Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Well, I’m 25 years old now and though I still get zits sometimes and boys are still a misery I’d rather avoid, I am a little more capable of handling those insignificant life fluctuations than my 15 year old mind was. If I were to describe my 9th grade self, I would tell you that I’d come out of a very depressing Junior High experience. My self-esteem was pathetically low (as most teenagers), I was self-conscious of my body, not because I was overweight, but because I didn’t like boobs. True story. I tried to hide my little buds all through Junior High (which is weird because they’ve sprouted and remained B’s my whole life – not much to hide – ahem) with big sweaters I’d steal from my mom. Thus, I wasn’t considered in any remote way “stylish” – and let’s be honest – I was a bit of a fem-nazi. I was never obsessed with boys or having a boyfriend; it just never seemed important to me (a big thanks goes out to Singles Wards for changing all that – mumble grumble – stupid pressure). There was also a lot of rage inside me and I lashed out a lot with my fiery attitude and cool logic in class, with friends, and at my wee brothers. I don’t remember being extraordinarily happy really; but wouldn’t let myself feel sad. I plugged through – and had all the ups and downs of an angsty teenage life. Junior High didn’t end soon enough.
However on a positive note (and not to make you think I was a raging psycho), I naturally made friends and now that I think back on it, had a lot of good friends I never really appreciated. I joked and laughed a lot. I was spontaneous and focused on my schooling. I wrote short stories and poems – and read read read. Sigh. I did have a lot of friends. I really did. Good friends too. Oh, the things we miss when we’re too absorbed in our own drama to look outside and see how blessed life really is – to see other people for their good, and love them when they need someone to love them. Sure we have lonely and sad times at 15 or at 25, that’s natural, but “it could always be worse” is an annoyingly familiar but entirely true adage I always try and remember when I find myself having a “self-pity party” all too reminiscent of a brooding teenager. I’m healthy. I have a job. I’m trying my best. And though things do tend to get lonely, it really could always be worse. I could be a self-absorbed 15 year old again for one thing! Shudder. And some people remain self-absorbed 15 year olds well into their 20’s (trust me I’ve dated them). However, I hope I’ve grown outside of my teenage “what does everyone think of me? Why is the world always watching me?” attitude into “what can I do for everyone else? Where can I improve the world” attitude. Anyway… bit of a self-reflective side note there. Borrrrrring.
Moving right along…
Now that I have you thinking back to your teenage years – some full of angst – some full of happy freedoms – some forgotten – I’d like to show you a letter sent to me from my 9th Grade Seminary teacher, Sister Powell. Wonderful woman! She had us sit down one day and write a letter to our “10 years away” future selves – our 25 year old selves. We were supposed to record where we thought we would be, what we should be doing, and any advice we’d like to give our much older and hopefully much wiser, selves. We sealed it away with a photo of our 9th Grade Seminary Class – handed it in - and pushed it into the back of our minds – until a week ago:
May 10th, 1999
Dear Andrea Cox,
Hey! I’m sitting here in Seminary next to the Canyon View Jr. High School in Huntington, Ut. By the time you get this you/me are 25 years old! Wow! I’m ancient! 25!!
By now you should be through High School, and in a good college in a city. Preferably Logan, or maybe, out of state.
You should be on the road to a successful career in one of the following: psychiatry, law (lawyer, FBI agent?), or possibly a doctor. Right now I really don’t know what I want to be but you should know, right? You should be very self-sufficient and healthy. Having a healthy lifestyle is important! Eat better! Exercise! I know you are.
You shouldn’t be married yet. No children yet either. You should be going for your career. Even though a family is a nice thought; [it’s] not right now. You should be closer to the gospel it seems, closer to your family, and not put so much priority on friends. I’m at a difficult time now, but I know now that making or not making the volleyball team doesn’t matter to you. Things that seem important to me now, you’ve gone through and know just how “important” they were.
I hope you’re happy and ready for anything!
Andrea Cox J
PS: Remember Tina Ward.
And the picture (I’m the chubby cheeked homely “cover the boob buds” one in the middle – don’t judge! We’re just humble country folk… the kind that think Logan is a “city.”)
What’s incredible is I remember every one of my class mates names. Seriously. Many of the girls are married as are the boys – in fact about 95% of them are married – and I’m not in contact with any of them. I do remember Tina Ward though (to my immediate right)! I also remember that she wrote “PS Remember Andrea Cox” on her “self-letter.” It’s high time for a Facebook search. Good old Facebook.
And now, a little bit in the way of response:
I’ve been reflecting on this letter for the past week. Thinking about where I have gone (University of Utah) what I am doing (awaiting MPA school and working in a great job with promising future prospects) and what I want more than anything in this world – a family. The 15 year old me would scoff at my greatest desire morphing from career to family (though I can have both come to find) – but because I’m a 25 year old who’s now had a few experiences that have taught her what is really important in life – I will just knowingly shake my head at “15-year-old-scoffing-angry-boob-fearing-me” and know that she’s got a lot of growing up to do. Ya know what’s really refreshing is knowing how much I HAVE grown and changed and hopefully have become a more refined, better equipped, wishing for a little bigger boobs, woman. I am closer to my family, I am stronger in the gospel, and dammit 15-year old me, I really don’t care that I made the volleyball team in 9th grade (though as I side note I totally did).
What really struck me is the final sentence in my letter “I hope you’re happy and ready for anything!”
Am I happy? Well, I’m working really hard on it. I want to be happy. I’m doing those things that make me happy, and trying to be patient for those things that would add to my happiness. I’m trying to forget those things that make me sad, and forgive those who have hurt me. Happiness. Sigh. What is happiness anyway? It’s another post for another time I suppose. BUT, after some rough and tumble life experiences, I CAN assure you I AM ready for anything. I’m ready for all of it.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
After filling up my stryo-bowl this morning I wandered over to my cube buddy, Michele’s, cubey. We like to have our little morning “hellos” while our computers anciently try to begin functioning for the day, and our conversation turned to something or other that made me make a “Squee, blaaah, daaaahhh” noise. No, it wasn’t a bad noise, it was an “I’m excited and sometimes act like a weird cartoon and make nondescript sounds” noise. Don’t be frightened. Well, I can see if you are a little frightened. You had to have known I was a little off by now. Anyway – I made some “la la la” excited animal noise and Michele exclaims to me, “You are just like Hoops and Yoyo!” OH! The nostalgia! Fo real. Exactly a year ago – I was hired at BYU Independent Study. One of the most memorable (and sadly short) months of my life. At BYU IS I discovered the hilarity of Hoops and Yoyo. Ya’ll know what Hoops and Yoyo is right? Don’t you? They are cartoony crazy Hallmark card characters I become borderline obsessed with and made sure that everyone at BYU IS had the opportunity to enjoy so HELP ME!!! I had somewhat forgotten about my Hoops and Yoyo joy until Michele mentioned I acted like one of them. Now, if you know me, this could probably be true. If you don’t know me, this will be a rather excellent insight into my rather, er, “animated” reactions and “noises.” Yes.
Of course, I asked Michele if she had ever experienced the Hoops and Yoyo daily office cards. I was shocked when she said she’d never heard of such classics as; Spastic Colon Sunday, Mondays, and Sarcastic Wednesday. What!??! Oh my friend you’ve never LIVED! I immediately rushed with my weight control oatmeal to my cube with the express purpose of sending her Hoops and Yoyo Office Cards Sunday-Tuesday. It had been, wow, I don’t know, 9 months or so since I’d enjoyed those classics? I forgot what joy they brought me. What lifes. What simple enjoyment. Yes. I would relive the joy on this most appropriate week: what would’ve been my one year Anniversary at BYU IS (tear… moment… okay…).
Hallmark.com. Select E-cards. Find Hoops and Yoyo. Find Hoops and Yoyo Office Fun. Find Spastic Colon Sunday (“Ohhhhhh noooooo.” Snicker).
This can’t be!!
Every Hoops and Yoyo Office Fun card, once free for all, is now priced at $.99 each. I… wha… who… why… NO! Suddenly, I watched all my “that awesome girl in Cube 6 who sends those freaking hilarious Bunny cards” dreams dwindle away. I have to PAY!!!??? NO! I’ve never had to pay. It was free joy! Free joy for all! Sigh… alas. Today was the day I truly felt the economy crisis. Shore I watch the news and see employment rates drop. Shore I’ve felt the strain on my own finances. Shore our future America is becoming more and more bleak. But Hoops and Yoyo? Really? Wow. Reality check. The economy is really hurting that bad. Bad enough that they’ve taken away the one thing I could utilize to spread joy and smiles throughout my office. You may be thinking to yourself “Well gee it’s just a dolla” Just a DOLLA? Have you NOT been watching the news? Our economy is doing pretty bad. And now we don’t even get to find some release in the ridiculous antics of the beloved Hoops and Yoyo. Sigh. Sucks.
(author's note: My internet sucks. I tried and tried to google image some Hoops and Yoyo pics for you and couldn't do it. SO! I have a link over on this side of my blog------------> Serious. They're hilarious. Check 'em out.)
Sunday, March 8, 2009
I just finished reading “Teacher-Man” by Frank McCourt. There are many brilliant things to be said about this autobiographical novel about an Irish immigrant who taught in the New York public school system for 30 plus years. You’ve probably heard his name attributed to the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, “Angela’s Ashes.” No I’ve not read it – it’s on the list. Of course I, being not only an English major (which McCourt was) and having gotten my teaching certificate (as McCourt did), and having a passion for education (which McCourt might), this novel immediately snagged my interest. What I expected was surpassed. It was real, enlightening, beautiful, and enthralling. McCourt details the grit of teaching in the public school system and less than paints himself as the ideal teacher. I think that's why I liked it so much - it was the teacher's journey - always growing, reflecting, changing, asking himself "what went well, and what could I do better?"
Now listen, having been an English major at the U, I became acquainted with some rather “colorful” literature. Personally, very personally, I’m sensitive to a lot of media material that most folks find common place. Certain words make me jump, certain scenarios make me squeamish, and some things are just plan uncomfortable, unnecessary, and yes, inappropriate. I don’t watch R rated movies because I don’t like the material. It doesn’t… uplift me in any way but rather… makes me feel as if I could've spent my "entertainment" time in a much more productive way. It’s hard to explain to a world where watching head explosions and explicit sex scenes while hearing language and conversations that would make your grandmother turn in her grave or a sailor blush is common place, that I just don’t like to see, hear, or accept those sorts of “real life” scenario’s as “common place” “acceptable” “free-thinking” or “just how things are – grow up.” I’ve been called old-fashioned, traditional, prudish, and uptight because of my personal moral choices. I just don’t want certain material in front of my eyes, in my ears, or playing through my mind. That's just my choice. And if some can choose to watch those sorts of things, then I can choose not to. Right? Yes.
Likewise, I feel that novels should have a system of the same; a rating system of you will, to warn, or rather, let the reader make a more informed decision as to what lies ahead, so they can decide if it’s something they want to experience. Doesn’t that seem fair? I would’ve liked to known that when I started McCourt’s novel (or any other number of novels I've read throughout my major and beyond) that there was going to be strong language, thematic discussions, and some sexual content. Then, I could’ve made a decision before purchasing and investing time in this novel to see if I really wanted to read it. I’ve started many books that I’ve put down or thrown away. Many times I’m frustrated because I would’ve liked to of known what I was in for before I had to find out for myself. It’s like seeing a preview for what looks like a children’s cartoon, only to find that you’ve just brought your 5 year old to an animated porno. Too bad you had to find out after paying for the films and then sitting through the opening scene. Damage is done. Reading the back cover or sleeve of a novel only gives a generic outline of what the book is about, not what it contains. I’d like to know – for my own reading pleasure – what I can morally expect from the novel I’m considering investing my time in. It’s a form of entertainment isn’t it? Movies and now TV shows have carried a rating with them for years now - it’s time novels did the same.
Don’t get me wrong, authors/writers should be able to write and publish what they want. They should be able to tell their stories and the stories of their characters how it happened or how they imagine it happening, to create a “good” story. I don’t think books should be banned or burned. NO no no no no. Oh the thought makes me hurt inside. No burning. No banning. As a reader, I just want to have the opportunity of making an informed decision.
So what to do. Well – I’ve decided to create a little blog. A blog to rate books. It’s called the “The Cautionary Librarian” and I’d like your help in this “rate that book” pioneering endeavor. Now remember – this isn’t a “rate that book with 5 stars if you liked it and 1 star if it totally sucked.” No. I’m interested in the “morality” of the book. Turn the book into a movie and think to yourself – what would this be rated? I’m going to start adding books and books and books. Then you, the reader, will add your votes. I want you to tell me first, what you feel the book should be rated based on the MPAA standards of rating (so G, PG, PG-13, R), and why you give it that rating. It will be put to a vote and as democracy has taught us, majority wins.
Monday, March 2, 2009
I also made some delicious banana bread which I distributed at work today for the (hopefully) delight of one and all. Tasty taste taste. Sometimes I just get a baking bug and have to bake my guts out. There’s an image! Mmmm. Baking guts.
I was thinking of something today. Oh yes, the waiting game. Do you know what I’m sayin? The game of waiting and waiting for life’s “things” to happen. I guess that phrase could encompass a lot of life’s little happenings we’re always waiting for – turning 16, graduating High School, graduating College, getting married, waiting waiting waiting. Meh. I hear it’s best to enjoy the times you have and not keep focusing on tomorrow – you’ll end up with a lot of empty yesterdays. Too bad it’s the old folks that learn those things. Uh, a little LATE don’t you think? What does that song say “Oh I wish that I knew what I know now – when I was younger?” Ironic we only appreciate youth when we’ve lost it, love when we don’t have it, $5 when we lost thousands, friends when they’re gone. I guess you really don’t know what you’ve had until you’ve lost it. On the same token, you probably learn to appreciate those things a little bit more once you get them back – IF you get them back. Go ahead – try and get them back. You might as well. It works sometimes. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Right? Right?!??! Maybe not.
My waiting game includes waiting to hear about my acceptance (or denial) to the UofU MPA program. Yup yup. I was all over those admissions requirements and completely done with them a MONTH before the due date. Sigh. Which means I feel like they’ve had PLENTY of time to decide if I’m a good candidate for their program – however – they also aren’t even going to BEGIN reviewing applications until the deadline has passed. February 15th was that deadline. I just read on the UofU website that we “will be notified 1-2 MONTHS” after the DEADLINE of our “acceptance or denial”. 1-2 Months? What? Bohhhhh – maaaaaan. I hate waiting. Especially if it’s “sorry you’ve worked so hard – but you still suck and we don’t want you. Go to BYU or something (snicker).” Lip quiver. THEN what? School is the light in my listlessly darkish and boring life. Well, more boring than dark. It’s a pretty happy life – I just said dark because of the whole “light and dark” analogy. Anyway, school will make me seem like I have “things” ya know? “Oh wow I’m sorry I can’t – I have a thing.” It will also make me feel I’m working towards something of value and importance again. I love that feeling. Value. Importence. Contribution. Motivation to excel. YES!
Though, can I tell you of my complete lack of motivation? Alright – not entirly true. I have motivation for school, work, and… er… exercising lately. I’ve lost motivation to be single. Ha. True. I don’t do “singles” things really. I mean, I DO because I AM single and therefore everything I do, by my single nature, could be considered a “singles thing”, but I don’t really jump on those things that most singles jump on in the hopes of NOT being single anymore. Meh. I just don’t care. Oh, and by “jump on” I mean “get involved in” activities and scenarios that are blatantly set up for “match-making and mingling” purposes. I do whats I want dag-nab-it! I seriously think I over-killed in my old Singles Ward and then again in Provo – where being single is akin to having a big red letter A stamped across your chest. Oh come on – the Scarlet Letter? Tell me some of you caught the allusion. Well, it’s not good. It means there’s something (lowering voice) “wrong” with you. Shush! Someone might thing there’s something wrong with me! And there isn’t… there isn’t… right? Gasp! Maybe a few things ;) I call it “personality.” I just have a… unique personality.
Anyway, I’m pretty happily single and not really “in the mood” to attend all those ridiculous functions held in “get married” pressure cookers. I figure I’m a social little bug, I like people, I tend to have a normal to oppotomistc personality, they can find me. Right? Shore! Let them come! And until then, I’m going to wait for my ACCEPTANCE (or denial) letter form the UofU. I’m also going to wait for Spring so I can plant flowers, and for this day to end so I can go eat some dinner. Wait wait wait.
I hope you found those random thoughts useful or at any rate – a self-esteem boost. It doesn’t get more pathetic than that. Eh? Maybe I should stick with blogging about my weekends. At least there are things to mention and on really lucky weekends – things to mock. I’m always game for a good mocking.