Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm Not Dead Yet...

I know that it's disrespectful, classless and somewhat tacky to speak ill of the dead. Even more so to flat out mock traditions and whatnot. But...disrespectful, classless and tacky are right up in my wheelhouse....so here we go. (And plus- I don't really think this even counts as mocking...just commenting on that which I find interesting)

I fancy myself a pretty observant person. I watch. I listen. I notice behaviors and details. And more often than not, I mutter childish commentary under my breath about said observations. The more obnoxious the detail, the better the chance that I have noted it and quipped some snarky response just quiet enough for the evil-doer to think that I said something....but not be 100% sure. I'm a child. This is no secret.

One thing I just plain don't get is the roadside memorial. I can't speak for the rest of the country, but it seems a pretty common occurrence driving around town, at freeway ramps, busy intersections, etc. Wherever there has been an accident, the victims family and friends often build a makeshift shrine out of a black and white photocopied picture, clear plastic slip cover, twig cross and a half melted candle. I understand feeling the desire to remember a life lost. But the roadside? Right where it happened? In the wind and the rain? Never to be revisited or tended to? That I don't get. Not only does it seem like a huge bummer to force yourself to remember the location of a horrible accident every time you happen to drive that direction.....but to halfway go to the trouble of making a memorial and then just leaving it there to erode and fall to pieces just seems lame. Worse than not doing anything, in my opinion. Actually, a certain friend (who shall remain nameless, but will be linked to) and I have discussed this at length. If either of us do get off'd in an accident, there will most certainly be a twig shrine, complete with a grainy photocopy of our picture, protected by a plastic slip cover.....but with the opening of the cover up so the rain can get in and smear the picture even more. Cause ya know, that the sort of thing I live for ...snarkiness and irony, even in death.

Point is, we suck at death. The weeping. The wailing. The gnashing of teeth. More often than not, I envy the guy who gets to sit this one out (if you know what I mean).Funerals are horrible, cemeteries suck, and those half-assed roadside markers are the absolute worst.

You know who does death right? Mexico.

And bienvenidos to you to, thankyouverymuch. Way to be welcoming! Sad, depressing cemetery....I think not. I'm 90/10 certain that if I swung a stick around this grave site, I might end up with some candy or maybe a little toy. That's an afternoon of mourning and remembrance I can get behind.

However, while the welcome wagon is ready and rolled out, I didn't get a solid sense that anyone was really certain where it was goin'. I think she's holding out hope for San Francisco. Why else the flower(s) in her hair?

Seriously, this is just amazing. Absolutely beautiful.

Wherever we do end up when we die, I take peace in knowing that I won't have to worry about reaching things on the top shelf.
What's that, you ask? I'm not completely sure....but the 'woman' had a very impressive goatee.

And all of that nonsense about 'heaven for the climate, hell for the company.' We can go ahead and put that to rest right now. It was a beautiful evening and Johnny Ramone was there. Myth...busted. Score one for climate and company.

Moving into the Question/Answer portion of the evening...

Yes, all dog's do, in fact, go to heaven. Suck on that you, "Oh no.....you can't bring that dog in here," people. 
And just for the sake of a good time, in this mausoleum, there were skeleton cheerleader's celebrating death through interpretive dance, and a blue velvet Jesus with blown glass googely eyes, hung on a Celtic cross of bones....because anything else just wouldn't make sense. 

Granted, Dia de los Muertos seems to be quite a production. That kind of hulabaloo has got to be hard to keep up. When I die, I don't want to put anyone out. I don't expect a golden shrine to be erected in my honor, emblazoned with lights, decorated with flowers, diet Coke, and Dorito's. Nor do I expect a seven skeleton salute....but that would be nice.

No one needs to go to all that trouble. I don't need the pomp and circumstance.....but someone damn well better post a midget to stand guard.

Cause this is where the party's at. Just sayin... 
*photos courtesy of the Good Doctor
Viva el Dia de los Muertos....See ya when ya get there, if you ever get there.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fair Weather Friend

At the risk of beating the same old drum, I wouldn't exactly describe this past summer as exciting. Most of this is my own fault. For some reason, I thought buying a house was a good idea. Now I realize that while I can proudly claim to be a 'home owner,' I really am just broke and have to pull weeds. Seriously, total bonehead move on my part. But another reason for the drastic lack of excitement stems from the fact that I don't live in a city known for it's thriving social scene. (Again-why did I buy a house there? Ele-phino) Add that to the fact that we Morm's don't really get down much on drunken revelry...that shrinks the opportunities to swim in the 'fun pool' dramatically.

Needless to say, I am not just a little bit happy that The Good Doctor has decided to move her beautiful mind back to the Sunshine State...and within simple driving distance, no less. By my math, this relocation project has increased my single, Mormon friend count to a whopping total of 2. That's a 100% increase, if anyone is keeping track. (Yeah- I can do math. What?)

She went nomad and stayed at my place just long enough to realize that living in the desert sucks exactly as much as you'd think it would, came to recognize that herds of sheep lose their novelty when they make freaking sheep noises all night long and between her and her sister, completely ruined my dog. Since their departure he has done nothing but look at me with pity, boredom and disdain for the life of the single spinster. I refuse to be judged by a creature that licks his own butt....so whatever. Get over it.

We engaged in some hijinxs on the 4th of July, which can loosely be translated to....hung out at her grandma's, went to the beach and (I) was reminded that the downfall of Carlsbad beaches is that there are no public restrooms. (This is where that story about walking three miles, hopping over a rod-iron fence, sneaking into a hotel bathroom and getting a 'talking to' from the local sheriff about j-walking comes in.)

Anyhow- as if that wasn't enough excitement to stem the tide of yearning for a social life that extends beyond the reach of my DVR, we decided to tie a bow around the summer with a visit to the L.A. County Fair. I have been born and bred around all things fair related. Grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, siblings have all worked at the fair at one time or another. I've placed bets on the horses with my grandpa more than once, wandered around delivering ice to the beer stands, and my brother and uncle have hatched all sorts of plans to scalp tickets to events from the rodeo to the Winter Nationals. (I have yet to come to a solid conclusion as to whether or not this officially makes us 'Carnie-folk,' but retrospection has kind of got me thinkin' maybe, yes.)

It's always fun/ny to bring a newby around something that is normal and second nature to you. Pretty much opening the doors and throwing some sunshine onto your particular brand of crazy. Unfortunately, in this case, I was totally a bad friend. I got a late start on the day, so we missed all of the standard county fair schenanigans like the pie eating, pig racing, ridiculous whointhehellwouldeverspendmoneyonthatcrap demonstrations, and this...

But we did manage to catch the trapeze/ribbon/I would kill myself 16 different ways if I tried this/whatever it's called, show.
And because we like to do it up international style, we didn't just stop with the Russian mail-order trapeze artist. We also rolled up on the Beijing Circus performers.

It was around this point of the night that I thanked the Lord in heaven that I was born in America, land of the free, home of the fat. As it turns out, I am way to chubby/lazy/clumsy to ever have survived in any country but this. The timing of this realization was actually kind of apropos for the evening. It was shortly thereafter that got a corn-dog the size of a toddler's arm, a bowl full of fried Kool-Aid (no joke-google it) and discovered what I want my final resting place to be.

About the inevitable"Dying Dodgers" cracks....bah. Keep 'em to yourself. Don't take the easy joke.   

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Time Long Gone By

Obviously, if you know me, you know I have no children of my own. However, I find a great many things troubling with the youth of today. They most certainly don't get "it." "It" being any number of things. For instance, they will never understand the art and beauty behind the mixed tape. With all that they have, there are so...SO many things the ipod generation will miss out on. The mixed tape is not ANYTHING like a playlist you can slap together with three mouse clicks on itunes...that is, if you even bother to do it yourself and not just let Genius do it. Mixed tapes took thought. Planning. Commitment.  Which songs do you include? Which do you leave out? What order should they go in? Start out with the best song? Close with it? Build to the highlight in the middle and then wind down from there?

Then came the business of handling the play/record combo button pushing just right.....with enough down time between songs, but not too much dead time. Finally realizing the pause button would keep you from hearing the play key snap back when you stopped the recording to switch songs.  If you were recording from the radio, and the DJ stomped all over the opening or closing of a song with inane chit-chat, I'm 90% certain that burning down the radio station would have been a viable and reasonable response.

Trying to hit the 30 minute mark without cutting off the last song or ending with a bunch of wasted tape? An absolute exercise in futility if there ever was one....but a valiant and never ending quest.

Ahhhhh the good old days...when men didn't use hair products, women were the only ones who dared to/could pull off skinny jeans, mixed tapes meant love and vampires didn't sparkle.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Men for Whom I Would Gladly Trade My Morals

I wish that my life was so full of excitement and actual personal relationships that this wasn't such a big deal for me. But my social calendar being what it is, the return of SAMCRO is pretty much the highlight of my life right now.....and for the foreseeable future.

Oh Jax....I have missed you.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


So on the list of things I need asap, these rank near the top. I'd also like stickers that could be applied to t-shirts or foreheads as deemed necessary by me, and me alone.
I'm completely serious. Someone buy these for me, STAT.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Those Crazy Canuks

Okay-normally I don't pay much attention to hockey, cause well, I'm not a commie. I'm an American, we play baseball and hang out at the beach. But if this is how we do it at the ice-rink? That seems like a cause I can get behind.

I'm obviously talking about the foreground, not the background

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

...And We're Back!

April? It happened. But quite honestly, it is kind of a blur...and not an exciting blur at that.

Aside from some awesome pastries, (compliments of my cousins new found baking gusto) and nearly hacking my own father to death with a machete, I don't really have much to report. Ergo- the absence of riveting details of my day to day. Bored. To. Tears. Being the ever thoughtful gal that I am, I decided to spare you the task of keeping up with that. You're welcome.

Perhaps the reason that April was funky is that I finally came to the realization that I will not be getting any stamps in my passport this summer. Granted, this probably makes me sound like a bit of a spoiled brat, but I really am sad about it. Ever since I started teaching I have spent the summer gallivanting about, eating my way through, or doing volunteer work in some far-flung foreign country. For some reason, this year I got it in my head that I needed to buy a house. As it turns out,  the mortgage learning curve has taken longer to get ahead of than I planned. There will be no passport travel for the foreseeable future. That thought is equal parts mind numbing and soul crushing.

Ahh well-c'est la vie. I'm sure I'll live....and don't worry, we'll get to pastries and machetes soon. I'm sure you're waiting with baited breath.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Then we all sang, "God Save the Queen"

So today I ranted. I was LONG GONE on a rant. I was off ranting most of the period. I runted, if you will. I swear. * if you could see me right now, you would know that I am both shaking my head and waving my fist *

Either it is getting close to the end of the year, spring has gotten me feverish (and not in any way that could be considered favorable, or even remotely enjoyable), freshmen are getting more obnoxious, or my ability to tolerate them has been reduced by a power of ten, at least. I'm thinking that it is more than likely some perfect storm of all these things. Plus....the weather sucks. I know spring is fickle, but you know how I feel about fickle? Fickle can.....yeah- I'll say it. Fickle can F-off. I am sick of rocking attire borrowed from Nanook of the North, just to be able to leave the house in the morning. Then stripping down to Debbie in Dallas' work attire by the time I get home. Enough already....you've done it. You've broken me. I'm broken. I'm a shell of the woman I once was.

Anyway- back to the rant at hand. My freshmen are jerks. (And yes, I just googled synonyms for A-holes.....but none of them were less offensive, and still equally emotional. Alas, all we're left with is jerks, cause I'm a lady. And ladies don't s-a-y the ass word.)

I left work early on Friday to get to a doctors appointment. Apparently my sinuses are a labyrinth filled with twists, turns and hide abouts, where Funk and Filth are able to lay dormant, allowing the rest of my body to believe that they have in fact been defeated. Know that this is just a clever ruse on their part. The Funk and Filth like to watch their enemy's spirits lighten, and like bastards always do, they come back. Like the Great and Mighty South, they return, in an effort to take down the Damn Yanks once and for all. Bastards.

Anyhow- my day's start out well enough. I have juniors most of the day. My favorite age group and curriculum. Sure, they are chatty and we often times are able to chat about the 'stuff' that they want to talk about......but I think there is some give and take to building a classroom where students feel comfortable enough to take risks in order to make educational leaps.

But the freshmen... They are a whole different breed. A whole different type of evil. As is often the case, one on one, they are normal-ish people. As normal as any 14 year old can be. But put them in a group.....and the worst behaviors boil to the surface. The worst part, is the sub that they tortured is an awesome woman. A great teacher....and they gave her the business. Let me tell you, I was pissed. She left a frantically scribbled note with phrases like, "Oh my sweet Jesus." "These kids are ridiculous." "Absolutely unbelievable." "Completely out of control." You get the idea. All scribbled with the hand of what looks like a serial killer, more etched into the paper than written with red pen.

To end it on a high note she did point out that there was one student who was, "An absolute angel," And then she stapled the assignments that were completed to the note. *Correction- she stapled THE assignment that had been completed and turned in. The ONLY assignment that had been turned in....obviously, by the absolute angel.

Then I had the pleasure of turning on my computer to find not one, but two emails. One from security and one from the principals secretary informing me of the schenanigans on Friday and making it clear, in no uncertain terms that justice needs to be both harsh and quick. Fine. By. Me. If we had stocks in the town square, I'd be all for it, but sadly, that is not an option. So, I dreamt up some ungodly long and obnoxious assignment surrounding ideas like respect, honor, dignity, integrity, accountability, self censoring, impulse control, setting an example, making good judgements, and then including a letter explaining/apologizing for the mayhem on Friday. I honestly can't remember the last time I was this ticked off with a group of children.  They fell back on with the, "It wasn't me. I didn't do anything. It was ______. She did it!"

And of course they got the standard......"Your history teachers lied to you. This is not a democracy, or debate. Democracy ends at the door my darling. That was not a beginning offer in a negotiation. Look at the board," where it was written, "'This is SUADWIS day." You are welcome to 'Shut Up And Do What I Say', or you are welcome to go to On Campus Detention with the rest of the knuckle draggers and ne'erdowell's."

"But know this, if you stay here, you are writing working on your "I was not raised by wolves" packet.....and you can shut up about it or we are singing "God save the D@mn Queen," little bastards.
I'm glad they shut up and did their work. I don't even know the words to "God Save the Queen."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Welcome to my Last Nerve

Easily annoyed.


Liable to snap.

Overly emotional.

Downright crazy.

All words that have probably been used to describe me as of late. In some cases, those words may have been well deserved. In others, I think my response has been totally valid. Maybe it's the fact that I am sick of winter. Maybe it's the fact that teenagers are sometimes just down right annoying. Maybe I am just a spoiled brat who wants to go on vacation (I'm not talking about a long weekend. I'm talking about a 'stamp my passport' vacation.) Nevertheless, there is one question that gets on my last nerve no. matter. what.

The specific question may take various forms, but it is the principle behind the question that pushes me toward the certifiably insane end of the Crazy Spectrum.

So riddle me this...

Am I the only one that wants to choke people when you tell them to a) turn the ipod off,  b) stop talking, c) quit crumpling the bag of chips, d) insert loud/annoying activity here.... and their first response is, "Ohhh you can hear that?"

I count the day a success if I find myself able to overcome the desire to respond with, "No Einstein, I was using my superhuman/Vulcan mind-melding power to help me guess what can only be heard in your head."

Welcome to my last nerve. I realize that there will occasionally be visitors, but please don't plan on making it your personal residence.

Friday, January 14, 2011

One Thing, Maybe Two


Thing number 2- Isn't there a scripture in Proverbs about training up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it?
We take that seriously around here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tip your waitresses and try the veal

We buried a friend this weekend. Trouble is, they buried him at the graveyard that I hate the very most. It is seriously one of my least favorite places in this valley. Granted cemeteries are not pleasant places to being with, but they have charm and link us to history. Once the immediate sting wears off, they are really beautiful, sweet places. In fact,  every set of pictures that I have from my travels around the world have at least 50 pics devoted strictly to cemeteries.

The problem that I have with this cemetery is that in the past few years, I have buried about 4 or 5 students at this same location. There hasn't been time for the sting to wear off and the feelings of history, peace and charm to break through.
Pretty sure he was at the poppy fields with his wife and twins. 

However, I did gain a sense that this may have been the perfect place to bury Todd. Knowing that he was the constant joker....and adamant about having a good time, I parked the car and got out, only to see a head stone that read this,

"Happy to be here"

In my head, I am going to think that the deceased actually wanted it to say, "I'm happy to be here. I'll be here for eternity. Tip your waitresses.....and try the veal." But for the sake of space, his family settled with just, "Happy to be here"

When I die, I hope to have the people I left behind still realize that regardless of where my body resides, my spirit remains exactly the way it always has been. And my spirit is freaking hilarious....so I want something clever on my headstone, dammit.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Church alert, church alert.......divert your gaze if you can't read without picking fights.

I was thinking back to when my first grandpa died, then uncle Kelly, grandma Young, finally my last remaining grandparents within months of one another. Most recently, one of my best high school friends Todd died, followed up with the passing of our sweet Stake Relief Society Presidents father in this same week.This holiday season has been quite a ride. It's so strange to see how things like this take their toll differently on each individual person.

I remember when Uncle Kelly passed away I was broken. I'm not sure why, but it hit me like a ton of bricks. Even though it was completely expected, after a long hard fought battle with cancer.  I couldn't stop crying. I was a mess. Irreparably broken, or so it seemed. Maybe because he was the first family loss I had experienced  as an 'adult' and not a child. Grandpa Young died when I was about 12.  Maybe it was that I was stuck in Utah, alone, with my sister and her husband, while the rest of my family had each another to lean on in California. I felt  isolated from everything that I wanted to be near. Jamie was back in California, of course (it was her dad), and Jenn and Steve had each other. What really started to get my attention and kind of freaked me out  was that I started questioning the strength of my testimony, "I must not have a true testimony of the Gospel, namely, the resurrection and the atonement. If I did, I would not let death have such an impact on me. If I believe that we will live again and truly be reunited with our eternal families.....I shouldn't be this upset." 

Anyhow- shortly after learning of Todd's death,  I started flipping through old journals and notes that I taken at BYU from a class called, Teachings of the Latter Day Prophets. We studied a talk that Ezra Taft Benson gave shortly after Spencer W Kimball died. The thing that I wrote down was that Pres Benson said, (loosely quoted) "Mourning and feeling sorrow when a loved one dies is not a reflection of your testimony (or lack thereof). It does not reflect a lack a testimony of the resurrection. It simply shows how much we loved and cared for another person. We mourn him because we love him. The deeper the love, the deeper their loss will be felt and stronger the longing will be to one day be reunited with them. But  the problem is, that dwelling does not allow the comfort of the Spirit to penetrate and heal the hearts of those who mourn." (like I said, those were my notes, not a direct quote from the Prophet.)

Granted those are thoughts from the journal of the knuckle-head college version of me who was experiencing the first death of a close family member since my grandpa when I was a kid. Not like the grown up version is more eloquent or wise, but nevertheless. It just was too timely to be coincidence. To me it was a clear sign that Heavenly Father knows exactly how I feel, what I have gone through and what I need to hear in order to press forward in faith. That talk (I have been looking for a hard copy of it, but I can't find it) helped me to allow myself to be sad and to mourn a loss without adding guilt to the mix for not just putting on a happy face and acting like Little Suzie Sunshine. The problem comes from dwelling, not from feeling.
It's the sweet tender mercies that help sustain us in difficult times.  God hears, he listens and he is involved. Maybe not involved in a way that would like him to be, but that's just as well. He's the one who knows the end game.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

There's a Little Black Spot on the Sun Today, and a Big Black Spot on my Heart.

So far 2011 hasn't really made many friends with me. I thought that I broke my toe. After weeks of pain killers and walking around with two of them tied together, I'm noticing that it is not my toe that hurts. Actually, it's the spot where I originally broke my foot in college. So that's awesome. Tricky thing about pain killers, they may mask pain and help you feel better, but they may also mask the actual problem, which must eventually be dealt with. 

With that in mind, I wish someone could come up with an emotional or heart based pain killer. Those are the pains that dig the deepest and linger the longest. But as experience and wisdom will always show, some pain shouldn't be masked, but rather should be felt,  experienced and worked through. 

The pain of my broken toe pales in comparison to news that one of my good friends from high school passed away in his sleep Sunday night. He was 32 and has twin boys that are just barely a year old.  I have known and loved Todd since we were kids. Unfortunately, most of our contact of late has come simply by bumping into each other at church every now and then, or passing stories back and forth between friends that see him more frequently than I. We obviously lost touch once he got married and started having kids.  I was single, traveling and doing other things. We were at different points in our lives. I guess that sort of thing just happens. But this totally has come as a slap in the face. Huge reminder not to let friendships and relationships slip thru the cracks just because we get tied up in the minutiae of our own lives. 

 For some reason, I can't shake this off, or even begin to wrap my mind around it. At this point, I'm not really sure I want to just yet. As the mormon grapevine swoops into full swing, there are all sorts of "What if's" and "How's" and "Why's" being whispered in hushed tones, like there is supposed to be some intriguing and tabliod-esque answer to feed peoples desire for salacious details. But those details, in my opinion, are none of our business. Better left as questions. That is between Todd, his wife and the Lord.

At then end of the day, I go to bed thinking that Todd was a good man, who sometimes stumbled, but tried his best. Heck, sometimes he tried so hard to help those on his mission hat he wound up getting him and his companion blown off of a rooftop in Mexico by what they thought was a dead power line! (One of their contacts or friends got a pair of shoes stuck on the power line, if I remember correctly) He even had the hand print burn and the hole in the bottom of his foot to prove it. He loved his family and left everyone feeling better than they did before they met him. I can picture the 14 year old Todd, who would put hand lotion in his hair instead of gel, "Because it even makes your hair softer, see?" just as well as I can the 30 year old Todd, looking exactly the way you would expect the parent of newborn twins to look. Though time had taken it's toll, there was a part of him that would never, could never change. He would know I was upset about something, cock his head to the side and put that smirk on his face, stick his arms out and wave me into some of the best hugs I can remember. Sometimes to remind me that the guy I was dating (or getting dumped by) was a loser, sometimes just because I looked frantic and upset (which is sadly, more often than you would think). Sometimes he would hug me because I hadn't seen him in a while, and the hug smeared out all of the space that had passed since last we talked, and sometimes..... he'd hug me just because. No reason. And it was fool proof. I don't know if I ever told him that, but I always felt happier, more loved, and more cared about after a Todd hug.

I moved into his parents ward last month. I saw ma and pa Houser sitting up toward the front of the chapel, and thought, "I should call Todd and see how he is holding up with the twins." Leave it to me to ignore promptings of the spirit.....and now I'll never get the chance to tell him what a great influence he was in my life. And what a great friend he was. Pretty sure I will kick myself for a while for that move. 

I just hope that one of Todd's buddies  or brothers will take up the mantle and make sure the boys know all of the schenanigans their dad got himself tied up in. Like taking a group date to an abandoned mine where they staged his death by falling down a shaft, impaling a metal bar through his shirt, complete with fake blood and everything....just to freak the girls out. (which, by all accounts worked like gang busters.) The camping trips that we went on where his ONLY job was to bring chili and can opener, only to show up with about 15, one gallon cans of chili (for 5 people) but not a single can opener. "Relax, we'll just find a sharp stick or rock." I'm actually shocked that we all didn't get tetanus right there and then. If I had a nickel every time I heard that phrase, "Relax, we'll just..." I'd have a crap load of nickels. To this day, that phrase speaks fear and trepidation to my soul. Even more so if it is said whilst in the wilderness during the time period just before cell phones that could be used to call for rescue. And, someone's definitely going to have to  teach his children the art of pulling off a perfect toilet papering....which of course includes MUCH more than toilet paper, a-la street signs, flashing cones, for sale signs, crime scene tape and liquid soap.  

But above all, I hope that those little boys have in them that special part of Todd that makes everyone they encounter feel a little more loved, a little more cared for and just plain happier than they were before they met. Because if there is any silver lining to be found in such a sad situation, that's got to be it.