Tuesday, November 11, 2008

No...it's not a joke...it's real.

If you have ever wondered what it would look like if the most awkward people from your church decided to combine forces with the most annoying people at your work, a few of your old socially "off" high school teachers, and maybe a couple polygamists, to produce a news program? Well here ya go. When one of my friends first saw this sad little show she thought it was a joke or a news spoof. Not so. It's just incredibly awkward and embarrassingly amateur. I don't consider myself mean-spirited by nature, but I just couldn't keep this in any longer. There is nothing really distinctive about the clip below compared to other clips of their program but it will just give you a taste of what we are dealing with here. There is more on youtube if you care to torture yourself.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Yes We Did

"And if I had one wish: if Dr. King could have just been there for a second in time, would have made my heart rejoice. And so it was kind of duo-fold - his ascension into leadership and the price that was paid to get him there."

Election night: Jesse Jackson who was standing beside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he was assassinated in 1968. "He earned those tears."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

And the winner is.......

Sure this may or may not have been child abuse, but by darn, my proud mama won first place in the ward Halloween costume contest that year. During that Halloween night in '85, aside from inflicting the kind of trauma that probably won't surface until years down the road, my mother taught us all a very valuable lesson. If chubby brown girls can pull off Raggedy Ann and take the cake, then isn't anything possible? Happy Halloween!

PS - For those who know my family, see? There was a time when Trevor was sweet.
PPS - No, those are not wigs...that is our real hair spray painted

Friday, October 24, 2008

A maverick stopped by

...Guess who was hangin out at my work this week?

"I didn’t vote again until 1976, when I was nineteen and legally registered. Because I was at college out of state, I sent my ballot through the mail. The choice that year was between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. Most of my friends were going for Carter, but, as an art major, I identified myself as a maverick. “That means an original,” I told my roommate. “Someone who lets the chips fall where they may.” Because I made my own rules and didn’t give a damn what anyone else thought of them, I decided to write in the name of Jerry Brown, who, it was rumored, liked to smoke pot. This was an issue very close to my heart—too close, obviously, as it amounted to a complete waste. Still, though, it taught me a valuable lesson: calling yourself a maverick is a sure sign that you’re not one."
--David Sedaris
From his "Undecided" article in The New Yorker

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Unexplained phenomena

Allow me to invite you to closely examine this picture here. As I was was washing my hands in the bathroom, only minutes ago, I noticed that somehow a little black elastic band had attached itself to my hoop earing. This is completely unexplained.
a) I have NEVER seen this type of elastic ever
b) My earring hoop is nearly closed on the back so it would be hard for anything to get on it
c) I haven't been around anyone who was touching my hair, ear and/or face all day.

Unexplained happenings such as this are among my most nagging of pet peeves, and unless I am able to come up with a probable reason this thing ended up dangling from my lobe I am going to think myself into a coma. If you have any hypothesis please send them my way.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hells Bells

So, I decided to go to Idaho this weekend. I hadn't been since June and figured I needed to go see my star-athlete brother in action. He played well, except his team lost and he may or may not have broken the thumb on his already-broken hand. I had only planned on staying a day, but of course Mother Nature decided to unleash the kind of winter fury unseen for decades in that particular part of the state, effectively turning my car into a bump in over two feet of snow (see above pic. Yes, that's my car)and closing down the only roads back to Utah.
I mean seriously. It's not even Halloween. It's barely October. So after 34 board games, four movies, 24 extra hours and a car extraction process - which included my entire family, my best friend, who was also stuck there, and a loader, I made it to the freeway. And then I got pulled over for the 6th time this year. Thanks 2008. You're the best.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Would you like some McLovin' with that?

I got hit on today in a McDonald's drive-through. When I go to McDonald's I always feel a little bit of shame because of the unhealthiness of it...even if I am just getting a fruit parfait or a snack wrap I always just want to get in and get out the "drive-thru of shame." I rarely make eye contact and make sure I have money and everything ready so there is no lingering. Well today (I was actually getting a McMuffin this morning, so the guilt was deserved) I rolled up to the pay window and handed homeboy my card and didn't look at him. He said, "how are you?" I said "Fine, how are you?" And then Chatty-Chad just took off. Well first, let me just say he couldn't have been more than 20 and he didn't have the physical characteristics that you would...ummm..think are typical of..uhhhhh..someone that would have the confidence or bravado to randomly hit on customers. So I was caught off guard when he replied to my obligatory "how are you" with "I have a really pretty girl at my window, so as far as I am concerned it's a good day." I smiled at that because I was trying to process what I heard. Hearing that is like hearing a swear word in church. You may get hit on at the mall or at a club, sure. But by a McDonald's employee in a drive-thru?? It just didn't fit. He didn't stop there. After I smiled he said "Oh and that smile? You're killing me with that.." By this time I had to resist the urge to honk at the car in front of me to hurry the hell up because I was getting a bit uncomfy. Then he said "your husband or boyfriend must feel like the luckiest guy." Then he looked at my vacant ring finger and said "boyfriend right?" And I confirmed. The car ahead of me pulled forward and I was released from Awkward Town. But here's the thing...that kid is going to go far in life. Sure he is working at a McDonald's drive-through now..but if at that young of an age he is already listening to that voice that says "go for it" - despite staggering odds - think where he will be in 10 years. Plus he clearly does this often so he is becoming immune to the fear of failure. As I was driving away from there, about to indulge in a 300+ calorie breakfast the awkwardness melted away to admiration. Kudos Chatty-Chad, your going places, just not today.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Certain Disaster...

Its gonna happen.
It may not be today. It may not be tomorrow, or even this month. But before the end of 2008 these stairs at my work are going to do me in. This is only one of three flights that could kill me sometime soon. Sure they are beautiful and shiny in their quasi spiral form. But beauty is dangerous and once you take a tumble it is going to be hard to stop yourself. I try to avoid them at all cost by using the back stairs, but every once in a while it they are simply inevitable. A number of times when I have been on them I have had some close calls - a waver or a tremor, if you will, and once even a micro stumble. It's as if they are saying "I will get you yet, but just not today." I can only ask that no one is around for the humilaition. I also ask that I don't break my coccyx. I would rather have a toe cut off than have to sit on a donut for 6 months. Either way I suppose my certain fall will be a justified pay back from this..

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance!!!! WOOOOOOH

I never got into the boy-band-crush thing that generally greets the dawn of puberty in most preteen girls. I never had the giant poster Donny, Jordan or Justin on my wall that I kissed each night, nor did I doodle my first name with said boy's last name. I was in the pre-boy crazy stage when New Kids on the Block were all the rage and after that there was kind of a vacant spot until Backstreet Boys hit the scene. By then I was in high school and too cool to be a screaming swooning girl. But last night I felt it in its full glory at the So You Think You Can Dance concert. Despite the fact that Amelia (who was a contraction away from giving birth - don't worry folks, she brought a towel with her in case her water broke) and I were sandwiched between an elderly couple and a pair of middle aged moms, I felt like I was 12 years old. Of course all the performances were great but when Josh came on stage I screamed like a school girl. Even so, it didn't even rival the middle-aged moms next to us. Every look, wink, smile or laugh he made just made me swoon more and I was bugged that I didn't get to meet him. Here's the thing. From his very first audition he was my fave and to watch him go through all the tears, the victories, getting his braces off, etc, just made me love him all the more. I wanted to hug him, shake his hand and then never wash my own, and tell him how I adored him. I even cursed myself for not bringing a sign that spelled out my admiration. So now I get it. I get why when I was 9 years-old my 12-year old neighbor would walk around with a pillow in her shirt, call herself "Angela Knight" and said she planned on naming the baby "Jordan Jr." And for all you haters out there, just look at my obsession as finally reclaiming something that I was deprived in childhood. Joshua Allen, I LOVE YOU! WOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHH!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008


Read it. Hated it. So maybe you wonder why I was reading science fiction. Well I don't do it often, but back in college I was told that it was an "amazing" must read. Since then it has always been a back burner book and I decided to start it on the plane back from Tonga. Really dumb. I only kept reading because I wanted to make sure there wasn't a point in the book where it got good. It was totally bland all the way through and when I was finished I was pissed because I should have dug into a Twilight book - if anything I could have at least learned what caused all the hype. Then, after thinking about it, I remembered who it was that recommended Ender's Game to me in the first place. It was my ahem..unique and socially awkward neighbor who was also a fan of swords, fantasy video games and awkward hugs.
I would get into why it was so dumb, but that would mean I would have to reference parts of the book. And prepubescent children fighting giant, faceless alien ants, called buggers, in galactic warfare is something I feel silly devoting time too. Moreover why "bugger" was the name of choice, when it means something entirely different and rather explicit to those across the pond, is beyond me.
Similarly, on the way out to Tonga I read Angels and Demons. I, like the rest of western civilization, was a fan of the Da Vinci Code. But Angels and Demons? Not so much. It was pretty much a lazy form of Da Vinci Code. It started off well enough and pretty intense. But in the end, Dan just asked too much from me, expecting me to buy into characters jumping out of a helicopter flying at over a thousand feet, without a chute, and living to tell about it. Errr, not only living to tell about it, but getting up and running back in for more cardinal/Pope action with, yes, another dead man's daughter that just happens to be hot and a scientific/historical genius. It was like a poor man's Da Vinic Code that took a tour to Indiana Jones Land without a passport. Nonetheless I think I am sufficiently set up to read the Twilight book, even if it ends up sucking, because when you are coming from bad you can't be too disappointed.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Tonga Encore

A little more on Tonga and some answers to questions that people have been asking...

Living Conditions
Yes people live in shacks but there are some who also live in nice houses.
I have heard stories about monster rats and spiders out there, but I never saw them. Only a cockroach on our patio once. The house we stayed in in town was just a normal little house with running water, two bedrooms, living room and kitchen. It was all linoleum and was furnished primarily with patio furniture but we could hardly complain. Unlike many other homes it had a bathroom inside, screens, built in power outlets sliding windows and mosquitoes were never and issue inside.

I didn't know Loa could do that either...

He's never been one to brag or flaunt his skills but yes, he can scale a coconut tree and is as flexible as a gymnast, yes he can sail a boat if the occasion calls for it. He can work a machete like nobody's business, surf and kill a pig in cold blood, skin it and gut it without batting an eye. Same when it comes to fish.

Though I did have a drivers license I never drove because I just don't get it. Driving on the opposite side of the road to me is just off. Plus there are barefoot village pedestrians everywhere that feel jay-walking when you are 12 feet away from them is their god-given right. But Loa did almost kill us a few time in the round-abouts.

No, I did not eat horse. Here's the thing. They don't de-bone or de-fat their meat so a pile of bones are generally found at the end of a meal, even in restaurants. Not to say that the food is bad but I limited my intake to Lupulu, Taro, coconut water, granola bars, lemon tea (Loa made it from water, condensed milk and lemon leaves from the yard) and Fanta (yes Fanta). I was nervous that I would get the liquid poo (as Amelia likes to call it) so I drank and brushed my teeth with bottled water, kept my mouth closed in the shower and avoided uncooked foods. I was fine the whole time. Only once did I have to will myself not to gag when I was forced to try papaya that was cooked like squash. The family that raised Loa for a few years held a luau for me the day I got off the plane. They were very gracious and didn't want me to feel like I had to eat anything I didn't want to. Plus Loa ran interference for me a lot.

Everything is pretty expensive out there. Gas is like nearly 4 pa'anga a liter. One U.S. dollar is equal to 1.8 pa'angas. Lavalavas were around $45. A snickers bar is $3 each. We bought a fish at the market for $26. And the resort luau we went to was $80. I guess it is no surprise that people are always coming up and asking for money from you. Loa got it everywhere we went. But most people have their own gardens/fields where they can grow their own food, chickens and pigs as well as catch their own fish.

There are none. Instead there are mobs. We went to the bakery right before it closed one night and there was a TON of people there. We waited for our turn until we realized that if we didn't get combative that turn would never come.
They literally crowd a counter until they make it to the front. It's not like it was a cramped place. There was plenty enough room for a line and for all to keep their personal bubble in tact, but no. No joke. When we were finally up to the counter the lady behind was not only pressed up against my back but was resting her forearms on my shoulder blades. I couldn't even react. I mean seriously!

At some houses they have family burial plots in their front yard. They look like big piles of white sand decorated with fake flowers and blankets. But even more odd is this is where a lot of people hang out. Driving by you see groups of people, families, kids, young men, just hanging out on grandpa's grave, drinking, talking and just chillin. That brings me to the hanging out. It drove me mad. Scores of people, mainly men would just be standing and hanging out everywhere. We would see people stay in the same place for hours. WHY??!!
I drove Loa crazy trying to get answers from him. But when it is early afternoon on a Tuesday why do you have nine men standing around outside a cafe, a road-side stand, the market or an ice cream shop for hours on end. There would be times that I would get pissed about it because I couldn't wrap my head around it. That would be around the time Loa would slam on the brakes and say "Do you want me to stop and ask them??!"
Also I saw 9 year old kids running around naked at the beaches, yet among Tongans it is considered inappropriate for a woman to wear a swimming suit, rather shorts and a t-shirt. But at the resorts it was fine. We were the only ones there at most of the beaches we went to on the main island, so I only had to rock the shirt and shorts a few times.

We were in Fiji the last two days. Fijians are the kindest people I have ever met. We decided to go there with no plans or reservations anywhere. We literally just got off the plane, hopped on a bus that I am pretty sure was 46 years old, got off at the bus station and started walking. But within an hour Fijians from three different shops that we went into had arranged a killer deal for us at this brand new bed and breakfast as well as transportation. It was gorgeous and charming and the lady who owned it made us promise to spread the word. Fijians do love their kava though and made us drink some with them on a mat spread out right there in the shop before we left. We saw people drinking Kava everywhere, even at the airport.

What I miss...
The beaches, the amazing views, the sound of geckos, the ocean and Loa..

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bula & Malo e lelei

It wasn't until I was in Fiji, 15 hours into my trip and staring blankly at the two mysterious buttons at the back of a Fijian toilet that I realized I was really on the other side of the world. Toilets are tricky and one doesn't want to make a move that would result in adverse consequences, especially when there is a line of a couple dozen 747 passengers that, like me, opted to hold it for 10 hours and 30 minutes. Big button or small button. BIG or SMALL!!? I hit both. It worked. That was when I knew it was going to be a good trip.

When I landed in Tonga another 10 hours later I was euphoric. And when I saw him waiting outside of customs I finally took that long awaited proverbial breath. My whole vacation was like a dream and so many times I had to ask myself...am I really here?
We went to two beautiful private islands for a few days Fafa Island and Pangaimotu where we saw some crazy looking fish, explored a sunken ship, napped on the beach, snorkeled, and hiked around. On the days we weren't at the little islands we stayed in a house in town right near the water, went to markets and mingled with the locals. One night we went to a luau at a resort and had a dance dedicated to us. (This was the same band who claimed they were playing an American love song and it ended up being Kenny Roger's "Coward of the County") Other nights we spent in the villages. We also did some snorkeling off the main island, sailing and discovered breathtaking secluded beaches that were hidden by massive rock cliffs, along with open caves and coves carved out by incessant crashing of behemoth waves. Ya, I get it. I realize I am about to break out in song but there were some un-perfect moments as well.
I woke up at 5:30 a.m. for three days in a row. Even if it wasn't for the fact that I was now on a different time schedule I probably would not have been able to sleep those first few mornings anyway.
Pigs, dogs and chickens run amuck there. We were in a gated house so never had any close encounters but before it was all said and done I wanted to kill every rooster I saw. I had it in my head that in a pastoral setting there was really only one rooster, in at least a mile radius, and he crows only once a day to greet the dawn - only after he is picturesquely positioned on the top of a barn of some sort. Well not true. I swear there was 20 of them right outside my window and they were shrieking every 7.6 seconds all day long. Moreover our house in town was right next to a church that met at 5 a.m. Sun-Wed. To signal that church is about to begin someone goes on the church steps and beats two cast-iron pans together for about two minutes straight. (At least it sounded like two cast-iron pans but I can't verify that for sure.) I was told they were on the church steps but again, I am pretty sure they were outside the bedroom window connected to surround sound.) The clanging stops just long enough for you to drift off ...and then the yelling commences. Now make no mistake about it. I am not dissing on the musical talent of islanders - many are extraordinarily gifted. But if you have ever been to any church where there are the older folks you will see that collectively they don't sing, they yell. The fact that the yelling is indeed in perfect harmony is only a small consolation at 5 a.m. But most of the time we just laughed at the situation. And caught up on our sleep at the beach to the sound of waves.
I also brushed up on my Spanish. English is taught in schools there. Some schools are just better than others at teaching it. So some people you run into speak perfect English, some can understand you but can't speak it and some don't understand a lick. You can't tell these people apart so the safest assumption is that they understand what you are saying. So we used Spanish (Loa's Spanish is much better than mine) to say things like "please eat this for me I don't like it," "lets go, I am getting sick" "when are they leaving?" "is that a girl or boy?" etc. Many of them spoke multiple languages but they don't hear a lot of Spanish. It worked like a charm.

I also had a number of firsts. I drank out-dated soda. We carried around coconuts and drank them like Gatorade, I sat at a table with a cooked pig in its whole form, I touched an octopus, I washed my hair in rain water, I boxed people out in a bakery line, I saw a cockroach the size of my phone, I gave candy to small children as if I was Willy Wonka and I was issued a Tongan drivers license. It was the best of times.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Leavin' on a jet plane

I am headed to the South Pacific today. I'll return in two weeks. I am going to swim, sail, SCUBA, snorkel, eat, kiss, tan, and sleep. Email me if you want to reach out and touch.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I did a small favor for an acquaintance of mine who I don't really know that well. We've known of each other for quite some time and my willingness to help her out (even though it wasn't a big deal at all) yielded pounds of praise of what a good person I am. My "aww shucks" response only resulted in even more compliments on my ethics and lily-white character. I have no idea why but it made me feel a bit deceptive that someone can think so highly of me, or say they do, when I have a list of rather formidable indiscretions. So to purge that nagging feeling I will confess them here:

1. I once bumped a car and didn't leave a note because I decided the scratch was too small for anyone to notice.
2. I give slow driving old people dirty looks. At one time, unbeknownst to me before it was too late, it was my grandparents.
3. In Hawaii when we went snorkeling I would lure fish near me with peas and then punch them.
4. In high school I was party to the federal crime of blowing up mailboxes of random people, chosen only for their elaborate boxes.
5. I lie to suitors I am not interested in.
6. In the 6th grade my brother and I would sneak up on this park caretaker and steel his tools.
7. I have started telling the homeless at Wal-mart who ask for money that I only have a card, when in fact I generally do have a few bucks.
8. I have read e-mails of past lovers.
9. I've called in sick when I just wanted to go to the pool.
10. I've two-timed
11. I've dodged and hid from nice people I know just so I don't have to hold a conversation.
12. When I was 5 years-old I didn't water the cats like I was supposed to and they ended up going to the horse trough and one drowned.
13. On my watch nine plants and six goldfish have also died. Watering and tank cleaning is not my forte.
14. I bludgeoned a mouse to death with a shampoo bottle. (still hard to talk about)
15. In Tijuana I only buy Chicklets from the cute kids. If they aren't I usually keep walking.

K. Now I actually feel worse but at least its out. Make me feel better and share.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


I’ll never learn. So My BFF Angelina flew in this weekend for a restful vacation that included plans to go to a spa, watch Mama Mia, laugh, eat good food and see Les Miserables in St. George at the Tuacahn Amphitheater. I am not really a planner but given the 8 hour drive we had on Friday I knew we had little wiggle room. I thought I had it perfectly figured out. She flew in at 4:30. So I would pick her up a 4:35 p.m. (she carried on) and we would be out of the Salt Lake Valley right before the 5 p.m. rush, giving us a solid 3 hours and 45 minutes to bomb it to St. George. But I forgot one vital issue. It’s 2008, the Murphy’s Law year, remember? Among half a dozen other things, it has been really bad for travel i.e. two delays, a cancelation, a car accident and a missed flight. Similarly it’s been really bad for interactions with law enforcement i.e. three pull-overs for various license plate violations and a rather high speeding ticket that I declined traffic school for since I vowed I would not get another and my insurance would only find out if they had reason to run my history like getting in a wreck or buying a new car. (I know now this convenient and twisted rational borders hilarity in retrospect, but it seemed logical at the time).
So, that all being said, I should have known this plan was doomed. Even so I was extra careful, making sure we wouldn’t be late, planning routes, doing everything ahead of time and being prepared to take off the minute Ange stepped foot outside the airport. Well apparently the freeways suck as early as 4 p.m. because we were doing stop and go while merging from the 215 to the 15. So we were a bit behind and it had to be made up on the road. I am constantly hearing stories of people getting nabbed on the freeway between Salt Lake and St. George so I tried to use discretion in areas where I had heard there were camper cops. But DAMN Millard County. Nailed at 91 mph. I swear that cop had dug a hole, covered himself with shrubs and waited for me. He came out of nowhere. Anyway that delayed us a bit, which meant I had to make up even more time on the road. I was using the GPS to indicate what time we would arrive and when it was all said and done I had shaved off quite a bit of time, but we were still around 15 minutes late. As we were looking for the turn to go to the theater we passed another cop who claimed he clocked me going 48 in a 35, however said that “visually” I was going over 50 mph. Whatever the hell that means. I asked him to cut me a break which only pissed him off more and he ticketed me but indicated he was doing us a favor by opting to “lead” us to the theater going approx. 9.4 mph in front of us for another 4 miles. Oh, and did I mention my gas light had been on for a good 25 miles and the needle was lower than I had ever seen it? So by the time we got there we were about 30 minutes late but they started late so we didn’t miss much. It took a few songs before I could finally relax and just enjoy it but by intermission it was all good. Nonetheless, now that our little five days of fun in the sun is over I am dealing with how I am going to handle this black eye on my driving record…okay, umm black eye, split lip and dislocated jaw. Maybe 2008 will also see the revocation of my driver’s license. Neat.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Why EVERYONE should read this book.....

I recently gave it a read for the second time, well half reading and half listening to it via audio-book on my iPod. Though I had read the book a couple years back, I thought I would do it again given that he could be the next president. It's no secret. I have a love and admiration for Barack Obama that borders on an inappropriate crush. I like his politics, his positive outlook, his wife, his fairness and his courage. But that is not the reason I think everyone should read it. During election campaigns candidate issues and platforms get muddied by irrelevant nonsense blown up in the media i.e. he's old, he's young, he swore, he didn't wear a pin, he's black, his wife looks plastic, her husband did it with an intern, and his reverend is racist. But "The Audacity of Hope" is a straight-forward look at Obama's ideals, values and insights and provides explanations on where he is coming from and why. Among many other things, he talks about health care, immigration, education, welfare, race, religion and family. You don't have to agree with him, in fact he fairly acknowledges those who don't and why. But it helps you get to know him as not just as a rock-starish political figure but as the normal guy, the father, the husband, and the American citizen. And more importantly, for those critics, his views may not differ from your own as much as you originally thought. Give it a read, or come over and I will let you put the audio book on your iPod. If anything you will come away a little more prepared to cast your vote.

Monday, July 21, 2008

River of Tears

My 2008 has pretty much subscribed to the provisions of Murphy's Law, "If anything can go wrong, it will." Of late, I have basically accepted it. So the fact that I actually thought I could float down the #@$#&!! Provo River without a hitch was a naive sentiment, bordering on moronic. If I were to review the events of those four harrowing hours in deserved detail this entry would be a small novel, so I will condense the chapters.

Chap 1: Lambs and Flowers
We went to the river in high spirits ready to take on the day, be sun kissed by the flawless sky and have some good clean fun with old and new friends. Since I have never floated a river before my M.O. was "When in Rome" and since about half of the "Romans" were going barefoot, I did the same.

Chap 2: Ummm Crap?
We didn't have a plan. Instead, some of us had preconceived notions that we would be slowly making our way down a lazy river with friendly banks and a few exciting "bumps" every once in a while. Even as I was getting into the river I grossly underestimate the malevolent current that tossed me into a side of a bridge about 1.2 minutes after I got in the water. The water was only shoulder to waste-deep but it didn't matter since the current forbade me to stand, stop or get back on my tube. Instead it dragged my legs feet and toes over rocks and I could do nothing about it. When I would try to put my feet in front of me to stop I would just go through a series of toe-stubbing, resulting in torn and broken toe-nails. Either way it was incredibly painful, and on top of that the water was roughly the same temperature as the water that comes out of the door in my fridge. So breathing was hard. I don't know if it was the water temperature or the drum roll taking place on my legs that hindered breathing, but either way all I could do was gasp. I can't tell you how long this lasted. My legs, which today look like a bruised banana, if given voice would say something around 10 minutes. But it was probably closer to five minutes when the current slammed me into a spiky large bush/tree where, after being stabbed a few times, I was able to grab a branch and finally stand up.

Chap 3: Crap
While the branch by the side of the river granted sweet relief from being stoned, it presented another large problem. The current was still really strong and my tube, which was closed off on the bottom, had flipped upside down. I had a hold of the branch with one hand and the handle of the tube with another but the current was so strong, and was also filling the inside of the tube with water, that I couldn't pull it back, nor could I flip it back over with one hand.
So I just stood there stretched out like I was on the rack with the river rocks torturing my feet. I had NO idea what to do. Everyone I was with had floated by me, just as helpless as I was, so there I stood for maybe another 6-8 minutes. With no other options I finally just let go and went back to the river-bottom torture for another two minutes until I came to a calmer more shallow part of the River. I was bleeding, numb and alone but at least I wasn't being dragged. If I could have gotten out of there I would have. But the bank was covered in bushes and trees and there was no way. So I got back on my tube and headed down the river, bracing for the next bout of hell.

Chap 4: My Knights
After floating solo for about a half-hour I saw another fellow loner in the river and as I got closer I saw that it was Josh. It was like Christmas. He had gotten out to wait for me at one point and then was slowing his pace until I caught up. He had had his own river drama and got separated from the rest of the group but had gotten a large stick that doubled as an ore and also helped guide his direction using the river bottom. We hadn't gone far together when we saw Dave. He had capsized going through a particularly rough slab of river and had done the worst: lost his tube. So there he was at the river’s edge - barefoot alone and tubeless. We paddled over to him (we could because it was a calmer spot), got out and stood at the bottom of the steep bank trying to decide what was next. Screw it. We're walkin.

Chap 5: Naked hiking.
It's no secret. I don't look the best in a bathing suit, so I try and only wear them for the intended use of swimming and laying out. I don't walk around in them for kicks, and I certainly don't hike or climb in them. But I didn't have much choice. The river bank was a good 25 feet up and I was climbing it barefoot with a tube. I felt totally naked, but luckily the pain of being scratched and poked by the native weeds and bushes took my focus off the fact that I was climbing on all fours with my formidable booty in the air for fellow floaters to get a good look at along with my rapidly forming wedgy. Dave and Josh pulled me up once I got close to the top and after our bare feet made it through another 20 feet of rocks and stickers, we were on a smoother 4-wheeler trail. As we started hoofin' it down the road problem #432 presented itself. Even though the path was much softer, the hot gray dirt was burning our feet to the point that walking in the pokey brush was just as comfortable. Enter: David.

Chap 6: Swaddling Clothes
He burns easily. Since Dave forgot to put sunscreen on he decided to deprive the females on the river by wearing a t-shirt so he wouldn't burn. I don't know if was my whining or his own foot pain but out of nowhere he stopped walking, ripped off his shirt and said. "I'm gonna make some shoes for you." It was genius. He shredded his shirt into strips and Josh fashioned them into sandals on my feet.
Dave made himself a pair, and Josh made his own out of his bandana and what was left of Dave's shirt. And so we continued on in discomfort, but not pain, for another 15 minutes or so until some river goers shouted to us that if we had lost a tube, one of their buddies had it and was coming down right behind them. Though the makeshift shoes alleviated a lot of pain we still jumped at the idea of giving our feet a break - even if it meant getting back into that #$%*&@&#^@&*#! river. We found a way to get back down to the bank at a place that we also discovered was the shoe graveyard. Shoes for everyone!! Albeit mismatched, Josh found a pair of flip flops for him and Dave, while I strapped on a lone Croc on top of my swaddling shoes. We stepped back into the river pain-free with all three tubes and were ready to go. But Dave wasn't having it. "I'm not getting back in this river."

Chap 7: He Took a Few for the Team
Josh and I left Dave with his new shoes on the bank and made our way back into the river while Dave said he would meet us at the end via the trail. The two of us latched on to each other and Josh navigated our pitiful two-tube vessel around jutting rocks, dead trees and branches. We were fine until the bridge.
Damn the bridge.
The water was really rough right before the bridge and we were moving fast. There were four walls holding the bridge up and we were trying to make it through the middle slot without hitting. No dice. Josh hit it first we exchanged a glance that conveyed both panic and resignation right before I hit him. His body and tube soften my blow but he wasn't so lucky. With the same look he let go of his tube, made an attempt to push me on through, and then disappeared momentarily in the churning ice water under the bridge. It was there that he got a bloody goose egg on the front of his leg and a few more bruises and scratches but at least he recovered his tube. He was shivering, with some chips gone from his spirit, but after a few minutes was back latched to my side. I think it was there that I may or may not have told him that a part of me would love him for the rest of my life. Or it could have been after the second disaster, when we were attacked by a mostly dead, evil tree. We had purposely chosen to hug the deeper bank for a while in order to avoided getting beached on a shallow bar in the middle of the %#$@%^#% river. The current took us right into the tree. Josh grabbed large branch to slow us, let go of me and said "keep going because if I let go it's going to hit you!” I did. He let the branch go, and he was gone. By the time he had once again recovered his tube and had caught up to me again his spirit was broken, his teeth were chattering and he was in a bit of pain. But it was almost over, right?

Chap 8: Officer Buttface
Every bend we came to we silently begged for the end. And when I saw it I didn't care that I had to slam my body into a sharp rock to stop myself or that I had to, yet again, climb another steep bank in my suit. By the time we got to the top I half expected people to be there waiting with awards or medals for our success in finally making it - or maybe just a bouquet of flowers or a congratulatory hug. Instead we got hassled by law enforcement peeps who were apparently charged with the noble task of leaning against a fence and heckling the broken, yet lucky members of the public who made it back. "You know you have to have a life jacket to be in this river!?" "We could give you a ticket, there are signs everywhere." "Get off the train track - that is federal property, that's against the law!" At least that is what I thought he said. However all I really heard was "I am a sad little man who was picked on in high school, who dropped out of college but needed to find some way to conjure the illusion of power and dominion over others to make up for my colossal failures in life so I became a typical jackass cop. But even though I wear a badge I am afraid of real criminals and would rather intimidate and harass river-floaters and small children." I fought the urge to say “Officer, are you going to take me in? No? Ok, then kindly shut your hole.”

Chap 9: Sunburns and contusions
We found the rest of the group not long after. Courtney, who had on river shoes, experienced a crash and burn early on and had called it a day then and there and got out of the river. Dave, finding that the trusty river trail that we were on ended about a half a mile down, had turned around and walked back and was picked up on the road by the more fortunate part of our group. Yes, there were some who made it down without a scratch. They were the same friends who couldn't stop laughing when they saw our make-shift shoes. They wanted to stay in the canyon and have a bonfire later that night. But we were out of there...I don't even think we said goodbye to anyone. Walking was painful, I had half of my big toenail broken and dangling, Josh was limping and Dave was sunburned beyond belief. We drove in silence for a long time. And when we stopped to eat we inhaled our dinner. It wasn't until later that night that I realized that almost exactly a year ago to the day I was stung by a stingray on a California beach. Give me that damn river any day.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I do.....

Last month I was in Texas, alone at a fancy resort on a work trip. I had to stay at the resort since every hotel downtown was full which is why I got so cozy with cab drivers. Nonetheless, I was pretty bummed because I was in this amazing place alone so I figured I really couldn't have the experience that is traditionally intended for resort-goers. Anyway on my last night there I got done early at work, went back to the hotel and decided to have a honeymoon for myself.
And I gotta say it is something that EVERY girl should do. I hiked the trail, went for an evening swim, walked the grounds, took an hour-long bubble bath, ordered room service, watched a Sandra Bullock movie and walked around naked the whole night. I did talk to my boyfriend for about 15 minutes but other than than it was all me. By the end of the night I had rejuvenated my love for myself.It was awesome and I could have done that a few more days. I highly recommend a solo vacay. My brother has done a ton and I always thought he was crazy and quite frankly a little weird, but I am down with it now. I am going to end the story right there because I don't want to go into how the feeling of bliss with myself was short-lived...how I missed my plane the next morning and how I was unable to get on a flight for the rest of the day. I am not going to tell you how the following night I was staying in a motel room that made me want to anti-bacterial-ize myself every two seconds, or how when I got on a plane the next day the right engine was on the fritz and we had to get off. I will spare you the story of how I had to get in a cab, along with three yuppies, and drive to Austin and then fly to Atlanta in order to get back. Telling you that getting back took two days and visits to four different airports in 14 hours would probably ruin the feeling of bliss during my self-honeymoon that I am trying to portray here. So I'll just end the story there.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The verdict's in....

It was rough. It was beautiful. It was gut-wrenching. It was amazing. Those of you who have read The Kite Runner, by the same author, know what I mean. Aside from being beautifully written, it was punctuated with historical events in Afghanistan through Afghani eyes. I learned a lot about what that big mess over there has been all about and it was hard to put down. But if you like reading about lambs, flowers and rainbows this book is not for you. Its raw, it’s real and it gives you a dose of what people over there have gone through – especially the women – and it is not pretty. There were times I was incensed, and there may or may not have been some tears shed. But there is light at the end - I tell you that because knowing that helped me get through it. I finished reading it yesterday afternoon and I went to the store that night and ran into a woman in a black burka (the thing women wear that cover their whole body and their faces). It was all I could do to not stare because I wanted so badly to hear about her life. I don’t want to make judgment calls on what her level of happiness is or quality of life might have been, but my heart certainly went out for her. After reading the book I have a new found gratitude for being raised in this country, in this culture. I can read, work, laugh, sing, wear shorts, speak to whomever I want and most of all put a man in his place when the occasion calls for it. Give it a read. And when you are done, give me a call and we’ll do lunch.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Broken spleens and healed hearts

A year ago today my 14-year old brother was hit by a pickup truck. He is the artsy one, the original one, the funny one. The one who can crack you up just by being him. He started calling me "Uncle" a few years ago, no idea why. He has since changed the nicknames a few times - to Nun Priestess, last year, and the latest, Senator Amidala. He both talks and walks during slumber, insists I sing him three songs before he goes to sleep and likes to debate political issues he knows nothing about. Three things brings him mind-blowing, toe-tapping excitement: elevators, drive through car washes and beating the pants off opponents in everything from card games to Foosball. Braden is a whole lot of personality and during that first 24 hours after he was hit on the road - stopping to check the gas tank on his motorcycle - the shades of life seemed a little less brilliant. I got the news from my brother, Jarad, that night and it felt like I was kicked in the chest. "Hit by a truck... internal bleeding... intensive care."
I heard the details in fragments and the drive to Idaho was a blur. People don't cope with fear and grief the way you see it on Full House. We like to turn inward, go off on our own and lick our wounds, hide how scared we are and cry alone. It can be a lonely time but luckily he didn't leave us in that grayish-brown place for long. Instead, while the doctors were keeping him a few days to monitor his spleen, he took us hostage. He was "Braden" again by day three and we were playing card games for roughly 43 hours straight. When he would start to lose and would get caught cheating, he would say "but I got hit by a truck.." Well played boy, well played. (he rode that wave for another 6 months) That week most of us spent a night beside him in a recliner which, though those nights were uncomfortable and sleepless they also served as sweet release from Uno, Phase 10, Skipbo and some damn apple game that I have blocked from my memory. Now a year later things are back to normal. His spleen is in tact, he can play football, basketball, swing dance and take deserved poundings from his siblings...I actually owe him one from June 23, when he gave me some serious lip. Yes, I keep them logged. Anyway looking back he is lucky. We are lucky, blessed. He is yet to get on a bike again. His motorcycle is still broken. But I think that is fine by all of us. Love you bubba.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Remember the Alamo

Tonight I cried in a cab. It wasn't the normal soggy eye, look away and cover it up cry, but it was the tears-dripping-off-your -chin-I-wish-could-stop- but-since-I-can't-I-may-as-well- cry-with-dignity cry - all because of a cab driver named Jose. He drove a van-cab. I don't like vans and if it wasn't for a colleague who waved him down for me I would have instead called Badar, the kind Egyptian who picked me up at the airport and gave me his personal phone for all my travel needs. Moreover he is set on taking me to see "the real" San Antonio on my last day, which may or may not include belly dancing (who knew). But I digress. Anyway as soon as I jumped into the back of Jose's van he started spilling his guts. As a former reporter I, of course, started egging him on in his confessions. He started off by telling me that he used to be a welder in the Army and is now enjoying a healthy pension and other nice benefits from his days as a soldier. So I asked which war he fought in. "Vietnam ma'am." I might have known from his tone that we were about to go on an emotional ride but I was intrigued and his story could kick "Pearl Harbor's" cinematic ass. He was in Vietnam for four years straight, leaving a wife of 16 years-old and two children. He was injured by enemy fire and ended up being pronounced dead. But he wasn't dead, and it took the Army nearly a year to reverse his status. Meanwhile his wife received word of his death and ended up remarrying. He said he wrote letters all the time that never made it. He said he knew they wouldn't make it but he had to make the attempts, just for his own sanity, or lack thereof. Upon returning to the states he was pretty much crazy. Trained to kill anything that got in his way - his enemy was anyone that didn't have "round eyes." And while he wasn't dealing with hate and an instinct to annihilate he was fighting haunting memories of dead children, decapitated bodies and unspeakable carnage. The second he returned he searched out his wife, now in a different city, only to find that she was not only remarried but also had children with her new husband. He never did remarry. He tried. He wanted it more than anything but he couldn't fix his heart or his head to where he felt he could, and he claimed all subsequent girlfriends were only after money. He did fall in love with a Mexican woman years ago, gave her a ring and set a date. She got deported after being caught with drugs. And under the advice of his lawyer he refused to send her the money needed to come back for fear she would just use it for drugs. "I think I regret that. I can't forget the day I told her I wasn't sending money, so I guess that is regret." Then two years ago he fought cancer brought on from asbestos in the steel he had welded during the three decades while in the Army. Now, in remission he is a San Antonio cab driver who likes rainy days and curly hair that reminds him of his daughter. He's not sad. "The Army has treated me well ma'am, they bought my house, I have great benefits plus $700 a month - I can't complain." "My kids still remember me and I am so lucky they call me daddy, they didn't for years." My tears started around the description of the war but the hefty dose of perspective kept them going strong. When he pulled up to my hotel I paid the fare, gave him a healthy tip and fought the urge to hug him. "Have a good night ma'am" You do the same. "I certainly will."
I'll make sure I call Badar tomorrow. Belly dancing conversations don't ruin my mascara.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Stop the presses......

I'm a writer. I've considered myself a writer since the fourth grade when I started my oh-so-serious mystery novel called "Witness." In junior high and high school I was an editor/writer and in college I wrote for both the local paper and the school paper. Then from the second I turned my tassel I entered into another glorious stint as a journalist at Deseret Morning News. But this month I did a triple salchow off the writing train and executed a shaky, unstable landing into the world of advertising. Umm. Crap? Well it is something that I ask myself everyday. I went from knowing my stuff and being completely confident in my craft, to sitting nervously in a lobby at Microsoft, marking my moves in how I am going to get up and walk into a meeting after my boss comes to usher me through the high security doors. Notes to self: Make sure your sandal is completely on before you stand up, do a cleavage check before the hand shake to make sure they haven't worked their way out on you, don't trip on your pant legs (they are a little baggy after losing 5 lbs of since starting this job - stress and anxiety becomes me).
Those are the few things I can control. It's not often in my life that I have NO idea what I am doing, but now I am living it day to day. I am the weird silent girl in meetings, like the foreigner who just smiles and nods. I constantly second guess every move - sending an e-mail, making a phone call, going to the restroom. They've said 'in a year, you will be fine." So only 351 more days of bumbling around in the dark. It's a challenge, the people are nice and I know it will get easier. It's a new challenge and a good job and that's that. But my greatest contention is my fall from being a journalist. Jobs are jobs in most cases. But as a journalist, it's a lifestyle. Though I remain comfortable and reinforced in my decision to bail, I am still mourning that departure from the exclusive fraternity that is journalism. Use-to-be's don't count in that world. I may not miss the erratic schedule, the thankless tasks, the long hours, the condescension from high public officials, the pettiness of over-involved and uninformed citizens, the hate mail and the life-sucking legislature, but there are some things that are irreplaceable. I'll miss that fleeting moment of accomplishment after you send a story, the smug satisfaction after you have rightly nailed someone to to the wall and I think I will even miss the flutter of activity before a deadline. Moreover I will miss the newsroom restroom "swap meet," the quote board, the practical jokes, the unique, and often whimsical, personalities that come with journalists (maybe even the lingerers from time to time). And most of all I will miss those damn thrill-seeking window washers that I was on a first name basis. John had kind eyes. I like kind eyes. Good game.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

ohh snap....in the privates?

This almost makes me want to bear children....almost..

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The best medicine.....

"There is a story about the Greek Gods; they were bored so they invented human beings, but they were still bored so they invented love, then they weren't bored any longer. So they decided to try love for themselves. And finally, they invented laughter, so they could stand it."
— Feast of Love

Saturday, May 3, 2008


I went to Logan this weekend to cover what seems like my 4,621st college graduation. But this time it was different. Too different. After you spend 5 years living in Logan and going to Utah State you can't go 3 minutes without seeing someone you know. Even two and three years after I graduated, the minute I set toe on campus social hour was on and crackin. But this time nobody even looked familiar and not one person yelled out my name. An entire four story building where I used to attempt to study is just a parking lot now. Buildings and shopping centers have popped up in areas that I didn't even know existed and the tree near Moen hall is gone where we attempted to carve our names right before we were fined by our R.A.
But after taking a small nostalgic lap around campus the memories came flying back...or screaming back in some cases. There is still the rut in the sidewalk near the Ray B. West where, when I was on crutches, a crutch got stuck and I went tumbling down. There is the stone bench outside of Animal Sci that Tyler waited for me on every other day to walk me to lunch and the fountain Josh and I went wading in one night when we got a wild hair. People still talk about Aggie ice cream like its an alternative fuel. The big "hang out" table in the Hub, which I blame for single handedly coercing me into skipping most of my classes sophomore year resulting in a g.p.a. I am too ashamed to disclose and thus prompting the birth of my mantra "Cs get degrees" is still there. And I even visited the gut-ripping slab of sidewalk I avoided for two years, where I first saw my first one-and-only hand-in-hand with his new one-and-only a mere four weeks after the carnage. (I did not however continue the memory lane side-path to the Geology Building's basement where I ran to that day to blubber for 30 minutes after the sighting.)
The boys in Logan are still, as a whole, a little lurpy but seemingly kind-hearted and a lot of them still drive jeeps. People still park inappropriately in the driveway of my old apartments (ya Carly, that's right. INAPPROPRIATE) and the traffic on main street still makes me want to kick puppies. Hippies still abound so it's probably safe to say they are still banging their drums whenever they get a chance. And last but not least the Baugh Motel — the place where about 10 of us were surrounded by four police cars, caught in the hot tub and subsequently slapped with criminal trespassing charges — is still there and in it's same seedy form.
But its true. Logan was never really "me." It was a hell of a clambake while I was there but Salt Lake became more of a home even after just a year than Logan ever really was. Even so, make no mistake about it — I bleed Aggie blue.