Tuesday, April 27, 2010

All my bags are packed... I'm ready to go

Well almost. Actually, that's a complete lie. I have NOTHING packed, but I do have most things purchased and listed, so that's a decent start. I actually pride myself on my efficiency of packing, thus I'm not too worried about that cherade. Naturally, I have many lists and checkmarks, and other such OCD things to help the process along.

What I AM worried about is making sure that I have all my school and work and life schtuffs taken care of before take off. Sheesh! My mind is complete mooshy moosh (way worse than mush, note) after sitting for 9 hours (9 HOURS I tell you!) at the Library trying to hash out a 10 page paper which for regular MPA students in the Governance and Econ class, is due May 10th. For me? Naw. Due tomorrow. Guess what though? Guess what? It's done. Darn strait it's done! Oh! Oh thank you! Applause! I had no idea! I'm touched.... truly. I'd like to thank the good people at the UofU Library snack bar for always having the SmartWater and Luna Bar sections well-stocked, the the UofU WiFi connection for never giving out on me, shout out to you, JSTOR (you know what you are!) for such brilliant articles from which I gleaned such fabulous quotes... and of course... to you, cushy round library chair, for offering your support and wide arm rests without complaint. I salute you all! Without you, none of this would've been possible!

SO! School! That leaves one test today and a few little this and thats, and I'm free from my second semester of MPA graduate studies, and off to a MUCH needed vacation in the land of Wats (and what nots... te he he... never gets old). Elephants! Fruit! Monkeys! Miles of white sandy beaches! $10 massages! Civil Unrest! Oh wait... scratch that last.

I'd thank you all to wish me luck as I may not be back (well clearly physically I KNOW I won't be back) bloggering until sometime after May 15th. There will be many pictures to post and adventures to discuss - you can be CERTAIN of that!

Now... back to it.... shoulder to the wheel... onward onward

Friday, April 23, 2010

Not to seem like a fuddy-duddy...

But I find this ironic. Right? Shore shore... we live in 'progressive' times and what kind of old high strung self-righteous bag am I to think "Er... really? Maternity wedding gown? Like, you can't wait (or couldn't wait? Te he.)." I wonder if it comes with a tractor and stroller made from an old wheel-barrow (ba-dum-chi!).  And on the other hand... I'm a big believer that you'll likely look the very best you've ever looked in your life on the day of your wedding... and... well... I'm just sayin... if the damage is done... do you really want to get married during a time where you may not feel you're at the top of your game?

Also - I couldn't make it save (or copy or paste) the dress I WANTED to mock... so you'll have to go here to see some of the gems on this "maternity wedding gown" site. Again... whatever... just sayin...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mormon Standard Time - A Measurement of Coolness

Last Friday I attended a ward activity. Good for me, right? Shore! Good for me! It’s always a ‘righteous point’ (1/2 a point?) upstairs when you support the varying activities put on by well-meaning ward members; particularly in Singles Wards where “mingle” is the best avenue to “marriage”… or something like that. It makes sense in theory…
The activity was an “Urban Lounge” sort of theme in the Relief Society room of the Church building. Folks were to sign up the previous week to share their poetry, short stories, musical talents, and yoga chants (yes… it happened) with their fellow wardies in an atmosphere of Urban cool; fruity drinks provided. The event started at 8:00… so… naturally… I showed up at 8:20.

Was I very busy doing something else and therefore, had to show up late to said event? Um, negative. So why then, when I was very capable and able to make it on time to said activity did I show up 20 minutes late? Me! Who has been known to rant and rave about her low-tolerance for “lateness” consistently shows up to Church things late? Mormon Standard Time. Yep. This is the reason I am late to church things (church itself excepting). I blame Mormon Standard Time. What is Mormon Standard Time you ask? Well, translated, this means “late.” And truly, why? Why are we always late? Are we so inundated with our very important lives, very important jobs, very important TV programs, that we are consistently 100% always late to everything? In family wards, perhaps, there are legit excuses for consistent tardiness. There are kids, vans, car seats, and casseroles involved. However, might I make the argument that in Singles Wards… it’s much more about the "cool" than it ever is about the "busyness."

You wanna be cool? You show up fashionably late. NO ONE shows up on time if they have any dignity at, all right? Why would they? What’s the good in that? Psychologically broken down, in a ‘hip’ singles mind, showing up to activities ‘late’ means you are ‘like, so very busy with your very busy and totally cool life’ however ‘ you wanted to show you still put church stuff as a priority so you squeezed it in between 30 Rock Hulu episodes and the gym.’  Singles showing up late means “hey, I got stuff to do… and that’s because I’m awesome… so I showed up late.” Late=higher cool factor. This is the formula in practice. Does it work? I don't think anyone's undertaken such research - but I have theories. Boy do I have theories.

Speaking of theories, another theory I’d like to offer for the Single’s Ward MST (Mormon Standard Time) conundrum is “I don’t want to look too over-eager for particular ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ who I know will also be there.” Yep, it’s back to that old meat-market, dating game, trying to play it ‘cool’ thing again. I mean, if dude see’s that you’ve shown up ON TIME to an event – automatically you are over-eager and ridiculous. No one wants to date a punctual Petunia or Peter (except when it comes to dates – then you darn well better be there at 6:02 SHARP!). Naw… it’s that whole ‘cool’ façade again. “Yo, like… I knew you’d be here but like… I totally showed up late because hey, I want to show you I may not really care… but I’m here… but I’m LATE so it’s…(yep) cool…” Makes complete sense (cricket chirp).

Point of the story and theories and general babblery (babblery?): all this went through my mind as I schlumped in front of my TV at 8:00, ‘killing time’ , before I could legitimately show up to the Friday Night church activity fashionably, cooly, awesomely, late. Where does the madness end? I mean, I wasn’t doing anything at 8:00.I had rounded out my homework nicely so I could be ready by 8:00 to attend this event. I could’ve been there at 8:00... even 7:58 (early?!?! DOOM!). But no, somehow I too have been sucked into this idea that if I roll into activities late, it makes me cooler, it makes me appear like “yeah… I got stuff… and you’re lucky I’m even here at all!” Being late makes me seem like my life on Friday nights is tough to give up but hey, I'll do it for you, church activity. I penciled it in (ironic note to late comers on Friday night church activities – no matter how late you are – it’s still a Friday night and you’re still attending a church activity which means you DEFINITELY had nothing else to do… I’m just sayin… undermines your whole ‘cool’ plan a little… a drop... not that church stuff isn't cool but you know what I mean...).

Now listen, I am aware that sometimes, with some things, you’re gonna be late. With church activities, it seems to be the theme that if you show up at all you’ve given the time required of you. We are busy. I do get that… but it’s painfully obvious that when one is late to every. Single. Activity. no matter where, when, who, or what, then that person(s) likely COULD be on time too many of these things but, instead, watches 20 minutes of HOUSE before she decides “alright, this is stupid… I’m going…” and grabs her laptop bag so it looks like she just rolled in from the library (thus legitimizing lateness) and heads to the church house. Uh… not that I’m referring to anyone in particular… just a general example. It's all a ruse.

Consistent lateness is the price of coolness in Singlehood Church activities, and I’m seriously considering giving up my “coolness” factor for punctuality, a virtue much more praiseworthy in my mind, and truly, not as ridiculously contrite. No one notices when you were there… and no one thinks you’re cooler for ALWAYS being late (in fact I will now think you rather stupid), because we all did the same thing with the same assumptions in mind. It’s a vicious cycle, and really, it wears on you. With 8 years of Singles Ward's games behind me, I think I can afford to give up THIS one and just show up on time when I can legitimately show up on time. I may even add "puncutual to church activities because he’s not overtly concerned with us ‘super cool and too busy but not really" façade to the list of amiable attributes in a date. I mean, I think it says something about someone’s self-esteem showing up on time to stuff… particularly church stuff. Ya know?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Last night, I dreamt I went to Thailand again...

First, if any of you can name the book I drew the rather obsecure allusion I used for the title of this post, I will send you a dollar. Naw. Two dollars! I only changed one word (hint: Thailand).

As my trip to Thailand draws closer, I've now started to dream of everything that could go wrong with said trip. Last night was a classic "I forgot Terilyn!" type of dream. Terilyn is my good friend and former roomie I've suckered into going on this adventure with me, and last night I dreamt I went ahead to Thailand without her - but I ended up bringing my Mom and Aunt C instead. Wha?!?! Aunt C makes sense because she offers protection (in a non-Godfather way), as she works for the Salt Lake City Police Department (that's right! Back up!). My mom, well, what does she bring to the table? Mostly good times and the promise that if ANYONE deserves 4 days on an exotic beach, it's her. However, in the dream the beach wasn't anywhere in sight and our surroundings looked more like a mountainy camp ground with wild flowers and crisp (down with crisp!) mountain air... sans mountains. I distinctly remember, in said dream, thinking "So... is Terilyn supposed to meet me here? We bought tickets at the same time! Did I leave her? I fail! FAIL!" This has been one of the weirder dreams I've had about Thailand, though I've noticed a pattern for sure. It's forgetting things. All the others have involved leaving my passport at home - I've had THAT dream twice. Getting into the country and finding I've left my entire wallet at home (i.e. money)... and forgetting the time and missing the connector flight from South Korea to Bangkok altogether. That one was a doosey! I I most definitely felt I was in North Korea instead and I think Sun and Jin from Lost made an appearance in that dream as well. I expect the next stress filled dream of Thailand will involve Oceanic Flight 815 and Dr. Jack Shepard. Mmmm... here's hoping for the Dr. Shepard part at any rate! I wouldn't mind being strandad in North Korea with him. Not. A. Bit.

Ahem, anxious dreams aside...

 In exactly 15 days (squee!) I will be on a plane with my good friend Terilyn on our way to the culturally exotic suddenly land of civil unrest, Thailand! We are flying into Bangkok where we've planned (emphasis on planned - with the protests who knows if we'll actually be able to do the plan) to blitz Bangkok (apologies for the "blitz" allusion right after mentioning civil unrest... sometimes irony even surprises me!) in a day and half, then we will board a plane for the lovely island of Phuket, where we will stay for an entire 4 days. Mmmm, think of it! Four days on the beach, on an elephant, on a boat, on the sand, in the water, with the fishies.... it's just bliss. Bliss I tell you! Terilyn is an accountant and her head is on the brink of explosion right now - so I think this four days in Paradise Island is going to do her some good. I, on the other hand, also have 14 days to submit 2 research papers, one project paper, and take a final exam while making sure all 'ends' are tied up at work so my leaving for 2 weeks won't send anything into a tail spin of doom.... oh man... slightly freaking out now. Dah! So much to do! Lists... lists...


After Phuket, we will then be traveling to Siem Reap, Cambodia. I am ridiculously excited for Cambodia. First! Because in Laura Croft Tomb Raider the first, Ms Croft (aka Angelina Jolie) must fly to Cambodia on her quest for something or another and it looks AWESOME! and a more seriously second, last year I read the novel "First They Killed My Father: A daughter of Cambodia Remembers" by Loung Ung, about the reign of the Khmer Rouge and their ruthless leader  Pol Pot (communist movement) over the country of Cambodia for four terrifying years. The story is told through the eyes of Loung Ung as a young girl from Phnom Phen and her witness of the grueling starvation and violence inflicted on the Cambodian people for those four years. I highly recommend it. Given these two reasons I've wanted to visit Cambodia, it's Wats (and what nots - har har har... ahem), Phnom Phen, the killing fields, and everything else Cambodia can show me, for awhile. Irony of ironies, between Sunday sessions of General Conference this April, they did a little special all about Cambodia, the humanitarian need there, and the history of the country. Pretty. Awesome. SO! Cambodia... yes... Siem Reap then Phnom Phen and then we begin our week in Vietnam with Ho Chi Mihn City. A sleeper train through Dang An and Hoi An. A $20 plane ride (that's right) to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay for three days and then, back on a plane to South (not North... not without Dr. Shepard!) Korea, LA, and finally, home to SLC not two days before the summer semester begins (I have to buy books! Dah! Lists... lists need to be made... where is my list paper?!?!).

So of course, with all this in mind, school needing to be completed a week early, and protests in Bangkok, you can see why Thailand is been on my mind increasingly the last week or so... particularly in the 'worrisome' part of my mind. I've had this trip planned since... oh... November last year (and truly, if we're getting really nostalgic I've had this 'trip' and zillions of trips like it planned since I found the family Atlas tucked behind Bernstein Bear books at the age of 8), and now it's finally April! Finally time to start my adventures! After years of dreaming and longing and drawing pictures of unknown sunsets in faraway lands during church, they are FINALLY starting. I promise you friends, this will be the first adventure of many. I've waited my whole life to be this person! The person that goes to places just to go to places and see everything because it needs to be seen! I've even started planning my next trip (see: Australia over Christmas), and have no doubt in my mind I will get there... I will get everywhere! I've got everywhere to go! I just need to make sure and remember my passport...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My Offical Resignation

My head may explode at any minute. And what could make my head explode at any minute? Well... in a word... dating.

Or lack thereof...
As a single (and as many of you singles can attest) we're always being dished out advice for what to do, what not to do, what DEFINITELY not to do, how to do this, when to do that, and warnings about things that lead to certain failure or certain matrimony. Mix in some (heavy) religious emphasis on marriage and family and you've got a rather high-pressured, mind exploding, downright ridiculous situation IMPOSSIBLE to maneuver no matter how skilled you THINK you are. It's a ruddy MIRACLE anyone gets married... or gets asked OUT these days! Forget marriage! When I try and put an image to my dating scenario... I think of me sitting in a little boat, an oar short, trying with all my might to paddle along with everyone else, and only going in a circle, over and over, and over... watching all the other rowers with two seaters going merrily on their way. My mind is in turmoil... spinning and twirling... trying to file this good advice in there and that thought I read in a book somewhere over there and then comparing all these notes to my real life experiences and NOTHING matching up ever... at ALL... AND.....


Oh... oh dear. There it goes. Excuse the mess.

I just. Don't. Get. It. Period. Books, magazines, church-talks, well meaning (but married young so really, stop there... stop now) friends, fellow-singles, daters and non-daters, males and females... it's all a jumbling attempt to put into some sort of perspective that which will not be perspectivized (it's a word now!), that which cannot be quantified or qualified. Something that can't be explained though we spend hours, days, weeks, a lot of money, trying to form the right theory, run the right experiments, and come out with the same cure-all, works everytime, home-run, conclusion. Alas, it just doesn't work that way. It can't work that way... because everything that works one way... doesn't work the other way. There's no right formula (and about a million wrong formulas) and no secret ingredient. It's Just. Plain. Hard. It's. Just. Plain. Luck. It's. Just. Plain. Ridiculous.

Here is a list of dating advice I've received over my many (10 years) of eligible dating status (see: starting 'ideally' when I was 16)... only 3 months of those 10 years ever being within any sort of relationship (hello world! This is me! A little pathetic!) and a lot of 'pseudo-what is this?' relationships (hate, hate, hate). So pay attention... and you'll start to feel that rumbley in your head like I do every weekend of my life, the rumbley of head-explode:

"Now listen... play hard to get. You don't want to make it tooo easy for them"

"Hey... this is what you do. You gotta be more open... more obvious... if they think you'll reject them... they'll never ask you out."

"Look... guys like the chase... let 'em chase..."

"Look, guys are simple. If it's too hard they'll move on to greener pastures."

"Ask a guy out! It's cool! We're not in the dark ages anymore!"

"Don't ask them out if you can help it - if a dude wants to go out with you... he'll ask!"

"Don't come off to eager..."

"Don't be too closed off..."

"Don't divulge everything on the first date... be a little mysterious"

"Just be open and be yourself"

"Just call him..."

"Don't call him... whatever you do..."

"Don't be available the first time he asks - you'll look like a loser"

"Make sure he knows you are available - or he won't ever ask..."

 "Definitely not!"
"Why not?"
I... wha!!!! Um... crap.

You see what I mean here? Does not compute. I've had a series of really really REALLY confusing and poor experiences, none of which I'd chalk up as 'realtionshiply positive' for me. SHORE I learned a lot of other really good stuff, patience, empathy, the value of COMMUNICATION, things of this nature. But as far as finding something meaningful? In fact, to even START something meaningful, I'm just as much at square one now as I was at 16. Strike that... I think I'm more confused now than I EVER was at 16. And that's saying something.

Dating is hard. It's confusing. And usually, it's total crap. And I can't (attempt) to bend my mind around it anymore. Some folks... they just aren't cut out for this stuff (raising my hand emphatically). Not cut out for any of it at all. I'm over the whole thing. Totally... completely... done.

(PS: Now would be the WRONG time to give advice or say something like "Oh deary... it's okay.. it'll happen for you someday..." because I can't promise I won't hunt you down and punch you in the throat. Think if that's a risk you're willing to take... cause so help me I'll do it).

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Things that MUST Go

X96 Radio from Hell does a little ditty entitled “Things that Must Go” in which each of the co-hosts (Kerry, Bill, and Gina) create a list of scenarios, products, observable daily annoyances, social ineptness…es, and frustrating idioms we as human-kind thrust upon each other while trying to equitabley share the same planet in a kindly, courteous, way (ideally). Every time I hear this list, I think of about 2-3 things I could add to ‘things that must go’ of my own and today, dear Internet, I’d like to mention 5 of these items to you. These things… if gone… would create a much more pleasent world in which we all must be active participants.

5 Things That Must Go… likely to be added upon sporadically when I’m feeling particularly perturbed.

  • People my own age calling groups of people my age ‘kids.’ "Hey kids!" Um… we’re not kids… and certainly not your kids… and if WE’RE kids you’re a kid because we’re the same age and you just shouldn’t really refer to people your same age as kids. Ever. The End.

  • Overt tardiness (excuse me while I adjust my spectacles). I really hate it when people are late… like ostensibly late. 5-10 minutes? Fine. But if you’ve hit the 20 minute late-mark with no indication as to your lateness (‘Hey! Sorry! I’m gonna be about 15 minutes late!’), then I hate you. It’s only a minute (or 10, or 20, or whenever the HELL you decide to SHOW UP!) of hating, but the hate is genuine and I’d ask you, prithee, to please be here when you say you’ll be here… cause I most certainly was ready when you SAID you'd come. I think this is a family trait – we’re all rather punctual and have a low-tolerance for inconsiderate “planet-me” timetable types. Very. Low. Miniscule. It's been a rough transition accepting 'Mormon standard time' in my life. Very rough. JUST!! Be on time... please.

  • People asking you questions about a complicated show (cough LOST) like, “Wait… so who’s that guy? How did she die? And… wait, I thought Sawyer and Kate were together? HAR HAR HAR. I’ve not watched this in awhile! Where’s Ben?”, WHILE you are WATCHING said complicated and rather intense show. Um, clearly, this isn’t the time. You want an explanation? Please quietly write your questions down on a piece of paper (provided) and I will happily answer your questions when said ‘complicated intense show’ (cough LOST), is over. Wow.

  • Mouth Breathers – you know what I mean. Those who consistently breathe out of their mouth. I just don’t think it does anything for their ‘intelligence quotient’ looking like a slack-jawed monkey. Then enters the issue of mouth-breathers with bad breath. Ohhhhh maaaaaaan. No good. MUST go.

  • People who wander into a theater late and stand directly in front of the screen, willing their eyes to adjust to the darkness so they can find their buddy who’s saving a seat for them. No no, don’t worry, none of us made it here on time (ON..... TIME....) to find our seats and thus BE SEATED when the show starts and totally empathize that you absolutely MUST stand in front of the entire theater squinty eyed and harassed looking until you find your chum who, happy day, happens to be saving your seat in the MIDDLE of MY row. Let the climbing begin... ‘excuse me… sorry… excuse me… sorry.’ Oy.
How about you? Anything in your daily interactions with stuff, things, people, animals, minerals?, that you could easily live without? That just absolutely MUST go? How about fragmented sentences? Cause, apparently, this post is littered with them (via word perfect spellcheck prior post  - nazi;)).

Thursday, April 1, 2010

He looked forlornly across the flickering candles... remembering all the flickering candles before that... and before that...

So, admittedly, I was surfing some Internet during class last night (tsk tsk), and came across this gem. Kelsey, one of my co-students, saw it over my shoulder and snort-laughed. It was awesome. We sat there and did the 'silent shaking laughter' for easily 10 minutes. Tears. There were tears.