Hope you likes it! And, in case I don't post again before tomorrow, A Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a happy...night.... (I think I got that wrong...) :)
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Here's a quote to chew on: "Non-writers talk about writing. Writers write." I fear that I've been a non-writer for much to long. Of course, this leads me to another quote: "Typists pound keyboards. Writers stare out windows." I think I can safely say that I'm more of a stare-out-the-window wrtier than a get-the-words-on-a-page writer, which is really where the problem is. Despite having ideas, despite the longing I have to write, I still manage to spend a whole heck of a lot of time away from my keyboard. About the only time I've made any significant venture into the writing world is when I'm sitting at a local restaurant, waiting for my food to be brought to me, and I realize that I haven't brought a book in with me. So, to use up the seven or eight minutes that I'm waiting, I whip out a paper and pen and jot down something.
But then, as they say, something is better than nothing, and I suppose that it's better to jot down a few words while waiting for Chicken Parmesan with marinara sauce (mmm...) than to spend the time counting all my credit cards (2).
Maybe my New Year's Resolution List will go something like this:
- I will write at least 200 words per day on any subject whatsoever
- I will write at least 1000 words per week on my novel
- I will reveal to at least 2 people per month that I'm working on a novel, in order to promote it before its impending publication
- I will laugh at myself at least 3 times a day for having the hubris to think that I'll ever be published
- I will chastise myself severely after each laughing session for being so mean to myself.
Er. That doesn't make much sense. And, it's not very funny. But hey, if you've come here to be entertained, you've come to the wrong place. This is just me, trying to work out how to do stuff and not go crazy. And you can take that and chew on it for awhile.
Here's a picture. Enjoy.
Monday, December 19, 2005
So, if I'm feeling intellectual, (and a little pretensious, or maybe just spiritual), I'll hit the preset for the local classical music station. Or, (more likely), if I'm feeling impatient, rebellious and surly, and/or if I just feel like jamming, I'll poke around on my various alternative music station presets until I find a song that's worth listening to.
I found one today. One of my favorite bands (Coldplay) has recently released a new song. I have no idea what the title is, but the first time I heard it (likely about a week or two ago), I was captivated by the song's inherent sweet wistfulness. The song was captivating; I found myself swept up into its emotion and suddenly felt a kind of anchorless longing for something, and I felt so sad.
It's been a long time since I've allowed myself to feel sad about things. I spend most of my time caught up with my 'daily grind' life, focused on how on earth I'm going to resolve an issue at work, trying to decide what the next step is for applying to grad school, spending way too much time on the computer or watching tv, or reading a purely escapist novel. I spend so much time away from myself. And even though feeling sad was, well, sad, it still gave me a chance to connect with myself in a way I haven't done for weeks. I felt something, and even though it was painful, it was strangely...healing.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
It's not that my work is terribly difficult. I sit at a desk all day, take phone calls, print orders, and in between that try to take care of any issues that come up on our online forum. It's not even that the people I deal with every day are unpleasant. For the most part, they're usually quite nice. It's that I dread them. I dread dealing with them, and it's even gone so far that I now dislike them collectively (not individually). I don't want to talk to them, I don't want to take their orders, and I don't want to solve their problems.
In short, I have a bad attitude about customer service.
I wasn't always this way. I used to enjoy talking with customers. I was understanding and patient, and I wanted to help them get the right product, or a refund, or whatever the heck else they wanted. Now, I just freaking don't care. I just want all of those pesky, irritating people to leave me alone. It reminds me of a poster I saw at despair.com: "If We Don't Take Care of the Customer, Maybe They'll Stop Bugging Us." Classic. And oh, so true.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
I'll admit: it's rather difficult to remember all the little things your parents tell you, especially those pesky bits of advice like "Be home by midnight," and "When you're sliding on snow, turn into the slide." But, for some reason, this little tidbit has stuck with me over the past few years, maybe because it was simply something I needed to remember. Whatever the reason, whenever I find a penny now, I'm reminded, given a brief touch, a little prompt, that God is thinking of me, and that he wants me to remember that.
I love finding pennies. I found one today, and, in the midst of chastising myself rather too severely for being late to ward choir practice, it was a comfort to have a small reminder that God does think of me, and that just as He's mindful of my foibles, He's also mindful of my needs, and the good things I do, and that He loves me. It was a timely reminder, and a very good thing to know.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
I don't write enough. I know I don't, but more than that, I just haven't been creating enough lately. I've been so focused on the little pleasures of life (like watching a good TV show, or even a really lame TV show, or playing on my laptop, or *gasp* trying to figure out this whole scrapbooking thing). It's so easy to let my time get sucked into doing these things, none of which are bad, but if they make up your entire life, then you really don't have much substance. I guess that's kind of how I've been feeling lately--like my life has no real meat, no soul. It's been a cotton candy existence. Not unpleasant, certainly, and good in small doses, but with very little nutritional value--it melts into nothing the instant it is consumed.
Maybe that's why it was so good to write again--I did it during my lunch break while I was waiting for my chicken parmesan to be cooked. (Gosh, I love that stuff.) I was treating myself to a slightly nicer lunch than usual, since today was payday, and I felt rather rich. (Well, 'slightly rich' might be more accurate.)
Anyway, about a week ago, I had the chance to be one of two attendees at a piano recital my younger sister Joanna was giving. Her senior recital is this Saturday, but she's doing a few warm-up performances to give her a chance to perform her pieces before the main one. While watching her play, I noticed that the reflection of her hands and arms on the surface of the black piano almost looked like a painting, so I wrote down the observation on a program. Today, that observation evolved into a poem. It's not a very good poem, (I'm really not a very good poet), but the mindset that comes with condensing your words into a poetic format is stimulating, to say the least. I was glad I ate chicken parmesan today. Glad, at least, that it gave me a few moments to do some needed creation.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
While we're on the subject, can I just say that romantic comedies are totally unrealistic? Well, they are. My gathered family members (remember, we had Thanksgiving dinner today instead of on Thursday) have spent the last couple of hours watching You've Got Mail, a movie that I really actually enjoy. Most of the film is taken up with entertaining and angry banter between the two leads, until they realize that they're actually in love with each other (surprise, surprise). So, for most of the movie, their interactions seem utterly realistic. (There's nothing quite so realistic as two people who loathe each other.) It's at the end, when they finally meet and acknowledge their feelings for each other, and the Tom Hanks character (Joe Fox) says some really cheesy lines. I've always been slightly uneasy with them, but I'm usually so preoccupied with the wonderful feeling that at last these two characters get together that I've previously failed to notice just how dumb some of his lines are. Yeesh, I mean, "Don't cry, Shopgirl. Don't cry." Come on. So it's every woman's dream. So what?!? It gives us all unrealistic expectations, and believe me, that is the very last thing we all need here. *Grinds teeth a little.*
(Do I sound like an angry girl who spent the day watching her married sisters smooch their husbands? Good.) Anyway--not that I'm that angry. Or bitter. Or whatever. Yeah. I'm not. No, really. Don't get that look on your face; I'm completely serious. *Blows a raspberry in a rather irreverent manner.* Twerp. Well, happy snow anyway. I mean, happy winter. Er, happy...shopping season? Happy, happy...Meal o' Thanksgiving.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
No, no. Don't feel too sorry for me. Really, it's okay. We'll be having Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday. There are many reasons for doing this, mostly because it's our year to have everybody home for Thanksgiving, but my younger sister Becky can't make it because she is, probably at this very moment, driving back from California with her husband and two kids. So, we're just postponing things for a couple of days. Frankly, I'm really okay with that. Today has (for the most part) been a day to relax, and if we were to have the full Thanksgiving spread today, most of the day would have been spent in hectic preparation of food, trying to keep neices & nephews from wrecking anything important, and trying to avoid minor family quabbles.
So, while there's no cranberry sauce, and no candied yams, and we aren't sitting around the table listing what we're grateful for, it's still been a pretty good day. And Saturday will be even better.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Yeah. So, after staring at this dastardly sort of computer screen for the greater part of the day, I come home, take one glance at my own computer, and subsequently absolutely refuse to look at it again. Oh, it may whimper, *notices whimper from laptop*, and it may leap up on my lap, eager to be used, and it may look at me with those big, brown eyes...
Eyes...brown...Ooohh. *Sniffs back tears.* My poor Lappy! *Cuddles laptop and scratches that itchy spot around the power port.* Who's a good Lappy, huh? Who's a good Lappy!
*Sighs happily.* Yes, there's no joy quite like a girl with her laptop computer. *Slow, contented smile.*
You know, my natural inclination when I hear about teenage attachments is to assume that they're somehow less valid or real than 'adult' attachments or feelings. I started wondering today why that was the case, when I sat in silence with my sister as I drove her home. Here she was, right next to me, and she was filled with a pain that I remembered experiencing, but that I no longer felt. I think that's often why people who are older tend to dismiss the feelings of the young. It's not that, in our perfect memories, we look back and sagely realize how immature those feelings were--it's that distance separates us from our past feelings. They seem shallow and immature because we no longer feel them. What we remember is only a fossil of those former feelings--all the flesh wasted away, and even the living bones replaced with rock.
Now, I'm not saying that there's not a difference between what you feel as a 16-year-old and what you feel as a 27-year-old. Perhaps the things that spark those feelings of affection are a little more arbitrary: appearance, social standing, the fact that a guy actually talked with you... But, I do want to point out that I think we forget with what intensity the young feel. Becca, you talked about this on your blog, and I was struck by it, but I didn't really connect what you said with my own personal feelings.
Now, after seeing my sister cry like that, I can remember a little better about not only how real those feelings seemed to me when I was a teenager, but how real they actually were.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Whatever the reason, I find the knowledge that the snow line is moving by leaps and bounds down the mountainside is often more disturbing than exciting, and this year has been no exception. Until a few nights ago.
Over the last few nights, as I've been leaving work, I've noticed the swollen moon rising between rooftops and canyon walls, and as you astronomy buffs may know, a moon that rises around 6pm (roughly when I get off work) is always full, or nearly so. A couple of nights ago, while I was driving home from work, the nearly full moon was just cresting the side of Mount Loafer near my parent's home (where I am living semi-temporarily). And, despite my horror at the recent snow that's now at least halfway down the mountain, I was stunned by the beauty of the moonlight on that same snow that I had earlier abhorred.
Moonlight on snow is a peculiar phenomenon. I love being outside on full-moon nights in any season, but seeing the bluish-white light from the moon intensified and reflected by snow on the ground is almost a transcendent experience. That night, I was able to recall that, although there are definitely aspects of winter I don't like, there are parts of it that are supernally beautiful. Like moonlight on snow.
Monday, November 14, 2005
That was how the whole day went. And, I'm still twitching from it. (Look, you can see the tic in my eye going off right now...)
Now I don't want to give the impression that I hate work. I really don't. In fact, there's a kind of satisfaction with getting through a big pile of work. It's just a bit rough when the pile never seems to diminish.
Sigh. Poor me, I know.
However, despite the busy workday, I still managed to find this incredibly awesome site: http://www.despair.com. (Our email service has these little ads that display in the corner of the screen, so I clicked one during a rare moment of down-time.) Check it out, yo. (Well, you may have already seen this site. As I was sharing it with my family, they were all like, 'Oh yeah! I've seen that! It was soooo way totally funny.' Well, so maybe that was a paraphrase. But, if you've already seen it, go see it again. And laugh again. And have joy again.)
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Friday, November 11, 2005
I've known that I loved the word 'cello' for a long time; I believe it started from the moment I discovered that the tenor string instrument is not spelled with an 'h.' For some reason, that transformed the word from something that was only moderately interesting, to something that vibrated, as it were, with coolness. Also, it certainly doesn't hurt that the word represents such a darned awesome instrument. I mean, if you want mellow string action, the cello is the way to go. And heck, it just rhymes so well with stuff! You could say in sort of a smarmy tone, "Why hello, mellow cello," and people would either melt away from your utter coolness, or would have a restraining order placed on you after they suffered from a severe attack of the jibblies. (Hm. 'Jibblies' is also a darn good word...)
'Sippy-cup' is a pretty recent addition, though. Truth be told, I only realized that it had gained Favorite Word Status this afternoon as I was driving back from lunch. I was listening to NPR while the guest host of "Fresh Air" was signing off. As is typical on NPR, the host for each respective program ends it by saying..."This is NPR, National Public Radio." Now, you may be wondering what the devil this has to do with sippy-cups, but persevere. I will make a point. You see, one of my favorite shows on NPR is "Car Talk," a show in which callers ask two guys from Cambridge, MA questions about why their car isn't working the way it should. While the material sounds about as exciting as a hockey match between two teams whose players entirely consist of sloths, the show is often laugh-out-loud hilarious, almost entirely due to the contagious laughter and silliness of the two hosts, brothers known affectionally as "Click and Clack"(although their real names are Tommy and Ray).
These guys are great, and they've made guest 'appearances' on such diverse shows as "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" (which I can't believe I just admitted to watching) and "Arthur." (I'm sure they've appeared on many more shows--I just don't know about them.)
Anyway, but my point isn't to discuss how many shows they've appeared in, nor is it necessarily to discuss their comedic virtues. No, I want to tell you about how they made 'sippy-cup' become one of my favorite words. *So why don't you blasted tell us, you scream uselessly in the background. Quiet, will you? I'm getting to it...*
Well, like all good NPR hosts, Click and Clack sign off of their show with the customary salutation "This is NPR, National Public Radio." But, being guys with quirky senses of humor, they like to spice it up a bit. They'll preface the phrase by saying something like, "And even though Martha Stewart dreams of retreating back to her comfy jail cell every time she hears us say it..." (well, except much more clever and, er, culturally enriching than that example, but you get the picture). So, several weeks ago, while I was listening to car talk, I heard the following sign-off: "And even though toddlers everywhere throw their sippy-cups at the radio whenever they hear us say it, this is NPR, National Public Radio."
I laughed so hard that my eyelids came off (which later had to be reattached by means of a painful surgical procedure). I don't know why the sippy-cup line struck me as being so funny, but it did. Maybe it's because I associate sippy-cups with Moms that haven't showered in 3 days because the moment they could take a shower (i.e. when their kids are all asleep), they lie down on the couch, just to 'catch their breath' and end up waking up to the sound of the family cat yowling from the ceiling fan, with a giggling, guilty three-year-old hiding behind the refrigerator. Sippy-cups also remind me of gunky, crusty high-chairs smeared with the remnants of just one toddler meal, but a meal that managed to spread itself into every fold and crease on the vinyl high-chair cusion. It reminds me of a woman who used to pride herself on her well-coiffed hair, who now feels lucky if she can manage to keep half of her hair contained in her pony-tail for a full day. It reminds me of aching feet, and spilled milk, and all the other utterly exhausting, and somehow utterly rewarding aspects of motherhood.
Maybe that's why I like the word 'sippy-cup' so much--wrapped up in it are all the emotions that I associate with motherhood--that sense of being over-stressed, under-washed, harried to the bone, and, I imagine, happier in a way than I, as a non-mother, just can't fully appreciate. I'm grateful for the little glimpses my sisters give me when they let me watch their kids. I'm grateful for all that sippy-cup time I get to spend with them.
What was I saying? Oh yes--topics. Except that, for some reason, today I really couldn't think of much to talk about. Is my life so boring that I can find no humor in the minutae of my day?
Actually, now I'm hesitating to write about something I just thought of because it once again illustrates what a rotten, mean old grump I can be sometimes.
Oh, what the hey.
Okay--so we're starting from the supposition that I'm a nice person, or that I'm generally recognized as being a pleasant human being much of the time. However, put an impediment between me and what I want to do, (especially if that impediment is a sibling), and I turn into a growling mass of seething resentment. *Imagines a zoo exhibit with a swamp-like environment, and a bubbling mass of goo in the middle. A sign says, "Please, for the love of Pete, do not feed the Seething Resentment." (My bows to Strong Bad.)*
Like for instance, this evening, when I was getting all geared up for writing in my blog, I notice that my laptop is in use. By my sister. Now, instead of thinking, 'Oh, how nice that my sister and I have a good relationship, and that she feels comfortable using my stuff, and I hers. (I, er...use this little wooden massager that I gave her.) Also, how great I feel knowing that because I own a laptop, my siblings can now work on their homework assignments from anywhere in the house, without waiting approximately 42 minutes for a word processing program to open. (Our home computer is really slooooow.)'
So, this is what I should have thought. Instead, my thoughts went rather like this:
"Grrrrr..........MINE! Rrrr.......No! Back! Down, you evil emotions! MUST NOT FEEL RESENTMENT.......Ooooh! But it's my lappy.......Miiiiiiiine.....*wail of the damned*"
You get the picture. So, I had to go watch Animal Planet to feel better. Which leads me to now. Actually, it doesn't, but I've run out of things to say. *Is entranced by TV* Oh, good. The doggie is saved! *Melts into happy puddle of Animal Planet Goo.*
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
For me, the most recent example of this came this last Sunday when I was in attendance at our ward's fast & testimony meeting. I was blandly mostly paying attention to the testimonies when a young mother in our ward stood up and began to bear a simple yet sweet testimony. And yet, I was totally distracted by something she said right at the beginning of her testimony; she said something to the effect of, "I don't know a whole lot of big words, but I'd like to bear my testimony..."
It was a really stupid reason to get hung up, but I did. I thought about why she could possibly want to admit to not knowing big words, and I thought about how much my estimation of her suddenly went down. I've never even talked with this sister, but suddenly I found myself thinking she was a bit of a dummy. When her husband bore his testimony towards the end of the meeting, I was struck with how intelligently he spoke, and I wondered if this created an inequality in their relationship--he was intellectual, and she wasn't.
It was then that I realized how much importance I was giving to the ability to speak intelligently. It's as if I had decided to myself that the only real virtue was intelligence, and that the only real measure of intelligence is the ability to use language well.
I mean, how prejudiced and illogical is that?!? I was ashamed of myself when I realized what I was doing, and yet I still couldn't entirely shake the feeling that I just couldn't admire this woman as much as I would if she had a large vocabulary.
So, *sighs and leans back into easy chair*, what moral lesson can I learn from this experience? What valuable improvement can I make in myself? Well, I think I'm more or less over the feeling now, and I hope that in future I'll be less inclined to make such a quick and absolute judgement call based on such little information. I think the important thing for me at this point is to recognize the validity and importance of all good characteristics in people. Not only is intelligence not the only virtue, it's also far from being the most important one. Maybe I'll focus more on seeing kindness in others, or honesty, or courage.
Maybe I'll also start designing motivational posters with pictures of people windsurfing, or sticking their heads into a lion's mouth, and phrases like: "Intelligence is not the only virtue," printed beneath it.
(Is that enough philosophizing and self-preaching for one entry?) Anyways, thanks for listening. Well, 'listening,' I suppose. And for not throwing aged tomatoes.
P.S. Do you think this picture would work for a poster?
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Anyway--I think we sometimes have very minor experiences that can lead us to think about or remember a whole realm of emotions. Let me explain a little: today, while walking from work to my car, (yes, I was back at work today--I just had a 24-hour bug, methinks), I was struck by the sensation of having a cool, wet wind blow on my face while the sky was steadily becoming a darker and darker shade of cloudy blue. It's been rainy and wet all day, a type of weather that I thoroughly enjoy, most likely because I grew up in a state (California) in which any rain at all was something to be vehemently grateful for. So, I really like wet weather--I love to sit shivering in my car and listen to the rain hit the roof while I read a book during my lunch hour. Which is actually weird, now that I think of it. But, on with my explanation.
I don't even know how to describe this...
Okay--I love weather. I'm not saying that I merely enjoy different meteorological phenomena--I love weather; I think there's something in it that somehow connects with that deepest part of me that I only seem to be able to communicate with when I'm completely alone. I remember that sometimes, when I was probably about 16 or so, I would go out onto our front lawn and sit on the grass with our family dog (she's been dead since my mission), and she and I would just turn our faces to the wind and let it blow over us while we watched the sunset. She was surprisingly easy to sit next to--didn't dash away chasing something or other--I think even then she was starting to feel old. I wonder why she enjoyed turning her face to the wind...She probably enjoyed the smells, I think, but I enjoyed the sensation of it--that sense that I was perched on the edge of something great, that the wind itself would blow up some wildness in me and make me run, rushing into...something I could never quite imagine or grasp, like being on the waking edge of a dream--close enough to remember colors, or a small piece of the plot, but not close enough to see how the pieces fit together into a comprehensible whole.
I'm not writing this at all well, or even what the point of this explanation is, and unfortunately I can't blame sickness this time for my inability to write what I want to. I hope you'll forgive my meanderings...but then, that's what this site is for, anyway, isn't it? *Shniffle.* Thanks, guys! *Gives collective hug.*
*Glares in disgust at herself for the cuteness of that last sentence. Collective hug, my foot. Actually, it's pretty weird to involve your foot in a collective hug...Wanders off in a confused fog...*
Monday, November 07, 2005
Um. Wha was I saying...*meanders through sickie fog*...oh yes! When I'm feeling well, I confess that I occasionally fantasize about the great joy of being able to stay home sick. I'll think, 'Gosh, I really don't want to go to work today. I wish I were sick! I could stay home and get soooo much done.' I think I fail to realize that being sick is really rather incapacitating. All you want to do when you get home from work (as I did) is crawl into bed and sleep for a really long time, and when you wake up, all you can conceive of doing is plopping down into a little ball of misery in front of the TV, wrapped in your blankie, and watching utterly uninforming but really, really feel-good shows about animal rescues. Or, writing in your blog. *Ahem*
Because I'm not writing very well right now, I think I'll quit this entry, and beg off. After all, I'm sick here, people! *Retires quickly to bathroom to upchuck the remnants of her breakfast*
Sunday, November 06, 2005
We had our first rehersal today, and three people showed up, which was ominous in itself. (Dun, dun, duunnnn...) I then spent the next 15 minutes really wishing that I'd spent more time practicing the piece on the piano. I haven't even gotten us an accompanist yet, so I'm hoping one will conveniently fall out of the ceiling at some point. *Imagines a puff of dust emerging from the ceiling, followed by a loud plop, after which a rather dirty pianist says, 'Er, hello. I suppose I'll just start playing this piano that I mysteriously appeared in front of...'*
Ah. So much for dreaming.
The truth is, while I've been in choirs since I was in middle school, (roughly three and a half eons ago), I really have no conducting experience to speak of. I mean, I stand up in front of the congregation on Sundays and lead the music, vaguely waving my arm around in the patterns indicated in the back of the hymnbook, hoping against hope that noone is really paying any attention to what I'm doing. (No one usually is, by the way. Everybody knows that it's the organist who controls the tempo, not the music leader. *Wishes in vain that she could play the organ.*
So, I'm not sure how this whole musical number will go. I'm hoping I'll be able to fake it through the piece, that the choir won't fall apart wondering when on earth I'm going to cut them off, and that I will never, never be asked to conduct a piece of music again. (Well, I suppose if I were called to be the ward choir director, I would really need to accept the call...sigh.) I'll be willing to do it, I just won't like it. And neither will the choir, probably.