Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Kid Rock's Wisdom

The other day I was walking down 2nd Street and saw Ben Harper walking his little daughter down the street. I couldn't believe it. Here was someone that has deeply affected me, and I didn't even stop him and say what's up? His music, without a doubt, has played such an interesting role in my life. Not to get melodramatic here, but I can honestly say, I become almost Pavlov's dog when I hear certain songs. I get all sorts of quiet, agitated and pensive. So, as you can probably guess his music was always associated with really "happy times."

It's funny how music reminds me of so many times. For example, every time I hear the forsaken song "Runaway Train" by Soul Asylum I think I'm in Hawaii because we must have heard that song a thousand times on our honeymoon. "Runaway train, never coming back, one way on a way track." Poetry. When I hear "Today" by Smashing Pumpkins I'm instantly put back in a dark lockeroom somewhere in Downingtown, PA after we won a District Title in basketball I only played 10 seconds in. I remember everyone was running around screaming "Today is the day." Whenever I hear the song "Cowboy" by Kid Rock I can literally feel the sun on my face and the smell of newly cut grass. It was for some reason the only song on our absolutely pathetic "warm-up" mix my senior year that actually pumped me up. I remember I used to find my teammate Courtney in the crowd and lip sync, "Start an escort service, for all the right reasons And set up shop at the top of four seasons." What in the world does that even mean?
Anyway, that's my random thought for today.

Monday, December 3, 2007

I think I'm growing up...

Yesterday, I taught a lesson for Sunday School. Talk about feeling incredibly intimidated and out of place. The last time I taught a lesson I was surrounded by an audience I understood. I could easily make a reference to Sex in the City and joke about homosexuality. (Sadly, I'm not kidding). However, yesterday was a completely different experience. I felt like my words stuck together and my thoughts didn't seem to have a point. Anyway, I didn't decide to write in this blog as some self-deprecating review about Sunday performance. Instead, I haven't been able to shake the experience I told at the end of class to put a little "real life" application to what I was attempting to teach.

I was eighteen and a freshmen in college. It's unbelievable to me that that was ten years ago. Ten years never seemed to go so fast as time does now. Anyway, that first semester was a blur. I remember a lot of sunny days sitting in some bizarre and tucked away room with some bad smelling man telling me how easy Calculus could be. No matter how many hours I spent in that forsaken "Help Room" (which really should be re-named at some point) I never understood a second of Calculus. I'm not kidding. The entire class was one big question in my mind. I had no idea how to come up with an answer...or even how I passed with a C plus. Anyway, I digress.

That first year, though basically failing every class, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. For the first time I had a group. I had a group of people I loved hanging out with and seemed to like me. We all were athletes, we all were loud and we all got along. For the first two months of college I went out a lot. I went to every bar and every off campus party. It wasn't that I really enjoyed these nights, I just enjoyed being along for the ride. Eventually, this inclusive fun wore off. I became nothing more than a glorified designated driver. One night we were out at some off campus party. I remember our captain, Karen came over to me and told me my teammates and roommates were ready to go home. I was sitting outside against a car talking to someone who wasn't drunk. To this day I don't remember who that was, or why in the freaking world they were sober. Anyway, I didn't want to go. As I tried to protest, I looked over Karen's shoulder and saw my teammate, Courtney, fall down the stairs. Once, that kind of stuff happens you don't really have any grounds to protest.

With the help of most of my semi-drunk teammates we managed to shove three of my roommates into Courtney's car. Unfortunately, the fall down the stairs didn't help to bring any clarity to the situation and the three of them were convinced they were not drunk enough to go home early. Therefore, as I pulled away they started to open the door and try to jump out. We played this cat and mouse game for awhile, and finally, I conceded that if they fell out of the car I was not going to feel bad. Finally, after running a few stop signs and committing a few other traffic violations (you see, if I stopped they would try to jump out...therefore, to remedy the situation I decided to just keep the car moving)...we ended up back at campus. By this time they were all convinced I was of the devil and only sent to judge them. As we got out of the car, they started to lay into me. They told me I was nothing more than a self-righteous Mormon, who really didn't belong at this school. I can't even express the sadness that moment brought to me. I thought for two months I had constructed the most believable facade. I was fun, I was a partier, I was the "open-minded" Mormon. NOT self-righteous and most certainly different. That's what I didn't want to be. But, in a moment that hope of mine came crashing down. In a second I was no more than simply called out. After tearing me apart they demanded me to drive them back to the party. Defiantly, and may I say, completely out of character, I grabbed the keys and threw them into the sea of cars. I told them if they could find the car - they could go back...which they did - only they walked.

I will never forget that walk back to my dorm. I remember the stairs that led up from the parking lot to the dorm. I don't think I made it to them before I completely broke down. I was exhausted from going out, and I was sick of playing a part I never liked. That night I cried myself to sleep and prayed for the first time to be really heard. That next morning I emailed my mom the story and she emailed me back Doctrine and Covenants 122:7. I had never read that scripture before, but once I did, it became my mantra at school. Basically, if the jaws of hell gape open to take you down...be patient...because all of this is for thy good and shall give thee experience. (paraphrased of course). "Give thee experience." I couldn't shake that phrase. I didn't know then what that meant, and maybe I still don't. But, as life went on from that fateful day, to my senior year to my mission, it started to make more sense.

I'm not sure why I recount the story I just told yesterday. Maybe because it was such a pivotal time in my life and really defined how I was going to look at life.

Or maybe, because as long as I live I don't think I'll ever be able to shake that night from my memory. Lately, I've been getting in touch with old teammates of mine. It's been six years since I graduated, and I still feel those feelings of being an outsider. I still feel like they categorize me as that "different one." However, I have no regrets. I guess the desire to be utterly accepted - if it be during a Sunday school lesson or as a young kid in college - never leaves.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Why does it have to be so difficult?

Break ups. Man, am I sure glad I never have to go through them again. Lately, it seems all of my friends have been going through horrible break ups or horrible run ins with the exes. I listen to their stories and gasp in unbelief at the stupidity of their one time true loves, and the cruelty of ending a relationship. No one seems to walk away unscathed. Instead, it seems like the longer you play the dating game, the more cynical and guarded you become. It's a mean cycle. You want to date to find the right one, but in time you have become so distrustful of the possibility of the right one you can't even figure out which way is up and which way is down.

I suppose sitting in my married state someone would consider me "the lucky one." I got out, I got married and now I get to sit on the sidelines and watch the rat race continue. But, even though I'm removed it doesn't erase the very tangible memories of past relationships. Of course, I had my fair share of heartbreaks and disappointments. However, as I look back I mostly cringe at the memories of my shear ambivalence towards dating. I guess that's the only way I could cope with the oncoming feelings of cynicism and hopelessness from past experiences. And maybe I was just lazy. Nonetheless, dating was a true experience.

The following are my favorite memories:
1. I was once set up with this guy who knew my grandfather. I know, right there I should have said no. Anyway, we were talking on the phone before the date and he said he was 24. I was 24 as well and had said I didn't date people younger than me. The following day we went to dinner and he said to me, while we were eating, "It sure is great to be out with a real woman." Almost choking on my dinner, I replied, "What do you mean 'a real woman?'" He then said, (like a total moron might I add) "Well, being so mature for 21, I usually have a hard time relating to girls my age." 21? hmmm...I know a small detail, but the "real woman" comment was something I could not get over.

2. I was set up on this date by Jason my brother. He seemed like a cool guy. Active, energetic and not bad looking. However, before every date (there was three) he would tell me to eat beforehand. Sometimes this sort of made sense because we would go do physical activities. And other times it just seemed like he was being cheap. One night his cheapness came to light. We went skateboarding, sorry, longboarding down this huge hill. For those of you who don't know, longboarding consists of taking your precious life, placing it on a wobbly board and traveling at mock speed down a hill. I know it sounds too good to be true. Anyway, one night we did this dreadful activity...which actually makes you quite tired (from clenching all your nerves simultaneously) and I, stupidly, came to the date with an empty stomach. So, when he asked if I was hungry I innocently said yes. We then proceeded to head to the grocery store where he bought an on sale carton of ice cream that was so frosted over from being in the back I thought they were going to give it to us for free, a store brand candy bar (not a big one, just a little taste) and we were off. When we got in the car I asked what we were doing for food. He said, "milk shakes." Hmmm. We then got back to his place and made this water downed milk shakes that held some loose pieces of candybar. It was basically like drinking spoiled cold milk with a taste of bad chocolate. After being totally filled up I told him I get up early and left. Well, headed straight for McDonalds.

3. Number Three actually needs to be its own posting. Let's just say Request-o-Matic almost made me give up dating for good.

4. Number four has to entail the worst first kiss I ever got. Well, there's a guy in high school who will always reign as the worst, but this was right up there. Actually, when I think about it, I actually suffered twice. The worst first kiss would have to be from this guy who told me he hated first kisses. He lamented how over-hyped they became and only led to disappointment. (Yep, I was super stoked to kiss this guy) So there we stood after a great date, and as I'm talking he lands one on me. I was so taken aback and so surprised by his delivery that when he pulled away I started to laugh. I laughed because not only was a horrible kiss but he literally did it while I was in mid-story. So, I guess I proved his point on that one.
Second, worst first kiss goes to another poor guy. We went out to dinner and then to a movie. During the movie I felt like I was going to throw up. I just kept closing my eyes and hoping it would all end. As we headed home, I kept telling him how sick I felt. Okay, this was also a technique I used to use to ensure I wouldn't have to kiss someone at the end of the night. I hated those situations. Three dates, three dinners, three movies...crap equals one kiss? Anyway, we got to the door and as I'm literally slumped up against the wall he pulls me in and kisses me. I thought I was going to throw up in his mouth. Which really would have served him right for going in for the kill even when I threw up the 911 flag.

5. Okay this is the last one. Because, I'm just getting mean and the only one being entertained here is me. Okay, I got to think of the best. Number 3 is in its own league. But a close second would have to...okay I can't rank them. It's too hard. The worst date I was ever on would have to be with this guy this girl in my ward set me up with. She talked him up, and I bought it. All of it. He came to the door and was the complete opposite of what she said. She said tall, he was short, she said hot, he was not, she said he was athletic, he was not an athlete etc. Anyway, I had said yes, so I shut the door to my laughing roommates' faces and headed for the car. He took me to this restaurant and the wait was 90 minutes. I simply turned around and said we could find another place. He wouldn't have it. Instead, he wanted to wait the entire 90 minutes. And waited we did. I can't express the awkwardness that was between us during those 90 minutes. A. I don't do well when I'm hungry. B. I don't do well with people who don't have a sense of humor. Anyway, we finally get our table and as the waitress is taking our order my date decides to re-read the entire menu. I'm about to kill him. As he is reading, my waitress looks at me and mouths, "blind date?" I nod and she mouths, "I'm so sorry. He's a total tool." I couldn't have said it better myself. After our long dinner he wanted to see a movie. We had missed the first show because he wanted to wait two hours for dinner. The next showing was in an hour. Yep, you guessed it...we waited. I know what you are wondering...and yes, I made out with him like crazy for that hour.

6. Okay one more. This goes to the most misguided confident man I've ever met. He literally stands 5"5 maybe. We went up to Park City for dinner and I couldn't stop laughing the entire time. He literally had his seat way back and he was clawing at the peddles to reach them. I wanted to reach over and pull this child out of the driver's seat and drive him home. When we got to Park City I told him I would eat anything but Asian. At the time I was really suffering from Migraines and the doctors were thinking Asian food and MSG were bad for me. So where did we go for dinner? Asian. What a cute little guy. The worst part of the night was I saw someone I knew and she was like, "who's the little pocket rocket?"

Dating...it ain't for the faint hearted.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Have you ever had the urge to just kick someone in the shins? Have you ever wanted to scream out "Who invited you anyway?" Well, I have, and, well, quite recently.

A few weeks ago my good friend Emily Madsen came to town to see Ellen DeGeneres. Because I happen to be a lucky SOB most of the time I got to go with her. I must state (and there is really no relevance for this following story other than me wanting to document it) we had a fabulous time embracing our pop culture obsessions. First, we started with a breakfast at the Blue Plate cafe. Why there? Come on, that's where Owen Wilson and Kate Hudson were spotted first when news or their relationship broke. After breakfast we headed up to Sunset to "run into" our personal favorite blogger: Perez Hilton. (Apparently, he writes his blog at a local coffee shop.) Unfortunately, he wasn't there, but we were still excited to see the hospital where all the celebs have their babies, Ketchup (the restaurant where Heidi and Spencer had a run in with LC and Jason...again, if you have no idea, just stop reading now) and LA Ink (the site of the Tatoo show LA Ink). Is is strange at 28 I'm excited by all this stuff? Don't answer that.

Okay back to the original story. We got to the studios around 2 o'clock and finally got to stand for another three hours before the actual taping. However, the cool part was I got chosen out of the pack to ask a question on TV. Apparently, that day they were going to have the kids from Kid Nation on. Kid Nation is this new reality show of kids living alone in a town, whining, making food, whining and doing stuff. My question was: what demographic were they trying to hit with this show? Come on, whining kids? Who's going to watch this show? Apparently, they liked my question and brought my party to the front. We were strategically seated on the aisle and prepped that Ellen would tap me for my question.

Speaking of strategically placing people...it was almost hilarious to watch them place people in "special seats." Some interns were very diplomatic about the whole thing, and others just cut to the chase about how they had to quickly hide these audience members. They must be paying these interns some pretty good money, because when I looked out I couldn't see a single He/She fan of Ellen. (that's my attempt at being diplomatic).

Anyway, the taping starts and Ellen comes dancing down the aisle right beneath us. You ever want to feel totally white? Stand in line for three hours, sit in a freezing studio and then point a camera on yourself as you attempt to dance with a bunch of mom jean lovin' women. It was pretty bad. Fortunately, it didn't last long and once Ellen took one step up the aisle next to me she was headed down.

After more forced dancing, the guests of Kid Nation came out. After a few minutes of interview Ellen came up our aisle and tapped the first woman for her question. It was a good question. (no shin kicking). However, the target of my story falls on the next woman. Ellen came up to her and all of the sudden the woman forgot how to speak. After each stutter, I knew my chances of being on TV were getting slimmer. Finally, after translating this poor woman's question Ellen promoted the show one more time and then cut to commercial. In an instance my hopes of being on TV were dashed. Fortunately, I had a really cool song to dance to and console my tears.

So again, I ask, "who invited that lady?"

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A Little Deal

I've heard misguided individuals declare from the pulpit on many occasions how grateful they are for trials. Grateful!? For what I must ask? For the fact you slowly convince yourself that every tingle and itch could be your last? That you find yourself having a difficult time sleeping and acting like a rational person? Or maybe that food slowly loses it's taste and flipping channels becomes a chore? Or my personal favorite: That in three seconds you can google yourself into believing you may have a rare form of leprosy or you are going blind?

If these things appeal to you...then yes, maybe you are grateful for trials. Me, I must be honest. Lately, I feel like my body just won't behave. It seems to fluctuate between alright and "what in the world?" At first, yes, I would say I was grateful to be reminded of the outside help I needed. Now, I'm just teetering on sheer impatience. I'll take the trial...let's just put a two week cap on it. Okay?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The End of the Niggler?

From the day I could talk and walk I was harassed by a brother we affectionately called the "niggler." For years he played the piano and had developed almost inhumane strength in his hands. In a second he could grab onto your leg and have you screaming in mercy. He locked me out of the house, beat me senseless, heckled me from the stands and could wind me into an absolute fit. He was in every sense of the word - the niggler.

As I grew up our relationship didn't change much. I got bigger so I could put up a decent fight for the remote, but mentally I still succumbed to his power. Unfortunately, these childish skirmishes turned into more serious confrontations, and then what used to be jokes turned into real splintering moments. I tried to promise myself every vacation I would work hard to be more patient and less sensitive. And then, something would happen, something would be said and the hard feelings would only increase. I have always regretted the relationship I have with my brother, and feared it would never change.

Yesterday it was his birthday. He's now 33 years old, has three kids and is almost finished becoming a full fledge doctor. For his birthday I decided to apologize for being my fair share of sensitive, insensitive and basically an ass. This morning I woke up and found this response:

Thanks again for your kind note. It was very well received. You have nothing to regret--afterall, you grew up with the niggler.

I guess we both are growing up.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

On our way back from South Carolina, Dan and I stopped in Durham to walk around Duke. It was strange to reminisce about a place we both knew so well, and yet, didn't experience together. I must have passed the Law School a thousand times on my way to the field and never even thought about going inside. Dan remembers parking next to the lacrosse field everyday, and even being cussed out a few times by my pyscho coach for playing soccer on our blessed practice field. As my mom would say, "Oh the craziness of life."

The last stop of our tour took us to my old house on Buchanan Blvd. In 2000, I lived there with ten of my teammates and little Mexican girl who somehow ended up there. In the beginning it seemed like a great idea. It was an old Southern plantation style home, with a deck running around the first story and second. It held two kitchens, four bathrooms, 9 bedrooms and a huge gravel driveway. Across the road was campus, next door was the Men's Lacrosse house and on the other side was the Men's Soccer Team's house. Again, let me say it seemed like a good idea. However, as each day passed it began to smell more like a frat house, incite more drama than I can relate and ultimately caused the demise of my team that year.

I think the following would entail my fondest memories of this house:
1. When I pulled up to the house to move in three empty kegs sat on our porch and a random guy was passed out on our floor.
2. A squirrel came down one of our chimneys and was loose in our house.
3. Bird (on of my favorite teammates) decided we needed some rocking chairs for our downstairs deck. Consequently, she got drunk one night and stole ten rocking chairs from our neighbors, then sanded them down and repainted them.
4. Our heat stopped working before Christmas and we used to leave the oven on overnight.
5. When cops came to bust one of our parties and ended up spending the night with two of my teammates. (Yep, picture two cop cars in our driveway, cop uniform on the floor and a badge and gun on the nightstand)
6. Greg Patcheck decides to get even with Courtney my teammate for cheating on him by throwing a bench through our downstairs door.
7. Finn, my best friend, hitting a car full of Mexicans coming out of our pothole driveway - and when she tried to get their information they all jumped out of the running car and ran down the street yelling, "Illegal Alien, Illegal Alien!"
8. Hearing "One Million Dollars" from a lifesize Dr. Evil every time someone walked by its sensor.
9. Every bed being occupied except mine each weekend.
10. When school shut down with snow, Margaritas were immediately made and a mattress was hooked up to a truck for a ride around town.
11. Sunbathing in underwear on the second story and waving to honking cars.
12. A Dark stain of apple on the wall after a drunk fight turned into a fruit throwing confrontation.
13. My hitting of a car of Mexicans.
14. Getting deathly sick due to stress, no heat and unsanitary conditions...and taking my finals the following semester.
15. Calling the cops on our own house to get everyone to go home.
16. When a homeless man stole all our cleats and sticks off our porch. (probably karma for the rocking chairs)
17. Finn's closet of a room that could only fit a bed on stilts and a desk underneath.
18. Waking up to a guy urinating on our kitchen floor.
19. A teammate, who I thought was normal, speaking in third person with her boyfriend and he responding in the third person. (Keri is hungry...Mikey hungry too.)
20. Moving out and hiding out for the summer in my own personal rehab.

As you can see by the picture the house is barely still standing. Apparently, Satan reclaimed the house through a small fire. Rest in peace Buchanan.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Walk down Memory Lane

Lately I've been transferring old home videos into DVDs. It's been interesting looking back through a small window of the past and almost seeing where present insecurities began. I am a twin to a girl. A girl who was a girl from the very beginning. It was dresses, barbies, long hair and a little tutu. I, on the other hand, looked more like a young truck driver in training. It was mullets, baby fat, nightmare teeth and a squatty little body. My parents might as well have given me a mesh hat and a little tobacco because my truck was just about to push off.

As I watched myself sing Christmas songs, dance in a leotard (with the underwear hanging out of course) and tell the camera that a spiritual I was about to sing, "originated came from the slaves" I didn't feel like much time had passed. It amazes me to think how small moments in time can so deeply define you. I don't know if I'll ever feel totally comfortable all dressed up and marching around as a lady. (maybe the fact that I see it as "marching" is part of my problem) I think I'll always feel like that little fat kid who was stuck between her days of being a tomboy and trying to emerge as a girl.

I told my parents these thoughts yesterday and my Dad came running to my rescue. He said, "You know how people always say you take after your mother? Well, when you were little you took after your father." Thanks Dad.

Monday, July 16, 2007

When you're a jet you're always a jet

I believe in my religion. I believe in its teachings and principles. I also believe when you put a bunch of us "believers" in one room it can get quite interesting. Picture this...It was a nice and peaceful Saturday afternoon. Dan had convinced me to come to his softball game and even participate. To be honest, I don't find softball to be a sport. I don't find baseball to be a sport. And please, don't get me started on golf. Anyway, I digress.

The game started and in almost thirty minutes I had a huge dirt burn on my back, my shin was sporting an awesome goose egg and I had gone 1-2 at bat. And then the real game began. In the last inning someone grounded the ball to Dan at third and he was about to tag out an incoming runner. To avoid being tagged out this individual we will affectionately name "Danny LaRusso" tried to karate kick Dan in the face. Once Dan tagged him out he warned the guy to be more careful. In response Danny LaRusso said, "What are you going to do cry about it?" Which as you can imagine sparked some other comments from Dan. Eventually, Danny LaRusso left the field and retired to his bench. Dan continued to talk about the recent event which led to a beautiful and classic response of the bird from Danny LaRusso. Now we all couldn't believe what was going on...and I was starting to love the fact that I had decided to play softball that day.

Finally, the game came to a close and both teams convened to congratulate one another and discuss the ridiculous antics of Danny LaRusso. In the middle of this, Danny approached Dan and our friend David. I thought for a minute we might see a Christian act on this field (in the shadow of the temple - might I add), but I was sorely disappointed. Instead, Danny LaRusso pleaded his innocence and when it was not immediately accepted he shouted out, "You want a piece of me?" I know, I know we all need to take a moment and collectively say, "Awesome."

Unfortunately, nothing happened. Okay fortunately, nothing happened. However, I will never miss a softball game again. The following day, I found myself sitting on a couch waiting for sacrament meeting to begin. While waiting I started to tell the story of yesterday and when I said the words, "karate kick," my eyes caught some movement on the opposite couch. Much to my surprise there sat our nemesis. I, of course, changed subjects...you don't mess with someone who uses the words, "you want a piece of me?" with such power (my mom taught me that a long time ago). As I continued to sit there, our nemesis moved positions and locked onto Dan and David inside the chapel. Apparently, he proceeded to stare down Dan and then walk straight to him. Dan continued to talk to David while this nemesis stood behind them.

Church sports: Where all true testimonies can be found.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Too Many 18 Year Olds

I finally have reached the point where I'm realizing I'm getting old. What a mean and rough realization. There you are thinking you are invincible and then all of the sudden one sprint down a field and every muscle in your body contorts and pulls. And then as if your pride isn't hurt enough, you find yourself limping around and telling 18 year olds about your stellar days in college. The stories seem to be going well, until you find yourself asleep and in too much pain to move.

A couple of days ago I got back from Japan. I went over there to play a lacrosse tournament called the Friendship Games. I don't know if they were trying to be ironic or mistranslated something, but this tournament was anything but about making friends. I have never been knocked over more, nor have I hit more people. By the end I was heard screaming in the middle of the game, "That's absolute Japanese BS!" What is Japanese BS? Basically, it's my lame attempt at yelling at a Japanese ref on the sabbath.

Needless to say it was an interesting trip. We hit three cities, four hotels and traveled with way toooo many eighteen year olds. I swear I wasn't that stupid at eighteen. (I mean being ten pounds over weight, in love with a total fantasy from Utah and failing out of school may constitute stupid, but ten years later I can paint any picture I want.) These girls were like they've never seen boys or beer in a vending machine before. Okay, maybe beer in a vending machine is a little strange...Anyway, I felt like every where I looked was a reminder of how old I'm getting. My brain hurt from "morning drama and confessions" and my body hurt from the reenactment of world war three. 28...and contemplating a life of reading, walking and scrapbooking.

Monday, February 26, 2007

It's All Good

I have never truly dived into the world of blogs. I suppose to have an effective and meaningful blog one should have a particular political persuasion, a bone to pick with society or a propensity to bitch. Unfortunately, I fear I don't fit into any of these categories. To me life is pretty simple. It consists of a good man, lots of love, few but very good friends, a steady relationship with God, talking to Mom every day, being outside and surrounding yourself with good music. To me everything else is background noise.