Wednesday, April 29, 2009
This is making me hungry, excuse me a moment while I go heat up last night's spaghetti.
OK. I'm back.
Although I am not sure why I should be hungry. Since tonight was Scoop Night at Baskin Robbins! Do you know what that is? I will tell you. It is when you are minding your own business, driving home from work, when you get a hankering for an ice cream cone, and you think to yourself Why would I stop for one when I have Ice Cream at home in the Freezer?
But then another part of your brain, a needy and demanding part of your brain, reminds you that the flavor of the month at the Baskin Robbins on the way home from work is Chocolate with M&Ms and cookie dough in it. Now if you could invent a flavor of Ice Cream that screams my name, what would it have in it? That's right. Chocolate with M&Ms and Cookie Dough. And maybe a blend of cake batter or amaretto, but I can't ask for everything at Baskin Robbins. Only at coldstone. At any rate, Needy Demanding Voice wins enough of the argument to get me to change lanes and peer longingly at the Baskin Robbins that I am about to drive past.
What does the sign say? Oh MY. I may have possibly almost caused a collision. Let's find out what Scoop Night means.
It means 31 cents for a scoop of Ice Cream. And not only that, the scoop doesn't just come handed to you in a bowl or on a napkin. Oh No. They give it to you in a cone. (Which I always try to do anyways, since it is more environmentally friendly to get a scoop of ice cream in a cone than in a waxy processed and possibly styrofoam cup. You understand it's about saving the earth, right?) AND it's not just any cone. No, its a sugar cone. Not one of those cheesy squarish cake cones. At Baskin Robbins, your two basic cone vareities are interchangeable. I can remember as a child longing for the picture perfect triangle shaped sugar cone, but alas it cost more, and so I had to settle for the cake cone. Now that I am grown, I take great pleasure in purchasing sugar cones whenever possible.
And that, my friends is Scoop Night. I hope it happens again. There is so much more hope in a world where Ice Cream cones cost 31 cents.
Next up: Miss USA. Yes, I recognize the ridiculousness of the pageantry. In fact, that's why I have to acknowledge it. And I acknowledge it with some risk. I love the movie Miss Congeniality. I also love most of my roomies that have participated in and won pageants. You might notice I said most. I struggle a little with the one that was runner up to Miss Teen USA (She was insufferable, and practically slept with that damned crown on, even if it was so many years earlier.) But the rest of them, that primarily competed in small town pageants that really did exist purely as scholarship programs, those roomies I love to bits. And I know that they recognize the ridiculousness of the pageantry as well. But all the uproar over Miss USA has me laughing a bit. Sure it was wrong that Miss CA lost simply for stating her opinion. And it becomes even more wrong if you happen to agree with her opinion. But there is something we are all forgetting here. You and I know that beauty queens aren't supposed to have opinions or thoughts of their own. The whole point is that they are a reflection of society's ideal. Or rather of what the media says that society's ideal should be. They are raised and trained to look like the media wants us to look, and to act the way the media wants us to act, and to think what the media tells us to think. She managed to be 6 feet tall, 98 pound, blond, and probably sang a country song or played a cliche classical piano piece quite nicely, she probably looked just curvy enough in her bikini since curves are coming back, she got those answers right. But in fact, she got the question portion wrong. If she wanted a scholarship for thinking, she should have chosen some other contest (They have those too you know). After all, the rest of the Miss USA contest makes no bones about superficiality. If they wanted her real opinion or thoughts on the issue, they would have had a "Celebrity Blogger" with a pseudonym that mocks the most worthless piece of white trash to hit the tabloids this century be the judge. If they wanted contestants to think for themselves, the judge's panel would have consisted of Harvard educated PhDs and Larry King or Brian Williams (Oh Brian Williams, so very handsome. I would enter a pageant if he was a judge, just so I could shake his hand, get my picture taken with him, and possibly even beg a kiss on the cheek.) Then again, the big news stories surrounding the candidates America does want to think for themselves still revolved around swimsuit photos (remember the president's abs?) and song and dance (around political issues) So I suppose it makes sense that people suddenly care what Miss USA thinks. After all, they care more about what Mel Gibson and George Clooney think than they do what the Surgeon General and their local auto mechanic think, and I can tell you who should matter more.
I guess I'm just saying, the first rule in entertainment is to know your audience. Go ahead and be outraged that she was slighted, but don't accuse the media conglomerate of dishonesty. You knew what they wanted, and so did she. Perhaps that is why she deserves accolades. Maybe she had just enough guts and brains to know exactly what she is doing, and maybe she said to herself "If lying about my personal belief system is what it takes, then it's not worth it." Which is far more honorable than gaining the crown.
:) just my opposing viewpoint. but I might also just be bitter that I'm not the 98 pound 6 ft blond that can play a classical piece on the piano and looks just curvy enough in a bikini.
If you are reading this and you feel inclined to try to argue with me about it, don't bother. I barely cared enough about Miss USA to write this much. (Actually what I really cared about what posting the opposing viewpoint to Jessica's Blog entry, purely for the sake of debate. Ha! Now you'll never know what I really think!)
Oh, Hang on, the garlic bread is finally warm....
Finally, about the swine flu. I don't have it. Yet. But last Thursday my roomie got back from Mexico, and then last Friday they started talking about it, and Last Saturday they quarrantined the cathedrals/schools/towns that she had been in, and last Sunday some of her fellow students that she traveled with started feeling feverish and nauseated. Well, wouldn't you have a bout of hypochondria if you just got back from ground zero of the world's first pandemic in 24 years?
Unfortunately, I have to admit to you, my audience, that I am a little disappointed that I haven't even suffered the slightest respiratory ailment. There would be so many advantages to being diagnosed with swine flu right now. Not the least of which is time off while I have several big projects I could work on at home. Actually the least of the advantages would be being able to brag about being Utah's patient number whatever. How cool is that! And somewhere in between least and greatest is the opportunity to meet new people and make friends with other patients in quarantine, not to mention the possibility of attractive single male doctors. Swine flu is sounding better and better. I am going to grab the straw from her soda last night in order to drink this water....
Sunday, April 26, 2009
I'm not bothered by this. No not at all.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
1. Song that always makes you sad? There are a couple from the realms of musical theatre, but I have no intention of divulging which ones specifically, because then the world would know far too much about me.
2. Last thing you bought? Gas for the lawnmower and a snickers bar (for the energy to mow the lawn of course!)
3. Last person you argued with? FSK over whether he was allowed to hit people with the shovel.
4. One of your stuffed animals' names as a kid? Oh let's see, I made up little birth certificates for all of them at one point. There was tommy and baby beans and bambi and eyeore and mousey and grandpa bear and red riding hood and I suppose I could go through my toy box that is sitting across from me right now, but really I was more of a blankie person. I was (read:am) extremely attached to Red Blankie and one doll.
5. Favorite Sundae topping? yes.
6. Did you take Piano lessons? This is a ridiculous question to ask any member of my family. Whether or not we actually ended up with any skill at the piano depended purely on our ability to fight for practice time.
7. Most frequent song played? Are we still talking about on the piano? Then I would have to say "I don't want to live on the moon" (You know, from sesame street, that ernie sings) or "I sat down with the dutchess at tea). Although if I have a choice then it's "Spring Song" from the Mendessohn Songs Without Words Collections. But then, if you mean on my ipod, it would be "Oh Light of Life" from the Wilberg requiem CD.
8. T.V. show you secretly enjoy? Buffy. The "Spike has a chip in his head" episodes.
9. Would you rather play basketball or hockey? No. And you would probably rather I didn't as well.
10. One place you could travel right now? Paris, always Paris. Although I wouldn't complain about Itay. Or Vienna.
11. Do you use umbrellas? Yes, frequently.
12. Do you know all the words to the Canadian national anthem? Not only do I know them, I have sung them for a professional hockey game. In fact, I may have learned them before I learned the American national anthem.
13. Do you prefer Blondes or Brunettes? Psh. Hair color is such a transitory thing. I really could care less. Its the eyes that have me.
14. Favorite fruit? Ryon
15. Wet the toothbrush or brush dry with the toothpaste? Um, wet. Does anyone like dry?
16. Pen or pencil? Depends on the project. I like pens that roll really smoothly just for writing lists and stuff, but I also keep charcoal pencils handy for doodling.
17. Do you scream on roller coasters? Roller coasters? what's there to scream about? I usually giggle insanely. and I don't scream when doing stunts in an airplane either, I just enjoy that pit of my stomach falling out my beely button feeling and try to keep my lunch down.
18. Where did you go on your first airplane ride? The first one I remember was either standing in the cockpit of one the viking planes "helping my dad to taxi it, or else I do have an odd memory of sitting next to Aaron clinging to Red Blankie and Baby Beans. I couldn't have been older than 4 in either memory. I highly doubt either was my first airplane ride though.
19. Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day? Cold Stone
20. Who's wedding were you in the first time you were a bridesmaid or a groomsmen? Probably Liz and Scott. If not her then Melanie. We were all roomies the same year, I don't remember which came first.
21. What is the first thing you do in the morning? Glasses, ponytail, Bathroom, Cereal, back into bed (That's usually 430 ish) I make it a point to not actually start the day until well after 530.
22. First celebrity crush? Kirk Cameron or Michael J Fox. Growing Pains or Family Ties. And Luke Skywalker.
Now wasn't that an effective waste of my apparently limited time? I'm hoping that by relaxing more with life I will slow the hair color issues. Especially since my colorist is too busy this week. Since she can fit me in next week, I should be able to stress more over important things.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Tonight at the grocery store some guy actually tried to pick me up. A grocery store pick up? really? Ok, so I'm not impressed with his skills, but I am a little proud of myself at least. It's a compliment. I'll take it.
Yes, I saw the Hannah Montana movie. And right now I am watching High School Musical 3. Go ahead, judge me. I also watched Marley & Me and bawled through the last 30 minutes of it. Proudly.
School and kids have been interesting lately. We've had conferences and changes in the class that affect our day to day ability to function. I am constantly astounded by the lies that some parents tell themselves and choose to believe about their children. I don't understand how they can believe that loving their child and being lazy about the way they raise said child fit into the same plan. At the same time, I can't tell them the truth because the business of education is still a business. I can however translate a few phrases for any inquiring parents.
If a teacher tells you your child is particularly energetic, you should probably have them checked for ADD. If they add the suggestion to work on "impulse control" you are looking at some severe ADHD (and possibly some deeper issues. Impulse control is the last thing you want to hear from a teacher). If you hear anything at all about "social exploration" then the teacher is frustrated with cliques and particularly your child's ability to manipulate other children. If a teacher is emphasizing that your child shows amazing development in one particular area but no interest in anything else whatsoever, you may want to look at some Autism Spectrum issues. And if a teacher tells you they are working on teaching your child how to empathize with other kids, watch out! Your child is the class bully. A teacher is in a difficult place. They see your child in more varied situations than most parents do, and they have more experience seeing alot of these issues than many that are qualified to diagnose. Yet they can not diagnose or even hint at any of the things that they see.
Wanna know what else I see every day?
There are 3 new boys in my class. They all turned 4 within a week of each other and have been in the same class since they were infants. They are best friends the way 4th grade girls are best friends. Their personalities are volatile. One of them will henceforth be referred to as "FSK" which stands for "Future Serial Killer". He is over-indulged and incredibly manipulative and I have watched him terrorize his fellow classmates with an extremely devious grin on his face. Today after stopped him from a number of other evil endeavors I saw him hide himself away in the corner of a playground where he slowly and methodically pulled apart a few earthworms into little tiny bits. When he had it in so many pieces that there was nothing left to hold onto, he wiped his hands on his jeans and ran off to steal chalk from the toddlers.
The next new boy shall be referred to as "FCM", or "Future Criminal Mastermind". He is actually more manipulative than FSK. He's quiet and smart and somehow I get the impression that he is behind every fiasco that his friends get into. He is always just the right distance away from whatever disaster ensues. I see the other kids look at him for referencing and a clue as to the next move. He has never spoken a word to a teacher in all of his four years (I checked with all of his past teachers), and I have only actually heard him speak at all when he thinks no grown up is listening. Only through this covert evesdropping have I managed to witness FCM actually instructing the two other boys how to not get caught committing some atrocity against the girls (ripping heads off of dolls or drawing on their pictures).
The third boy is possibly the most dangerous to himself and others. I call him "SMT" or "Small Minded Thug". He is the follower, the henchman, the thug that carries out his orders with no remorse and no thought of his own. Whenever he gets caught carrying out some crime he blames either the FSK, the FCM, or worst of all, the victim. He honestly believes that he is the last person who is responsible for his own actions and his parents support him in that belief.
These three boys have changed the play dynamic of the classroom of 19 other children. It's fascinating, and I am all about believing in the innocence of children. I just think that a distinction should be made. Children are not considered innocent because they don't commit offenses against people, not even because they are necesarily unaware of the offenses they commit. They are innocent becaue their parents are supposed to be teaching them the difference between right and wrong. It is quite literally a grace period. Of course, when parents are merely indulging the behavior, then you have a serious problem. This is why I hate conferences.
You'll have to forgive that brief soapbox. I am just going crazy trying to figure out how to teach these kids that they don't get to be the only people on the planet who always get exactly what they want, meanwhile their parents are actually teaching them that they always get exactly what they want. Spoiled Rotten doesn't even begin to describe it.
The first Opera I am in with the Utah Opera is MacBeth. Having spent a bit of time in the theatre, I am aware of the curse associated with the title of said opera. You are never supposed to say it in a theatre (or rehearsal hall, or while even rehearsing a show or really ever) as it will cause calamity to befall whatever production you are in. So what are you supposed to do when the production that you are performing is titled the name which cannot be named for fear of causing calamity? I actually haven't said that name (see above) or typed it (other than above) in years. Hubble Bubble Toil and Trouble, what the heck am I supposed to do about that? Can you perform an entire show without ever saying the name of it? Not to mention the curses supposedly associated with actually performing the show...
Sunday, April 19, 2009
But you will have to be satisfied with a few pictures.
Now do you see why it was such a pleasant surprise to get that contract? I was entirely convinced I had flunked with flying colors. Apparently, quite the opposite was the case.
Which worked, as you can see. Or here's another angle:
On Saturday morning I was hosting a bridal shower. I tend to get really stressed about such things. Here's why: people make me nervous. Especially large crowds of people at my house. I become convinced that in order to gain their approval I have to do something fantastic. I fall back on my food skills and obsess over creating a gourmet spread. Because lets face it, a party can flop or succeed purely by its food. You can have no games and a whole crowd of people that have never met and even lousy music and not enough chairs, but if the food is good, people will chat and enjoy themselves and leave with that warm fuzzy filled feeling. Or you can have brilliant games and close friends and all the entertainment in the world, but if the food sucks, people will leave early and find a resaurant to hang out at.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
(Do you love the photography? I tried to make it as if Mr Easter Bunny left nice presents in my back lawn.)And did I mention?
So here is the irony, or rather the hypocrisy, in my blog entries. When I made the purchase, the nice sales lady asked me if I needed a validation. And I was as honest as I could possibly be.
"The Shoes are my validation."
So much for anti-princess sentiment.
She refined her statement. "Uh, parking validation."
Oh, that, no. I don't ever pay for parking. I think its a ridiculous thing to pay for parking. But I will shell out for cute shoes. Let's face it. They are REALLY cute shoes.
Happy Easter to me.
Of course, now I need a dress ot match. And a pedicure. And there was this necklace that was gold with some beads and some roses that were the exact same shade of pink... Oh and the matching earrings. I could go on, but somewhere in the back of my head is the little girl's voice saying "Mommy, I won't be beautiful without my jewelry".
I know the shoes won't make me beautiful. But they might make me feel beautiful. Why do we crave that so much? Why do we crave spring flowers and new dresses and that one voice that tells us we look pretty? I think it's about renewal. It's about everything being fresh and clean and spotless. It's perhaps a prideful perversion of the whole day, but at the same time, there is symbolism in what we wear and how we show respect to honor the day. That's why we always got new easter dresses as kids. So maybe its merely a rationalization, but I think it justifies the shoes. Not a pedi or the jewelry or anything at all that is more than I can actually afford. But I can keep the shoes.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Saturday, April 4, 2009
*This is a less than reverant approach, I recognize that. If you want my honest and spiritual opinio on things, you should either talk to me in person or steal my journal. I don't feel inclined to post that stuff here.
You have already had to suffer through my conference music notes once, I won't make you do it again. But I would love to share a little bit more of the conference experience with you all. I have the lucky advantage of being able to choose how I watch conference. I am not bound to "helping" children learn how to sit through it, so I get to pay attention the whole time (yes, I am counting my blessings) and here in UT, you can pretty much see it or hear it anywhere but a local chapel. There is a world of possibilities. Today I chose the cousin conference experience. I had to swing down to Salem this morning for a visit, and after that I headed up to watch conference in Provo. For the purpose of this blog, we shall call her Cousin P'Ally*. We have another cousin in town who, for the purpose of the blog, shall be called B'Kristen*. (It's easier to pronounce if you make the "K" silent). Pally is married to Porrin, and together they are very snuggley and talk in fun voices. I am not quite sure why I can handle it coming from them, but I can. It is in no way too cute or lovey for me, probably because they really do like each other and are pretty good at being funny. Pally is one of the classy cousins. Bristen is one of the pretty cousins. No that they aren't both classy and pretty (and smart like some of the other cousins, and spiritual like some of the other cousins) it's just important for everyone to know how my brain processes them. And my whole life I have been told about how Pally's family was ultra classy and Bristen's family was gorgeous. By the way, I am "Sweet Spirit Cousin", if that gives you any clue what my own standing is in the social hierarchy.
Where were we? Ah yes, having conference weekend....
I love conference weekend. I prepare for it with grocery trips and a new notebook and new fun pens and then I end up typing things anyways but it doesn't matter I still get the notebook and pens. And the grocery trip is for treats and in between session meals and filling for the crepes. Because part of conference is eating a ridiculous amount of really yummy things. I learned that when I turned 8 and Dad took me out for ice cream after the Saturday sessions because I was the only kid that went with him to it. A very important lesson learned, conference is for treats. This is in fact one concern I have about eventually singing with The Choir. If I am singing in the choir the whole weekend, how will I get to enjoy conference. Will they let me have treats? If I sneak them into conference, will they be confiscated? I probably should not be littering the floor with pistachio shell, so those will be out. Will M&Ms be too crunchy? wil 14 million people be distracted when I try to tear open a package of gummy bears and there is that plastic crinckly sound before the package bursts open, flinging red and green Haribos at the whole of church leadership? A girl could lose sleep over such things!
Not to worry yet. Today, it was just the cousins, so bear explosion concerns can wait for at least another 6 months.
I left Salem later than I expected to, so I was late to the cousin abode. I arrived just as the choir was singing Israel Israel God is Calling. I purposefully waited in my car through the first verse because I didn't want to miss the slow build to the key change in this arrangement. The men of the choir did a nice job with it. I ran as quick as I could, like a conference bunny, up to the door as soon as the verse was through, so I wouldn't miss any of the good stuff. At the cousin house, everyone was comfortable watching with their conference packet. Porrin had the bingo sheet, Pally had some markers and a CTR page, and Bristen was anxiously waiting to document the neckties of every authority. A sense of anticipation was hanging in the air. When Elder Hales got up to speak, his tie was a fantastic black tie with white polka dots that was strongly reminiscent of the ties worn at Pally and Porrin's wedding. A good omen. Bristen did a beautiful job illustrating it. Next up was a nice lady from the Primary Presidency. No necktie, just pearls. We expressed our dissappointment.
As the session went on, we notices a bit of a trend in the ties. There were maily checkered or polka dotted. Stripes were rare, red was common, and tiny patterns were preferred. I am noting this here for several purposes. First, because necktie discussion was part of the experience. Second, because I know of at least one man who copies the GAs on their choice of neckties. There must be more out there, and now they have the info recorded if they happen to need it.
Towards the end of the session, we were running low on gas. Pally had taken to tormenting Porrin who was drifting in and out of consciousness and saying amusing things and I had pulled some solitaire up on the computer and Bristen was still dutifully documenting ties and topics. She should be the spiritual one, perhaps. As soon as the session ended, we were stretching an collecting our wits about us in order to create food. Porrin left for a haircut while we began constructing crepes. Bristen did a fancy decorative cut on the avacados. It was lovely. I filled a crepe with Nutella and bananas. Other people ate some stuff. I filled a crepe with cheese and bacon and avacados. Porrin returned with a haircut, Pally filled some more crepes, everyone ate and was filled. With 10 minutes before the next session, construction began on a fort. You know, the kind you built as a child out of bedsheets and overturned furniture? Consider for a moment. Now that you are a grown up, you can still make them, but you are srtong enough to really move the furniture, and you can leave it up for as long as you want! Why are you still sitting here? Go build a fort!
The fort was still under construction as the session began. A random boy had shown up to help out. It was nearing completion during the opening song. We paused for the prayer while holding up various fort parts. It was completed by the time the sustainings began. We sat beneath it and got comfortable. Just as Elder Ballard was finishing his talk, Pally pointed out that in true for fashion, we needed to turn out the lights and light some candles. Soon we were sitting by the light of the TV and a red scented candle.
"We are warming ourselves by the light of the gospel" Said Pally. Perhaps she should be the spiritual one.
Meanwhile, Random Boy who was joining us for the second session had joined the bingo card contingent. For some reason, both he and Porrin seem to think that a mention of missionaries is the same thing as a mention of baptisms. They both served in South America. Random Boy also informed us that Bingo is WAAAAY, more fun if yo mix the letters up and call it "Boing".
Elder Cook finished speaking.
"Although I am feeling kind of cold" Pally was continuing her statement from earlier on.
"They all have red ties on today"
Intermediate hymn! Let us all press on. Random Boy is concerned about his Boing Board. He also make a really funny joke about communists. I had to control myself to keep from continuing the snicker.
We are starting into the seventh inning stretch. The 20 minutes after the intermediate hymn of the afternoon session. This is the hardest part of conference to get through. Just as we are asking each other who the guy is that is speaking, he says "Distraction and lack of focus are satan's most effective tools"
Suddenly, in the middle of Elder Nelson's talk, we hear "I got one! It's my first Boing of the day!"
What a grand experience. I am learning very quickly that I don't feel like I have really had a weekend unless I have spent at least some of it with friends. And laughing. I can spend all day Saturday cleaning and grocery shopping and getting ready for another week, but if I don't laugh with friends for a good part of it, then I can never be ready for work on Monday.
Would you like to hear more? It will come... It will come.