Tuesday, January 30, 2007

More for the Misc Category

Going days and days without blogging = having way too many topics by the time I finally get back on track.

For instance:

The moon. I love it. I love it when it's a waxing gibbous form climbing halfway out of the east in the early evening. I love the way the top is sharply defined, curved, smooth as an eggshell, and the bottom is faded, mysterious, unknowable, blending into the darkening blue sky.

Also, seriously, what is up with that whole 'dumb guy voice?' I really, really dislike it when women talk of their husbands or other male acquaintances and quote them using this voice that sounds like a cross between a gorilla and a person who flips burgers for a living. (No offense meant to any burger flippers here. Erm.) They'll say in their normal, reasonable-sounding voice, "So, I said, 'Let's go see a movie tonight.' Then he said [enter gorilla], 'But I like football. And watching it. Grunt, grunt.'" Okay. So, not only does this demean the gorilla-husband, it demeans the person speaking! Why on earth did she marry the fellow if he's such a neanderthal?

And, oh, speaking of men? Yes. I am officially in love with Mr. Rochester.

Just so everyone knows.

Bring on the men 20 years older than I am. Seriously.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The blogs of cooldom

Have you ever noticed how much cooler (or is it 'more cool') a blog is when it's in French?

I have.

And yet, even with all the years taking French in high school and college, I can't really understand any of it.

The coolness is nonethless undiminished.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The problem of pontificating

I was about to write about how I stubbed my toe this evening (developing a rather nasty blood blister on my pinky toe), how I yelled indiscriminately for a minute then gingerly tried to apply pressure, and then how I was swept away by the philosophical consideration of why exactly we have pain, both physical and emotional. I was then about to expand upon and share my musings, dispersing my thoughts like alms to the needy and creating a self-image of smiling, superior, ace-bandage-wrapped benevolence.

I'm glad I didn't.

Because I have just realized that my pontifications (for such they would be) are nothing more than posturing; that I have no more understanding of pain than any other mortal creature.


I do know this: pain happens. If you wonder why it happens, your best bet would not be to read about why it happens on Lizardbreath's blog. Your best bet may just be to read The Problem of Pain, by C. S. Lewis, of which I have just read a summary. (I've never read the book itself, much to my chagrin.)

Or, your best bet may be to reflect on the problem itself.

You see, in my own musings I thought of pain as a way to tell us something was wrong. If you stub your toe and have an unsightly blood blister, your body reacts by sending signals to your brain that something terribly untoward has happened in the region of your little toesies. These signals continue as long as the problem exists. Therefore, when the pain is gone, the problem is gone.

I thought to myself, Oh! This is comparable to spiritual pain! If we experience non-physical pain, it indicates that something is broken in our spiritual bodies; we've transgressed, either by commission or omission.

I thought that the key to such pain would be repentance; healing would only come through that process, and through the Atonement.

All of which is true.

But I failed to take into account that there are more causes of pain than sin and toe-stubbing; there are numerous things that happen that cause us pain. We could feel pain in sympathy for a loved one (for instance if a friend were to stub her little toe). We feel pain in response to death or grief or someone being cruel or life being unfair or when we're lonely or chemically depressed or...

Well, you know. You've all felt it, this non-physical, potent, un-caused-by-you type of pain.

Which is why C. S. Lewis's book is intriguing to me at the moment. It deals with the problem of why we undergo suffering if God is good and truly loves us. Because he is and does; it's just hard to remember that at times when your husband finds out he has cancer, or when you're in a job you dislike, or when you stub your little toe.

But remembering is crucial, because I'm convinced that, just as there are sources of relief for physical pain, God is the only real source of relief for the other suffering in our lives.

I just wish I could figure out how it all worked.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Fifty down, baby!

Every Monday morning at approximately 8am, I weigh myself to see exactly how this whole weightloss thing is going. (i.e. if the weight is still being lost. Waaaaay lost.)

And this morning, to mine joy, I discovered that I have hit the 50lb weight-loss mark. I am now exactly 50lbs lighter than I was when I started this whole rigamarolle, about four and a half months ago.

And lemme tell you; that is a LOT of months without any chocolate cake.

But it's worth it.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

And you/I thought I could never do it

I am amazed at myself.

Today, with MUCH help from my patient mother, I did something I've never done before.

I sewed some bits of cloth into a recognizeable, useable shape! (As opposed to a small square of fabric covered in crooked lines.)

This past Christmas, our family put together several newborn kits for the Humanitarian Aid Center. Several of us (mostly my sisters and I) had the task of sewing up baby blankets to put in the kits. Unfortunately, this meant that I had to get near a sewing machine, a thing I generally avoid on principle.

However, today was the day to get it done, and after a little cajoling from my mom and after taking a few deep breaths, I followed my mother's careful instructions and produced this:

And here's how it looks inside the kit:

So, despite the fact that the corners are pudgy and the seams are crooked and one side is decidedly longer than the other, still, some baby somewhere in a country nearby (or far away) will be warm.

And that is a good thought indeed.

Friday, January 19, 2007

And because I don't want to always be looking for it,

here's a handprint I drew for sharing time in Primary.

I admit, to my shame, that I spent at least a half-hour searching the internet before I discovered that there just aren't any handprint outlines out there to be found. Then I realized how stupidly easy it was to draw my own.

But, for the lazy and the uninformed (people essentially like me) here is my very own handprint outline:

So why doesn't anyone set me up with her 40-year-old brother?

I love work conversations. No really--they're possibly the most entertaining part of being in the customer service realm.

Just yesterday, or maybe it was the day before, (it's hard to keep track of time in the customer service realm), a co-worker, who happens to be 27 and single, mentioned that her grandmother (just before passing away) had prayed that this co-worker of mine would find a nice man whose wife had died, leaving him two kids.

(Ew. Awkward sentence there.)

Anyway--another co-worker gasped and said, "That's my brother!"

So, everyone in the office immediately talked about strategies for getting this 27-year-old hooked up with my other co-worker's 39-year-old brother.

Okay. Now, as anyone who has read Jane Eyre knows, a gap of even as much as twenty years matters about as much as a spot of dust in your eye if the two people involved are kindred souls. However, for some reason, this 12-year gap made me grit my teeth a little (Is that why I woke up with a sore jaw the next morning?) and grimace behind the wall of my cubicle.

Then another co-worker piped in with information about her brother, who is divorced and is himself past 40. Amazingly, they both wanted to set this girl up with their brothers! Add this to the twice-divorced brother of yet another co-worker who had been deemed unworthy of my 27-year-old friend.

I began to wonder--what's wrong with me? Why doesn't anyone want to set me up with her 40-year-old brother?

Then I remembered. Of course! That's why! It's always why.

I had begged them not to set me up with anyone. Ever. In a million years.

I guess it's just easy to forget that when you're caught up with all the appealing brothers of your coworkers in the customer service realm.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

You make me miss you through your friend-like wiles

Aararargh! Gosh darndit, peoples!

I miss you.

Especially you people who were here but now are not. I missed you all so much today that I drove by Cathy & Ed's old house and mourned over the camper that sits obesely in the driveway that once held the Jeep whose name I cannot at present recall. (My apologies, Jeep.)

I miss you so much that I find myself catching my breath at times when I remember you suddenly! Ah, bothersome friendships where people move and leave and start up elsewhere!

I should be doing the thing I normally do; I should be forgetting about you to the point that if any one of you were to reappear in my life I could spend an hour with you at most before getting excessively uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. I think if we were all to get together again, it would be Good Times. Great Times. Freaking ROCKING Times.

But we can't and we won't and I know it.

But that doesn't mean I have to like it.

An insatiable appetite

I've been going through my books for several hours, adding titles or ISBN numbers to Library Thing, a way to catalog your books online and, as you can see to the right, add a little display of random books from your library onto your blog. (All of these ideas were, naturally, stolen from my ideal blogger.)

Unfortunately, going through all of my books has reawakened a terrible appetite in me: I want to read every one of them.

Even if I had all the free time I could ask for between opening my eyes in the morning and slipping down between my blankets at night, I would never have enough time to read all the books I'd like to. But I don't have all that free time. I work about 40 hours a week, eat meals, spend about an hour a day exercising, watch empty TV shows, which makes my time boil down to approximately an hour of reading per day. This is the great tragedy in the lives of all bibiophiles--not necessarily that we only have an hour to read, but that the time we do have is always, inevitably too, too short, and there are always too many things to do besides read.

For instance: prepare a sharing time for tomorrow's Primary, compile some biographical information on Wallace Stegner (author of Angle of Repose) for my book club, mash my grad school application essay with a meat tenderizer, apologize to my sister for getting on her nerves, and attempt to explain to myself exactly why I keep buying scrapbook supplies I never use.

It's time to declutter my life. No more scrapbook supplies, no more grad school, no more interactions with family members, no more interactions with anybody. I'm taking a sabbatical month (maybe two) to catch up on all that reading I've been missing.

Do you think it will make me happier?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Life Lesson #1

Never, EVER have a 3-car-wide driveway attached to your house unless you also have a snowblower. Like, an industrial strength one.

Seriously people.

I'm cold and my back aches and my fingertips are still tingly. But other than that, it was actually a pretty good day.

And I've also discovered a trick to keep your face from freezing solid while you're shoveling snow: sing "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean," and while your cold, back-aching, finger-tingling neighbors will stare at you in shock, your face won't shatter when you next try to speak.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Uh...Archaeology anyone?

Um. I just stumbled across this, and although I'm hesitant to chuckle at a fellow blogger... Still... Some obviously bad translations to English just have to be laughed at.

(I think my personal favorite is: "The conservators who tried to recover a statue of 1,900 years of Venus have put their heads along with the inspectors of the maintenance of the air line who scrutinize welds generally the autogenous and the repairs in the motors of jet for any crack." See the original here.)

*Laughs up pajama sleeve.*

Have I already found it?

Those of you who know me know how long I've been whining to myself about how hard it is to apply to grad school.

You have, in fact, thought to yourself many times, "What the heck! She's talking about it again! I swear--I wish she would just shut up about it already!"

(Yeesh, you guys are mean.)

I've struggled, asking myself if this is what I really want, wondered if my essay was good enough, deciding it wasn't, writing version after version of pathetic attempts to impress admissions boards, and finally today, I just felt sick of it.

Sick, I tell you.

So I decided to revisit my first essay, look it over, and see what needed improvement. And do you know what I found?

(No. Because I haven't told you yet. Hah, I say! Hah!)


I found that the essay is pretty darn close to what I want it to be. It is, I imagine, how White Ninja feels in this comic:

(This image (click on it to get a better view) was stolen unceremoniously from White Ninja Comics. Never say I don't give credit.)

In short, I think I may be more ready to submit grad school applications than I thought I was. Except the problem is, I don't know how much more tweaking my essay needs. But I'll get it tweaked. And I'll tweak it good.

And then I'll just have to do that last official line-up for my letters of recommendation! Which should be easy, but I hate doing that too.

Aw, shoot.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Pajama Girl (Or 'Pyjama Girl' if you're British)

We are a family of many Christmas Traditions.

These include Putting Up Christmas Decorations While In a Tiff With Each Other, (which actually didn't happen this year, oddly enough...), Teasing Siblings Mercilessly About How Much They'll Like the Present I Bought Them (which only I practice, I believe), Getting Sick of Candy Neighbors Bring Over and Eating It Anyway, Trying to Watch the George C. Scott "A Christmas Carol" and Falling Asleep Halfway Through It and Then Waking Up to the Awful Screeches of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

And oh. We have many more.

But we've never been one of those lucky pajama families, with that lucky pajama tradition. You know--the one where on Christmas Eve, everyone opens a present and it's a pair of new pajamas and you wear them to bed and you're all warm and snuggled in your spiffy PJs and you wake up on Christmas morning and are still wearing them as you open your presents.

And let me tell you--I've felt the lack of this holiday tradition.

Well, this year we didn't get pajamas on Christmas Eve, per usual.

But we did get PJs on Christmas morning! Hwowza! And here they are! (Er, well...here mine are. Everyone else's are not subject to photography. At least not while I am lazily sitting on the couch blogging.) (And no, I am not wearing them in this picture. I'm not quite that...shapeless. Not quite.)

In fact, I am wearing these spiffy and fuzzy and new PJs right this very moment. And you know--they're just as great as I've always dreamed.

So, how 'bout that cauliflower?

*Whack* Yeeeouch!

Yes, yes, but what about paper?

I wish I could say that I have a juicy journal.

As it is, my journal is currently dusty, dry, and about as unjuicy as a 3,000 year old corpse. (Well, the dusty part is quite literally true. The rest is understatement.)

My journal currently occupies a spot on the floor by my bed where it has lain unopened and un-writ-upon for quite some time. Months. Perhaps years, although I'm not entirely sure. Hmm. Actually, let me check when my last entry was....

(Ew! Dust!)

Yup. It's been a long time. Long time. Tuesday, July 5th, 2005. I am ashamed. And my last entry wasn't even an entry; it was me writing down a three-paragraph story excerpt I had thought up that day. I didn't even list what I had eaten for breakfast that morning! Now that's negligence, I tell you. And oh-my-heavens...my entry before that is just downright embarrassing.

Okay. Now I've remembered why I blog now instead of writing in my journal. Because a blog is public, and because I know you peoples read it, I try to avoid writing things that are too personal. Thus, when I read back through my entries, I'm not embarrassed. At least, not usually.

Unless I've written about cauliflower. Man, that's embarrassing.

Wait--I didn't? Oh.

Thank goodness. And please--slap me if I ever do.