Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's akin to asking someone if they're preganant, and they're not

I attended some friend's Halloween party this week. It was Tuesday night, after class, so granted I was pretty beat after a full day of work and sitting in a 3 hour class all night. However, I wanted to support my friends gathering as it was a Halloween/house-warming party mix. Party Mix! Like Chex. Ahem... anyway... there promised to be meatballs as well and if anything gets me going after a long day of mind-numbing metiocrity, it's meatballs. You can quote me on that.

So I picked up my friend M to head up to the party, and she romped to my car and jumped in. I immediately said "Oh man! You dressed up! What are you?" To which she replied "Uh... I'm not dressed up. I wore this to work."


Ah. Ohhhh, well it's dark outside and I'm kinda losing it because of my super long day and Ididn'treallyseewhatyouwerewearing.... Oops! Mistaking someone's outfit for a Halloween costume is your classic "foot-in-the-mouth" scenario; or the setting for a lame joke "Take off that mask!" "Oh I'm not wearing a mask." Ba dum chi!

Luckily my friend is good natured with a easy going sense of humor and wasn't offended in the slightest. Phew... lucky for me. Note to self - think before talking (or) scrutinze beyond a shadow of a doubt someone's outfit before asking what they're dressed up as (or) don't talk at all. All excellent preventative measures one can take to insure no awkward situations that are impossible to smoothly dig oneself out of. It's very much like asking "Oh! So when are you due?" "Um... I'm not pregnant" ... ... cricket chirp. What do you SAY to that? "Oh sorry - I didn't realize you were just fat?" Mm. Hm. You see what I mean.

Friday, October 23, 2009

You know you've lost control of your personal life when your Soy milks gone bad

If any of you are Soy milk drinkers, or were Soy milk drinkers, or are considering becoming a Soy milk drinker, or even, have friends who are Soy milk drinkers, you may know that Soy milk has a very liberal expiration date. When compared with regular milk derived from a cows udder (shudder); it's clear who the winner of "how long you can keep this in your fridge before it goes bad" contest is. Soy milk. Every. Time.

(On a note - do you know we are the only species that continues to drink milk AFTER nursing? Additionally - we're the only species that elects to drink the milk of another mammal who drags their udders through poop, dirt, grass, poop, and is suckled on by snotty little baby cows. There's some food for thought).

At any rate...

It takes a long time for Soy milk to "go bad." Many will contend that the expiration date is only applicable on an unopened carton of Soy milk. Well, that's semi-true. The carton does explain it that way - but really - I've pushed the limits of Soy milk and not noticed much of a "funk" 1,2, and sometimes 3 weeks after having opened it.

This time however...

My Soy milk contained a bit of a "funk." I kept right on eating my cereal of course; the entire time exclaiming inside my head "this tastes funny! This is probably bad!" chomp chomp on my Cheerios, "Yep, definitely something funky about this... this is no good." chomp chomp chomp. And I realized, if my Soy milk had gone noticeably bad, it's clear I have not been drinking much of it as of late. Which means, I've been eating out more than I usually do, or not eating at all really, and this means I'm either lacking time, or I've lost complete control of my personal life and my self-respect is at an all time failing low. Come to find - it's probably a little of both.

When our lives begin to fast forward, bogged down with this, that, and the other, we tend to let ourselves "slip" a little in the general care and fostering of our own health. Sleepless nights that linger all week, not having the energy to make home-cooked (or even slabbing PB&J together between two pieces of bread) meals, sniffing our clothes because we can't remember when we did laundry last and sure as all Mountain Fresh don't have the time now... things of this nature. I hadn't realized I'd let a few small things (cleaning my room... going for a run... grocery shopping...) slip, and if it weren't for the Soy milk funk, I may still have kept slipping into slovenly, greasy, obese, oblivion. You think I exaggerate? I think NOT! We tend to focus our time and our energies on so many outside factors, we forget about spending sometime on ourselves. I for one feel better when I'm healthily fed, relatively clean, and surrounded by a little more order and a little less chaos. In fact, the simple act of making my bed every morning can foster feelings of self-accomplishment; that I actually have a handle on your surroundings (I live in a very simple world).

Well, I for one will never be letting my Soy milk go bad again. Thank goodness for that wake-up call! While I carve out time for school, work, school, and also school, I think I'll make a point to carve out a little "self-care" in there too; some valuable grocery shopping, a bathroom scrubbing, an hour in the gym, and maybe even begin a novel. Ha. Okay... I won't get TOO carried away.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rainy Days and Mondays

I’m wasn’t ready for Monday this morning. I guess no one is really ready for the weekend to end – but since it’s inevitable – we plan accordingly and prep ourselves for a new work/school week come Monday morning.

Well last night I was feeling sick about having to start a Monday so soon. My weekend wasn’t anything particularly special that I wanted to extend it: I went to Park City on Friday night, did an amazing amount of school-reading on Saturday then saw Where the Wild Things Are (awesome), and then went about my regular Sunday activities of churching and making food I could eat the entire upcoming week (side note: last week I attempted to make Mac and Cheese from a Martha Stuart recipe and failed miserably and thus didn’t have the luxury of having at least one meal of my day already prepared that week. THIS week however, I went with a timeless classic I’ve made over and over: White Bean Chili. Success!!!).

I guess the previous week had been really exhausting. I didn’t have school, but work was busy and I was still doing homework and my mind was just tired. My Spirit was tired! My emotions were tuckered out! I needed a longer weekend this time around. OH! And what adds insult to injury is I THOUGHT I was really on top of my homework and then realized I had forgotten an assignment due by midnight on MONDAY and loudly cursed myself for not realizing that just because we have Fall break it doesn't mean we have Fall break. I mean clearly that makes sense. Silly me.

As Sunday night was drawing to a close, I began to really dread Monday. Though it promised to be a regular Monday full of work and school and exercising and general things you do to start out yet another week, I just felt ill about having to do it all. At least having to do it all so soon. As I was lying in bed Sunday night, all I wanted to do was find a safe cozy little bubble, separating me from all the world, and read a delicious novel while floating through the air above regular living. I wanted to push “pause” – make everything freeze – work, school, life in general, and just have a little breather for awhile. A proverbial floating limbo between Sunday night and Monday morning that just extends the weekend a little bit longer…

Well, turns out my pause button doesn’t work on Sunday nights because Monday is a much stronger power to cope with. Monday has come; and I’m still not entirely ready for it, but ready or not, it always comes. What’s truly ironic is it also rained all night. I don’t mind thunder and lightning, though conveniently ominous when it happens while a Monday approaches like an evil presence come to suck the happiness from the world. I almost expected to hear an evil cackle rip through the sky as my alarm went off and Monday officially began. You know what they say about rainy days and Mondays. Always.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

People who say they HAAAAAATE Utah

How? Ha! Naw... I get why people don't like certain places because it's "just not them" or isn't near a Nordstrom's or doesn't have a variety of dining options or it's cold all the time or it's hot all the time; but really, to HATE living somewhere? That's pretty serious. And to HATE living in Utah? In this Utahns opinion is crazy talk!

I've been to a handful of places inside the country and out. I can say that I do not want to live in Provo, Utah... er again... because it's just not the place for me. Do I hate it? NO! In fact my year there was one of the best years of my life. It's also one of the most beautiful places I've lived what with the mountains so close and it's "small cityness." But when it's all said in done, I'd rather not live there if I can avoid it. Just not the place for me; and that's okay!

On the other hand, I could live in San Francisco forever. I love it there. What a unique and amazing city! Yes, I could do San Francisco quite happily for a very long time... as could I do London... and I imagine (though I've never been) I'd like such places as Maine, Boston, or the Carolina's very much as well. These places appeal to me on a personal level. They contain within them things I enjoy having around me in my living space. And since we're on the subject, I could also live in Salt Lake City for a very long time... and have for a very long time... because it's a beautiful fantastic clean city I feel is home.

That said (placing can opener over worm can)...

Some might say, oh of COURSE she loves Salt Lake City, she's a Mormon. Ha. Huh. Well, it definitely makes it more appealing to me as a Mormon because for heavens sake it's the headquarters of the Mormon Church. The Salt Lake temple is literally two blocks from my house, and I'm always reminding myself how very lucky I am as a Mormon to live in Salt Lake City, Utah. Yet, I might venture to say, though that's a bonus, it's not why I love Salt Lake City. I wouldn't move to Nauvoo or Palmyra New York for the soul reason it contains so much of my Churches history. And clearly, if I'm loving to live places like San Francisco or Paris or London, there are many many MANY things that make a city appealing to me than proximity to my faith's religious headquarters. I can't imagine Catholics make mass exodus to live in Vatican City solely because they are Catholic. Though, I would wager that any practicing Catholics living in Vatican City would feel the same as I do being Mormon and living in Salt Lake City; very very blessed.

In contrast, many say they hate living in Utah. Now, clearly I have a bias because I love Utah. And I love it for it's beautiful mountains, it's unique red rock, it's deserts, it's 4 seasons (except this year... seriously... did we have a summer?), the general beauty in the layout of the cities, the cleanliness of the cities (and I've been to some very "dirty" cities and am always reminded of how "clean" particularly Salt Lake City is when I return), and yes for its people. Many "non-Utahns" have commented time and again to myself, friends, family, that Utah has a high concentration of very nice people. I think we are pretty nice people! All of us! So, I always wonder, how can you really absolutely HATE living in Utah? Really, how can you HATE (as in loathe) living most places? I've always been a believer that something is what you make of it. Your attitude is a powerful tool that can color any situation, for better or for worse, if you let it. Cynicism is the best way to go through life always unimpressed and ill-contented. Well, I think people hate living in Utah because they.... dislike the religious concentration of people here. Yeah, I know that's a bold statement, but I think it's true. And my question to those who hate Utah because they recognize that yes, the LDS concentration here does have a huge impact on the culture and thus an impact on a lot of policies, laws, and attitudes here, and they don't like it, then really, why stay? Now, I don't want to be one of those who say "well if you hate it move" because that's somewhat unrealistic for a lot of people. Maybe they would move if they could. But, if you're one of those people, wouldn't your life be much improved if you accepted (not to say you don't have to desire change of course) but at least had an attitude of "well, I do live in a city that is the HEADQUARTERS OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS!!! and may have to interact with those who belong to that Church and additionally be slightly effected by that religion sometimes."

If you still must hate it, consider this line of reasoning:

Utah was settled by Mormon pioneers. Thus, the state's birth and subsequent growth was extended by those of the LDS faith. The first thing pioneers did when they arrived in what is now Utah, was pave the way and prepare to build a temple. Pioneers were sent all over the state to create a safe-haven and establish colonies, a place where they could worship and practice their beliefs in peace. The state of Utah is steeped in Mormon heritage and tradition. And only when (as the biggest factor)the Union Pacfic and Central Pacific railroads met at Promontory Point in Utah forming the transcontinental railroad did a greater influx of Americans begin to enter Utah who did not do so for reasons of religious worship. And thus, Utah began to be integrated into the United States, bring in businesses and industry, and is what it is today. Not as diverse as many other states with very different histories, but it's growing and diversifying as it has since those first Mormon Pioneers entered the valley. THUS - here is my question - if you are frustrated or bothered by this influence in the state of Utah, then I might suggest you utilize some logic and see that it was settled by Mormons, the headquarters of a quickly growing Church is in Salt Lake City, as well as the gathering place for semi-annual conferences, the historic Salt Lake City Temple and now new family history library, and Brigham Young University, a large private Mormon University that brings in many members from all over the United States, from all over the world.

So really, really? You are angry because Utah has a lot of LDS influence and you HATE living in Utah because there are so many MORMONS??? It's like moving to Vatican City and hating Catholics... or to India and hating Buddhists and Hindus... or parts of the Middle East and being annoyed at the Muslim influence " Why do we have to kneel and pray to the sounding of a bell at certain times!!! (shake fist) I hate living here in this highly concentrated Muslim area!"

Like, really? I for one would very much expect if I were to move to Vatican City that much of my daily routine, even the sights I see everyday, and much of that cities politcal influence, would have a connection to Catholicism in some resepct. And I, though not being part of that belief system, would have to either accept that that influence is steeped in centuries (in this case) of tradition and that statistically, because there could be a very large Catholic membership and thus MANY of it's political figures and choices would belong to that faith and thus, lean towards their innate biases, OR curse them all, say I HATE Vatican City and the Catholic influences there, and be angry about it the entire time I live there. Which sounds better to you?

And, if that's not the reason you HATE Utah then first, I still don't get it ;) ha!, but secondly, I don't see how long I could stay in someplace I truly loathed that much. Nor do I see how someone can CHOOSE to MOVE out here from another place and then hate it with everything they have. And, if it's a choice (opposed to those who don't have the means or ability to change their situation), can't you CHOOSE to live somewhere you like a little more? If you move to Utah, at some level residents will need to accept that the LDS Church does have a strong influence here, just like any other major religions headquarters will likely have a strong influence where they are. Religions throughout history have patterns of gathering together, to worship together, and to be near those who practice how they do. It's human nature to create support mechanisms and be "part of something."Muslims from all over the world travel thousands of miles to Mecca to worship together. It's a beautiful and exciting thing when you can be somewhere, even for a short time (i.e. General Conference weekend as my closest to home example) and learn about your faith together with others who also share those ideas. And if someone HATES that Mormons do that in Utah, you've probably chosen the wrong place to live. Or need a serious attitude adjustment; for your own good.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Finding the other side of 25

Yesterday was my 26th Birthday. And as one tends to do as they begin to pass such desirable age-landmarks as 16, 18, 21, and even 25, and enter the realm of “I’d rather not get much older thanks” of the 29’s, 35’s and GASP 50’s???, one starts to reflect on the past years and of course, the years ahead (like, how close you are truly getting to 30 and still very single… uh… as a random example).

My life is very different on this October 12th than it was last October 12th. Needless to say, I can already feel I’m going to prefer the post-25 years compared with the pre-25 years. The pre-25 years are full of a lot of growing, refining, struggles, and identity searching in a very short period of time. Being a 20-25 something is one big transitory period that includes some major life decisions. We all know that you can screw your life up during High School by the choices you make; I believe you can equally screw (or solidify) your life in the early 20’s as well. You have the opportunity to define what you do for the rest of your life… however long that might be. Yeah. Kinda a big deal… kinda a hard time… but of course, with some irreplaceable life experiences and a zeal to press on press on press on, the early 20's can make or break you.

Let us speak now of the post-25’s – likely you have your world set before you and are starting to recognize the consequences (or rewards) of your choices made in your pre-25 years. Many over 25’s are done with some portion of education, or beginning a promising career, or settled into their career for a few years. Many post-25’s may have started some semblance of a family, or traveled out of the country, or participated in a marathon, finally have dental insurance, or even just able to buy a car that doesn’t come with weird quarks like having to coax it into reverse, no air conditioning, or having to climb in the passenger side door because the handle broke off your 87 Plymouth Horizon lovingly referred to by your friends as “the whore.” You might say that your post-25’s are the true beginning of adulthood. You’re entering the realm of real responsibility and instead of having dreams and aspirations; you can actually see them coming true; finally on your way. Go ahead man! Set the cruise for a few miles and enjoy what your pre-25 choices have given you. Roll down that window, breath in some fresh air, and consider yourself a working professional. Goodness; someone might even take you seriously now! You should buy a suit or something!
Yes, I believe the other side of 25 will work out just fine for me. I feel that the second half of the 20’s is MY half. Sure I guess some could experience that “it feels good to know me and be me” earlier than 25, but I think my pre-25 years prepared me for what’s coming… the other side of 25; the better half; my better half.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fall: The Season of Pumpkins, Tights, Football, and FAILURE

I adore the Fall. Adore it. Hands down favorite season. The smells, the food, the holidays (Hurrah Halloween!), the Birthday (woot), the football, the colors, the crisp fall air, the sweaters, the cardys, school, warm homes, reading novels by the fire, pumpkins and nutmeg and cinnamon and baking, and (gasp for breath) I just LOVE it. And I believe that's what's gotten me through the last 3 years of what I will refer to as; "the worst seasons of my life" or "Fall Failures" or " What the *^$(#&^!!!" Though, I think loving Fall softened the blows of life during the past 3 years of Fall season. Stupid life and its blows. I shall explain...

For the past 3 falls/winters, I've struggled through all those struggles and trials and confusions and general crappyness that life inevitably dishes you sometimes. No one can avoid a healthy helping of steaming crap once in awhile, and if they try and tell you different, they lie. They lie pathetically. They lie delusionally. LIARS! All of them!!!

I admit when I noticed September approaching while going over my work and school schedule, I was thrown into fits of panicked nostalgia as I recalled where I was last fall and the fall before that... aaaaaand the fall before that.
Fall 2008: pathetically poor, dreams dashed in every way that dashing is possible from childhood on up, homeless (i.e. squatting at a friends and then mooching off my awesome Aunt in T-ville), mostly jobless (i.e. temping at the time), clothesless (from giving up all my clothes for said smashed childhood dreams), and incredibly, pathetically, newly abandoned by a boy and feeling utterly alone in a very dark and foreboding place. I remember my Birthday last year; and as one does when Birthdays roll around, I evaluated my life, and it came up ridiculously short. Turning 25, and ridiculous. That was my motto for the day. 25 is supposed to be the prime of the 20's!! Alas... not so much. It was my anti-prime.

Fall of 2007. This fall was full of much of the same, moved to a bran new town where I'd just LOST my first teaching job, struggling to find ANYONE to hire a poor college grad with an English teaching degree (data entry and retail as it ended up... wow the $20,000 undergrad was super worth it... cough), emotionally strung out from yet another poorly disabled and always dysfunctional relationship (that was to be followed by yet another... and then one more for good measure), and feeling, once again, pathetic, alone, and discarded. And stupid winter doesn't help what with its gloomy skies and biting freeze. Oh and my car broke down that year. Adding insult to injury really.

And lastly, Fall/Winter 2007: the hardest year of school I'd ever encountered, a lot of family traumas and stresses, again, you guessed it, emotionally crippling relationship problems (suddenly I wonder why I don't hate men yet... ha ha ha! Suddenly I'm GLAD I don't hate men! I don't want to add "became bitter and angry this year too" to this list), and really, I needn't go into the gloomy cycle for you again. Just press repeat from the above and you get the picture.

It's like my Fall/Winter life was on repeat; a really sick repeat that was someones idea of a cruel joke. What am I supposed to LEARN from this? What am I to get OUT of this CYCLE? (or how can I get out of this cycle?) Heavens!! No really, Heavens, I need a little direction here because survey says (and consistency and the patterns of my life support) I'm missing a very crucial piece of the puzzle. I'm going right instead of left, down instead of up, and am a little worried about how to handle the next Falls of my life.

Well, there is a happy ending the "Falls of Failure" story, as has been mentioned before on my bloggy blogerton. I've come out of all these crappy life happenings and yes yes yes, have learned a lot from them. I am now one of those suckers that can say I am grateful for those trials. No, truly! Without them I wouldn't be the person I am today, and the person I am today is much better, more refined, mature, and better prepared than the person I was 1,2, or 3 Falls ago. We have a very short period in this life to truly prove ourselves, solidify what we believe, to mold our character, until we face our final judgement. Frankly, without these swift and extraordinarily personalized refiners fires, who are we to count ourselves worthy to sit with those who have gone through so much more before us? Have given up comfortable homes to walk hundreds if not thousends of miles to an unknown land? Have been persecuted and hated for their beliefs? Haven't had enough food for themselves or their families? Yes. I am very grateful for my trials, and wouldn't give them back for anything.


I SURE HOPE THIS FALL ISN'T ON REPEAT! For real, ya'll. In the past year, as I glance back, it's incredible to see how I ended up here, in a cozy little downtown apartment I love, in a secure job that I enjoy, going back to school at a discounted rate (that's right suckas! What what!), finding good friends and enjoying the crisp October rain (October rain? Good old Utah) as I bake Oreo cookies and finish administrative theory homework. This is the LIFE my friends! And all week I've been breathing in this unseasonably crisp air full of anticipation and excitement for the season I love so much. Even after what seems a consistent "Fall failure" pattern, I've found optimism to replace my panic; and healthy anticipation to replace my doubts. Sure, I guess Fall could be on repeat again and it could all go away, the apt, the job, the cookies (probably not the homework...psh), but if I've learned anything, our trials are only for a moment, a season if you will, and somehow I've been kept on my feet even through all the unknowns, the tears, the hurts, the doubts, and the fears. During the times I felt like throwing up my hands and giving up, something kept me pressing forward with hope, even the tiniest sliver of hope, knowing that in the end, it will all be worth it. Even if it really only is at the very end.
Perhaps in adding to the pumpkin smells, ginger snaps, Halloween costumes, and cozy sweaters, I can now happily add to my fall list of favorites a "season of refinement" and rather than shivering with panic that my life will suddenly fail again, smile with a knowledge that even if Fall fails me, the Lord won't fail me as He hasn't the last 3 Falls of my life. And I have hope that maybe THIS Fall, instead of a steamy serving of super crap, I can get a little smashed potato's, gravy, and a side of sweet sweet cobbler. Yeah. It's high time for some cobbler.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Quotable Jillian

You watch the Biggest Loser, right? OH! You MUST! It's the most fantastic show. Sure sure, I know what you're thinking "another reality show contest blah blah blah..." no no, it's SO much more than that. So. Much. More.

The Biggest Loser airs Tuesday nights... I think from 7-9. I'm not entirely sure as I utilize the DVR (life changer) to record the episode and watch a few days later. Anyway - watching these good people go through their weight loss challenges is only half the entertainment, the other half sits squarely on the shoulders of Bob and Jillian - their bad ass trainers. There's no other way to describe them.

What I wouldn't give to work out with one of these amazing trainers for a month, a week, an HOUR! I'm sure it would cost me my entire income for the year - but still so totally worth it. If you've seen the show, you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about; they're intense, downright mean, they push and shove the contestants past their limits and even beyond that. There's barfing and sweat and tears, and DAH! It's freaky awesome. If I had Bob or Jillian with me - I'd be one seriously hot-bodied chica. You know it. And I know it. Alas, I'm not quite out of shape enough to apply for the Biggest Loser, and not nearly as rich or awesome enough to even consider paying a regular trainer in SLC let alone the best trainers in the WORLD, thus, I shall have to settle for mini-Jillians and Bobs via DVD. Kinda takes away that "in your face" intensity though. Perhaps I can buy a really big TV and turn it up really loud... hmmmm.... yeeeeees.

(glazed look)...

But, what's really fantastic about the show (other than the bad ass trainers) is the bond these contestants create with each other. Unlike other shows like Survivor or Amazing Race where it's all about "the game" and beating the other teams out. All the contestants (except maybe one or two... cough... Tracy... cough crazy bag...) want the other to succeed just as much as they want to succeed themselves. It's inspiring, it's emotional, and it's truly beautiful. I will tell you I cry (not tear) but nearly weep every single episode. Sometimes reality TV does something right. Suddenly, media isn't the amoral pushing the edge trivial fodder that melts our brains into mushy lameness. Sometimes, it inspires us. The Biggest Loser is one of those shows.

OH! So! The quotable Jillian. She says the best stuff. Rockin Bod. No-nonsense attitude. And the phrases to match. I would like to list a few of my favorites from the past weeks and hopefully keep a consistent weekly record of "The Quotable Jillian" every subsequent week after that... we'll see how it goes:

"I won't co-sign on that bull crap!" (Week 1 - awesome)

"That girl is bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S!"


"Tracy, you are full of SHI*!... okay, I'm done."

"We are the BEST trainers in the ENTIRE world and YOU gave US up for 2lbs?!?!? 2lbs???? Oh! I could THROTTLE you!"

My friends, if anything, it's worth tuning in for those timeless words of wisdom. She should make t-shirts, NO! She should make work-out under armor t-shirts to sell in sporting good stores. Can't you just see someone jogging down the street with "I won't co-sign that bull crap" on their backs? Rockin.

Oh, and Bob's awesome too. Mostly hot. Yeah... Bob is super hot.