Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday Giggles

I'm pretty anxious to say goodbye myself. This one has been a doozie.


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Jacqueolinne Moments

So my new job has many perks, the principle one being that I totally love it and that my bosses are straight out of the "What's Wonderful About This World and How To Be Perfect" handbook. It exists. I've seen it on Amazon...

But that is beside the point.

The point (of this post) is to officially recognize that there is a good chance I was an interior designer in a different life. I have made this discovery in a few different steps. I will describe them to you in depths if you wish, but now, working where I do, I have AMPLE opportunity to give rise to her. My inner Designer whom I've decided to call Jacqueolinne (zzzz-ack-oh-lean).

I think it started when I was 8 or so and my mom said it was time to get some new bedding for me. We found this very Punky Brewster rainbow and heart bedspread from the Sears catalog. Rainbows were my signature color as a child, rainbows and Hello Kitty. The icing on the cake was this red heart shaped wicker mirror that I got to go along with the set. That mirror was the prize of my frustrated childhood life.

The process of this decor selection was very formative for me I think. I spent hours, and I mean HOURS, going through the home goods portion of the back of the Sears catalog. I would just skim past the clothes and toys and purses and shoes and go straight for curtains and rug combinations. I did so with every Sears catalog I got my hands on from then on out.

I think the next phase of it was when I finally got my own place at 26. I kind of went bonkers looking for prints of art* that I love and finding the perfect frame. Or making a perfect set of something by dismantling Dollar Tree frames and cutting out bits of William Morris wrapping paper I loved and had saved.

I think I'm a shameless homemaker at heart. I think I kind of just want a space and a reason to make it comfortable, functional, and beautiful.

I think I'm this way because of a combination of things. So far I've traced it back to my mother's flawless taste in decor, my childhood at the Huntington Library, the other half of my childhood at The Gamble House and a plethora of period British film viewings..... and the a fore mentioned Sears catalogs

So loving something isn't real until you share it right? Hence the new blog bit. I am so in love with some things that I just need to share and I'm POSITIVE there will be more so LADIES and GENTLEMAN! - Jacqueolinne Moments are here!

One of the things that I adore and always will is Tiffany lamps. Tiffany and I are just meant to be. In every way. About 3 years ago I was thumbing through some magazine or another and saw a cognate of this lamp



and pretty much fell. in. love. Being the seasoned lighting and home goods guru I am now I can authoritatively tell you that this is a Dale Tiffany lamp and the flagship of their Boehme Family.

I thought to myself "Self, what an absolutely PERFECT centerpiece for a front room. Its far to poof-poof to be put in an every-day-used room. But it would be something lovely to see set center on a console table (or short bookcase) that backs on to a couch that looks on to the rest of the room when you first walk in to your place. What a lovely thing to welcome you home every day."

Every time I see it I have the same revelation. It doesn't get old to me. Don't be surprised when you see it in my abode one day. I'm making plans.

Another thing that I LOVE are tapestries. I know. I know - "this is not the 1400s Jacqueolinne! We don't need to insulate our castle walls anymore."

But hear me out - one of the best ways to make color work, move, and NOT take over a space but compliment it (in my drastically uneducated but observant opinion) is through texture. I'm a big texture person. I think it adds layers to space that you can't get with light, color or sound. Hence my love of tapestries. Its like art^2 (that's art-squared or times itself for the non-scientific calculator types).

Also - I have a shortish list of favorite artists one of which is William Morris**

His work has so much movement and grace to it in the first place, that coupled with my fascination with tapestry would make for a perfect storm. So imagine my joy when I found this product made by Fine Art Tapestries.

This is Morris' version of The Tree of Life. I like my decor, especially my art, to be reflective of me as a person and I'm deeply religious and this piece of his has always resonated with me and NOW its available to me at cost (a nice work benefit) AND in a color scheme that matches my lamp!! Its meant to be.

But....

The existing front room furniture I have etc is not really in the warm earth tone spectrum, its all lovely different shades of green. So I found these two substitutes and I can get and use my lamp for something else somewhere. Maybe - I don't know. I'm just having fun really.



and



I kind of like the green tapestry better anyway to be truthful, but it would, clash with/compete with the Boehme lamp so I had to find a suitable substitute. Ah and alas... what a hard imaginary life I lead.

Its hard to be so fabulous but someone has got to do it - right?

* I have this decoration philosophy; some people think time era or color scheme but I'm all about the art. I think you should select one piece of art that you REALLY love and frame that exactly how you want it to be and then let that dictate all your color scheming, lighting, and textile choices. Its all about the art and always will be.

** the others being:
VanGogh - who I think is WAAY overdone decor wise
Mucha - if you've seen my house you know this
Klimt - I just adore him and I don't know why. I've had "the Kiss somewhere in my view in one form or another since I was 12
and as cliche as it is -
Michaelangelo

Sunday, December 27, 2009

On the Heath

I'm not happy tonight. I don't like the fact that I only seem to blog when I'm unhappy. It gives the blog this theme of angst and lame but usually two things move me to write; absolute disgust or absolute joy.

I've been finding very little of the latter recently so here I am.

I've been stewing about a number of things lately, one of them being my sad love life or complete lack thereof.

I recently found out that a gent that I have LONG admired (read: been borderline obsessed with) has found the girl of his dreams. I'm sorry to report that that girl was not me. Now, I know that I have a very bad habit of only really being attracted to very unavailable guys. If they're ridiculously complicated or live far away or are just plain not good for me they're usually at the top of my list. Why I do this, I don't know. But this particular guy, absent of any real potential between us, gave me hope.

I was reaching disappointment levels with the LDS guys in my immediate sphere of influence that was rivaling the Absolute 0 temperature of space. The majority of them for no menacing reasons, simply bored me. There was little depth, passion, sense of self or grit to any of them. Emotional lawn ornaments if you will.

I realize this is unkind, but know I'm in a pretty foul mood and that gets me more honest than is socially acceptable sometimes. But this is my blog so recognize or piss off.

For me to be attracted a guy needs to be interesting. A wealth of Will Ferrell quotes, video game prowess, having read a few obligatory books and a newsie cap from the 9th grade does not qualify as interesting. I've always said I wanted to marry a convert to the Church or someone that has fallen away and then come back. I've recently realized that I feel that way because I would like a companion with a bit of perspective to him.

This particular gent who has recently coupled up with someone that is not me was, to me, this kind of a guy. He was still very much a guy and played more video games than is probably good for a him. But he was also thoughtful and truly kind and loyal. He went looking for experiences, didn't poo-poo art or feelings. He was honestly good and capable of honest love. I loved him for that. And now hes gone along with most of my hope. I felt that I may have to deal with a bunch of testosterone-deficient sillies here, but because he was still in the world somewhere, that kind of real masculine tenderness was still around, that there was still hope for the rest of us.

I reacted a lot more strongly than I thought I would. The news took couple of days to really settle in but once it did it took me 2 days to stop crying. I know its ridiculous. I realize that 90% of this build up and let down is in my head and that a prolonged everyday encounter with this particular Adonis would reveal that he was just as much of an emotional lawn ornament as I'm currently dealing with. This information is ready and at the forefront of my fluff-for-brains. However it doesn't comfort me at all. This isn't a logic problem and never was. This is a heart issue and mine is unusually large, tender, gullible and bruises easily. It is very much like my 2 year old self that wouldn't stay inside where it was safe and warm and frequently ran out into the snow sans shoes just because I wanted to be there and it seemed like a more interesting place to be. The balm of logic has no sway over gaping wounds of the heart and never will.

I theoretically know that what he was to me, what I was truthfully in love with, was an idea that he well embodied. Its precisely this that makes him so much of a greater loss. He's not just another man married and gone; its my belief in a good one. In a brave one. In a tender one. In a real man. I have been failed by every single one I've encountered so far.

I feel very lost, disappointed and bored with everything around me. Especially myself.

I don't like it at all but this disillusionment has diffused into every corner of my life. I find myself totally stripped of any cushion of idealism that I had before. I seem to have put it all away and are seeing the hard ugly edges on everything; my academic life, my career, my past, my future, my family - everything.

The sad truth is that the world is pretty ugly cold place. Some people get to go through it with someone and some don't. There are moments of beauty, flashes of warmth and real connection. I still cherish those and recognize them for what they are. They are the flowers that grow between the rocks.

But the rocks remain rocks and my thin skin tears easily.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Trouble! That starts with "T" and that rhymes with "P"

and that stands for.... Perfection.

So I know my proverbial Shelves are quite dusty. I've been gone for a month bring busybusybusy and always thinking. I've had a number of things I've felt were writing worthy (read: "blog-worthy" but I hate that phrase) and a few things that were just fun.

I have had a few profound thoughts about Muppets and traffic patterns and I have a new fashion crush that I'll get to. I'm instituting a new weekly staple: Fashion Friday! Many frivolous and totally uneducated but enthusiastic opinions to come. You've been warned.

My time going from funny thing to funny thing on the webbernet has been cut down drastically by this new concept called a "job" so I've been running thin on material but I'll do my best to keep Wednesday Giggles going as well. Have no fear.

However for today - there is something that I feel the need to be bloggy about. Its something I've felt a serious contempt for lately. More than I usually do too and it is the irrational Culture of Perfectionism I've been a personal witness to (read: victim of) as an American, as a woman, as a member of my family, and as a member of the LDS faith. I truly eschew it. I find it to be more debilitating than any behavior modifying medication, illegal, or abusive substances. Its horrible and its a mental game that we've all bought into.

Preemptive disclaimer: LDS-wise, Christian-wise, I am actively choosing to be a follower of Christ. He was perfect, is perfect. In every sense of the word. He invited me to be like Him, or in otherwise perfect. However - what I seriously overlook sometimes is that, for ME, its a process. Its a day to day effort of trying to be better, of practicing excellence. I whole heartily embrace that concept and hold it VERY close so please don't mistake my rants on here as me defending lethargy, laziness, thoughtlessness or selfishness. Quite the opposite. I've found the more I've prayed to see, work, and react to my world in love, in Godly love, that the stronger these ideas grow in my mind.

The gist of it is - we totally don't get it. We don't understand Perfection. We think we do but we have no clue. ESPECIALLY how to get there.

I think that our concept of perfection is cantankerous. It is something that eats at us, breaks us down, discourages us and defeats us before we ever start anything. It is an arresting concept to us.

A bit of background;

I'm a dyslexic kid. I always have been. I had to learn a lot differently than the rest of the world and I did so by learning to listen very close to what people said to me and to recognize patterns. In turn these default mental settings have helped me to become a fairly perceptive (and introspective) adult. As much I've come to realize that I was also surrounded by a lot of excellence as a kid.

Let me clarify terms here too.
Perfection is basically a 4 letter word to me. Its alienating and just conjures up frustration. It instantly inspires disappointment and inaction. I'm not an inaction kind of girl.

Excellence (to me) is a quality that chases a moment or is made of a bunch of little moments that string a beautiful something together. Its a much more obtainable thing, for me at least. Its a concept thats possible to made into a habit, to be learned, that incorporates a process of thinking, action, reaction, assessment, modification and reapplication. I love it and find it a much more healthier governing value.

I will be using those terms to explain myself from here on.

This all may be disjointed and far too long of a post but bear with me.

I'm surrounded by a lot of perfectionists, family, friends and what not. I don't like what it does to them. I don't like who it makes them become. They become ridged, severe, censuring people. This isn't necessarily expressed and lashed outwards. Its worse. These people ruthlessly beat themselves up because they're not perfect despite their best efforts. Because they're not successful, wealthy, ruthlessly sought out by the opposite sex, Olympic athletes and American Idols they're a failure. They beat themselves up and worse, they stop trying. They stop trying to be better, to think harder, to take a different angle on something. They give up because they've bought into this air brushed, pedestaled ideal of "how its supposed to be" and if its not that way it doesn't count.

I flat-footed and bold-faced rebuke that idea.

When did it become a mortal sin to fail at something? I've heard failure regarded as the last great American taboo. We won't talk about it. We fear it. We hedge up our entire lives avoiding it, denying that it even exists. Well - its here, its real, its an everyday reality and most importantly its NOT our enemy.

I may be an absolute fool but failing at something isn't a crime. If you only stay on a meal plan for 2 weeks or if you fail a class or if you lose a game or declare bankruptcy. That's not the worst it can get. Those aren't good things by any means, but they're not the worst thing either. GIVING UP is a much greater offense. Not trying again, not learning, not growing, losing love for yourself - THAT is greater sin. That is what my prayer is that we can shift our cultural disgust for that character flaw.

Its a delicate insanity that we even subscribe to this perfection thing because we're all human. We all make mistakes. We all get angry. We've all skinned our knees. We've all broken someone's heart or drove by someone that needed help. We've ALL cursed at one point or another. We all have scars. And you know what, all that to me is beautiful. All of that is a lived life. And the fact that people are still getting up, are still saying their prayers, are still attempting to tell someone that they love that they love them, to love themselves. THAT is excellence. That is real courage, to not be defeated by the mistakes you made yesterday.

I mean, where did we even pick up this idea that we have the luxury of giving up? Life doesn't stop because of one defeat, one disappointment, even a string of defeats or disappointments. Life is a 90/10 game. 90% of our day is muck, it's struggle, its heartache (and believe me, I'm carrying a very heavy heart right now), its inconvenience and dirt. But 10% is pay off, is getting it right, and getting it right the right way (that does mean something and makes sense. Just think about it a little), and you know what. I'm OK with that.

I know I have a good many regions in my life that I need to improve, that I've failed at, but you know what? I am not my defeats. I am the string of small moments after those defeats that gets back up and tries again.

And - well - thats all I have to say I guess. Be nicer to yourselves and keep trying.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Updates

So its been a month since my last post and a lot has gone on so I feel like I should do an update of kinds just to touch base with my 7 besties and Grandma and Grandpa who read my blog ( hi Grandma and Grandpa!!! :D <---- that's a really big smiley face.) Work wise

I have two jobs now. I've been working both since the end of September and I really like both of them. The first is doing logistics/customer service this lighting company. I never thought I'd ever be involved in the lighting industry but here I am and I really like it. We contract with over 75 different manufacturers and maintain a very lovely website. Its a perfect balance for my personality I think. Its extremely technical, like people call up and need to know about ballasts and voltages and transformers and all this stuff and guess who has been scrambling to learn about electricity and wiring and all of this builders code stuff? That's right - Lizzie. So the incessant technical side of my brain is satiated. But also, I get to look at pretty stuff all day and help people decorate their homes an answer their questions and ask questions of other people and do logistics. All things I love and am very good at. Also, I sometimes have to deal with unruly people and I've had a lifetime of talking people off of ledges so I'm primed and ready for that. Also, I get to talk to some of the coolest people on the planet. My newest friend is a lovely woman named Barbara. Shes from New York, "Manhattan mind you". Shes Jewish, 75, sassy, and awesome. Shes called me about 16 times in the last 2 weeks helping her with her new torchiere. Now let me tell you something, if you can maintain a straight face while listening to a slow talking, geriatric, Jewish, New Yorker like Barbara saying "torchiere" every other word you deserve a metal. When I was inventorying what I needed out of a job to be happy "working with people" was at the top of the list and I sure as heck got it.

Better than the job are the people there. My bosses are stellar. I think this is the first job I've had where my bosses work harder than I do. They make me look lazy everyday and I like that. Leading from the front is how I was brought up and its really the only kind of leadership I respect and there they are. They're actually respectful too. Like, my boss comes up to me and says "Are you busy? Do you have a moment? Could you help me with this?". The first time I was approached like this I seriously think my mouth was agape. I had never experienced that kind of interaction with a boss. Ladies and gentleman, I am her to announce that manners are not extinct. They are rare though and my boss actually has a good portion of them. They're a really generous company too. They take us out to a fancy, like $20 a plate, lunch every month, we get bi-yearly bonuses, and comprehensive benefits. My bosses/the owners (they're on and the same) really seem to understand the concept of human investment and I'm still finding it bewildering. I have been very blessed with what I've stumbled on. I really like my coworkers too. Like, they're all amazing. We're all really bright, tough, sassy, but compassionate women. Doing customer service isn't easy folks. There is a balance of hard a**ness that you have to balance with compassion as well as making sure the company makes money and you don't get hustled. And you have to constantly be doing 4 other things while you're having these tough conversations. It takes a special kind of intelligence and K and T (those are the owners/my bosses) know how to interview/hire because everyone there is all of those things.

And this is something else that is weird - everybody there puts in a full day. Like, everybody! Everybody works as hard, if not harder than me. This is a new experience for me. I'm used to being the hardest worker and everyone else, essentially, kind of working, but everyone there, from what I can see, has the same work ethic that I do. Its good to feel equally yolked and on a team. Its a first and its awesome.

My second "job" is a tutoring gig and I've met a few of my students but between logistics and paperwork I've only met a few of my students so far so there isn't much to report. I adore the students that I have met though and can't wait for it to finally get in gear.

Love Life -
No news but what else is new? I kind of don't want to talk about it. I always get really down and negative and I don't like Negative Lizzie. She can be kind of nasty.

In Other News -

I'm still making the most of my Disneyland Annual Pass. We just finished the Halloween merriment and Christmas goes up November 13th and there are fewer things in this world that I love more than Disneyland at Christmas. I kind of can't wait. Like at all.

A few of my friends and I have decided to learn Latin. I know - I know.... I'm a raging geek. But I've wanted to do this and it seemed like an opportune time. My friend, A (who has her PhD in English, Linguistics, Chaucer and general coolenss), who is a college professor is on sabbatical this quarter and is getting a bit restless, AND there is another amazing lady in our Circle of Awesome, N, that is in the thoroughs of gradschoolness and has opted to test out of the Language portion of her Masters and has decided to take the Latin test. However, she has a limited Latin background, and then the other two of us, myself and the glorious W are just general informatiophiles and want to know Latin. So... we decided to form a group. The W.L.A.N. Latin Extravaganza!!! A went and bought text books even. She "couldn't help herself" and we are conjugating czars at the moment. Can I say anything yet or even put together a cogent sentence in Latin? Nay - am I having fun? You bet :D and that's what its about right?

I was a Guinevere/Viking lady for Halloween and feel asleep appallingly early on both Friday and Saturday of the holiday this year. I'm turning into such weak sauce. If its past 11 my head begins to nod and I start talking in non sequiters. Its hilarious but not too useful on the social end of things.

I've decided to give the iPhone a try. I'll let you know how it goes. I'm not looking forward to AT&T in the least but the iPhone has become a machine that I can't keep ignoring. They're the closest things to crystal balls that I've seen yet and literally EVERYTHING is the world is on them. I'm all about device integration and the iPhone is just about everything. Its a phone, a computer, an iPod, a Kindle (which I kind of want too), a GPS, a mapbook, a TV sometimes, and a good paperweight when the battery is low. I'll make a full report soon. And I'm not going to lie, I've done some research on cute phone cases.

I think I've decided to dye my hair red again and its at that length that I'm really sick of it and all I do is keep it up in a loose sloppy bun all day. So I'm thinking this cut (its called a V-line, or an "angled bob"


and this color.


What do you think? Seriously, let me know.You guys are the ones that have to look at me.

That's honestly about it for now. I live a pretty boring life truthfully

My car needs an oil change

I need a new case for my Macbook.

I'm in the midst of a Disney flashback on the Netflix front. I've got The Great Mouse Detective and Pete's Dragon this week.

I'm truly in love with Aveeno beauty products. On top of their face wash, moisturizer, and amazing body lotion I'm using their shampoo and conditioner now too and am quite pleased. I've spent twice as much on half as good products in the past but Aveeno is some of the best stuff out there. Seriously. Get some.

Target has a new line of designer Remington hair straighteners that I bought for $20 and LOVE it.

I get to puppy-sit my friends dog over Thanksgiving, which I'm really excited about. I'm also house sitting in a big empty house for a weekend so if you're feeling a slumber party hit me up. I'll need some company.

My brother found a ringtone of Cartman singing Lady Gaga's Poker face and its been making my life quite funny

And that's truly about it.

I love you guys to pieces. That too. Tis the season to be grateful and I am. Hugs all around.

I have a few concert reports and such but I'll get to that later. Latin and homemade lasagna beckons me....

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Important Numbers to Me Right Now


167 - days till COACHELLA 2010

15 - minutes of a traffic-free drive I have to work now

6 - awesome co-workers that I have, weeks I'm overdue for a haircut, and days till I see Snow Patrol in San Diego with L-Dubbs, days till I get paid

8 - feet my boss' desk is from mine

46 - days till Christmas at Disneyland starts

37 - days till Thanksgiving (that I'm hoping to cook this year)

81 - days till my little brother gets home from his mission and how many days I have to find a place to live

76- days till Christmas

56 - days till my nephew gets blessed and I get to see him again.

9 - the amount of healthy child bearing years I have left

0 - potential suitors I have vying for my attention, dollars I have to pay for grad school, and amount of patience left I have with EDD

1080 - miles I am from my best friend

60,000 - how many dollars I'll most likely need for grad school

5 - amazing Percy Jackson books I've discovered, times I've gone to bed before 10 this week,

43 - days till I see Joe Pug at The Mint with whomever enlightened soul wants to come with

43,456 - times I've been amazed at what a charmed life I've got

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Media Corner

So I've got a bit of time on my hands but even when I don't I'm a HUGE media consumer. Music, movies and books pepper almost every corner of my life. This is what I've been the most excited about recently or am very much looking forward to.

MOVIES

So I think, Summer wise -

My favs were Star Trek, (500) Days of Summer, The Brothers Bloom, Up, Harry Potter 6, and Taking Woodstock

Honorable mentions
but not favs include: Moon, The Proposal, Ice Age 3, Julie & Julia

Train wrecks
would be: Year One, Transformers 2, and I Love You, Beth Cooper

And ones I missed that I still want to see are: My Life in Ruins, Food, Inc, Whatever Works, The Hurt Locker, Funny People, The Cove, Paperheart, and Ponyo

However, I was paroussing my favorite release site that includes all the indie flicks the big box ones don't and there are more amazing films coming out this holiday season. Its a great time for movies I think. A lot of indie writers are getting money and there is just a lot of talent out there right now.

What I'm looking forward to in September is -

Coco Before Chanel with the timeless Audrey Tautao from another fav Amalie









October is looking like a solid month

Where the Wild Things Are


The Invention of Lying






November starts all the Christmas Season blockbusters; Disney's Christmas Carol, The Princess and the Frog, yeah yeah yeah

but some good indies are coming out too that I'm sort of in love with already



The Boat that Rocked






And December has a crown jewel. They've recovered a lost screenplay Tennessee Williams was working on and made it and its coming out on Dec 20th!! I'm SO excited!




MUSIC

Joe Pug
. I started watching this video prompted by a gmail status of a fellow musicphile. I was a bit skeptical and hes not exactly a trained voice but I was transfixed. It had been so long that I had heard such good writing so honestly sung. I'm kind of in love with the guy now. Hes coming to The Mint in Oct. I'm going. Tickets are $10. Let me know if you want to come. I'm pretty sure it will change my life. My friend who tipped me off when he saw him said it was so beautiful he almost cried. I. Cannot. Wait.



I caught a Greg Laswell set when I was in SLC this summer and he had an opener that really caught my fancy. They're called Elizabeth and the Catapult. I really liked the jazzy voice of Elizabeth and its pairing with the rockabilly band. This is their one existing official video but my favorite off the album is this Leonard Cohen cover.

Imogen Heap's new album Ellipse is constantly blowing me away (thanks Brett). This is one of my favorites

Muse's new album The Resistance came out today too. I've yet to procure it but I'm pretty excited to do so.

The Knife has been rocking my world pretty consistently lately too. Another pass along from Brett. They're rather fabulous.



BOOKS

On the literary front I've been stuck somewhere between Dr. Seuss and coloring books. I keep thinking I should read something a bit more elevated and stuff but then I think "Why? Adolescent lit is the best of both worlds. Its amazing story telling with quality multi-dimensional characters but without all of the depression, lameness and lasciviousness that is in modern "high lit". So lately read all 3 of the Howl's Moving Castle books (totally awesome and very different from the movie. Read it and love it for it's unique wonder) and have moved on to the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (equally but differently awesome). I'm still deciding if I'm a daughter of Zeus or Athena... Anywho - they're super fun quick reads that I totally recommend. Rick Riordan writes like your reading your best friend's blog. I kind of love him and the premise for the whole series. I'm off to Barns and Noble right now to finish reading the third one now that I'm thinking about it.

Long live the arts and God bless YouTube!

Lizzie out

Friday, September 11, 2009

Delusional Clarity

So its been an embarrassing long time between posts. A lot and a little has happened like it always has and does.

I've been to Utah, and Kansas since my last post. Both trips were lovely. One was for a ridiculous job interview which I seem to have a silly amount of, and one was to visit the bff and play with her adorable 3 year old and bask in the calm green nothing that is Kansas for a season.

I will blog about that later too because I have far more shiny and sparkly matters on the mind.

SHOPPING!

I have done none because I'm a thrifty responsible type and I really don't need anything but for some reason my untapped and unused nesting instincts came out in the form of some serious Internet window shopping this week.

It's all Sky Mall's fault. I blame Sky Mall. That's where it started...

I finally picked up a magazine and thumbed through it when I was on my way to Kansas. I've been flying on my own since I was 10 years old. It just took me 20 years to pick up one of those and man - those things are AMAZING! I found SO much stuff that I never knew existed that I don't understand how I've lived without. Yeah some of the stuff is laughable-

Indoor Doggie restrooms = ridiculous



Pans that ruin perfectly good brownies = atrocity



But a voice activated interactive R2D2s??!



and Old Timey awesome globe bars that you can substitute for candy dispensers and feel like you're in a Dickens novel??


How I have lived without these?! I mean seriously? So when I got home from Kansas I started combing through the website and found myself bookmarking a # of things. So I have a wish list file in my Shopping bookmark. Who doesn't? Well - I started tabbing so many of them my manic organized self kicked in and I started making subfolders, like What room in some imaginary house would this go in? And I made a file for that room -

Well then things just started to snowball. Apparently I've had all these mental lists going for while because I found myself at all these dangerously tempting sites making more bookmarks and apparently there is some imaginary house out there that I'm already decorating. Who am I?

Throw rugs and lemon zesters and couch tables and food dehydrators and movie posters and on and on and on. So essentially I've set up my Internet house from crown molding to steam floor cleaners. All within a matter of a day.

But that's not the funny part or the point really. THIS is the funny part point.

I've never really been the THINGS girl you know? I shop at Marshall's and the farmers market and periodically the mall when there's a sale. I'm not a brand name girl. I drive an economically sensible compact sedan and have a Target purse and I'm happy. I don't really even wear jewelry. I don't base value on stuff. I appreciate beauty and whether its in the form of a coast line, a Tiffany lamp, a shot by Kobe Bryant, a kid playing in water or Jimmy Choo heals I love it and value it all the same.

So during this imaginary splurge of mine I just went to the sites and place that I've made subliminal metal notes of what I want. I wasn't looking at brands or prices, I just knew what I liked and recognized it when I saw it and I've learned something about myself during this little imaginary shopping without price tags jaunt.

I have ridiculously expensive tastes. I have no idea where it came from because I've grown up so modest but there it is. Its a really good thing that I'm not a things girl or else I'd be really broke or need to marry a ridiculously wealthy man and only the deepest love will persuade me into matrimony. :)

Like I was perusing the William Sonoma website and just looking at cookware. I know, because of growing up with Julia that copper pots or copper bottom pots are the most functional and give you the best control over the temperature of what you're cooking so I find a set that I like.



Only to find that its Mauviel - apparently the leading cookware maker in the world that also happens to be French AND it has a 4 figure price tag. I'm not even going to say. Its too ridiculous.

I was looking at china patterns I like at Bed, Bath and Beyond not paying attention to price or name, just pictures and fell in love with these



Only to find out that they're Wedgewood.

Good grief - what is it with me. I should have known when I was 7 and in my friend's house in Utah and saw a magazine with different engagement rings out. I didn't know anything besides He Man and ProWing shoes but I saw this engagement ring, fell in love with it and haven't found a ring I like better yet. I've seen a few close runner ups but when I was older and went back to find it again it was still around, I still recognized it and guess who makes it? Yup - Tiffany.

I'm ridiculous. I know. Its a really good thing that I don't fixate on this stuff huh? I'm breezy, and love the dollar store as much as I love Nordies and am a natural bargain hunter. It all balances right? Right.

And there is always Overstock.com....

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How I Feel about 'Merkah

So I was asked, for this job that I'm applying for to "write a one page essay about how I feel about America". Apparently its for this private school that has an "America-centric curriculum" and I guess they wanted to make sure that I'm not a dirty hippy.

Mom said that I should post my reply on my blog.

Here it is:

Life is a series of binaries, melodies and countermelodies of every kind. The governing one in a life is the space we try to live balancing our dreams and our realities. Both sides have claim on our mind, hearts and energies so we find ourselves in this space between, living in this benevolent, delicious and adventurous polarity.

This is what America is to me. It’s a crossroads of ideals, brilliance, energy and love mixed with a lot of blood, sweat, tears, pain, and hard work. There is a magic to this place. It’s an accessible magic ironically being the basic concept of space. There is space here. There is the obvious physical space but there is also emotional space, there is political space, there is intellectual space, there is spiritual space and there is enough for everyone.

The word I use for this is Liberty. We have a statue of it, a bell, the word peppers every founding document but I often wonder if it’s worth is really known. Many have sacrificed comfort, safety, families and even lives for it. It’s that costly because it’s that important and its what makes America truly great. Not Freedom, but Liberty. I think the two are very different.

Freedom, to me, is simply the state of being free from oppression from a malevolent source but Liberty is far more pointed and ennobled than that. Liberty is the chance to choose, to live a deliberate life, to have ownership over yourself and your future and in a beautiful dichotomy, those that were so ardently concerned about their welfare were motivated by true philanthropy. They loved themselves enough to fight for their rights in founding a new nation but they had a greater commitment to those that would come later and felt they deserved the same chance. That is a rare gift and one I marvel at everyday.

Because of this working reality of Liberty and Love I have hope everyday. I can feasibly hope and imagine changing whatever there is about my life and situation that I want to. I live and breathe the possible. There are few places where that is possible but here, it’s an everyday.

These everydays and the subsequent space they provide has led to everything else that I adore about America. We are an amalgamation of people from every corner of the planet that grew up one way but hungered for another. They were and are people with an instinct for justice, of brave souls. In turn we have grown up sons and daughters of heroes. We are a whole nation of fighters. Its no wonder the comic book was invented here, the car, the aircraft, the Internet. We’re all still exploring our world and trying to be the heroes of our own lives.

Naturally with so much strength we are constantly fighting for ourselves and sometimes with ourselves, but when called upon we boast some of the most courageous blood in the world and when we work together, nothing is impossible. The line between dreams and realities disappears. We’ve proven that to the world and ourselves again and again.

There is always a chance. There is always a way and most importantly there was someone who came before me that loved a faceless stranger enough to provide a way for me to find my own.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Some Additional Thoughts

So after having a few conversations with beloveds I think that I need to write a bit of a follow up blog to Pinching Things.

Firstly, like my darling Alfi in Impromptu so boldly declared, “ART DOES NOT APOLOGIZE”. So I shant. Those feelings are and were real. I don’t deny any of it, however, and this is a problem with blogs I think, that was just a snap shot of a bad day and quite a lesser portion of my entire emotional landscape. A painting is far more than the shading on noses and postures of patrons. It’s a whole composition and so am I.

I think, in background to that piece, I want to clarify that I am a very empathetic. I take on the emotional make up of people around me. Most times I don’t find the talent very convenient but I tune in to people very quickly and on very primal levels. It makes me a good friend, a resource at church dances and quite fun to chat with in large crowds, however, sharing a very small apartment with a wonderful and totally well intentioned, but emotional and hormonal new mother can sometimes make volcanoes out of steam burns.

Two, I feel compelled to declare how truly amazing my sister in law is. I felt like I kind of painted her on the insensitive/condescending side. That is not the case. I adore her. I am a very different person from her but we’ve come from two totally different worlds that share a similar vernacular so why wouldn’t we be different people. Those two weeks were so intense it seriously felt like I was on the mission with a missionary companion again. Spending 24/7 with someone is quite a task, especially in a demi-crisis.

Three, I want to just say that I’m sure her father is a good man too. I’ve met him on a few occasions and he didn’t come across as any kind of tyrant or abusive type. We all say careless things sometimes, careless hurtful things. I know I have and I’m lucky enough to have constructive and loving people around me to gently nudge me in a more positive direction. Some people don’t. Some people make reckless mistakes parenting. I’m fairly sure I will and my kids will have to grow and mature in spite of me sometimes instead of aided by me. Parenting is a messy scary thing, of which, truthfully, I only have a loose academic understanding.

I have my ideals too that I’m married to on the matter, along with other things that I use to bludgeon others and myself. I know this is unfair and I recognize it even when I’m in the thoroughs of whatever huff and puff I’m about at the moment. But what’s interesting to me is that even though I recognize it, my irrational commitment to those ideals trumps whatever prudence or caution I should apply to the matter.

Do you remember that MormonAd with a school hallway full of people with brown paper bags on their heads with different identities written on them like “Nerd”, “Cheerleader”, “Looser” etc and the caption said “Labels Hide People”. I think ideals function a bit in the same way. However, I still think they’re necessary for living a principled life.

I suppose like everything else it’s a matter of balance and charitable looks at things on a case by case basis.

However, I’m quite imperfect and my empathetic nature, compiled with my marriage to my ideals all complicated and multiplied by my justice seeking self sometimes gives way to emotional tirades about things I can’t control.

Also, I want to say, being able to relax here in this cozy tearoom in SLC and feeling quite myself and absent from any hormonal swings, that I do NOT think men are mindless size 2 loving simpletons. Men and their dispositions are as varied as women’s and are attracted to a number of things, like women, and have their preferences, just like women. Accusing half of the species of something and denying them anything but animalistic credit because it doesn’t fit MY ideas of how things should be/are (read: how I am) is quite silly and flat out unfair. I should apologize for that and I do. I’m not a shallow female who wants some millionaire football player and not all men are cheerleader chasers. Speaking in absolutes is dangerous and its easy to hurt people doing so. That is not and never was my end.

Working out being blindsided by grief and frustration was. That’s all.

I love you guys. ALL you guys. I really really do.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Utah and the Wallet

So - on the morning of July 15th I come traipsing home from my Harry Potter 6 midnight viewing endeavors only to discover that my sister in law had delivered my nephew 6 weeks early under less than ideal circumstances.

The following days I prepare to head up to Salt Lake City to go help my SIL and my brother in the aftermath and also visit and fall in love with my nephew. I get my oil changed. I get some new tires. I clean out and wash my car. I get my registration renewal and 2010 tags. I pick up some healthy eats from Fresh and Easy and some not so healthy ones from Target. I pick up Jonathan's requested Trader Joe's guacamole and some Cali avocados. I take my time packing (and even reference a few YouTube videos on Japanese folding techniques), I get a blessing from my dad, go pull $200 out of the bank and set out. I don't like using my debit card at random and unknown gas stations, especially in the middle of nowhere. There are meth addictions and credit-card number recording devices in the strangest of places so I had planned on doing the whole trip on cash. It's just easier that way, for me anyway.

I have a LOVELY drive up to Utah. I was singing along to Missy Higgins and Matt Nathanson most of the way and drinking in the phenomenal scenery. I think I've concluded that central Utah is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. The drive to Vegas is heinous but it pretties up really well once you get past it. It had been YEARS since I'd made that drive. The last 7 times I've been to Utah I've flown.

It was getting late and it was time for my last gas up of the day so I pull of the trusty 15 to this brightly lit Chevron station. I'm thinking I'm somewhere in Cedar City because that's what the latest sign told me but in reality I was in Beaver, UT. Cultural icon of the world, Beaver.

As I pull in a smiley, scrubbed face 14 year old in a Chevron shirt approaches me and says
"You've come a long way, wash your windows?"

I was a bit confused because I wasn't aware I had stepped into an episode of Leave it to Beaver so I check my surroundings to make sure I'm still in color and not black and white and reply a bit confused and surprised
"Sure. Thank you"

So then this cheery chap starts making conversation as I'm getting out cash to go prepay for gas and he corrects me
"Oh - you gas up first here and then pay"

I again, look around to make sure I haven't sprouted a waist cincher and matte lipstick and say
"What?"

and he replies as hes making himself busy
"That's how us small town folk roll around here. I know it doesn't make too much sense to you city types but it works for us."

I thank him, and start to pump my gas. I have to admit that this kind of disappointed me because I was very much in the having-to-pee way and was looking forward to going in, peeing, prepaying, pumping, getting change and going. I had sequenced that 20 minutes before I pulled off the freeway.

So now I was pumping (while doing the pee dance and making conversation with Beaver), getting my purse as I went in (like a good city girl should Rule #3 of Lady Urban Survival: Never let your purse out of your sight or if you do make sure it's not in anyone else's) and paid (whist still doing the pee dance), ran my cute self to the rest room and ceased the pee dance, washed up proper, walked out to my car, and finished the rest of the trek to SLC.

I met Jonathan at the hospital sometime around quarter to 1 in the morning. He parked my car while I did another mad bathroom dash and we had our reunions and the debrief, key exchange and directions to the new house orientation in the hospital lobby. April was sleeping up in the room and we didn't want to wake her. We made breakfast plans for the morning (as in what I was to bring) and I headed to the apartment to crash.

I got there without any issues and took all my stuff up in one trip, found the air mattress and crashed and burned.

I got myself up and ready the next morning and as I was looking through my purse I noticed the key feature if it wasn't there. My planner was, my Clorox wipes were, my bandaids and sewing kit and hand sanitizer and lotion and pocket knife and tums and aloe and tea bags and camera and make up and iPod and sunblock were all there but no wallet. Panic took me for about 5 seconds but I took a deep breath and

Thus started the 5 Stages of Grief

Stage 1 Denial: I couldn't believe it was gone. It had just fallen out of my purse. It must have been in the room, or in the car, or in the trunk. There was a huge shuffle the night before. So I start retracing my steps. I go back in the room. No wallet. I go down to my car. No wallet. I go through my trunk. No wallet.

I had just meticulously cleaned out my car and packed with Japanese precision so if something was out of place it would have been very obvious.
No Wallet.

At this point I was running late and Jonathan and April were going to be hungry so I called Jonathan and let him know the situation and he had the same reaction I did. "It must be somewhere". He had only lost his wallet a few days before and it turned up in the Hospital gift shop of all places so he had been through the scramble panic and it had come out all right within a few hours. He told me to just come to the hospital and we'll figure it out.

So I did. I drove without my license to the hospital and all my problems totally faded once I got to see April and that ADORABLE BABY! None of my problems ever mattered when I was at the hospital. It was kind of nice. The whole trip, whatever was pressing on me, it faded to naught when I saw that little baby. Nothing was more important than warming milk or doing whatever April needed to be done. It's amazing how that works.

So Jonathan looks through my car and luggage to see if he can find it. He compliments me on my state of things but finds no wallet. I revisit the car almost every day of my trip hoping I had missed something. I hadn't it wasn't there.

So I spend all of Sunday going back and thinking.
"It either fell out of my purse at the gas station when I gassed up or fell out when I was taking things inside the apartment. I combed the whole area between my bro's apt and my car and found nothing. So my conclusion was that since it wasn't there, if I had dropped it in the complex someone must have picked it up and since it was Sunday and the management office wasn't open they couldn't turn it in so I'd have to wait till Monday to interface with anyone.

So I decided to sit tight and try to not panic, or feel trapped or worry. I think I failed miserably at all 3 because when I talked to mom and dad that night with a hospital update it was messy.

The next day I call the Chevron I thought I was at (in Cedar City) and they have no clue about a lost wallet and I call the management office of the apartment complex to see if anyone had turned anything in. Nothing.

I called both places around 3x on Monday and nothing, thus entering Stage 2 of Grieving

Anger: I blamed Utah I hate Utah. It's Utah's fault all of this has happened. If Jonathan had lived ANYWHERE ELSE things would be so much easier but oooohhhhhhh nooooooooo. No nononononono. He lives in wonky, weird, silly Utah that KNOWS I don't like it there so to welcome me it eats my wallet and laughs heartily.

I was frustrated about so many things two principle ones being
1-My temple recommend was in there and I really wanted to spend some time in the temple while I was in Utah
2- I don't exactly have a large chuck of change sitting in the bank, $200 is a LOT of cash to lose for me

In addition to not having access to my money and my CDL and Drivers license possibly being out on display somewhere.

I kind of skip Stage 3: Bargaining and go straight to Stage 4: Depression
On Monday I was a barely contained mess. April came home on Sunday night and Monday was her first day back so I was trying to be as out of the way and helpful as possible but Jonathan saw me barely keeping it together and asked if I wanted a blessing and I burst into tears and said yes. He gave me an amazing blessing of comfort and love and peace. I was just what I needed. There are no words for how much I love my brother and how I love what a true Man of God he is. I don't know where I'd be without him.

On to Stage 5: Acceptance

So for the rest of the trip I just try to cope. I have a tiny bit of cash in my account and Jonathan and I have the same bank so I transfer it to his account and he withdraws it for me. I go get a new physical wallet. I call my bishop and he cancels the bar code on my temple recommend and sets up an apt for an interview for a new one when I get back. *Sniff* This is the first time since I've been endowed that I have been sans recommend and I DID NOT like it. I have no desire to ever be in that situation again. There is just a bit of psychological resting I take with that little piece of paper and knowing I'm worthy to enter the House of the Lord. I got to walk through the Oquirrh Mountain Temple during the open house while I was up there but it wasn't the same. I need my temple time but apparently I had other responsibilities while I was up there.

There isn't much you can do/replace without a license and its impossible to do so from another state and I was needed there. I couldn't just skip home. I just had to deal, and I did.

My Dad was a super star on the homefront too. I had to call my bank and not only get a new card but change bank account #s because I had checks in the wallet too so they sent all my new cards and bank account info to the house and dad had been keeping a vigilant eye on my mail and when the bank info arrived he overnighted them to me so by the end of the trip I had a temp AAA card (I never go more than 10 miles without that), my bank cards, and some cash.

My family, in all of their amazing was totally there for me too. Jonathan and April generously just gave me a chunk of change. Dad called me the morning I left and had deposited money in my account and even my Grandma and Grandpa from Ohio had called Jonathan, told him they wanted to give me some cash for the trip home, sent him a check for him to cash and he essentially shook my hand when I left with another chunk of change and said "this is from Grandma and Grandpa" and told me the whole love-filled exchange.

I was teary eyed and amazed at the support and love. I make the silly mistake of emotionally isolating myself sometimes but its an impossibility to stay there with a family like mine. They pull me off the ledge time and time again. I know I gush frequently about my family but I just can't help it. They truly are THAT wonderful. As you can see.

So I drive home and have a few compatriots for the journey, and it all ends up costing a fraction of what I thought it would. We pass by the SAME Chevron station and we stop and I ask again, if there has been a wallet turned in. The rather dim but sweet girl working the desk says no and I go on about my day, drive home, and am more than ready to start piecing things back together.

I get my temple recommend on Sunday and have a DMV apt 3 days after I get home to get a duplicate license. That proves to be a ridiculous conundrum. I get there all nice and early with iPod and book in hand and it turns out there was a traffic ticket that I hadn't completely handled and it had escalated to a Failure to Appear or FTA which put a hold on any further DMV business. So I went home, told Dad, he made an appearance for me in court and sorted out all that because he is a fantastic Daddy and a very capable lawyer. They tell him it will take 24 hours for the FTA to electronically drop off the record but the court charged him and gave him an abstract/affidavit for me to give the DMV for them to complete the transaction. I go BACK to the DMV that day (like hours after he got out of court), stand in line again, get to the window again and they say that they still can't do anything and that they don't accept the voucher the court gave. Its a great thing the court knows that/told us that and charged us huh? I go slightly mad. I did not make friends with any employees at the Rancho DMV that day or their supervisors I insisted on speaking with. It was kind of bad. But I resolve to come back the next day (sans appointment which means more line standing than normal) and am determined to sort it out.

So the next morning I get there, I check in again, I pull out my book again, I'm amazed at the number of children people bring to the DMV again, and I get to the window and the FTA is STILL on there. I react more like a lady this time around and instead of calling my Dad I just march down to the courthouse. They told me it would be 24 hours, they lied and I was going to tell someone they did. This whole situation had evoked the DivaLiz and you DO NOT lie to DivaLiz. Period. So I stand in line at the court house, clear everything up with them after some firm conversations, head BACK to the DMV (take 3) and I FINALLY get a duplicate but only in paper form.... which doesn't help me AT ALL recuperating anything else in my wallet.

So I go home at complete loss with bureaucracy and kind of exhausted. I conclude my lesson in all this is patience, flexibility and endurance. I go to sleep praying for all 3 and the next day I get a call.

"Hello - this is AAA. We have someone on the other line from a Chevron in Beaver Utah. He's claiming he has your wallet. May we connect you?"

"uuum - what? Really? Beaver?"

"May we connect you?"

"Yes yes - of course"

At this point I'm thinking that this can't be real. This doesn't' happen in this world. After 3 weeks of being off the grid it turns out my wallet had been picked up by a Chevron employee, given to the manager, and he had locked it up in his office (not in the front lost and found) and was waiting for a call. He finally decided to call on it and I asked him to mail it to me. It arrived on Monday and everything was still there. My license, my social security card, my Disneyland pass, everything. There was even some loose change that fell out. Ever last penny, receipt, and ounce of my lost security was returned to me by a simple gas station manager in a small town that employs a 14 year old to wash windows and is keeping a tiny bubble of honest Christian America alive and well.

Its nothing short of a miracle and I don't exactly feel deserving of it but I suppose my DMV penitence was enough for the powers that be.

I'm still trying to figure out a way to thank the owner and manager of that Chevron and his employees, because it would have only taken one to royally mess up my life for a long long time. I promptly apologized to Utah for all the mean things I said and thought and promised myself to pay it forward. This kind of goodness needs to be shared.

So that's it. that's the story of me, Utah, and the Wallet. Goodness still exists in the world and it DOES manage to find you when you're needing it the most and expecting it the least.

The End

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wednesday Giggles

A snap shot of our policy making skills and why I want to punch California in the face today.



However, this is still giving me belly laughs... LOVE

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Pinching Things

So I'm kind of sad tonight.

You query "How on earth can you possibly be sad when you get to spend the bulk of your day with a brand new baby? A miracle in the workings even?"

The truth is that I am a very selfish person. Amid all this lovely I'm kind of weepy and ready to cash in my chips on this civilization thing and just walk away, find some nice banana stand somewhere in an area with no cell phones and just pass my days there.

Why you say? Well I have never been more aware of how single I am than I have these last 2 weeks.

One, because I'm staying with a nauseatingly married couple, two, because they just had a baby and three, I'm in Utah; Land of the happy couple, litters of adorable children and enough pheromones to choke a rhino at 20 paces.

Its one thing to deal with every kind of couple possible holding hands and being cute in every car around you at every stop light. Even tragic looking couples have managed to find each other and be having a better day than me.

Then to deal with staying with a fairly newly married couple and hearing "oh you'll find your eternal companion soon" and "Oh I was *just* like that right before I met my husband" almost all the time.

Then to see that adorable baby and all those families being so happy everywhere - man. Its enough to shatter a single girl's pieced together and tattered self worth.

THEN tonight on the way home from the hospital the conversation turned to some fatherly conversations my SIL has had with her dad and how he literally took her aside after she packed on some pounds after being married and pretty much told her that "men like slim women. Men will not be interested in you, married or not, if you're not slim and you husband will step out on you if you're not." and had said such things to her her whole life.

This made me angry for a few reasons.
1 - A FATHER said this to his DAUGHTER. The one female in the world that he shouldn't judge at all and just support. He is responsible for instilling an unimpeachable self confidence in her. That's his JOB. Paternal FAIL!

2- How much more objectified can a woman become? Like men can/don't/won't fall in love with any other part of a woman than her measurements?

and 3 - because hes right. That's how men think, that's how they are and that's how they work and despite all the ranting and disappointed women in the world they haven't changed and they won't. And you know what that means? I don't have anyone to hold hands with at a stoplight and probably never will at this point.

I've been throwing this idea around with a few friends and just dealing with this ugly fact that people are actually really shallow and quite mean. Like even the people that love us. I feel horribly judged by people that I'm close to, that I respect. They don't ever dare tell me as much but their censure is as palpable as rain. They think loudly and I know them too well.

You know, I really wonder if gay members of the Church feel the same way as women over 25 who aren't a size 2 in Mormon world. I had a rather heart wrenching discussion with a few amazing gals about the Prop 8 tar pit of misery and how we live in this Romantic church. Its a man and a woman. Together forever. If you deviate from that then you are outside The Plan apparently. There is no room for you. You get consolation happiness and a fisher price chair for the concert. Yay you.

I think that tonight, where I am, that I am going to assert that single women over 25 and not a size 2 in the church are kind of in ranks with every gay member of the church. We are an Other, someone outside the norm to be considered and sighed about and tisked over and given sideways half hearted assurances from walking paper dolls that "it will all work out".

I've struggled all of my life with the Other factor. It just seems to be my lot despite my longing for cogency. Even now, among my amazing friends I still feel like the other, to token chubby one to make them look better and prove that they're not shallow. I don't doubt that my friends love me either and that a good portion of that label is self inflicted but that doesn't make it any less of a struggle for me.

I realize that all this comes kind of close to my birthday and truth be told, its never much of a happy time for me and pretty much every corner of my life is arrested at the moment. Its hard not to feel a bit useless.

And at the same time simply saying so seems so ungrateful because I have such a caring family and so many good things to be grateful for.

And on the whole I am OK. I'm great even, but tonight I'm exhausted and alone and I just need to cry.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Auntie Chronicles

Part 1

So I'm an aunt.

Charles is here in case you've missed any and all Facebook status or panicked text messages or emails or all 3.

April went into the ER on the 14th and had an emergency c-section and Charles came 6 weeks early. :)

So now I'm here in the rather beautiful Salt Lake valley doing my best to be of some help to April and Jonathan and I figured that I should be sending out some updates seeing how I have a bit more time and lower stress levels than they do. Also, I'm amazingly funny and miracles like this should be shared.

I rolled in late Saturday night July 18th to Salt Lake and found Jonathan awake for his 36th hour in a row. They have this bench of a couch available for fathers in the rooms but between the nurses on rounds and such he wasn't really sleeping at all.

I saw April and Charles for the first time on Sunday and both looked pretty beat up. However Charles' oxygen was better than April's believe it or not. April went into the ER on Tues night the 14th with horrific pains in her side. It turns out that she was in some of the final stages of pre-eclampsia. Essentially her body was recognizing the baby as a threat and was attacking it. This results in a ridiculous spike of blood pressure (April was in stroke ranges when they were prepping her for c-section), and her liver was shutting down being saturated with red blood cells (that was the pain in her side). Luckily they got her into surgery in plenty of time for Charles to be born unscathed and she got to start recovery.

Charles was at 34 weeks and has been a trooper from the start. He didn't breathe initially and turned a slight shade of periwinkle, I'm told, and they were about to intibate the poor thing but they gave him one puff of oxygen before doing it and not only did he start to breathe but he saw the nurses coming at him with a tube and literally screamed at them. We knew he was going to be OK around then. Since then he has steadily gained weight. He weighed in at 1570 g (that's about 3lbs 6 oz) today. If he keeps gaining at this rate he'll be 4lbs in another week. He is oxygenated and sucking like a pro and charming the nurses and all of his IVs are out. Hes totally on solid food and awake and a generally happy baby. He smiles all the time. He seems like a normal newborn really. The only thing that keeps reminding me that hes a preemie are his kleenex size diapers and how he curls up when he sleeps. You can see how they tuck him in pretty tight and let him feel wrapped up like hes still in the womb.

I am pretty much a novice at this whole preemie baby and NICU thing so its been a fantastic learning experience for me, as cliche as that sounds. The NICU is a fascinating place. April and I go in the mornings for the 8 am feeding and then she and Jonathan go back at night for the 8 pm feeding. The Gardner Women's Center is a great facility and security wise, tight as a drum. There are 3 secured doors with call buttons we have to go through to get into the NICU and even then we have to sign in and there are cameras everywhere. There are sick-os who steal babies and that makes me a bit sad, but it makes me more comfortable having Charles there.

There is a huge scrub station/sink type apparatus when you first walk in and all jewelry has to be removed and you have to literally scrub in like a surgeon before you get to go anywhere in the NICU. My nails have never been cleaner. There are 4 parts to the NICU; A, B, C, D. D is the high risk unit or where the really new ones are and as they get older and healthier they move up the alphabet. Charles was moved from D to B this evening. He turned a week old yesterday.

What I'm doing here is pretty boring aside of getting to go to the hospital. I'm essentially April's chauffeur/assistant. A lot of basic things are still a struggle for her. Like fastening seat belts and being on her feet more than 15 minutes so I'm keeping the laundry to a minimum and the dishes done and the pumping equipment sterilized. Thankfully April is producing enough to keep Charles off of formula but its an endeavor. There's lots of boiling and labeling and refrigerating. Let me tell ya, I'm sure you ALL know this through life experience but having a kid changes EVERYTHING.

Having me here has let Jonathan go back to work which is a very good thing seeing how LANDesk is starting the blitz portion of a new software roll-out and Jonathan needs to be there for that. I'm glad I could be here to facilitate something of this adventure.

Thats about it for now. We've got an early morning tomorrow so I better get off but here are some pics. More are sure to follow. I'll do my best to not to be the nauseating aunt with tons of lizard baby pics. But c-section babies tend to be a beautiful (no squishing and mashing) and - well - he's a Long. How can he not be a lady killer? Seriously...

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Post

Dear Sweet Charles,

Welcome to this crazy place we call Earth. You're perfect and adorable and I promise to do everything I can to keep you that way for as long as possible. You're only 5 days old but I can tell you're a Long through and through. You have dark dramatic eyebrows, are the Alpha Male of the NICU, have charmed all the nurses, eat like a Viking preemie, don't over fuss at all, and can recognize and love your mommy and daddy like none else.

Loving you more than life,
Auntie E

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Dear Obnoxious State of Utah,

I am always leery coming here. I get stir crazy after a few days but your amazing scenery and super low gas prices keep me interested. Coming here was a bit of a necessity with all the recent medical fireworks resulting in a new person but did you have to require the sacrifice of my wallet to see my nephew?! I mean really, I'm pretty dang broke as it is being unemployed and such. Now you have to complicate my life with keeping me here sans drivers license, cash, temple recommend or social security card??? Really - really. Is this kind of harassment necessary? I don't think so. I'd really like to call a truce with you you know. Its exhausting thinking so poorly of some place like I do of you but you're hardly giving me reason to do otherwise. If it wasn't for the people that I love living here I'd sharpe you RIGHT off my map!

not your friend,
~Ms. Long

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Dear T-Mobile,

I'm leaving you as soon as I see an opening. You've let me down once too often and at the least opportune times. Your phones are not cool, current, or functional most of the time. You still use SIM cards in a PSP world. Why don't we just use two flags and a flashlight for Pete's sake??! You're fired, that's just the long and short of it and do both of us a favor and do not use me as a reference.

barely keeping my middle finger to myself,
~ Ms. Long (but you can call me Ms. Thang)

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Dear Big Sur,

I am hopelessly and irrevocably in love with you. I know that this comes and a rather inopportune time seeing how our reckless state legislature can't manage to find their ass with two hands and a floodlight much less budget enough money to make sure that the State Parks stay open for the world to know the joy that is you. I'm embarrassed and shocked on their behalf because the world should see and sing your beauty. I will never be the same after seeing you, smelling you, feeling the sunshine that only you seem to be able to produce. Life is simpler in your company and I feel more alive. You will never be rid of me. I will be back as often as my cattywampus life allows me to be.

Yours ever after,
Liz


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Dear Bad Dreams,

You're a new addition to the three ring circus that I've come to refer to as "my life". I don't know if you're a derivative of the surprisingly violent anime my brother said I "had" to watch but I don't enjoy watching and hearing my friend's necks crack, break, and watching them die. I'm sure my friend Brett would not enjoy the experience either so lets just have a parting of ways right now. I haven't seen someone die in a dream and Brett would never go gallivanting around on construction equipment and let himself be mangled by said equipment. Either way just please see yourself out. I have quite enough to worry about and I don't want to wake up screaming ever again.

waving goodbye,
~e

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Dear Michael Jackson,

Where to begin...

I am so so so sorry that your life had the finish it did. You are better than that and you left behind some adorable children that truly love you. It's just not OK. It's true you had a tragic life and operated in a paradigm that was pretty far removed from the rest of us. No one really understood you much, including yourself I think. I really enjoyed the music you gave me though. Its the soundtrack for a good portion of my life and I remember being honestly inspired by "Man in the Mirror" and honestly horrified by "Thriller". I still can't watch it without flinching. You did some truly amazing things and were a one of a kind. I'm sorry it ended the way it did.

respectfully,
~e

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Dear Elizabeth,

Will you PLEASE get married soon to someone who has a modicum of stamina and virility. I'm dying of boredom over here and you don't exactly age backwards. Get to work woman!

Impatiently,
Your uterus

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Dear Wallet,

I miss you. Please come back to me soon.

still weepy,
~e

Wednesday, July 8, 2009