27 February 2008

In Which The Universe Mocks Me

Now, it isn't as if I particularily embrace my Singleton life, although I'm fairly realistic about the sacrifices marriage and family entail. I am where I am and I deal with it as best I can, but some days I do long for a corporeal significant other, rather than the bevy of Fantasy Boyfriends with whom I am currently involved. I do not need the fact that I am 29 and single emphasized for me. Which is exactly what the theme of the past few days has seemed to be. Two incidents seem to indicate the Universe would very much like to pour lemon juice in the paper cut that is being 29, single, and LDS.

Setting: Sunday evening, my home.
Players: The Wholly Unsocialized Twelve Year-Old Daughter of my dad's friends, and myself.

Parents of WUTYOD: This is our oldest daughter.

Scully: Hel-

WUTYOD (interrupting): Can we watch TV?

Scully (befuddled): -lo. Um, I guess so. Let me show you how the system works. (We have a complicated system of remotes - not for the faint of heart)

WUTYOD: Are you thirty?

Scully (even more befuddled): No, twenty-nine, but close.

WUTYOD: I thought so.

Scully (silently): And what does that mean?

Later in the evening, as the family was leaving.

WUTYOD (popping up out of who knows where): Are you married?

Scully (thinking, 'Do you SEE a husband?'): No.

WUTYOD: Are you going to get married?

Scully: I don't know. I haven't met anyone I like that much.



Setting: Monday night, ward member's house who had invited my dad and I and another family over for Family Home Evening. I'm playing Wii games with the daughter of the family that invited us while the thirty-four year-old daughter with Down's Syndrome of the other family watches.

DwDS: Do you have a boyfriend?

Scully (out of breath due to the Wii kicking my trash): No.

DwDS: I have boyfriends.

She then proceeded to name three.


Now, if an unsocialized twelve year-old and a woman with Down's Syndrome is calling one out on one's lame social life, changes need to be made.

25 February 2008

Dwight v. My Dad

So, my dad and Dwight nearly got into fisticuffs this morning. Those of you who know my father will no doubt be surprised at this, so I must explain. First, you should know that I got another flat tire on Saturday night, just as we were about to drive home from the Tri-Cities. It was completely my fault, as I thought I could make a U-turn rather than a 3-point turn and the curb totally kicked my tire's trash. So we got to drive home at speeds of no more than 50 mph and I needed to get the tire replaced today. My father gallantly offered to take it to Les Schwab this morning and meet me at work to get his truck. So he was waiting in the parking lot, near Dwight's car, until I got there. Dwight came out, told him to get away from his car and didn't give my dad a chance to explain he was waiting for me until my father told him to stop being belligerant and interrupting. In Dwight's defense, we get a lot of homeless and/or drunk guys wandering through on their way to the tobacco/liquor store next door AND we even had one walk in our back door before. However, my father, standing there with his briefcase, looks nothing like the homeless and/or drunk guys who wander buy. Needless to say, Dwight was fairly apologetic to me and quite nice for the rest of the day. My dad said "I don't usually get upset, but the first words out of his mouth just made me so mad." Which sums up pretty much EVERYONE's first reaction to Dwight. And neither of them found the situation as amusing as I did. I'm sure they will laugh about it someday. Just not together.

I'm Just Glad I didn't Get Fanny Price.

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

20 February 2008

Check Your Local Listings. STAT!

I just finished watching a presentation of the 2006 Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's Company on PBS's Great Performances. You all need to check your local PBS station to see if/when it is being re-aired, because it was amazing. I have never seen it before and the only song I had heard from it was "Not Getting Married Today" but I have totally fallen in love with it and am very, very tempted to buy the DVD from the PBS website. Oh, and it is in the PG-13 realm for you readers with young ones. Or easily offended old ones. Also, the lead, Raul Esparza, would not be out of place among the Fantasy Boyfriend League. I'm just saying.

17 February 2008

The Withdrawl Is Always Fierce

I have mentioned previously that reading Jane Austen is the literary equivalent of crack. And I am full blown addict. I have been giddily watching the Masterpiece airing of the BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. Honestly, how hard is it NOT to grin like a doofus while watching Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet awkwardly meet at Pemberly? It fills me with delight and false expectations to watch the story unfold. Delight because they are wonderful characters and false expectations because, well, the story is a fiction that feeds into one of the most elementary of female fantasies.

Why is it that I can revisit Pride & Prejudice, Persuasion, and Jane Eyre (and the rest of their kin by Austen, Bronte, Glaskell et al) in both their literary and film versions repeatedly? I find these three novels deeply satisfying in a way that is, perhaps, not completely healthy. They are, all three, stories of women who, while neither the great beauties nor wealthy heiresses of their worlds, inspire grand passions in strong, intelligent, desirable men. Despite not possessing the two things (great beauty and wealth) highly prized by society, these heriones completely enthrall the gentlemen in question. It is not just a passing fancy or a genial respect. The heroes of these novels determinedly face down class distinctions, familial and societal disapproval, and even eternal damnation, to earn and own their lady's love. That, my friends, is a strong fantasy indeed. I gave up on being a great beauty long ago and have no fortune to speak of, which makes the fairy-tale endings of these novels all the more alluring. I identify with Elizabeth Bennet and Jane Eyre and, most especially, Anne Elliot. And I'm looking for my Mr. Darcy, Mr. Rochester, or Captain Wentworth.

I am 29 years old and have never inspired a grand passion. I have had a creepy psychostalker or two, but that wasn't so much inspiring a grand passion as exciting an unbalanced psyche. I would think that at some point in the past ten years or so, some member of the male species would have seen something admirable enough in me to inspire a grand passion. But, alas, one has not. So I will content myself with living vicariously through the fictional experiences of the Elizabeth Bennetts and the Jane Eyres and the Anne Elliots and the Eleanor Dashwoods and the Emma Woodhouses and the Margaret Hales of the literary world until reality crashes in, yet again, and I have to face the real world.

14 February 2008

In Honor of What Is Left Of V-Day

I am posting lyrics from one of my favorite Natasha Bedingfield songs, Single. Enjoy!

Ah yeah that's right
All you single people out there
This is for you

I'm not waitin' around for a man to save me
('Cos I'm happy where I am)
Don't depend on a guy to validate me
(No no)
I don't need to be anyone's baby
(Is that so hard to understand?)
No I don't need another half to make me . . . whole

Make your move if you want
Doesn't mean I will or won't
I'm free to make my mind up
You either got it or you don't

This is my current single status
My declaration of independence
There's no way I'm trading places
Right now a star's in the ascendant

I'm single
(Right now)
That's how I wanna be
I'm single
(Right now)
That's how Im gonna be

Ah yeah uh huh that's right

Don't need to be on somebody's arm to look good
(I like who I am)
I'm not saying I don't wanna fall in love 'cause I would
I'm not gonna get hooked up just 'cause you say I should
(Can't romance on demand)
I'm gonna wait so I'm sorry if you misunderstood

[Repeat Chorus]

This is my current single status
My declaration of independence
There's no way I'm trading places
Right now a star's in the ascendant

I'm single
(Right now)
That's how I wanna be
I'm single
(Right now)
That's how Im gonna be

I'm single
(Right now)
That's how I wanna be
I'm single

Everything in it's right time everything in its right place
I know I'll settle down one day
But 'til then I like it this way, it's my way
Eh I like it this way

Make your move if you want doesn't mean I will or won't
I'm free to make my mind up you either got it or you don't
'Til then I'm single

This is my current single status
My declaration of independence
There's no way I'm trading places
Right now a star's in the ascendant

This is my current single status
My declaration of independence
There's no way I'm trading places
Right now a star's in the the ascendant

I'm single
(Right now)
That's how I wanna be
I'm single
(Right now)
That's how Im gonna be

13 February 2008

In Which I Discuss Something Very Controversial.

A week ago I was reading Eric Snider's post on Mike Huckabee and a couple of commentors mentioned that the only issue they cared about was a candidate's stand on abortion and that they wouldn't support "baby-killers." That made me see red, as there are so many more pressing issues, like the economy, the exploding deficit, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan etc. If the only issue a voter cares about is abortion, what are they willing to compromise on? How good of a president could an individual whose main issue is overturning Roe v. Wade? The issue of abortion has always been a prickly one, as I am morally opposed to abortion, with a few exceptions in the case of rape, incest, or life-threatening complications. But as opposed as I am to it generally, I don't think it should be illegal. I don't think Roe v. Wade should be overturned. That is not to say I think there should be no restrictions or regulations regarding abortion, as it is an extremely serious act and should not be done hastily or without serious consideration. But I'm still adamant that it should be legal.

If abortion were to be made illegal, it would be out of the jurisdiction of the AMA nor would there be any way to ensure any sort of medical or health standard. A recent study suggested that a comparable number of women seek abortions in countries regardless of legality and that, while there are still multiple risks with the procedure, countries in which abortion is legal have lower fatality rates. Additionally, if abortion is made illegal, would those who oppose it so vehemently stop there? Or would contraception be the next target? There is already a glaring double standard regarding health care and sex in the United States. Viagra was almost universally covered by insurance companies when it was released, while some insurance companies still balk at covering prescriptions for birth control. This is particularily egregious when, of the women I know using the birth control pill, only a fraction of them actually use it as a contraceptive. In the cases I know of, it is used to control irregular or painful cycles, migraines, and acne. At what point does it stop being a moral argument and one in which women are allowed to make choices over their own bodies, right or wrong? And what if all the time, effort, and money spent fighting abortion was spent educating? What if, instead of picketing clinics and sending out inflammatory literature and denying funding to organizations that include abortion as an option, an intelligent, calm discussion took place about the costs of abortion? What if women could get real information about the experience, about the physical risks and the psychological impact?

I was still mulling this over when Thursday's Fresh Air on NPR came on. I have to drive a half-hour to the County Courthouse every day for work, so I usually listen to the program while I drive there. Thursday's interview was with Cristian Mungiu, the director of a film from Romania 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days that won the Palm d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year(you can read reviews here and here). The film follows two college roommates in 1980's Romania under the dictator Nicolai Ceausescu as they try to procure an illegal abortion for one the women.

The interview (which I recommend listening to) discuses why Ceausescu declared abortion to be illegal, which had nothing to do with morality. The film is based on some collective experiences the director and writer heard from friends. He relates some of these and some that he heard after the film was released and they are harrowing. Do we really want to create a world where their nightmare becomes our reality?

08 February 2008

Therapy, Anyone?

I have been mentally drafting a post about something serious and important that has been on my mind, but the writing of it is not coming along as I would like, so instead of my Serious and Important Post, you are getting a post on my bizarre dreams. I'm not quite sure what they mean, exactly, only that my subconscious is trying to tell me something that I haven't deciphered yet. Since you, dear readers, are smart and lovely, I thought I would open it up for discussion by posting the two dreams I have had in the past 3 days that make me think I might need to Deal With Some Issues.

Two nights ago, I had a dream that my dad decided to by a condo by the airport. (No such thing exists in real life, by the way.) Consequently the house we live in was to be sold. He was so excited about the new place and took me to see it. It was a lovely townhouse with a main floor, an upper floor where the one bedroom was, and a basement that housed a home theater. The whole place was gorgeous, but I got a little sidetracked by the fact that a) it cost $250,000 and I was worried my dad couldn't afford a condo that cost a quarter of a million dollars and b) there was only one bedroom - his. There was obviously no room for me in the condo, unless I wanted to sleep on the couch in the home theater. It was distressing.

Then last night, I had a dream that I had moved into a lovely apartment but that with the moving, everything was chaos and the kitchen was a disaster of dishes that had been in storage too long. Also moving into the apartment were several of my roommates from college, including Parker, Hoopsta, and Jubbs Stubbs (the later two are happily married in real life) but they were all busy doing other things so I spent hours trying to get the kitchen clean and in order and find places for the stuff of at least 4 adults who all had their own stuff. I was starting to get really frustrated. The kitchen was finally clean (and let me just say that the whole apartment looked like one of those amazing wood-floored, ceramic-tiled places on TV shows) and I started to look for my stuff, when I realized that there weren't enough bedrooms and the only place for my bed was in the massive dining space next to the kitchen and that I didn't even know where my bed or any of the my other stuff was. I was trying to figure things out when I decided to make sure all the outside doors were locked. I found that the back door, which led directly to Parker's huge and beautifully appointed master suite, would not stay closed, let alone locked. After struggling with it for a very, very long time, I had to give up when Parker got back from whatever she had been doing and had no problem with the door. Also, I must point out, she was wearing cropped pants made out of shiny black pleather and 5 inch stilettos. I was so confused by the outfit and to why, exactly, she was wearing it. And at that point my alarm went off and I woke up.

It has been suggested to me, by a loving and experienced person, that perhaps some sort of professional help, like grief therapy, might be appropriate after the craptastic year and a half I've been through. Maybe she is right. But that opens a whole can of worms I'm not quite ready to deal with at the moment. Any interpretations, suggestions, or comments are more than welcome!

06 February 2008

I Have Nothing To Say For Myself Today

So I thought I would direct you to the latest post from Miss Nemesis. The video nearly made me spew my turkey sandwich all over my keyboard. Which would have been gross. So be warned: no food or drink!

03 February 2008

Miss Austen Regrets

I find fictionalized biographies distasteful. I realize most biographical films have fictionalized moments, where the script hypothisizes what the characters most likely said. That I can forgive. What I cannot forgive is the total fabrication of details of events for which we only have skeletal outlines. This is why I avoided Becoming Jane last year. I have read enough biographers' tales of Miss Austen to know that whatever the film presented with be hypothetical to the extreme, much like playing Pin the Tale on the Donkey, only with a real person's life. From the reviews I read, I was not mistaken. Also, it was tantamount to treason to cast an American as Jane Austen. But I digress. All of this is to say that I faced tonight's Miss Austen Regrets with some trepidation. It said it was based on her letters and writings, but we all know Cassandra burnt most of those. So I was not prepared for how moving, poignant, and engaging this was.

I do hope you all watched this film. What struck me was how much hasn't changed, especially for those of us of the LDS faith. Granted, money is no longer such a sore spot in the equation. We can have a career and build up a 401k and make our own safety net, but as single women in a religiously orthodox culture, we face some the same stigmas thrown at Miss Austen throughout the film. Of the conversations with her niece, her brothers, her mother, all were of the hypothetical nature I dislike, but they felt real. The words might have come from a scriptwriter, but I don't doubt that at some point she faced all those conversations and more. Lest you think I'm being melodramatic, I will give a case in point:

Today in Young Women's (the LDS Church's program for girls between 12 and 18) the lesson was entitled "Preparing to Become an Eternal Companion" and the two major emphasises were on spiritual preparation and homemaking skills. I must compliment the woman who taught, as she did strive to make sure the girls understood that these skills were useful regardless of whether you marry or not, but that didn't mean I felt less of a fool during the lesson. Much like the conflict between Miss Austen and her niece Fanny, how am I to advise these girls on any of the lessons on marriage and family this year? In their adolescent minds, my single-ness undermines anything I might have to say on the subject.

Returning to the subject of career, how many of my single women readers have had it suggested to them that if they weren't so "career-oriented" they might happen upon a husband? How many have heard the words "not getting any younger" uttered in their presence, about them or, more likely, someone else in a similar situation? Does it occur to no one that building a future, a safety net, self-reliance, is what we have to do? We cannot stay at home and keep house for our mothers and fathers, just wishing and hoping that The One (if such a creature does, indeed, exist) to magically appear on our doorstep. We do not need to have the brilliance, grandeur, and wonder of wifehood and motherhood dictated to us repeatedly. We have seen it in the lives our friends who find happiness and joy in those roles. We have also seen the sorrow of ill-advised marriages, the pain of divorce, and the misery of choosing poorly.

The sum of this ranting is to say that I loved Miss Austen Regrets. It struck a chord with me. Maybe the reason I love her works so much is that I believe I sense a kindred spirit. Her books are about women fighting their own faults and the judgements and follies of others to make their right choice, to find their own happiness. Miss Austen walked a different path than the great majority of her peers; maybe she regretted it, maybe not. But her enduring legacy is that she did it bravely.

01 February 2008

Things That Are Good

I have a great tendency to be negative or maudlin or grouchy or a plethora of other non-joyful words. In fact, looking through past posts, I fear I come across as a bit of a grump. Which I don't think I am. So I thought I would mention all the wonderful things about the past week.
  • I got my car statement and figured out I only have 5 more months until it is paid off, a full 14 months in advance. (Thanks for not charging me rent, Dad!)
  • It was 30 degrees outside when I drove to work yesterday, not 3.
  • The sun shone and the snow started to melt.
  • The vehicle I drive to and from the County Seat everyday has a temperture read-out. Yesterday it read 43 degrees, a full 22 degrees warmer than the day before.
  • Yesterday was payday.
  • I got my W-2 and can now do my taxes. I am expecting a more respectable refund than last year's $70.00
  • Supernatural was back on, the first of four new episodes that will probably be all we get for this season. I hadn't realized how much I missed the show. Please everyone watch Supernatural on Thursdays instead of Lost so it doesn't get cancelled. Because that would be a shame.
  • I caught the pilot of a new show called Eli Stone, which not only has its main character hallucinating about George Michaels, but also has Victor Garber (aka SpyDaddy)! And he is doing what he does best, playing an ethically gray character who is vaguely threatening but also vaguely adorable.
So, happy Fridays all around!