don't look like the Americans who've previously spoken in this great city. The journey that led me here is improbable. My mother was born in the heartland of America, but my father grew up herding goats in Kenya. His father - my grandfather - was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.

"At the height of the Cold War, my father decided, like so many others in the forgotten corners of the world, that his yearning - his dream - required the freedom and opportunity promised by the West. And so he wrote letter after letter to universities all across America until somebody, somewhere answered his prayer for a better life.

"That is why I'm here. And you are here because you too know that yearning. This city, of all cities, knows the dream of freedom. And you know that the only reason we stand here tonight is because men and women from both of our nations came together to work, and struggle, and sacrifice for that better life.

"Ours is a partnership that truly began sixty years ago this summer, on the day when the first American plane touched down at Templehof.

"On that day, much of this continent still lay in ruin. The rubble of this city had yet to be built into a wall. The Soviet shadow had swept across Eastern Europe, while in the West, America, Britain, and France took stock of their losses, and pondered how the world might be remade.

"This is where the two sides met. And on the twenty-fourth of June, 1948, the Communists chose to blockade the western part of the city. They cut off food and supplies to more than two million Germans in an effort to extinguish the last flame of freedom in Berlin.

"The size of our forces was no match for the much larger Soviet Army. And yet retreat would have allowed Communism to march across Europe. Where the last war had ended, another World War could have easily begun. All that stood in the way was Berlin.

"And that's when the airlift began - when the largest and most unlikely rescue in history brought food and hope to the people of this city.

"The odds were stacked against success. In the winter, a heavy fog filled the sky above, and many planes were forced to turn back without dropping off the needed supplies. The streets where we stand were filled with hungry families who had no comfort from the cold.

"But in the darkest hours, the people of Berlin kept the flame of hope burning. The people of Berlin refused to give up. And on one fall day, hundreds of thousands of Berliners came here, to the Tiergarten, and heard the city's mayor implore the world not to give up on freedom. "There is only one possibility," he said. "For us to stand together united until this battle is won...The people of Berlin have spoken. We have done our duty, and we will keep on doing our duty. People of the world: now do your duty...People of the world, look at Berlin!"

"People of the world - look at Berlin!

"Look at Berlin, where Germans and Americans learned to work together and trust each other less than three years after facing each other on the field of battle.

"Look at Berlin, where the determination of a people met the generosity of the Marshall Plan and created a German miracle; where a victory over tyranny gave rise to NATO, the greatest alliance ever formed to defend our common security.

"Look at Berlin, where the bullet holes in the buildings and the somber stones and pillars near the Brandenburg Gate insist that we never forget our common humanity.

"People of the world - look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.

"Sixty years after the airlift, we are called upon again. History has led us to a new crossroad, with new promise and new peril. When you, the German people, tore down that wall - a wall that divided East and West; freedom and tyranny; fear and hope - walls came tumbling down around the world. From Kiev to Cape Town, prison camps were closed, and the doors of democracy were opened. Markets opened too, and the spread of information and technology reduced barriers to opportunity and prosperity. While the 20th century taught us that we share a common destiny, the 21st has revealed a world more intertwined than at any time in human history.

"The fall of the Berlin Wall brought new hope. But that very closeness has given rise to new dangers - dangers that cannot be contained within the borders of a country or by the distance of an ocean.

"The terrorists of September 11th plotted in Hamburg and trained in Kandahar and Karachi before killing thousands from all over the globe on American soil.

"As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya.

"Poorly secured nuclear material in the former Soviet Union, or secrets from a scientist in Pakistan could help build a bomb that detonates in Paris. The poppies in Afghanistan become the heroin in Berlin. The poverty and violence in Somalia breeds the terror of tomorrow. The genocide in Darfur shames the conscience of us all.

"In this new world, such dangerous currents have swept along faster than our efforts to contain them. That is why we cannot afford to be divided. No one nation, no matter how large or powerful, can defeat such challenges alone. None of us can deny these threats, or escape responsibility in meeting them. Yet, in the absence of Soviet tanks and a terrible wall, it has become easy to forget this truth. And if we're honest with each other, we know that sometimes, on both sides of the Atlantic, we have drifted apart, and forgotten our shared destiny.

"In Europe, the view that America is part of what has gone wrong in our world, rather than a force to help make it right, has become all too common. In America, there are voices that deride and deny the importance of Europe's role in our security and our future. Both views miss the truth - that Europeans today are bearing new burdens and taking more responsibility in critical parts of the world; and that just as American bases built in the last century still help to defend the security of this continent, so does our country still sacrifice greatly for freedom around the globe.

"Yes, there have been differences between America and Europe. No doubt, there will be differences in the future. But the burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together. A change of leadership in Washington will not lift this burden. In this new century, Americans and Europeans alike will be required to do more - not less. Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity.

"That is why the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another.

"The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.

"We know they have fallen before. After centuries of strife, the people of Europe have formed a Union of promise and prosperity. Here, at the base of a column built to mark victory in war, we meet in the center of a Europe at peace. Not only have walls come down in Berlin, but they have come down in Belfast, where Protestant and Catholic found a way to live together; in the Balkans, where our Atlantic alliance ended wars and brought savage war criminals to justice; and in South Africa, where the struggle of a courageous people defeated apartheid.

"So history reminds us that walls can be torn down. But the task is never easy. True partnership and true progress requires constant work and sustained sacrifice. They require sharing the burdens of development and diplomacy; of progress and peace. They require allies who will listen to each other, learn from each other and, most of all, trust each other.

"That is why America cannot turn inward. That is why Europe cannot turn inward. America has no better partner than Europe. Now is the time to build new bridges across the globe as strong as the one that bound us across the Atlantic. Now is the time to join together, through constant cooperation, strong institutions, shared sacrifice, and a global commitment to progress, to meet the challenges of the 21st century. It was this spirit that led airlift planes to appear in the sky above our heads, and people to assemble where we stand today. And this is the moment when our nations - and all nations - must summon that spirit anew.

"This is the moment when we must defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it. This threat is real and we cannot shrink from our responsibility to combat it. If we could create NATO to face down the Soviet Union, we can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks that have struck in Madrid and Amman; in London and Bali; in Washington and New York. If we could win a battle of ideas against the communists, we can stand with the vast majority of Muslims who reject the extremism that leads to hate instead of hope.

"This is the moment when we must renew our resolve to rout the terrorists who threaten our security in Afghanistan, and the traffickers who sell drugs on your streets. No one welcomes war. I recognize the enormous difficulties in Afghanistan. But my country and yours have a stake in seeing that NATO's first mission beyond Europe's borders is a success. For the people of Afghanistan, and for our shared security, the work must be done. America cannot do this alone. The Afghan people need our troops and your troops; our support and your support to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda, to develop their economy, and to help them rebuild their nation. We have too much at stake to turn back now.

"This is the moment when we must renew the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. The two superpowers that faced each other across the wall of this city came too close too often to destroying all we have built and all that we love. With that wall gone, we need not stand idly by and watch the further spread of the deadly atom. It is time to secure all loose nuclear materials; to stop the spread of nuclear weapons; and to reduce the arsenals from another era. This is the moment to begin the work of seeking the peace of a world without nuclear weapons.

"This is the moment when every nation in Europe must have the chance to choose its own tomorrow free from the shadows of yesterday. In this century, we need a strong European Union that deepens the security and prosperity of this continent, while extending a hand abroad. In this century - in this city of all cities - we must reject the Cold War mind-set of the past, and resolve to work with Russia when we can, to stand up for our values when we must, and to seek a partnership that extends across this entire continent.

"This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many. Together, we must forge trade that truly rewards the work that creates wealth, with meaningful protections for our people and our planet. This is the moment for trade that is free and fair for all.

"This is the moment we must help answer the call for a new dawn in the Middle East. My country must stand with yours and with Europe in sending a direct message to Iran that it must abandon its nuclear ambitions. We must support the Lebanese who have marched and bled for democracy, and the Israelis and Palestinians who seek a secure and lasting peace. And despite past differences, this is the moment when the world should support the millions of Iraqis who seek to rebuild their lives, even as we pass responsibility to the Iraqi government and finally bring this war to a close.

"This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands. Let us resolve that all nations - including my own - will act with the same seriousness of purpose as has your nation, and reduce the carbon we send into our atmosphere. This is the moment to give our children back their future. This is the moment to stand as one.

"And this is the moment when we must give hope to those left behind in a globalized world. We must remember that the Cold War born in this city was not a battle for land or treasure. Sixty years ago, the planes that flew over Berlin did not drop bombs; instead they delivered food, and coal, and candy to grateful children. And in that show of solidarity, those pilots won more than a military victory. They won hearts and minds; love and loyalty and trust - not just from the people in this city, but from all those who heard the story of what they did here.

"Now the world will watch and remember what we do here - what we do with this moment. Will we extend our hand to the people in the forgotten corners of this world who yearn for lives marked by dignity and opportunity; by security and justice? Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty, shelter the refugee in Chad, and banish the scourge of AIDS in our time?

"Will we stand for the human rights of the dissident in Burma, the blogger in Iran, or the voter in Zimbabwe? Will we give meaning to the words "never again" in Darfur?

"Will we acknowledge that there is no more powerful example than the one each of our nations projects to the world? Will we reject torture and stand for the rule of law? Will we welcome immigrants from different lands, and shun discrimination against those who don't look like us or worship like we do, and keep the promise of equality and opportunity for all of our people?

"People of Berlin - people of the world - this is our moment. This is our time.

"I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we've struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We've made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.

"But I also know how much I love America. I know that for more than two centuries, we have strived - at great cost and great sacrifice - to form a more perfect union; to seek, with other nations, a more hopeful world. Our allegiance has never been to any particular tribe or kingdom - indeed, every language is spoken in our country; every culture has left its imprint on ours; every point of view is expressed in our public squares. What has always united us - what has always driven our people; what drew my father to America's shores - is a set of ideals that speak to aspirations shared by all people: that we can live free from fear and free from want; that we can speak our minds and assemble with whomever we choose and worship as we please.

"Those are the aspirations that joined the fates of all nations in this city. Those aspirations are bigger than anything that drives us apart. It is because of those aspirations that the airlift began. It is because of those aspirations that all free people - everywhere - became citizens of Berlin. It is in pursuit of those aspirations that a new generation - our generation - must make our mark on history.

"People of Berlin - and people of the world - the scale of our challenge is great. The road ahead will be long. But I come before you to say that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom. We are a people of improbable hope. Let us build on our common history, and seize our common destiny, and once again engage in that noble struggle to bring justice and peace to our world."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Here is a link to a very interesting little film called "The Story of Stuff." It's very short and it's worth watching.

The Story of Stuff

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I've been drinking in the smell of summer rain tonight. It's one of my very favorite smells. I could hardly make myself move off the steps in my back yard, but the rain finally drove my inside after I took several long, soulful breaths. Tonight the rain smells like tears and my heart is crying even if my eyes haven't yet. My friend Teresa is moving to Georgia tomorrow and I have been bottling up the emotion of it for weeks. I've known in my mind that she was going for quite a while. We've been on the "last time" lookout for months, but it always seemed so far away. All along I've been sure that at the last minute something would happen and she and her husband would end up staying. I'm very good at denial.

But today the movers started marching their things out of their house and tonight as we sat on her patio drinking wine and watching the lights twinkle over Utah Lake I finally understood that she was leaving. I wondered out loud if I would eventually know the people who move into her house when she leaves, but I can't imagine that I would want to. The place that has been such a peaceful and welcoming retreat for me over the last year really has nothing to do with that house and I can't imagine seeing it without her there.

Sometime soon I will write about Teresa and what her sparkling friendship means to me. Tonight I'm standing in a puddle and trying not to get my heart too wet.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Captain Casey's Deprived Life

I've turned my cat into something of a freak. I've just realized it. I really don't think it has a whole lot to do with his humiliating name—Captain Casey Fisheypants—but I guess that could have contributed a little. Or it might be that he was a dog in a previous life and didn't quite get over those residual doggy behaviors. He lays down on his back by the door when someone comes over, waiting for his belly to be rubbed. He fetches balls and mice and plastic spiders. He follows me around the house and comes when I call. He even opens a drawer by himself to get his toys out.

Here is the weird thing though. Captain Casey doesn't stir when I open a can of tuna. Doesn't even budge. Because he's never had anything but the hard, dry cat food, he doesn't even know that tuna is a cat's ambrosia of the gods. And tuna aside, he's never even had a chance at that smelly (but obviously extremely delicious) wet cat food in a can. So when I open a can of anything, it holds no meaning for him whatsoever.

Tonight I made all the requisite can opening noises thinking that at any moment he would come running. Nothing. I wafted the smell of tuna around the kitchen. Still nothing. I scraped the tuna out of the can loudly. Not a thing. He just licked his paws and cleaned his ears and looked at me with a bored and contemptuous look on his face like "What?"

So I tempted him with a piece of tuna right by his nose. Still nothing. He sniffed, then turned up his nose, stepped over the tuna and nibbled at the hard dry stuff in his bowl. I'm thinking something is wrong here. So I tried some soft cat treats I had. Nope. He had absolutely no interest. He's truly convinced that hard dry cat food is the only thing worth eating.

Too bad I ever tasted anything other than broccoli. It's way too late for me. I've already had chocolate.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lawn Mowing Show

Every time I go out to mow my lawn, the guy in the house above me grabs a beer and sits out on his back steps to watch. It's unnerving. It's like my lawn mower is his siren's call for a little lawn-mowing show. I would think it was a coincidence, but it's happened four weeks in a row now. And believe me, I don't need any other incentives NOT to do yard work. It's all I can do to make myself go out there and mow in the first place. Couple that with his obvious staring and it's a pretty unbearable experience. Today I went out to mow—he came out. I went in—he went in. I went out to weed—he came out. I went in—he went in.

I told one of my guy friends about it and he couldn't understand what was creepy about it. He said he would love it if the neighbor lady wanted to watch him mow his lawn.

So there you have it. One other difference between men and woman. Or maybe it's just me. Girls (and guys), help me out here. Creepy or not creepy?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Drive-in Perfection

It was the perfect night. Perfect in its simplicity. We went to the drive-in and I haven't had this much fun since...well that's another story.

My nephews Jeremy and Jaxson were so psyched they kept telling me all week that we were actually going to go to a movie that you drive to in your car and watch OUTSIDE! We could hardly contain our excitement.

We filled my brother Micah's big black truck with a blow-up mattress (more commonly known as the cold bed) and snuggled up to watch Wall-E. I had a nephew under each arm and a nearly full moon surrounded by stars overhead. As I looked at my three brothers and my sister-in-law in lawn chairs at our feet, I realized again that I hit the jackpot in the family lottery. It just doesn't get much better than this.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Achieving Peace

Do you ever get the feeling that there is something you should be doing, but you just can't remember what it is? That nagging feeling in the back of your mind that you are forgetting something you've committed to? I have that feeling today. I've checked my calendar. It's blank. I've checked my messages. They are blank. I've checked my mind—blank.

But with this blankness comes an anxiousness. It's more familiar to have a list of busyness. It's more calming to see thing getting done even if the impact of their completion will be forgotten by the time I walk into the next room. Can I shed the busywork for the real work of turning anxiety into calm? Can I put down the achievement crutch I've relied on for years? Can I turn my back on getting done and embrace just being?

But there is something...something. And when it doesn't get done I'll pay the consequences I didn't agree to. When it doesn't get done maybe I'll realize that it is.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bless His Heart

It seems that the gloves are off. Nancy Pelosi just called Bush a "total failure." But we all already knew that was true. In fact, I think failure doesn't go nearly far enough.

Seems Nancy is getting a little tired of sweeping up after Bush. And to be fair, she did say, "bless his heart."

I've noticed that usually works. You can say anything about anyone as long as you say "bless his/her heart" afterward. For example: "That Marta up the street is such a slut. She's sleeping with everyone in the neighborhood...bless her heart."

You know how it goes. It's said while shaking your head a little and sometimes includes a little tongue click.

"Joe sure does think he is something else. He struts around like he owns the place...bless his heart."

Or how about this: (It combines the pretend joviality cover-up right along with the "bless her heart" finish.) "That Mary makes me laugh so hard. She walks around in a sleeveless top drinking coffee and sometimes even smoking...bless her heart."

Adding the two techniques together makes just about anything you say nice.

So, I say, go Nancy. Keep telling it like it is, but just smile and keep throwing in a "bless his heart" every once in a while and no one will be the wiser.

"That Bush is a war-mongering, incompetent, shyster...bless his heart."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Karmic Thump

I got a karmic thump today. Okay, maybe it was more like a karmic flick, but in the eye or mouth where it hurts, not just in the ear.

At 11:57 a.m. I walk into my boss's office (who also just happens to be one of my best friends since I was 20) and announce that I am about to do something bad.

"What?" She asks me, "Like eat cheesecake?"

"Nope. Worse," I tell her. "I'm going shopping at WalMart."

As most people who know me understand (especially Lisa), there are three places to never take me: church, a zoo, and WalMart. I feel more guilty shopping at WalMart than I do breaking 7 of the 10 commandments. And I'm not going to say which ones.

But today I had a laundry list of justifications--really really important justifiably justifiable things I needed at WalMart that I can't get anywhere else. Like a thermal lunchbox. I need this lunchbox because, as it turns out, the people at my new jobby job are take-your-lunch kinda people. I'm a go-to-lunch kinda girl and I don't really understand the take-your-lunch phenomenon, but I have to play along. And obviously I need the thermal lunchbox thingy because it's somehow magic and will turn me into a take-your-lunch kinda girl.

So I head out happily humming the "I Kissed a Girl and I Liked It" song even though I have the dreaded WalMart-a-phobia starting to collect in my nerves. I just have a feeling something bad is going to happen. If only Target was closer!

I distractedly wander into WalMart and yank on one of the stuck-together dirty gray carts which proceeds to smash my finger as it flies loose. And although my finger is throbbing, I don't dare put it in my mouth because I've just touched that germ-infested WalMart disease factory. I stick my hand under my arm and march in, squinting at the helpful merchandise-describing signs that say things like DIAPERS, CAKE MIX, PET SUPPLIES and PAINT. I see no signs for thermal lunchbox thingies. I have to call Lisa and ask her where I would find the lunchboxes.

"By the auto parts and camping supplies," she says.

OF COURSE! Where else would they be? So, with one hand, I push my dirty gray cart over toward the sign that says AUTO PARTS and happen to run across a whole isle of lunchbox thingies. But to my despair they all have either Hannah Montana, Cars, or Spiderman on them and I just can't do it. I've had enough Hannah Montana to last me for a while.

So, without the lunchbox thingy, I head for the doors. I realize that as much as I don't want to, I'm going to have to run into the WalMart bathroom on my way out. Somehow while I'm in there, the hem of my long, black skirt gets sucked into the toilet for a second during the automatic turbo flush. It's probably because of that heavy safety pin holding the hem together. Classy!

I have to make my way through the 100 degree parking lot with the wet hem of my skirt slapping me in the ankles as I walk. It's so hot that the cool, damp hem would feel good under other, less gross, humiliating, and disgusting circumstances.

As I climb into my car and dejectedly start to drive, I pull into the world's longest left-turn lane and I'm waiting for the light to change when BAM, the lady in back of me runs right into my car. What? You have got to be kidding! I swear. I'm never going to WalMart again. And I mean it. (Anybody want a peanut?)

Monday, July 14, 2008

I Kissed a Girl

No. I didn't. But obviously this Katy Perry chick did because she's singing about it on the radio. It made me laugh right out loud. Here are some of the most excellent lyrics:

This was never the way I planned
Not my intention
I got so brave, drink in hand
Lost my discretion
It's not what, I'm used to
Just wanna try you on
I'm curious for you
Caught my attention

I kissed a girl and I liked it
The taste of her cherry chap stick
I kissed a girl just to try it
I hope my boyfriend don't mind it
It felt so wrong

It felt so right
Don't mean I'm in love tonight
I kissed a girl and I liked it
I liked it

Maybe the problem is that cherry chap stick. I mean, come on! Cherry?

And if you liked that, here is another funny one from her. I think she's irreverent and clever and original.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

This is NOT Edward

So, here is the problem I have with THIS guy being Edward. Some kid shows up at school and he looks like this


and people are bound to think he looks a little like, what................A VAMPIRE!!! You are telling me that someone this creepy looking is going to get away with hanging out in science class?

Yep. The rest of it I totally buy.

Hey, at least Clark Kent had glasses and Hannah Montana has what? A wig? I'm not really sure about that. I asked Google, "Why don't Hannah Montana's friends recognize her?" and I read something about a wig.

But anyway, this is not Edward. I'm being driven right into the arms of Jacob.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Covering Death with Dying

I don't think about death very often. At least not that searing, gut-wrenching, tear-you-open kind of thinking. I think about it more in the abstract; more in a detached, witness kind of way. I hold out death and look at it occasionally, but I see it through a cloudy snowglobe instead of touching the real wetness of it.

It's easier and much less messy that way.

During the grueling three years I spent watching my grandfather's life slowly melt into a hospital bed, I didn't really connect with the death part of his dying. I knew that each whoosh of his respirator was bringing death closer, but that was only the dying part, not the death part. I spent more than a year of nights in a blue leather chair at the foot of his bed waiting either for death or for the miracle that would stand him back up. He was sure it was coming—that miraculous day when he would be back on the farm surveying his acres and watching the fields turn white all ready for harvest. So I played along when he talked of the future and obsessively pondered my mortality when he feel back to sleep. I thought a lot about dying, I just avoided thinking about death.

And his death didn't change my thinking that much. It might be because I didn't witness the actual event. I was there again for the dying when they took off the respirator and unhooked the machines, but the death part happened 20 minutes after my mother and I finally left for a while to get some sleep. Ironic, yet somehow àpropos. It was really the dying I understood anyway.

Tonight I learned my friend's mother is sick. They are talking of time-frames and last trips and quality of life. So I told her this dying part wasn't for real. They've made a mistake. They have been known to be wrong. They don't know what they are saying.

When really it's me; I don't know what to say. I will cover up death with the dying.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Blogging About Blogging

I know it's weird to blog about blogging. I guess I think it makes it less weird if I go ahead and acknowledge it first.

I did it! I blogged for 30 days in a row. Today is day 30.

It has been a challenging exercise for me. Most nights I had no idea if anything would come out at all and a few nights it was a struggle to decide which of several topics to pursue. It has been self-indulgent and a little narcissistic, but also an interesting dive into my own psyche. I'm surprised how dependent I have become on comments and feedback. I wasn't even sure at first if I was going to tell anyone about it. Then, as the word got around and a few people started to comment, I couldn't get enough. Comments became like gold and I couldn't wait to read them--I still can't wait to read them.

The best part for me has been the interactions it has brought about with my friends. It opened interesting dialogue with several and with others it's been a fun, mutually blogarrific club of sorts. I love it when people give me ideas about things they think I should blog about.

I guess I'll keep doing it, just maybe not every day. We'll see.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Seriously So Blessed

My friends, Michelle and Lorina, showed me this hilarious blog today called Seriously, So Blessed. It's a satirical look at a young mormon married couple and if you have spent any time at all living in Utah you will appreciate it. We laughed about it all day and couldn't stop repeating all the little gems. Whoever writes this blog brilliantly captures all the weirdness that is Utah. LOLOMGWTFLDSBBQ.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself

If I could wish one thing for my nieces and nephews it would be to grow up without shame. It's an amazingly sensitive subject that makes me a little jumpy to explore. It's very edgy for me.

I guess I'm like a lot of people and I feel shame for feeling shame.

I started thinking about it after a short interaction I had with someone and after reading this article in the New York Times today. The article talks about whether doctors should lecture their patients about being overweight and it makes the point that people who are too heavy are already very aware of that fact. Because it's not a surprise revelation, making them feel shame about their weight is a shortsighted and ineffective approach. In fact, it will most likely have the opposite effect of the one intended, making the person feel even worse about themselves resulting in more self-loathing and self-destructive behavior.

Shame is such a harmful and agonizingly painful feeling. I think it's that harsh inner judge repeating the critical comments we have heard from others. Things like: "Why would you do such a thing." "What is wrong with you." "You should be ashamed of yourself."

And it's handy. As a discipline it works extremely well. Someone who has been shamed has the appropriately contrite reaction. The unacceptable behavior stops, replaced by blushing, head hanging and penitent acceptance. There is nothing like shame to keep someone in line.

I found myself using this technique myself recently (I'm ashamed to say) by asking someone how they could be so blasé about something. It wasn't a fair question and it was teeming with accusation and judgment. I wanted to immediately take it back, but it had already elicited the "correct" response and I was stuck with their reaction and my remorse.

I have been on the receiving end as well. I was publicly shamed by someone on an airplane to Hawaii recently and it's an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life. But hand-in-hand with that excruciatingly painful experience came an incredible affirmation of the power one change agent can have.

As we deplaned, a woman caught up and walked with me to the baggage claim. She had heard what the other woman said to me on the plane and was kind and bold enough to tell me just how wrong she thought the other woman's comments were. "I know I wouldn't have been able to hold my tongue in your place," she said. "And I just want you to know that I thought her behavior was rude and unacceptable."

The tears I had been holding back from the bitterness of the first experience leaked out with this woman's kindness. That sour experience was immediately turned sweet and the lesson learned entirely different than it would have been otherwise. I'm indebted to her for both her compassion and for her poetic apologue. From that small experience we became friends and she even invited me to the North Shore for a home-cooked meal.

Her example is a roadmap through shame. I hope someday I can be that same agent of change with a gun to shame's head.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Deserve It

Vanity plates and bumper stickers are curious forms of expression. Most of the time they are cliche and unnecessary. They don't tell you much more than you can already surmise just by looking at the type of car and the person driving. The little white people stickers in the back window of minivans and suburbans are the funniest. It's certainly a Utahism to have so many kid stickers they stretch the entire width of the oversized back window. It's even funnier that they want to document every one of the 14 occupants inside.

Today as I was driving to work I pulled up behind a car with a vanity plate that said "DSERVET." This was the message on a little white Hyundai with a blue fender and a smashed-in side door. I guess they truly feel that they deserve it.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Jonas Brothers Trump Miley Cyrus

My nephew, Jeremy, had a great idea the other night at the Stadium of Fire. As we were waiting impatiently in the 100 degree heat to go in to the stadium, he looked up at me and said, "When we get in there let's find your president and tell him to get the Jonas Brothers to come sing instead of Miley Cyrus."

I told him that was a great idea and made a mental note to figure out who the Jonas Brothers were. I told Jeremy that unfortunately this year it was too late for the Jonas Brothers to come, so we were stuck with Miley. "Well then, let's find your president and tell him that next year when we come, we want to see the Jonas Brothers."

Another great idea.

So, after a long night of funny blue men, a screechy teenager prancing around the stage and flipping her hair, and a spectacular fireworks show that left us covered in ashes, we were finally walking back to our car when Jeremy said, "Wait. We didn't tell your president about my great idea to get the Jonas Brothers next year."

I guess I better go meet the president and give him a message from Jeremy.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Little Brown Dress

Tonight my friend Rob introduced me to the most interesting blog about a woman who decided to wear the same "little brown dress" for a year--every day, all the time. Here is the link to her blog in case you are as enthralled by this concept as I am. I think it's brave and interesting. And, it's such a commentary on consumerism and feminism and poverty and a plethora of other "meanings" you can attach to this kind of performance art. I wish I would have thought of it. Or more accurately, I wish I was brave enough to embark on such a journey and stick with it for a year.

She designed and sewed the dress herself and then wore it while working and playing and dancing and gardening and everything except swimming and sleeping. She started on her birthday in June and ended one year later with a "un-dressing" party. She documented her journey with daily pictures and frequent blog entries.

I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since Rob showed it to me. I greedily read her blogs and looked at her pictures and felt stirred by the meaning behind her simple experiment.

Here is a quote from her blog: "So, here's the deal - I made this dress and I wore it every day for a year. I made one small, personal attempt to confront consumerism by refusing to change my dress for 365 days. In this performance, I challenged myself to reject the economic system that pushes over-consumption, and the bill of goods that has been sold, especially to women, about what makes a person good, attractive and interesting. Clothes are a big part of this image, and the expectation in time, effort, and financial investment is immense."

I think I want my own experiment. No, I won't be wearing a little brown dress every day for a year, but I want to do some kind of challenge. I'm not sure what it will be yet, but I'm hoping to think of it by my birthday in August. I have some ideas, but they are still running around in my brain for now. I do know I want to spend a year with an intentional framework. I want to have something to contrast changes against and something progressive to document. Something that will force me to think on a higher level and sacrifice a bit of comfort in favor of expression and higher purpose and meaning.

I'm open to ideas.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Tofu: Not Just for Cool People Anymore

I cooked with tofu today and it wasn't a total disaster. It was actually pretty tasty. I've had this beautiful block of organic semi-hard tofu for a while now. It would glare accusingly at me every time I opened the fridge as its use-by date crept closer and closer. But I haven't really cooked with the stuff since my year of vegan fanaticism in the early 90s. And even then it was usually a paltry attempt that ended in a mushy, tasteless blob.

This time was much more pleasurable right from the start. It was a blast to cube. My cheap and unreasonably dull knife slid right through, making perfectly uniform little mini-cubes. I quick-fried it in olive oil and added it to a pesto and sundried tomato sauce and tossed it together with whole-wheat pasta. The cubes picked up just enough of the basil and sundried tomato flavor. They were a little crisp on the outside and tender inside. Very satisfying.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with that log of polenta I have.

Someday I'll be the girl who...

Someday I'll be the girl who has beautifully manicured fingernails. Really I'm the girl who picks my cuticles until they bleed and have jagged nails no matter how hard I try.

Someday I'll be that girl who wears dainty high-heels. Really I'm the girl who has a couple pairs of high heels in my closet that never leave there. Besides, I'd be 7 feet tall in them.

Someday I'll be the girl who looks elegant and understated and polished. Really I'm the girl who usually goes for comfort first and wears whatever hand-me-downs I get.

Someday I'll be that girl who is comfortable in every social situation and always knows the right thing to say. Really I'm the girl who blirts out things I shouldn't and gets way too loud and obnoxious.

Someday I'll be the girl who has it all together. Really I'm the girl who is constantly picking up the pieces but never quite getting it together.

Someday I'll be the girl who appreciates myself for exactly who I am. Really I'm getting there. I really am.

Friday, July 4, 2008


I wish I had some insightful political high horse to ride off on today, but it's hard to be deep and philosophical just five hours before the Hannah Montana concert. I'm taking my cute-as-hell 7-year-old nephew and he's pretty excited, so I'm pretty excited too. Just in case you are wondering, no, I didn't grab up these tickets during the 37-second frenzy when they were actually on sale. I got them as a perk with my new jobby job. (So far this job rocks. Four days of work = paid time off today, free party tonight.)

This whole Hannah-arama makes me realize just what a hypocrite I am. I mock pop-culture and yet could answer any and every question on a pop-culture trivia challenge. I claim to care about the environment as I drive off in my SUV. I make fun of America's blatant consumerism as I run to Costco for just a few mega-things. I criticize WalMart and Starbucks and McDonald's and All-a-Dollar while I sit back and watch as Zions closes the little SunCrest Market. I worry about world hunger as I throw away half a box of spoiled strawberries.

But rather than getting eaten up by all the guilt and doing nothing, I'm trying to make a few changes. I gave up my bottled water habit. I stopped using plastic shopping bags. I've gotten religious about recycling. I turned up the thermostat on my air-conditioner and turned down the frequency on my lawn watering schedule. I think really hard before I buy anything and try to either get things second hand or do without. I'm changing out my incandescent light bulbs with CFLs. I mostly stopped watching TV.

I know these things are tiny and kind of pathetic, but every little bit helps I think. Hopefully bigger changes are on the horizon for me.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Motorcycle Diaries

I think I want a motorcycle. I might have my brother talked into selling me his. But I'm not sure I'm exactly motorcycle material. Here are the pros and cons.

1. Gas, duh. Saving the environment and all that.
2. Fun. Riding up and down this mountain has to be a blast.
3. Included. Not being left out of rides with my brothers.
4. Exciting and cool. Those speak for themselves.

1. My hair. Who wants to go to work with helmet hair?
2. Skirts. Since most of my work clothes are hand-me-downs from Kim and she only wears skirts, that's what I wear most days. Pretty sure I can't get away with a skirt on a motorcycle.
3. Scared of wrecking. I know how bad it hurts to get mangled in an accident.
4. Exposure. I'm not sure I like the idea of being right out there where everyone can see me.

I'd be happy for opinions on this one.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Ugly American

It's big news here in America: Angelina Jolie is in the hospital in France to prepare for the delivery of her twins. Hundreds of journalists are already camping out near the hospital in Nice and Angelina's doctor decided to give a press conference. It's really so damn exciting. No other news in the world could be bigger or more important than this.

Fox News was there, of course, with microphones in hand. But a lot of good that did them. The press conference was in French, and it just so happened that nobody there from Fox spoke French.

But really, who would have expected that a French doctor giving a press conference in France would speak.....FRENCH?

Obviously not Fox. They couldn't understand a word he was saying and rather than break the story immediately they had to send their feed back to headquarters and try to round up someone who could actually speak something other than ugly American.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Reality is Overrated

I have a confession to make. I look up at truck drivers when I'm on the freeway. I catch myself doing it all the time. And it's just like the definition of insanity--doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Without fail as I see a big semi ahead of me I have this picture in my mind of the extremely gorgeous, tan manly man looking down at me from his big truck. He winks at me and I smile back and...well that's about as far as I get.

So today I find myself doing it again. I drive up next to a big truck and I look up expectantly. And then, WHAM, my fantasy gets run right over by reality. I'm pretty sure that steamy hot is actually NOT in the truck driver job description at all. I guess that's why they are driving the trucks and not modeling for ads about trucks.

I'm going to keep looking up though.