Sunday, December 28, 2008

Look, I won't trash your traditions if you don't trash mine.

Every family has its holiday traditions.

Every family.

And I know that in some families holiday traditions consist of who is able to belch the loudest during the commercial breaks of the Rose Bowl. Still others celebrate holidays by dredging up all the old family dirty laundry that's been comfortably buried in piles of other dirty laundry for years and years and is now crawling with mildew (yes, mildew would crawl in this situation) and possibly young families of mice.

Others carol, tell tales of the histories of their people, light candles, swap embarrassing and heart-warming stories about the childhood exploits of blushing siblings, take road trips, watch movies, put together puzzles, do enormous amounts of baking, visit neighbors and elderly relatives and soup kitchens and heck, maybe even animal shelters.

My family does a lot of that too.

But our most persistent holiday tradition?

We get sick. Very, very sick.

And this year we played out our ol' familiar tradition in style.

The sickness can come from any direction, really, and it doesn't have to be any kind of sickness in particular, just something that knocks the majority of us down for at least a day or two, just enough to significantly reduce the amount of quality family time we're able to spend together during the holiday season (that is, if you don't count competing over who gets the highest recorded fever as 'quality family time').

This year, my older sister and her family got sick first. They all started experiencing some significant abdominal distress a couple of days after my youngest sister's wedding (the last of the girls to marry--other than me--hah!) but thought it had moved through and on by the time they came to my parents' house on Christmas Eve.

So they came, and we played and laughed and watched movies and ate cake and caroled around the piano and told embarrassing (and sometimes heart-warming) stories about each other. And it was great. We even thought we had escaped a general family sickness, since my older sister's family appeared unlikely to pass it on, and although my mom had been quite sick with a flu-like cold during my sister's wedding, (extremely unfortunate, but she fought through it like a trooper), the cold didn't appear to be spreading.

This is why my onset of nausea after eating Christmas dinner was somewhat distressing. But even more distressing was vomiting bits of turkey and mashed potatoes out of my nose a few hours later. And hearing everyone else vomit their assorted semi-digested eatings later that evening, in the middle of the night, and into the morning and afternoon of the day after Christmas, including my two-and-a-half-year and six-month-old nephews. (In fact, probably the worst part was hearing my six-month-old nephew crying because he was hungry, but couldn't eat because A: if he did eat, he was likely to throw up and B: my sister hadn't eaten anything for about 18 hours, and thus didn't have any mammary-produced sustenance with which to feed him.)

We're all feeling pretty okay now. A cleansing of the entire system (the entire system, I assure you) and plenty of ginger ale, juice popsicles and an assortment of bananas and toast has brought most of us back to about 90% of normal. And my sister and brother-in-law (parents of the two nephews) who had intended to stay with us only a few days have now spent many more days with us, due to being all sick and unable to get up and stuff, so that's been a boon of sorts.

And you know, I've been thinking. In all honesty, I'd take the 'puking and/or feverish colds every holiday season' over 'family fights and not speaking to each other every holiday season' any day.

So, I guess if we have to pick one terrible family tradition, this one isn't the worst. Maybe, when it comes to holidays, something that 'isn't the worst' might be pretty good after all.

Merry Christmas, everyone. And a happy, HEALTHY, new year.

Monday, December 15, 2008


So, as happy as I am with the love-fest in the comments section, I really didn't mean that last post to be a combination talk about how badly I'm doing right now and request for comfort. It was more of a discussion of where I've been this past semester. It was hard, but I'm really doing fine at the moment. (Somehow, having the stress of schoolwork removed by the cessation of the semester has made the sun sparkle off the concrete of Boston just that much more.)

Seriously. It's good. I'm good. We're all good.

Also, I am feeling particularly great because:

A. I leave for home in approximately 24 hours.

B. I cleaned the apartment today, which is always satisfying (?).

C. I got straight 'A's this past semester.

Yeah. Seriously. I'm pretty dang okay with that.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A little hefty bit

Let me be frank: this semester has been dang hard. It's been hard scholastic-wise, social-wise, personal-state-of-self-wise, hair-wise, glasses-wise, pretty much every conceivable -wise possible.

Well, actually, that isn't true. I've had no difficulties with, say, species identity. I'm pretty sure I'm Homo sapiens. Also, my fingers have given me little trouble over the past few months. And hey, my continual acquisition of books has gone swimmingly.

But other things have been hard. When I say that the semester has been difficult scholastic-wise, I don't want to imply that I haven't enjoyed it; it's been one of the most enjoyable semesters I've had here. In fact, I feel that during this semester I finally got into the meat of what I hope to do as a professional librarian: reference work with children, preferably ages birth (yes, we do provide library services to babies) through 8th grade or so. I learned about programming for children, during which time I got to both construct a box of resources for a themed story time and later use someone else's box to perform a story time in class. It was, frankly, extremely awesome. Particularly the whole reading-picture-books-and-singing-songs in graduate school thing. I learned about children's literature, including how to write reviews and analyze the library's current collection to better meet the needs of the community. I spent hours and hours and even more hours getting familiar with reference source after reference source. It was intense, but oh-so-informative.

I guess that's the point: this semester's schoolwork was pretty heavy, but I feel like I learned more, or at least more valuable, pertinent-to-me information than I'd learned in any previous semester.

So, school was actually pretty good. Stressful, HECK YES, but good.

Let me just breeze through a few of these others before I get to the real meat of this: my hair is currently way too long and frazzled at the end. I needs a trim. This equals hardship for my poor self. My poor straggly-haired self.

Glasses: lost a screw. One of the lens frames is now held together with a fashionable piece of copper wire. I dare you to try to spot it without knowing about it beforehand. (And now you know about it! So you lose! Automatically! Dang, I'm sly.)

Personal-state-of-self. Dude. I consumed a ton of cookies tonight. I ordered Chinese food and pizza and I'm down to one pair of jeans that fits properly. Which makes me feel that I stink as a human being.

Which kind of leads me to the point of this whole post, the subject that I'm kind of reluctant to discuss, mostly because it reveals my really real deep inner flaws in a way that makes me intensely uncomfortable.

You see, this last semester, I also withdrew a lot from human contact.

It's not as bad at the moment, so I know have to write about this in a looking-back sort of way, rather than an I'm-in-this-right-now sort of way, so I don't know if I can fully recapture all the things that've been going on in my internal parts these past few months. Frankly, I could probably recapture it best at about 3:00 in the morning, with the occasional murmur of a single car passing outside my window making me feel, somehow, not less alone, but more so.

But, my roommates are home, and in and out of the room, being friendly (which is great) so let's see if I can grasp on to this slippery feeling that settled on me like a film of soap this past semester...

I have a feeling that my withdrawal from human contact has stemmed, to a large degree, from my growing dissatisfaction with myself. It's manifested itself in different ways: I can recall, for instance, sitting in church and feeling so unable to deal with people and the crowds and the press and the noise and the pressure that I had to escape outside in a near panic. I think I couldn't stand being around other people because, in part, I couldn't stand myself, or rather, I couldn't stand how I was sure other people viewed me.

So, I got out. And I kept getting out. And I kept not connecting with people, and I kept shutting the door to my room when I got home and I kept not really talking to people in class and.

And I just drew myself in and encrusted myself with as much armor-thick I-don't-care-ness as I could muster.

So, I had only myself to deal with. And, reluctantly, rarely, other people. When they absolutely refused not to be admitted. Which some did refuse, thank goodness.

And yeah, my relationship with God suffered too, mostly because I didn't take time for anyone besides my own brain. And, as crazy and entertaining as my brain can be, it can't provide insight into tremendously difficult life problems or answers to questions about the nature of the universe and our place in it (although it can come up with hecka-awesome dreams).

And. Good grief. NONE OF THIS explains really what I've been feeling or thinking or anything. And it's already too long by about 458%.

I guess, suffice it to say, I've had the door to my room closed far too often and for far too long. And I'm starting to reemerge back into the world, but it's hard. And I feel vulnerable and shaky, particularly because I'm still not entirely happy with myself, and because I'm afraid that other people can see the flaws in me that I can see in myself and that they scorn me for it.

But, you know, I'll still get up tomorrow morning. I'll still put on my skirt and those ugly brown shoes that are nonetheless comfortable and I'll wrap that blue scarf around my neck and button my slightly-too-tight coat over my bulgy self and I'll sit in church and listen to people talk and maybe even make a comment or two. If I'm feeling particularly daring. And it's even possible I'll feel the spirit. I hope so, because that's why I keep doing it.

And maybe, this week, and this next semester, maybe I can work on some of the things that have lately made me so unhappy about myself.

Maybe I can start to leave the door to my room open. Just a little bit more.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Shall I post about why I haven't blogged in over a month?

Shall I write about this past semester and its joys, worries, hardships and my unaccountable desire to reread Asimov's entire Foundation series?

Shall I spend time profusely apologizing for being ineffably boring and neglectful by not providing my faithful readership with new and fascinating, periodically updated reading material?

I probably will. Soonish. But, having turned in my last assignment this morning, I believe I'm scheduled for a recovery period. Which means sleeping. Lots.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I voted.

Have you?

Also, I have to admit that walking up to the local polling place (in a High School gymnasium), I felt a sudden surge of love for democracy. I thought of all the millions of individuals converging on centers like this to make their voices heard, and I just thought to myself, "DANG, I love this country."

So. Hurrah for democracy, and hurrah for America!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Forgive me, Mother.

Mom, I know you will cringe at this post. I know you will hate it and shiver and that it will be horrible. And I am very, very sorry. Know that I feel your pain.

I went into the kitchen this afternoon to get a glass of water and found a fat little brown mouse crouched on the mat in front of our sink. I was startled (and disgusted) and became very surprised when the rodent didn't move when I approached and told it (very firmly, I might add) to scurry, dang it! (It was so that I could forget it was there for a little while and then later bring up the subject with my roommate to see if she had any leftover traps from our last mousy escapade, if you must know.)

But the mouse didn't scurry when I told it to. Perhaps it didn't speak English. Or was DEATHLY ILL??? Because it didn't even run away when I tried moving one corner of above-mentioned kitchen mat, I decided that I would try to scoop it up with an empty pizza box. (I had pizza last night, people. We don't leave pizza boxes around for days, or anything. Yeesh.) At that, it seemed to object, and scurried (at last) in the crack next to the oven.

Okay, I thought to myself. Now I will try to get a trap at some point so we can catch this furry marauder.

So I went to my room to read a little and shudder. Later, I came back into the kitchen, and the mouse was once again on the mat. What the heck?!? I thought to myself. I tried again unsuccessfully with the pizza box, but this time I noticed that the mouse was walking oddly, and kept swaying as if it were drunk. Had it gotten into my roommate's wine?

When I came back into the kitchen again, after having left said pizza box open on the floor in the (stupid) hope that it would crawl in and stay in while I surreptitiously shut the lid on it, I found the mouse lying prone on the floor, little paws stuck to the side, tail laid out along the tile like a fallen streamer. Oh, heck. Let me be realistic. It looked like a dead worm attached to an even deader mouse.

I looked closely at the mouse. It was not breathing. So, choking back my gag reflex, I used one of the ubiquitous Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons we get in the mail, and scooped it into the pizza box. I noticed that rigor mortis had already set in, since the thing didn't bend at all when I was doing said scooping. I took the whole ensemble down the stairs to the dumpster, all the while wondering what the thing had died from and, more importantly, whether the disease was likely to kill me too.

Things like, you know, bubonic or pneumonic plague (except that I'm not sure if mice died from that? or even carried it? was it just rats? and did just the infected humans die?) or, I don't know, some sort of feverish horribleness that spreads via seeing weird drunken-seeming mice weave around your kitchen mat.

So, if I start developing flu-like symptoms or buboes in the next few days, just drop me off at the local emergency room, warn them that the next pandemic (and possibly the end of the world) is now at hand, and oh--would someone be kind enough to take notes for me in class on Tuesday? I'm not sure I'm going to make it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

You always knew you wanted to float in a library

So, you know how I sometimes like to just embed a YouTube video rather than actually writing something myself?


I'm doing it again.

The lip movements aren't really synced so much, but it's from the 80s. And it takes place in a library. And there's a chimp wearing a Red Sox shirt. Is that enough awesomeness to make it all okay? Why, yes. Yes it is.

(P.S. Fair warning: There is one little swears. It's relatively mild, but it's there. Just so you know.)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Um, hey.'s been awhile.

Oh, you know. I've just been keeping myself busy with this and that and the other thing (although, if I'm going to be honest, I have to admit that the other thing is really what's been taking up the bulk of my time).

Yeah, I know you've been wondering why I haven't called lately, why all those texts stay unanswered in my inbox, why all those posts you've made to my Facebook wall have gotten no response, why I never even acknowledged that time you threw the brick through my window. (You know--the one with the ultimatum wrapped around it, secured with a piece of fraying twine?)

And believe me--I kind of feel like a jerk about it all. I sit in my room or on the couch and just think of all the great times we used to have and how bad I feel about the way I never seem to keep in touch with people and how I wish I had the time and energy to call people and chat it up or send an awesome lengthy email or, say, post to my blog for instance. Maybe.

And then I sigh and get back to working on assignments I've procrastinated until the day before that end up taking about 10 hours more than what I expected and I cut felt for a flannelboard story until my hands ache and I curse the dull scissors that I need to replace but I haven't really got the money and why the heck would I want to buy another pair of scissors when I'm most likely going to be moving sometime in the next seven or eight months and that'd be just one more thing to pack and I really kind of hope I pass all my classes this semester so I can graduate and get a real job so I don't turn into one of those over-30 folks who live in their parents' basements and make my family ashamed to be seen with me in public.

So, I'm sorry. I'm sorry because I know how it looks to you, and I just wanted to let you know that there are good reasons why I'm turning into an unresponsive hulk of Lizardbreath.

Thanks for being there, though. Thanks for understanding. Thanks for still liking me despite it all.

--Your loving Lizardbreath McGee

P.S. Oh, yeah. And you owe me 300 bucks for that shattered window.

P.P.S. Realistic (i.e. factual and uninflated) depiction of my sleeping schedule over the past few days:

Awake: Thursday morning at 6am until Friday morning at 3:30am
Asleep: Friday morning at 3:30am until Friday morning at 7:00am
Awake: Friday morning at 7:00am until Friday afternoon at 3:30pm
Asleep: Friday afternoon at 3:30pm until early Saturday morning at 12:30am
Awake: Early Saturday morning at 12:30am until slightly later Saturday morning at 4:00am
Asleep: Slightly later Saturday morning at 4:00am until Saturday morning at 6:10am
Awake: Saturday morning at 6:10am until BLOGPOSTTIME. Whenever that is. (i.e. NOW.)

I am trying to resist taking a nap. Please, please send good wakey-wakey vibes my way.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Homework is EATING ME ALIVE!!!

It's true. Homework is engulfing me from the ground up; my toes and Achilles tendons have been nibbled away, my calves chewed upon, and now it's turning a hungry, baleful eye on my kneecaps.

Gross, homework! Keep away! I hate things that eat people! (Like mosquitoes, tapeworms, etc.)

Perhaps I shall conquer it with my vorpal sword. Or my stare of death. Or my.

Or my diligence, hard work and sacrifice.

But whatever the solution, I cannot conquer it by blogging.

So, away I must. (Go, that is. Away I must go. Silly sentence structure, that.)

Farewell. Until I emerge on the other side of this gruesome conflict, in which more shall be injured than paper and...laptop keys?

I. Make. No. Sense.

But I love making it nonetheless.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

All Wet

The streets are rivers, the dips in the sidewalk are lakes, and even moving through the air is like trying to breathe while standing under Niagra Falls.

Ah, autumn. Be less beautiful, or be less brief. Or something.

P.S. Sorry I haven't been posting much. I've been both busy and a little...distant. Even while feeling like I'm missing people more than ever. I have no promises or anything (like posting more, for instance), but I just wanted to let you know. I'll post when I can.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A little, tiny review.

The best of Robin McKinley’s books pour into the reader a sense of unfolding mysteries, like the lingering taste of some unknowable sweetness on the tongue, or the languid unfurling of the dense petals at the heart of a rose. Slowly, slowly the bud opens, revealing the glorious, beautiful design of the whole.

Chalice is one of these books.

Read it. If you possibly can.

(Oh, and also, check out Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Seriously. Do it now.)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Where my musical tastes are leading me:

So, I've been getting more and more into the whole folk music/acoustic/'whatever the heck I feel like listening to' scene.

This means that lately I've been favoring my two Pandora stations that play music resembling that of Jose Gonzales or Ingrid Michaelson. (Have I mentioned lately that I love Pandora? Dude. I love Pandora.)

And now, as part of a semi-delayed parental/self birthday gift I ordered for myself from the online bookstore that is swallowing the world, I have gotten Ingrid Michaelson's Girls and Boys CD. And I am listening to it. Yea, even now.

You know how when you get a CD you listen to it and kind of earmark your favorite songs, feeling glad that you got maybe 7 really excellent songs out of the 12 on the CD, or feeling disappointed that you really do only like the 2 songs you'd previously heard on the radio and that the rest of the CD is good for nothing but making the CD look appropriately sparkly on bright sunny mornings?

Well, listening to Girls and Boys is like listening to a CD full of favorites. Seriously. Awesome. Lyrical and thoughtful. (And it's particularly nice that her voice has roughly the same range as mine, so I can sing along and almost think I sound good doing so. Also, her songs are hecka-fun to harmonize with.)

I would write more, but I'll sound too much like a fangirl. Also, I want to listen to music. And this writing thing is totally distracting me, yo.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

This is me.

Read here.

Goes so well with the previous post, doesn't it?

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I think sometimes that I am not a very understanding person.

I mean, I try to be understanding. And really, I can understand things like people feeling sad or lonely, or feeling frustrated with traffic or with crowded subway trains, or how it feels when the hot weather finally breaks and you get one perfect day.

I can understand that.

But I have a hard time understanding other things. Things like, for instance, why some people don't care for books. This one has me flummoxed. Well, granted, I can understand that if someone has a reading problem like dyslexia or similar somethings, reading would not be a pleasant experience exactly. (But hey--books on tape are always a fantastic option! Braille! Etc.!)

But people who don't find themselves thinking about characters while they're walking around on the sidewalk? Who don't automatically reach for some tattered paperback or thick-and-heavy leather-bound classic edition or yeesh--even a magazine or something, whenever they have a spare minute or ten? Who don't relish that mingle of climax, loss, and joy, a joy with a flavor unlike anything else--like something unbearably delicious that dissolves almost as soon as you taste it, as if to linger any longer on your tongue would cause you to spin into giddy delirium--that comes when you read the last sentence of an excellent book, close it, rub the cover a little and smiling, sigh to yourself?

I sometimes fear that I can have nothing to share with such people.

I'm sure there would be some things we could agree on, that it's easier to see when there is sufficient light, that couches are generally preferable to stone benches, that blankets are good when it is cold, but there would always be this deep inner part of me that would remain untouched, bewildered, uncomprehending.

So, I'm afraid my sympathetic powers are limited. I may never fully understand another human being unless they're somewhat bookish, like me.

Because, my dears, I am incontrovertibly and deliriously and giddily bookish. And I revel in it.

Why, oh why don't all people long to be librarians?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Candy for the masses

"It has come to my attention," she wrote, each finger tap punching briskly into the keyboard, "that there are some among my readers who wish for a more regular update of the events of my life."

She paused, hands poised over her computer, ready to pounce on them like so many warrior-like worms (she wondered for a moment--could worms be warrior like? She imagined earthworms clad in helmets and shaking spears with their back ends and smiled to herself) while she cocked her head and ruminated on the events of the day. Was there anything worthy to report?

Let's see, she thought to herself, hot oatmeal for dinner, a long nap this afternoon which I decidedly should not have taken, conversation with Mom prior to nap, class this morning...beautiful fall-ish day?

"It was a beautiful day today," she continued, allowing her warrior-worms to jump into the fray. "It was just on the chilly side of cool, which made my walk home that much more pleasant. But the weather is boring to talk about, and I suppose all of you are looking for something more...meaty."

I suppose I could finish my account of the marmot affair. She shuddered. No. Perhaps not yet. More recovery was necessary, she supposed, before she could bring herself to conclude the terrible tale.

"Alas; that's pretty much all I have to tell," she continued. "School's fine, work's fine, all systems normal. Even my toenails are doing pretty well, I guess. At least they're growing like crazy. Maybe a trim is in order."

She blushed a little and decided to erase the bit about the toenails. No one needed to hear about that.

Meaning to hit the backspace button, she accidentally (and unaccountably, because the two actions are pretty much completely dissimilar) hit the 'Publish Post' button instead. So the bit with the toenails was up there for all the internet to see. Chagrined, she decided to simply call it a post and withdraw.

For the time being.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

In Chicago, Chicago

I've only got a moment or two before I dash off to catch my plane to the windy city, so I thought I'd post briefly before I go.


*Awkward silence*

I guess that's it. See y'all on the other side!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

To Do List

I've decided to put together a list of 30 things to do before I turn 30.

However, as my birthday is now in four days, I've decided to make this list as easy as possible.
  1. Breathe
  2. Eat breakfast
  3. Trim nails
  4. Put on makeup
  5. Brush hair at least five times
  6. Jump up and down for one minute
  7. Purse lips
  8. Look thoughtful
  9. Watch a movie I haven't seen before
  10. Wiggle toes
  11. Blink
  12. Sniff
  13. Roll eyes
  14. Bite the end of a pen while pondering the meaning of the universe and/or wondering what to have for dinner
  15. Read online comics
  16. Tap foot at least twice
  17. Shake head with gentle humor at life's ridiculousness
  18. Read other people's blogs
  19. Blog at least once
  20. Check email DAILY
  21. Frown upon injustice
  22. Flex calf muscles
  23. Wonder if String Theory is the theory of the universe
  24. Move at least one piece of furniture
  25. Smile at a stranger on the street
  26. Run when stranger turns out to be a mugger
  27. File things
  28. Draw a doodle
  29. Stay hydrated
  30. Subtly remind folks that my 30th birthday is on Sunday [Check]

Monday, August 18, 2008

One of my favorite commercials EVER.

Some of you may remember this:

I don't want to be bitter.

I realize that the last post is kind of bitter. Perhaps rather more bitter than I intended while writing it.

And I don't want to be bitter. I really don't. I want to be happy and have other people be happy to be around me and I don't want to get fed up with people. Really and truly.


Oh, well. I guess I'm just trying to figure out things by writing about them. And sometimes the writing is coherent and clear, and sometimes it's full of bitter ramblings. But maybe eventually I'll come to a better understanding. In the end.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

So, why does this bother me so much?

Our lesson in Relief Society today was titled: "Establishing the Cause of Zion." Which, as interesting as it was, is important to this discussion only in a peripheral manner.

One of the sisters in my ward today had several family members who attended church with her, including her mom, and a couple of her sisters (at least one of whom is married).

You may think these two things may have nothing to do with each other, but they are, in fact, quite thoroughly connected. You see, during the course of the lesson, the teacher asked the class what we can do to help establish Zion. In response, this married sister talked about how she tried to help establish a Zion home with her children and husband, (which was all well and good), and then proceeded to gesture to her single sister (the sister in my ward) and said, "And, you know, even my sister [Gertrude] can establish Zion in her own home."

I felt my hackles raise, but it took me a bit of thinking to figure out why I was bothered so much by her comment. I kept asking myself, "Why is this hurtful?"

It was the 'even' that got me, I think. The 'even' implied superiority, as if she were saying that her own life was more valuable than the life of a single, that our lives were less meaningful, less important, and would never be as important until we were married and had children. As we are now, we could only achieve an 'even.'

I may be stating this too strongly. In fact, I'm quite certain I am; I seriously doubt that this sister had any idea that her comment could be taken in such a way. I am equally certain that she loves her single sister dearly and would never intentionally hurt her. And it's always, always too easy to judge from the outside. I also think that as singles, we can sometimes be hypersensitive to singlehood slights, eagerly taking offense where none was meant.

However, I really worry that there is an undercurrent in some of the thinking that goes on in the church, among both married and single members, that lends a subtle factual base to singles' defensiveness, and marrieds' (as perceived by the singles) smug superiority.

Maybe it's just that we're taught (at least as women; I kind of believe the men don't get this drummed into them) that being a spouse and parent really is the most important thing you can do with your life. The problem is that we all want to feel our lives our valuable, not just those who are lucky enough to have miraculously found someone with whom to reproduce. We all want to believe that we're making contributions, that we're not just treading water, or hanging out, or merely marking time until our Big Break. And for those of us who are single, (and I would guess for married, parent-ified folks too), we worry all the time that what we're doing just isn't important enough, that we'll be forgotten, that we're missing out on what our life calling is supposed to be.

And I ache for us.

And I don't have any kind of solution, either. I'm not sure if we could fix this by giving talks in church that read: "Every member is valuable. Singles, your lives are important. Married folks, your lives are important. And kids? Well, you can be important as long as you clean your rooms." Or maybe we should speak up when we hear comments that seem to invoke levels of worth. Or maybe we should just plunge our fists into our own hearts, root out the prejudice and fear, and drag them out into the open air to blow away, dissolved by their own insubstantiality.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Announcing his candidacy

Okay, so the aforementioned nephew video (linked again for your convenience) inspired me to create the following image:

He has my vote. And Hyrum's. How 'bout yours?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Panic attacks, inexplicable rashes and other disturbing events

So, the title of the post preeeety much says it all.

Had kind of a panic attack a week and a half ago on Sunday. Never had one before, so it was kind of weird. And disturbing.

Then, the past few days I've had this craaazy rash that pops up, makes me itch like mad, then goes away within a few hours. Could it be eczema? Could it be an alien species about to burst through my skin? Will we ever know for sure?

So many questions. And so few cookies.

And the Olympics are unexpectedly cool. But I can't watch 'em 'cause I have to go to work in the morning.

Eh. Sorry I don't have much to write. I've been having a hard time motivating myself to do much of anything lately. But I'm hoping I'll improve. Oddly enough, being in school will likely make me want to work on all sorts of stuff, like blogging, writing stories, making little villages out of toothpicks and rubber cement. Stuff like that. But I won't have time, of course.

Oh, well. I guess life is just like that. Now isn't that profound?

P.S. I really, really, really love this video of my nephew(s).

Friday, August 01, 2008

Fine, but you're paying for the goldfishes.

Have you ever done a random Google search with weird phrases in quotation marks?



Well, I have.

And I just tried: "Fine, but you're paying for the goldfishes," and guess what! Nothing came up!

But now it will.

Oh, yes.

To make things interesting, let's try coming up with a story that ends with that sentence. On your mark, get set, be creative!

Misery is utterly irrational.

Guys, I've been thinking a lot about it, and my last post was kind of out of line.

The truth is, there are plenty of things more horrifying than missing a flight: things like being in a car accident, having your identity stolen, being trampled to death by a herd of rhinos. (Do rhinos come in herds? Or are they solitary animals...?) You know. Things like that.

In short, I've been feeling pretty guilty about the whole thing. And this guilt was intensified while I was shelving today and came across the book: The Children We Remember, basically a brief and simple photo essay of Jewish children during the Holocaust. I felt a thrill of horror and grief reading it, and I realized that nothing I go through is bad. Not really. Nothing, nothing like that.

So I think I'm going to try complaining just a little less. And maybe talking about lovely things just a little more. Like books. And the wondrous medley of colors that blue and white and green make together. And what fun it is to make rocket ships out of construction paper.

And just how utterly, utterly confusing string theory can be. And also how darn interesting it can be to read about it.

That is all.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Alexander's day had nothing on this.

So you've probably all read the story. And you know of course I'm exaggerating.

But I must say that very few things are as horrifyingly, stomach-churningly, teeth-grinding-down-into-tiny-nubsingly awful as realizing that you're not going to make your flight. Or rather, the feeling that maybe, if that train would just come now and if the hordes of people in between you and the door would just somehow vanish, and if you maybe could manage NOT to get on the wrong shuttle bus to the terminal, that you might just maybe make your flight, if you run very fast. Possibly faster than a photon. Which, you suddenly realize (because you've been reading The Elegant Universe, of course, and are thus familiar with Einstein's Theory of Relativity) is wholly and completly impossible.

And also, the train doesn't come, and the hordes of people are horribly present, and you do in fact manage to get on the wrong shuttle bus, and you finally realize (as you make your way from the wrong terminal to the right one) that it's just time to give up. To give in. To get a different flight (paying lots of money for the privilege, of course).

Lots of people miss flights every day. Airlines deal with it. People deal with it. And in just a couple of hours, the feeling of angry, gut-clenching, bone-warping impotence begin to fade.

But when you're in the moment, checking your watch every two minutes, trying to figure out if you'll maybe, maybe make it, and feeling your toes start to curl into your ankles from the stress, it's kind of hard to think that Alexander could have had it any worse.

P.S. I feel I should add, just for clarity's sake, that it was not my flight that we were missing this afternoon--it was my parents' flight. I was just along to help with the luggage. And generally impede our progress. (My fault on the wrong bus to the terminal.)

P.P.S. They're even now en route. They're fine. Just so you know.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Man. I just wrote most of a lengthy post that was meant to be all introspective and thought provoking... And I found that my heart just wasn't in it. So. No pontification today, people.

So sorry.

But here's the good bits that I rescued from said post (the good bits being the parts that weren't all full of philosophizing junk):

Guys, I had such a good day today.

I spent a great deal of it (probably too much) puzzling over the concepts in Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe, and some of it (probably not enough) puzzling over how I'm going to teach Elder D. Todd Christofferson's article: "Justification and Sanctification" (which, just so you know, is amazing and wonderful, even though it took me two read-throughs (the second time with heavy use of colored pencil) to even start to feel like I understood it) tomorrow in Relief Society.

Also, I went up to the church this afternoon to help out with the Relief Society booth at the open house we (the singles wards) hosted. There weren't a ton of people who showed up, but I did get to have some interesting conversations with folks. So, hurrah for that.

And...that's about it!

Also, I now have a picture of my sister and niece up on my computer as my desktop background. It's so gosh-darned adorable that I just kind of have to share:

Yeah. Her expression in this picture is possibly the best thing EVER. Love that googly-eyed look. (P.S. The sister holding the baby is NOT the mother of said baby. No, indeed. Although she (the sister, that is) does have two lovely children of her own. This baby belongs to another sister. A sister not in the picture. Yes. That sister. All clear? Good.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Unless I suddenly learn to speed-read...

A year ago I started keeping track of all the books I was reading. It was more an exercise in memory assistance than anything else; it seems impossible for me to remember exactly what I've read, particularly when people come up and ask me, "I'm looking for something to read. So, what have you read lately?" I find this lack of memory on my part highly reprehensible, mostly because I aim to be a librarian, and librarians are always supposed to have lists of books handy at a moment's notice. Aren't they?


So, I came up with this list so I could read back through it, say, "Oh, yes. I remember that book. The characters weren't fully developed, but the plot was intriguing." Or, "Dude--that one was full of lame dialogue," or "I have never encountered an author so playful in her use of language. That one was an absolute delight."

(These are, of course, phrases I keep handy in a little drawer in my room. Just in case anyone asks me to be a reviewer of books. You know. Someday. In the future.)

So, in case you all are curious about what I've been reading, and you haven't been keeping track on that handy little list off in my blog's sidebar, here's all the books I've read (or nearly read) since last July.

(I was really hoping to get to 100 in a year, but so far I've only got 90, and I think it unlikely that I'll read 10 more books in the next week.)

By the way, if you want my opinion on any of them, feel free to ask. Otherwise, just browse for yourself and enjoy the process of discovery.


  1. The Gift, Peter Dickinson
  2. Tears of the Salamander, Peter Dickinson
  3. Time of the Ghost, Diana Wynne Jones
  4. Aunt Maria, Diana Wynne Jones
  5. Hero’s Song, Edith Pattou
  6. The Lion Tamer’s Daughter and Other Stories, Peter Dickinson
  7. Waifs and Strays, Charles de Lint
  8. Fire Arrow, Edith Pattou
  9. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J. K. Rowling
  10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J. K. Rowling
  11. Austenland, Shannon Hale
  12. The Blue Hawk, Peter Dickinson
  13. The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman
  14. The Subtle Knife, Philip Pullman
  15. The Amber Spyglass, Philip Pullman
  16. Nicholas Nickleby, Charles Dickens
  17. The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss
  18. Magic or Not?, Edward Eager
  19. Reave the Just and Other Tales, Stephen R. Donaldson
  20. Magic Kingdom for Sale – Sold!, Terry Brooks
  21. Fire Watch, Connie Willis
  22. Impossible Things, Connie Willis
  23. Inside Job, Connie Willis
  24. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Brontë
  25. Some Deaths Before Dying, Peter Dickinson
  26. A Morbid Taste for Bones, Ellis Peters
  27. The Birthday Room, Kevin Henkes
  28. Fragile Things, Neil Gaiman
  29. Green Boy, Susan Cooper (only read part)
  30. Wizards, edited by Jack Dann & Gardner Dozois
  31. American Gods, Neil Gaiman
  32. Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman
  33. Stardust, Neil Gaiman
  34. Queen’s Own Fool, Jane Yolen & Robert J. Harris
  35. Dragon Slippers, Jessica Day George
  36. Dragonhaven, Robin McKinley
  37. The Dispossessed, Ursula K. Le Guin
  38. Angels & Demons, Dan Brown
  39. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
  40. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
  41. Rocannon’s World, Ursula K. Le Guin
  42. Planet of Exile, Ursula K. Le Guin
  43. City of Illusions, Ursula K. Le Guin
  44. The Word for World is Forest, Ursula K. Le Guin
  45. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party, M. T. Anderson
  46. The Eye of the Heron, Ursula K. Le Guin
  47. A Fisherman of the Inland Sea, Ursula K. Le Guin
  48. Four Ways to Forgiveness, Ursula K. Le Guin
  49. The Telling, Ursula K. Le Guin
  50. Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen
  51. Mansfield Park, Jane Austen
  52. Lady Susan, Jane Austen
  53. Phoenix and Ashes, Mercedes Lackey
  54. Wizard of London, Mercedes Lackey
  55. The Serpent’s Shadow, Mercedes Lackey
  56. Seventeenth Summer, Maureen Daly
  57. Forever, Judy Blume
  58. Gates of Sleep, Mercedes Lackey
  59. Fever 1793, Laurie Halse Anderson
  60. A Great and Terrible Beauty, Libba Bray
  61. The Arrival, Shaun Tan
  62. Bronx Masquerade, Nikki Grimes
  63. Just Listen, Sarah Dessen
  64. Unexpected Magic: Collected Stories, Diana Wynne Jones
  65. Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang, Paul J. Steinhardt & Neil Turok
  66. Book of a Thousand Days, Shannon Hale
  67. Rebel Angels, Libba Bray
  68. The Sweet Far Thing, Libba Bray
  69. Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  70. Born Confused, Tanuja Desai Hidier
  71. Weetzie Bat, Francesca Lia Block
  72. Boy Meets Boy, David Levithan
  73. The Changeover, Margaret Mahy
  74. A Hero Ain’t Nothin But a Sandwich, Alice Childress
  75. The Ghosts of Now, Joan Lowery Nixon
  76. King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography, Chris Crutcher
  77. Monster, Walter Dean Myers
  78. How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff
  79. Gossip Girl, Cecily von Ziegesar
  80. A School for Sorcery, E. Rose Sabin
  81. When Jeff Comes Home, Catherine Atkins
  82. Magicians of Quality, Caroline Stevermer & Patricia C. Wrede
  83. The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick
  84. Uglies, Scott Westerfield
  85. The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years Later, Caroline Stevermer & Patricia C. Wrede
  86. Rules, Cynthia Lord
  87. The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan
  88. The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama
  89. Scholarly Magics, Caroline Stevermer
  90. The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I was very foolish yesterday.

While reading the first few chapters of The Eyre Affair, (which, thus far, has been quite delightful), I decided to just shut my eyes for a few moments and 'rest.'

Many hours later (after dreaming of trying to get impossibly huge trucks out of a garage and driving around in neighborhoods that were completely flooded) I woke up. In the dark. And realized that I didn't think I'd be able to sleep at all that night.

Well, I was mostly right. I finally fell asleep at approximately 4:30am, just as the sky was turning from very dark blue to a medium dark (and vaguely luminescent) blue. Of course, I nearly didn't wake up in time for work (I just barely had time for a shower, thank goodness--the people on the T would have lynched me otherwise, I think) and now I feel mostly normal, oddly enough.

Mostly I'm just irritated with myself for taking a nap; I should know better. I do know better. I know that if I fall asleep and have no mechanism in place to wake myself, I will continue to sleep indefinitely until A) someone else wakes me, B) the shouting of my bladder overcomes my desire to find out where the aliens have hid the baby's shoe in my dream, or C) the apocalypse.

So, I'm a little dissatisfied with myself. But heck--oh, well. I'm sure I'll get over it.

Now, if I can just stay awake until 10 or so...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Random Remembering?

Okay, so this is totally 100% optional, and if you choose NOT to participate, I will not mind in the least, nor will I consider you any less of a friend/family member if you decline to post something.

But this is kind of a fun idea, and I've seen it a couple of different places now, so I thought I'd try it as well. So IF you feel like participating, please do. Otherwise, I'll just keep posting as usual.

Here you go:

"1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you."

Monday, July 14, 2008

Confessions of an FHE less-active

I feel terrible.

I was all set to go to FHE today, despite the fact that the activity was undisclosed and the location was way up at the church, which would have meant an entire hour of travel time both to FHE and back home.

FHE started at 7:30.

I remembered about it at 7:20. And groaned.

Also, I just found out that I have not one, but two more weeks of working much more than I thought I was going to this summer. Which is really, really, really ultra great for my ability to pay rent and go see the occasional movie and, like, pay for groceries and stuff, but not so great for my ability to run off and do crazy random things like visit Western Massachusetts and read lots of books and get that cross-stitch project finished and work on submitting short stories to magazines and sundry other projects and...

Good grief!

What has happened to my summer?!?

In other news, I have decided to join a nunnery. I saw a monk while wandering around in Boston the other day, and I just thought, "That's it. That's what my life should be." Hm. Except that instead of a cowl I'd wear a habit. Which is less cool.

Sigh. Maybe I'll stick with being just a regular ol' LDS single for now.


I guess that's it.

The End.

Now, er, Go To and stuff.

Seriously, folks.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Beautifully Breakable

Um, so I kind of can't stop watching this. So, if I can't get over the addiction, I might as well spread it around some, right?


Monday, July 07, 2008

Hello, ma'am. Would you care for an atlas, perchance?

Two things:

First, I have officially moved into ma'am territory. I can't remember the first time I was called ma'am; it has slipped into the annals of history. However, I've begun to notice that whenever I forget to get my receipt from the clerk at the grocery store, or whenever I look lost while wandering among the towels, I am greeted not by "Hello, young and fresh-cheeked miss; would you care for any assistance?" but "You forgot your receipt, ma'am," or, "Ma'am, can I help you pick up that rack of towels you just knocked over?"

I guess it's appropriate. I'll be 30 in less than two months. And if you're not grown up at 30, then I don't know when you are.

But the truth is, I secretly don't feel like a grown-up. I never really have. I've always felt that there's something missing that I'm supposed to experience, some sort of test I need to take, or some sort of ID I'll get to carry around with me that says, "Lizardbreath McGee: Certifiable Adult."

I don't know. I wonder if I'll always feel this way, never quite feeling like I've reached adulthood because adulthood will never quite feel like I've anticipated. Maybe that's not such a bad thing, anyway.

Second thing: I really, really like atlases. When I took that trip to New York City, I jotted down the route we took (taking note of the major bridges we crossed and the interstates we went on) so I could look it up in my road atlas when I got home. Which I finally did today.

Sometimes I just love getting it out and tracing routes from place to place, following the massive road system that stretches out from city to city like so much webbing. I wish I could drive to all those places, just keep going and going until I've hit the opposite coast, then go further until I've gone to our southern border, then north, until I've seen every state, talked to the people there, tasted their food.

I don't know why I want to do this... Maybe it's the mystique that I still attach to the road trips my family took when I was a child, when we'd all pile into the car with our coloring books and listen to sing-along tapes and squabble with each other and marvel at the thunderstorms that swept over the desert in between California and Utah. I loved those times.

But for now, since I am 100% car-less, and since humankind has not yet invented a "Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor" (but apparently will in the future) and gas prices are frankly horrifying, I doubt I'll be able to take a lengthy road trip anytime in the near future.

So I'll just content myself with the atlas for now. And I'll try to get used to all that ma'am-ing.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


I saw a couple of wild turkeys while I was out walking this morning.

Just thought you should know.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Tying up loose ends

This is the post in which I am SO going to catch up.

Yes, that's right--I am going to fill you in on all the happenings of the last severalish weeks, those happenings which I failed to relate because I am just a lazy blob of goo.


(Uh. That's the noise that goo makes?)

In any case, lemme talk about New York City.

Okay--first of all, I had no idea that Boston was just a small town until I went to NYC. It's true! I got there and the buildings just went on and on and on forever. Seriously. There's no way that many buildings can be crammed onto Manhattan island. It defies the laws of space and time. And it's not just that buildings go on forever--the skyscrapers go on forever! It's like you're in this man-made system of canyons and mesas and...really tall steel hills and stuff. It's crazy! And BIG. And BUSY. And there are holy-hecka lots of people.

And I had a hard time with the humidity, but I think that was more just an adjustment from Utah weather (roughly 20% humidity on the wet days) to eastern weather (about 80% humidity on the dry and 'refreshing' days).

So, my roommate and I went down on the bus, which was actually fairly cheap. On the way down, I brought a couple of books to read and ended up spending most of my time just looking out the window. I do that on trips, whether it's by plane or car or train or stagecoach, and I'm not quite sure why. Maybe I just want to catch a glimpse of all those intervening places I've never been (and likely never will be). Also, I love seeing things I've never seen before. Like this morning, while my whites and darks were dutifully getting washed, I meandered up into the neighborhoods near my apartment. And even though I got rather wet when the rain decided to say, "To heck with all you Fourth of July Celebrateurs! I will be dastardly weather and foil all your plans! Haha!" I loved seeing the green of trees I'd never looked at before, loved the slightly misty unfamiliar landscape, spotted by blue and maroon and dark brown and bright yellow houses that were all tucked back behind bushes and stone fences.

But hey--I was talking about NYC, right?

Anyway--so we got to the bus stop and towed our luggage over to where you can get day-of discount Broadway tickets. Where we waited in line for awhile. And then we got tickets! To Gypsy! (And it was pretty fantastic, I tell ya what.)

We dumped our stuff of at our hotel, which was located about a block over from Rockefeller Center. And here's a view from our window (on the very topmost floor, thankyouverymuch):

Yah. It's like that. Everywhere.

Okay, and here's the huge gold dude that's in the middle of Rockefeller Center:

Yep. Don't know what else to say about him. Except that he really IS that gold-looking in real life! Pretty fancy stuff.

Okay, so that evening, we stopped off at the M&Ms World Store and indulged ourselves in purchasing bags of M&Ms in unusual colors. The mix in the picture below is called 'Whatever Colors Lizardbreath Happened to Find Interesting.' Also, I was reading my scriptures at the time? Tail end of Omni, looks like.

The next morning, my roommate and I tried to go see the Statue of Liberty all up close and personal. Unfortunately, I slept well into the morning, and so we didn't get to the ferry until rather later in the day, at which time the line to board was roughly the length of Manhattan Island. So, we opted to take pictures from the shore:

Aaand, I decided that this old couple was pretty fantastic. So, I snapped their picture in front of the Statue of Liberty. (I know--I'm just so generous.)

Because we were in that part of Manhattan, we decided to go see the World Trade Center site, and on the way we saw this fantastic old building that used to be the Old Customs House:

(I'm just so into juxtapositioning! Aren't you?)

Also en route, we saw Trinity Church (yes, of National Treasure fame):

And Wall Street (here's the sign for your viewing pleasure):

The World Trade Center Site is currently a very large pit under construction in the heart of the city.

I've always felt a little disconnected from the events of September 11th, mainly because I was on my mission at the time (basically a month before I came home), so everything I knew about it was second-hand, people we visited giving accounts of things they'd seen on TV in hushed voices with widened eyes. I saw a few still photos, but no TV coverage until a year after I'd been home. So, I don't know--seeing where all this happened made everything more tangible to me, and I feel like I moved a little closer to being, like all the other Americans, someone who was part of the events of that day.


So, on with the journey?

That night, my roommate and I went to see Curtains, starring David Hyde Pierce. And it was. Holy. Fantastic. Also fantastic was that the cast of the musical signed programs and whatnot on their way out of the theatre after the performance. So, we got to meet them all. Including DHP himself. Did I already say fantastic? Well. Double it.

And here I am (darkly) in Times Square, which we passed through numerous times during the weekend on our way to and from stuff. Yeah. About NYC being crowded? Pictoral proof, folks.

And here I am, attempting to be clever with the mirrors in the hotel room. Yeah. Good times.

On Sunday, we decided to expand our cultural horizons by attending Mass at Saint Patrick's Cathedral. Also, it was about a 2 minute walk from our hotel room. Then, later, we changed and went up to Central Park, where we relished numerous delicious skyscraper-and-parkland juxtapositions like this:

Gorgeous. And way fun.

And then we came home!

And now I am completely tuckered out from recounting all (er, well, 'most of') my NYC adventures, so I will cease and desist. At which you give great cries of thanks.

Oh, also, Happy Independence Day! I am even now deciding to stay home and watch the fireworks on TV. Mostly because I don't feel like braving the combination of heavy crowds and possible rainshowers. And I'm just so comfortable here with my computer. And.

And I'm a lazy bum. Bother.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

To all the men of the church:

I just ate the most fantastic pear.

Wait! No, that's not what I wanted to tell you.

What I wanted to tell you was this: You're Fantastic.

I am saying this simply because I think we have a cultural difficulty in the church, and it's one that (interestingly enough) gives women the advantage. I'm talking about the coddling we get in Relief Society, as opposed to the numerous 'Repent Ye!'s the men seem to get in priesthood.

Now, don't get me wrong--I see nothing wrong with telling the women of the church that they're pretty awesome. I think that we really do tend to be a bit hard on ourselves, and it's important to recognize and remember the value that each of us has. men not feel this way too? And yet, while the Relief Society gets lessons on how to find joy in our lives (including the important reminder to stop and smell the roses), the men get long lists of things that they're not doing and are told to (essentially) shape up or ship out. (Well, maybe not the 'ship out' part, but the 'shaping up' is definitely in there.)

So, to all you men out there, the men who learned incredulously of the deluxe lounges available for use in the women's bathrooms at BYU, the men who get the chastising talk(s) at Priesthood Session at General Conference, the men who feel culturally obligated to joke about their own ineptitude even as they praise their wives' wisdom, virtue and beauty, to you men I say, WELL DONE.

You guys are pretty great.

You're great fathers and husbands, sons and uncles, nephews and brothers. You do your home teaching. You carry inhumanly heavy boxes and unnavigable furniture down (and up) numerous flights of stairs. You give blessings and advice and you put up with our PMS and scatterings of beauty products and enormous hair clogs in the drains. You serve faithfully, giving up your evenings and weekends to try to provide leadership for this church of ours, and you do it all while wearing suits and ties. Good grief. Frankly, I don't know how you do it.

So women, just take a moment (even though Father's Day is totally over for another year) to celebrate the men in your life. Just. Heavens. Just tell them how amazing and wonderful they really are.

Like they tell us every week.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Would I sing if I were a bus driver?

So, I really need to get on that thing where I write about my New York trip. And maybe my Utah trip too. And I need to organize and upload pictures and generally just kind of fill everybody in on stuff...

But instead, I'm going to tell you about a singing bus driver.

First, let me paint the scene for you: I had gotten off work, had gone to get groceries (bow-tie pasta and bartlett pears, among other things) and then meandered down to get a perscription refill at a CVS Pharmacy down the street a ways. It had been humid all morning, and the clouds had finally gathered together and ripened to a dark blue-grey, lightning and thunder sending advance warning to those of us scurrying along the sidewalk. I got my refill, and glanced outside to see a wall of water coming down, making a little river out of the street.

Feeling some reluctance to do an impression of a grocery-carrying water nymph, I decided to wait out the fury of the storm by eating lunch. Luckily, I didn't have milk or any frozen things to worry about.

(Lunch was great, by the way.)

By the time I was done, the rain had eased considerably, although now all the stoplights along the street were out. (Which reminds me--does anyone here actually know how to blasted deal with non-functional stoplights? Because it seemed to me that mayhem reigned. (Mayhem is a tyrant, I tell ya.))

Because I am a lazy bum, and also because I didn't feel like walking through the still-persistent rain, I decided to wait for the bus to come and take me home. Because buses are actually kind of fun.

And this bus was extra and especially fun, due entirely to the driver. Because as he drove (navigating the unlit stoplights with remarkable aplomb), he sang.

He sang rather well, actually. Listening to it made me feel cheerful; it made me smile at the other passengers, it made me smile at the sodden landscape, it made me smile at my penchant for smiling.

And I had to wonder, if I were a bus driver, would I sing too?

I sing doing other things, like cleaning, but these are often solo activities (as it were). How would I feel with a bus full of passengers sitting behind me? Would I really be that carefree?

Maybe I'll prove myself in the future. Maybe I'll become the singing librarian, (a la Marian?) entertaining children (and their parents) with my renditions of old familiar favorites, like "The Bookworm Boogie" and "Once Upon a Treble Clef."

Or maybe I'll just stick to picture books and save my singing for the shower.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Out of the frying pan...

Well, I'm back in Boston again. It's odd--there's always this transition, or rather re-transitioning back to 'normal' life when you return to a place, things like which way you turn on the faucet in the shower, trying to recall where you keep your shoes, remembering just how dusty your room really is, being amazed at the ivy plant that survived three weeks without water.

It's kind of nice to be back again, though, even though it's kind of lame to be so far away from family again. I think I tend to get comfortable where I am, whether it's in Boston learning how to be a librarian or at home watching Star Trek with my mom and siblings--it's just the few days in between that tend to throw me off, days where I'm not quite sure where my foot is landing, days that I can't quite tell what I'm thinking or how to feel about it.

I like coming back, and I hate leaving--the problem is that they're all part of the same thing, and everything's all grouped together into one messy blob of tangled up emotions and I don't quite know what to do with it all.

So, it's probably a good thing that I'm leaving Boston again tomorrow morning to head off for a weekend trip to New York with my roommate. I've made an executive decision not to bring my laptop with me, mostly because it's just one more thing to pack (and it's kind of a heavy laptop), and it also means that I won't be using it to check my email every hour, which might allow me to actually enjoy my outing, rather than wandering about in a forlorn manner if I don't have any new messages from cool folks.

But, I will have my cell phone. So, those of you who need to call me (and report further on the absolute beauty and adorableness of my very brand newest wonderful nephew who was born today) should still be able to reach me.

I just may be inside the Statue of Liberty when I answer.

(Hah! So cool!)

Bippity Boppity Blog

So, I'm sitting at the gate in the Las Vegas airport, waiting for my flight to start boarding... (I have a layover here in between my departure from Salt Lake and my arrival at Boston Logan Airport tomorrow morning.)

And, naturally, (as young people's minds turn to love in the spring), my mind turned to blogging.

Also, I am terrible at using similies late at night. You may have noticed.

Anyway--I just wanted to report something I never knew: you cannot walk 10 feet in the Vegas airport without bumping into a slot machine. Seriously. You walk off the airplane, into the gate area, and whammo! Lights! Sounds! The scent of money running furiously into the pockets of casino owners! (It smells like fruitcake, liberally laced with doggy doo, in case you were wondering.)

Also, I saw a disposal container for used needles in the women's bathroom.

Ah, Las Vegas. How unique you are. It almost makes me feel affectionate about it.


I'll add a picture (of the slot machines, of course) to the post when I get home tomorrow.

Edit: Here ya go!

Until then, happy...whatever. Happy living. And here's hoping I have a happy and sleep-filled flight.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Babies are even better than delicious breakfast sandwiches

I don't mean to imply with the title of my post that I enjoy consuming babies. (Unless, of course, you count those little nibbles you give them on their legs. And fingers. And neck. Oh, babies! They're so nibbleable!)

Really, what I'm talking about is this morning, when I woke up, and heard my 3.5-month-old niece (the same one whose cooing turns me into a viscous substance known to Science only as 'Auntie Goo') squawking indignantly, probably at the reprehensible neglect of the adults in the area who were refusing to let her eat and sleep, which is really mostly what she's interested in doing.

Being the non-lactating sort of female mammal, I was unable to help with the feeding bit. But, while my sister and brother-in-law and their other kids (plus assorted other family members) sat down to chow down on some delicious breakfast sandwiches (lovingly concocted by my culinarily talented sis), I got to hold the baby.

And she fell asleep in my arms.

And despite the numerous offers of Grammy (my mom), various sisters, and even my bro-in-law to hold her while I ate, I refused to give her up. Because the weight of her was just perfect, and the pleasure of watching her pacifier vibrate as she dreamed was too great. And because of those moments when you just get to sit and wonder at this extraordinarily wonderful tiny person, and even the moments when you hold them and stop breathing for a moment, just to be sure they still are.

I'm kind of in love with my niece at the moment. I'm apt to start composing odes.

But believe me, if she fell asleep in your arms, you would definitely feel the same way.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

I'm just never going to get back to that story, am I

My brother-in-law keeps insisting that I mention him in my blog.

Because you know how my blog makes people famous. Also, I can use it to bend and shape reality. I could probably give people the ability to fly if I mentioned them here in this blogging land.

So there you go, Ben. Go and fly. Just make sure to give your kids rides, otherwise they'll be cranky for days.

Speaking of the marvelous kids of my sister and brother-in-law, have I mentioned yet that they're marvelous? And that they like to get rides from their flying dad?

Seriously, though--I have really enjoyed being around these kids for the past several days. I keep getting all amazed at how funny and how articulate and how gosh-darn-it adorable they are. Also, they apparently think I'm hilarious. Or possibly just weird and crazy. But, either way, I think my 'Favorite Auntie' status is almost in the bag. (Now, if I could just learn how to fly...)

Also, it is really, really, really ultra nice to see what great parents my sister & brother-in-law are. I think that a hefty chunk of the greatness of their children is due to the greatness of themselves. (Did that sentence make any sense?)

Also, the sound of my three-month-old neice cooing is just about enough to make me melt into a puddle of sticky auntie goo. (Goo! Gross!)

Um... And we leave for Utah in, like, two days! Hooray for seeing family! It's officially my favorite thing ever. Even flying couldn't be as good as this.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

No, it's still not the fiction story. It's better.

Guys, I am amazed. I've been spending about the last hour just going over tonight again and again in my head and I'm just. I'm just amazed. About a lot of things.

Let me back up a bit.

Tonight, I needed to get my temple recommend renewed, because I had foolishly never gotten the new kind with the barcodes that are now necessary in at least the U.S. temples. And my mom really, really wanted for us to all do some work together while I'm home visiting the fam.

So tonight, I needed an interview with a member of the stake presidency, as I had previously been interviewed by a member of the bishopric. The only problem was that the chapel where the interviews take place is a little difficult to get to by using public transportation. So difficult, in fact, that I had never been there before. Although it is (nearly) right next to the Boston Temple, which I had visited a few times, although only once by using the MBTA.


So, because the interviews started at 7pm, and I wanted to be sure to get done early so I could get back and finish packing, I left my apartment about 6pm, thinking that it would take me about an hour (give or take 15 minutes or so) to get to the appropriate subway stop, take the bus, and walk the necessary distance to the chapel.

It took three hours.

First of all, the train ride into the center of town was rather unpleasantly wet. We had a thunderstorm system move through the area, and the train apparently was not fully protected against the wiles of nature; the roof dripped the whole way into downtown.

Also, when we were about halfway to the stop where I had to change subway lines, the driver of the train announced that the station I needed was closed due to an emergency, and that we could get out either a stop before or a stop after to catch a shuttle bus service to the parts of the other line that were down.

So, not wanting to sit in my ever-increasing little pool of train-filtered rainwater any longer, I opted for the earlier stop, got off the train, walked up to street level, and walked over to where hordes of people were standing around, waiting for the shuttle buses. (Remember, this was right in the middle of evening rush hour, and this is one of the busiest stations in the system, I think.) So, I stood in the crowd for a long, long time, (I had forgotten my phone, and I had no watch, so I had no idea what time it was), a bus or two came by, which were immediately rushed by the crowd, and I got a little closer to the front of the mass of bodies. Then, buses for the other direction kept coming up and passing us. Over. And over. And over.

By this time, I was seriously starting to have doubts about whether or not I would make the interview. I thought about just giving it up as a bad job, but the thought of missing out on possibly getting the recommend, when I might get it if I perservered, was intolerable. I couldn't let myself give up.

So, I stood there for even more time. And more. While glistening in the humidity and rather warm air.

Finally a bus came that was going the right direction, so the crowd pressed onboard, and we were at last on our way.

Then, before we had even gotten to the next stop, the bus broke down.

Apparently, these buses are meant to hold about 50 people max, with 40 in the seats, and maybe about an additional 10 standing in the aisles. The bus driver estimated that there were about 110 people on board. The hydraulics system on the right-hand side of the bus broke down, so the bus started leaning right. Hard. And we couldn't go faster than about 10mph. Everybody tried to stand over to the left of the bus (which was where I had been, so I got a bit squished), but we eventually had to pull over.

A bunch of the passengers hopped on other buses, (also tightly packed), but there wasn't room for everyone. After a few minutes, the bus driver had the rest of us get back on the bus, but at that point, we were down to maybe 20 people. We all sat or stood on the left side of the bus, and made sort-of good time past the first stop, but unfortunately, the bus just couldn't keep going, and we all had to get off at the second stop.

So, we did. And waited while a lot of 'not knowing what was going on' happened.

And here I have to make a comment: one of the funny things about this whole experience (it was now probably not quite 8 o'clock, so most of us had been trying to get to our destinations for a couple of hours) was that it broke the silence that normally exists between public transportation users. It's as if this invisible (yet impenetrable) barrier exists around each person, and crossing that barrier by chatting with someone you don't know is a sort of serious social taboo. Sort of.

But that taboo just could not survive the wonderfully improbable and highly impossible situation in which we all found ourselves. We all started laughing at how crazy and horrible and frustrating and funny it all was. (One girl's laughter sounded a bit hysterical, but I think she made it through okay.) One of the funniest moments was when the bus driver, in frustration with having to take the bus out of service, and the complete lack of direction he was getting from his superiors, turned to the guy in the front seat and said, "This is what I have to put up with. Stay in school, man."

So, there we all were, outside of Kendall Square station, wondering how long it would take to get another bus to us so that we could finally get to Harvard Square station, where apparently the subway was up and running. Then, one of the T-employees in the know told us that Kendall Square was now open for northbound trains. Joyously, we began to frolick downstairs, and found out that we had to go in the other side of the station. So, with joy liberally mixed with trepedation, we made our way down the other side, where we were able to board a train. That was going the right direction. And it really did pull out of the station.

(And the cool thing is that everybody was still talking to each other.)

So, we finally got to Harvard, where I got off to figure out which bus to take to get up to the chapel. But, naturally, there were no schedules available for the bus that I thought I needed to take (the 78). So, I grabbed a different schedule instead (the 77) and went to go see which bus came first. It was the 78. (By the way, I later realized that the 78 route was printed on the 77 schedule as well.)

By this time, it was dark outside, (it was about 8:30, according to the clock on the bus), so when we pulled out of Harvard Square station, I realized that finding the right stop was going to be tricky. Then, as we went along and along and even more along, I began thinking, 'None of this looks familiar. I really, really do not know where we are right now. I bet I took the wrong bus.' Which was discouraging, as you may imagine, since I had just spent the past two and a half hours trying to make the interview. Again, I kind of wanted to give up, but I thought I'd just ride the bus to the end of the route and then back to Harvard station again if I hadn't seen the temple along the way. (Remember, the chapel was next to the temple, so I was going to use the temple as my guidepost. Because it was lit up. And thus easy to see.)

One by one, (well, occasionally in twos and threes), all the passengers got off the bus until it was just me. It was very dark outside. I couldn't see anything, and I really didn't quite know where we were on the route. Finally, I saw the temple up ahead, so I signalled the bus driver to stop. He made a turn under an overpass, and pulled up at a covered bus stop, where I got off.

It was completely deserted.

And did I mention it was dark?

And I was armed only with an umbrella?

So, I cursed myself for the biggest idiot the world has ever known, and walked briskly, weilding my umbrella like a club, as I walked under the overpass, convinced that lurking in the shadows were murderers and rapists and probably rabid dogs.

Guys, in all seriousness, I was actually really terrified. And I really did think that I had been an idiot to get off the bus. Because it was really dark. I cannot even tell you how dark it was under that overpass. It was one of those moments when you realize that something really bad really, really could happen to you, and probably will.

But, I made it through. And if there were rapists, murderers and rabid dogs lurking around, I didn't see them. Which is good, because I don't think my umbrella would have been quite enough. So, I started walking up the hill towards the temple, still not quite sure where exactly the chapel was located.

Also? It was past 9 o'clock now. I knew that once I found the chapel, it would be deserted, and I'd have to walk some more in the terrifying dark in order to find a bus stop where I would wait and continue to be terrified until maybe a bus came along before horrible things happened to me. And I would go home in disgrace.

Also, there was no sidewalk. So I kind of had to walk in the street a little.

By this time, I could have wept with frustration. I almost did. I felt like I had tried so hard, and it still wasn't going to be enough. I was still going to have to call my mom and tell her that I couldn't go with the family to the temple because I was a dope and didn't have the right recommend and then.

There was the sign for the chapel.

So, I turned down the street (lit with a few streetlamps) and saw a parking lot in the distance.

It had cars in it. Not very many, but there were cars.

I got up to the chapel door, convinced that it would be locked.

It wasn't.

I walked inside, convinced that I'd find someone cleaning the building, or people playing late-night basketball or something.

I saw a girl in a skirt sitting on a couch. Which was the most wonderful thing I could have seen just then. I tentatively asked if they were still doing interviews for temple recommends (I think it was about a quarter after 9pm by this time) and she said that she was waiting for her own recommend interview, and pointed out the person I needed to talk to in order to sign in.

So I signed in.

And I sat down.

And I tried really hard not to cry because I was just feeling this sense of being amazed and awed and stunned that after all the halting and mishaps and obstacles, I had made it. They were still there. I could still have a temple recommend.

When the stake president called me into his office, he talked with me for a moment, then asked if I'd be willing to share a bit of my testimony with him. I felt a rush of the spirit, and I bore my testimony with a more firm conviction than I've felt in a long time. And again, I struggled not to cry.

The interview went fine, a brother from the other singles ward gave me a ride to the nearest T stop so I wouldn't have to wait in the dark for a bus, and I got home a little after 10:30.

Guys, I think there is something really valuable about this experience. I think sometimes the things that are good and right for us to do come very easily; the way opens up for us suddenly, spectacularly, like the parting of the Red Sea, and we walk through on dry ground towards the Promised Land.

But this was not a Red Sea moment for me. For me, this was one of those times when the thing I was supposed to do was hard, a time when all these awful (and sometimes even ridiculous) obstacles kept getting thrown in my path. And I nearly gave up. And didn't. And now I have what I needed.

The Lord shows us all kinds of tender mercies. Tonight, mine came in the form of a busted subway system, a broken bus, and a rectangular piece of (barcoded) paper that's securely stashed in my purse.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


So, I wasn't going to post anything until I got my bit of fiction finished (which is one reason why I haven't posted in awhile, because I have been doing a lot of not writing it)...

But I have to tell you about this.

I just have to.

Because you will be utterly jealous, and I kind of really want you to be.

This evening, some friends and I went to see the Boston Pops, because John Williams was conducting, which, as you know, makes the experience extra awesome. Because John Williams rocks.

Anyway--so we had tickets for the orchestra (which is a large open area on the ground floor) which means that we got to order food during the performance. So, I got Boston Creme Pie. While watching the Boston Pops. (Also, root beer.) How. Blasted. Cool. Is. That.

The music was, of course, fantastic; the orchestra played bits from Far and Away, Dr. Zhivago, the theme from the Julia Ormond Sabrina, Lawrence of Arabia (one of my favorite films), and the bulk of the evening (the second half) was taken up entirely with music from the Harry Potter films. One of the best parts of the experience was that they had montages from some of the films while they played the music. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it was awesome.

Then, when the performance was all finished, the audience was reeeeeeaaally enthusiastic. Like, they wouldn't stop clapping. So, we got an encore performance of, GET THIS, a piece of music from the new Indiana Jones movie. Mwahahaha!

Then, because the audience was seriously clap-happy, we got a SECOND encore, this time the major Indy theme.

And THEN, we got a THIRD encore, which was the E.T. theme.

After that, John Williams had to pantomime going to sleep before the audience would finally sit down and stop clapping. Seriously, folks. These performers just might want to go home.

Anyway. Now that you've all turned a wholly satisfying bright shade of green, I will leave off for this evening.

You can thank me later.

P.S. For pics, check out my roommate Pinto's blog.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

In which the author continues to tell the most appalling lies.

Chapter 2

Beth paused at the bottom of her apartment building to readjust her grip on the bag of pastries and the marmot-filled cage. The hand that had held the cage had a red line across the palm where the metal had dug into it. Beth glared at the line in some disgust and asked herself for the fifteenth time just what exactly she thought she was doing.

"Why, rescuing us, of course," said a squeaky voice emanating from the general direction of the caged animals.

Beth jumped back, glad she had already set the cage down; she was sure she would have dropped it otherwise. The bag of pastries, of course, fell from her suddenly paralyzed fingers, and a single éclair fell out, landing with a gentle squelching noise right outside the marmots' cage.

"Unghrgh," Beth said, which, under the circumstances, she felt was quite a reasonable statement to make.

"Oh, don't be coy," said the voice, now unmistakably coming from one of the marmots. The one who had spoken curled its tiny paws around the wiring of the cage and pressed its nose through a small opening. The other marmot sidled over to the éclair, and began picking at it, pulling pieces into the cage and stuffing them into its mouth.

Beth sat down hard on one of the carpeted stairs.

"I'm so sorry," she said, even though she wasn't. "I always feel frustrated with characters in books who just can't seem to get over it when an animal starts talking to them, but really, it is just so astonishing when it happens in real life."

The speaking marmot shrugged, (or at least Beth thought it was a shrug; it looked so different on a marmot), then turned its head towards its companion and reached out one paw, palm up. The
éclair-eating marmot paused and swallowed, then obligingly passed over a sizable chunk of pastry. The first marmot stuffed it in its mouth, then licked both its paws thoroughly.

"Ah," it said at last. "That baker does an extraordinary job. He'd be quite a fine human if he weren't so insufferable."

Beth said, "Hmm," as noncommittally as possible, then leaned forward over her knees to peer at the cage more closely.

"Wait," she said. "Isn't there some part where you're supposed to explain just how exactly you learned how to talk, or why you're talking now, or did I miss that bit?"

The marmot looked at Beth scornfully. She didn't know how it managed it.

"Do you think we go around asking humans how they learned how to talk? Or cows? Or dung beetles? Of course not. Really," it huffed, "you people are so species-centric."

Beth blinked a couple of times, then leaned forward to rest her forehead on her knees as she sighed heavily.

"Fine," she said, her voice muffled by her speaking into her jeans. She lifted her head and looked at the marmots again. "But I don't really have time to deal with talking marmots right now, you know, even if you were to tell me how you did it. It's almost the end of the semester, for crying out loud! How about I rent a car and take you guys out to Walden Pond, eh? Would that do? I'll even give you the rest of the

éclair-eating marmot nudged the other with a furry elbow and stage-whispered, "Isn't there a lovely bakery out there in Concord? Sally Ann's, wasn't it?"

The other marmot put one paw on its companion's shoulder, and said, "Patience, Jean-Marc." Then, turning to Beth, it said, "We gladly accept your offer. In any case, it beats being drowned in the Charles River."

Several hours later, Beth pulled her Zipcar up onto the side of the road, in a woodsy area bordering Walden Pond. (She didn't feel it would be the best idea to release the marmots too close to Concord and its enticing bakeries.) She pulled the cage out of the backseat, rested it gently on the ground and undid the clasp, then stood back to allow the marmots ample room to burst forth into the wilds of Massachusetts.

They ambled out of the cage, and one of them came up and looked up at her expectantly. (She was pretty sure it was the one who had first spoken to her; its fur was a little darker than the other's.) The marmot cleared its throat. Beth looked down at it blankly.

The marmot raised itself on its hind legs and rolled its eyes. "The
éclairs?" it said, putting both paws on its rodent hips.

"Oh!" said Beth, embarrassed, and dove into the passenger-side to retrieve the bag of pastries
. "Here," she said, handing the bag over to the importunate marmot.

The marmot sniffed and said, "That's better," then started off, dragging the bag behind it.

Beth watched for a little while, and then shook her head, laughed a little to herself, and turned back to the Zipcar.

"You realize what this means, of course," she heard just as she was about to shut the front door.

"What?" she said, leaning and looking back at the retreating marmots.

The one with the bag had raised itself on its hind legs again, and cupped its paws around its mouth. "You'll get three wishes, I mean!" it shouted.

"Wha... For saving you?" Beth said.

The marmot shook its head and called out, "You read too many fairy tales! No, it's for the
éclairs!" and it turned back and shuffled along through the leaves until it and the other marmot were completely out of sight.

(To be continued...)