Saturday, December 26, 2009

Meloncoly at McCarren

Here I sit, hours before my flight takes off and I am forced to again leave the city I know so well. The miles between Austin and Vegas never seemed so long. They yawn out before me and threaten to swallow me up. I am always melancholy at this time in the trip. The chasm between the two worlds never seems so real as it does at this very moment. Where am I going? When I say I am going home, where do I really mean? Do my yearly pilgrimages only serve to cause this feeling of disjointedness?

Another Christmas has come and gone, and like every year, I think next year I will be here with my husband. I think, next year I might be too pregnant to fly and will have to have Christmas as newlyweds in our new home. I think, next year my father might not be here to celebrate with us. His health becomes worst every time we see each other. It makes me wonder if I am wasting the years we have together by living two time zones away.

When I graduated, I made a conscious effort to not return to Vegas, so that I could go out and discover who I am. Now that I am found, now that the pieces are a whole, I can take the time to look outwards and realize I have no course. If the two choices were Austin and Vegas, the choice might be easy. Opening my heart to the heavens, I get the impression that neither is my final destination. Change is coming but I am at a lose to what that means. He has told me to embrace change, He has told me that He will make the way clear, He has told me to trust in him. I understand, but it has left me in turmoil. I find it hard to embrace change when I know not what that change is. I find it hard to walk the path when I cannot see around the bend. I think I am finding it hard to trust when I cannot see how all the parts fit together. This is my failure.

Despite my shortcomings, I can see His Hand in my life at this moment. Things are slowly shifting. I feel a slow dying of my established life like a relationship that is ending. Everyday the love we have is visibly withering on the bush. The process is preparing me; make it so that when the break comes it will not be so painful, not so soul-crushing. Still, like a dying relationship, I feel the pain. I miss what we had and long for days gone by. Maybe the hurt is the same, just spread out over a longer time period.

Regardless, of where I am or where I am going. I just have to take solace that who I am at this point in my life is at least right. I have to be thankful that I am where I can hear the voice of the Lord, even if I don't know what it means yet.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lend Me Your ... Earring?

I seem to be having the worst luck with earrings this month. Two and a half weeks ago, I lost my one of my Texas star earrings in the temple's baptismal font. Somehow between dunks, my right earring came dislodged and the ultra strong pump The Church strung for sucked the tiny star off to oblivion. We searched for the tiny bit of silver, but at the end of the night, I left the temple one earring short of a pair. I wore those earrings everyday, and only took them out to wear costume jewelry earrings to church and things.

After I came home, I traded out my one earring for the amazing, gold swirls that my little leprechaun, Red, brought back from Ireland for me. I have been rocking those since...yesterday! Walking through Best Buy, I noticed yet another right earring was missing. I combed the entire carpet but my search was in vain. What am I twelve? Seriously, I cannot keep track of my possessions?

I am sad at the lose of two earrings that had so much meaning to me. Then again, it does sound like a built in reason to do some shopping. If you have any suggestions on a set that could be my new signature earrings, please let me know!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ode to Candy Corn

As the air turns crisp and the month creeps ever closer to Halloween, every candy dish in the office flows like a horn of plenty. Brightly wrapped toffees are nestled on top of a bed of miniatures Baby Ruths, fun sized Snickers, and little bags of M&Ms. While the world uses October to celebrate the invention of chocolate, I use this opportunity to indulge in the season’s finest offering, the candy corn.

It saddens me that this sweet confection is only available once a year. There are so many ways I love to eat them. Sometimes I will bit each color off and have a nibble of white, a bite of orange, and then a little dessert with the yellow. Sometimes I will put two in my mouth and grind my molars on them until they make a sweet paste that I can roll across my tongue. And then there are the times that I put a whole handful in my mouth until all my spit turns into that thick, syrupy slurry that harkens me back to Halloweens of my childhood. Mostly I just pop them into my mouth, one by and one, until I look down and wonder if there is a hole at the bottom of the bag.

Some of you readers just had your salivary gland kick into action and gave your lips an unconscious lick. But just as many curled their lips in disgust, much the way I would at the thought of a vegan meal. Candy corn is a very galvanizing candy. You either love it or hate it. You will never met someone who is wishy-washy on the issue. The response is either, yes, I love them, do you happen to have any on you so that I may enjoy the sweet goodness within? Or, that is disgusting, I would rather suck on my grandmother’s dentures. Think I am lying? Turn to your co-worker next to you and ask them how they feel about it.

I don’t understand those people who feel the bile back up into their throat when they think about my beloved candy corn. Candy corn is simply sugar (good), corn syrup (good), and honey (best). It is candy in its purest form. Three layers of color to represent three forms of sugar that is whipped together into a sweet treat that makes my heart sing. Nothing heralds the coming holiday like a bowl of them at your desk, or a glimpse of the package sitting like a sparkling jewel amid the miles of the other candy that you can buy year round. Nothing is funnier than candy corn fangs, or more fun than making designs on your desk that you are then able to slowly eat away at.

Fun fact for you according to Brach's (who make the best candy corn, but closely followed by the Jelly Belly Company), each year Americans eat enough candy corn that if the kernels were laid end to end, they would circle the Earth four times. My yearly consumption of those perfect drops of pure sugar surly accounts for one circumnavigation. Tomorrow, October 30th, is National Candy Corn Day. I am going to celebrate in style, and to all of my fellow candy corn lovers, pay proper tribute to our tiny tri-colored friends. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Last Saturday

Last Saturday the morning sky was dismal and gray and as I woke up my mood was in the same vein. I could feel the oppressive force pushing down on me like a hand. I was worried that the melancholy mood would roil out and follow me to the temple; affecting all of those confined to the tiny cabin of the car for the hours the commute would take.

I allowed myself to wallow for a beat, and then reluctantly dropped out of bed to the floor and offered up a prayer. As the carpet bit into my knees, I could feel a calm pour over and coat me like thickened nectar. I often hear people refer to themselves as a chalice or vessel that fills up with the Spirit, permeating their entire being. I don’t know if these words can fully describe what was felt. It was a warm, loving feeling that encased my whole self. Filling me, completing me, igniting the spiritual half of myself.

Rising from the ground, I was on fire. I felt so vibrant, that moments before I could only be described as asleep, deadened to the subtle whisper of my Constant Companion. The rest of the day was a high that made the drive to the temple pass by in the blink of an eye, the Endowment session rich with undertone that I felt rippling below the surface, a permanent picture of the light that shown from our friend’s face when she saw we were there forever pressed into my memory, a wedding brighter with the joy in the air, and friendships especially treasured.

That night, as I returned to my room, I again knelt in prayer and with a greatful heart, I told my Father how much I cherish days like that. Not every day is like Saturday, but it is those days that makes all the other bearable.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I Am Pretty Sure Its Cold In Hell

This is the worst time of the year. The fever of summer is breaking, and a subtle depression is falling over me at thought I am at the beginning of another long winter. I want to sleep for six months and wake up when the world is new and green again. There is nothing good about winter. Nothing at all. I hate it so much that I thought I would enumerate the reasons that I hate winter so much.

Blasted sore throat that makes you have to talk yourself into swallowing
Runny Noses that have you rub your own nose raw
The need for tissues, as mentioned above
Toes so cold that make me wonder if they are all still present and accounted for
Have to carry a jacket everywhere, and most of the time, you are already wearing on
Even if it 15 degrees out business still think it needs to be 60 degrees inside
How sad my Thanksgiving plate looks. Turkey, gravy, rolls.
The fact you won’t see my arms for 6 months
Arctic chill blowing up my church dress
No sunbathing, no swimming, no swimsuits. That should be enough to depress the boys.
Fruits just won’t be the same for six months
Red tips of ears and nose, like I am some kind of hyper-color shirt
Rain and consequently wet dog, wet dog smell, and muddy paw prints
The smell of coffee, ugh, I hate coffee
Figure hiding sweaters, and thus the built in excuse to eat and eat
Getting the end of your sleeve wet every time you wash your hands
Scrapping icy windows, so it makes your own personal snow storm in your face
Earmuff, mittens, and scarves. Where do you carry all this stuff once you get there?
Goosebumps that makes my shave this morning pointless
It is dark when you wake up, go to bed, all freaking day
Dry skin that just don’t go away no matter what you slather on it
Being inside all the time like you are literally winter’s prisoner
Moving from heater to heater in the house so much that you actually consider buying a Snuggie
Getting out of the car, getting out of the bathtub, getting out of bed
I blow through twice as much Chapstick in a week than I would in a summer month
Giving my asthma back its iron grip on my ability to exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen
Watching your beautiful tan fade back to pale like you are turning into a vampire very slowly
Everything in the world falls into a limited palette of dismal gray
Another freaking birthday

And the top five reasons I hate winter :

It's cold
It's bloody cold
It's effin’ cold
It's damn cold
and did I mention, it's cold?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Eye Of The Beholder

I love Halloween. I know there are many of you out there that also enjoy this grand holiday. It is full of candy corn, dances, and the opportunity to dress up like an idiot without anyone judging you. I tend to go a bit overboard on that last part. I love to dress up. I love to have people look at my outfit and immediately know what I am, and then take a couple of moments to see all the details I thought of. On Halloweens of yesteryear I have come up with several costumes that I am extremely proud of.

One year I was Carrie. I dressed in a vintage 70’s prom dress, made out of actual polyester, tiara, and made my own corsage out of silk flowers. Halloween night I had the pleasure of experiencing the shower of fake blood and then had to shiver in the yard for a full half hour while the blood dried. Just a note to everyone out there, polyester does not dry that fast.

Another year I was Marge Simpson. I had the full, blue, beehive hairdo that was so tall I could not even drive in it. I sewed my own green dress. Bought my first can of spray paint and made my own set of precious red pearls. Two pairs of yellow hose covered my arms and legs and painted my face yellow with grease paint. I was still finding yellow paint in my ears days later.

Last year’s costume got a bit away from me. I decided to be a flamingo. I ordered a pink leotard, pink tights, and dug out some of my old ballet slippers. Red helped sew a pink tulle skirt that we made wings and a tail out of boas. The feather wig, feather eyelashes, and feather accents around my wrists and neck might be what pushed it over the top. Then again the 8 inch beak I wore all night might have drawn a stare or two.

The list goes on and on. I hope you are beginning to get a picture of how much I enjoy Halloween. So much so that I will forgive the mortal sin of being held when it is not exactly warm.

I decided on the eve of last year’s Halloween dance that this year I am going to be Mystique from X-Men. I have been scouring the net to find a set of contact to turn my eyes yellow. I am not having much luck. The problem is that I wear real contacts and most novelty contacts do not provide vision correction. I cannot exactly put a pair of glasses on my blue face and am pretty sure you cannot wear two contacts in the same eye. The whole costume hinges on the eyes. If I cannot find the contacts I am going to have to switch. In the running for back-up are the Cheshire Cat or Anne Boleyn. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any other suggestions.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Out With The Old, In With The New

This weekend was monumental. I was forced to say good-bye to an old friend and hello to a new one.

For about a week, my car has been making a sound. You might be thinking this sound was in league of a rattle or a hum, but you would be mistaken. This sound was more like the sound an industrial machine makes right before exploding. The sound was so bad that if my car had shook apart and left me buckled into my seat and holding just a steering wheel, I would not have been surprised.

Wednesday night I drove it down to the mechanics, and dropped it off. I was hoping the verdict would come back as a simple $40 belt replacement, but was sure before I even got there that the news would be bad.

Not far into Thursday, my suspicion was confirmed. My car was dead and it would cost a mere $3,000 to resurrect it. I was now faced with a dilemma of fixing the old thing, or using that $3,000 to buy a new car. Now I have had my car for about 10 years, and it was showing it's age. One side of the car was side-swiped while my ex was driving it and so in addition to not looking great, it shimmied around 70 mph, there was a crack that extended the entire length of the windshield, one wheel could not keep a hubcap on it for anything, and the list goes on as any car 10 years old does.

Despite all of this, I had no intention of getting rid of the blasted thing. It was just fine for my three block commute to work and vanity played no part in the equation. I was crestfallen that I had to buy a new car, and return to the world of those with a car payment.

Thursday I struck out in my $35 a day rental car, less than pleased with the task before me. The first day of looking was a horrible experience. I knew what I wanted; a nice, reliable commuter car with low mileage and a lower price tag. Unfortunately, the Cash For Clunkers deal, has left every car dealer from here to Michigan with slim pickings. The Toyota dealership I stopped at won't even walk the lot with me, because there was nothing to look at. Lost and dejected, I looked at a PT Cruiser that was the only thing in my price range. It was not what I wanted at all, but was afraid that I would not find anything and have a $1,000 a month car payment because I was forced to keep driving the rental car.

I stopped by Red's house after a day of searching and got some really good advice from her and Frankie. Between them and a whole day of pep talking from the Peacemaker at work the next day, I was off for another night of searching.

After striking out at several dealerships, I drove down to the Kia dealership to look at a red Yaris I had seen on the internet. When I got there, it had already been sold, but, unlike many other dealerships, they actually had cars on the lot to look at. My overly, attentive salesman, Thad, and I drove several of them. I drove a Mazda 3 that I loved, but did not love the price. There was a very nice Honda Civic, but did not want a two door. After two test drives, I spotted a 2007 Toyota Corolla at the end of the lot. It was just in, and did not even have the window sticker on it yet. Test drive was perfect, and for the price, it was exactly what I wanted.

The next morning, armed with new advice from Frankie, I went down to make a deal. I was all ready to talk Thad down in the price, but before I could even broach the subject, he told me that he made a mistake in the price. The price that was posted in the car was supposed to be with qualified trade-in, but since we had already drawn up the paperwork with that price on it, that they were going to give it to me for that price. Looking it up later, I got the car for about $2,000 below Kelly Blue Book. Score.

Everything went fine at the dealership, except for a small, uncomfortable incident with the finance guy. While signing my paperwork in a closed office, the finance guy decided it was a good idea to tell me how my salesman had a huge crush on me. I don't know which was more awkward, having the finance guy tell me that the salesman told the whole place that I had an "amazing body" or actually having to look the salesman in the eye after all the signing was done. I could feel myself blushing the entire way out to my new car.

In the end, when I was driving home in my new car, I could finally relax. After the hassle, pain, and money associated with actually getting the new car was over, I could now enjoy it. I have a pride in my car that I have not felt in a very long time. I love the remote keyless entry, the clear view out the windshield, the fact the overhead light works, and that I am not drawing stares while waiting at a red light. To sum it up, I love my car. I don't think I have ever been able to say that. I am excited to drive it, and want everyone to see it. With all of this in mind, there is only bad thing, now how will I know if I am going 70 mph if there is no shimmies to tell me so? I guess there are certain sacrifices I will have to make to enjoy such a sweet ride.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Alarm Clocks, Naps, and Nintendo

I usually don't enjoy the million and a half forwards I get a day. I never obey the pleads of dying children to have the most forwarded email ever, or do it because I am afraid if I do not I will die in ten days, or believe that my friends will only know that I love them because I sent it on. In spite of all of this, I recieved an email that was hilarious. Instead of forwarding it and being part of the cycle, I will just post it here. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.

-I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

-More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can't wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that's not only better, but also more directly involves me.

-Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

-I don't understand the purpose of the line, "I don't need to drink to have fun." Great, no one does. But why start a fire with flint and sticks when they've invented the lighter?

-Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you're going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you're crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.

-That's enough, Nickelback.

-I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

-Is it just me, or are 80% of the people in the "people you may know" feature on Facebook people that I do know, but I deliberately choose not to be friends with?

-Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn't work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards or FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft.

-There is a great need for sarcasm font.

-Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the f was going on when I first saw it.

-I think everyone has a movie that they love so much, it actually becomes stressful to watch it with other people. I'll end up wasting 90 minutes shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone's laughing at the right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little bit harder (and a millisecond earlier) to prove that I'm still the only one who really, really gets it.

-How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

-I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

- I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

-The only time I look forward to a red light is when I’m trying to finish a text.

- A recent study has shown that playing beer pong contributes to the spread of mono and the flu. Yeah, if you suck at it.

- Was learning cursive really necessary?

- Lol has gone from meaning, "laugh out loud" to " I have nothing else to say".

- I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

- Answering the same letter three times or more in a row on a Scantron test is absolutely petrifying.

- My brother's Municipal League baseball team is named the Stepdads. Seeing as none of the guys on the team are actual stepdads, I inquired about the name. He explained, "Cuz we beat you, and you hate us." Classy, bro.

- Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart", all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart".

- How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?

- I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent a dick from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!

- Every time I have to spell a word over the phone using 'as in' examples, I will undoubtedly draw a blank and sound like a complete idiot. Today I had to spell my boss's last name to an attorney and said "Yes that's G as in...(10 second lapse)..ummm...Goonies"

-What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other?

- While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it...thanks Mario Kart.

- MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

- Obituaries wou ld be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

- I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and THEN turn on the water.

-Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

- I would like to officially coin the phrase 'catching the swine flu' to be used as a way to make fun of a friend for hooking up with an overweight woman. Example: "Dave caught the swine flu last night."

-I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

- Bad decisions make good stories

-Whenever I'm Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their profile is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who just got the Red Ryder BB gun that I always wanted. 546 pictures? Don't mind if I do!

- Is it just me or do high school girls get sluttier & sluttier every year?

-If Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring would probably just be completely invisible.

-Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from, this shouldn't be a problem....

-You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you've made up your mind that you just aren't doing anything productive for the rest of the day.

-Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don't want to have to restart my collection.

-There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

-I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

- "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this ever.

-I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people watching TV. There's so much pressure. 'I love this show, but will they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren't watching this. It's only a matter of time before they all get up and leave the room. Will we still be friends after this?'

-I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Dammit!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

- I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

-When I meet a new girl, I'm terrified of mentioning something she hasn't already told me but that I have learned from some light internet stalking.

-I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it's on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.

-Why is a school zone 20 mph? That seems like the optimal cruising speed for pedophiles...

- As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.

-Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

-It should probably be called Unplanned Parenthood.

-I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

-Even if I knew your social security number, I wouldn't know what do to with it.

-Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, hitting the G-spot, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I’d bet everyone can find and push the Snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time every time...

-My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day "Dad what would happen if you ran over a ninja?" How the hell do I respond to that?

-It really pisses me off when I want to read a story on and the link takes me to a video instead of text.

-I wonder if cops ever get pissed off at the fact that everyone they drive behind obeys the speed limit.

-I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

-I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay.

-The other night I ordered takeout, and when I looked in the bag, saw they had included four sets of plastic silverware. In other words, someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think about it, and then estimated that there must be at least four people eating to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating by myself. There's nothing like being made to feel like a fat bastard before dinner.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Drink, Drank, Drunk

For the last week or so, I have been suffering from polydipsia. For those of you who are not doctors, nurses, or have a word –a-day calendar, polydipsia is excessive or abnormal thirst. When I say abnormal amount of thirst, I am not talking like, “I would enjoy a cool beverage”. My mouth has felt like I just spit out sand, and when I drink, it is only moist for less than a minute. If I go several minutes without drinking, that spot on the back of my throat begins to burn due to being parch and I can feel it every inhalation of breath. Beyond that, my thirst becomes oppressive where all I can do it think about when I can get something to drink. My thirst is to the point that it affecting my life; to the point of embarrassment.

For those of you who know m, this may not seem much different for my normal fluid intake. I usually drink 125 oz a day. That is about 16 glasses of water a day. But what has been happening is beyond my normal fluid enjoyment. Allow me to illuminate for you. Friday night we went and saw the long awaited, much anticipated Wicked. As the first half neared an end, I could barely think of anything else except cool liquid in my mouth. That night at dinner I had an entire glass of water before the waiter even left the table, and I was dying for my Diet Pepsi before he returned. Saturday, we went to the circus, and before the clowns even came on, I was dreaming of when I could get something to drink. I ended up buying a huge 44 oz drink and finished the entire thing before we left. I had two bottles of before I went to bed and woke up two hours later in a near panic from how thirst I was. Sunday during our CPR renewal I had three Diet Cokes in the space of two hours. Monday night I did not eat dinner because I was so full of water that there was no room for food. I have not been sleeping well at night due to having to wake up and drink every few hours.

Finally, I decided to go see my doctor. All sorts of fatalistic things came to mind. Yesterday I drove all the way to Pflugerville to see my doctor (he recently moved offices) and told him all about it. I am sure my doctor hates me because I came with all my theories about what is wrong with me. I think it could be diabeties, since polydipsia is the first sign for most patients. I am praying beyond all belief that this is not the case. It could be theophylline toxicity due to a buildup of too much of my asthma medication. It could be a thyroid imbalance, and if this is so, then we will have an answer about why I am so cold all the time. He looked me over, gave me the standard asthma evaluation, and took some blood. Right now I am waiting for him to call with my lab results. I called earlier, and they are in, but just waiting for him to evaluate them. I have a new appreciation for my own patients who call a hundred times asking if they are available. I will keep you updated, and let you know if I am going to die anytime soon.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Wickedly Wicked

You might not know this, and I hesitate to tell you if you do not know, but I am a bit of a Broadway nerd. I love musicals. I am lucky that I am female for even with the stigma that goes along it, it would be far worst if my gender were otherwise.

For many years now, I have been a season ticket holder for Broadway in Austin. Every year I get to see three to five Broadway shows. Some are just as breath taking as they are in my mind like the year Les Miserables came. Others time the voices are amazing but the over the top sets that made them famous a more compact travling size, like Miss Siagon and the conspicously missing helicopter. Others are forgetable at best, like, well if I could remember it would not fit in this category.

In one week I will be enjoying Broadway in Austin's rendition of Wicked. I am daring to hope that the musical will be ever bit the challenging vocal performance that Elphaba's role requires, completly intacted cables to make one wicked witch fly, and dazzling tornados that rock the foundation of Oz.

In preperation for upcoming show, I have been listening to the Orignal Broadway Cast recording with Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth. Understanding that the two Broadway giants will leave huge shoes to fill, I am excited none the less. The song, "Defying Gravity" is one of my favorite Broadway songs of all times. It got me thinking about other favorites of mine. So for all you Broadway newbies or seasoned veterens, in no particular order, are in my humble opinion, the top ten Broadway songs.

1. "Seasons of Love" from Rent

2. "Defying Gravity" from Wicked

3. "Voulez-Vous" from Mamma Mia!

4. "Stars" from Les Miserables

5. "Murder, Murder" from Jekyll & Hyde

6. "Buenos Aires" from Evita

7. "We Both Reached For The Gun" from Chicago

8. "The Movie In My Mind" from Miss Saigon

9. "Fortune Favors The Brave" from Aida

10. "The Phantom Of The Opera" from The Phantom of The Opera

Please feel free to disagree or to suggest others glaring omissions from my list. Otherwise, enjoy the above links to the songs. Not all renditions are the best, but I did my best. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Girl and the Terribly Wonderful, Horribly Amazing, Way Good, Very Not Bad Day

Yesterday I was in an extremely good mood. Lunch was an amazing conglomeration of warm summer air, white rice, and top-notch company. Returning to the office, I was a bundle of energy and smiles. The Peacemaker said if I did not cut it out that she would squeeze me like a bullfrog until the happiness oozed out of me. Both a descriptive and somewhat disconcerting prospect. I was singing and dancing through the office like I was a Disney princess. You could almost see the tiny, animated song birds flitting around my head.

Punching out, I went home and took the hottest bath on record. Only if there been carrots floating on top of the water could it have been more reminiscent of a boiling lobster; my skin so red that an actual lobster could have been in there and been so camouflaged that I did not notice it’s presence. I got ready for FHE and found a dress that I nearly had forgotten about. Slipping it on, I realized that it must endowed with magical power because it was possessed the ability to transform me into the perfect amount of cuteness. It almost inspired me to draft a letter to Target headquarters and let them know how satisfied I was with their product.

FHE was a warm and uplifting experience. Bambi’s lesson was on The Savior and his titles. It was a multi-media extravaganza that left me highly impressed with the quality of spirituality in our group. I have been in many an FHE group, and my current on is above par.

Status post FHE, I was lead away into temptation by Peter-Peter and Moe to skip the gym and instead make a foray to Yogurt Planet. It was like entering the World of Willy Wonka, where in my head I was slo-mo spinning and overly rip strawberries, luscious blackberries, and other saccharine sweets rained down around me. I have a problem; I seriously love food. We enjoyed our creamy concoctions in the warm and sultry August evening. The company was almost, and I stress almost better than the frozen yogurt. Don’t judge me.

After I was full to the brim, I went home and delighted in watching an episode of the mindless Las Vegas with the ever captivating Josh Duhamel. I tell you, if he put out a movie of him just reading a book for three hours, I would still pay to see it. I revealed in the sheer indulgence of wasting an hour watching total drivel.

I capped the evening off with my first video chat. I felt like my mini Dell was a stranger to me. It can do things that I was not aware of, like stream video and having a microphone hidden somewhere in its compact design. The technology saved my fingers from the monotonous key strokes, but then realized it was not far off from just calling. But the novelty was an amazing way to end my evening.

I know not everyday can be like yesterday, but it nice to sometimes remember that they can be.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ode to my iPhone

The last two days have seemed to revolve around the iPhone. Yesterday while Red and I were having dinner, she told me about how she was going to get an iPhone. She was telling me about a particularly harrowing experience where she was very lost, well beyond the witching hour and would have sold her first born for a phone with GPS.

Excited to help induct her into our cult, we made a bee line for the nearest AT&T store. As soon as we walked in, I was bamboozled by the sleek, glittery displays. I think I was more excited than she was. We waited our turn and as we approached the counter, a surly looking man informed us that they were sold out of the smaller 16G size that Red was thinking about getting. I spent a good four minuets trying to talk her into the larger 32G size. I told her how I have the 16G size of the older model and it is full to the brim. I wish I had more space. I have to be choosy about what makes the cut to go everywhere with me and what does not. Not fully trusting my advice, she called Frankie and discussed the matter with him. He said she only would need the 16G. He totally vetoed me. I dropped her off at her car without a brand-new, shiny phone. Not to worry, it will come though.

This morning I got up and finished listening to Harry Potter 4 on my iPhone and was ready to download Harry Potter 5 before I left for work. I synced up and went about getting ready. When I came back to it, it was downloading a software update. Ugh. I got dressed, did my hair, and when I came back it still was not done. I had to leave for work, so in my infinite wisdom, I unplugged it when it clearly said on the screen so that I could take it with me. I have done this other times, and it was fine. It just did not put the new songs on, or did not sync my calendar, and I would just do it when I returned home. Oh, that was the wrong answer today.

After I unplugged it, it just gave me a bleak picture of a the plug and the iTunes symbol. It would not get me to the home screen. Yikes! No problem, I will just plug it back in and it will finish what it was doing while I was at work. On my way to lunch, I stopped by my house and picked my phone up. I was horrified to realize that it was completely wiped, like it was straight out of the box. There was not a single contact, not a single appointment, not a single song. AH! What did I do to my sweet, sweet phone? Poor thing. My iPhone pretty much is part of my life now. It wakes me up in the morning, always at the right time because it is smart enough to be programmed to wake me at different times on different days. While I get ready, I listen to a book on tape or jam out to any of the thousands of songs it holds. All day at work it is my life line to the outside world. Denied access to Facebook, and clocked for all internet time, my iPhone allows me to connect behind Big Brother’s back. When boredom sets in, we can pass and play Scrabble. When a conversation refers to someone new that my coworkers don’t know yet, I can look up their picture for the girls. On my way home, I check where I am supposed to be that night. On my way there, I can talk on my phone through my car speakers, shoot a quick text to say I am almost there, or look up what that stupid gate code that I can never remember is. It helps me find a Sonic when I am craving a soda, or help me send a postcard while I am out of town, and tells me what song is playing in the Gap.

In the book The Golden Compass, every person soul resides outside the body in an animal-like form called a Dæmon. A person’s Dæmon can only stray a short distance of from their person and forcibly separating a person from his or her Dæmon causes unimaginable physical and emotional pain for both entities. I think Dæmon is in the form of an iPhone. All day I have been missing the familiar weigh in my scrub pocket. After lunch I returned home to plug it back in. I can only hope that when we are reunited that my iPhone will no longer be the blank stranger that I took to lunch to me, but will again return to manifestation of my soul.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Man Called John

I have gotten out of the habit of the daily blog. I just takes up so much time to write, be witty, edit, and post. I think that it is okay though, this way you are not subjected to every tiny detail of my life. With longer between posts, you are just subjected to most of them.

Friday I joined the YSA for a temple trip to baptisms for the dead. I have not been in the baptistery since I did baptisms more than ten years ago. I did them once in the Salt Lake Temple after I did the work for as much family as I had records for. After that I never did them, and then I was endowed. The last time I went with the YSA for a baptism trip, there were too many endowed girls and I got shunted off to do iniatories.

That night, dressed in all white, I sat among those dressed for the waters, the Elders who were performing the rites, temple workers, and other members who were all there united in one purpose. Unity is a concept we talk about in church, but it is hard to really understand until you are living the concept. My heart was so full, the spirit so strong in my breast that all the tension my family left me with melted away. This was where I wanted to be. A week of railing on my decision to get married in the temple was not longer an issue. I knew that this temple, this place, the holiness that was here was all I wanted. Feeling that feeling, why would I want anything else. The temple is my number one priority, everything else has to fall in line behind it. There is nothing I could not leave behind or give up for it.

On the drive home, Frankie and I had another one of those soul touching talks. I am not sure what endows him with the ability to cut right to the heart of things, but I cherish the time we get to talk. He is not afraid to tell me things that I may not want to hear, but still do it in a way that I will listen. The only other person in my life that can do that is Red. That night he told me that it may be time for me to move on. Not what I want to hear, but I promised him I would pray about it.

Sunday I had a work conference which made it impossible for me to go to my ward. I was, however, able to make it to the YSA. I could tell the difference as soon as I walked in. It was the same feeling that buried itself inside my chest at the temple. All my searching to be filled and to get enough, is slaked here. I was so full sitting there. Just listening to the lesson, feeling the spirit, looking around at all the familiar faces of those who know my names and care about my welfare warmed the cockles of my heart. Why is it that we do not know what we have until it is gone? Why cannot I not bask in it now? I want to live inside that warm glow; I am drawn to that light that I can so easily find there.

Update on The Aggie...he is finishing up his degree and moving on Wednesday. This I knew, but what I did not know was that he is moving to Austin! How fortuitous. We texted back and forth on Saturday while I was getting ready for a wedding and it came up. I assumed when he said he was moving that he meant he was moving somewhere in the same town. After our texting, he called and we chatted for a bit. Before we hung up, he said that he would like to do something when he gets in town. Now I just have to wait. I am not good at waiting, but Red and The Peacemaker assure me that it can be done.

Tonight I finally got to teach my lesson on John the Baptist, and it was abysmal. After weeks, literally weeks, of preparation, I finally felt like I had a handle on the material and was ready to teach. The lesson started and I had not even gone through the first section and I could already see the boredom on their faces. Instantly I began to get nervous, I started sweating, and questioning all that I had prepped. This was a long lesson, how was I going to keep them interested? I was having a hard time getting them to participate, which made me even more nervous. I started impromptu editing, which then made me feel like it was not as rich as I intended. Now that I am all flustered, came the nail in my coffin. Someone has a question, she raises her hand and instead of asking me, she asks Frankie. I was crushed. I was the one teaching the lesson, but I was not respected for what I had prepared. This is exactly why I put so much effort into my prep, and yet I still was only there to lead the discussion, not to teach anyone. I feel dejected and don't quite know how to get over that feeling.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I have been dragging at work today. Sometimes I feel like I run through life and never slow to see the scenery beyond a rushing blur.

Monday, after work, FHE was early. Instead of our normal 8:00, we met at 7:00 to move The Cookie Lady. Frankie aptly stated that it was the most over powered move in the history of moves. She had a total of thirty things and with thirty people there, it did not take long to load her up. After everything was in the truck, I realized I could not find my keys. It did not take long to realize they were in my purse, that I had securely locked in the trunk. When I bought the car, I bought a hide-a-key and put it in the wheel well. I retrieved it, and the nine years of dirt coated on it was quickly transferred to my hands and then to Peter-Peter’s as he struggled to open it after my failure. The unloading on the other end was just as quick as the loading. So fast in fact that there was no time to arrange anything and consequently the place looked like we took the entire place and shook it like a Boggle board.

Done early, Peter-Peter, Moe, Frankie, and I headed off the gym. I really enjoy working out with others. It pushes me. I am not sure if it is the need to avoid the humiliation of being called a panty waist or the enjoyment of keeping pace with everyone. This group was perfect because after abs, the boys went to lift and Moe and went and did more girly things. The ab workouts are still rocking my world, but I have started to notice lines below my hip bones which I am enjoying greatly.

After the gym we made an impromptu stop at Fiesta of all places. I am not sure how I feel about stores that sell tripe by the pound or whole boar heads. I was slightly disturbed as food was staring back at me. Alongside the enjoyment of roaming the aisles and finding candy made out of cactus and fruit big enough to hallow out to and make a canoe out of, I got a pleasant surprise. Pulling out my phone, I saw The Aggie texted me. Thrilled I texted him back and the banter kept up until I got home. Once in front of the computer I added him as a Facebook friend, and we chatted well over three hours. Number one thing going for him is he is smart. I cannot tell you how nice it is not to have to dumb down conversations or feel like you are embarrassing him because he keeps having to ask what you mean. Quite enjoyable, and rather darling to boot.

Yesterday ran by in another blur. I was home for a mere 45 minutes at home, I jetted off to Institute. I brought along my mini Dell along so I could work on my John The Baptist lesson. I got a bit of a reprieve since I did not have to teach this Monday, but I was feeling like I just was not quite getting it. I feel like I am a smart girl, and was wondering why I just was not getting it. On the verge of giving up, I asked Frankie for some help. He told me he could after he went home teaching. I went home and got on Facebook hoping to chat it up again, but to no avail. We did exchange some pleasantries via Facebook messages.

Frankie then called to say he was on his way home. I got over there and we talked for about an hour. I have previously blogged about my need to be filled with the Spirit, and finding my weekly activities lacking. I gloried in the conversation. Our conversation was elevating, the kind where I felt like I was not just going over well worn topics, but actually growing and learning. I lapped it up and for one of the few times in recent memory, I was satiated. Reading out of the New Testament course manual, I felt a stab of regret that I had not gotten more out of my required religion classes in college. I was a member a mere three months when I started and was still on the milk, while others feasted on meat. As I was leaving I felt a stab of guilt. While I buoyed my spirits, I failed to notice that I had taken the one hour of the whole day that Frankie had to himself. I will have to be more aware in the future.

Tonight I think I will stay in, enjoy the house I pay rent on but never really get to enjoy. Hopefully I will be able to get to bed before I collapse of sheer exhaustion.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Boys, Boys, Boys

week, my prayers were quite poignant. Among the myriad of issues that I poured my heart out over, boys, as usual, were on the list.

I was having a hard time finding a date for Friday night and it was causing undue stress on top of everything else. I finally came to the conclusion that I was weary of it. I am weary of the hunt, weary of obsessing, weary wondering if he is ever going to call. I felt like of all the thing I could let go, this was on of them. After some extensive time on my knees on the issue, I feel like I finally got my answer. In the simple, still, small voice, I was told not to worry about it, to surrender my will unto him and let him take control.

I cannot tell you what a relief this answer was. The only thing I can equate it to is feeling holding your breath to the point where you get dizzy and tiny stars appear in your eyes and then exhaling. That sweet release leaves you refreshed as the old stale air rushes out and you are able to fill that space with the new and fresh.

Relieved of my need to constantly be on the prowl like a hungry lioness, I moved about my week. Friday came and after an amazing dinner, we went to the abysmally disappointing dance. The awkwardness of the thing was overwhelming, but was broken up by a bright spot. I met a boy, a very nice Aggie boy.

This boy was down to visit his parent for the weekend and was talked into attending said abysmal dance. The Aggie and I danced a slow dance where we exchanged the usual first dance pleasantries. It is always interesting to dance with a stranger, because before you even know each other's names, he is touching you. Our conversation yielded that he is a Master's student in International Agriculture and teaches undergrad courses. Well, if that isn't a good start, I don't know what is.

Later a swing song came on and we danced and snowballed into the slow dance after that. While dancing, I could see my friends the mutiny in their faces by the shared light of all their cells phones out. I warned the Aggie that my friend were about the exit stage left. I didn't realize that they were going to do it so quickly and did not even have time to finish the dance when I was ushered out the door. As I was leaving their was a weird moment, and I asked for his number. We exchanged number, he declined my movie invite, and I left.

Moments into the movie, I received a text stating that he wanted to come. He got there no more than 10 min later. He must have felt awkward as the entire row had to shift down so he could sit by me. The first hour and a half of the movie was great, we were whispering and giggling to the point that I thought someone would say something. Then I reached down and popped in a mint because of all the close talking. He asked if I had one from him. I said I didn't but I had gum. I gave him a piece and he leaned back in his chair but away from me. The rest of the movie there was whispering, but not the same. I chalked it up to sleepiness.

The next morning, I sent him a text telling him thanks for coming to the movie and after a few text back and forth, he asked if there was the activity that day. I told him time and place, which then obligated me to go. After I got there, I quickly found out that this activity made last night like a blast. He never showed, and upon advice from The Peacemaker, I am going to wait to see if he calls again.

Today, Sunday, I was so tired, I rolled out of bed and in yesterday's make-up went to church. I trudged through three blocks and near the end of the third hour, I was told that a new boy had just aged out into our ward. We walked over the priesthood together and stalked him until he came out. He walked down the stairs and as we were level with each other, I could not help but notice him towering over me with his entire 6'3" stature. Seriously, he is like the Sears Tower. Well, no one is perfect.

We had a pleasant conversation where I learned that he works a "boring" IT job, but is a workaholic. He recently got a promotion and that is why he moved from Minnesota to Austin. And he has his own set of friends from Mt. Bonnell, so he must have moved a bit ago. My neck still hurts from the conversation. Seriously, where are all the 5'5" guys hanging out?

I love how the Lord works. Tuesday I had not a single guy to ask out, and in one weekend I meet two guys who are older and are doing things with their lives. I will keep you updated on both The Aggie and Sears, and any other guy that randomly pops up when I am least expecting it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Body Hates Me

In the spirit of being back with "The Plan" this week, I pretty much ruined my entire day.

First, eating out on the plan is, at times, a nightmare. The girls at work are trying to eat out only once a week, which works perfectly with the plan. Friday we were going to eat Chinese, that was until I remember that Peter-Peter, Moe, and I are going to eat at a fancy French restaurant and I didn't want to eat out twice in one day. So we decided to go today.

I am not sure what kind of angry monster was living in my stomach today but I was already talking about lunch at 9:30 in the morning. I looked over the menu, drooling about each deep fried, sugar laden choice at my disposal. And then it was only 9:32. Here is where the problem starts. I should have had a snack. I get in these weird mind set that if I just wait and save my points till lunch that I can have what I really want. Needless to say that by the time we got there I was STARVING. Like quietly sitting without talking, no energy to join the conversation, kind of starving.

I ordered my meal and asked the waiter if he could please bring me a bowl of rice while the other girls ate their soup. He did not bring it, so I asked again. Somehow my starving / rice problem was not his problem. I asked the other waiter in the room to please bring me some rice. When I saw the other waiter return with no rice I was almost on the point of tears. I asked him again, and he said, "Oh, I told your waiter and he said he would bring it". He never did. In fact, when he brought my meal it was wrong. He had brought me chicken fried rice instead of the white rice I have now asked for five times. I was done with my chicken before I finally got my stupid rice. The ravenous wolf in me almost had to eat my own hand, but once I had my meal, mood greatly increased.

After work, I decided that I must literally hate my body. But my atonement for food vacation requires actual sacrifice, so went and paid someone for the torture of bikram yoga. The room is a stifling 110 degrees with 40% humidity. Have you ever been dumb enough to camp in Texas in July? You know, just laying in the tent in a puddle that you created, well that is pretty much bikram yoga. An hour and a half of you literally dripping more sweat off your body than you thought possible, clothes completely drenched, and muscles feeling like you are actually trying to kill them. My body that was eating pizza with such bliss a week ago, now is hates me.

After this torture, I decide that I did not quite get enough and met Frankie at the gym just to ensure that I would not live to see tomorrow. We thankfully skipped cardio, and went straight to abs. Died a little inside. Then I did his arm work-out with him. Oh, me, oh, my. Working out with Frankie makes me feel like a sissy. I am glad I have no man card to be repossessed as I peeled myself off the gym floor to go home.

I should sleep well tonight. So well, that I might never wake again. But if I do, I will try to be a little nicer to my body tomorrow and I will be back for another round of punishment.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


One of my best friends, Holden, is soon to be wed. Upon recommendation from Emily post he has sent out a Facebook invite asking for addresses so that they mail me an actual paper invitation to his nuptuals. Being a relatively young (hold for sniggers to die down) Mormon, I get one of these invites about once a week.

Holden's invite was a little different, Holden has raised the stakes. In addition to asking for our address, he is holding a haiku contest. I have put off posting my address so that I might craft a brilliant haiku that will surely put all other haikus to shame. What follows are my drafting for haiku submissions.

* Destest when someone
Uses asterisks that goes
To no reference

DVR can hold
Great treasures or total junk
Tonight total junk

Diet takes hostage
If see hungry girl crying
Save with Twinkie STAT

Bed enfolds like womb
Pillows cup like mother's touch
Never want to leave

Gym is stealing soul
Not the soul, but will to live
Run, run, puke, run, die

Some like it hot, me
Stiffling, oppressive hot
Verge of sweating, best

Unicorn busts in
Hearts shoot from my niece's eyes
Best drawing on fridge

Snap camera goes
Shots of everything I do
No one can see all

Reads Amber Spyglass
A book written for children
Smarter than many adults

Audio books keep
Me company life's task
I am such a nerd.

I ended up submitting the first one, but feel free to let me know which you liked best, or write your own.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Food Vacation

Sorry for the absence from blogging, but for the past ten days I was vacationing. Vacationing from Austin, vacationing from blogging, vacationing from my life, and most importantly vacationing from my diet.

Do you see that amazing picture over there? That one that looks like it came from the cover of Food and Wine Magazine? Well it did not, that was my actual french toast, and I actually took that picture.

Let me tell you about this French toast like I was selling food porn. This French toast started with two slices of fresh baked Texas toast that were amply coated on both side with a mixture that was so savory that you could taste everything from the real vanilla to the egg that must surely have been laid by a free ranch chicken. Piled on a plate, it then was drizzled with a vanilla infused maple syrup reduction, topped with organic fresh mixed berries, and topped with a dollop of hand-whipped creme fresh.

This meal was amazing, and even more amazing was I ate every last bite. I ate every last bite of that French Toast and for ten glorious days just about everything that was put in front of me. I gorged myself on slice after slice of my favorite pizza ever, Metro Pizza. I sat down and devoured an entire plate of fresh lemon crepes at Mon Ami Gabi. I glutted on 12 inches of gooey cheese steak goodness at Capriotti's. I slurped down noodles at Noodles and Company. I ate bowl after bowl of rice, soft pretzels, sliders, macaroni and cheese with real bacon in it, deep fried cod, fries, smoothies, nuts, candies, cookies, and just about anything else that has been banned from my pantry for the past two years. I even indulged in a $14 dessert at Serendipity 3, that's base was made up entirely of deep fried Oreos.

Apparently I was also vacationing from reality, because somehow it was not until I got back that I realized that my stomach now roughly resembles beach ball. I gained five pounds in ten days. I know, I have already contacted Guinness to see if that is some kind of record.

The plan is to eat every meal at home this week, to eat within my points, and exercise. With any luck it will only take me 10 weeks to undo my 10 days of reckless abandonment. As I shopped in preparation for my upcoming week of sheer food boredom, I got seriously food depressed. I had to reach over Twinkies to grab that oh so tasty double fiber bread. I had to sprint past the rows and rows of perfectly packaged cookies and glittering packages of chocolates and other confections to get to the rice cakes and Melba toast.

I love you dear food, I really do, but only get to spend four days a week in scrubs and know that a bathing suit will no doubt be in my near future. Like a fling, it was good while it lasted and now have to return to my hum drum existence without the trill of reading words like cream, rich, or decadent on the package. I am glad we got a chance to get reacquainted, even if it was for such a short time.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Meaning of Home

That familiar feeling is creeping back in. On the eve of a big trip, I always get a twinge of apprehension and sadness. Tomorrow a ton of steel will whisk me away to my hometown and I will leave behind where I have made my home. The house becomes deathly quite as I power down everything that normally whirls, buzzes, and hums in preparation for my absence. Everything here is me. I bought this couch with one of my first paychecks. I remember hauling that table home and worrying about it flying out of the back of the pick-up the entire way. It is my name on the mailbox. It is my stamp that makes this more than a domicile, it makes it my home.

For the past ten years now, I have cultivated a relationship with the city. I can tell you were to get the best pizza, which streets to avoid in rush hour, and what that building used to be before it was a Target. This is where my friends work and live. This is where I want to raise my family. This is where I planted roots. Austin has permeated me with her essence so profusely that I know myself not without it.

Tomorrow I will sleep in a bed I know almost as well as my own. My parent's home is full of all the things that used to be me, before I was old enough to have an identity of my own. There I will be able to navigate to the fridge in the dark. I can tell you which pictures hang on the wall before I look up. The hum of the soft water heater is all the white noise I need to feel like nothing will ever change.

If Vegas is so familiar, so much a part of my childhood, so vivid in my imagination that I could close my eyes and be there; then why do I sit here and feel so lonely. I think the answer lies in the adage, "Home is where the heart is". If my heart has a time-share in Vegas, does it ever really invest itself here? The pull of adopted city is so great that is hurts at my heart to leave it. Here is where everything that I love about myself is. There is everything I love about everyone else.

While I am gone, Austin's world will keep on turning. Without me the sun will rise and the sun will set, boats will still sail, traffic will still flow, bats will still fly. When I am away, a part of me stays here. I can be standing on the corner of Trop and Blvd, my mind will still wonder what my city is doing without me like some sort of jealous lover.

The feeling is there when I leave Vegas, my first home, but fades rapidly when I again bask in Austin's perfumed air. The metaphor of lovers is so apt that it is fair to say that Vegas is my first love. Vegas will always have a place in my heart as does any one's first love, but it's memory quickly fades once you are back in the embarrass of the one you have committed yourself to. So Austin, my love, forget me not while I am gone. I will be back in your embrace in less than a fortnight. Just know, no matter how far I roam, a piece of you will always be with me.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Here in Texas a few things are a fact of life. You can’t go an entire year without a hurricane, a heat wave, or the inevitable arrival of legions of household pests. They come in the form of ants, fleas, ticks, and the hideous water bugs. What is a water bug you ask? That is the nice word that my landlord uses for cockroaches. I call and say, I saw a cockroach in my house and she responds, water bugs are really common this time of year. A rose by any other name is still a big, ugly cockroach.

This year, like the inevitable arrival of the summer solstice, the “water bug” arrived. He was HUGE. He was either the Arnold Schwarzenegger of his kind or he has found a source of toxic waste that he was spending most of his days swimming in.

I first spotted him on Sunday. I was in the guest bedroom putting away games from that night’s funtivities. As I set the boxes on the closet shelf, I saw a scurry out of the corner of my eye. When I turned my head and looked at the beast full on, I got that shot of heat that ran through my body. I know that it is adrenaline, that it is a relic of my ancestors that needed such fail-safes that were built in to run from bears and mountain lions, but why do I get this response over a bug. Logically there is no innate reason for me to have a flight / fight response over something I out weigh by 300%. Logic be dammed, I was scared of the gargantuan insect that was now cohabitating with me. It was too late to call anyone to help me slaughter the thing, so I skirted out to get a shoe.

I returned with my instrument of death and was ready to bring the pain. The bugger must have sensed my murderous intent, for he was now nowhere to be found. I did a cursory look and decided that I had better things to do at 2 am than hunt down my great, white cockroach. In my brilliant thought process, I shut the door to the guest bedroom and went to bed.

Monday night, I got home from the gym, went upstairs, and started to undress. I only had my pants off when I looked up and saw him on the wall above my luggage. I can’t be sure, but I think he might have grown another inch overnight. After being denied the joy of the kill last night, I went to the closet and was again wielding a shoe. Being above the window, I had to climb up on my hope chest to get close enough to deliver my lethal blow. Now, I want you to get this picture in your head. I am half-dressed, balanced on the hope chest, one hand on the ceiling, shoe cocked back in the other. I am convinced the dog was sniggering under his breath. I pulled back the shoe and brought it down on him. His size should have been the first clue that his genetic mutations would make him no ordinary bug. I hit that bug square on and it bounced off his indestructible exoskeleton and now he was mad! The thing jump / flew at me. Screaming, I made my own leap over to the bed. Completely freaked out by the extraordinary resilience of this freak of nature, I just got under the covers. With nothing left to do, I went to sleep. The whole night I was dogged by the feeling that the bug was going to extract his revenge in the night and took special care to make sure I had no exposed flesh for him to snack upon.

Tuesday night I had forgotten about the previous night’s battle royale and went upstairs to go to bed. Laying down, I spotted my nemesis, directly above my bed. Jumping up, I cursed my luck that our showdowns only occurred after the rest of the world has gone to bed. His habit of midnight stalking is how you can tell he was a minion of the devil. I contemplated the logistic of killing a gunk filled bug above my bed and decided I must move the bug to a secondary location to commit my bugacide. I pulled comforter over the bed and hatched a plan. I am going to throw a shoe at the ceiling and the vibrations would scare it to moving to a more appropriate location. The vibration part of the idea worked great, the location part did not. After 15 min of moving the bug around the ceiling like some sort of bad video game, he finally moved to the corner. Success! I moved in for the kill. I hit him and he falls / scurries straight down … right into the dog bed. The dog bolts out of the bed with his tail between his legs, looking back confused at how bugs were raining down on him as he is trying to sleep. Serves you right for laughing at me last night. Shoe, shoe, shoe, and the thing still crawled away and is now under the bed somewhere. I then had to spend another night scared that I would wake up with cockroach eggs laid in my ear.

This morning, I get up to take a bath. I started the bath and when I turned around, there that jerk was! He is the bug that won’t die. He is like the bad guy in a movie. The good news is that he was in the process of dying. I must have hit him good last night or else someone finally pierced him with a silver bullet while I slept. He is about six feet from the toilet, where I can get rid of him forever. I cursed under my breath that I had no man in the house to trick into this task. I contemplated toilet paper, but imagined his guts squirting out and getting on my hands. The disgust with this plan lead me to settle on using a washcloth. I got the washcloth, picked him up, and shook it over the toilet. Toilet empty, no bug; I start to freak out. Did I drop him and he is now crawling up my leg? Nope, worst. I turn the washcloth over and there he is! He has enough strength left to hold on to cloth and is now crawling up the cloth to surely attack me for my cruelty. Not knowing what else to do to stem the assult, I threw the washcloth in the bathtub, cockroach and all. Now I am standing, looking down at the mystical thing die, wondering if I should call the Enquirer or not. Finally I got up the gumption, scooped him up in the cloth and at least a gallon of water in the process and got him in the toilet.

Flushed down, done gone. Nope! After I drained the bath, refilled it and got done with my bath, he was in the bowl. He was doing this sad side stroke thing where he made pathetic little circles. I flushed again, and saw him, with my own eyes, go down. I hope this is the end of the Yeti sized bug and I do not wake up tomorrow with him again hanging out on my wall. Jerk.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

My 31st Fourth

Yesterday was the Fourth of July and the day could not have been better.

Friday's late night bled into a late morning. I did not even get out of bed until noon. I love those days when you wake and then lay with your eyes closed, just letting your mind wonder. I tried not to think of packing, how much the A/C was costing me, or my five year plan.

This year we had a pool party over at Frankie's patent's house. I was not in town last year. I was in Portland, fighting my way onto the MAX train along with every other Oregonian from Clackamas to Hillsbro. It was nice to spend the holiday with my brother but it offered a weird feeling of maturity when the two of us were the ones who were looking up firework times and holding place in the bathroom lines instead of the ones running off our sugar highs.

Loaded with soda, ketchup, two kinds of mustard, and nine ears of corn, I made my way over there mid-afternoon. The triple digit temperature almost had it feeling like home, but the humidity quickly reminds that this is far from a desert. The afternoon was full of hot dogs, sun, pool time, and generally great times.

Red ensured that the party ran smoothly. She is ever the hostess. Recently, with my new calling, I came to a realization that just like my brother and I at Portland fireworks show, that someone has to plan things. I know that sounds like something so obvious, but it has really hit me hard in the last couple of months. How many lessons have I sat through and not given any thought to who prepped them? How many activities have I showed up at and had nothing but a bad attitude? How many parties have I gone to and given no thought except to show up?

Earlier this week, no one had mentioned doing anything for the Fourth. I was asked several times, and in turn I asked others several times. It wasn't until July 2, my mother's birthday, that this party's invite went out. Just like everyone else, I was relieved that I had somewhere to go and did not give thought to what went into actually making that happen. Two separate conversations enlightened me.

The social strata in the ward has somehow made it so that certain people have become responsible for every one's good times. The point was epitomized when Frankie was approached and asked what the plan for after the party was. He said I don't know, and then was asked again in another way. Frankie again, said, I don't know. I felt a stab of guilty that if I was not currently under going my whole self improvement project, and currently working on "going with the flow" and trying to be less of a planner, how easily could it have been me bugging him. How many times in the past was it me? Perspective is an amazing thing.

Along the lines of my self improvement, this Fourth brought me face to face with two things that everyone who knows me, associates with me. A couple of months back, in talking with Frankie, had made the rash decision to try corn. It is a well known fact, and I receive much guff about it, that I do not eat veggies. Not a single one. I am probably the most picky person you have ever met. I like things plain, dry, and bland.

In our conversation we discussed how much easier it would be if I liked more things. I would not have to send things back, could eat what I was served and eating within my points would be so much easier. When / If I get pregnant, I am going to have to face this particular beast. It would be plain selfish to not eat a balanced diet when it affect someone other than myself. Plus, I can spend all the time I want in the gym, but a balanced diet is really the way to health and weight management.

So ear in hand, because I should, I bit into my first corn on the cob. We will say that it wasn't disgusting. I did not particularly enjoy it, but if served to me at dinner, I could eat it. My displeasure was emblazoned on my face and told me to just put the ear down if I hated it. I told him how I at least had to give it a chance. It took me six weeks to make the switch from regular soda to diet, I could barely make it through a bowl of cereal when I switched to skim, and ten years ago you could not have caught me dead with a yogurt. Now are all staples in my diet. He mentioned that my palate just might be in a jag and I just might need to be more open. That is exactly what I am hoping for. If I am really going to be a better person, to change to be someone that others seek out and want to be with, I need to step outside of my comfort zone.

Number two, on my list of things that I am not so great at is swimming. I know, who at my age does not know how to swim? Both the veggies and swimming go back to childhood. The veggies was a control thing, and the swimming, well the swimming just was not exactly something that you did when you were still working on things lower on Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Every year when it comes up that I can't swim, invariably, someone says that they are going to teach me how. Honestly, this is really the first time that anyone has taken the time to try to teach me. The lesson only lasted about 1/2 hour, but covered important lessons like close your mouth, don't try to breathe underwater, and why the doggie paddle is so inefficient. Even though I scrapped bottom several times and got the worst chlorine headache I have had in a long time, all in all, I think we made some headway. I may not be able to enter a triathlon any time soon, but the fact they took the time to try to show me was heartwarming and worth the near drowning I had to endure.

As the sun sank into the West, those who were left set about the task of cleaning up. With the grill closed, net wrapped up, dishes washed, doors locked, we left to eat one mighty fine burger and then rolled over to watch the fireworks. Fireworks were done and then we went and watched Transformers. Curled up under a blanket, with the smell of the sun still on my skin, I smiled a secret little smile to myself. What a great day my 31st Fourth was.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Blogging In Bed

Tonight I blog from bed. I have been moving since my alarm rang this morning and am just now getting a chance to be still.

Early morning the alarm summoned me out of a sound slumber to tell me that it was time to go to work. I could not be to mad at said alarm because it did wake me on a Friday and even better, a half day, and most wonderful of all, the day I got to wear my boots.

Work moved along so smoothly, that I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. It never did and we left the clinic at 12:30. A small miracle with all four doctors in clinic. The phones were light and since we rescheduled all our routine lab draws, we only had to take care of the those who had to be seen that day.

Stepping out of the office, I was greeted by an amazingly warm and inviting day. With windows down, I called to Red to see about her lunch plans. I was in luck and she was free. After passing an unusually vigilant security guard, she came out as I pulled up. We drove down to Torchy's and I got to eat a taco with egg in it. A sign sadly informed us that there were no more Democrats available. Red was safe though, she brought me.

After dropping Red back off for her to finish out a whole day of work, I hit the market to pick up supplies for tonight's and tomorrow's twin parties. They are only two different parties because we have a sleep break in the middle. After I got home, I realized I forgot the cream cheese needed for the chicken dip and would have to go back to the store later for it.

Status post grocery shopping, I had to jet over to get my haircut. With my vacation rapidly approaching, I would have no other time to do it. No one in the family has seen it since I removed the bottom 15 inches. The stylist drove me crazy the entire cut by repeating over and over again how bad my last haircut was. I went to Great Clips, what do you expect?

With my new do, I scrambled back home where I whipped together the chicken dip. Then a nice, relaxing bath enveloped me for far to short a time. Out of the tub, make-up applied, western gear on, and back downstairs to bake the chicken dip. Chicken dip out of oven and directly in the car.

With the smell of amazing chicken dip wafting around, I took the toll road up to the burbs to eat Red Lobster with some co-workers. Let me tell you about the looks you get when you roll into a Red Lobster in vintage boots and a belt buckle large enough to eat off of. I didn't exactly eat while there. I had three Diet Cokes and four biscuits. Still probably had more points than if I had actually just had a meal.

I was there for a whole 45 min before I had to leave to make the now half-hour drive to the complete opposite side of town to get me and the chicken dip to the Hoe-down. The turn out was small, but I must say that I had a great time. I spent an incredible amount of the evening talking to APO. Sometimes you forget just how great the people you surround yourself with are, and then it blind sides you.

Party over, clean up ensued, and we had some giggles when just the girls were there. Most of the laughs came from us just being ridiculous. R introduced me to "head-shake photos". They are just photos where you let you face relax and then you shake your head back and forth while someone takes your photo. Long and short of it, you end up looking like a retard.

As we were leaving, Frankie calls and asks us if we want to join them for a movie...a movie that has already started. A mad race over there and a quick car change later and we arrive just as the feature presentation is starting. Movie so-so, lead man amazing, scenery mind-blowing. All in all, worth my free movie ticket.

Today was a great day, full of friends, laughs, and memories. I must go so that my body can take another day of much of the same. Tomorrow I may pontificate on Independence Day and the true meaning of Christmas...wait, what? Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Boot Scootin' Boogie

Tomorrow I am officially attending a "hoedown". Ever since I heard said event, I have gotten the outlandish idea that I need a pair of cowboy boots. I have lived in Texas since I graduated college in 1999. With ten years vested, I think that I am now officially allowed to buy boots and not look like a tourist. While buying them I realized that I am now officially a Texan and at the same time that my father's worst fears about me moving to Texas have finally come true. What can I say except, heel toe, do si do, come on baby let's go boot scootin'.

When I woke up this morning, I fully expect to have to use a trapeze to get my self out of bed. To my surprise I bounded up and was relatively pain free, which was surprising given the amount of pain I was in when I went to bed. It was not until mid-afternoon that I began to feel the repercussions of the ab workout. After that point, getting up out of my chair, laughing, lifting, and generally just breathing has the sore reminder that I was less of a sissy last night than I thought. I am hoping to repeat the torture next Monday. I think I need to train so that I am in shape enough to train.

Facebook brought me a nasty surprise today. The Boy unfriended me! Can you believe that? The positive side of things is that at least now I know that he is not dead in a ditch somewhere. It is the most active thing he has done in well over a month. For the life of me, I cannot understand why he would go out of his way to unfriended me when he could just hide me on his feed and not send up the flag that he is actively avoiding me. The Peacemaker says that her and her husband have a long standing theory that he had someone else on the line, and the reason he unfriended me was that they are official now and he did not want me to see. Could be, at least that makes sense. I cannot imagine any other reason. It seriously irks me, and I cannot tell you why it vexes me so.

Facebook does not always bring be bad news, sometimes it brings tasty little tidbits. Recently I have discovered a blog entitled The Search for Happiness. It is a new blog with only a scant four entries, but I enjoy every word. Mr. Cool writes of his misadventures in dating, but his quirky writing style make the words slip by unnoticed; you can almost hear him narrating in your head. His blog is scrubbed clean of names just like mine, so I can appreciate the effort that he puts into maintaining the anonymity of the text. I recommend you give it a read.

Sorry for the short post I am exhausted. I have a half-day of work tomorrow, so only have to make it through four more hours before my holiday weekend can start. Then back to work for four days before I am a jet-setter. With an end in sight, I think that I can make it all the way to vacation without having to kill anyone. But I can't make any promises.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Oh My Abs!

When Frankie said that we would shred some abs this week, I did not know that he meant it literally. I could barely drag myself out of the gym after doing an abbreviated ab work out with him, Gizmo, and Peter-Peter. Holy cow, those boys are no joke. My body is still abuzz from the shock. I keep this up and I might be worthy of my new bathing suit.

I had lunch today with Red at Pei Wei. Not only is white rice my favorite food in the whole world, but Red may be my favorite lunch date, so it was a guaranteed good time. We spent the first half of lunch plotting and scheming about Friday night's festivities and how to make it amazing. The second half was spent by Red doing her best to be a one woman marketing campaign for Dexter. All my objections fell on deaf ears. I love when she gets on a roll and does her best mom voice. It always starts, "Listen, all I'm saying is..." It is quite endearing.

Tonight I taught my music appreciation lesson at mutual. My lesson was well thought out, organized, and apparently boring as all get out. As I got further and further into the lesson, I could see that the last thing that the girls wanted to do when they came to mutual was sit and listen to me drone on. Other nights we paint, talk about books, and next week we are making mocktails. I can see how my lesson could be the low point of mutual. I am going to have to do something to keep the every diminishing attention span of a room of teenagers.

The lesson did make me reflect on how many lessons I have sat through and not heard one word of, how many lessons I have passed notes, how many lessons I played solitaire on my phone. All the while the teacher, who has spend hours preparing the lesson, continues in hopes that their lesson will touch my heart or invite the Spirit into the room. I have a new appreciation for all those teachers I didn't listen to, but for everyone that I sat back and criticized, secretly made-fun of the object lesson, or derailed their lesson with questions that changed the topic to something I found more interesting. I am sure karma has a whole heap of bored class members waiting in my future.

After mutual, I went to the gym and in case you missed it...Oh My Abs! Over two years ago, after recovering from several rounds of steroids, I joined Weight Watcher and shed 30 lbs that I had packed on. Steroids does just make you hungry, it makes you insatiable. I can remember sitting in Tacodeli and literally drinking a cup of queso. No wonder that by the time I was back on my feet, I was wearing a size 10. I lost 30 pounds on the program, and cannot tell you how much I love by body..

But loving your body does not always mean that you make good food choices. Once you are at your goal weight you are still supposed to eat within you points everyday. Easier said than done. When you have no goal in mind, it is easier to get off track. Chips turn into burgers, which turns into pizza, which into ice cream. You see where I am going with this.

Of all the parts of my body, my stomach is the hardest to keep trim. It is the first place I put on weight. I can go from beautiful and flat to a cresting rise of fat in a week of eating out. Two weeks of eating out can lead to pinchable fat. Three weeks and I cannot fit into my jeans. It is a slippery slope and summer is not the best time to hide in elastic banded bottoms or my scrubs.

I read somewhere that strong abs not only help you with posture and such, but they will also make you look thinner, even when you are carrying a bit of extra fat. This is why I am subjecting myself to such torture. Their workout made me feel like I just go to the gym to watch TV. They make me feel like I might as well be mall walking. It is nice to have someone pushing you. I am going to try to remember than when it takes a forklift to help me get out of bed tomorrow.

Well, it is off to bed I go, with a song in my heart, and my abs decimated. Tomorrow I will report the aftermath of my zeal, till then...