Saturday, November 26, 2005

Nothing Says "Winter" Like Shoveling Snow

Okay, it's officially winter. There were hints of it before, (pretty heavy-handed hints, at that), but now it's here in earnest. Over the night, a storm plopped down about 4 or 5 inches onto our driveway, which, when I woke up, my siblings and I (in consequence of our non-rent-paying positions) had to shovel up, preferably before my dad got back from the hardware store. It wasn't so bad, but it was co-old.

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, season? Happy, happy...Meal o' Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thankee Day

No turkey today. Well, there's actually a turkey that's in our fridge defrosting, but we haven't eaten any turkey today, nor will we. Truth be told, today has just been kind of a clear-out-the-garden-because-it's-going-to-snow-soon and dad-work-on-getting-the-bathroom-ready-for-laying-tile type of day. We're having pot pies for dinner. (Yippee.)

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

Can't Stand It

Hm. I can sense a slight lessening of my enthusiasm for this blog. I think it's because I spend all day staring at a computer screen which can sometimes contain unpleasant things, like angry emails from customers, yet another problem order that I have to add to my already overflowing pending file, or other things like, I have to do. (Darn, stupid work.) *Mumbles incoherently for awhile.*

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.*

Feelings of the Young

I picked up my sister late tonight (she had been performing in a school musical), and she cried on the way home. (I really hope she'll forgive me for writing about this. Of course, I'm not even sure she reads this blog...) She was crying about a boy.

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

Moonlight on Snow

My brother Peter (now on a mission in Japan) once told me that he really enjoys cold weather. I was incredulous! Cold weather?!? While I'm not a fan of sweltering heat, and I enjoy cool autumnal days rather a lot, really cold weather is something more to be dreaded than enjoyed. I'm not sure if it's the fact that I find the sensation of having a cold nose rather unpleasant, (and cold toes, and cold fingertips, and cold most-everything-else), or if it's the association of cold weather with the inevitable back-aching work of shoveling off an overloaded driveway, or if it's just that I've bought into the conventional wisdom that cold is bad and warm is good.

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

Still Twitching

Today was a little stressful at work. One of my coworkers is spending this week in California with a friend, so our already depleted workforce in customer service is dwindling down to nil. Fortunately, I didn't catch any unpleasant calls today, but there was still this sense of frantically trying to keep up. I'd be trying to finish up an order so that our shipping department would have something to do, only to be interrupted with a phonecall that got me involved with trying to fax something to someone else, and then I'd be brought some paperwork from our shipping department indicating that I needed to call someone about something, and then we'd get a return that I'd have to process, and I would remember that I hadn't checked posts on the forum in a while, and wait--had I checked my emails recently? And what did I do with that order that I was working on in the first place?

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: (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

A very, very, very, very, very long post

I've decided that my last few posts have been far too long, so in this post, I will be the soul of brevity.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Of Sippy Cups and Cellos

I have decided that my two favorite words in the English language are 'sippy-cups' and 'cello.' (Actually, does 'sippy-cup' count as two words or as one? And also, please know that I enjoy all forms of the word 'cello': cellist, celli, celloed? Okay, so maybe I just enjoy the three real forms of 'cello.'

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.

Nothing Much

It's been interesting--over the past few days since I've started this blog, I find it impossible to get through an hour, let alone an entire day without topics tap-dancing across the inner stage of my mind. (And believe-you-me, trying to talk with a customer about why we can't replace a broken binder that she bought from us three years ago while at the same time trying not to be distracted by this constant tap-dancing is pretty darn difficult.) (Was that a clear sentence? I don't think that was a clear sentence...)

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

On Intelligence and Virtue

There are times, at least for me, (and I suspect for other people, too), when you have a thought you're ashamed of, but that you can't quite shake.

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

Log-in No More

Quick note--I just changed my settings so that you can post a comment without being logged in to However, in order to discourage spam (as if spammers would be interested in my site), you'll have to do one of those word verification thingys to prove you're a living, breathing human being. (Dead people always have trouble with it. Also zombies.) *Grosses self out.* :^) Bye!

Night Breezes

I have too many things to write about, and my attention span is way too short to remember everything I'd like to say. 'Hm. Such a tragedy', I can hear you sarcastically thinking. Shush, will you?

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

I a Sickie Gil

About...oh, methinks a year ago, when my niece was somewhat younger and, if possible, even more cute than she is now, she would say, "I a sickie gil" whenever she didn't feel well. So, I shall say it now. Although, I don't think my saying it is quite as cute as my neice when she said it. *sigh*

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

Adventures in choral conducting

I love the way that people kind of assume that they know what you can do, especially if you're pretty dang sure that you're not capable of doing it yourself. Take me, for example. I conduct the music during Sacrament meeting & Relief Society, so someone, (I'm actually not sure who), thinks that I would be great at conducting a special musical number that the Relief Society will sing on Christmas Day. Ahem. Methinks this will be a minor disaster, and I'm hoping not a major one! :^0

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.

*Slinks away in shame to her bed.*

I'm a little new at this

While I have a degree in English, and thus am not unfamiliar with the principles of writing, I am completely new to the world of blogging. I've seen a couple, but not many, and those I've seen I've never stayed very long to read. I have to confess though, the idea of having a website dedicated entirely to me and my writing has a certain appeal. (I think mainly it appeals to the absolutely self-centered aspect of my personality.) So, I'm going to try this out. Whether or not it works depends, I think, on my own determination to see it through, not to mention how much people actually like what I post. So, here goes: drumroll, please....