30 November 2005
Me: But that’s the nature of the movie.
Parker (thoroughly exasperated): Yeah, but it’s like every five minutes. Give it a rest already.
The phrase stayed with me and struck me as quite a metaphor while I was sitting in my car, hazard lights blinking, off the 72nd S. freeway exit waiting for a tow truck to come and get Miss Parker’s car. All I had wanted to do that evening was curl up with a blanket on the couch, watch House and go to bed. I hadn’t gone to work due to the pernicious cold I’ve had for the last week, so an early bedtime and an uneventful evening was what I wanted. The uneventful part went out the window when a newscaster announced the building of an IKEA in Draper. Even sick, I had to do a little happy dance. But at 7:30, I got the call that Parker was stranded. Which is how I found myself sitting in my car by the side of the road pondering the metaphorical applications of Jurassic Park III.
How often in life do we complain about the omni-presence of ‘dinosaurs’? The problems, whether large and terrifying, or small and annoying, which seem to follow us through life. Last night it was Miss Parker’s car, a fairly recurring issue in her life. For me, it is a cold and $5 bank account balance (Mom, if your reading this, remember, I’m prone to hyperbole). Less immediate, but a seemingly much larger threat, is my complete confusion as to what to do with the rest of my life. Not all dinosaurs are hungry predators and not all issues in our lives are harmful, but even the gentlest brontosaurus is going to cause us fragile humans a little concern. It could crush us with its big toe! I’m pretty sure we can’t expect the last-minute rescue. Things are never as easy or as formulaic as in films, but I have to hope that at some point we will get more than a five-minute respite. Otherwise, I might have a nervous breakdown. Feel free to join me in the padded room.
28 November 2005
First, Mamma Mia! was fun, but the choreography was, at times, a little graphic. Especially when one is with one’s parents and a conservative aunt and uncle. Also, that music is insidious. I hardly slept at all Tuesday night because the soundtrack was playing on constant rotation. Every time I rolled over it was “Money, money, money/must be funny/in a rich man’s world” or “Mamma Mia!/here we go again/my, my, how can I forget you” or “Does your mother know that your out?/take it easy, take it easy/better slow down boy” or “Super trouper/ lights are gonna find me/shining like the sun.” By the time the sun rose, I was ready to get out of bed! Except that in between the endless Mamma Mia! encores, I had managed to develop a cold.
Wednesday and Thursday were both kind of a blur; a drug-induced haze of people I had to greet, food I couldn’t taste, and the nagging feeling I should be wearing a sign emblazoned ‘UNCLEAN’ to warn everyone I was a walking biohazard. There is no guilt like the guilt of being the sick person at a holiday gathering.
Finally, there was the Jetted-Tub Fiasco of 2005. My uncle’s (where we were staying for Thanksgiving) basement bathroom has a luxuriously large jetted tub. Wednesday night I was feeling particularly unwell and decided a hot bath would make me feel better. I gathered up all the necessary items - like flannel pajamas and shampoo - from my bags and started filling the tub. Twenty minutes later, hair washed, relaxation started I thought the jets would be the finishing touch in making me feel better. I should have listened to the little voice in my head that shouted: !!ABORT, ABORT!! Earlier, when I announced my intention to use the tub, my cousin, Lou, said that sometimes the jets wouldn’t shut off, so you just had to wait for the water to “go out.” Well, the jets wouldn’t shut off. And in attempting to convince the on/off button to do my bidding, I managed to hit the drain handle and the tub began draining. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with jetted tubs, but if the water level gets below the level of the jets, the jets start shooting water into the air. I might mention at this point, that my uncle has neck problems and most of the jets were pointing straight up. Also, the tub has no doors, so the water began shooting all over the bathroom. I attempted to stop the water by contorting my body to cover as many of the jets as possible. I tried to shield the bathroom by holding my brave little towel in front of the most egregious spray. I was naked, panicked and soaking wet. When the water ran out, there was at least an inch of water on the floor. Also, every single item in the bathroom was sopping wet. My pajamas, my clothes, my towel, other towels, the toilet paper, all were wet and completely useless. I finally found one dry towel at the bottom of the hamper, wrapped myself up and bravely poked my head out the door to kindly ask my father to go and get my mother. Then I sat on the edge of the tub and did the only thing I could think of: burst into tears.
I hope you all had a lovely holiday, free from vicious plumbing.
21 November 2005
Saturday was the day, after weeks of email scheduling, that Esperanza, Panini, Mrs. W, Mrs. L, and I were going to see Pride & Prejudice. It was quite a production just getting everyone there and in their seats. Which, due to the production of getting to the theater, were in the front row. We had gone in fully expecting it to compare poorly with our beloved 1995 BBC production starring one Mr. Colin Firth. This version fared quite well in the comparison and if Esperanza’s reaction is any indication, Colin Firth might have a run for his money in the “Favorite Mr. Darcy” contest. Although, the lack of a pond-swimming scene was universally mourned by all involved as we enjoyed dinner afterward.
Sunday was a Family Event. My cousin C recently turned 16 and we engaged in all the celebration that accompanies that event in an LDS family. There was the driving, and the first date, and the new religious responsibilities. Plus the requisite roast dinner. My parents had traveled down early for Thanksgiving, my brother Mime and The Future Mrs. Mime stopped in on their way back to their college after visiting The Future Mrs. Mime’s family. There was minor family drama, but I was still sad to have to leave, to return to my weekday life. And if truth be told, I listened to a bit of Christmas music on the way home in the hopes of cheering myself up.
18 November 2005
By ten o’clock I had taken as many mega-doses of those cold-fighting supplements as were safely recommended and went to bed. I had arranged to come in late for work, so I set my alarm for two more hours of sleep. When I woke up, sunlight was streaming through the cracks in the blinds and I still had 20 minutes until my alarm went off and I had to get out of bed. The sensation of laying there, somewhere between asleep and awake, just conscious enough to luxuriate in the warmth and the comfort was perfect. As I rolled over to hit snooze on the alarm clock, I realized something. The tickly throat, the sniffly nose, and the itchy ears were gone. I don’t know whether it was the supplements, the sleep, or a false alarm, but I do know I might have to come into work late more often.
17 November 2005
My next great book experience was discovering the library. I believe I still have my first library card stored among all the other keepsakes of my life. This first library was home to a fantastic miniature collection of the stories of Beatrix Potter. The books were perfectly sized for a four year-old’s hands. The pages had small pen-and-ink sketches that illustrated the stories. The pages themselves were a revelation, having been treated to make them smooth and sturdy, unlike the fragile paper pages of other books. I loved these books, although I have no recollection of the actual stories. Years later I found out my mother disliked these books intensely, yet she still read them to me, letting me experience the joy of literature.
My most embarrassing foray into books involves several pre-adolescent years obsessed with serial novels like Nancy Drew, The Baby-Sitters Club, and something I believe was called Sleepover Friends. While the Nancy Drew series is a classic, the others don’t rate very highly in the literary world. But at least I was reading. My sixth grade teacher, disturbed by my pop-fiction diet, forced me to read Little Woman, which I did grudgingly and formed a distorted opinion of the book that wasn’t corrected until many years latter. I never did very well with assigned reading. Especially when those assigned readings involved The Pearl by John Steinbeck, Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy, or The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. To this day I avoid anything by Steinbeck. And Tess of the D’Urbervilles did little to change my mind about Hardy.
Part of my joy in reading is the discovery. The excitement of wandering down the stacks in a library or the shelves in a book store and knowing that something there will open a new world to me and possibly change my life. Books have power. The power to enlighten, to educate, to entertain, and to engage the mind in a direction it might not previously have gone.
16 November 2005
All people dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their mind, wake in the morning to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous people, for they dream their dreams with open eyes, and make them come true.Lately, I have been thinking a lot about what the future holds for me. I contemplated going back to school to get a degree in history teaching. I already have a degree in international politics and I thought it might be my calling to open the eyes of students to the world around them. That struck me as highly narcissistic. I also had to face the realities of going back to school, for degree in which I had only one possibly transferable credit, at the ripe age of 27. I also had to face the financial obligations involved and that, added with the stress of my birthday, the coming holidays, certain pre-existing financial obligations, and the very short time frame for applying to my local university tamped the fire. It is still an option I mull over every so often, but I am unable to come to a concrete decision.
~T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)
Part of the problem is that I love learning. I have a certain intellectual curiosity that delights on opening new worlds. How long that delight lasts depends on the subject, as evidenced by the four majors I went through during my first university career. But for the most part I find the world, its inhabitants, its galactic neighbors, and its inner workings fascinating. Who is to say I wouldn’t find teaching history and civics to groups of apathetic adolescents trying after a year or two? Maybe I should focus on library sciences, as my idea of Heaven involves an infinite, well-appointed library and eternity? Or maybe I should embark on an even more daunting endeavor and write a novel?
The problem I have found is that there are too many possibilities and no dream. The possibilities are good, productive, and satisfying to at least some part of my psyche, but I haven’t found a passion. Perhaps that was the problem during my previous experience with higher education. I found lots of interests, but few with real sticking power. So now I’m floating, finding comfort in the distracting world of sleeping dreams, and seeking a dream to follow in the waking world.
15 November 2005
14 November 2005
I started this blog as an escape from work, a way to put down my thoughts without feeling like a melodramatic adolescent making furtive notations in her diary. The advantage was reconnecting with several high school friends who also have blogs. Even though some of them live less than an hour away and I see them on a regular basis, this exchange of ideas, thoughts, and the topics that concern us have allowed us to reconnect in a way that hearkens back to the many slumber parties and hours-long gab sessions of a decade ago. We are all in different places in our lives but the things that drew us to one another in junior high and high school have drawn us together again. So in honor of my rediscovered friendships, here are a few of my favorite quotes on friendship:
We think we have chosen our peers. In reality, a few years difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university over another . . . the accident of a topic being raised or not being raised at first meeting – any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, here are, strictly speaking, no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, "Ye haven’t chosen me, but I have chosen you," can truly say to every group of Christian friends, " Ye haven’t chosen one another, but I have chosen you for one another." The friendship is not the reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of others.
~ C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves, pg. 126
Friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life; and thanks to the benevolent arrangement of things, the greater part of life is in the sunshine.
~ Thomas Jefferson
Writing creates a sanctuary. It is a place where friends, although apart, can meet.
~ Sylvana Rossetti
To my dear friends past, present, and future who brighten my rainy days, Thank You!
11 November 2005
The current Bush administration appears to have little or no concern for basic human rights. They speak of spreading freedom and democracy to the oppressed nations of the world, but their actions undermine every higher aspiration. Yes, I realize that individuals impacted by my examples in the previous paragraph are criminals. They are individuals on the other side on the ideological and geographical battlefield who would do, and have done, the same or worse to citizens of our nation and our supporters in the War on Terrorism. But is that any excuse? Are we content, as a nation, to stoop to those levels? Shouldn’t we, in our Western ideology of human rights, democracy, freedom, and even to some extent Christianity; choose a higher path? Have we so lost our way, become so focused on revenge and retaliation for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and all that occurred after our invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq that we forget to implement the ideals for which we claim to be fighting? And if we forget them on foreign soil, how long will it be before we forget them on our own?
We already have the Patriot Act, which, among other things, allows for the monitoring of your library activity. Under John Ashcroft we were encouraged to watch our friends and neighbors for suspicious behavior and to report them if we found anything amiss. John Ashcroft's replacement has Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, authored memoranda arguing the pros of torture before being nominated for the position. Members of the Bush administration revealed the identity of a CIA operative in what appeared to be an act of retaliation against her husband’s politics. An individual’s – and her family’s – well-being was put in jeopardy because of the administration displeasure about someone’s opinion about its actions. What happened to the understood guarantee of a United States citizen’s freedom of expression? Perhaps you think I’m paranoid or a conspiracy theorist. I don’t think I am. What I am is worried about how far an administration more concerned with ultimate loyalty to its head (and by head I mean the unholy trinity of Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld), its agenda, and its party will go. When did partisan loyalty (on both sides of the aisle) become more important than what is in the best interest for this nation and the individuals of which it is built?
10 November 2005
During my freshman year, Thursdays were the worst days of the week. I don’t know whether it was the class schedule, the fact it wasn’t Friday yet, or some karmic cycle but by dinner on Thursdays I was a grumpy, grouchy mess. And then I found NBC. This was during the halcyon mid-90’s when Thursdays on NBC meant Seinfeld, Friends, and ER. It meant laughter and George Clooney. And I was happy. Thursday evenings became a haven in which I could escape from whatever ugliness had happened that day or week. It was great two-hour respite from life.
The following years at university introduced me to other shows, the most important being The X-Files. Now that was a show you could escape into. It had good writing, suspense, humor, a female lead you could respect, and male lead that made you melt. There were other shows I dabbled in, but The X-Files became an obsession, as you can probably tell by the name of this blog. The depths of that obsession are far too embarrassing to admit. Unfortunately some of it has been captured on video. However, this obsession was about more than just the show. At the time I was deeply unhappy with where I was in life and it provided an enjoyable escape. Also, I was six seasons behind, so I could spend as many hours living in that fictional world as I wanted.
The final season of The X-Files promised to be a disappointment and I thought my obsessive television habit would come to an end. That is, until I caught the premiere of a new show on Sundays on ABC, Alias. I joked that it was like a patch for The X-Files. It had a similar feel of good story-telling, engaging leads, and addictive plots. I was hooked, addicted. I gave up my fight against television and became a full-fledged addict. Five years later, I’m juggling a television load of nine shows. Yes, nine: Arrested Development, Gilmore Girls, Supernatural, House, Lost, Veronica Mars, Alias, Smallville, and Numb3rs. If it weren’t for an overloaded Tuesday schedule, I would be tuning into The Office as well. And this list doesn’t even include the other two or three sitcoms that I watched last year, but are being held over as mid-season replacements by their respective networks. I’m drowning in a sea of videotapes. I really should invest in a DVR, but I’m in such denial about my addiction, I can’t be someone who pays almost $100 a month for cable. I just can’t. But I also can’t give up any of my shows. Which I suppose is the definition of addiction.
09 November 2005
One might not think that a fictional misanthropic doctor and the basis of all modern physics might have anything in common outside my drug-addled mind, but they do. I promise! In the years following the publication of Einstein’s theory of relativity and the discovery of the composition of an atom, theoretical physicists and their chemist counterparts began experimenting with the theory by bombarding elements with neutrons, hoping to create the large output of energy the equation promised by altering the mass of said elements. Initial research created slightly altered forms of the elemental nuclei which leaked out a very small, gentle form of energy, but not nearly the amount promised in Einstein’s equation. These altered elements became useful as tracers that could be swallowed or injected in order to see what is going on inside the human body. Hence the relationship between a fictional misanthropic doctor and modern physics.
Lest any reader by overwhelmed by the above paragraph, I would like to point out that until I picked up this book, the mere thought of physics made me cry. When I was in high school, I took a physics class. I can’t remember if it was because I was planning on majoring in architecture at the time or if I was hoping to be in a class with my current crush. It was probably a mixture of the two. Either way, every night, when it came time to face the physics homework, I would cry. I just couldn’t grasp the concepts presented to me. I could memorize definitions, quote Newton’s laws, and fake my way through a post-experiment write-up, but I didn’t understand the logic of it. It was a foreign language that I could only parrot back on each exam and hope for the best. Why is it different this time? Perhaps it is because I was actually curious and wanted to learn, as opposed to impress some college admissions board or a cute fellow student. Perhaps the author is a gifted writer who merges the human with the scientific in a way to which I can relate. Or perhaps it is because I’m 10 years older and a lot more open minded. Or maybe, just maybe, it is because I get to do all my learning while curled up in bed wearing my flannel pajamas.
08 November 2005
I took this job after a year and a half of unemployment following graduating from university. I believe desperate is proper descriptive. And there were lots of benefits to the job. My coworkers, despite their daily amazement that I don't know the inner thoughts of the office printer, are good people who do their jobs and do them well. They enjoy them in a way I don't understand. My job has absolutely nothing to do with my degree, or with any of the four other majors I declared while finding my way through higher education. I took this job as a stop-gap, a means to becoming an independent adult. I thought that I would spend a year figuring out what I want to do with my life while gaining the means to support myself. But in the intervening 22 months I have become more confused, more adrift in a sea of possibilities.
I had considered going back to school to pursue another degree. I even met with some of the local university's advisors, but I was faced with another dilemma. Did I really want to graduate from school and start a new career at the age of 30? Did I want to stay working in this job until I graduate at the age of 30? The majority of the voices in my head think not. Then the minority of the voices ask what else I'm going to do in those intervening years. And silence ensues. Until someone in the office needs me to translate the blinking lights on the office printer.
07 November 2005
I confess, I have never been in love. That is kind of a sad thing to confess at the age of 27. But I haven't. I've never let myself let go, lose control emotionally. All my concerns about theWedding, the couple's ages, financial situation, lack of maturity, lack of time invested in the relationship, were all concerns I have about me in any hypothetical relationship. They are all the things that keep me self-contained, guarded, closed-off from others. Maybe the hardest thing about theWedding is that if forces me to admit that my little brother might be more advanced, more grown-up, more mature about something than I am.
04 November 2005
So what makes a nice girl like me interested in complex, doomed character? First, many kudos must go to the actor that portrays Lex Luthor, Michael Rosenbaum. He does great things with the material he is given and makes the character believable and intriguing. But my interest goes deeper than just an attractive, talented actor. So, what about the power-obsessed, conflicted millionaire do I find alluring? Anyone vaguely familiar with the Superman story knows that Lex Luthor is bad news. He will someday become a megalomaniac destroyer that Superman has to keep in check. The result is inevitable, so why do I hold out hope for the future? Is it the erroneous belief that people can be changed by others? Is it a blind optimism? Perhaps it is just a well-develop attraction to the arch-typal Bad Boy. Or finally, perhaps it is his Porsche. I could be just that shallow.
03 November 2005
So I'm meeting theFiance. I've spoken to her once on the phone, before she became theFiance. She is 19. How does a 19 year-old already know what she wants out of life? I'm 27 and I still don't know what I want out of life. Perhaps experience makes room for uncertainty.
I want to be open and supportive. I want to be a Good Sister. But how do I do that when I think they are completely, totally, amazingly insane for rushing what is possibly the most important decision of their lives?