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.