Monday, December 8, 2008

The last laugh

I have a final exam today at four. I have hardly begun studying. However, it is rainy and cozy and I would prefer to update this neglected blog than learn about the ACA ethical code's instructions in the case of a suicidal client. Can you blame me?

This morning I was greeted by the information that several delightful women I wish I knew better have teamed up to write a blog. Sarah and I should have been roommates in college. By that I mean both that we would have had a good time and that sheer probability favored our sharing a bathroom. She and I lived with all the same people at all different times. We share a few memories, one involving our bodies bobbing in the Great Salt Lake, immersed in brine shrimp, disgust, and giggles. I think she is great. Louise was one of my favorite teachers because she did not take herself too seriously, a trait I admire in a university professor. She has a great sense of humor. I think anyone who continues to stop by my blog from time to time would probably get a kick out of what these gals say and how they say it. Enjoy.

And now, a little story. Ryan's maternal grandmother is both aged and infirm. At 92, she has finally resigned herself to assisted living and has left behind a house filled with treasures. A few weeks ago we were invited, as her impoverished grandchildren, to loot the place. Grandma was a Tupperware lady. It was a fruitful looting.

One item I was uniquely pleased to find was a rice cooker. I do not own one, but I did in high school and have always thought I might like to own another, especially now that my ricing and steaming needs have increased. See rice cooker below:

Ain't she a beaut? I never quite got around to using it, though. I guess my ricing and steaming needs are less than I anticipated. Last night we opened the box!

A Christmas village! (I recommend you click on the picture for a more detailed view.)

A Little Bear! (In real life it is quite little.)

A Mormon church basketball trophy! Please note the Salt Lake temple behind the victor's head.

The box contained no rice cooker, but I was not disappointed.

It's nice to know Grandma got the last laugh.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday birthday

Every seventh year one's birthday will be on a Sunday. If you happen to descend from a religious tradition where purchasing goods or services on Sunday is forbidden, and if the majority of your local friends and family also subscribe to this tradition, your birthday will be less fun on these every-seventh-year occasions. If you have a golden quilted jumpsuit onto whose dorsal side you sewed the words "Birthday Suit" that you particularly enjoy wearing in public on your birthday while surrounded by friends and family, Sunday birthdays will be even more disappointing. It's just not the same to wear such a treasure around the house.

This year, I have a Sunday birthday. I wore a skirt and blouse instead of my birthday suit and went to church instead of well-populated public places. I felt a little despondent.

During church, one of the other church ladies snagged me in the hall wielding my sodden-bottomed niece who had requested a diaper change. Her mom was teaching a lesson upstairs and dad was nowhere to be found, the church lady told me. Could I possibly?

Sure, lady. It'll just be the icing on my birthday cake. You got a diaper?

As we proceeded through the intricacies of diaper-removal and -replacement, Adri and I were chatting. "Need new diaper!" "Yes, punkin, you sure do. We'll get it fixed right away." "Fix it!" "Mmmm hmmm. We'll fix it."

And then, a pause...

And then, drawers dropped, bottom exposed, face all aglow...

"Happy birthday Amy???"

It was, far and away, the best birthday greeting I have ever rececived. From now on, if you want to wish me a Happy Birthday, please, first remove your pants.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Clean air for breathing

Here is an easy way to do a good thing. This week we can be thankful we have (somewhat) clean air for breathing--let's make sure our kids/hypotheticals will too!

Concise

The other day, while teaching, I told the kids that their next lesson was going to be on sexual assault prevention. I wanted to give the a chance to get mentally prepared to take something seriously (for once in their charmed lives). One kid with scraggly hair, a t shirt advertising a punk band, and a wily look in his eye piped up for the first time ever, "You mean, like, no means no and passed out doesn't mean yes?"

Well, kid, now that you mention it, YES. Hmm. Now what am I going to teach?

Maybe he could give me lessons on being concise. I bet my blog would get more hits.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Important

Thanks Missy for posting about world hunger on your wonderful blog. I recommend this post and all the others to all of you. That right there is a big ol' stamp of approval.

I want to fast the day before Thanksgiving and donate ten dollars to Oxfam. I would like to find twenty others to do this with me. If you are willing, please post a comment here. If you would also like to link to the original site on your own blog, let me know. I would be eager to see how many people we can invite to participate in this easy way to make a small difference.

Also, if Ikea is a terrible monster, tell me about it. I can take it.

A Great Tag from a Great Gal

Let me preface with a story from yesterday's class.

Having read a chapter on Multicultural Counseling, my classmates and I were invited to do an activity to help us become more culturally self-aware. It involved a worksheet that looked a bit like elementary school busy work (in a good way); there was a circle in the center where we were to write our names and then satellite circles (like lollipops radiating out from our name) where we could indicate a few of the traits that we identify as being part of our self-concept. The teacher probably explained the task more succinctly; I am sorry she is not present to do so now.

My palms got sweaty. My head began to swim. There were only four bubbles in which to identify my most-defining aspects of self! I flustered around for approximately three times longer than necessary and came up with: 1) traditionalist 2) moralist 3) feminist 4) upper-middle-class female from the east coast (no need to mention that this is actually three identifying traits. I was up until three in the morning because of it.)

We then proceeded to a small group where we could discuss which of our traits were associated with power and privilege and vice versa. As the other group members began to discuss their traits, I noticed that theirs differed from mine in a fundamental way: theirs actually meant something. While it would take me seventy three hours to describe what I mean when I identify myself as a "moralist", the lady in my group who, wisely, identified that she is a fiancee had nothing to explain. Her identified traits were all self-evident and stress-free, much like the other group members' identifiers.

Although I do not typically respond to tags, this one is from a grand gal whose post was very funny, so I think you should read it.

It is in the spirit of aforementioned unnecessary complication and loquacity that I bring you this tag:

Things I value:

1) Ikea. In the name of all that is good and holy, I beg you not to tell me the reasons their prices are so low; if I have to stop going to Ikea when I've had a rough day who knows what might happen. I might end up at McDonald's! That's what! Then how would you feel?

2) People who tell me new things. Because I am woefully aware of the great many things I do not know, I really appreciate when people tell me something new, especially when it is something I care about. This valuing obviously extends to the folks who have written books that have changed my mind and, consequently, my life. Thank you all!

3) People who can do things I purposely tell myself are impossible so I won't have to do them. marathoners, quilters, gardeners, writers of books, I'm looking at you.

Things I do not value:

1) Paypal. Every time I find myself confronted with the Paypal homepage I know I am in deep yogurt. I think they have evil corporate monsters that change people's passwords, preferred credit cards, and shipping addresses when nobody is looking. Hey, Paypal! Go suck an egg!

2) One of my jobs. Although I am grateful that I get paid for more hours of work than I do, I hate never knowing if I did anything right. And while I don't mind adolescents, I now know I prefer them in groups of one.

3) Projects that make me feel guilty. Currently I still own the computer tower and monitor that I used in college. The monitor is often completely non-functional. The computer is antiquated. The only reason I still own the whole she-bang is that it is the only machine that has a floppy drive and I have one floppy disk with a significant amount of material on it (also from college), but the disk won't give up its information. The computer claims the disk needs to be reformatted. So I need to discover how to reformat the disk, download my college education onto a flash drive, and give the computer to good will. It's only three steps, but the computer sits in the corner of my bedroom making me feel like a loser, as it has for four solid years. So help me, I hate projects that take more than an hour to finish.

I tag Kelsey, because I think she will play. If any of the reast of y'all want in, feel free to self-tag.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Adjectives

I am a reader of food blogs. I began when I "went vegan" a year and a half ago and I have never looked back. Food blogs have educated me about a central part of life and I have a lot of fun reading them. They have picked up where a hypothetical bunch of pie making females left off in the grand progression of my learning how to take care of myself. I didn't know what a pattypan squash was but now I do. Talk about empowerment.

But I have to say, there are two adjectives that turn up astonishingly often in the food blogosphere that really bug me. These two words are 'comforting' and 'cloyingly'. Why not just say the macaroni and cheese is fattening? And that the cookies are too damn sweet? You know? Sheesh, people. Get a thesaurus.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The feelings never die, they just go into remission

I try to be friendly. In my classes, especially, I have been making an effort to make eye contact and smile at folks. I am hoping that this concerted effort will make me into a more well-rounded and appealing human being. Some people are still too annoying to manage a smile at but, for the most part, I do a pretty good job. Eye contact for everyone.

However, I have noticed that one girl in one of my classes intimidates me. I find myself avoiding her kind of awkwardly (she is not aware of this, of course. The whole drama remains mine, and now yours, to enjoy). But today, I was feeling a little more pert than usual, and looked her right in the face and smiled. She smiled back. For her, the moment was over. She is no longer thinking about it. But I was plunged into intense awkwardness. I felt myself blushing and not knowing where to look. And then I realized.

She is the spitting image of my death crush from sixth grade.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Geoffrey Beene Gives Back

It may sound like a children's book, but the title of this post is actually about this.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fun and festivity

I woke up this morning two hours before the alarm went off because I was so excited that it was election day. I think NPR has washed my brain for good. Either way, the whole day has a special feeling about it and, even though my guy is unlikely to win (which I still can't quite make sense of) the day has felt electric to me. Living in a place where, at least in theory, we can all vote to choose our government officials is a rare blessing and one I enjoyed today. Even Starbucks and Ben and Jerry's are kicking down free stuff for folks sportin' I Voted stickers. I'm not here to say Starbucks isn't The Man, but, hey, a free beverage is a free beverage (I probably won't take them up on their offer, but just sayin'.)

My most favorite part of voting was casting my vote for Nader, of course. But a close second was the location for voting in my precinct. It is called the Multi-Ethnic Senior Hi-Rise. I think all voting should be held in Senior Centers because it was evident the residents couldn't have been more pleased about the high volume of traffic, if only for one day. There were old disabled people everywhere, greeting me at the door, wishing me well, thanking me for voting. It was pretty delightful, and I'm glad that the voting locale made it easy for some less-mobile folks to have their say.

As I walked into the Multi-Ethnic Senior Hi-Rise, I must say I noticed that I fit in better than I should have for my twenty six and eleven-twelfths years. It was like I knew where I would be heading when I picked out my outfit today...


Happy voting! I hope Nader wins!

Friday, October 31, 2008

before you vote for obama...

read this and tell me what you think. thanks for the link, anna.

Dream Job

This morning Ryan reported to me that while asleep he had been hired to be a cartoonist investor and promptly began despairing that such a job does not actually exist. I thought my dream job was to be a stay-at-home-mom with no kids, but when I actually had that job I discovered it would only be fun if I were also a billionaire.

Do you have a dream job?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Something beautiful

Betsey posted a beautiful song on her blog and it was such a gift that I thought I would post a little something beautiful today as well. My friend Colby recently made many of his songs available for purchase (or listen...) on his website which delighted me to no end. I own all of his albums and have attended every concert I was able, so needless to say I think he has something beautiful to offer. Go here to have a listen and, if you'd like a recommendation, my favorite is All or Nothing.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Would you like a meltdown with that?

My stats teacher thinks the best idea is to give tests every two weeks. While I acknowledge this makes each test a more manageable feat, while also decreasing the value of each individual test, it does leave me in a constant state of panic because I always have a stats test on the horizon. I had one, today in fact, unpleasant little beastie, but I did some good studying, made a cheat sheet fully demonstrative of my anal neurosis, and went in a little before class to go over the notes once more and see if any of my classmates wanted to review. Naturally, before long, the conversation had turned to women's health issues (why does this always happen to me? I swear I didn't bring it up!). One classmate, bless her heart, said that she wanted to breastfeed but the minute the kid had teeth she was done. Given her background and education on the matter, I don't blame her for a second. It seems reasonable enough. But the first deciduous incisors generally begin to erupt between 6 and 12 months of age, a little early, according to several different reputable sources, to wean (in case you didn't read the articles, the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for a minimum of two years and the American Association of Pediatrics for a minimum of one year).

The conversation progressed, as I feared, to the even more ubiquitous reason cited as an appropriate indicator for weaning: verbal skills. "As soon as the kid can ask to breastfeed, you know things have gone too far!" comes the clarion call. It is a commonly held belief that verbal skills should stand between a baby and the breast but, I think, a nonsensical one. Lots of kids have verbal skills before they reach their first birthday, and most are communicating well before their second. Some communicate much earlier than others; are they just outta luck?

I couldn't help jumping into the conversation (you know me!) and I said that while I understood the reasonable fear of breastfeeding a teething baby, I knew many women who had done it successfully (two of my best friends are currently breastfeeding toddlers with mouthfulls of pearly whites). I suggested that perhaps there was an evolutionary/design advantage to young babies developing teeth; perhaps it aids in the process of individuation when they bite the mother and (unfortunately for her!) she exhibits a pain response. Who knows (I don't), but what I do know is that weaning very young comes at a pretty high cost to mothers and babies, and the decision warrants greater consideration than only that of the mother's usually momentary discomfort or, I'll admit it, pain. Just my two cents.

Then a man entered the conversation and began to ardently concur that kids with teeth have no place breastfeeding. The conversation became a little bit heated and he turned at me, made that nice aggressive eye contact we all know and love, and said (really, sneered) to me "Do you even have any kids?" I said that while I did not, I had done hundreds of hours of research on the subject and personally witnessed many happily breastfed toothy toddlers. He didn't break the gaze, so I responded "Have you ever breastfed a baby?"

I should have deescalated. It would have made for a more pleasant pre-test atmosphere, but dude pushed my buttons. Them was fightin' words.

"...No."

"Well, then, it sounds like we have both based our opinions on our secondary experiences."

If left me feeling sick and jittery, as a body flooded with adrenaline is wont to feel. I really don't like aggression, but issues pertaining to women's and children's health are deeply important to me; important to the point that I actually identify myself personally with their defense. I will admit I was strident. I was ineffective. I was pissed as hell. It is so painful to me to be dismissed when I feel like I have worked so hard for the information I possess and it is devalued or, worse, mocked, and I let my emotions, not my more-compelling reason, get the best of me.

In a recent post I spoke about breastfeeding and was accused of being strident and unapproachable--by another woman. Of course, this is not my intent. But at times I come to grips with the complex reality that at times I value my identity as a self-proclaimed women's health aficionado over my relationships with people. My values are important to me, as is the information I have sought and believe is true. But so are people. How do we have successful conversations with people who deride the information we hold so close that it has become part of us?

Clearly I don't know.

I was distracted through my entire test. My mind kept careening back and forth between wanting to apologize to the nitwit misogynist (JUST KIDDING!!! LIGHTEN UP!!!) and recognizing that just because a few people, myself included, were uncomfortable, I don't need to apologize for being knowledgable or honest. It's tricky. Perhaps one day my opinions won't feel so vulnerable that I have to protect them with my rage, but, then again, perhaps a little rage for a capable woman can do some good; heaven knows it wouldn't be the first time.

Monday, October 27, 2008

FYI

Here is a good new blog to read.

One of the writers is the darling of many a BYU alumna, Dr. Valerie Hudson. Should be a good source of information.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm even starting to bug myself

I have to hand it to myself, I am not afraid to lose friends and alienate people. I got home from school today and realized, MAN, while I have not posted one good-natured independent thought on my own blog in quite some time, I sure have managed to find time to spout my opinions all over everyone else's. I don't know when I will grow up and shut up and stop being so damn opinionated all the damn time, but meanwhile, if I have offended you, sorry 'bout it.

Hope this picture makes you remember why you liked me in the first place:


Now you remember, don't you? You like me because I am so pretty.



p.s. I normally don't feel so self-deprecating but I think I have gone over my verbalized opinions limit for this month and it seems to have made me cranky.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Crush on Radio

Listen here. He's dreamy, isn't he?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Food

Thought you might like to read an article by one of my celebrity death crushes. Thanks for the link, Bri.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

terrible horrible no good very bad

Today was the final sprint in what a fellow in my cohort described as our triathlon: three massive tests in a gory row this week. It has been truly miserable. Monday was a final exam worth half my grade in a block class, Tuesday was a statistics midterm (I have contemplated at length any remote possibility of having the requirement waived for religious reasons, as I think I could say truthfully that it's principles violate my morals) and today's midterm in a theories class, also worth half of the grade in the class.

By this morning I was demonstrating symptomatology of studying. I had the shakes. My brain failed to retain or retrieve information. And I wanted to eat a pan of brownies. As an appetizer for a three-pie lunch. Despite these most heinous symptoms, I had to go teach at the high school. I like the kids, but the curriculum is wretched. The information is just plain bad so I can never quite figure out how to teach it. So I do what my colleagues do (not the real teachers, the other grad school lackies they hired to teach the bogus program)-- I teach whatever the H suits my fancy.

Today's lesson on nutrition was supposed to inform kids that it isn't the carbs (poor misunderstood sugar!) that make sweets deleterious, it is only the fat. It also included a section on choosing affordable sources of protein, the nutrient du jour, that suggested kids pack down cans of tuna fish until their eyes pool with mercury and they keel over dead. As an alternative, I taught a lesson about nutrients and how to get them poison-free and packed with health. We all had a very cozy talk about micronutrients and it was quite lovely.

After work, I went to school to meet with a study group and, while walking to the union building, had to step directly over the carcasses of first a bird and then a Very Large grasshopper (large enough that I noticed its dead body, which is atypical for me and dead bug bodies). I know a harbinger when I see one (or two).

I tried to make my gluey brain take the test, but it refused, due to the dead bird or the unreasonable difficulty of the exam I will never know. Then I came home to find that my supervisor (who, I neglected to mention, came to witness the nutrient parade today) had emailed me (and several other people, none of whom I knew) to let me know that SEVERAL parents had called the principal about the content of my lessons and that I would need to "stick to the curriculum". What can I teach them now? Pretty soon they will tell me I have to sing laud and honor to Similac and episiotomies. And then I will die like a mercury-filled bird-hopper.

Yeah, you heard me.

I hate today the most.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Moral imperative


So today I got a text from my brother that went like this:

"So that you know, I WAS interested in a girl. Then she said that breastfeeding was gross. Thanks for turning that into a deal-breaker."

My buttons nearly burst.

I have long been a (very, very) vocal proponent of the only normal infant feeding. I sometimes resent the Breast is Best campaign, whether or not it is well-intentioned, because the subtext actually undermines breastfeeding; nobody will be (or hopefully expects to be) the "best" parent. Folks, especially folks grappling with a newborn, are probably more in survival mode than perfection-mode. If breastfeeding is "best", that must make formula-feeding normal. And, as we all know, that is plain nonsense.

The hospital environments in which many women give birth vary in their hospitality and facilitation of basic human needs: to give birth in a supportive, empowering environment, and to feed their newly emerged offspring. It's a damn shame. Lots of moms who think they "can't" breastfeed are simply ignorant victims of a very subtle system that, albeit unwittingly, jeopardizes the health and safety of moms and babies. Consider homebirth, is all I'm sayin'. I don't even know who I am preaching to. But if my twenty-three year old brother considers a non-lactivist ineligible for his affections, I can rest assured my preaching has not gone unheard so far. I guess I better keep it up, maybe for someone else's little brother's sake.

OH BEAUTIFUL FOR SPACIOUS SKIES!!!

For anyone thinking of redoing their kitchen, I wanted to make sure you knew about this handy refrigerator/television super-appliance. This way, all the obese children won't even have to walk into the other room to get their Hot Pockets. They can just park in front of the fridge and feed all day.

I hate America. There. I said it.

*In case anybody comes back to read this post for any reason, I have to say I disagree with my last statement. I feel pretty neutral about America, but at times I resent the culture and values it represents. It's kind of gross to say I hate America, though, so I'm sorry.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Grad School is E-Z

On Friday evening Ryan and I went to celebrate his younger brother's birthday and while I was there his college-aged sister asked me if grad school was as easy as everyone says it is. She then reminded me to be honest; nobody likes the guy who claims he got a 700 on the LSAT without taking a prep course.

Naturally, I still felt the need to proclaim (loudly and emphatically, as is my wont) that grad school is, in fact, a piece of cake. Fully twice easier than college, and possibly three times easier than high school. It just hasn't been much of a burden (at least not yet) and for that, friends, I am grateful.

Next week I have midterms three days in a row, and a project, worth half the grade in my skills class, due on the fourth day. I have spent the last three days attending study groups, making flash cards and outlines, and laboriously creating the most anal-fixation-affirming cheat sheet any Intro To Stats class has ever seen (the thing is color-coded, folks, and I was contemplating laminating it only moments ago, if that gives you some idea). And then it dawned on me.

Grad school is easier than college because my crush lives with me (and will to his dying day, if he is a man of his word) and, frankly, that fact is the best thing that has ever happened to my study habits. Gone are the days of wondering if some fellow that caught my eye might like to spend the next few weeks hanging out with me (during which few weeks, might I add, any hope of studying would become instantly unfathomable). No sir, now the object of my affections makes a pot of soup while I am at the library and helps me straighten up the house before we go to bed, knowing that the next morning will greet me with a pile of books and a stopwatch. While I still consider myself a social sort, these days socializing is more optional. It has done unprecedented things for my GPA.

So, Rachel, may I add a caveat. I don't know if grad school is easier than college, but I know being a married student is easier than being a single student.

Maybe I'll have a kid. I hear they make getting a PhD a walk in the park!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

refreshing

I just sat in our truck for a good hour and a half listening to the vice presidential debate. This is more than I can say for my attentiveness during the presidential debate which I found painful to listen to. Tonight's debate was downright refreshing. The candidates didn't stumble and stab at one another, issues were discussed, it was really quite civilized (comma splices are allowed on personal blogs; you know who you are). I still think Nader should be allowed in the debates but, as two-party debates go, this one wasn't half bad.

I'll even give it up for Sarah Palin. I expected less, to be honest. If it hadn't been for her mispronunciation of nuclear (say it just like you spell it, ready? NU-CLEAR! there ya go!), the multiple references to Reagan, and, of course, that monstrous chant she is promoting (I almost can't type Drill, baby, drill! without throwing up on my computer), I would say she was reasonably pleasant to listen to. Mainly because of her cute lil' accent. Kinda Utahey (talking about eye-dill societies etc) but with a twist of South Dak-OH-tah. Charming, really.

I'm still voting for Nader and you should too. Go on, it's fun! Try it!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

HOORAY!

There are a few things to celebrate today.

The first is that I didn't go to work, for no reason. I guess that is just what happens when there is no job to do and no supervisor to make sure you do it.

The second is that I am reading all of your blogs instead of writing the paper that is due in a few hours and that is worth 50% of my grade. Study skills, why can I never learn you?

The third is that this post means we will no longer be greeted with Sarah Palin's ugly mug when we check this blog. I don't care how many desperate internet losers say she is hot; I really don't get all the fuss. So there.

AND! THE FOURTH THING WE ARE CELEBRATING TODAY IS THAT THE MOVIE IS COMING TO TOWN! Sorry, I meant THIS MOVIE IS COMING TO TOWN. Two Angry Moms: tale of a couple soccer moms who got fed up with school ""lunch" and took to the streets. Then they made a movie. THE movie. It feels like THE Movie because I have been working on getting it here for quite some time, and now it is coming. And so is one of the Directors, Angry Mom Amy. You should watch the movie clips, and then come see the movie at the Leonardo on October 16 at 7:00 p.m. School lunch is an abomination, kids are fat and so are grown-ups, and if things dont change in the next few years I will have to home school my hypotheticals. Come one come all!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

WTF


This is probably old news (life without a TV means that my world has a 2-3 week delay) but, seriously, though, WTF. WTF, I say.

* Addendum: THIS is what the LA Times have to say. WTFWTFWTFWTFWTF. There. Now I feel better! Even if the front cover was photoshopped, I still think its WTF, too, BTW. Ha!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In my dreams

The other night I had a nightmare that I was being attacked. As the bad guy maniacally approached me, I told him in no uncertain terms that he should rethink what he was about to do because I am a sexual assault advocate and I know how to get his derriere busted. Seriously, I'm in with the cops, I know the protocol, I will have his DNA booked into evidence and processing at the crime lab before he could say Jack Robinson.

I woke up panicked at first (anyone who has experienced a somnolent assault knows it is terrifying), but then I got to thinking about how funny my sleep-brain is for giving my assailant a lecture.

And then I got to thinking I may need a vacation.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

They got me

The Pampered Chef party was not the silly foray I had hoped for, largely because the Pampered Chef herself took the whole affair so seriously (the nerve!). I will admit to an inner (thankfully, thankfully inner) giggle fit when she mentioned a particular pan would be good for making, say, chicken parmesan, looked at me and said "Oh, you probably don't eat that, do you? Well, veal parmesan, then? Do you eat that?" Poor lady. Someone needs to tell her that veal is made from the FLESH OF BABY COWS, but I didn't. Instead, I just responded, bleakly, "Probably not" and shared a look with all my equally incredulous guests.

I entered into the idea of a Pampered Chef party flippantly, I'll admit it. I thought it would be silly fun, and I was sure I was above a multi-level-mentality. I never saw myself hoping other people would buy things out of personal self-interest. I'm not above self-interest in general, I just wasn't aware mine extended so easily into the world of kitchen implements.

But it did! So now, out of a mostly self-interested motivation to obtain more silicone spatulas (here's hoping honesty makes up for selfishness on the virtue-o-meter), I would like to advise you that if you go to this website and enter my name and buy anything I get more free stuff. If you order more than$60 worth of gear, you also get free stuff. You have until Thursday, and if you want to order something after Thursday just tell me and I will extend the show longer. I am ashamed to beseech the internet in a manner so unseemly, but I figure, if I were going to buy a mixing bowl anyway and buying it through your weird Pampered Chef thing got you a free chopper, well, I'd like to do it for you. So, if you are in the mood for any cool/useless gadget and think you might like to buy it this week, now you know the most altruistic way to do that. The mix n' chop thing you get for free actually seemed pretty cool when the cooking lady demo-ed it.

Dumb multi-level marketing, stripping me of my dignity like this. It's a good thing I have never been to a Tupperware Party. Something tells me that with my penchant for Jazzercise I may be just the kind of girl they are looking for. I'm a sucker for brand names from the eighties.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Another reason

To avoid cesareans.

Incidentally, I find the terms v-bactivist, lactivist and intactivist supremely satisfying, in a nerdy-english-major/dr. seuss kind of way. They make me want to create really confusing t-shirts.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Democratic National Convention

Worth seeing.

In case you were wondering

I was offered a graduate assistantship that includes a full tuition waiver. There was no flying rodent clause, unlike previous offers received, so I accepted. Instead, I will be teaching health class to fifteen-year-olds.

I may live to regret passing on the bat offer.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Tagged

Thank Missy for these fascinating tidbits about moi.

Favorite Color: Green. And purple. But mostly green.

Hometown: Beschwagg

Kids: Hypothetically

Number of Siblings: One brother, one sister.

Unknown Fact About Me: This picture is for real:

Favorite Store: I mostly hate shopping, especially in malls. I derive shameful enjoyment from Target, but my most favorite place to shop is at any Farmer's Market. Unless it is hot or crowded.

Worst Habit: Not vacuuming, not blogging, not showering. There, now you know everything.

Your Favorite Food: It used to be pizza and chocolate chip cookies, but now both of those delicious treats induce diabetic symptoms immediately upon consumption. I'll say peaches.

Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius

Last movie at the theater: This disclosure is the most amazing thing you will ever read on this blog, so get ready: Iron Man. That's right, folks. I saw racist, sexist, monstrously inane Iron Man at the Dollar Theater when we had friends in town a few weeks ago.

Favorite TV show: I have no idea, haven't been big on TV since middle school. I consistently think The Simpsons is funny. To be honest, I'd probably gobble up any TV show you put in front of me because I have no defenses or discretion. I'd be texting my vote for America's Next Top Whateverthehell and running out to buy the fiber-infused gogurt I saw an ad for during the commercial break.

Favorite Sandwich: There needs to be cheese involved, and the cheese should be abundant and melty. Sometimes, it's worth the pain.

Listening to right now: Ryan singing nonsense songs. This would be the answer any time you asked this question.

Last thing you ate: Cafe Rio salad. If I were to tell you what I ate for dinner last night, though, I would tell you that I made butternut squash and apple soup with the firstfruits of my little brother's maiden gardening voyage, a Mediterranean couscous and lentil salad, mozzarella caprese with heirloom tomatoes from the farmer's market and basil from my balcony, vegan raisin carrot walnut muffins, and strawberry shortcake with lemon scones I made myself. I don't know how I made all that crap; it made me tired just typing it out.

Under your bed: Suitcases, plastic drawers holding socks and underwear, and a massage table.

Towns have you lived in: Ten, if memory serves.

Kelsey, you're it. Soon you will have a kid and I will feel guilty tagging you, so I gotta get while the getting's good.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pampered


If you think a girl can't get pampered while working two jobs and taking sixteen master's level credits, you've got another think coming. I'm down to get pampered, and hopefully you are too.

Jazzercise had a big summer celebration party in June during which I was bamboozled by a Pampered Chef rep. She was very Pampered Cheffy, real insistent, and was not going to be dissuaded from her conviction that I was the perfect candidate for a party. I tried to warn her...

"All my friends moved away. I have only three friends, and they all live below the poverty line."

"I'm practically vegan."

"I live in government subsidized housing because my income is so low."

She was undeterred. Fine, ok, you got me. I'll make you a deal. You can come to my little apartment and you can show all your gadgets (as long as they are made for use with plant foods) and I will invite all three of my impoverished vegan friends to the party (hey, guys, you're invited!) (so are any omnivorous friends who think it might be funny). But I'm not sending out those invitations you gave me to for two reasons 1) only ladies in the Junior League still send out printed invitations and 2) I can't afford the stamps.

So we are having a Vegan Pampered Chef party on September 6th and everyone's invited. Just RSVP in the comments if you wanna. Personally, I'm excited to see how the lady is gonna fill up a whole hour demonstrating how to use a mandoline and a citrus juicer. It should be rip roarin', so come on down!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Nader Interview

If you have ever wondered about Ralph Nader, and especially if you believe he cost Gore the election, this is a pretty good read. Thanks for the link, Ash.

Birth Survey

If you have had a baby, check out this website and take their survey. Sharing your birth experience may help improve someone else's!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

If you're smart

You will never make these. Once you have made them, you see, you will have to make them lots more times. But you will win major Housewife Points at all the potlucks.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Will to Blog

People, it's awful. I went from having no job, no school, and no real hobbies, to way too many of all three. And, funny thing is, it leaves me with nothing to blog about.

It doesn't add up, if you ask me. I mean, I have multiple jobs and my work is meaningful and rewarding, but it just doesn't lend itself to funny stories or appropriately-shared anecdotes. School starts soon, but what am I going to do, tell you I think psychotherapy is an interesting line of work or that I suck at stats? I have been doing lots of Jazzercise and am working toward an audition into one of the University's choirs but, honestly, there's nothing I can say that wouldn't be boring. Except about Jazzercise. And the possible-hermaphrodite that comes to class with the most amazing armpit hair I have ever seen.

I might start writing grants for Rape Recovery Center. See? How funny is that?

Gone are the days of belly-aching about perfect strangers I encounter during my housewifely day. Gone are the days of being so bored I can come up with things to say here, since there is noone, but noone, to say them to in real life.

It's a problem. It's a problem for my mother who doubtless still checks this thing to see if I have anything amusing to say. It's a problem for my husband who, brim with confidence that my abilities to transform the mundane into the captivating, signed my blog up for google ads just in time for me to cease and desist blogging almost entirely. It's a problem for me, because I like the sound of my own voice SO MUCH and have really missed giggling at my own jokes on the daily.

I'll work on it. I'll try to make room in my increasingly, cursedly, hectic existence to find a way to speak with levity about life, even when it isn't a total joke. But, it's gonna be tough.

School starts Monday. Wish me luck. It better be funny.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ebay

I just noticed that I was searching for antiques on ebay, you know, just to pass the time, and i realized that I am an adult.

Just thought you should know.

Friday, August 8, 2008

What's for dinner?

These guys will tell you, if you ask.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wise Women


First of all, read this and see how you feel.

I felt relieved.

Last night I went to a farewell gathering for one of the most delightful people I discovered in college. It was so fabulous to see her and see how she is becoming more of herself. The college girl who charmed my pants off is now a married woman on her way to becoming a Doctor of Philosophy, and seeing her feels just the same, and better.

While there, I was also graced by the presence of several other women who are and have been my friends. We chatted about life, the happenings and the news. Had a few laughs, had some potluck wares. Later in the evening an acquaintance showed up whose ripe waistline belied her fate. I heard someone ask her if she knew the sex of the fetus and she said the fateful words, "Oh, yes. It's a boy."

It is always a stressful moment for me. Has the mother considered the future of her child's genitals? Does she know that he will be unceremoniously tortured unless she refuses to sign the consent that will be presented to her, coupled with absolutely no information about the procedure she is about to allow? Has she ever seen an intact penis, and does she have any idea how one works?

Because I know all about it. It nearly kills me when I know that, for the sake of my conscience and the future health and safety of an unborn boy, I have to say something.

I start gently. "Have you done much research about circumcision?"

Usually she hasn't, unless I have spoken with her previously about the subject myself. She doesn't know. Nobody has ever said anything before.

I usually give a little information, things about the important function of the foreskin in adult males, or the fact that the surgery is not medically indicated, it is cosmetic and is performed with no anesthesia. I mention the footage I have seen of routine circumcision, the babies strapped down, the screaming until the child vomits on himself. I explain that, though it may seem a minimal amount of tissue is removed, the tissue that is removed is the most erotogenic a male body possesses and that removing it is tantamount to cliterodectomy in the eyes of some experts and, besides, it is larger than a 4x6 index card by the time the boy is a man.

Then, before she gets a chance, I rebuff some of the myths she may be using to justify her decision. If hygiene is the concern, then women have frankly got men beat a thousand times over in the folds of skin department; is it baby girls we should be after? If she has heard that it will make masturbation less pleasurable or enticing and she finds this idea appealing, I invite her to consider the number of men, cut or intact, who have not experimented with masturbation and suggest that if eliminating this habit is the paramount goal, perhaps infant males should have their hands surgically removed since the removal of their foreskins hasn't been enough discourage them significantly. If she thinks the child will be ridiculed, I mention that my husband, who was born in merciful Canada, has never felt inadequate for still having all the body parts he came with, and then follow up by adding that the numbers of parents who consent is declining all the time and it won't be long before cut men are the minority and considered anomalous; in fact intact babies are already the majority in most western states and in California 80% of babies remain intact.

Whether the moms are convinced is usually more about them than me. Some look horrified, knowing their consciences will not allow them to sign the dotted line, but distressed about how to bring it up with their partners who may find the new information to be painful and threatening. Some say that they will "do some research" but that they would never be able to watch "that sort of thing" on a video; precisely the "thing" that they will shortly consent to have inflicted upon their hours-old baby boy.

It sickens me, I can't lie. It depresses me. And when that pregnant mother left last night, head held high despite all I had told her, I wanted to cry.

But then all the other women who had been listening to my pleading and cajoling from the sidelines approached me. "Tell us more" they said.

There we were, in the very living room in which we sat as college roommates, where they once listened as I shared the information I was sucking out of birth literature as fast as I could find it. And, years later, they said "We have missed you; tell us more."

Women want to know, and they have a right to know about their bodies and what they can do. They have a right to know the power they possess as mothers, and the ways they can protect themselves and their offspring. They want to know how they can avoid being transplanted into the horror stories they have heard, and how they can create something that seems different and better. They want to bring a baby into their family in the end, of course, but they also want to bring into the family a mother.

I tell my friends to find a midwife who will support and attend them, who is educated about normal birth and how to help it along. I tell them that trying for this type of birth in a hospital is like going to a Chinese restaurant and trying to order pizza: no matter how many birth plans you have drafted and how many bradley classes you have attended, you are likely to be disappointed. I encourage them to have their babies at home, and tell them they can call me every day of their pregnancy if they like and I will answer their questions or find someone who can. I tell them I will come when they go into labor and not leave until the deed is done.

Homebirth midwives do good work and eventually the tides will change, but until then I will keep shouting it from the rooftops because it is too, too important for me to sit still and keep the peace.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Holla atcha boy. I'm the Emcee.

This evening at 7:30 I will be the mistress of ceremonies at an event featuring Ralph Nader. I am excited because this is probably the only chance I'll ever have to be a mistress of any kind.

I am also excited because Ralph Nader is a fascinating character, a compelling speaker, and he has spent his life doing his level best to help out the people. If you haven't seen An Unreasonable Man, I recommend it.

I hope to see you at Libby Gardner Hall this evening. You should be able to spot me; I'll be the one clad entirely in turquoise sequins.

Friday, July 25, 2008

It's official


I am not only insane, but also cold and heartless.

You see, my victory was sweet but ephemeral. The management replaced the stolen doorstop. Undeterred from my goal of keeping the ambient temperature under one hundred degrees, I decided to place a sign on the door. It contained no obscenities, which I considered a very significant moral victory. It simply read:

The double doors are designed to keep the building cool. Please keep the doors closed. Thanks!

That's it. Nothing too fancy, and no F-bombs. And the sign worked, as long as it was left there, which was about fifteen hours. The next morning the sign had been removed and I could tell as soon as I walked out my door into the sweltering hallway. I replaced the sign. The next day it had been removed. I was content to continue battling the rotund forces at work against me, but today, the manager of our apartment complex called to inform me that the rotundarino had informed her of our recent feuding.

She told me the rotundarino's reasons for wanting the door open.

Evidently it is important to keep the building ventilated, lest it come down with a mustiness. I countered with the solid fact that Utah, being a desert, does not exactly encourage bacterial growth, or any of the consequent odors.

Evidently it is also important to keep the door open to let the small atrium area dry out after being mopped. I was frank in my contempt for this argument. It is well over a hundred degrees outside. Sorry, but no amount of door-propping could expedite the drying of that floor, which is an already instantaneous process. Not having it.

The final reason cited was that one of the first floor tenants is wheelchair bound, and propping the door open makes entry and exit easier.

I didn't expect it, but I was stumped. I know the disabled woman, she is quite a pleasant person, and I know she gets around as well as any of the able among us. She lives alone, she transports herself all over Salt Lake, she knows how to get it done. I feel I can rest assured that she is as capable of opening both the first and second set of doors she encounters when entering or exiting our building. Frankly, I don't see how propping one of the two sets of doors open helps her out much at all. (Perhaps management should invest in an automatic door opening device if they are concerned with her inconvenience?)

But I had no retort. A person can't very well say "I don't care to ease the burdens of the disabled tenant; I prefer to keep our energy use down and hopefully have a planet to pass on to my posterity instead." Nope. You say that, you're sounding like a big-time jerk. So, instead, I told my manager that if the reason for propping the door was truly to make easier the life of our paraplegic pal, I would cease and desist with the sign-making.

But I'm still going to unprop it every time I see it open. And that rotundarino better watch her back.

NADER!

Come one, come all! Tomorrow evening Utahns have a rare opportunity: to participate in a live conference call with one of the three (yes! three!) presidential candidates. Ashley Sanders will be hosting a party from 4:00-8:00 p.m. during which she, as a member of Team Nader, will be answering questions about Nader and his platform. A similar event will take place in Provo at Chris Neilsen's house. Even if you think you know who you plan to vote for, come and educate yourself about the third party candidate. Benjamin Franklin would do it.

The abovepictured is a flier for the Ralph Nader Rally. I might even be the emcee, so there's some extra incentive. I am captivating. Maybe I'll wear rhinestones. Save the date!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Whenever I think about pioneers

This is what I ate for breakfast, out of respect and deference. Happy Pioneer Day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Funny Guy


Today Ryan and I sat down and we had ourselves a talk. I have both been working two jobs and trying to provide healthful-yet-delicious meals and, frankly, I am losing steam. I decided we needed to sit down and discuss how we were going to make this machine run without my ending up in a psych ward. We spent a few hours crafting a new system, writing out menus and shopping lists, including items such as homemade black bean burgers and southwest salads. It was tiring but satisfying and I felt we had arrived at a good spot. My dreams for healthful, balanced family life seemed closer to my ever-outstretched talons.

Exhausted by the exertion of discussing nutritious food, Ryan decided it would be best for us to go to Wendy's. In retrospect, his desperate pleas could have been part of a bigger and more sinister strategy; weakened by continued rejection of his requests for crispy chicken, I ultimately found myself conceding to dine at the aptly titled Paradise cafe (somehow more expensive forms of cheese-laden bread are less reprehensible to me). We got to the restaurant about ten minutes before closing, to my husband's great relief, placed our order, and had a seat. Not ten minutes had passed before a waitress came to our table bearing the above-pictured box of TWENTY DELICIOUS COOKIES.

"I'm so sorry about the wait," she insisted, whilst her boss looked on from behind the counter. "This is an assortment of all our cookies, and your sandwich should be out in just a minute."

We hadn't been waiting long. The cookies were unwarranted. They were unrequested. And now they are sitting in my kitchen.

The tough thing about having a box of twenty jumbo cookies bequeathed to you is that it seems perfectly normal to consume two or three of them. Two or three FOUR HUNDRED CALORIE COOKIES. It just doesn't seem like that many when you still have seventeen left to put in your face.

The man upstairs must have thought he was a real funny guy tonight, is all I'm sayin'.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Friday, July 11, 2008

Nepalese Food

Ryan likes bad tasting food, and that's how it is. He thinks all Italian food is infused with "baby spit up flavor", that bread and cake are "dry and disgusting", and that cookies taste better with whole wheat flour. I rest my case.

Perhaps this is why he is unable to retain more than ten percent body fat.

I, however, am not confused about what delicious is. Italian food (done right) is delicious. Cookies are delicious when made with white flour, white sugar, and lots of butter. In fact, they taste best made with Crisco, which is a cryin' shame.

Indian food is delicious. Really, really delicious.

But Ryan claims he doesn't like it. I took him to a Fabulous Indian Lunch Buffet in my hometown on Bethesda, Maryland, and he claimed it was "bland, salty mush". We have had other excellent Indian food offered to us on other occasions with similar response. I think his tastebuds are broken.

Yesterday I went to lunch with all of my coworkers to bid farewell to Kate, the best thing to ever happen to the organization (I told her I thought she should run her own non-profit because she has such mad skillz, and I think she thought I was kidding [probably because I spelled skillz with a z] but I wasn't. She is made for the big time, I'm tellin' you.). We went to a restaurant called The Himalayan Kitchen and had their lunch buffet. It was transcendent. Most of the dishes were vegetarian (I'll just pretend not to notice that half of them included a sauce made with heavy cream) and it was affordable. I ate until I was quite ill. It was lovely.

Today, my little brother, fellow frequenter of the Fabulous Indian Lunch Buffet in Bethesda, was in Salt Lake en route to his appointment to be a lab rat. I knew I had to get me some more of that Himalayan Kitchen, and that Hosen was my only chance, since Ryan would, clearly, not be interested. I invited Hosen and, to my great surprise, Ryan jumped into the conversation. He wanted to join in the fun.

When we arrived, Ryan saw the sign outside that said Himalayan Kitchen: Nepalese Cuisine, and proceeded to spend twenty minutes trying to convince my brother to join him for a trek in the Himalayas. The sign transported him to a phase in life where he spent long hour poring over guide books and pining for his chance to stand on top of the world. He kept talking about how great Nepal was. And then he hit the buffet. The Nepalese buffet.

He ate with a vengeance and proclaimed it the best food he had ever tasted. Mind you, it was Indian food, the same kind he has defamed so many times. But today it was Nepalese food, so it was his favorite.

I will never pretend to understand Ryan, but he is a delight. If you ever want him to join you for a meal of gnocchi with pesto, or a baguette with warm brie, just tell him the food is from Nepal. Chances are he won't know the difference.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Steve Washburn


I am hoping that by typing Steve Washburn very frequently on my blog, when people Google "Steve Washburn", as people are wont to do, they will come here and see the friendly review. I think Steve Washburn is a downright honest guy. Good ol' Steve Washburn.

I spoke with Steve Washburn yesterday on the phone. Steve Washburn said the reason the car "stopped" was that it was out of "gas". Before you conclude that I am a complete ninny, Steve Washburn also said that the reason the "fuel gauge" registered that the "tank" was half full was that some of the "sensors" were "corroded". He also informed me that, per the "diagnostic", the "problem" that caused the "check engine light" to turn on was that the "catalytic converter" was...I forget. I think it was "messed up". (Incidentally, Steve Washburn asked me if I had ever heard of a catalytic converter before and I almost gave him a piece of my mind for assuming that I hadn't. Then I realized that, for all intents and purposes, I had no idea what a catalytic converter was and refrained from hostile feminist rhetoric. Besides, who could get hostile with Steve Washburn?).

At any rate, we are keeping the beamer for awhile, until the new "catalytic converter" shows up and they can replace it, but I have begun freaking out. Why would a five year old car have "corrosion" on its "sensors"? Why would its "catalytic converter" be "messed up" and need to be "replaced"? I assumed that whoever previously owned the car was prudent and disinclined to drive their tiny Japanese go-cart through swamps and over sand dunes, but what if I was wrong? Does my new tiny car have cancer? It's too soon to say goodbye!

Folks, I know some of you or your spouses know about cars. Give it to me straight. Pretty please. If the car is a loser, tell me now and I will do what I need to do.

I will sell it.

Toyotas are supposed to be practical and reliable. Bah. Humbug.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Our Lucky Day


As some of you may have noticed, I neglected to post anything about the festivities on the fourth of July, which has been one of my favorite holidays ever since I was a tiny child and my parents taught me all the words to "You're a Grand Old Flag". I have such smart parents. Seriously, what a joke.

I still love freedom as much as ever, but the summer holiday season has a new winner: our anniversary. Despite a mutual loathing of the summer months and all things hot and sweaty, Ryan and I were sufficiently impatient to get ourselves hitched that we tied the knot in July, the most brutal month of all. We were married on July 5, two years ago, and, although the fourth of July is a fun companion holiday to the anniversary, I secretly wish we could have waited for a more favorable month (ok, I guess not so secretly if I am posting it on my really popular blog). Que sera sera.I am determined to make the best of the fifth of July, no matter however foolishly selected.

A few weeks ago at Jazzercise, my instructor mentioned that her sister took the family up to Snowbird for their summer activities, which were evidently great. I checked out their website and found a bed and breakfast package that met my two requirements: it was cheap and it provided access to the mechanical bull. I thought it would be fun to surprise Ryan (a mechanical bull is fun, but a surprise mechanical bull...), so on the morning of July 5 I piloted our new little chariot up the canyon.

Well, halfway up the canyon. I should mention at this point that on our way home from Washburn Motors in Orem, the finest used car dealer in Christendom, the check engine light came on in our new car. I called Steve Washburn and he assured me that he had checked out the car thoroughly and considered it safe to drive over the holiday weekend, and that if I could bring it back down to Orem on Monday he would run the diagnostic and take care of whatever was causing the problem.

Next comes the part about how halfway up the canyon the car choked, jerked, stalled and refused to start. The car we purchased two days prior. It stopped. On our way to our surprise rehoneymoon. Our reliable Toyota with only 70K miles. It died, is the thing. Halfway up Little Cottonwood canyon.

I should also mention at this point that Ryan had some concerns about the car, although his concerns were primarily about how the car would be cheaper if it were a ten year old tin can, crafted by GM in the U S of A, so I doubt he would have preferred anything with greater chances of reliability, but it did make the breakdown a little extra uncomfortable for me (he did not punish me unduly, and only said that we should have known better than to skip taking the car to a shop for a full diagnostic, which I thought was gracious considering we were broken down in One Million degree weather on our anniversary in our new car that I picked out). So we called Triple A, the most glorious godsend of an organization that capitalism hath ever wrought, which membership was purchased for us as a gift from my genius grandmother. And then we called Steve Washburn.

Me: "Um, hi Steve. We're actually having a little trouble here. 'Member how I called about that check engine light? Well, thing is, the car seems to have, well, actually it just stopped. I mean, it jerked and choked for a few minutes and then pretty much, yeah. It won't start. Oh, and it's our anniversary and we were just on our way out of town."

Steve Washburn: "I am a glorious Angel of Mercy and the King of Integrity. I will pay to have your car towed to Orem and I will fix it for free. And I will give you a loaner car for free. Would you like one million dollars and a ticket into heaven?"

Me: "Steve Washburn, I think I love you."

As Triple A plus members, we are endowed with 100 miles of free towing, which was enough to haul our sad little car down to Steve Washburn, Angel of Mercy and King of Integrity. And the towing guy let us ride down in the cab of the awesome vehicle abovepictured. And when we got there, Steve Washburn, Angel of Mercy and King of Integrity, presented us with the keys to this:

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Car


It has been determined that in order for me to attend Jazzercise three times a day and commute to and from my various non-profit jobs while Ryan accepts one of the positions he has interviewed for, we need two cars. In light of this information, we purchased the above pictured vehicle. It boasts no power locks, windows, or steering (yes, you heard me, and it threw me for a loop the first time I tried to parallel park the little beast) and great fuel economy. I like the looks of it, but it should also be mentioned that my dream car is a Toyota Sienna minivan (no, no plans for kids yet! I just like a nice spacious vehicle), so I may not have the most generally accepted aesthetic sense. We purchased the vehicle from Washburn Motors in Orem, the best used car dealer in christendom, about which you will hear a great deal in the next couple of days. We like our little car, but it has already shown its naughty streak...

Monday, June 30, 2008

Into my own hands


Do you see this? Do you know what this is?

This item is none other than The Offending Doorstop.

My pleas to the management and the grounds crew were for naught. The ultimate consequence of calling the management was merely the frustration of having to explain to our stripey-haired snippet of a manager that the second set of doors (the set that does not lock, mind you) was not installed for security reasons.

Snippy Manager: "Well, actually, the doors are for security reasons"

Me: "I believe that the primary set of doors, the set of doors that locks, I mean, is there for security reasons. Among other reasons. Like the fact that most buildings have doors; it's a custom, really. But what I am saying is that the second set of doors creates a small atrium designed to moderate the temperature of the building."

Snippy Manager: "Oh, no. Actually, um, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't do that."

Me: "Really. This isn't intuitive to everyone, I guess. Well, the hallways are significantly hotter when the second set of doors is propped open..."

I then spent a good five minutes explaining the theory behind double paned windows and the effectiveness of good old fashioned air as an insulator, but I've got a hunch she wasn't listening.

Me: "I thought, perhaps, we could place some kind of notice on the door, maybe something like the sign posted by the trash chute reminding tenants to please take their boxes down to the dumpster rather than trying to fit them down the chute."

Snippy Manager: "Well, actually, we don't want to have signs all over the place. It doesn't look good when we are showing the property to new tenants. Um."

Me: "I doubt your new tenants like to see the door propped open in July, keeping the ambient temperature in the hallway at a ripe ninety degrees either."

We engaged a somewhat extended civil squabble, but I could tell that my insight was lost on her (please forgive me) pea-brain. She even defended the idea that the doors needed to be open in order for the floor to dry after being mopped. Puh-lease.

I hoped our conversation would have had some kind of impact on her, but the next morning, as Ryan and I embarked upon our day, the door was (you guessed it) propped open. Naturally. I bent over to get a closer look at the doorstop. Three seconds later...

Me: "It's in my hand!!!"

Ryan: "Huh?"

Me: "Look! Look! It's in my hand!"

He turned around and saw the visage in the photo at the top of this page. The doorstop is no more. I keep thinking the Feds are coming for me. I think I need a little more excitement in my life.

Yesterday, I saw Rotundarino making her rounds when I was leaving for work. She met my smile with a scowl. It must be hard to be the loser, but, then again, I wouldn't know.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Showdown

Yesterday, I met my nemesis. The Propper.

Incidentally, thanks to those of you who contributed ideas (genius, all of them) for me to print off and post on the door of my building. I should have just directly requested limericks from Flood and Jen, and a letter-to-a-stranger from Kelsey, because I had a pretty good idea of who would be most likely to contribute and, let me tell ya, ladies, you did not disappoint. Clever as can be, every one of you. I wish any or all of you lived near me. We could have limerick and letter-to-a-stranger writing parties. As it is, I just have these parties by myself, which is nowhere near as fun.

As it turned out, your masterpieces would have been wasted on The Propper who, as I discovered yesterday, is none other than the rotund, middle-aged Latina lady who cleans the building. Given her difficulty communicating in spoken English, I doubt your subtle wit would have packed the punch with her that it did with me.

As I departed the building for the first of many times yesterday, I discovered her standing outside, chatting with a groundskeeper, just a few steps from the PROPPED OPEN DOOR. I approached her, friendly at first, to tell her my plight and request her aid.

Me: "You see, ma'am, someone keeps propping the door open, even though it is hot as Satan's kingdom outside, and it is heating up the whole building! If you see the door open, would you mind shutting it? I try, but I can't keep up with whoever is propping it open."

Rotund Cleaning Lady: "They don't air condition the hallways."

Me: "No...they don't... Surely you understand that when the hallways are ninety degrees it is harder to keep the apartments cool than when the whole building is relatively cool? Right? Right?"

Rotund Cleaning Lady: [looking stumped] "I open the door so the floors will dry after I mop them."

Oh, great plan, rotundarino. In our desert clime it could take as many as twenty three seconds for the nine-foot-square section of tile (which is largely covered by a non-skid rug, might I add) to dry. Wouldn't want to pose a hazard to the tenants. Much better idea to ensure they die of heat stroke in the privacy of their homes.

Me: "Well, I think the floor would dry pretty quick, since it's so hot. So very,very hot. So spanking, blazing, unrelentingly hot. And it is expensive to run the air conditioning. So if you could help me out by keeping the door closed as much as humanly possible, I'd sure appreciate it."

And then, thirteen seconds later, with great relish, I reported her to the management.

Today when I headed out to the grocery store, the doors were all closed. Praise Allah.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The first law of thermodynamics


I am about to lose it. This is not a joke; someone is going to get hurt. You wanna know who?

The first person I catch propping the door to my building open when it is over ninety degrees outside. That's who.

In Utah the temperatures are extreme. I would estimate we get about six weeks total of temperate climate per year and the rest of the time it is either freezing and snowing (and trapping massive quantities of airborne filth against the mountains for us to breathe) or so hot that my face hurts and I never want to leave the house. For this reason buildings in Utah are almost always constructed with two entrance doors such that a small atrium is created between the two to minimize the loss of warm (in the winter) or cool (in the summer) air from the building. I think it's a great design. It seems to be be effective. So what I want to know is what kind of total bozo feels the need to prop the inside door open when it is hot as blazes outside? WHO? WHO ARE YOU!?!? YOU IDIOT!!!!

I go in and out of the building several times a day and each time I unprop the door. You bet I do. What I want to know is why someone keeps repropping it? Most of the energy in Utah is produced using coal, which is obvious if you look at our grimy skyline. And, even if you have no remote interest in the earth you are raping, at least perhaps you notice the power bill that will be higher if the hallway is ninety degrees than if it is seventy. Do the math, folks. Run the numbers. You are controlling the ambient temperature in the parking lot.

I am nearing the end of my rope, which is to say, I am considering staking the place out and lecturing anyone who dares to prop under my watch. I don't care who they are or how many groceries they are carrying. All I care about is the flagrant disregard for the physical laws that govern our universe and the impact on my nervous system of said disregard. It's time to take action. No matter how impractical, I will probably never stop fantasizing about the stake out, but I have a hard time seeing how I am going to find time to hold a 24 hour stake out when I can barely find time to post on my really popular blog. For heaven's sake.

I am inclined to leave a note on the door, but every brainstorm ends up including both a detailed explanation of the first law of thermodynamics and threats to slash tires if I find out who the proppers are. This tone, somehow, I doubt would be optimally convincing. If, however, you would like to pen a few thoughts, a limerick perhaps, about why they should leave the blessed door closed, I will print and post it. Rage has blinded my creative side.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Perfect Day

Yesterday was a perfect day.

We got up not too early and not too late. We drank our green smoothies and they were delicious.

And then we cleaned. The house. We cleaned the whole house. Both of us. With the cleaning. And the house became quite clean. Which I love, but only seldom achieve. It was very satisfying.

Zillah wants my lamp!

Shortly after we finished with the cleaning, our friends Jen and Alex, who had driven up from Hurricane, came over for lunch with their two delightful children. We had a very pleasant visit and wish they would leave their comfortable situation out in the country to come live next to Pioneer Park with us.

Immediately upon their departure, we hightailed it to Ikea, the happiest place on earth. Ever since I landed the new couch I've been in a real mood to improve our living quarters. I had spent significant time on the Ikea website (very significant, embarrassingly significant) determining what would be the most needful, and by needful I mean fun to buy. We had a great time, as only a couple with a little unexpected money in their pockets on a beautiful, cloudy day at Ikea can have. While we were there, we bumped into Jen and Alex again; I felt glad that I had made such a compelling pitch of the wonders of Ikea that they felt they needed to check it out, undeterred by their toting two very small children.

We bought a Great Deal of Things and came home to commence assembly. If you've never had the distinct pleasure of Ikea furniture, you're missing out. All the satisfaction of having built something with none of the actual effort! What could be better!

We put Ryan's new reading chair together (we figured, if he was going to spend 15 hours a day sitting in a chair researching stocks it was better that we upgrade the thrashed Papasan chair I bought in college; the new chair was far less expensive than our anticipated chiropractic costs. Thanks Ikea!) and then Ryan's mom, in town for the week, came over for a visit. We all went to dinner at Sage's cafe, and had a vegan good time. She got to try tempeh, I got to see how cashews and raspberries can be transformed into "ice cream" (*Tip for vegans: stop calling vegan food by normal food names. It isn't pizza if it has a dehydrated flax crust and no cheese, brownies aren't made from dates and black beans, and a milkshake has milk in it. Just call it something else. Like healthy good tasting raspberry cold dessert, or some other really catchy name you think up.)

Perfect days don't lend themselves well to funny posts. Funny is what you use to make hard days acceptable. Yesterday was so great, it doesn't have to be funny. I hope today is too great to be funny, too--I'm off to build a bookshelf!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Up for grabs


I got this lamp from a dear friend who used it in art classes she taught to delinquents, during their still life unit. She got it from another dear friend who had it in her apartment during college. It was a very important apartment, as I also lived there. She got it from her great-grandmother. As you can see, this lamp has had an illustrious history. And now it is ready to continue its journey. At your house.

Anyone? Anyone?

For some reason I find myself too attached to this lamp to simply take it to Savers; I would like to see it go to a good home. If that good home is your home, let me know.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Boys will be boys, girls will be girls


Based on the fact that he has had his hiking boots for a decade of heavy use, Ryan decided that it was time for a new pair. I learned through hard experience the woes of his searching for footwear, but went along for the ride nonetheless and discovered an interesting quirk of my own in the process.

Ok, ladies, who's gonna back me up? Who wanted to be twins with their best friend in elementary school? Come on, you know you did. I myself tried on occasion to select friends with long blonde hair like mine and coordinate such that we would have our hair "permed" (the overnight wet braids? 'Member those?) on the same day. Sleepovers were particularly appealing in that they afforded the opportunity to coordinate outfits and hairstyles to the minutia. I, being a highly uptight child, was very invested in maximizing twinliness in all of my friendships as frequently as possible.

However, I didn't realize that this impulse still smoldered within until Ryan and I were sitting in the shoe section at REI.

Me: "Honey, look! Those are the same as my boots, but for men! I love mine, you should get those!"

Ryan, looking perplexed, asks for the boots in a size One Million.

Ryan, to salesperson: "Nope, these aren't the ones. Can I try on those others in a size One Million?"

Me [beginning to panic]: "Are you sure you didn't like those? They sure looked nice. I really liked them. They are expensive, they have to be good. Maybe you should try them on again?"

Ryan: "Naw, they rubbed my big toe. I'm going to try on those others."

Me [relinquishing dignity with every passing second]: "But, um, we could be twins! You know? Twins?"

Ryan: ?

He left with the others. I'm still not quite over it.

Once we arrived home, he, naturally, took the boots out of the box, put in the new insoles, etc. He tried them on, he pranced around.

And then he held up the box, said "Hey! Watch this!" and punched a hole through it.

I could scarcely believe my eyes. He exuded precisely the same energy as a small boy who has gleefully knocked down a lovingly constructed, perfectly even tower of blocks. He fairly shined.

Of course, I giggled. What could I do? He didn't see what was so funny. The impulse was unavoidable; who wouldn't want to punch through that big pristine piece of cardboard?

I asked him to let me take a picture of him with his arm through the hole he created, but he said I was strange for thinking it was so funny and so, to show me what, in fact, would be funny, he stuck his head through. The better to blog you with, my dear.

I am the least inclined person I know to dress up little girls like cupcakes and call male toddlers "soldier", but I did think that this incident shined a little light on male and female, innate or instructed, and I kind of think it's pretty cute either way.

Recipes for your families


I have started another blog dedicated to making extremely nutritious food happen. I invited a couple of pals to join me as they have demonstrated an ability to eat amounts of green vegetables that would make a cow shudder (if you feel this describes you, let me know; I'd love a guest blogger or two). The new blog will likely include less mom-teasing and also fewer mentionings of cookies than this one, so I don't expect it to be as much of a crowd-pleaser. I fully intend to keep this blog going, but if I'm slacking and you find you miss me, you can find me here, up to my eyeballs in chickpeas and arugula.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

somewhat better reporting, same sad c-story

Have a read if you're up for more reasons to avoid c-section at all costs. (Thanks for the link, Bri).

Monday, June 2, 2008

Insomnia


Hello, Darlings. What on earth are you doing awake at this hour? Oh, me? Just sitting around, you know, checking your blogs in case you decided to post while I was sleeping (between two and four a.m.).

I used to be the world's premiere champion sleeper. I could sleep on the floor, in the middle of the day, in the hot and in the cold. I could sleep in a house and with a mouse. Some folks can blame their thrashing, sheet-stealing spouses when they wake in the middle of the night, but my spouse is a docile sleeper and causes me no problems. So when I wake up at four a.m., I'm still mad, but I don't even get the satisfaction of having someone to blame.

It didn't matter so much when I was actually a childless housewife, but nowadays I have three (count 'em!) forms of gainful employment, so when I don't sleep at night I can't make up for it with a three hour nap [cue the violins]. However, the real tragedy is not that I will be too tired to work. That is not an option. The real tragedy is that I will be too tired to Jazzercise.

Two weeks ago I decided to get back on the horse from which I fell when I moved to Utah in 1999. At that time, I had been an avid, though teenaged, Jazzercizer for many devoted years. You may have presumed that Jazzercise is for middle-aged women only, and you would have been close. I was definitely the only gal under thirty five in the class, but I was dedicated, so dedicated, in fact, that I considered (briefly) skipping a school music trip to the Bahamas to avoid missing two classes. It was a religion.

When I moved to Provo, there was no Jazzercise. I searched the website and traveled a twenty-mile radius to find only defunct classes. I tried to slake my thirst by joining the gym and trying out all the classes, but never even came close to the warm welcome of my old friend. Eventually, I learned to live without Jazzercise, but life was never quite as rich.

Until last week. I checked the website again...just in case. There was a class listed, not too far away, but could it be trusted? I had been disappointed so bitterly; could I risk my heart again?

As you can see, I look fabulous in a leotard, so I decided to give it one last try. I arrived early enough to watch the clientèle arrive one by middle-aged one. They looked about right. They were friendly. A little nuts. Ready to shake they booties.

I knew I had truly arrived when the instructor announced that Jazzercise would be featured in the Freedom Festival Parade this year. See you there.