Monday, April 28, 2008

Faces and Places

Episode II

So I know I’m drastically behind. So much aside of DC has happened that is more than blog worthy but I have to finish my DC romp memoirs.

Saturday got started a bit late. The girl’s house that I was staying at was nestled in this lovely neighborhood with perfectly trimmed hedges and lawns and was peppered with breathtaking cherry trees in full bloom. Driving around their's and my cousin’s neighborhoods literally took my breath away. I had forgotten how beautiful that part of the world is. It’s just green green green with trees and trees and trees that are hundreds of years old. The earth is just different there. Everything just feels older and more dignified. Like California would be the cool 16 year old teenage sibling of a family and Virginia is the recent Yale graduate Prada wearing older sister. It was beautiful to the point of distraction. When we were in the car I would trail off mid sentence.

“So I was thinking that it would be fun to … is that a…. wow……………………”

What was more amazing to me than the trees was the fact that I didn’t remember them. I didn't have any shining memories of the trees or them being that beautiful. I was simultaneously amazed at the sight of them but chagrined because I’d forgotten such beauty. I harped about it for a stint and I started thinking “If I can’t even remember these trees what else did I forget?” I thought about it for quite a spell and then I realized something. Chris lives in a very suburby, Anglo, upper middle class part of Arlington. I spent 99% of my time in the densely populated downtown areas of Arlington and our drives to get to them were just as urban. There simply weren’t many trees to remember so it was like getting to know a place you’ve always known all over again.

But back to the Lady-hut… the ladies that I was staying with had an over abundance of foliage in their front yard and had organized home teacher types to come over early and do the yard work thing so all hopes of sleeping in were pretty much non-existent and in the long run I think that was a good thing. Who wants to waste time sleeping when there is so much fun to be had and trees to see and fall in love with?

So I went to this fantastic pancake house place with Christian for breakfast. It’s called the Original Pancake House and for good reason. They were scrumptious pancakes that tasted like they were made by genius Puritan women. My whole time there I was continually amazed that I lived in Arlington for 6 months and it was my business to know the city and where people were and why but little things like trees and breakfast places had totally escaped me. Chris and I talked about lenses and how differently they let us see a place. Here we were, two people, in the same car, going to the same place, from the same DNA pool even, that were simultaneously in two totally different places because of the lens that we were looking through.

After a nap and some lunch, in preparation for the "Olney Decade Dance Party" the boys had slated for that night, all the roommates, Chris, the HLP and I invaded the local Goodwill looking for costume ideas. And let me tell ya, shopping with one guy is fun, thrift store shopping with him is even more fun. Now, multiply that x5 and life is downright hilarious.

All the guys got their stuff and Chris and I ventured into this one Vietnamese strip mall called the Eden Center. It was an old haunt of mine and Chris came with me through the curry scented, jade studded narrow halls of the place with the chatter of karaoke coming from the next hall over. I wanted to see if my pen store was still around but alas it wasn’t. I was very sad, but kind of relieved to see that things had changed, even a little. That progress had taken place. I dunno - its hard to explain.

It was really interesting to watch Christian take in the place. He said that he didn't know that it was there even though its 3 square blocks big and announced with 12' high Chinese dogs and a big red gate almost straight out of Mulan. It goes back to that lens thing. I’m not sure he’d seen anything like it before. Asian shopping centers can be strange to western types. You expect a shop next to a shop and what you see on the outside is what you have on the inside. Discovering the catacombs that the Eden Center is with all their cells of shops dotting the tendrilesque hallways can be another world. Worlds inside worlds as a matter of fact.

We left without encountering anyone from the Korean mafia (that we know of) and landed back at home not soon before we were due at a Gratitude Dinner the Bella Vista Ward was putting on for the Langley Singles. Bella Vista is the Spanish Ward in the McLean Stake and I served there for 6 months. They’re still bit lean on leadership so a lot of the singles help out in the primary etc and they were putting on this dinner as a Thank You. It was a perfect time to go see my old members. I was afraid that there wouldn’t be a soul there that was there when I was. DC has a tendency to be a fairly transient area but there were a few families still there from when I was there. Enough that it took me a good 45 minutes to finish my plate for constantly jumping up and saying “do you remember me?” It’s been 7 years since they would have seen me. One sister spotted me immediately and she was one of my favorites in that branch and it was all hugs and squeals for about 5 minutes. I was pretty much in heaven. The current bishop was in the Stake Presidency when I was there and he was amazing. I’ve never worked with more involved and fantastic leadership. They were constantly around but didn’t stifle or hover. I just felt completely and totally supported and cheered on. Every member of the Stake Presidency knew my name, the name of my investigators, the names of my retention and where each one was. I think that’s one of my favorite parts of serving in DC. The area has a tendency to attract superlatives of whatever given field they happen to be in and that excellence is totally translated into callings. It was wonderful to see him again, he remembered me and went around introducing me as his daughter. Oh how I love that sweet man! It really was like coming home in so many ways.

That night after the dinner was The Party. Christian and his roommates throw a Spring event every year and they decided to correlate my visit and the shindig and I will be eternally grateful. I’ve never been to a Mormon house party like this one. Like ever. They turned their entire basement into a dance hall complete with black lights, disco balls and glow sticks. The glowy things were everywhere actually. You know those glowing spaghetti things you buy at Disneyland at night that are cold and you can loop them around your wrists or put them together for necklaces or what not? Yeah – literally everywhere and it was awesome. The Mountain Dew flowed, the base boomed, the volleyball ensued and all was pure awesome in Arlington that night. The boys were hilarious. One dressed up like J.J. from Good Times, one was an 80’s Michael Jackson, Chris was a homage to Kurt Cobain complete with flannel and ripped jeans, the HLP was Rick Astley, and the last one was someone from Balls of Fury or something like that. I couldn’t place him how much I tried.

I downed a few Dews and took a shot or two of the Redline Chris was good enough to get me in hopes I could get my energy up to party level but I was just tapped. That and I was almost completely lost in my head with all the mission revisits and people.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I desperately love the people I served in DC. I did everything I could to be the best version of myself for them and for the Lord and coming back to it all and seeing them and still being the amazingly flawed person I am was difficult for me. The thought of facing them back at LAX almost landed me in tears more than once. I think that’s why I’ve put off a mission trip for so long. I wanted to be perfectly educated and perfectly married and perfectly healthy so I could come back all shiney and they could be proud of me. I feel the same way about my family, I know they love me and don’t expect perfection from me (or anyone for that matter) and if anyone is aware of how imperfect I am, it would be them. But because I think so highly of them and they all seem to be a lot closer to the mark than I am I find myself seeing those imperfections with much more clarity when I'm around them. So the more aware of how off I am the less inclined I tend to be about coming out. But I refuse to be held hostage by my fears and insecurities and often idealism is just a fancy name tag for insecurities so I decided to just go and be the best version of myself that I could muster, despite how fearful I am of being judged and in spite of the internal din of my own self-judgment. It was a lot to balance in the midst of this extravagant party with all the amazing and fun people that Christian knows. I hope I didn’t look like a distracted dope. That and jet laggy exhaustion didn’t help. Word to the wise: Do not ever take red eyes cross country and not give yourself a day to recuperate because it practically killed me.

I crashed, once again, far too late than I should have and was up earlier than I should have been, packed my bags, headed to church, dodged what part of the deluge that was the weather that day, and found myself back on a plane coming home to a place that felt a little bit less like home. I sat next to a very nice girl from PA who was going out to Hollywood to make a go of an acting career and a guy who was an engineer for MySpace. It was a fantastic ride home. All five and a half hours of it. They even played a Gerard Butler movie. I invited my new friend to church with me. Time was so tight that I went directly from church to a dinner to the airport still in my church clothes and there wasn’t time to change so I boarded the flight heals, skirt, pearls and all so she asked me where I was coming from and I said “church” and that spawned a whole conversation. It was awesome and very fitting coming home from my mission, again. It was all very sobering. I'm glad I had Gerry along for the ride.

I couldn’t help but imagine the floor of the plane being a running picture of all of the land and space that I was putting between me and the Potomac. I saw the Ozarks and the Mississippi, fields and fields of grain, The Rockies, the Grand Canyon all pass underneath me, putting me farther and farther from things I love but also getting me close to other things I love. I have a feeling that that flight is always going to be rough. Going from some place that feels like home to the place you call home will always be strange. It’s like you’re never going to stop saying goodbye to something you desperately love. Ever.

But thats what you sign up for when you do decide love something right? The reality that it can and probably will go away or you will have to go away but the hope that you or it can always come back .

And if there is one thing that cherry blossoms in the spring can whisper it's hope.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Faces and Places

Episode I

"If you can wake up in a different time and in a different place can you also wake up a different person?"

Thats how Tyler Durden came to be but I'm afraid I don't have the gumption to pull off that wardrobe. Or the cheekbones for that matter.

I got back from Washington DC on Sunday night. It was the first time I've been back to my mission since I went home and the first time I've seen my cousin's set up out there. All I've been doing since is processing the strange and marvelous experience it is and was. I've tried to figure out a way to put all of into some kind of charming travelogue but all I find is myself recuperating from traveling 6000 miles within 72 hours and the consequential mental fog.

So I'll just dump down what I've got and probably go back and edit about 4 times, like I do with all of my blogs but be forewarned - this might be lengthy....

The week leading up to the trip was, to put it mildly, insane. I was asked to teach at this Stake Inservice meeting and to teach teachers how to teach. I was a bit deer-in-the-headlightsish about the matter because I'm essentially a kid still and have limited experience in many many matters, principally that I'm not a mother (the most basic kind of teacher). So I felt ill-qualified. Taking an instructive position with one older, more experienced person is a bit off-setting so the thought of instructing a room full of leaders left me all but petrified. So I did what any self respecting girl would do in the situation.

I put on my pearls and Oscar de la Renta shoes, slaved over a graphic filled powerpoint and prayed really hard. Wednesday night was when it went down and I was flying out Thursday night.

I didn't have a single chance to get away and buy the boots I've been needing, or the dress I've had my eye on, or to get my toes and/or nails done. Not a bloody thing. I was lucky to get laundry done and make the plane.

I was taking the red eye Thursday night, touching down in Charlotte, NC and then catching a connector to DC. The LAX to NC flight was oversold and I didn't have a definite seat assignment so I was a bit irked and afraid even if I DID make it on the plane that I would get some crappy center seat and not be able to sleep a wink and be a miserable bunch of yuck the whole next day. I didn't want to start my trip off in a twit so I said a few silent fervent prayers in those crusty black leather trademarked LAX seats and when they called my name and gave me my ticket it was window seat at the front of the plane. Miracle #1 (there are a good many on this trip so stay tuned) I got to sleep most of the flight but I kept having disturbing dreams of being trapped at airports, needing to pee and dealing with planes full of the creepy goblins from the Spiderwick Chronicles (NOT a children's move btw) that were trying to take over the airport. Just weird crap. But the funniest part of the flight was before we were even on our way to the runway the woman behind me started snoring like it was an Olympic sport. I mean, everyone on the plane was ready for bed and planning to sleep. Half of us were asleep just sitting around waiting to board but this lady was GOING FOR IT. After about 3 huge ZZZZZZRRRRKKkkskkskssrrssss I couldn't hold it in anymore, broke the stunned silence, and just giggled till I got it out. What was refreshing that the rest of the forward cabin that was subject to the arresting din of that woman's nasal cavity followed suit had a good chortle too. It was like explosive chortle therapy.

AHhhh - plane rides... where would we be without the stories you provide?

So - I landed in NC. It was clean and gorgeous and I was sad and charmed. Sad that I was in the same state as my little bro and couldn't say hi but charmed by the huge atrium that is their central plaza complete with full grown trees and white rocking chairs beneath them. Var var nice. Very very Southern. They were giving out chicken biscuits too. That was lovely. I'll be back NC, just you wait.

So I finally land in DC at Dulles and am totally amazed that the gate I was at was the same gate I got off as a missionary 9 years ago (miracle #2). There wasn't the welcoming committee of my mission president, his wife and the three assistants like there was before, but it was the same gate with the same shops with the same strange and exciting smells. Then I got hugs, they all carried my luggage, and met me at the gate but this time around I had to find my own way and carry my own luggage. Miraculously (#3) my luggage was the first one off of the carousel. That never happens to me.

This trip was funny in a number of ways. One was that I was staying with a group of girls that, honestly, I had never met. Christian (my cousin I was visiting) has this marvelous ability to introduce me to awesome and amazing people. I've noticed that the cousin types and I sometimes share friends like we would clothes. We're all pretty similar personalities with similar senses of humor so we often find ourselves one big group of happy most of the time.

There were two particular girls that had been on the same email list as myself or something sometime a year and a half back and we somehow started chatting. I honestly can't remember how the introduction process went exactly, just that we got wind of each other, started IMing and all was well. Now they're both regulars and people I consider real friends. What was funny that we had never actually shook hands. It's pretty weird how IMing and Facebook photo albums have the ability to make you feel totally familiar with someone but it does.

One of them Jennie (hi Jennie!) picked me up (because everyone else was working) and we went home and gallivanted the DC landscape. We drove in to Alexandria from Arlington and she was patient with all of my missionary ramblings

"we used to tract in there all the time! And we contacted people in that CVS all the time! We weren't allowed to be here after night fall by ourselves, the elders yelled at us once about it........ And that's where I met Roberto. I met him at the metro and 3 weeks later he was passing the sacrament. And we broke down there once and that's where we accidentally went outside the mission"

Would. not. shut. up. And she, in her sleep deprived, medical student with a looming 15 page paper due super sweet way, heard me and we had a lovely proper time.

We grabbed lunch at this Italian place in Old Town Alexandria complete with a quiet back room (that I'm sure was where secret documents were exchanged at some given point) and stogie smoking man in front.

We attempted to hang out at Mt. Vernon but it was this plantation and the actual house was like a mile hike in and it cost $15 and we only had about an hour to do it all, so we just gave ole Georgie a salute. He knows we care, and we headed off to GLADYS KNIGHT

Now - I should tell you...

Two weeks ago Patrick and I went to one of the coolest concerts on the planet. It was called the Hotel Cafe Tour. The Hotel Cafe is this music joint on Cahuenga that is a singer/songwriter zone only. Some of the best acts in town are regulars. Like, imagine the Garden State soundtrack artists having a get together every night - Yeah. Hotel Cafe.

So... anyways. A few of these guys decided to get a single band together and a bus and shack up for 6 weeks and go on tour - hence Hotel Cafe Tour. I was looking for tickets for William Fitzsimmons sometime in January and I came across this gig and started looking at the bill and my jaw kept dropping lower and lower and lower with the names. Cary Brothers, Sara Barilles, Priscilla Ahn, Joshua Raiden, Greg Laswell, Meiko, Ingrid Michaelson, Dan Wilson all of these people along with William Fitzsimmons I had been joyfully listening to were all going to be in one place at one time. Needless to say I WAS EXCITED and the show was one of the single best shows I've ever been to. It's a post all its own, but one of the people who just shone through all of these acts was Ingrid (and that's saying something). Dude - she did a version of "Creep" on a ukulele and it was hauntingly beautiful.

I found out Ingrid was playing George Washington University the weekend I was going to be in DC so I hit up Christian and essentially said

"WehavetogoWehavetogoWehavetogoWehavetogo. Its only $15 and WehavetogoWehavetogoWehavetogoWehavetogo "

and he said

"Well..... I already have these Gladys Knight tickets.... and they're free."

So I said OK, a bit disappointed that I was going to be giving up Ingrid for the Motown Choir and stuff but still super excited to spend time with Christian and to visit the Alexandria Stake Center (one of my old areas).

But I properly repented after this show. It. Was. AWESOME. That little Gladys is one powerhouse of a woman. I can't remember feeling the spirit more strongly when someone was singing "I am a Child of God" and listening to hers and her husband's conversion stories and testimonies was amazing and uplifting, not to mention funny and refreshing. If you ever have a chance to catch her and her choir - DO. I really owe Christian for taking me.

Jennie didn't stay for the show, she went home to cuddle up to her paper so I was trusted to Christian's care and we went back to his place and I met his crew including his HLP. This is the Heterosexual Life Partner. They're rather affectionate best friends that ... happen to have... public... tickle fights...... and tell each other.... how hot they are.... and stuff. I dunno. It gets a bit creepy if I think about it too much so I'm not going to. I'll just say - I've heard about him from more than one person and how he had the nickname "Greek god" on his mission (given to him by the members) and his 6' 8" Ivy League basketball playing self. He is an individual that is hard to miss and did fall going up Christian's basement steps because his size 22 feet didn't fit on the stairs. I wasn't used to someone being so quiet that was a good friend of my cousins though. That was a bit out of character. We're all pretty vocal in our circles so I'm still not sure what to make of him but - yes I've met the HLP.

A few weeks before, with the help of the HLP, Christian's church basketball team won the Stake championship and someone recorded it and Chris wanted to watch it that night. So yes - I sat in my cousin's basement and watched a recording of a church basketball game. That's how much I love my cousin. And honestly, it wouldn't be a family type trip without some kind of sporting event. At one point (in the game) Christian got heated and did the guerrilla arm thing at the ref and I said "There he is! There's my Chris!" because that's how I remember most of his high school games. At least that's the point where things got interesting at those games. We watched Hot Rod after that. This has become canon in family circles and I had yet to see it and for the parts that I was awake enough and energetic enough for I laughed and laughed. It's a strange feeling to find something totally hilarious, not have the energy to laugh, but desperately want to. It's a funny funny funny flick.

That night I crashed in the love sack at the ladies house, very grateful for a soft place and good people to lean on but mostly totally amazed and comforted at how everything still felt like home.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Wednesday Giggles

So I've been away for a while and busy busy busy and super tired. I've been to DC and back and a few other places and back but I haven't forgotten about my very necessary Wednesday giggles.

My buddy at work saw this guy last week a the Improv and he brought down the house. I really wish I was there.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Objects in Mirror are Stranger than they Appear

Dear Person who invented the pick-up move “pace-her-on the freeway-with-your-window- rolled-down-and-ask-for-her-cell-phone-number”,

It doesn’t work. Furthermore, the people who have followed suit aren’t exactly the type of guy that would put it to practical or honorable use.

I have had to deal with this particular mode of picking-upness twice now and, admittedly, the first time was rather entertaining. I had the Mari-meister in the car and we had a proper giggle about it. She was available to take down your number by means of you holding up your fingers through your car window going 75 mph down the 210 freeway. We called, you talked, it was awkward, you said I was pretty and I thanked you and promptly erased your #. I’ll admit it. I was flattered. I never though much of my profile but apparently it was stalk-worthy, for 10 miles or so. Mari and I still laugh whenever it comes up because it really was quite a ridiculous situation. We were on our way back from church even – can you get more random?

Apparently yes, this last time I was quite put out by you invention’s antics. Word to the wise – being paced by a black mustang for 6 consecutive miles on the 101 at 1 in the morning is freaky enough, but when they driver is trying to coax you into exchanging phone numbers, that’s just downright creepy.

I know very few self respecting girls that would just give their phone number to a person they passed on the street. “Hey you’re cute – what’s your #?”. A bit of conversation and impressions must be had before an exchange can take place. Why would that be different in cars? I’ve struck up conversations with people I’ve been stuck next to in traffic before – and if they were charming enough I’d give them my number and we’d chat through our sigalert, no problem.

You really need to stipulate proper times and places for such a bold move because if done correctly, it could be quite charming. But if it’s done badly with poor timing, like I said before, Creep City.

Still checking my rearview,

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wednesday Giggles

On Thursday.

I totally blanked it - I've had a bit of a broody week (read: I've been a bit broody this week).


This was a bit of a bright spot for me though -

I've Been Tagged

Well Jennette has started this particular round of randomness and she is one in a million

Seven random things about me huh? Well - do you read my blog?
Of course you do - or else you wouldn't even have read the question -
I'm FULL of random/weird facts so I'll do my best to conjure some more

7) I have a secret dream of seeing someone try to sing a Korn song during karaoke. Like what would the prompt text be? "Gutteral barking - 4 measures"?

6) I've never been to Sea World

5) If I don't read at least one book a month I get crabby. Like needing-a-cigarette kind of grumpy

4) I wish Emma Thompson was my best friend (along with my real best friend. We'd be the happiest and giggliest trio of women on Earth I think).

3) When I found out that there was a Famous Dave's BBQ opening up in Rancho I called them to ask if they were going to have the on-tap saspurilla that I had at the Dave's in Kansas City. When they said that they didn't and probably weren't I asked to speak with the manager and/or owner. When I got him on the phone I proceeded to give him a 20 minute pitch as to why he needs to call up the Kansas City location, get the name of their distributer, and put it into his business plan and after a few chuckles he agreed to look into it and asked me if I wanted a job. I said no, just saspurilla. I made an appointment in three weeks to follow up with him and you best be sure that I will.

2) Out of all of the cast of Firefly I think that I wish I was Zoe I'm probably more a Kaylee and no matter what I'm doing, if I think about Jayne I always laugh.

1) As of late I've got such a yearning to travel and get off the continental United States that it oft times dives me to distraction and to parousing the Peace Corps website.

I think these games are fun and everyone should participate so I am electing to open up my 7 tagging options to whomever needs a blogging idea. Consider yourself tagged *tag!*

I will follow up with you in 3 weeks and don't think I won't

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Price We Pay

So there are two ways people pass time in life.

One is having a career which is usually challenging, but in the good, worth-the-sacrifice kind of way. It's anything from being an artist to a lawyer to a gardener or mother. But it's always something that somebody does because of what drives them.

What we do in the meantime are jobs - and having a job sucks. I know this because I have one. It's a very jobby kind of job.

I think there is a reason they call this state after one of the most afflicted men ever recorded in history. Job - stricken Old Testament prophet. Job - source of the majority of affliction in one's live.

Coincidence? I think not.

Yes you get paid. But most of the the time it's doing something you either loathe, are bored to tears with, feel is sucking your soul out of your ears, or something you hate yourself for, or all of the above.

And sadly the jobs that actually pay you enough to, I don't know, PAY YOUR BILLS, are particularly loathsome because the more you're paid the more somebody else doesn't want to do your job. Which really just means that it's a terrible thing. A very terrible thing.

There are a few things that make the concept of a job bearable.

One is the people you work with and the other is your environment.
Benefits are nice, but I think, in terms of the emotional toll a job takes on you those are the only two factors that could possibly curb the tediousness that is your everyday.

I've worked in offices my whole life. I grew up in my father's law office. They're second nature to me but it wasn't until I was a bit older that I realized how utterly ridiculous they are and an expository of the worst that human nature has to offer.

I work with a few cool people. They're real and funny and chill and we all have the same work ethic and it's awesome. One is my supervisor and the other is my partner in my division. But the rest of the people, including our diabolical Ned Flanders (aka- HR man), are bearers of some of the grossest double standards I've ever come across in my life.

They try to paint a picture of a chill "business casual" workplace but what they say and what you're held accountable to are apparently two different things. And what standard you're held to depends entirely on their mood that day apparently. We're supposed to be on time I seriously can't remember the last time two of the three people I'm accountable to have ever been there when they say they're going to be. There is a myriad of other things I could harp on but it would be pointless, silly, and probably wouldn't make much sense to someone who doesn't spend 8.5 hours of their day in my little corner of the world. Needless to say, power games are constantly being played, and people's punctuality is the tip of the iceberg.

It literally makes me sick if I think about it too hard. Because the reality of it all is that I am subjected to that kind of hypocrisy all day everyday. I mean, it might just be a matter of time before it becomes commonplace to me. Put a frog in cold water.... It's beyond me how people live like that. It's a delicate schizophrenia and one I want no part in.

I don't believe in maniacal games or petty office politics and consequently don't play them or understand them and so when they eventually effect me, they hurt three times as much. But how can little else happen when you work in such a place? No wonder people drink. I really understand that on days like today.

I mean - it could always be worse, and I realize that. I could be mining coal or working for Anne Wintour or be a PA on Jerry Springer or clean out porter-potties. But seeing this side of people day in and out is taxing and depressing. Why are there people like this in the world and why do I always seem to end up working with more than one? I mean - one is enough, but we have multiples.

You know when you look at someone and can almost taste how bitter they are about life and can almost hear the jeers of the adolescent boys that teased him all through high school and regularly pantsed him and shoved him into lockers? And you can see that he is still fighting all of them somewhere somehow everyday? You know he still remembers their names and finds himself gripping is steering wheel too hard on his commute home when he thinks about them. He sees them in the faces of the big Company executives who handed him his pink slip when he had just began to think that he was finally getting out of his loser whimper phase he'd been in for 15 years. You know when you can smell the smarm he developed from pitting his divorced parents against each other his whole life just to get what he wants and he is bent on taking out all of that frustration and powerlessness and consequently power-hunger on people like you who are just trying to get through school and have a bit of fun in between?

You know that guy? Welcome to my office -

I need to move to Africa and help AIDS orphans or do something that actually contributes to the Greater Good (not in the Hot Fuzz sense) and work with people who truly care about things other than themselves.

Designer purses, river houses, an office with windows, and being able to stick it to a subordinate and get a way with it doesn't vindicate anything. It doesn't make life worth living and never has. And no matter how much bullying they do, it won't ever even the score of the real battles they didn't have the balls to fight when they came up. All they're doing is making new enemies and proving themselves to be the EXACT type of person that hurt them in the first place.

I am SO glad its Friday.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


So I've admitted my absolute love for Quarterlife in previous posts and my gusto hasn't really subsided since then. The first season is over and I miss it a lot. So much even that I've gone back and rewatched episodes. About once a week actually. OK - so I'm hooked! It could be worse... It could be Rock of Love or something totally demeaning to the human race. Right? Right?!

There are two episodes in particular (18 & 19) that I absolutely love and I finally just realized why.

It's slightly embarrassing, but mostly because I tend to pride myself on how I've avoided teeny-bopper status on things. Like, I never liked the New Kids on the Block, I've only ever seen 3 episodes of 90210 (though Luke Perry did find a place in my heart for a bit - but I've always had a soft spot for the Rockabilly type), I never got on the DiCaprio or Johnny Depp band wagon either. Pretty much if anyone ever made the cover of Tiger Beat they were off my radar. However, Jared Leto (who graced that cover more than once) remains a facet of my adolescence because of My So-Called Life (which is now on DVD and my birthday is a short 4 months away..... *wink wink*). He's still tucked away in my heart. Even his obtuse 14 minute kung-fu music video with his (barely passable) band hasn't disqualified him. That's love man. That's the kind of fan I am.

It's all about the love.

I loved that show. Love loved luuurveed that show. Still do. And, like I said before, Quarterlife is from the same brain trust so there we go.

I uncandidly identify with angsty, brainy, socially stagnated, passionate female characters and I adore the male counter points they write for them and one of the things that I've realized from Quarterlife (among the many) is that I really want someone who is steely enough to fight with me.

Well firstly, and this is the veritaserum part, I think I just desperately want to be Dylan. I've always wondered what it would be like to be a 5' 2" 90 lber and to have a brain to boot. Being 5' 9" since 6th grade can give you a complex.

We also have a lot in common:
- We have similar coloring
- She wants to be a writer
- She has the tendency to be able to see into the heart of people and things but tends to feel completely invisible most of the time
- shes so busy talking she can't get out of her own way most of the time
- she has a fairly insane mother
... and the list goes on and on.

Have I made the point that she is a solid character and worthy of deconstruction yet? And!... And - and... therefore I'm not a completely hopelessly silly girl for loving her and the show so much? I hope I'm being that transparent...

Not to mention that Bitsie Tulloch is a great actress and holds a Harvard English Lit degree... That just adds to the cool I think.

Anywho -

One of the things that's different about Dylan that I want to be like is that it takes her 30 seconds to be self aware enough to say what shes really thinking (after the preliminary buffoonery in those situations where she talks too much etc). Yay for television magic. It usually takes me longer, years sometimes, to get to those kind of honesty points. And all of this usually comes out in the form of fights with Eric (love-interest-boy. aka - Mike Faiola. aka- Var Handsome Man).

My adorable, wise and learned friend Hannah (aka - the Queen of Australia) one told me about this series of books by Elizabeth Peters called the Amelia Peabody Mysteries. That's where she got my nickname (Indie-Poppins - cause I'm an Indiana Jones/Mary Poppins hybrid apparently). We were talking about healthy relationships and the marriage that the protagonist Amelia has with her husband came up. Hannah said, being inspired by Amelia Peabody that "a good marriage is a stalemate". Like you should both be each other's equal and therefore every battle is a good one, but a draw. You shouldn't be afraid to speak your mind and should be able to trust that the other person will most definitely speak theirs.

Slightly Irrelevant Aside: Maybe that's why Queen Elizabeth I totally fell in love with Walter Raleigh. He was one of the few men she met that was truly her equal. I mean, golly, she knighted him just to get him to stay in England a little bit longer. I would have for someone who would fight with me. For someone that would speak plainly to me and understood what would come out of my mouth no matter what it was, and there was someone that I wouldn't have to dumb things down for or rephrase or soften up. *sigh* - how marvelous. How truly romantic...

But back to Quarterlife and my escapist tendencies -

So - yeah - I would love a guy who I could fight (fairly) with.

I had one once. We still talk every once in a while and when we do it almost always includes moments of heated, tension filled (usually playful) bickering. I used to find this annoying but I've come to realize what it means and at one point this last week when we were going at it, via text, I finally told him that I missed it. I missed fighting in real life. How utter ridiculous is that? I missed the rush and the attraction/tension and connection. I miss feeling truly challenged by someone that close to me. I just missed it all.

I feel pretty confident in saying this because I'm fairly sure that this individual doesn't read my blog. I'm pretty sure he doesn't even know that I have one actually, at least I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't.

But that's not the point. The point is ----- That......

1)I'm a really silly girl.
2)Finding your equal is no small feat and
3)keeping him is a downright miracle. I don't have knighthoods to hand out or a script to save me or tell me what to do next.

It's blind sailing and tugging your heart strings to steer, and, honestly, that's OK.

A Great American Tradition

There are a few ya know -
I don't know where April Fools came from but I really enjoy how much the media embraces it all every year.

CNN isn't so stuffy they'd miss out.
Oh no.
This article (also printed on April Fools Day) and gave me quite a laugh.

However, if it were true, the awesome thing would be that he (being Snoop) would be in my stake. And you never know... kids do change your priorities and families have a way of changing people ya know?

Even Snoop. Because, aside of the cloud of MaryJ, he really is a descent guy. He even coaches his kid's little league team. He bought them all a team bus and everything.

Can you imagine being a missionary and going knocking and finding Snoop though? Like with his indo in hand? That would possibly be one of the greatest mission stories ever.

And if anyone could pull it off it would be Gladys, she's amazing. You go Gladys! You sing your heart out like you always have.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Spinning Parallel Lines

So in two weeks I'm heading back to DC for the weekend to visit Christian and I can't tell you how excited I am. It's the first time I've been back since I served my mission out there so naturally my mission has been on my mind more than not lately.

Chris goes to church in the same building that the Spanish ward meets in that I served in for 6 of my 16 months in the field. He knows all the leadership and goes to their firesides. He attends meetings in the same chapel that people I taught were baptized and confirmed in. It's a strange comfort to know part of me, even by blood extension, is still tending to that flock.*

So naturally I've been more than a little reminiscent and pensive about my 16 months in DC and what I learned there and who I was and who I became.

DC is a demographic wonderland and being a missionary there was a trip on Planet Unicorn almost everyday. One of the dimensions of the social landscape that was really really different from home was the amazing number of Muslims there were. In every apartment complex we lived in, the majority of the other people were these beautiful meek Muslim families. We'd come out of whatever Quick-E mart with a snack and turn the corner and find a few individuals at noon time prayer with their little carpets in the parking space next to ours. It was pretty common thing. Some women wore scarves, some didn't, some wore the burkha, some didn't. I'm not going to lie, the burkhas took me a while to get used to. We called them ninjas because looking over in traffic and only seeing a black hood driving in the car next to me startled me more than once. Or when we went down to do laundry they were there too, with their munchkins in tow, doing their thing.

I figured we were equally as weird with our name tags on so I struck up conversations and they were responsive, educated, and very well mannered**, we borrowed each other's soap and fabric softener, I played with their kids while they folded and they almost always let me in in traffic***. Out of everyone, and they types of everyone, I met in DC the Muslim women were the kindest and the most comforting. On the hot hot hot days they were the ones that let us in, even if they didn't speak a lick of the language. They just nodded, smiled, gestured for us to sit down, gave us something cool to drink and politely just sat with us****. They also were the only ones that let us in on the snowy days with something warm to drink. Most times they couldn't communicate with us, they just knew we were in need and they helped us. Plain as that.

This was all before 9/11 and I cannot tell you how grateful I was for that social education during that disaster. There were a few times that I was walking to my car from class and saw a group of guys teasing a Muslim girl about her scarf and poking and prodding her asking to see her hair. Both times I shooed them away, put my arm around the girl and walked her to her car or waited with her to get picked up, and both times the poor girl was trembling. I could tell that the guys weren't being malicious, just troublesome. They didn't understand how terrifying and invasive that would've been to her, but thankfully I did. And after all the kindness I've received how I could I do anything else? Especially for them? That kind of ignorance angers me. A LOT. I talked to the security guard a couple of times too. Totally inexcusable. But I digress...

So - with all this stirring in my mind this article was in my LA Times feed on my iGoogle this morning and it gave me pause.

I know that critics are chomping at the bit to exploit these kind of friendships and scream patriotic blasphemy, but if you look at the world's population 2.1 billion are Christian and 1.5 billion are Muslim and the majority of the Muslim population live in countries that stand in need, so naturally if we're sending aid to people who need it there is a good chance that they'll be Muslim. And honestly, I can't think of a people I'd rather associate myself with than them. They are some of the most kind, genuine, principled and disciplined people around. I was so happy when I read this article.

Understanding is such an empowering thing, I just really wish more people were open to it. I desperately don't want people to judge my faith by the toothless and badly dressed Polygamist redneck wonders that claim to be LDS so I won't judge every girl around me wearing a scarf as an anarchist extremist with bomb recipes in their glove compartments.

I don't know why honest belief in something scares so many people. Belief is a beautiful thing, if not the most beautiful thing, and the only thing that leads to honest human connection. I hope you'll give a smile and a nod to our scarfed sisters and hard-working brothers because they are amazing people. Truly amazing.

* When the ward heard I was coming back not only did they remember me but they're throwing me a "Welcome Home Party". I was so touched when I heard I cried.
**something I VASTLY appreciate. Manners are a lost art and something that strangely really matters to me.
*** signs of serious virtue in DC traffic (read: Insanity)
**** and can I just sing the praises for keeping alive the lost art of being someones company. It goes back to the manners thing I think.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Wednesday Giggles

This kind of cracked me up this week (not that endorse the consumption of stuff that can't legally be called "food" because it doesn't meet the minimum nutritional requirements),

my inner-grunge youth enjoyed particular hysterics with this week's Ask A Ninja,

and I lost a few brain cells laughing at my Best Week Ever podcast and their take on Tom Cruise's birthday party footage (Act1 2:55) and Chris Matthews' antics on Ellen (Act 3 1:29).

All in all it was a pretty hilarious week.