Monday, December 28, 2009

My favorite thing I've said this year.


"She threw me off with her generosity, just like everyone else in this stupid town."

(After several people gave me the right-of-way when it wasn't my turn -- causing me no end of confusion, the woman at the drive-thru window in an unnamed [at least to me, at that time] Utah town offered me complimentary tiny orange sherbets.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

PPE (Poetic Party Entertainment)

When I was in high school, my AP English teacher said many quotable things. But one, in particular, was that it was always good to have a poem or two under your belt for parties. Whip one of those out, and you'll be the belle of the ball -- with all around awed by your wit, grace, intelligence, and charm. So we were required to memorize this poem, which I still remember pretty well. (I didn't look it up, so you could go compare.)

Loveliest of Trees
by A.E. Housman

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again.
And take from seventy springs a score,
That only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodland I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

Were you in rapture? I know. I know. You should see me do it IN PERSON! (Actually, I'm certain I'll be too wimpy to recite it for you.)

Here is my other party entertainment option:

Could Have Been Worse
by Bill Dodds

My friends have not seen London;
They've never been to France.
But yesterday at recess,
They saw my underpants!

I kicked a ball, my skirt flew up,
And I know what they all saw.
The girls all stared and blushed and laughed,
The boys said, "Oo la la!"

I've thought a lot about it,
And this conclusion I have drawn:
I'm embarrassed that they saw them,
But I'm glad I had them on.

What's your vote on my party entertainment? Do YOU have a poem handy?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Freshening beads? I'm in.

Kind of wish I had one of these right now. Really, I get that it's wasteful and American consumer-ish, but I just really like brushing my teeth. So much better than gum.



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Halloween Fright

Do you know what's scary? Leaving your house with all your doors closed, and coming home to find your front door wide open!

Everything was still in my house -- computers, credit cards, unmentionables (which really aren't that unmentionable, let's be honest), everything. There was no one hiding in my closets or under the bed or in the bathtub. But it's enough to make sure you're awake.

I'm thinking somehow it was the wind. I'm hoping? Either way, I feel very lucky. But I also feel like I need to call my dad and fix the locks on my door. Dad?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Egg-head

So, lately I've been in the mood to make things with eggs. Bready things with eggs. Which means: German Pancakes, Yorkshire Pudding, and Dutch Babies.

I started with German Pancakes a few weeks ago. A BIT less fluffy than I would have liked, but still airy and light; definitely acceptable for a first run, baked in the completely wrong dish.

Second: Yorkshire Pudding, last Sunday. Yum, in theory. Hardly like a Yorkshire Pudding at all in reality. More like a dense muffin with a tiny divot rather than a pillowy container for gravy.

Last: Dutch Baby. The original love. The perfect Saturday breakfast food. I discovered it almost 10 years ago at a restaurant near Seattle, WA. My loyalty has been strong. I couldn't go out this morning, but that was ok, because I was thinking: This is going to be the winner. I'll never be happier than knowing how to make this.

The elements were thinking: HA! You get the flattest, thickest, egg-bread/pancake that you've ever seen. I'd show you a picture, but it's too humiliating. Thank goodness for homemade Strawberry Jam (ahem, syrup).

And good thing love means never having to say you're sorry (or so I hear), because otherwise I would owe my cooking an apology. In my case, practice doesn't seem to make perfect.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A recipe for making...

So, yesterday was one of those days. One of those days when you just feel like you're not sure why you're fighting battles in the corporate world. One of those days when all of the work you do just seems to be wasted. One of those days when the only thing you can do is go home, put on an apron and bake.

So, I got out all the fixins' for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, and realized: I have no chocolate chips. (And only one egg, which was technically enough. But they expired in JULY. I know that eggs last way longer than the date on the carton, but July just seemed a bit too long.) I was too tired to grab my purse, change out of pajama pants, or really be bothered with anything at all, so I grabbed my check card and keys, put on my black wool coat (which is what was readily accessible) and some shoes, and headed to the grocery store.

I quickly grabbed a dozen eggs and some chocolate chips and went to the cash register. The woman there asked what I was making and we chatted about Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies while she checked me out. She was so enthusiastic about her easy recipe, which I thought was nice, and I chuckled while I walked out.

But, do you know what will always make you feel stupid? A tall, slender, luxuriously coiffed woman in the most fabulous knee-length leather coat you've ever seen and stiletto heels. And that's exactly what I ran into on my way out. Her look of disdain over my ill-fitting flannel pajama pants made me acutely aware that my bag contained CHOCOLATE CHIPS, not some uber-healthy salad and a single red pepper.

As I slouched in shame to my car, I thought, "This is it. This is the beginning. In no time at all, I'll be a 40-year-old, suburban-Utah woman who doesn't know how to wear anything but track suits everywhere. And? I'll be ok with it!!!! WHERE IS MY LIFE GOING?"

But, two good things came of this experience:
  1. I reconfirmed that wearing pajama pants to the grocery store (or out in public at all) is wrong. How did I get there? Do I really feel like I'm that much a part of my community and the grocery store is just like being with family? No. I am aware that this is something that can really only happen in suburban communities. Can you imagine some woman hopping on the tube in London in her pajamas to go get eggs? No. I was duly ashamed on my way out of the house, but even more appropriately ashamed on the way in. Don't worry, world, I won't insult you that way again. For a while.
  2. As I recounted this story, I learned that everyone else knew what the animated checkout clerk knew. There is a really easy recipe that is supposedly delicious. (I didn't make them. I paid a high price to get those eggs, dag-nab-it, and I wasn't about to waste it.)
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 box spice cake mix
1 can pumpkin (small size)
1 bag chocolate chips

Mix and bake. (I'm assuming 350 for 15 minutes or so? Since everyone else knows this recipe, you tell me.)

Happy baking. But... if you run out of chocolate chips and need to go get some, for heaven's sake, put on some pants. Or, if you just can't muster the strength to change, come by my place to get them. The grocery store patrons will thank you.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"No judgement"

A few weeks ago, I was propositioned in the middle of the night for something that would be both degrading and morally wrong. I found the whole thing really rather hilarious. Anyone who knows me at all would know that I wouldn't really consider anything like that. So the fact that a young man would even ask, I found funny in itself.

I told several people the story, thinking they would find it as amusing as I did, but I was surprised at the answer that I got from almost every one of them: "Did you do it? No judgement."

I know they were sort of joking, sort of kidding. But what bothered me was the amount of truth in what they were saying. I was confused that they would think it even a possibility for me. And, truthfully, I was discouraged that they wouldn't judge me. At least in that situation.

So, I'm putting it out there: I want to be judged. I guess I can't choose just one kind of judgement, so I'll open myself up to it all. Clearly I don't want hateful and mean judgement, the kind that ruins friendships and lives. And of course some judgements are out of place, misinformed, or just plain wrong.

But if you know me, and you know I'm living below my standards, below decency, below myself: I want people to tell me. I want them to correct me. I want them to judge me. I've heard it said that there is nothing more discouraging than when people stop trying to correct you; it means they no longer care and they've given up on you. I agree with that. I can't imagine something more lonely. And so, I want those that are closest to me to expect more of me than I think I can give; I want them to encourage me to do more and be more; I want them to -- lovingly -- help me become better. (Ha. LOVE ME!)

I appreciate the sentiment of "no judgement" -- professing that unconditional love. But in situations where the two choices are clearly good or bad -- I don't want people accepting "bad" from me. That doesn't mean that they have to stop loving me or that recognizing "bad" means they have less love. I appreciate love, and I -- as I've said before -- really want to embody it as best I can.

But, clearly, if people thought I would engage in that behavior several weeks ago, I haven't been embodying what I want. I've been concerned lately about who I'm becoming. And by "lately," I mean for the last few years. (I'm sure I've written about this before.) I'm not sure if it's a reflection of me, or of others, but I get discouraged especially when I feel like no one expects or encourages more. It seems they almost encourage me to falter and fail, so they can prove they won't judge me. This just won't work for me. I think a little accountability could be good for all of us.

It's been bothering me long enough. I'm going on a kick of self-improvement, and so I offer it again, an open invitation: "I hope you judge me."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A little embarrassed.

I really like the TV show House, but I can't say I really watch it much. I don't know why. I probably have more time to watch television than I actually use. But I saw an episode last night and something Wilson said kind of struck me. In fact, I've been giving it more thought than a simple TV quote should garner in a healthy individual.

He was talking about people -- the people that really influence your life -- and he said, "You don't get to pick your family; I'm not even sure, anymore, that you get to pick who your friends are."

This intrigued me. I'm not a fatalist. I don't think, necessarily, that things are "meant" to happen. But I've often thought about the people in my life: why there are some people that just always seem to be around -- even when I don't make much effort; why some people leave unexpectedly; why some people always mean to make more effort, but never do; why some are easy to let go; why there are some that you can't quite seem to remove; why there are some you would be desperate without; and the small, happenstance, almost impulse decisions that change your entire social circle. I feel like -- of all the things that could happen, of all the people that could be in my life, of all the major influences in my life -- the people that surround me, and have surrounded me, are not just by coincidence. But I can't say I really "chose" any of it. Most the time, the things that I choose on my own don't really work out. It's the unexpected that sticks around and that makes the lasting difference. But the things those people bring out in me are so crucial to who I am, I don't believe it's entirely chance.

I don't know that I have a ton of life philosophies yet. But I have a few:
  • The best decisions in life will always be the ones that seem like a long-shot and you go after it anyway because your gut tells you to -- even if it doesn't turn out like you thought.
  • You'll never regret trying hard to be a better person.
  • The people around you matter. A lot. And I think I'm just seeing the tip of the iceberg on this one.
So, to all my friends and readers (maybe some of you will see this), thank you. Thank you for being people that I can aspire to emulate. Thank you for making my life meaningful. Thank you for helping me see the world in new ways, for encouraging me to be better, and for being patient with my hundreds of weaknesses.

Ok. The cheese is over for a minute. It'll be back, I'm sure. You never know. This hit me watching House. Next time it might be from the slogan of some local restaurant. I'm not quite sure how, but I have a feeling "Switch to Geico and Save" might just describe how I'm feeling about something one of these days.

What about you? Any life philosophies you want to share? (And, please, don't feel obligated to share in my gush. I hear that too much cheese makes your breath stink. But there's probably room for a little more, if you want.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Have you ever noticed how weird the word "shirt" is?

The other day I bought some fabric from this site. I didn't have a specific plan for it, but there were so many cute options! It became a need almost immediately.

Then I went over to my sister's house and saw a shirt she'd made. She is always a good source of inspiration.

Meld the two together, with a holiday, a couple of free hours, a $3 t-shirt, and a viewing of Shawshank Redemption and you'll end up with this:





(Please ignore the absence of any sort of discernable chin in that last photo. I thought I had one, but it appears I may just have a ch-neck... a check... a nin... a nechin... whatever it's called.)

Monday, August 24, 2009

(Some of?) These should probably be on a different site.

High: Trip to New York to visit Reno this week!!
Low: Not going anymore.

High: Peacock feather headbands! From real peacock feathers! Made by yours truly.
Low: I'm convinced feather headbands are going out of style.
New High: Perfect timing for Utah. I'll still be wearing the headband I got last year, and this new one, and people won't think I'm as crazy.

High: Saw two movies with the sisters McNurney this weekend.
Low: We now live at the theater.

High: I made these for a baby shower over the weekend:


Low: My attempt at making a cricket really just made "cricket" synonymous with "grasshopper."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Vote LDS?

While I'm on the contorversial topic string, here's an article I really like. It was given to me by a co-worker when I was lamenting that so many LDS people unthinkingly vote Republican. Take a gander.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I believe that shakes should be sipped through a straw.

Not eaten with a spoon. That makes it ice cream. And putting ice cream in a cup does not make it a shake. Shakes and ice cream are related, but they are not the same thing.

I read this book called, "This I Believe" a while ago. This has been sitting in my drafts box since then. (At that time, I wrote this: 'As soon as I'm done, I wouldn't be surprised to find myself buying and reading "This I Believe II."' I haven't done that.) It's caused me to think, and I love reading what other people believe. It's fascinating for the philosopher, psychologist, social worker, and -- in an odd way -- anthropologist in me, among other things.

Some of my beliefs make my life very complicated. And thinking about what I believe means this post is soon going to turn wildly unpopular.

It's no secret that gay marriage has been a hot issue over the last year or so. And it looks to continue to be for some time. I heard a while ago that the gay marriage debate will be up for contest again in California in November 2010.

For anyone interested, here's what I believe: I believe in love. I believe in equality. I believe in commitment. I believe in rights. I believe those are all good things, and that every person should have equal access to those things.

I also believe in the definition of marriage that means "a man and a woman." (Enter unpopularity. If it wasn't here before.) I believe that marriages are the foundation to start families and that families are the central piece of God's creation. That family is his eternal goal.

Most sincerely, I believe that my two positions don't just make my life complicated -- they should make life complicated for any LDS person out there.

I find it frightening how easily members of the Church fall on one side or the other on this issue -- or -- perhaps better stated -- how staunchly and unforgivingly. I find it equally disturbing how quickly people assume things about you because of your decision. These are the times when I am deeply disappointed. Let me explain.

I know I don't need to tell you that Christ taught a gospel of love. The first two great commandments are about love. Loving your God with all your might, mind and strength, and then to love your neighbor as yourself. In recent years, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has taken great strides in teaching their membership these principles over more stringent, organizationally based rules of the past. President Gordon B. Hinckley emphasized this principle again and again in his teachings, but moreso in his actions and his interactions with world thought leaders. He inspired a generation of members and changed others.

It is easy to take that compassionate heart and apply it to the gay marriage situation; were this the only consideration, the CLEAR path would be to allow gay marriage. That was my gut reaction.

President Hinckley's presidency was also hallmarked by his clarion call: "Stand for Something." He consistently urged members of the Church to increase discipleship, to reach for their potential, and to be something more than an idle member of society, tossed about by the waves of popular opinion. Under his Presidency -- one of his first actions as President, in fact -- the Church released the "Proclamation on the Family."

So, what does that matter? The Proclamation makes no bones about what the Church's stance on the purpose of marriage is. And, ultimately, it wouldn't even matter if President Hinckley had released that or not. (For the reasons in the next paragraph.) I do think it's interesting, however, that he said he'd be the prophet no one listened to. I wonder if it's this very reason -- his desperate plea for members of the Church to be more dedicated was outweighed by the laxness that seems to come with being more loving. In some ways it's code for letting things slide so you don't offend anyone or so things are easier for you.

Anyway. This was a difficult decision for me. I had to really dig down to ask myself what this all means to me. But in the end: I decided I either believe in a prophet or I don't. I either hold to the standards of the organization I claim, or I don't. But if I don't, I'm probably not a Mormon. And should stop claiming such. And if I DO believe those things, sincerely, with all my heart, then I think I've gotta trust the prophet more than myself. If I really, truly believe that he's God's spokesperson, what do I know compared to that? Does that mean I'm some strange religious fanatic? An unthinking mass? Of course I don't think so. But people will call it what they will.

I feel like I'm making a choice. It's a conscious decision to follow the leaders of my church, aware of the potential pitfalls. But to what other end can I demonstrate faith?

It scares me that I might be labeled naive or closed-minded, and -- more -- that I may actually BE those things. I get that I'm expressing an opinion that "limits" (not really, since I can't vote) someone else's options and that's difficult for me. It's obvious that permitting someone to choose this is a whole lot different than permitting someone to choose murder, or school vouchers, or whatever drastic or benign thing. This is a whole different ball game, and it makes my decision more significant to me.

And I think my position has caused me to lose respect from many of my friends. Similar decisions have caused -- possibly irreparable -- rifts for some of my family members. So, why am I even putting this out there? I don't know. I guess... just for myself... I needed to say something. Try to explain. Stand for something and try to help people understand what I'm standing for. It's probably fruitless.

I want the homosexual population to not only be accepted, but to feel accepted. I'm just not convinced we've found the way to do it yet. I was an English major. I believe in the power of words. I believe that they mean things. And, although language is always changing, I believe some things just are. Some changes need to happen in society before using the word marriage would do anything for them. Perceptions often remain, even when words change.

But, mostly, I believe in integrity; I'm not the most admirable person I know, by any means. But I need to stand by what I claim to believe. That's the start to becoming the type of person I want to be. This I believe.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Who quills anymore?

Awesome people. That's what I say. Which I guess makes this Yulia person awesome.









Thank you, Internet, for reminding me of things that I love and completely forget about sometimes. The world is a better place because you're in it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Who do you think you are?

I have to write a bio for work, which prompted me to come upon this lawyer's bio on the internet:



I also love that under "Awards," he's listed: Oakwood Elementary School "Boy of the Year"

I'm open to your suggestions for my own bio in the comments section. Ready? Go.

Monday, July 6, 2009

It sucks how bad?

This is my favorite industry quote today on my daily news round up for work:

"The definition of broadband sucks so badly it should be used to sequester carbon dioxide."

The speaker is referring to the definition being used by various government entities for the broadband section of the stimulus funds.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The City by the Bay

Over the weekend, I went here:









to do this:


(I can post it, because she didn't get this dress, and this was an illegal picture, and who shouldn't post illegal pictures? Pretty.)

and this:


and I found this waiting for me (from the niece not pictured here).


I couldn't ask for a better weekend.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Handwritten Friday: This person is named Elizabeth.

So, on Tuesday night I took the hour drive to Brigham City with my co-worker/bishop and his ten-year-old daughter. She's in 5th grade and loves to write. At one point, I asked her to describe someone and she said she wasn't good at describing people. I ribbed her a little bit and said, "What? The writer can't describe people?"

Her dad and I thought she was just doodling on his notebook in the back seat. An hour is a long drive for a ten-year-old and she was a sweetie and very patient; didn't complain the whole time.

The next day, my bishop called to say he had something to give me. He and his wife came over and read me the following, which they found in his notebook:


"Short hair with bangs. The color is black with a tint of red. Her eyes are brown and twinkle no matter what mood she's in. Her smile was gentle and uplifting and her laugh is happy and wonderful. This person is named Elizabeth."

I share this only because it melted my cold, cold heart. Kids are just so fabulous.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Workin' it.

I get more junk email and weird phone calls on my work cell than I have received in my life. (That's one of the benefits of being semi-technologically backwards -- which mostly just means it's not as important to me as to my contemporaries; you don't open yourself up to as much junk.)

Today was one of my favorites:

"Hey. :D I took your # from our friend, I bet u can't guess who this is! aww I'm so shy... look me up online."

That's all. Not that I would have looked it up, but it seems like you've lost the point of trying to drive traffic to your (uncouth) site if there is no link and no reply address/phone number.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Would you like to take a survey? Do you like to eat beans?

I recently took a survey of all my readers [read: my reader], and asked what people want to read about. It was suggested that I include some audio clips from my childhood.

These are what I made tapes about when I was little:
  • meaningless talk shows/"news" shows. (Mostly talk shows because I didn't know what to say as a news anchor, but I always thought news anchors were cooler.) These talk shows were also filled with some TERRIFIC advertising. I was interested in logos, marketing messages, and tag lines -- even when I was very young. I always thought the psychology and thought-process behind influencing opinion was fascinating. You'll see that I clearly had a knack for understanding my market. And then you'll wonder how I make my living now, because my trajectory would have to be pretty steep to be able to make money doing this.
  • Songs. Often raps -- about myself. I made these with my brother, Dave, primarily, with a little advice from my brother Jon, on occasion, and some influence from my sisters. There were some other quality songs in which I played a more minor role: "I Wish I Was a Petunia" and "What are We Going to Do Today?" (By minor role, I was associated by observation. And wanting to be part of the group.) I know there were others.

I'm not sure how many of these are surviving. Ironically, I don't have any of my own material, which means my sister and brother have some good blackmail material in hand. For now, I've put in requests. We'll see what comes of it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The greatest thing since indoor plumbing.

I love my nearly 69-year-old dad for being willing to come over, stay up way past his bed-time and get down in awkward contortions under my sink to help me fix leaks. He's among the most selfless people I know, and I'm glad I have him to learn from.

And I love my mom for planning a birthday party with festive napkins, for killing bad guys in World of Warcraft, and for giving me boxes that fit PERFECTLY under my sink. She's often given me the perfect thing at the perfect time -- I think it's called a mother's intuition.

Monday, June 8, 2009

You can grow flowers from where dirt used to be.

I'm coming up on my two-year anniversary owning my place. So, in honor, I thought I'd do a few posts. It's still not really even close to where I'd like it to be, but I'm getting there.

For starters, this weekend, I decided to do a little yard maintenance. I think the HOA is supposed to cover much of it, but there are a few things they don't do and a few things they don't do very well. So I took matters into my own hands.

I've always had this (in my opinion) ugly wine-barrel planter at the front of my house. The first summer and all of last year, I loathed it so much that I ignored it. I'd still like to get rid of it, but -- in the meantime -- why make it doubly ugly with dead plants and weeds? So, after upsetting thousands of ants and their home, this is what it looks like today:







One thing I'd like them to do better is shape the bushes in front of my house. (As you can see, they're a little crazy looking.) The other thing I'd like them to do better is trim the ivy in my carport. They did the first year, but last summer and so far this year, they've done nothing. So? I went to Home Depot, got some clippers, bagged 3 bags of ivy, old leaves, and other such stuff and ended up with this (I took no "before" picture, so this is basically meaningless. But it's better. I promise. Three bags better.) :



I promise future home anniversary posts will be more interesting. Or at least, I'll try.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A good day.



Sorry to all my Google Reader subscribers out there. This is annoying for you, since I think it already posted differently to the feed. I guess you can just listen twice! Or not at all, of course.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Letters I've been meaning to write.

Dear Burger King,

I don't have any children. But, typically, I think most parents would want to avoid a kids' meal advertisement that consists entirely of a bunch of provocative women dancing (women dancing provocatively?) during a voice over. Even if the punchline is that the women have "Sponge-Bob" bumbs.

Sincerely,

E

Dear Brother Dave,

You may have noted that you and I have played 36 games of Quordy over the last month. I'm certain you've also noticed the score. You: 35 Me: 1.

I have a confession: I cheated.

I couldn't find a 5-letter word on the board; I couldn't bear the humiliation of another zero point score on a one-minute game. It's so stressful! So I wrote the board down as quickly as I could and paused the game. Then I used an internet cheat. There were only two words in the board. I put them both in. That's how I won. I'm sorry.

Forgive me? I promise not to do it again! Give me many more chances, please? With a cherry on top?? If I ever manage to beat you (unlikely -- since my vocabulary and visual word recognition are far inferior), I promise it will be because I worked really hard.

Love,

E

Dear kitchen sink,

If I ask really nicely, will you stop leaking? I'm not sure what else to do, since I can't even tell where you're leaking from.

Best,

E

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Whiskers on kittens.

Peacock blue
The Notwist
Watercolor
Crocheting
Lily of the Valley
Walking
Grizzly Bear
Orange
Letterpressing
Fabrics
Flood-it!
Being outside
Potluck
Writing
Fablehaven
Handkerchief skirts
Yellow
Travel plans
Movies that always make me cry
Picture frames
Artists
Swimming
Strawberries
National Geographic
Scarves
Smart people
Area rugs
Cameras
The symphony
Blankets

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A discursive digression: Precursor for mediocrity.

Socrates: Death might be the greatest of all human blessings.

C.S. Lewis: "I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: [that is,] ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

President Gordon B. Hinckley, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: "I'll be remembered as the prophet no one listened to."

Guy Kawasaki: "Don't worry, be crappy. Revolutionary means you ship and then test... Lots of things made the first Mac in 1984 a piece of crap - but it was a revolutionary piece of crap.”

Ted Koppel: (It's long, but worth it. He said this in the late 80's, but subsititute Internet for TV, or at least add Internet, and it's still 100% relevant.) “America has been Vannatized as in Vanna White -- Wheel of Fortune's vestal virgin. Through the mysterious alchemy of popular television Ms. White is roundly, indeed all but universally adored. She turns blocks on which a letter is displayed. She does this very well; very fluidly and with what appears to be genuine enjoyment. She also does it mutely. Vanna says nothing. She speaks only body language; and she seems to like everything she sees. No, "like" is too tepid. Vanna thrills, rejoice, adores everything she sees. And therein lies her magic.

“We have no idea what or even if Vanna thinks. Is she a feminist or every male chauvinist's dream? She is whatever you want her to be. Sister, lover, daughter, friend. The viewer can and apparently does project a thousand different personalities onto the charming neutral television image and she accommodates them all.

“Even Vanna White's autobiography, (an oxymoron if ever there was one) reveals only that her greatest nightmare is running out of cat food; and that one of the complexities of her job entails making proper allowance for the greater weight of the letter "M" or "W" over the letter "I," for example. Once, we learn, during her earlier, less experienced days, she failed to take that "heavy-letter-factor" into proper account and broke a fingernail. I tremble to think what judgment a future anthropologist, finding that book, will render on our society. I tremble not out of fear that they will misjudge us; that they will judge us only too accurately.

"Let's take inventory for a moment. Sixty percent or more of the American public, roughly 140 million people, get most or all of their news from television. What then should we or must we conclude? Whatever your merchandise, if you want to move it in bulk, you flog it on TV. Merchants trying to sell their goods, politicians trying to sell their ideas, preachers trying to sell their gospel or their morality -- all of these items are most efficiently sold on TV. If that doesn't scare the living daylight out of you, then you're not paying attention.

"But let's focus on our national policies; let's look at our principles -- our ethical and moral standards. How do they fare on television? We've learned, for example, that your attention span is brief. We should know; we helped make it that way. Watch Miami Vice some Friday night. You will find that no scene lasts more than ten to fifteen seconds.

"Look at MTV or Good Morning America and watch the images and ideas flash past in a blur of impressionistic appetizers. No, there is not much room on TV for complexity. You can partake of our daily banquet without drawing on any intellectual resources; without either physical or moral discipline. We require nothing of you; only that you watch; or say that you were watching if Mr. Nielsen's representative should call.

“And gradually, it must be said, we are beginning to make our mark on the American psyche. We have actually convinced ourselves that slogans will save us. ‘Shoot up if you must; but use a clean needle.’ ‘Enjoy sex whenever with whomever you wish; but wear a condom.’

"No. The answer is no. Not no because it isn't cool or smart or because you might end up in jail or dying in an AIDS ward -- but no, because it's wrong. Because we have spent 5,000 years as a race of rational human being trying to drag ourselves out of the primeval slime by searching for truth and moral absolutes.

“In the place of Truth we have discovered facts; for moral absolutes we have substituted moral ambiguity. We now communicate with everyone and say absolutely nothing. We have reconstructed the Tower of Babel and it is a television antenna. A thousand voices producing a daily parody of democracy; in which everyone's opinion is afforded equal weight, regardless of substance or merit. Indeed, it can even be argued that opinions of real weight tend to sink with barely a trace of television's ocean banalities.

"Our society finds Truth too strong a medicine to digest undiluted. In its purest form Truth is not a polite tap on the shoulder; it is a hallowing reproach.

"What Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai were not the Ten Suggestions, they are Commandments. Are. Not were.

"The sheer brilliance of the Ten Commandments is that they codify, in a handful of words, acceptable human behavior. Not just for then or now but for all time. Language evolves, power shifts from nation to nation, messages are transmitted with the speed of light, man erases one frontier after another; and yet we and our behavior, and the Commandments which govern that behavior, remain the same. The tension between those Commandments and our baser instincts provide the grist for journalism's daily mill. What a huge, gaping void there would be in our informational flow and in our entertainment without routine violation of the Sixth Commandment. Thou shalt not murder.

"On what did the Hart campaign flounder? On accusations that he violated the Seventh Commandment. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Relevant? Of course the Commandments are relevant. Simply because we use different term and tools, the Eighth Commandment is still relevant to the insider trading scandal. Thou shalt not steal. Watch the Iran/Contra hearings and keep the Ninth Commandment in mind: Thou shalt not bear false witness. And the Tenth Commandment, which seems to have been crafted for the 80's and the Me Generation. The Commandment against covetous desires; against longing for anything we cannot get in an honest and legal fashion.

"When you think about it, it's curious, isn't it. We've changed in almost all things -- where we live, how we eat, communicate, travel; and yet, in our moral and immoral behavior we are fundamentally unchanged.

"Jesus summed it up: ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ So much for our obligations towards our fellow man. That's what the last five Commandments are all about.

"The first five are more complex in that they deal with figures of moral authority. The Fifth Commandment requires us to honor our father and mother. Religious scholars through the years have concluded that it was inscribed on the first tablet among the laws and piety toward God because, as far as their children are concerned, parents stand in the place of God. What a strange conclusion! Us in the place of God. We, who set such flawed examples for you. And yet, in our efforts to love you, to provide for you, in our efforts to forgive you when you make mistakes, we do our feeble best to personify that perfect image of love and forgiveness and Providence which some of us find in God.

"Which brings me to the First and, in this day and age probably the most controversial of the Commandments, since it requires that we believe in the existence of a single and supreme God. And then, in the Second, Third, and Fourth Commandments, prohibits the worship of any other gods, forbids that his name be taken in vain, requires that we set aside one day in seven to rest and worship Him. What a bizarre journey; from a sweet, undemanding Vanna White to that all-demanding jealous Old Testament God.

"There have always been imperfect role models; false gods of material success and shallow fame; but now their influence is magnified by television. I caution you, as one who performs daily on that flickering altar, to set your sights beyond what you can see. There is true majesty in the concept of an unseen power which can neither be measured nor weighed. There is harmony and inner peace to be found in following a moral compass that points in the same direction, regardless of fashion or trend."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My biggest fear

is failure. But not in the job interview sort of way: "My biggest weakness is that I'm afraid of failure and that just drives me to work harder and always put out a superior product."

Some might argue my biggest fear is somewhat related and you, too, may construe it as hype in the end, but allow me to explain. I'm not afraid of failure because failure itself is scary. I'm afraid of failure because my biggest life ambition is to make a difference to people, to make the world a better place, to make things more beautiful, peaceful, happy and meaningful. To me, a general failure equates to failure (sorry -- not another word in my head at 1 a.m.) to meet ANY of those goals.

I'm afraid of not meaning anything to anyone. Probably because I'm continually surprised by how little anyone actually means to anyone else. Unfortunately, I think most people care for a very small handful of people, but mostly about themselves. I'm probably like that, too. But I don't want to be. And I'm afraid I'll never be in anyone's handful. I've been stung to learn I'm not in some the handfuls I thought I was in. But that's good for the ego, I suppose. And I'm sure it's my fault, anyway.

But not meaning anything to anyone is really a symptom of not being able to make a difference to that person, to make their life better, easier, or happier. And that? Is tragic to me. Because I failed to meet their needs -- failed to get to know them enough to do it successfully. Failed to be selfless enough to let them know how much they are loved. Maybe even failed to be selfless enough to love them. Ugh...

I'm afraid that I'm only a little good at a lot of things, and not very good at most things (possibly anything). This is an incredible blessing and a mild curse. It's hard to know where to place my focus, because so many things are interesting to me. There are so many avenues to pursue. I have so many opportunities and doors open to me. How could someone so outwardly brag and complain at the same moment? How can someone even complain about that?

The thing is: I'm afraid THAT means that I'll never really accomplish anything. Not only do I not really know WHERE to focus, I'm not even sure I want to focus on one thing. I have a passion for too many things, and not enough time to devote to any of them to become adequate. And being inadequate (or -- at least -- not fully adequate) means I'm not very close to making someone's life better, making the world better, or making things generally more beautiful, peaceful, happy and meaningful.

Sorry, I'm rambling and I have a lot of thoughts in my head. Maybe you'll get more on this later when I'm coherent. So, dear reader (although I hope someday to say "readers"), tell me something: What do you fear? How do you get around your fears? Do you have any advice for me?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Consider this.

Here's a little E secret: when I was younger, among my many dreams, I dreamed about being a fashion designer. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night and draw sketches of cool clothing ideas that came to me. Unfortunately, this dress was not one of them.

I'm not sure if I love this dress exactly (I'm pretty sure her socks are getting in the way of me fully evaluating the dress), but the idea is pretty cool -- if you didn't ruin it, which I might. I DO, however, know that I love the neckline. A lot.




To do this weekend:

make homemade salsa and homemade rolls. Don't eat together, but make sure they're both as tasty as I hope. If they are, begin selling to my awaiting public.

finish reading one of my books.

finish making an elephant, and make a pig and a whale.

watch the Wolverine movie.

try to understand why I sort of liked a Pussycat Dolls song on my drive to work this morning!

throw a party in Brigham City.

eat a smoothie at lunch with a friend.

craft a necklace.

clean my house, and actually get to all of it.

work on getting a chapter finished for my latest writing effort.

go to Costco, get some strawberries for jam, print some London pictures.

make jam. Maybe serve with aforementioned rolls.

pick frames for London pictures, hang in house, smile.

design some logos.

continue to be aggravatingly persistent in trying to learn how the heck to absorb the world of programming and create a website.

go on a hike. Or, if it's just too rainy, go to the sporting goods store, dream, and laugh at your pathetic attempts to learn how to swing a golf club. Charm everyone around you. If option two, go to the gym, too.

go to concert. Revel.

go to church.

enjoy a delicious potluck dinner.

buy tickets to California.

ummm... there were a few other things, but I can't quite remember.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Maudlin Pix: Even when I'm sad, I'm pretty.

Who am I to resist a trend? (Maybe the better question is: Who am I to deny inspiration?) I present to you: MAUDLIN PIX!





And the not-at-all-maudlin, but-I-made-it-myself, so-I must-show-it-off-to-the-internet (pardon my unabashed quest for validation) whale:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Translating.

Today I'm translating from Swedish to English. My favorite direct translation:

"We do the possible."

I realize that this should probably be a tweet instead of a blog entry. Oh well.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Blogs are like haiku

Blogs are like haiku:
A mere blossom blooming on
a burgeoning tree.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Another reason to love the iPhone.

Everyone knows the iPhone is just pretty. I mean, that's what Apple does. But has anyone ever noticed that the way people hold it because of the way it's balanced and used is pretty, too? The aesthetics of Apple always astound me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Petit Chaperon Rouge



[Note: This video, by Tomas Nilsson, is most awesome with sound.]

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The eensy, weensy spider

Dear eensy, weensy spider:

You are scary. I know that you're just eensy. But you're scary. You pack a punch of scariness, despite your size.

Or so I thought.

Until I saw EXTRA scary spider chasing after you. I think extra scary spider is extra scary for BOTH of us. But I still don't really feel like I've bonded with you.

I sincerely wish that you had stayed outside. Not just because you're scary. But because you brought extra with you. And that? Means I have to kill you both.

I'm building up my courage. Really. I'm semi-sorry I have to do it, eensy. And sadly, you're going to have to go first. Honestly? Because extra's going to take a bit more time to get courage to kill.

Best wishes,

E

P.S. I hear heaven's pretty awesome. But I don't personally stay in contact with anyone that's been there. So you'll just have to take my word for it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Welcome, welcome.

I'm so excited about this:


Thursday, February 19, 2009

I might love Billy Collins.

I have loved the first poem for a long, long time. I'm torn between explaining my love and just letting each poem stand for itself. I've chosen the latter, but would love to hear what you think.

Today

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary's cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.


Litany

You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine...
-Jacques Crickillon

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.

Also see: Marginalia
And this: I Chop Some Parsley While Listening To Art Blakey's Version Of "Three Blind Mice"
This, too: The Art of Drowning

It's hard to stop, but I will now; as I said, it might be love.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

________ is golden

Today I was in a work meeting that lasted for about an hour and a half. I was silent the entire time. It's been a long time since that happened. A very long time. I usually have opinions and [ahem: "good"] ideas. Or someone asks me to speak. But today I learned the meaning of the age-old adage.

Friday, January 30, 2009

I stole this

from Sarah's blog, because I really like it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I woke up late.

I know that’s how most bad days start. It’s so cliché. But I really did. (Somehow I still managed to get to work earlier than I often do, so that was a tiny, but confusing, miracle to make my day better.)

I’ve lost my checkbook. I don’t lose things: I have a cool, Japanese, mechanical pencil that my brother-in-law gave me when I was in 5th grade (and it is still my pencil of choice when I’m using one); I have a gold necklace that my brother gave me when I turned 8 (which I also wore for my high school yearbook picture because he told me that’s what he wanted me to do with it when he gave it to me). Obsessive? Maybe. But it may help you see why losing my checkbook might distress me (aside from the obvious reasons).

I got yelled at by my boss. I’m not saying that I am completely innocent, because you don’t USUALLY get that kind of reaction with complete innocence. But I FELT like I was completely innocent.

When I got home from work, I opened my washer/dryer/utility closet to get… something. (A forgotten detail.) But what I found was that some epoxy (which I purchased a year and a half ago to remove the glue residue off my walls after I [read: my super-awesome friend] ripped off some hideous wood paneling) decided today was a good day to burst free. I sympathized – we all want to do that from time to time. (Maybe especially on days like this.) Its “bursting,” however, seemed more like a persistent drip… drip… drip… from the lower left-hand seam of the can and my sympathy (empathy?) was not enough to make me happy about the consequences of its choice: paint removal from the shelf it was stored on and much of the paint on my clothes washer. After a huge (and long!) sigh and possibly an “Aw! Man! (or maybe an “Oh! Man!”), I put my head on the remaining painted portion of my clothes washer and started laughing. (I’d be lying if I said it was completely amused.) I reminded myself that it is just a thing – and the problem is cosmetic, at that. What really counts is what’s on the inside. (Something I should probably remember to say about myself. This message brought to you by the Dove “Real Beauty” campaign. That was so 3-years ago; I know.)

So, I closed the closet door, put my coat back on, and went out the door for my Wednesday night plans. Because I think that paint puddle will still be bubbled on top of my washer in the morning. And the rest of the day was waiting.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Happiness.

Dear internet,

Today, I am listening to:



on this:



with these:



They are all beautiful. And it makes me so happy. In fact? It's almost overwhelming. Misty eyes. Exploding heart. Sigh of contentment.

Thank you for helping to make this moment possible, internet.

Sincerely, 

E

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

There are some things you need to know about people: their name, their general age, their gender, and whether or not they are a song repeater.

I am. Sometimes.

This is the latest song that's on repeat on my iPod:

video

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Go-cart Garage

The parking garage at work makes me want to have a go-cart. The turns are perfect (mostly because they are literally impossible for a regular car to make). And it would be so fun to just go up and up at 50 or 60 miles an hour.

*I recently went go-cart racing for the first time. I was by far the worst (a .5 -- ok. more like a full second gap each lap adds up), but somehow [read: a computer error] I received the third place medal. If the REAL third place winner read my blog, I would tell her to watch out. That medal is coming back to her.

Exhibit A: Trophy Stand Evidence

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I'm not sure how I feel about quoting Shakespeare.

He was a bit too sardonic and sarcastic, I think, to really be confident in his meaning. (As an English major, I can't help but love Shakespeare; so please realize I say this with some amount of angst in my soul about questioning the amazing William.)

I read a quote on Forbes today, "There is no better sign of a brave mind than a hard hand." And you have to ask yourself, "Was Shakespeare serious?" In this case, it seems he can't be. Really? And why would you use that as your inspiring welcome quote? "You are a good thinker if you can be a jerk (or -- at the very least -- tight-fisted)." Curious.

*Editor's Note: After some consideration, I see more merit in the quote, but I'm still not totally convinced.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Welcome 2009.

I'm excited about 2009. I can feel good things are coming. (I'm usually inclined to think that, but that doesn't mean the sentiment is less notable now. Moving on.) HOWEVER, if I were to be truly honest (which -- let's be honest -- I should be; too many "honests"?), there will be/are some things I miss.

London (basically everything about it) and my little London family:





These views of the West Coast:







My Primary class (I was moved to teach the REALLY young and GROSSLY over-sized class, but I'm sure that will be good, too):

Me: "Why do you think Jesus would tell us to be more like you? Why do you think He would want grown-ups to be more like children?"

Class member: "Well, when you grow up, you become so serious. And Jesus is like the Joker. He's asking grown-ups, "Why so SERIOUS?" He just wants them to relax and have fun, like kids. We're good at that. "


And, while I don't so much miss this last one, I was watching a [good] movie the other day and noticed something was awry/missing (That can count as me missing it, right?):



Where's Utah?

Let's just name two states "Nevada:" the one that actually is Nevada, and the one that would look like Utah if it was not Nevada. (Sorry the picture's cut off there, but that's all that was on the screen. So, in reality, Nevada may have been labeled "Utah." I fully intend to find the original and get to the heart of the matter, but for the purposes of this blog entry -- and the time constraints I've placed thereon -- I've decided not to look just now. It's more entertaining to me this way.)