Wednesday, December 31, 2008

100 Things, Part 3

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

I had a snorkel on, and I was in the ocean with a bunch of fish, so I suppose the answer is yes.

52. Kissed in the rain

Kissed what in the rain? Kissed my cat in the rain? Yes, and wet cats smell bad, so I wouldn't recommend it.

53. Played in the mud

Mud-whomping is good fun, especially if you have a lot of good clean squishy mud (good = no twigs or leaves or pokey things).

54. Gone to a drive-in theater

I sat on the roof of our van. The movie was Casper. Wahoo.

55. Been in a movie

Hmm... That depends on what kind of movie you're talking about. If you mean the type of movie that you'd find on IMDB, then no, I haven't been in a movie.

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

No. We went to a Chinese restaurant instead. Mmm, that sounds really good right now.

57. Started a business

Business isn't really my thing.

58. Taken a martial arts class

But I can still take you, so don't provoke me! :o)

59. Visited Russia

I would quite like to visit Russia. I would also like to speak Russian.

60. Served at a soup kitchen

I served at a homeless dinner, but it wasn't soup, and it wasn't at a soup kitchen.

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

Yes! Over the years I have done considerably more buying than selling, however.

62. Gone whale watching

Did we? Or did we only talk about it? I can't remember. I went flying fish watching though, and that was exciting.

63. Got flowers for no reason

Does this mean that I bought flowers for no reason, or received flowers for no reason? I don't think there's ever no reason for receiving flowers, but there can sometimes be no reason for buying flowers.

64. Donated blood, platelets and/or plasma

I gave blood once, just to prove to myself that I could do it. I don't like things going in my body that shouldn't be there (like needles). Halfway through, the lady told me my lips were purple. She watched me closely after that, I guess to make sure I didn't faint.

65. Gone sky diving

I have really no desire to do so. I'm a frequent flier in my dreams, and that's good enough for me.

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp


And why is this sandwiched in between skydiving and bounced checks? Of all the inappropriate places... Of course, I don't think there really is an appropriate place for a concentration camp. It's a category all its own.

67. Bounced a check

Do you know, I honestly can't remember. There was one thing once that might have been a bounced check, but I'm not sure.

68. Flown in a helicopter

That would be fun.

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

More like every childhood toy. Where are they? In a box, in the garage (of course).

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial


71. Eaten caviar

Why would I want to do that? Unfortunately, I think I have.

72. Pieced a quilt

Confession: I don't sew unless I need to. That's not to say I don't enjoy it, I just don't do it.

73. Stood in Times Square

If I went to New York, I'd do a little bit more than stand in Times Square. Why don't you ask if I've been to the Met? Or stood in Times Square on New Year's Eve? Those are much more exciting.

74. Toured the Everglades

All these things require money...

75. Been fired from a job

No, but I've quit some.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

100 Things, Part 2

26. Gone skinny dipping

Honestly, what kind of woman do you think I am? I have been midnight swimming in Lake Michigan, yes, but I had a swimsuit on.

27. Run a marathon

I've run the 5K and the 3K, but I don't think I'd have the stamina or endurance to run a marathon, particularly without an inhaler.

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

Does the Venetian in Las Vegas count?

29. Seen a total eclipse

I think so. I've seen eclipses.

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

If you have never watched a sunrise or a sunset, you need to do so ASAP.

31. Hit a home run

Um... I think the more important question would be whether or not I've ever hit anything at all when attempting to play baseball. There's a reason I'm not an athlete.

32. Been on a cruise

No, and I don't have any particular desire to do so, either.

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

I would highly recommend it. If you're going to go under the falls, it's better from the American side. If you're going to just look at the falls, it's better from the Canadian side.

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

By birthplace do you mean the country? Or the actual birthplace? I've been to many countries from which my ancestors came, yes.

35. Seen an Amish community

Why is this on the list? Are Amish people an item to be checked off? An oddity to be goggled at? Sheesh.

36. Taught yourself a new language

Hmm... No. I'd like to, but... I'd rather learn a new instrument before a new language.

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

I was going to ask if that was even possible, but Oriana had this in bold on her list, so I guess it is. And of course I could take the viewpoint that it's not money that brings satisfaction, but I can honestly say I would be a lot more satisfied if I had more money. Money is the cause of most of my stress.

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

No, and I probably never will.

39. Gone rock climbing


40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

There's quite a large replica at the Venetian in Las Vegas, however. I've seen that.

41. Sung karaoke

Thank you, elegyrl!

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

And went in the gift shop, too!

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

Define stranger.

44. Visited Africa

In real life, or in my dreams?

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

Bring a jacket. It's cold.

46. Been transported in an ambulance

No, but I've been IN an ambulance, thanks to elegyrl.

47. Had your portrait painted

Painted? For real? Who does this, people? Like sit down and have someone paint you? How egocentric is that? I mean, unless you're the model or whatever. But I'm not a model, so no.

48. Gone deep sea fishing

Blah to fishing.

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

Italy. No.

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

And that is one experience that you can't get from looking at a picture.

Monday, December 29, 2008

100 Things, Part 1 (of 4)

The alleged purpose of this blog is so that everyone can learn more about me, simply through reading whether or not I've performed certain actions or seen certain objects in my lifetime. The assumption that a human life can be so categorized and defined is, in my opinion, distasteful, and the complete lack of personalization from such a list seems to contradict the very idea upon which it is predicated.

I am drawn to the copied post, however, because it involves a list. A long list. And I like lists.
If you are not familiar with the concept, the blogger is supposed to copy these 100 items, paste them into their own blog entry, then re-do the font so that the bold items communicate activities that the blogger has experienced. I will comply, with annotations.

1. Started your own blog

Honestly, do you need this item? How many people posting this to their blog have not started a blog? I guess someone else could have started their blog for them...

2. Slept under the stars

Yes, a couple times, most notably on a trampoline.

3. Played in a band

Is there a band I haven't played in? I mean, besides those things that most people think of when they hear the word "band."

4. Visited Hawaii

Alas, no. And don't remind me, either, I'm a little touchy about it.

5. Watched a meteor shower

Define "shower." I don't know.

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

How can you give more than you can afford? You can only give what you have, and you can't give any more than that. This one makes no sense.

7. Been to Disneyland

Multiple times. I know Disneyland.

8. Climbed a mountain

Define mountain. I may or may not have, depending on the definition.

9. Held a praying mantis

Did I ever hold one? I can't remember, though I've held all sorts of other things: fish, snails, caterpillars, pill bugs, spiders, mice, rats, hamsters, cats, dogs, rabbits, lizards, snakes, frogs, toads, guinea pigs, ducklings, chicks, other birds, etc. I'm going to assume that I've held a praying mantis as well.

10. Sang a solo

Multiple times. Is there a specific venue indicated here?

11. Bungee jumped

Boo-ya. I was eleven or so. It was great. They gave me a shirt that said on the back, "Jump this!" in kind of the same style as those "No Fear" shirts that were popular back then. I didn't wear it much, for fear someone would take it literally and jump me.

12. Gone on a hot air balloon ride

No, but wouldn't that be great?

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea

No, but I've watched from other places, like from my bed, under a blanket.

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

What is meant by "art"? And what is meant by "taught"? Can you become skilled in any art without outside human interaction and study? I don't like this item. I denounce its assumptions.

15. Adopted a child

Well, that's an unqualified no.

16. Had food poisoning

I have no idea. I have a rather strong stomach, so if I did and it was slight, I might not have noticed it.

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

This would presuppose that I'd ever been to New York City.

18. Grown your own vegetables

With parental guidance (I was a kid).

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

Yes, and what a thrill that was. Take it from me, folks: if you want to get a close-up, save yourself a couple thousand dollars and a big headache, and buy a print.

20. Slept on an overnight train

Almost, but no.

21. Had a pillow fight

I generally lose, however, since I don't like actually hurting people.

22. Hitch hiked

No, but I gave a hitchhiker a ride once. Well, actually he was just a homeless man who asked me for a ride, and I said yes. But that's technically hitchhiking, is it not?

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

Mentally, or physically? Because I think the standard measurements for illnesses and qualifications for sick days are severely limited in the case of mental breakdowns.

24. Built a snow fort

I would claim a geographical disadvantage on this point if it were not for the fact that my parents took us each year to play in the snow, and also that I've lived in Utah for the last ten years (more or less).

25. Held a lamb

Wouldn't that be a great experience? I've had a calf suck my thumb, but I've never held a lamb.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


When I was little, I spelled jewelry "jewlery." That was how I pronounced it, so obviously that's the way you'd spell it, right?

Then my mom pointed out I was spelling it wrong. I had no concept of the word "jewel," apparently, so I didn't memorize the correct spelling. I just understood that I had an E out of order.

For many years when I wrote the word, I remembered I tended to spell it wrong, and it was something about the e, but I wasn't sure of the correct spelling. Pathetic, no? I agree. It is pathetic. But I ended up spelling the word "jewelery." You want an e? I've got one! Heck, I've got three!

By now I have learned how to spell the word correctly. It's jewelry. I even know how to pronounce it correctly too.

Isn't it great the things we learn as we get older?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Handel's Messiah

At the request of Father Edit, here are some words concerning the Messiah concert in which I recently sang with my two Superaunts (that's super aunts, for those who don't remember).

Going into the concert, I was a bit nervous, but not because of stage fright. I'm going to be brutally honest, as I'm a musician, and if you want to call me a jerk, that's fine: the orchestra sounded dismal at the rehearsal on Saturday. Well, perhaps that is a bit harsh: the bassoonist and oboist were good. At any rate, I was nervous as to how well the work would hold together without the liberty of stopping and starting and getting everyone in the right place again.

Luckily, the directors had prepared for just such a situation, and the orchestra Sunday was larger than that of Saturday. The additional players seemed to have the advantage of knowing how to count.

I was sitting in the top row, next to my aunt. I was on the very end, and quite glad for it: I wouldn't have any dreadful singers in my ear to annoy me. Perhaps it was my mention of this fact to my aunts that was responsible for what happened.

One of the soloists was sitting in the row in front of me (there were four rows, so she was in the third). The space next to her was left open, so the soloists could stand at the mic for their parts. The soloist's daughter--who looked kind of like a Clementine, so that's what I'll call her--was absent for the sound check, and showed up after the opening prayer, when the announcer man was standing up and saying such-and-such about who-knows-what.

Clementine needed a seat. There were no black non-collapsible choir seats handy, so Clem, spotting a brownish-grey metal folding chair over against the wall, grabbed it and headed in for the open spot next to her mother. Her mother shook her head and whispered for her to sit on the ground row, the first row. Clem stood pondering this. I don't think she understood it. The girl next to her, by whom she would have sat had she sat on the first row, indicated that it was actually ok to go sit on the top row.

I, unfortunately, did not shake my head no. I should've. But I didn't, so Clementine climbed up the (rather large) risers to the top row, and placed her chair between me and the artificial Christmas trees that decorated the edge. I did not move my chair (and there wasn't room even if I had wanted to).

As Clementine was putting the chair in place however, she dropped it. Luckily, she was carrying it partway open, so it only fell on its feet, but a metal chair being dropped in any form is loud, and last night was no exception.

Thus began the concert.

As the work progressed, I learned that Clementine was not only somewhat tone-deaf, she apparently didn't know how to read music either. Well, maybe she does, but she's a follower singer. She kind of makes a noise that goes up and down and generally resembles singing, but only when the people next to her are singing too.

After a while I thought that maybe it wasn't a bad thing she was next to me: when such singers stand near me I tend to sing louder, to compensate for their off-pitch droning. I was singing very well last night, thanks to Clementine.

Other highlights:

-The hornist, who had a hairdo a la Napoleon Dynamite, fraqued* nearly every entrance, and quite a few of the other notes too. Apparently this isn't as noticeable to non-hornists.

-The tympanist, I was amazed to see, tuned the tympani without a note from a pitch pipe or anything. They were a few cents** off, but not enough that 99% of the people would notice.

-The trumpeter gave a mighty fraque in the Hallelujah chorus due to the fact that he crescendoed too early. Poor fellow.

-There is nothing quite as exciting as a live performance, especially when I am one of the performers.

-I would rather play the horn than sing.

-I miss my horn.

-I would rather perform than sit in the audience.

-The Hallelujah chorus will never cease to give me goosebumps.

The concert was greatly improved by the presence of Olive, Tree-hugger, and three of my cousins.

*fraque, v. 1. In music, to miss the note, esp. for a hornist or brass player. 2. Any instance in which a note is not properly played. Did you hear that fraque? He totally biffed it!

**100 cents is one half step.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Stuck In My Room

Do you ever notice how when people haven't blogged in a while they tend to write a reason and apologize? Interesting.

The night I went home for Thanksgiving I'd said good night to my parents, and was in my room with my cat. It was raining furiously outside. I was ready to go to bed, but decided to get some water first, since I was thirsty. Plus, Anya (my cat) wanted to go out.

This is a very boring story so far, can you tell? Don't worry, it gets exciting soon.

I technically could have obtained water from the sink in the bathroom to quench my thirst (as elegyrl pointed out afterwards), but I wanted a water bottle from the fridge. I put my hand on the doorknob and turned and pulled. Nothing happened. I tried again. Still nothing.

Sometimes doorknobs are a little slippery, and I'd just put lotion on. I wiped off my hands and used my shirt to turn the doorknob. The latch didn't move. I tried again and again. I struggled for a little bit. The door would not open, because turning the knob did not move the latch.

I had two choices: I could go to bed and hope it would all be better in the morning, or I could call my parents from my cell phone and hope they could get me out. I called my parents. They came down the hall and, when they discovered they could not open the door either, got out the tools.

After attempting several different door-opening techniques, it was determined that my dad should come in through my window to try to knock the pins out of the hinges (my little dings on the pins produced no result--they were really stuck). Before he could get soaked in the rain, however, Mother Edit used some sort of magic (the doorknob was off at that point, except for the latch, which still wouldn't budge) and the door swung open.

The next day Father Edit replaced the door with a new knob which worked.

I told my parents if they didn't want me to go back to Utah, there was a better way to say it than by locking me in my room.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Home For The Holidays

If I were still on my mission, I'd be serving my last transfer right now. How very odd.

Last year I was not home on Thanksgiving (obviously). Ironically, this year my parents are observing Thanksgiving on Saturday in order to accommodate various schedules. This is the first year ever I did not eat turkey on Thanksgiving (though I did eat chicken).

I'll be coming home for Christmas, too. I wasn't planning on it originally, since I don't really have the money, but then I got to thinking and realized I haven't been home for Christmas since 2004. Who knew?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Quiz: Piñata Guts

1. Which of the following would you expect to find in a piñata at a birthday party?

A. whipped cream, coffee grounds, and cucumbers
B. cooked spaghetti, tomato sauce, and chow mein noodles
C. french fries and ketchup
D. birthday cake ingredients (cake mix, oil, water, and whole eggs in the shell)
E. twinkies and dollar bills

2. Which of those were actually used as piñata stuffing at a birthday party which Betty attended earlier this year?

A. All of them in one piñata.
B. All of them in their respective piñatas.
C. Only E.
D. None of them.

It doesn't really matter how you answered the first question, but if you chose B for question #2, you win!

Here's a bonus question in case you didn't get the right answer:

3. Who got splorped by the contents of the whipped cream, coffee grounds and cucumber piñata?

A. Betty
B. Olive
C. The Birthday Girl
D. Tree Hugger
E. Someone else

Thursday, November 13, 2008

21st Century Hot Water Bottle*

The older I get (and yes, I realize 27 is not very old), the more I realize I'm turning into my mother (love you, Mom!). In particular, I am always cold. It used to astound me how cold my mom would get, and now I bring a jacket with me wherever I go.

My current residence is fairly warm, but my room tends to be a bit colder, for some reason. My bed, specifically, is quite frigid when I get in it at night.

Most nights I use my computer about half an hour before I go to bed (checking email, reading blogs, etc.), and the other night I had a grand idea. After I turned off my laptop, I placed it and the cord (that big box part of the cord that gets really hot--what's that called?) under my comforter. When I got into bed half an hour later, voila! My bed was warm!

Yet another reason I love my laptop.

*If you do not know what a hot water bottle is, click here.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Slanted Helmet

When I was little, maybe ten or so, the law in my neighborhood changed so that every person under the age of 18 had to ride a helmet when riding a bicycle. My parents already made me wear a helmet, so the law didn't make much difference to me.

One day as I was biking around the park, a man with a notebook stopped me. He said he was a reporter and asked me what I thought about the new helmet law. I tried to use the most adult-sounding language I knew, and spoke to what I assumed was the adult point of view: I said it was a good law and it was a lot safer.

When the article came out in the paper a couple days later, I read through it to see if he'd quoted me, but he hadn't. In fact, he hadn't quoted anyone who thought the law was a good idea. The article was written to the people who didn't like the new law.

I kicked myself for a few minutes, wondering why I'd said what I thought he wanted to hear. "I should've just given him my real opinion," I thought. But then when I contemplated it further, I realized I had given him my real opinion: I did think helmets were safer, and it was a good law.

Having asserted my opinion to myself, I thus concluded that everyone quoted in the article was ignorant (yes, I know that's an arrogant conclusion--I was young, what can I say?), then continued on with my life.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I Got Rhythm... And That's All That Matters

I got to church on Sunday in plenty of time to practice the hymns. I looked them over: 138: Bless Our Fast, We Pray; 190: In Memory of the Crucified; and 254: True to the Faith.

"Ok," I thought. "Those shouldn't be too hard." I was mostly worried about 254, since it's a very bold upbeat song, and sounds really great with some fatty foot pedal action. But when I ran through the hymns (on a piano in a different room), the first one gave me the most trouble. It has a lot of accidentals, and the harmonization is already pretty unusual (as far as hymns go) without me adding my own spontaneous renditions (aka mistakes).

At 15 minutes before the hour, I went up to the chapel to play prelude music, but the organ was locked. I started playing the piano instead. When the chorister came in, I asked her who has the keys to the organ, and she walked over and opened it up. Um... I guess I just didn't pull hard enough? Yes, I felt stupid.

But at least it was open, right? I normally like to diddle with the stops for a while to pick what sounds good, but I didn't have time for that. I diddled with the presets instead, and settled on one that was decent.

Fast-forward to the end of the meeting. I'd messed up a lot on all the hymns, and was especially disappointed with my performance of the closing hymn, since I wore the wrong shoes and couldn't use the pedals at all without pushing more than one at a time (and my shoes were velcro and would have made a lot of noise had I taken them off). Oh well. I did the best I could.

What surprised me was how many compliments I received the rest of the day for my organ playing. And why? Because I'd taken hymn 254 at a clipping good tempo, instead of a slow dirge.

It just goes to show: rhythm is more important than accuracy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One Wish

Remember when you were little and some kid in your class would ask everyone, "If you could have ONE wish, what would it be?" And all those kids who think they're so smart would say, "I would wish for more wishes," and one kid always says, "I would wish to fly," and some other kid wishes for some toy or whatever.

Well, when I was little, I thought long and hard about this question. If I could have one wish, what would it be? It wouldn't be to ask for more wishes, because once you stop asking for more wishes you're still left with the exact same thing--one wish. It wouldn't be to ask to fly--although I really would love that--because if I could fly there would be all sorts of problems with adults not letting me fly and me needing some sort of special license or people wanting to put me in a circus or something like that. And why bother to wish for any material thing that you could just as soon get without wasting a wish on it?

No, my wish had to be better than that. I only got one, remember.

After much deliberation, I decided (I distinctly remember thinking this in third grade, so I was 8 years old) if I could have one wish, it would be, "I wish I knew how to do everything."

That way, all my problems were solved. I would be able to fly because I would know how to fly. If I didn't have something I wanted, I would know how to get it. I would be able to speak to anyone because I would know how to learn and speak every language. I would be able to always be happy because I would know how to do that.

What an easy solution. If I only knew how to do everything, I would know how to do everything.

Twenty years later (or so), that is still my answer to that question.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


"Falling into that beautiful thing called Love

"(Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can't-live-without-each-other love.)


"(I don't know why I want you, but I really do.)

"...Here it is. That inexplicable, elemental tug. That surprising sudden feeling you've been waiting for. This is yesyesyes. This is where you find something or someone, and just fall for them. Illogically. Irresistibly. And find yourself thinking of nothing else.

"Because it's attraction, and the dream of love to follow, that keeps the imagination alive. It's attraction that makes life sparkle and pop and fizz...

"Never stop falling in love..."

Can you guess where I am quoting this from?

If you said the package of a Galaxy chocolate bar, you are correct. Thank you, Queen Tuffett, for the chocolate all the way from England!

My favorite line is, "This is yesyesyes." Can't you just feel the urgent passion?

It actually was a surprisingly smooth milk chocolate, but I don't know that I had quite the experience they described. Now, when I added peanut butter...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Olive Is More Blue... Or More Yellow?

Here is a fun game I recently played, which was made up and administered by Olive (who sometimes has different ideas about colors):

1. Take a box of crayons (the smaller the box, the easier the game--we used 24). Take out the red, blue and yellow crayons. These are the primary colors. Now place each other crayon with the primary color to which it matches most closely. For example, orange-red is a combination of yellow and red, but most likely has more red in it than yellow, thus it gets placed with red. We excluded black and white.

2. Once everyone is done sorting, compare with the other players to see which colors you all had in common. Everyone chose blue for green? Great! If not, set aside every color which is disputed ("Magenta has more red." "No, I see more blue.").

3. In order to discover the true primary value for the disputed crayons, draw on a paper a red blob, a yellow blob, and a blue blob. Then, color a small blob of each disputed color next to the two primary blobs that are in question. For example, color a little bit of magenta next to both the red and blue blobs.

4. Decide which primary color the disputed crayon is most like. If you were right, you get a point. If you were wrong, you don't (and this does require a compromise if you still can't decide).

This is the point at which the game could end. But not if you're Olive, who has more creativity in her earlobe than most people have in their entire brain.

5. "Now," Olive says, "make a picture" of the paper with the color blobs on it. There is a 5-minute time limit.

6. When you are done, pass the paper to the left. Each person then describes whatever was drawn on the paper they are holding.

7. Pass your paper back. "On the back of your picture," Olive says, "write a letter to someone you know.

"In crayon.

"Using every color."

8. Finally, address the envelope in crayon as well. I had to write really big to make it neat enough for the post office.

9. Mail the letters.

And that's the game.

The next day I suggested we play a game. We played Boggle.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Halloween Costume

I'm not dressing up this year at all. I don't really have any costumes with me (they're all in a box in the garage in California), and I don't really have anything to dress up for, either.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Silver-striped Hair

Once, way back in high school, Queen Tuffett (before she was a queen, or even a Tuffett) and I were participating in a service project. We were painting outdoor handrails, and were using silver paint.

After a little while, Queen Tuffett complained to me that she was getting drops of silver in her hair when she bent to pain the lower parts. Her hair is kind of blonde-ish, so the paint didn't show up all that much, but I didn't want her to feel bad.

"Oh, yeah?" I said.

I picked up my paintbrush and stuck it in the can, then ran the globby bristles right down the middle of my hair (imagine Rogue from X-Men, but not quite as much). It had the desired effect. Queen Tuffett laughed, and we kept working.

That strand of hair was kind of clumpy for a few days, but eventually it returned to normal.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Timed Shower

I used to be amazed at how short Tree-Hugger's showers were, thinking she was just being eco-friendly and trying to save water. But now I'm not so sure that's the only reason.

Here is what happens every time I take a shower:

I turn on the hot water, which is always scaldingly hot. I turn on the cold water, which does nothing. I turn the cold higher. Still nothing. More cold. More cold. More cold. Finally, the hot water is just un-hot enough that I can bear it, so I get in.

After about one minute, the shower starts to get cold. I turn the cold down, and it returns to a nicely warm temperature.

After another minute, it starts to get cold again. I turn the cold down, and it gets warm again.

I repeat this process of turning the cold down until the cold water is turned all the way off. Then, when the water starts going cold after that point, I turn the shower off completely.

I haven't actually timed my entire shower length, but I've noticed that I've been taking much shorter showers than I did when I lived at home.

I suppose that's a good thing.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I try to have patience in all things, but when I hear men complaining about shaving, I find my patience waning thin. I always want to say to the guy, "Look, have you ever tried being a woman? Do you know how little surface area the face and neck cover when compared to the armpits, legs, and 'bikini' area typically expected to be hair-free on the American female? And not only that, but there are quite a few women who shave their face too. And this is on a regular, if not daily, basis. So quit your whining and shave!"

I've yet to actually say this to anyone, and now that I've written a blog about it maybe I can let it rest for good, but I am sorely tempted at times.

I also have opinions on nylons and neckties (I'd take a necktie and suit over nylons anyday, even in the middle of the summer in Philadelphia), but now that I've mentioned those too, I need not say any more.

Monday, October 6, 2008

In Bed By Midnight

I made a goal this week to go to bed by midnight every night. This was not my idea. In fact, I've had this goal before and know I can do it, if I really try. I wouldn't even be worried except for the fact that I shook hands on it, so now I actually have to do it.

Going to bed at 10:30 was the easiest thing for me to give up after my mission. But if I was able to get to bed by 10:30 every night on my mission (okay, okay, almost every night), then surely I can do this little thing of going to bed by midnight for one week. Right?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

So There, Peppy Boy!

First of all, in case you hadn't figured it out yet, I am the type of woman who likes to do things myself if at all possible, especially in situations where a stereotypical woman would just give up and say, "I need a man." That's when I like to do it on my own (was it the four older brothers?...).

Recently, my car failed the safety inspection. But it was no problem, I only had two little lights out, and I could fix that myself. The man told me it was the front marker light and the front corner light. The lady suggested Pep Boys as a nice place to buy the parts and have them service my car. I'd never been to Pep Boys before, so I figured I'd try it out.

I entered the store and made my way to the bulb aisle. I was flipping through the catalogue to figure out what model bulbs I needed when I heard a man's voice say, "What kind of bulb you looking for?"

Now, I didn't want a salesperson's help, male or female, but he asked me a direct question rather than a yes or no question (which was a very good sales technique, I must admit), so I answered it. Maybe I shouldn't have. Oh, well. Anyway, I was annoyed he assumed I wanted help. I didn't.

"So you want the corner and turn signal," he said. No, I was pretty sure if the turn signal had been the problem the inspector would have just said "turn signal". But I didn't say anything.

"You'll find it faster here," the man said, indicating the electronic light bulb looker-upper he was using. "What year is your car?"

"I don't know," I said. And I didn't. It's not my car. I'm just borrowing it for a few months. I looked at the screen. It had only two options: before 1999, or after 2000.

"It's before 2000, for sure," I said.

"What year?" he asked again.

I decided to take a stab at it, and said, "Hmm. I would guess probably... '92?"

He said I had to know the exact year or I'd end up buying the wrong thing (of course he didn't offer to go look at my car and help me figure it out...). He asked for the make and model, and I told him. He plucked two packages from the pegs and handed them to me.

"If that's the right information," he said, "these'll be the ones you need." And he turned and walked away. God's gift to female auto-parts shoppers, I'm sure.

I walked to the checkout counter, bulbs in hand. The turn signal bulbs alone were $12. But I hadn't really enjoyed my visit to Pep Boys, and didn't really feel like giving them my business. I set both packages on the counter and left.

I drove to Checker Auto Parts. The guy asked me if I needed help. I said not yet. He said he'd be over here if I needed him. I looked in the catalogue. I had a question. I said okay now I need you. He helped me and didn't make me feel stupid. Neither of us could figure out the second bulb I needed so we went with the turn signal bulbs anyway (which were $4). I went home and replaced the bulbs myself.

Turns out I didn't need the turn signal bulbs, after all. Both dead bulbs were the same little kind.

Oh, and guess what? I looked at the owner's manual in the glove compartment. My car is a '92.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mopping the Ceiling

If you are bored, you may want to consider mopping the ceiling*. It's a great workout for your arms, requires some creative planning, and makes the house cleaner.

*Not recommended for "cottage cheese" ceilings.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Public Transportation

It takes me one hour to drive from my house to BYU. This doesn't really matter, since I don't go there all that often, but sometimes I do.

If I were to use public transportation to get to BYU, it would take me two hours. But I'd be saving gas, and I could allegedly accomplish some work on the train and bus (I say allegedly because I more often end up staring out the window at the mountains and clouds instead).

So which, then, is more cost effective (environmental issues aside)?

Assume the price of gas is $3.75.

Assume my car gets 30 mpg.

Assume I live 45 miles from BYU.

A drive to BYU would cost me $5.625.

I have no idea how to figure out what a ride to BYU costs me, besides one hour (I have a bus pass).

Which would I rather have: $5.625 or one hour?

Friday, September 19, 2008


I finally changed my license. In case you've forgotten which state I now live in, here is a picture to help you figure it out. I took this picture back in August. Only in this state could you find such a sign:

Actually, maybe you could find a sign like that in Idaho too. :o)

More on the wonderful story of my UT driver's license to follow.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cookies AND Milk

While watching a movie with my aunts and parents (who came up for the weekend), Aunt J. left to bring down some snickerdoodles. I was glad she was getting the cookies, since they sounded really good at the time, and I was thinking that I should go upstairs and help her so we'd have milk too. But of course I was lazy and decided that I could eat a cookie without milk and still enjoy it, so I stayed put.

Aunt J. came down the stairs a minute later, and I wished I'd had a camera: in one hand was a big plate of cookies and a bunch of smaller plates for each of us, in her other hand was the milk and a glass, and in her pockets--two on her sweater and two on her pants--were four more cups.

In case I've never mentioned it, I have Superaunts. They're like regular aunts, except with super powers.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Astronaut In My Shoe

One day my nephew A. was playing with stickers. He gave me a rocket ship sticker, which I put on my shirt, and then he went away and did whatever little kids do with a sheet of stickers.

Later, when I was putting on my right shoe, I noticed one of the stickers--an astronaut--stuck inside. I can't remember if he gave it to me and it must have fallen off of my hand or shirt, or if it was just there, but all the same, I decided to leave it.

Now, every time I put on my light brown shoes I look inside and see a shiny astronaut. Aren't nephews great?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Labor Day Poll Results

The polls are closed, and here are the results:

5 people said they had wished someone a Happy Labor Day within the past week.

4 people said they had wished someone a Happy Labor Day in previous years.

3 people said they had never wished anyone a Happy Labor Day, but planned on doing so in the future.

7 people said they had never wished anyone a Happy Labor Day.

Which means 12 people total have wished or will wish someone a Happy Labor Day, whereas only 7 have not.

Very interesting indeed.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sliced Layers

Here it is.

(See Oriana's blog if you have no idea why I am doing this.)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day!

I would like to invite you all to participate in my little poll to the right.

A friend pointed out today that Labor Day is not commonly a holiday on which one offers a salutation consisting of "happy" and the name of the holiday. I respectfully disagreed, but now I'm curious, because she may be right. Or she may not.

What do you think?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Timpanogos Storytelling Festival

Earlier this year I told my friend I wanted to go to the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. I was living in California at the time, so this was a big resolution. Then I decided that in order for my desire to become a reality, I needed to be more assertive.

"I'm going to the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival!" I asserted. And that was that.

In early August I moved to Utah, and I still have no job (which usually lines up with having no money, too, an unfortunate consideration when trying to do extracurricular or social activities, such as attending storytelling festivals), and I had pretty much given up on the idea--I wasn't even really aware of when it was any more--when another friend called me to let me know she'd be playing in one of the music groups at the festival.

"I'm not sure if I can go," I said over the phone.

I can't remember if I mentioned I had no money or if she knew that already, but she suggested, "Have you looked into volunteering?"

Why no, no I hadn't. So I did. This is was Monday. The festival started yesterday (Thursday). They only had a few shifts left for volunteer work, so I chose the van driving on Thursday night. Four and a half hours in a van? I can do that. Heck, I'm used to driving a van! In return, I was given two adult tickets to the full event. Not a bad tradeoff for only 4.5 hours of work.

As Carmen Deedy said today in one of her stories, "Sometimes the universe just puts it in your hand."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Reading List

I like my little list of books I'm reading (see the right side of the screen). Someday I plan to connect that list to my books on Librarything, but as that does not seem to be likely anytime soon, I'll leave it how it is. I do wonder, however, at what point do you decide you are no longer reading a book? Or at what point do you take a book off the "currently reading" list? Some examples:

1. Middlemarch. I attempted to read this book. It was my second attempt. I got past page 30 this time, all the way to somewhere in the 100s. Unfortunately, it was still just as ungripping as the first time I tried to read it. Maybe it was because it was my toothbrush book* and I wasn't spending enough time with it. Maybe I needed to watch the movie or read a synopsis first so I knew what was going on. Whatever the reason, I gave up, and a few weeks later--when I realized I'd given up--I took it off the list.

2. Feeling Good. I start. I stop. I start. I stop. Luckily it's a self-help book, so the plot isn't all that complicated. I've read part of it in the past week, so it's on the list. For now.

3. The Wonder Spot. When I found myself halfway through the book and was still waiting for the plot to start I decided to read the last five pages and call it good. And I'm glad I did--I was still waiting for something to happen those last five pages. I think since I read over half of it, beginning and ending included, I'm going to list it as read.

The end.

*I have an electric toothbrush and find it an incredible waste of time to do nothing for 2.5 minutes at least twice each day. Thus I keep a book by my toothbrush so I can be productive during that time. Books with short sections are the best, while more involved novels, like Middlemarch... well, let's just say I don't get as excited to brush my teeth.

Incidentally, I keep books in the kitchen for the same reason--eating takes too much time. I just need to get some books on my iPod for washing dishes and doing laundry and I'll be set.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Things I Can See From My Bedroom Window

-A cat that runs away from me and meows threateningly if I get too close
-The Trolley Square tower at night when it's lit up (I have no idea where it is during the day)
-Tree-Hugger's garden
-A tiny bit of downtown (I'd be able to see more if it weren't for the trees, but I'd rather see trees than downtown)

I just realized I can't really see any mountains out my window. I love the view anyway.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Elegyrl's Tally

1 smashed penny
2 letters
3 cards (one musical card)
6 postcards

Who has the coolest friends ever? That'd be me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Using a blinker is just like asking, "Excuse me, may I please come over?"

To which the car in the applicable lane says, "Why yes, come right over."

Unless, of course, the car in the applicable lane never learned to share or have good manners when it was just a Matchbox-sized toddler, in which case the car in the applicable lane speeds up and says, "No! My lane!"

On a separate but related note: Don't you think if you were driving a motorcycle, which is already more dangerous than driving a car, you would adhere to such common-sense traffic laws as red lights? All I can say is that I'm glad I didn't start going right when my light turned green, because I was already in the intersection when he zoomed in front of me.

Conclusion: I am not going to make any comments about region-specific driving (because I don't think that's very fair or very true), but I will say that I am more accustomed to the unspoken rules of driving in California. I am more able to anticipate the actions of other drivers and the potential dangers of the areas. Someday I will have driven more in Utah than in California, and the balance will probably tip the other way. But until then, I'd best be alert.

Monday, August 11, 2008

My Family Is Hyperpolyglotistic

Languages spoken on missions served by the members of Betty's family:

Father: German
Brother: French
Brother: Portuguese
Brother: Cantonese
Betty: Spanish

Why do I love this fact so much? I don't know. But I do.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hello, Utah!

It's very difficult to write and post blogs when your computer has given up on connecting to the internet. I guess it's still recovering from the move.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hands-free Headset

As of July 1, 2008 it is illegal in California to drive while talking on a cell phone without the use of a hands-free headset or hands-free speaker phone (texting, ironically, is not illegal, but that is a topic for another day).

A few weeks ago I was headed somewhere in the car and was late. Ordinarily I would just pick up the phone and call, even though I wasn't very far away, since I didn't want the person to worry. But I couldn't do that; I needed to use my hands-free set.

Some people have spiffy wireless devices that they wear in the car to speak on their cell phones. I don't. I have the old wired earpiece that came with my phone.

I fished through my purse as I drove, trying to find the "hands-free" cord. Searching through my purse is a two-handed affair. I waited until I was at a stoplight. When I found the cord and pulled it out it was tangled up on itself.

I should really get a rubber band for this, I thought.

No, another voice said, You should really get a wireless headset.

No money, the first voice thought.

Traffic started moving and I tried to get the hands-free cord plugged into my phone. It's not like the charger, where you can just aim in the general direction of the hole and it'll go in. No. The hands-free headset cord must be precisely positioned. I don't know how I did that without crashing, but I did. I'm a talented person.

The next step in making a call from my hands-free headset (which is much safer than holding the phone while you drive, by the way) was to put the earpiece in my ear. I dislike headphones that go in my ears because they don't like to stay there, but I had no choice in the matter. I gouged the soft fuzzy foam into my ear and somehow made it stay.

Then came the clip. I've never really figured out where the clip is supposed to go. If I want the microphone to be near my mouth, ideally the clip would clip onto my nose or my glasses or something. Hey, that might actually be a good idea. Hmm... Anyway, I usually clip it onto my shirt or dress or whatever, opposite the ear in which the earpiece sits (or opposite the ear from which the earpiece falls).

The earpiece was in. The clip was attached. The hands-free headset was ready to go. All I had to do was dial. But in the amount of time it had taken me to put it all together, I'd arrived at my destination.

Now, I agree that driving while talking on the cell phone is dangerous. I also agree, however, that driving while shaving, reading the newspaper, listening to the radio, talking to friends, eating, or transporting children is equally dangerous. In fact, I would argue that the most distracted I have ever been as a driver is when I was trying to deal with two small boys in the back seat. That was far more distracting than any phone call I've taken while driving, but I doubt they'll be banning children from the car anytime soon.

The issue at hand is not actually talking on the cell phone, it's keeping driving as the main focus. If it's not a good time to take a call, don't answer the phone. If you need to stop talking for a minute to pay closer attention to driving, stop talking. But I understand that not everybody has the willpower to do this.

So what is the point of this blog? It is to say that I now plug in my phone before starting to drive. It's safer that way.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


There are very few things in this life that I hate. Earthquakes are one of those things.

Mother Edit always said that if you hate something it's only because you don't understand it. I don't really want to understand earthquakes any better and so maybe that's true, but for now I am willing to openly admit that yes, I hate earthquakes.

What I hate most is not knowing if the first earthquake was the big one, or if it was only the prologue, like the overture to an opera. Either way it is unnerving, and unpleasant (the earthquake, not the opera).

Luckily, it did no damage--it wasn't that big here.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I Had An iPhone in 2001

Well, technically it wasn't an iPhone, but the principle was the same. I bought a Handspring, and they said if I signed up for a phone plan, I could get the phone attachment for free. I'd avoided buying a cell phone up to that point because I knew that once I had a cell phone, I could never not have one; but I figured if it was free (a $200 savings!!!) and if I'd been wanting it for a long time, why not?

It was pretty much the coolest thing ever. It was basically an iPhone, though obviously not as fancy: it had a black and white screen and no mp3 function (and a bunch of other stuff), but it was both a PDA and phone in one, and it had a little switch you could push to change the ring tone without bothering with any buttons.*

When the antenna broke off and it was going to be as much to replace it as to buy a new phone, I decided to get a phone phone, not a Handspring phone, since the reception was actually pretty terrible (despite its coolness). Since then, I have missed the convenience of all my programs and phone books and whatnot in one single handheld device. But now, the time has come. I can have an iPhone, and it will be even better than that first all-in-one device. All I have to do is come up with a couple hundred bucks. Blast these minor details...

*For a better comparison and photos of the two, see this blog entry.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

People On The Street

As we exited the train station in Chicago, people on the street started handing us free sample pouches of Ibuprofen.

"Oh my gosh," I said to my family, "they're handing out drugs on the street."

It was supposed to be funny, but I don't think anyone heard me. I didn't take any Ibuprofen. I keep some in my purse, and I didn't want to talk to the people or figure out what they were selling or why they were handing out free pain relief.

Throughout the day we also encountered various people who were somehow connected with Barack Obama's presidential campaign. "Would you like to help Obama?" they asked as we passed, trying to hand off some sort of pamphlet. To me, whether or not I want to help Obama is beside the point. I don't like people accosting me on the street.

To the first person who asked me this question I replied, "Sorry, I don't have time today," and kept walking. As we approached the art museum, however, I saw another Obama salesman getting ready to pounce.

What if we weren't even American? I thought. What if we were Russian or something? Then what would he do? He couldn't do anything.

"Would you like to help Obama?" the man asked.

"Sorry, we're Canadian," I lied.

My family was surprised at my response (because I'm normally very saintly and never tell a lie, of course), but it allowed us to all walk by the man without being bothered, which was my intent. I did feel bad for a little while... but it was a lot more fun than just saying no.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Broken Things

In order to fix a broken entity, you cannot use the same component as that which broke in the first place; you must replace the broken part with something different, something stronger--something new.

The Humiliation: A Photo

Okay, here you go:

Let it be known that the bandanna was so positioned when we received him back from the groomers--we do not put bandannas on our cats here at the Edit household.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lessons Learned This Week

It is much easier to bring a cat to a groomer in order to have his massively thick fur shaved, than to try to do it yourself.

It is much better to realize this fact before spending an hour trying to shave your cat.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Ped Egg

I recently came into possession of a Ped Egg. No, I did not buy it myself, but yes, I now own one.

The Ped Egg makes me laugh. The great things advertised about the Ped Egg are these:

1. Over 100 precision micro-files that gently remove callouses and dead skin!

2. Two high quality emery buffing pads are included!

3. Ergonomically designed with a unique egg shape!

4. A storage compartment collects all the skin shavings so you can use it anywhere with no mess!

5. Stainless steel blades are safe to touch!

My reaction:

1. It's a cheese grater. Well, maybe more like a lemon zester. But not as sharp.

2. Like sandpaper!

3. I can't deny that I find the ovoid shape somewhat appealing, but it doesn't really make it more ergonomic. You still have to grip the edges, and there's no groove or handle to hang on to. If your hands were slippery, the Ped Egg would still be just as difficult to grip as a non-ergonomically-shaped dead-heel-skin zester. And an egg shape is not all that unique--eggs are shaped the same way.

4. Okay, I'll admit, I liked that. Not that I've ever actually zested my heels before, but I imagine if I were in the practice of zesting my heels, I would have been displeased by all the piles of dead skin heaped about me at the end of my zesting session.

5. I'm sure I could find a way to make them unsafe.

Really though, I love my Ped Egg. It's a such a cute little* skin-zester, and with the Ped Egg you don't have to explain to guests why there is a lemon zester sitting on your bathroom counter. Thanks for the Ped Egg, unicorn girl!

*I really did just type "cute little". I once had a Young Women leader who used that term frequently. Once, I counted on my fingers how many times she said "cute little" while making an announcement. It was a long announcement, granted, but I have ten fingers. I used them all, plus some toes.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Bad Thing About Going To Utah: Conclusion

The bad thing about going to Utah, as I stated earlier, is that then I realize how much I miss it and want to live there. And then I make what others might call a crazy decision and feel strongly that it's right, while at the same time not understanding how it can possibly work.

Where will Betty live after the first month? I don't know.

What will Betty do for a job? I don't know.

How will Betty get around? I don't know.

Will Betty do it? Yes, she will!

That's pretty much all I know.

I'm choosing to call this faith.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Up as an adverb

Today I saw a bumper sticker that said "Cowgirl up!" and I thought how strange it is that we use the word up as an adverb, or sometimes as part of a verb. I wonder if there's any significance to that.

blow up
clean up
cough up
cozy up
do up
draw up
dress up
eat up
fed up
'fess up
fix up
get up
give up
hush up
inch up
jack up
look up
mess up
muck up
open up
pony up
run up
set up
shake up
shut up
sit up
slip up
snuggle up
stand up
tear up
throw up
touch up
wake up

There are probably a million more examples, but those are the first ones that came to mind.

I've noticed that when I tilt my head back and look up at the sky and try to walk in a straight line I can't do it. I just fall over.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Olive said this should be a blog entry, so thus it is:If I were in elementary school with Kandinsky, I would not like him.

I recently visited the Art Institute of Chicago. In particular, I spent half an hour with the Kandinskys, as Kandinsky happens to be one of my favorite artists. However, I also noticed a couple things which lead me to believe that had I known Kandinsky as a child, I would have sneered at his artistic talents.

First of all, he doesn’t cover the entire canvas. It actually looked like in his earlier paintings he did, so maybe as a child he would have done so; I like to cover the entire surface of my art (if you can call anything I have done art; certainly I have never used a canvas), with no naked dead space, and no little places where the base material showed through. Kandinsky didn’t leave a whole lot of space uncovered, just little tiny spots here and there between lines or shapes and the space around them. But still, it’s enough that I can tell close up.

Secondly, he didn’t make lines with a solid edge. When I use a paintbrush, I like my brushstroke to have a good firm edge—I hate that part at the end of the brushstroke where you run out of paint and it streaks into eventual nothingness. Such a stroke equals sloppiness in my mind. But Kandinsky is full of brushstrokes like that, and it doesn’t bother me now, but it would have done so years ago. Maybe I am not very artistic in that sense.

Third, well… actually, there is no third. When I was little I drew concrete images that were outlined in black. That sounds remarkably like a coloring book, come to think of it. I wonder if my childhood expectations would be different if I had not used such coloring books; in other words, I wonder if we are stunting our children by giving them such “artwork” to color. I would tend to say yes, except that I ended up liking Kandinsky anyway, so maybe it has more to do with individual personalities than with societal standards.

Conclusion: I love Kandinsky, even if I wouldn’t have liked him when we were both kids. And someday I would like to see this piece. Wow.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Once I read Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson, which makes frequent mention of Emily Dickinson's well-known poem. The book makes use of mostly just the first two lines, but here is the whole poem for those who dislike incomplete poetry:

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chilliest land

And on the strangest sea;

Yet, never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.

The book was okay. It didn't really have a plot, which makes it more difficult for me to enjoy, but oh well. I stayed up very late to finish it anyway, since that's what I do when I read. The interesting part came the next morning, when I woke up and went outside to find...


All over the driveway.

At first I didn't remember that I had read that book the previous night. I only thought of the cats, and wondered which cat had done it--Big Orange Fluffy or some other neighborhood cat (since Anya would be far out of her realm catching birds).

The feathers were scattered across the lawn and driveway, caught in the plants, blown onto the roof, and there was a cluster of them near the planter. Oddly enough, there was no other sign of a dead bird, and judging by the large amount of feathers, I felt pretty safe in assuming the bird was, in fact, dead. I thought it strange that the cat should do such a thorough job (I learned later that the bird had been taken care of before I went outside).

As I stared at the strange puffy disease-ridden feathers I remembered the book I'd read, and the two lines that were repeated so frequently: "Hope is the thing with feathers/ That perches in the soul."

I didn't think it was a sign. But I did think it was ironic: my cat killed the thing with feathers.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Location: Illinois

I don't mind a seven-hour flight. I would like a seven-hour flight a lot more if it were not a 3.5-hour flight that morphed into a longer flight due to weather in Chicago, but even so, seven hours on a plane could have been worse. At least we got to take off twice instead of only once, which is my favorite part of flying, so that was a nice little bonus.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


It's good to hang out with people who win stuff, because then sometimes their luck rubs off on you. For example, when you are with Elegyrl at Disneyland, and are wearing a button that says it is your birthday, cool things may just happen to you:

You may be given a free fan with which to fan yourself when the day gets hotter.

You may be given a free bag of tortillas at the tortilla factory.

You may be given a free dream fast pass to get you through the short line of all the big rides.

You may get to sit in a really good seat during the Aladdin show.

You may just get a huge surprise that is a visit to Medieval Times that same evening.

I hadn't been to Medieval Times in about fifteen years. If I remember correctly, it was pretty much the same food and the same show, but after that long amount of time you see things differently. Sitting on the first row you also see things differently. I mostly wish the music had been more Medieval, since I can excuse the staged fighting (this is, after all, a show), but authentic music may have made the experience largely unpleasant to most of the population. Everything else though--including the flag in the soup and the sad cake affair--was quite enjoyable.

I don't know where Elegyrl gets her luck from. Maybe it's just her eternal enthusiasm and optimistic slant. I don't know. Whatever it is, she always makes me smile. Thanks, Elegyrl!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Pen Test

I love pens.

I have quite a few pens, though only one really nice one. Someday I'll get a Montblanc, but that's a bit beyond my resources at the moment...

One thing I like to do is what I call the Pen Test. I take an ordinary piece of paper, then write on it with a whole bunch of different writing implements. If I'm writing with my cheap Parker Vector, I write, "Parker Vector" so I will remember which pen I used. I sometimes use pencil and crayon too.

Then I submerge the paper in water. Usually I put it in a cake pan and let it sit overnight. In the morning I pull the paper out and let it dry, then see which pens fared the best. It is always surprising to me how poorly my favorite pen does, and yet it is still the pen I use to write in my journal every night. Maybe I'm secretly hoping that all my journals will be destroyed in a great flood or something, though I normally worry about earthquakes more than floods.

Pentel pens usually work very well. I'd have to find an old pen test or do a new one in order to remember which pens work best. Maybe I'll do that. I don't really know why I enjoy this particular activity, but there you have it.

I also realize this post is not particularly well-written. Ordinarily I would save it and fix it up until I was pleased with it. But I don't want to wait that long, and I'm probably going to be posting some sub-par posts in the next few weeks, considering my impending travels, so I may as well get used to it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Highlights (not the magazine)

The conference is over. Alas. I like conferences. Here were some of my favorite parts of the past week (though not all were part of the conference):

-Winning second place in the first-page contest. You had to turn in your best first page of a novel as your entry, and then the two editors and one agent judged them. I got a free book as a prize, and the particular book they gave me is actually oddly perfect for my needs.

-Judging the impromptu writing contest entries.

-Meeting with an agent, who was very positive and encouraging about my manuscript.

-The full-moon ski lift ride.

-Laughing over ridiculous manuscripts, then realizing that we'd probably laugh over published books just the same.

-Art night.

-Music night.

-Being invited into the Inner Sanctum for lunch.

-Watching a master artist sculpt her cheesecake at the banquet.

-A co-authored poem about salt.

-Passing notes during the break-out sessions.

-A noisy walk, which I'm sure helped us in our efforts to chat conversationally at the dinner that night.

-Chinese checkers and other such follies.

-The cathedral.

-The British shop.

-The chocolate factory.

-Walking around downtown.

-Throwing things at Olive.

Ah, what a wonderful week.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ten Things I Like About Utah (which is where I am)

In no particular order:

1. Friends
2. Extended family
3. Mountains
4. Snow, sporadic weather and seasons
5. Temples
6. Utah Symphony, OTS, and downtown Salt Lake
7. Available resources for church materials/needs
8. Dollar movie theatre
9. Clouds
10. Libraries

Friday, June 13, 2008

Ten Things I Like About California (which is where I am)

In no particular order:

1. Sunshine
2. Family
3. Friends (or, more accurately, friend)
4. A great ward
5. Beautiful nature
6. Rich cultural and aesthetic diversity
7. The beach
8. Disneyland
9. Barbecues and bonfires (basically burning stuff)
10. Strawberries and other delicious produce

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I am a person who makes lists. I like lists. Lists make me feel organized. With a list I can see everything at once, and if I need to I can always add or cross off an item so the list is always up to date. Plus, I can write a list anywhere: in my book of lists (yes, I have a notebook I use primarily for lists--I think this is more because I am a writer and have a million notebooks rather than because I am a list-maker and have a million lists, although the latter is also true), on a piece of paper, in my planner, on a sticky note, on the dry erase board, on a memo pad, or, though I no longer do so, on my hand.

I even once wrote a poem about my lists.

Good old lists.

Someday I'll post a list of my lists, maybe, or post some of my more interesting lists. But not today.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Visiting Teaching: June 2008

Week 1: Received no news elucidating my status as a visiting teacher.

Week 2: Finally received my new assignment in writing.

End of Week 2: Going out of town for five weeks. I'll be home for two days in the middle of those five weeks, but both of those days are already busy.

This will be interesting.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Recent Thoughts

-Although I don't have any particular affinity for berries, I do enjoy picking them.

-What is the purpose of rabbits? They're not cuddly like cats, they're not outgoing like dogs, they don't make funny noises, you can't ride them, they don't lay eggs... They're just soft and look cute.

-As I was pulling up bits of grass and weeds from a patch of dirt, I noticed how many little critters I had upset: several tiny caterpillars, a spider, other bitty things running around frantically for cover. Makes me agree with what Olive said.

-If I had three sons named Cyaxares, Oxford, and Xavier, I could call them Ax, Ox, and Ex for short. Father Edit said if I did that, people would think I was strange, but considering people already think I'm strange, and considering they would think I was strange just for naming my sons Cyaxares, Oxford and Xavier in the first place, I'm not too worried.

-I can climb a pole! My gecko-like charge (for one week) climbed the pole with ease, and when I asked if she thought I could do it she said no, because only very light and skinny little 9-year old girls could do it. So of course I tried it, despite the fact that I am three times her age and nearly three times her weight, and I did it. Huzzah!

-Why the preponderance of stickers commemorating dead people? I'm all for memorial services and respecting the dead, but stickers on people's cars--those ones that have an arched line across the top stating, "In Loving Memory" and then the name of the deceased underneath and then the years of earth life under that--tattoos, and I even saw some actual stickers stuck on stop signs--these I do not support. I mean, what is the purpose? For those who don't know the deceased, we can read the dates and calculate the age and figure out if we're still lucky to be alive, or maybe we are supposed to feel sad and have a moment of silence for someone we didn't know? Who knows...

-And call me heartless, but the small roadside memorials of stuffed animals and paper hearts and all that sort of thing... well, at some point, it's going to have to go away. I mean, sometimes it has to be done because it helps a community to heal (think 9/11), but if you want to publicly remember someone, why not engrave a plaque or something similar? Or better yet, send a letter or go visit the grieving family.

-Spending time in the sun makes me tired.

-I need to somehow obtain a garden (but not this year): I can't really tell the difference between the vegetables and the weeds.

-I can't really tell the difference between blackberries and boysenberries either.

-I like getting my hair cut.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Age is Relative

For some reason, I have always been sensitive about my age, but not for the reason you may expect: I've always been upset that I'm so young.

As a teenager, I was upset at being a teenager. You can't pick your age, you know, and it wasn't my fault I was at an age that happened to end in the suffix -teen. I never did classify myself as a teenager either, even though I did do some stupid teenager things and even though I did sometimes make disparaging remarks about teenagers.

I like to consider that we are all part of the human race, and since we don't get to pick how old we are, what does it matter? We can choose to act however old we want. I'm watching a 10-year-old this week, and after just one morning with her she commented that I seemed more like her sister than her mom. That's because I don't stick to all the stupid rules that so many adults follow: I vowed as a child to never be that stuffy adult who looks down her nose at children.

That said, I don't actually believe in "old" either. You are only as old as you make yourself. If you want to be old at 21, you can be old. If you want to be old at 55, you can be old. For me, I think old may start somewhere around 87. And even then I'm not sure--ask me in 61 years.

My cousin and I once started making a list to determine our real "age" as defined by our habits and tastes. We were each trying to prove to the other that we were older (I'm older). I can't remember what we said exactly, but here are some possible examples:

If you...

1. Go to bed before 10 pm on a regular basis: add 10 years to your age
2. Take a vitamin: +5 years
3. Have a savings account that you add to regularly: +3
4. Own or rent a house/apartment/condo by yourself: +5
5. Have kids: +5
6. Eat a balanced diet: +5
7. Read the newspaper: +2
8. Do the crossword: +1
9. Knit, crochet, quilt, sew, embroider, etc.: +3 years
10. Don't watch tv: +5 years

You could add a bunch more, of course.

By these calculations, I am not 26 years old, but 35. Okay, maybe that's a bad example because 35 is not that old. How my cousin and I had it I got a much better score, like 45 or something. But you get the idea.

In conclusion: I cannot help that I am 26. You cannot help how old you are either. In the grand scheme of things we may all be the same age anyway, and 10 or 20 earth years is not such a big difference.

The end.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Experience at the Grocery Store

As I was checking out yesterday:

Checker: "Would you like to donate to x---- cancer?" (He either said "prostate" or "breast", I'm not sure which.)

Me: "Not today, thanks." (so I like to know where my money's going and so I don't like being solicited--so sue me.)

(transaction continues)

Me (smiling weakly): "Besides, shouldn't we be donating to the eradication of cancer instead of to the cancer itself?"

Thankfully he pretended I was amusing and agreed.

Somebody slap me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Vegetarianism and Me, Part II

Last Thursday while at Trader Joe's, I bought some turkey jerky. I'd always wanted to try it. It wasn't actually as good as beef jerky, but it wasn't entirely bad either. I didn't eat the whole bag--the rest is still sitting in the cupboard.

Last Friday I decided I was going to be a vegetarian for the rest of the month of May. By the time I get back to my turkey jerky in June it will be tough and nasty. Maybe someone else will eat it before then.

Last Saturday Mother Edit made me a sandwich and I ate it without even thinking. Later I realized it had had meat on it. I resolved to make no more such mistakes.

On Sunday we had bacon with breakfast in honor of the nephews and niece who were staying over. Bacon! And me a vegetarian! I was so torn. So incredibly torn. But nevertheless, I persevered, and did not partake of the pig. And afterwards I didn't even feel that bad.

On Monday I went to a barbecue. Luckily I had already eaten so I wasn't hungry at all.

It's actually not been too bad being a vegetarian. I think I could do it if I really wanted to, but I'd have to wait until after the writing conference to convert: I really like the burgers at the CONE, and I have to try Olive's favorite gyro.

Then we shall see. Most likely I'll just stay what I am: an opportunistic vegetarian. I'm a vegetarian when it suits my needs. And I'm okay with that.

--BE OK--

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Fleeting Moments

Sometimes I am very very happy.

The end.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Visiting Teaching: May 2008

Week 1: My visiting teaching partner informed me she was no longer my companion. She showed me the slip of paper to prove it.

Week 2: The Relief Society president looked up my new assignment on the computer.

Week 3: I called my new visiting teaching partner, who was not aware her assignment had changed either. She said she'd look into it on Sunday. I also called the sisters I am supposed to visit teach to see if I could visit them.

Week 4: Only time will tell...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Vegetarianism and Me

I would someday like to be a vegetarian. I think if I had never tasted meat I would be quite happy as a vegetarian. But then again, you could say the same about any food or life experience: if you have not experienced a thing, you are not likely to miss it, having never experienced it in the first place.

I don't eat a lot of meat, but I enjoy what I eat. When I live by myself I find I don't ever buy meat in the first place because it generally disgusts me to prepare it, but I will occasionally eat it, say, at a restaurant.

Sometimes I think I'm going to be a vegetarian. Sometimes when I think of the way animals are treated in order for me to consume my meat, I am determined to stop being a supporter of such practices. But then we stop at In N Out on the way home and a cheeseburger sounds really good.

Hats off to those of you who are actually vegetarians. Someday I will become a vegetarian too. But not today--I'm making meatballs for dinner.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Brookstone: A World of (not so much) Innovation

A look at the use of gender in the models of the Father's Day 2008 catalogue from Brookstone:

In each of the groups of pages mentioned below, I have counted the number of pictures for various products using either male or female models.

For example, looking at the pages from the cover through page five, there were multiple pictures of hammocks, 4 of which showed men lounging on hammocks, 0 of which showed women lounging on hammocks.

Cover to page five
Hammocks: 4 men, 0 women

Pages 6-15
Single-person water sports game: 1 man, 0 women
Double-person water sports game: 1 double (photo of 1 man + 1 woman), 1 of 2 men
Single-person pool lounger: 1 man*, 12 women
Double-person pool lounger: 3 doubles, 1 man, 1 woman
Motorized inflatable pool devices: 1 double, 3 men, 0 women
Pool-side shower: 0 men, 1 woman
Rolling cooler: 0 men, 2 women
Hammocks: 1 double**

*Man shown in small inset photo carrying chair over shoulder.
**Man shown in hammock, woman shown standing by his head with a glass of darkly-colored beverage.

Pages 16-35
Grills and golf: all men (plus one more man in hammock)

Pages 36-41
Devices for use in the home: all women

Pages 42-43
Photo devices: 1 double, children

Pages 44-47
Electronic media equipment: 1 man, 0 women

Pages 48-53
Mattresses and sleep products (no pillows): 1 double, 0 men, 9 women

Pages 54-57
Personal grooming: 4 men, 0 women

Pages 58-59
Massage/relaxation: 2 double, 2 men, 4 women

Pages 60-63
Exercise equipment: 3 men, 10 women

Pages 64-67
Bathrobes: 1 double
Pillows/blankets: 1 double***, 1 man****, 3 women

***Picture shows man snoring and woman with hands over her ears.
****This picture is for a pillow to stop snoring.

I will not make any notes about race, since every single model is white. Also, only 8 of the many pictures of women show brunettes--the rest are blondes.

I will let you draw your own conclusions.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Beethoven in Perspective

For the past couple months I've been teaching Elegyrl (that's ele-gyrl, not elegy-rl) to play the piano. I realized the very first lesson that I've never taught anyone to play the piano before, and I pretty much stink at it, but she's a patient student.

Elegyrl and I went to the music store to buy a beginning piano book, and while there I picked up a book of Chopin's Nocturnes. I wonder if they thought it odd for someone to be buying a beginner book and Chopin together, but oh well...

Suddenly, three against four doesn't seem all so bad. How do you do ten against three? Eleven against three? I've never played ten notes in one beat at all, let alone playing them against three in the left hand. We just don't get that crazy on the horn. Well, we do, but it's different.

But Chopin is fun. It sounds mildly terrible, and it goes probably fifty times slower than it's supposed to, but I like Chopin, and I like pretending I'm good enough to play Chopin.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Testing: Music History

Music 304: I don't actually get into history that much. I like history if it's, say, historical fiction, or King Tuffett talking about castle ruins as we walk through them, or the Horrible Histories books, or a personal story, or me studying some aspect of history for my own knowledge. But I don't like history classes.

I had high hopes going into Music 304, since I had taken a history class previously from the teacher. He had also been the conductor of the orchestra I was in my freshman year.

But alas, it looked to be a dismal semester: the grading was based 100% on testing. There were four tests total, three of which would include essays, all four of which also included a listening test (to be taken at the library) and a multiple choice test (to be taken at the testing center). No other papers to write. No projects to procrastinate. No attendance to worry about.

I went to the review session with the assistants before the first exam, where they told us what to write in the essays, and what to study to pass the test. I paid mild attention. I took the test. I got a 100% on the listening portion, did pretty well on the multiple choice, and got a D on the essays.

A D.

A D is not acceptable. Especially not on essays.

I paid better attention in class. I took more notes. I did more of the assigned readings. I went to the review session for the second test and recorded exactly what they were looking for in the essays. I studied hard, then took the test.

And got a D- on my essays.

As the third test approached, I was starting to panic. I could not get another D. I am not a person who gets Ds. The day got closer and closer, and I became more and more stressed. But then I realized something: I didn't care.

I hated Music 304. The class was horrible. The teaching was lackluster. And nothing I said or did had any bearing on the class at all. It didn't matter if I learned anything or not, as long as I could mark the right answers on the test. And the essay, the one graded area where I might have been able to use my own thoughts and analyses to draw up my own conclusions, were no more subjective than the multiple choice. It didn't matter how well written they were, or how well-argued: if they weren't what the teacher had outlined, they weren't going to pass. The class allowed for no individual thinking--it was simply regurgitation at its finest.

When I finished the multiple choice section of the third test, I read through the essay questions. I didn't know the answer to any of them, nor did I care. I opened my blue book and wrote the following inside:

I choose to not write these essays.

I then closed the blue book, wrote a big 0 on the front where the score goes, and handed it in. It felt wonderful.

I was a bit disappointed when they handed back the essays a few days later and failed to return mine. I kind of wanted to see it again. But I guess they figured I already knew what my score was.

My final grade for the class was a C+. It is my favorite grade on my transcript.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Testing: Pre-Calculus

Sometimes things just click. That was how it was when we were studying a certain chapter in my pre-calculus class in high school: it just made sense. I understood the math, I enjoyed doing the problems, and I skipped all the easy questions in the homework because I figured if I could do the hard ones, and if it all clicked, why should I bother with the easy ones? I turned in my homework assignments very incomplete, and felt great when I took the test.

The next class period our teacher handed back our homework packets: mine had a big red D written on the top. I'd forgotten that my incompletion of the assignments would also mean a lower grade.

Then Mr. Math Teacher came around again. He stopped by my desk.

"I don't understand," he began, staring down at me suspiciously, "how someone who does so poorly on their homework can do so well on the test."

And he placed my test on the desk, a big red A on the top of the page.

And that was when I realized that sometimes the grade that we get does not necessarily correspond to our understanding of the material, or to what we have learned from the course.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Elegyrl the EMT

Today I went in an ambulance for the first time. I also had four electrodes stuck on me so I could watch my heart rate on a machine, and afterwards I received a printout to show that my heart had been beating.

There are certain perks to having a friend who is an EMT, even aside from knowing that if I'm ever suffocating or choking or bleeding, she will know what to do. Elegyrl showed me all around her work, which I found exciting: I was grateful for the opportunity to see an ambulance without the necessity of doing so.

I'm not a medical person. Seeing my own blood does not particularly bother me, but I don't like to see others in pain, no matter how small. In fact, I don't even like to talk about it. When people get together and start in on those one-upping injury stories, I find it best for me to either change the subject or excuse myself. Perhaps it's because of my over-vivid imagination. At any rate, I have a great respect for people who can perform such duties as those required of an EMT, paramedic, doctor, surgeon, etc., and an even greater respect for those who enjoy it.

Elegyrl saves lives. How awesome is that?

Sunday, May 4, 2008


When my niece, Kay, was about three years old, Mother Edit and I were driving her home after running errands. We'd just bought a container of superworms for Mother Edit's classroom turtle, and as we drove I said, "Mmm, mmm, delicious worms!"

"I love worms!" Kay piped up from the back seat. "They're so yummy!"

"You love to eat gummi worms?" Mother Edit asked.

"No," Kay said. "I love real worms."

"You do?" I asked.


"Well, I have some right here," I said, opening up the container of superworms. They were wriggling around in the sawdust, and two or three of them were visible on top. I held them out for her to see.

"Here you go," I said. "Some yummy worms for you. Go ahead, take one."

"Ew!" she shrieked. "That's disgusting!"

Thursday, May 1, 2008

"May Day! May Day!"

A lot of people keep little books of inspirational quotes from religious leaders or famous people. I don't. But I do gather various quotes and one-liners from my own life that make me laugh, or which I wish to remember, and write them on the inside covers of my doodle book. Here are the ones I love the best:

Band director at BYU: "Just be accurate, horns."

Oboe instructor at BYU: "Still on the horn? You can get over that, you know."

Creative writing teacher at BYU to another student: "Does this story go forward? I mean, eventually?"

Student at BYU: "Beethoven may not have been a clogger, but he was a violist."

King Tuffett: "This is a fun game now."
Queen Tuffett: "Why, because we're winning?"
King Tuffett: "Because now there's violence in the game."

Jennie: "Oh my gosh, you actually learned from a book?"

Betty: "How do you make an elephant float? With one scoop of ice cream and one scoop of elephant."
Nephew D: "And root beer!"
Betty: "Well, of course, root beer."
Nephew D: "Otherwise it's just an elephant sundae."

Random date: "Turn left at the stop sign. It's where all those cars are stopped."

Ward choir director: "People! Are we crashing a train or singing a song?"

Betty: "The moon is my favorite celestial body."
Sam: "Trevor was mine."

Betty in a dream: "It is far worse to lose your hearing than your earlobes."

Nephew T: "I look like a taco. Wanna eat me?"

Mother Edit: "Wait, I'm garbage disposaling."
Betty: "Using the garbage disposal?"
Father Edit: "What, you don't like the verbing of nouns?"

And quotes regarding myself:

S.H. : "You are a strange, strange person."

A: "Get over it. You're special."

Ops. Manager at store 292: "You're a freak."

Ops. Manager at store 8: "You're a freak."

Olive: "You're interesting. Just so you know."

Nephew T: "You're a hit for an aunt!"

Mother Edit: "But you don't have anything wrong with you but your brain!"