Monday, October 04, 2010

Phase 2

I haven’t blogged for days. I was getting ready to. I would write down “22 minutes walking outside” or “Crunches” or “1st Thessalonians 3 – Philomen”, and plan on blogging, but I would be so tired, and I had gone past the 40 days already, so I let it be.

Well, now I have listened to Conference, and I have thought about what is next, and I did play some video games, and yeah, it’s time to move into the next phase.

There will be more posts, and I will finish the concert series and write other things, but I will not be blogging daily. There are things that have been really good about it, and I have gotten great support, but it is just too time-consuming to keep up. It can always return at another time.

I probably will not post again this week. The producer wants more changes to the screenplay, and originally I thought they were impossible, but I have some ideas on how to carry it out now, and so this week I really want to concentrate on that. Still no money showing up, but I’m still sticking with it. I’m nothing if not tenacious.

I suppose before moving on I should report on the last forty days. Overall, it feels like an accomplishment. I don’t see a trip to Amsterdam in our immediate future, which is okay, and I was disappointed to find that I gained 6 pounds, which would have been a good amount to lose.

I was kind of afraid it would happen, and there is a good chance that it is new muscle, because with the crunches and pushups I went from about 5 at first to 30 now, and that is a pretty fast increase, but still. It did provide a funny moment though, because I was talking to Julie about how if that happened I would be momentarily suicidal and then move on, and she was like, “But you’re so—“ and I don’t remember if the word she used was logical or practical or what, but sure, that’s the end result, but it’s not my initial state.

I do feel more energetic, I am walking faster, and I have stronger abs and arms. Some of my clothes do feel looser, but I wear stretchy things so it is not definitive. I want weight loss, but I’m on a four-year plan, and I do have time to catch up. I should probably take my measurements too, so that weight is not the only available indicator. (For the record, I am 321 now.)

So, what’s next? Well, 20 minutes minimum of scripture study and exercise daily is still the rule, and I am swearing off video games and impure thoughts again, this time through November 24th. This is a 52-day period instead of 40, so one change is that it is longer.

Another change is that I am going to keep up with the rotating toning exercises, but substitute leg lifts for wall sits. I just didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere with them. Part of that is that with your legs and thighs supporting your entire body all the time, they are probably going to always be more developed than other muscles, where it will be harder to see change. Still, there may be better measurability with an exercise that you count instead of time, and at least it mixes things up a bit. I will need something more taxing soon I am sure, but one step at a time. No matter how many times I have gotten into a good routine for aerobic exercises, I have never had a great program for strength training, and fixing that will probably take longer.

Also, I will be keeping a food journal strictly and diligently for the 52 days. This is something that I have tried many times before and failed at, because I will forget things, and fall behind, and just give up, and so giving myself a limited time to focus on it should be helpful. Maybe I will just be trying a different strategy every time for the first few phases, and then I will start combining them. Maybe there won’t even be any weight loss until after the first three years. That would be discouraging, but it would fall within the plan.

I feel like I will eventually need to set some kind of goal about getting better rest, like making myself get to bed earlier, but at this point I would be setting myself up for failure, and I am trying to focus on the achievable.

I will still be working on various tasks and goals that I set for serving others and working on my writing career, but those are not specifically part of the 52 days.

Also, I will be praying for help in loving someone who is difficult for me to love. Well, actually, it’s more the liking her part that is hard, but the point is that I will be working on it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Concert Journal Part II: Live at the Crystal

If I had not been so badly impoverished in college, there would have been another trio of concerts seen in Eugene, that would have included the Presidents of the United States of America, the Gin Blossoms, and the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. Two of the first concerts that I saw in my employed adulthood compensated for that, but they also introduced me to something Badly Bradley had only hinted at—deplorable opening acts.

The Presidents put on an amazing show. “High energy” barely begins to describe it. I saw them at a Rose Festival concert also, and still great. They sing about silly things, and they don’t use all of the available strings with their bassitar and guibass, but they make it work. I might have to call them an absurdist band, actually, except that seems like more of a Leningrad Cowboys thing.

So, at the Crystal, they had two opening acts, and the second, the United States of Electronica, was actually pretty good. In fact, when the Presidents took the stage, they gave a hand to USE themselves, leaving Anna Oxygen out in the cold. Well, that’s what the rest of us had done.

I guess no one ever explained to her that you need to earn the respect of the audience. So, if you can’t do your songs right because your projection system is not working and the right images do not come up for your songs, and this impairs your act, it makes us think that the songs are not very good. Okay, you proved that one anyway. And you can’t make us dance to the dance steps you want and demonstrate. If we like you we might do it, but we didn’t. And getting whiny and cranky with us just reinforces our impression that you suck. Really, it was very sad and annoying.

Oh, one funny thing at that show. Where we were, there was part of the stage that I couldn’t see, which basically meant that I could see everyone but the keyboardist for USE. So later on, during Presidents, I was dancing next to him and didn’t know until my sisters told me.

So, let’s say that the Presidents are absurdist, and that Anna Oxygen was really trying to be a performance artist, and the USE keyboardist’s hair was a work of art, because the when it was time for the Daddies, there was some artistry and illusion going on. Their opening act seemed like a joke.

First of all, musically they sounded rather like a garage band playing a frat party—mainly loud, not particularly memorable, and they only lyrics I could make out were about riding a snake (and if that’s not fratty, I don’t know what is).

Also, their outfits were very costume-y. It was like each member had chosen to play a different character, and there was no thematic connection between the different characters—especially the leprechaun one. So I was there thinking it had to be some kind of joke, and then during the Daddies performance, which was great, this idea started building in the back of my mind, and sure enough White Hot Odyssey is Steve Perry’s other project, and if I can’t like the music of his other band, I admit to being impressed with the ability to do two full shows in one night, which he does on a regular basis. Crazy.

Other memorable shows at the Crystal have included Jimmy Eat World, which was good but I had to leave before they were done, which makes the use of two sucky opening acts particularly egregious.

The Finn Brothers were a great, mellow show, almost acoustic, but still moving and energetic and wonderful. The crazy Celtic lady with the enormous flower in her hair was weird, but I can’t tell you who she was because I could not understand a word she was saying. You know how sometimes when people fake an Irish accent they sound like they have a toothache and it obscures their speech? I’m sure she was not faking, but, yeah, something was not right.

I think my favorite show there was the most recent one, when we went to see the Psychedelic Furs. I guess one good thing about having a voice where you sound like a lifelong smoker is that aging does not show as much. Richard Butler sounded incredible—like time had stood still for him. And he danced around on that stage as if it had not been twenty-odd years. His dancing was a little nerdy, actually, but he was enjoying himself so much! I felt like he was happy to see us, and it was endearing.

Actually, this is the weirdest thing of all—I think their opening act was okay. I don’t know how that happened.

22 minutes walking outside
Wall sits
1st Corinthians 15 – 2nd Corinthians 8

Monday, September 27, 2010

Concert Journal – The first six

Okay, I am still doing this for a few more days—through Friday, I guess, and then I will see.

Breaking up my concert experiences, there are six that I consider to be part of my youth. After that, it is all adulthood, and I couldn’t tell you what year it was—it probably happened sometime between graduating from college and now. These six are actually two trios.

The first set occurred when I was in junior high. Somehow I had reached that point where going to concerts is possible. I know tweens have parents who take them to concerts, but my parents never did it that way. So, at thirteen I was old enough to go to a concert, and it was okay.

They all happened within the span of a summer. Charlie Sexton came to town first, in July, I think, and then A-ha came in August. Those were my two favorites at the time, and that they were both coming was amazing.

For Charlie I went with Marisa and Misty. He played at the Civic Auditorium (now Keller), and we wandered around the venue before and after, talking to a roadie, and a bus driver, and a limo driver. The most exciting part was seeing Charlie, pre-show, leave through a side door and enter a limo. If I had any presence of mind, I would have taken the camera I had out of my pocket, and snapped a shot, but I didn’t. The opening band was Badly Bradley (a guy from Quarterflash was in it), and they were not good.

Although this first concert was exciting, A-ha gave a much better show. I think Charlie was still a little shy—Morten was not. He flirted and joked and was amazing. I went with Gina Caldwell, who was only two years older than me (Misty is five years older, and Marisa was older still), but my brother Lance was working security at the concert, and he drove us, so there kind of was some adult supervision. I did nearly get in trouble, because exploring had been so much fun the first time, I wanted to try it again, and I did meet their bus driver, which was fine, but I sort of wandered into an area where I wasn’t supposed to be (between the Schnitz where they played and the Heathman where they were staying), and had to bluff my way out of it. I guess it was good practice for later.

It does seem weird to me that even though I know that Bourgeois Tagg was their opener—I remember their name on the ad and the ticket and everything—I have no memory of them performing. Even seeing that “I don’t mind at all” is theirs, it’s like, Really? Hmm. I guess the main event completely overshadowed them.

I bought a t-shirt there, and a dog tag at the Charlie Sexton concert, and I wore both of them for my next school picture. My souvenir at the Monkees was a program, but even if it was something wearable I might not have, because they were kind of disappointing.

The thing is, I did like their music okay, but I had really been a fan of the show, and suddenly these young guys are old, and the shtick is a little thin. Maybe I should have stuck with my memories. I think Nikki may have been a bit disappointed with it too, and she was a way bigger fan than I was. Of course, I could have been part of the disappointment. We had a slumber party the night before, and the night before that I had to be up early for a trip to Seattle, and I just could not sleep, so I didn’t. I can be great for 24 hours without sleep—a little hyper, but fine, but then I crashed. I was a very boring guest that night. Nikki’s mom took her, Nancy, and I, and even if the Monkees were a bit disappointing, I guess we still got our money’s worth, because the ticket included Herman’s Hermits, the Grass Roots, Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, and a Beavers baseball game. (That was at the old Civic Stadium, before it became PGE Park.)

I don’t know why, but I didn’t go to any other concerts until just after high school. I know the first one was Billy Idol and Faith No More, because I remember Faith No More making fun of Nelson, and Billy Idol making fun of MC Hammer, and those were the next two. I went with Ericka, Bill, and Scott. Honestly, it was weird that the four of us went to a concert together, but I guess it worked out. Bill never paid for his ticket. I guess it was okay, but those are the memories that stick out, not the music. Well, and I remember Faith No More singing the Nestle Sweet Dreams jingle. It was kind of weird but it worked. Oh, and I remember us speculating on the fate of the fish in their video.

Nelson was the last in that group, because I was already away at college. I hitched a ride back up with Bob Fife’s girlfriend. I can’t remember her name and it is bugging me. I can totally picture her. Greg was supposed to meet me outside, but he never showed, so I was actually at the concert alone, though there were people all around. It was fine. It saddens me that as much as I loved that album, that then they went country and Gunnar became a tool on Celebrity Fit Club, but these things happen.

With the MC Hammer concert, there were so many problems that I don’t even know where to start, including that I never saw the show.

First off, he was supposed to tour with Vanilla Ice, and that was part of my motivation, but I think I was already starting to be embarrassed. I bought his tape on the strength of Ice Ice Baby, and the rest of the tracks were pretty stupid, and even for his good song, you know, sampling is pretty common in rap, just own up to it. I had found him cute, but then he kept doing stupid things to his hair and sticking his tongue out, and it was turning out that everything he said about himself was a lie, so yeah, speaking of tools. Anyway, then he was off the tour, and I don’t remember who replaced him, which I would have if I had seen the show.

I was supposed to go with Matt Davis. I was getting ready, and found that the tickets had disappeared. I tore my room apart trying to find them, but they never turned up. I have no idea what happened. We had some people working on the furnace, and my roommate at the time was not above stealing, but it was so frustrating, and I had to disappoint Matt, and then afterwards I always wondered if we would have become closer, and maybe I could have made a difference later when he needed it. Stupid, but it stung.

Anyway, they were playing for two nights, and my tickets were for the first night, so the second night was the one where I snuck in. Well, I planned to sneak in, anyway, but then when I got to there, Trail Blazer at the time Alaa Abdelnaby was there with his date, and he was allowed, but he was not sure how to get in, so I showed him the doorbell and then tailgated. And yes, that was kind of cool, but you can’t really hear anything backstage, and all I saw was a few dancers, and I knew it would be pushing my luck to stay very long, so yeah, that whole thing was kind of a waste, though whether I should have been bolder or not bothered at all is a reasonable question.

Disco Sweat (20/70)
1st Corinthians 4 - 1st Corinthians 14

Sunday, September 26, 2010

In Memoriam

I’m pretty sure this is my last thing from the reunion, but it is meaningful for me.

The class of 1990 lost ten people along the way. I was close to some and barely knew others, but in each case it just doesn’t feel right that they’re gone. When I have lost people to old age, it is sad, but for people in my own age group it is a shock—that’s just not how it’s supposed to work.

I know many of my classmates were affected the same way, and that often the way it came out was a desire for more details. Having some details would just lead to a desire for more details: “I know it was cancer, but do you know what kind?”

I have observed this before, especially with suicide. There is such an element of shock there, along with guilt and every other negative emotion that goes into that mix, that I believe we hope the additional details will help things make sense. It doesn’t always work, but that desire is still there.

Also, I think to some extent there is a desire to hang on, and a feeling that more information will help. Since Josh died I have dreamt of him a few times, and the first time I remember asking him about this hat he used to wear. It was silly, and even in the dream I knew it was silly, but I understood that I was asking for something tangible to hang on to, and when I say it is silly, it’s because that even in the dream I kind of understood that it wouldn’t work. Whatever souvenirs you have, the person is still gone.

So, I understand that there’s a limit to how much getting more information can help. Not only did I suspect it, but I got a chance to test it out, because a week later I was meeting with some friends and I got more information about Adam and John, and David, and I gave information about Josh, and then the next night I got more information about Darin and Tricia. (I still have absolutely no idea what happened to Russ or James.)

On one level, it’s horrible, because I think as we add the details in the hopes of making sense, we also find ways where maybe it could have gone differently, and not happened, and there is a keen little pain there. It still seems to be part of the process, somehow, of arriving at acceptance. It took me years before David’s death seemed real—I kept half-thinking that someday someone was going to tell me, “Oh, that was a mix-up. He’s got a job over in North Carolina now.” That was partly because I heard one thing, that didn’t make any sense (it does make more sense now, incidentally), and I never saw an obituary or anything else, and it was certainly horrible if it was true, so somehow, it didn’t quite seem true.

There are other levels of comfort of course, and I will probably write about those some other time, but what I am getting at now is that I want real obituaries. In our reunion program we had their names and a poem, and it wasn’t even a good poem.

It’s not just their deaths. We also wanted to know more about their lives. All the living get a chance to submit short biographies (a chance which many squander, by the way), and maybe some of us don’t have anything new to report, but they did do things. Some had children, and marriages, and jobs and accomplishments. Okay, Paul did not have a chance to do anything after high school, and John and Adam barely did, but they still had hopes and dreams and things they would have done, and people who cared about them—there is something to say.

And yes, we do want to know about their deaths. The trend here, even in newspaper obituaries, seems to be for less and less detail, where it is very frequent for there to be no cause of death listed, so maybe it’s not a popular idea, and it could be morbid, and it totally might not help in the way that is hoped, but knowing all of that anyway, I still want to know. “The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.” And everyone with whom I have shared this sentiment agrees.

So, that’s what I want, and I know Classic Reunions will not take the responsibility, but it still seems desirable and possible. I would welcome feedback on this one. I kind of always do, but more than usual this time, I guess.

Otherwise, all I can do is express my fervent wish that the list doesn’t grow anymore for a while.

40 minutes walking outside
Romans 9 – 1st Corinthians 3

A few more thoughts post-reunion

I intended to do a recap of various concerts I have attended today, to balance all the things that I want to go to but haven’t yet. Since I just came from an 80’s party, it seemed like good timing.

However, it would be so long! I have been to a fair amount of concerts, and with comments on each of them, well, it would just end up being a lot. I have been thinking if there is some way to break it down into smaller posts, like maybe categorizing them, but there are a lot of blurred boundaries. For example, the Presidents are like the Daddies, in that they are bands that I wished I had seen in Eugene, but then saw at the Crystal, which is part of a larger subset of shows seen at the Crystal. However, I also saw them at the Rose Festival, which would put them with Violent Femmes, but the Femmes are part of the disappointing shows group, but disappointing in a different way than most of them. Anyway, I’m still figuring that one out.

Since the party was thrown by a school friend, post reunion stuff works here too.

I have already mentioned people telling me I look great, or haven’t aged, and my theory that it is because I set the bar so low. Tonight I was actually told that I looked better than in high school. Well, if so, I can say that I am carrying a lot less baggage than I was then. I have worked out some issues, and even if others are still there, it does make me more confident and more peaceful, and that should help.

The other thing is that there are a few people who seem to just think the world of me, and I kind of don’t get it, but all I can come up with is that I was nice to them, except that it shouldn’t have been that rare, and if it was rare, I didn’t know it.

Pauli mentioned being relieved that I don’t remember her being mean to me, because I did remember when her outlook changed—it just never resulted in her picking on me. I understand that, because when I was looking at old yearbook inscriptions I remember being relieved to see so much gratitude from the younger kids. I was pretty sure I had always been nice to the lower classmen and looked out for them, but it was nice having it confirmed. I would have felt really guilty about picking on anyone younger.

I do remember times of saying mean things, or realized that I had hurt someone or was coming close to annoying them, and I remember those things clearly and with great shame, so it amazes me that people remember good things about me.

Maybe it is because those events were rare that they stick with me; perhaps if you are mean regularly it all just blurs together. Maybe I did not notice other kids being mean to each other, but it was happening.

All I really know is that after the feeling of amazement passes I am left with gratitude. I don’t seem to have done anything too terrible, and I am left with a good reputation. That’s good. I do have good friends who are close, and beyond that I have others where we are not close but where there is warmth and support, and I’m grateful for that.

I know that I was really messed up in some ways, and there were a lot of potential pitfalls, but somehow I still ended up with a pretty good life. I am amazed and humbled by that. I have to believe that things will continue working out, because they have in the past. What I haven’t been healed of yet, will come in time. And the more I talk to other people, the more I find things in common.

In general, the reunion has been a really good gift. I know it wouldn’t be that way for everyone, but I’ll take it.

There is one thing that I would like to see changed though, and I will address that in a separate post.

25 minutes walking outside
Acts 25 – Romans 8

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Other live shows

I was unpleasantly surprised this morning to see that I had posted the preparedness letter to this blog, not the preparedness blog. I felt so ahead of the game to have written it Wednesday night, and then review and send it Thursday morning, instead of writing, reviewing, and sending all late Thursday night, but I am not at my highest functioning level in the mornings. It makes me wonder if my review missed anything. Anyway, on to today’s topic.

I did not have an official task for this one, probably because the issue came up after I had made the list.

Basically, I know many people in bands. Because we are connected through Facebook, I get invitations to see them play, but it usually doesn’t work out. One real problem for the non-driver, is that these events often happen later at night, without easy access to public transportation. Even when you know people in the band, it may not be wise for a lone (I don’t think I’m naïve, but if I was, would I know?) female to hang out in bars and then walk to a bus stop and hang out there.

Sure, I can invite friends who drive, and the bands would really like me to get extra people out there, but I always feel guilty and awkward asking people who will need to drive me, like the ulterior motive would negate the fact that I think they will appreciate it, and that I want to spend time with them, and those other things. I’ve grown a lot but I still have issues.

The other thing is just the dearth of free time on my calendar. It’s amazing how many events collide with each other. I’m double-booked for tomorrow night actually. Initially, I got dates mixed up, and thought Mike’s show was the same night as Mel’s karaoke fundraiser, which was workable, but it is really the same night as Pauli’s 80’s party, which I think is impossible. And then I missed Mel’s thing anyway, because after errands, Branden and Kehaulani’s reception, and taking Mom out to dinner for her anniversary (we have a twisted sense of humor in my family) I was running out of steam, and then the rain created transportation complications, and someone said something that made me feel crappy, and I was just done. I lay down and cried for a while, and then I wrote, and lashed out at someone, and it probably would have been better if I had been out singing, but it just didn’t happen.

Anyway, before I get too far off track, there were bands that I wanted to see, and sometimes I can close, but really the only show I made it too was the Lost Creek Gangsters when they played the Cider Mill. And sure I love Eli, and it was a fun show, but I really feel like I can do better than that.

So I was thinking that around January, and it wasn’t exactly a resolution, but it was the start of the year, and even though the next few months were going to be really busy, and I would not be up to going out for a while, before the end of the year I was going to make a point of seeing LCG again, plus seeing Toque Libre, Lindsey Pool, and Nate Botsford. Four local bands did not seem unreasonable with an entire year ahead, even if I was taking the first three months off the table.

Well, I have not been to any shows this year, which has been filled with poverty, exhaustion, and attempts at overachievement, but also the list of people I would like to see keeps growing.

Even if a rocker takes time off, so you can’t find any word of them, they always seem to end up in another band. I could not find any dates for Cornbred, or that other band that he played in, but now Darin Joye is in Celilo. There were no signs of Mike Johnson that I could see for a long time, but now he is in two bands: The Flurries and Stone in Love. Mel Ortiz was playing in Detention Room, but they might be breaking up, but Patrick Riggs’ wife has a band too, the 13th Soul. If I was a really good friend, I would be linking to web sites for everyone, but there’s this thing called Google.

On the plus side I have decided that Botsford is not really a priority, because I think I figured out that the reason Jim was always inviting people to Nate’s performances is because they were happening at Jim’s café. I should look into that. Still, it’s a lot of bands.

Another plus is that it gives me hope that other people will turn up too. I would love to get a line on Andrew Diamond of Movement, and John Sabol and Kurt Landre from Something She Said. (There are no plans for a No Socks reunion, incidentally.) Also, any time I make it should be a positive. Seeing live local music is usually a good time, and it doesn’t tend to cost very much, unlike regular concerts, which do not always give you more bang for your buck (more on that tomorrow).

I suppose all I really need is a new club and coffeehouse buddy, kind of like a new concert buddy. The easiest thing might be to have a boyfriend with a car, and then going to the shows could count as dates. It could hamper my ability to flirt with the band, but it’s not like that ever ends up anywhere anyway, so that would not be a reason to avoid it.

I think we are going to end up exploring that whole relationship thing again, but not tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a lot more music.

27 minutes walking outside
Wall sits
Acts 16 – Acts 24

Friday, September 24, 2010

Task: Concerts

At one point I started thinking about different shows that I would like to see, and decided to make a point of keeping an eye out for them, lest I be caught off guard and miss a good opportunity. So, I made a list and looked them all up, and no one was coming near us. However, things change all the time, and so I need to periodically check again.

Here are the bands I would like to see:

A-ha—As we have covered, they are not coming to Oregon on their farewell tour, but I do have some vague hopes of traveling to see them. I did see them on the Hunting High and Low tour, but Julie and Maria never have, and I would like to see them again.

Gin Blossoms—I have liked them for a long time, but the only time they came nearby I was a poor college student, and even though tickets were cheap I just did not have it. I had the same issue with the Presidents of the United States of America and the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, but have seen them both now at the Crystal Ballroom, so it would be appropriate for them to come there.

Of their current listed dates, the closest they are getting is California, but they have a new album out so it would be logical for more dates to follow.

All-American Rejects—On my own I don’t listen to the radio a lot, so it takes me a while to discover new bands, and I probably just started liking them a little too late, where I could have just missed a tour for all I know. Nothing is scheduled now, so I could blame Tyson Ritter’s acting career, but I am just going to lay low and hope for the best.

Maroon 5—I have actually had tickets for them, but then I got very sick (cellulitis outbreak), and Maria ended up taking a date. It was disappointing. They actually are touring now, but not coming closer than Tacoma. Well, the only one I could conceive of traveling for now is A-ha, so probably not this go-around.

Jimmy Eat World—I have seen them once, but it was a work night, and Maria made me leave before they finished the set. Then they were going to open for Green Day, and Maria was late getting off work, but she assured me there would be another opening act, and it would be fine, but she was wrong and we missed them. (Maria does seem to be a bit of a jinx.) Don’t get me wrong; Green Day put on a great show, but it was frustrating.

They are touring, but it seems like no one is coming to Portland anymore. What is the deal with that?

Keane—This is another one where we had tickets, but this time the show was canceled. By “we”, I mean Maria and I, so I guess I could blame her, but Tom’s drug habit and stint in rehab could not really be her fault. I guess it’s important that he took the time he needed, but the fees that Ticketmaster keeps are a crime. Anyway, they did play some dates in the summer, but nothing here.
Finns—This could include any incarnations of Neil Finn bands, and maybe Tim Finn solo, but the good thing is, we have done pretty well. We have seen the Finn Brothers, and Crowded House, and I have even kind of seen Split Enz because there was a concert that they filmed and ran on Nickelodeon back in the day. Sure, I would see them again, but there is less urgency. Which is good because I don’t think there is currently anything happening.

Charlie Sexton—A-ha was my second concert; Charlie Sexton was my first. However, he was just starting to be a solo musician after being a session musician, and he was doing pop, when I think his real strength is more blues-y rock. I would like to see him now, as a mature musician. He actually did play the Aladdin somewhat recently, but I couldn’t make it, and then I decided that I really did want to see him, so he is on the list. He seems to have been focusing on Europe recently.

Henry Rollins—That’s for his spoken word, and again, when I did see him I had to leave early because of Maria. And we have missed our last two chances because we were out of town, and then we were broke. So, clearly, I need a new concert buddy, but at least Hank is one who returns to Portland regularly, and will often film and release his shows.

Occasionally I will see other shows and think that it would be good, but having no money wins out a lot. Generally, it is those 80’s revival acts, like Modern English was just in town, so that could be good. We did go see the Psychedelic Furs, and they were great.

It’s amazing how often they are coming on work nights (I actually still think of those as school nights). I know, with all the different venues out there, you can’t limit yourself to two nights a week, but if you came from the 80’s your fans are getting older, and they have jobs and kids, and babysitters who will not stay out till two on a Wednesday—at least start earlier.

Also, cut the crappy opening bands. This especially goes for you, Crystal Ballroom. If the purpose is to warm up the audience, even if the act is good (which is rare), the waiting for take-down and set-up will kill the mood anyway, so when we do get excited for the main attraction, it truly is for them and nothing to do with the opening. And if it is just to give the local acts some exposure, well, that sounds noble, but is not worth the time if I need to be up at 5:45 the next day.

Belly dance basic moves (30/30)
Acts 8 – Acts 15

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Preparedness Newsletter

This will be short, as I was mainly working on the preparedness newsletter. I thought of just posting a link to it, but I have not posted it yet.

Traditionally it goes out on Thursday, which I picked because people are less likely to read things on Monday and Friday. With my natural tendency towards procrastination, it is sometimes late. If you send something at 11:30 Thursday night, it is an awful lot like sending it on Friday.

I have found that it works better if I write it, then sleep on it and check again, so I should be able to successfully do that this time, having written the first draft on Wednesday.

Sometimes the writing does not flow, and I will find I have taken the wrong approach, or I am missing something. For example, long ago when Chandra Levy disappeared, I read someone’s suggestion that young people living alone should always leave notes when they leave, giving where they were going and when. Writing a newsletter on not being a crime victim, I really wanted to include that, because I thought it was brilliant, but it just was not working.

I realized that the problem with that tip is that it is to make it easier for people to locate you after you have disappeared, and I wanted to focus on things that would keep them from disappearing. Sure, it’s nice being able to solve the crime promptly, but it falls short somehow.

Last month’s letter was always going to be on whole grains, but I thought it would focus more on specifics of using them, and benefits, and it was really more about making a smooth transition as you incorporate them into your diet, and easy ways to get started. Really, you can never give all of the possible information, so it is more about giving them a good start where they can logically follow onto their next steps.

The other reason that I like to leave it overnight is that, well, sometimes I worry that I get too harsh, like can I really say that? Is that too much? I’m a passionate woman, and very direct and down-to-earth, and maybe sometimes people need some sugarcoating. Actually, I never really soften things that much, but I think about it.

Also, I worry sometimes that I use too many big words, but I don’t change those very often either. Well, I still like to give myself enough time to have the option.

26 minutes walking outside
John 20 – Acts 7

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

True Confessions on Day 36

Saturday is set to be the last day—at least the last day of refraining from video games and bad thoughts while also blogging every day. My intention is for the twenty minutes each of scripture study and exercise to be permanent.

When I decided to do this I marked each day on my calendar with the number and which strength move I would be doing. Tomorrow is 37-C, for day thirty-seven and crunches. Sunday is marked M/DD, for Mappy and Dig Dug, the two video games I plan on playing.

My original intention was that I would play and relax for five days, then start a new fifty days at the same time as General Conference, not sure what the program would be. Perhaps it would involve keeping a food journal, or doing something more involved for strength training, or some other writing goal, but I would figure it out based on how the forty days went, and what seemed needed.

Now I am starting to think that maybe I should extend, at least for the things I am abstaining from. Seriously, I keep thinking that I cannot keep up blogging daily, because it is really time consuming and I could put that time to writing other things, but I have at least 20-30 other blog ideas jotted down, and new ones keep coming, and I have gotten some really good comments, so you see, it’s a quandary.

The other part is that I had a hope in conjunction with this, which I was not planning on sharing, but now I am going to.

My sisters and I love the band A-ha, and they are currently in the middle of their farewell tour. We were disappointed to see that they were largely skipping the US, only playing dates in Los Angeles and New York City. It seemed like we were out of luck, and then Julie noticed that they were playing a date in Amsterdam, which would be perfect because it’s somewhere that we do want to go, but would not require a lengthy trip and there is a direct flight.

I am highly impressionable, and I got the idea that maybe this could happen, if I was a very good girl, that the screenplay would sell and then it would be possible. It does not seem at all likely, and it didn’t really seem that likely then, but the idea was there.

I understand if you are thinking that this sounds delusional—a lot of what I do must. What I have always understood though, was that it was okay if it didn’t happen. No one would have wronged me. The whole thing is a long shot anyway.

There are two things that have been really good about it. One is finding the power in me. I have had different resolutions and failed so many times, but this time I am making it. I have thought at various times of how easy it would be to just give up—go play a game or slough off on exercise—but I have this hope that I don’t want to jinx.

Also, I just don’t want to fail. I believe all of these components are important for me accomplishing what I want and being whom I want. I want to be healthy, and have my blood sugar under control, and the daily exercise is an important component where I have not been good in the past. Some times my sisters and I would walk four days in a row, and I would think, okay, we’re doing it, and then things would get busy and weeks would go by. Choosing to make that inviolate has meant that it gets done, one way or another.

I have so much that I want to get done, and video game addiction is very time-consuming. You only intend to play a few minutes, and then that doesn’t work out, and an hour is wasted. That’s why I was thinking I would start an additional, longer time period: keep the free play limited to a few days.

For the scripture study and the thoughts, I want to be ready for inspiration, and to feel good, and this has helped. I had really felt like I was plateauing before, and now I feel invigorated again.

With the blogging, writing stuff out does help me, but also reporting the three items at the bottom each day, yes, I have completed these goals, and here is the post to prove it, well, that gave me more accountability. It’s harder to slack off when people are watching.

That’s the other thing that has been good. I was not going to tell anyone I was doing this, but then I did tell Julie and Maria, and then some friends, and now it is out there for anybody. This is important, because I used to never share any plans with anybody. I never wanted anyone to know in case I failed. It didn’t matter whether it was a new diet, or a new writing project. Letting people in would let people know that I had these delusions of grandeur, and then see how delusional they were when I didn’t accomplish anything. But because no one knew, it was also very easy to quit.

It took me time to learn that most people don’t really look down on you for your imperfections, and that they aren’t really out to get you. Instead I found that people get really relieved, because the have similar issues, or similar feelings about them, and then we get this camaraderie going on. Somehow, it also becomes easier to improve the imperfections that way. The motivation goes up, because then you don’t want to let people down.

I have had really good discussions with my sisters, and they have set some goals too. It may be the blind leading the blind (especially when Julie is looking at my techniques for pushups), but it’s good. Opening up keeps being a good experience for me. I’m also seeing that I am not satisfied with mediocre, and I think that is leading me to good places too.

So, I have no idea whether I will be playing video games on the 26th or not, and no idea if I will be on Amsterdam on the 10th. And now, if I do not go to Amsterdam, you can all know that I wanted it, and failed to manage it, but I can’t quite say that it will be a disappointment. There will still have been many gifts with this experience, and maybe it would be too greedy to get more. At this moment, I am just trying to do what’s right, both in general and for me personally—wherever that may lead.

24 minutes walking outside
Wall sits
John 11 – John 19

Task: Exfoliate and condition, hair

Honestly, I’m not sure why the comma was there, because I assume it was the hair that I was supposed to condition. I think it was that I wanted to do something else to my hair as well, like trim it or color it.

Regardless, these are periodic tasks. I don’t have an intensive beauty regimen. Basically, I wash my face with Noxzema morning and night. I hate the way makeup feels on my face, and while I admit that lipstick makes a difference, the other things don’t really look right, and with the lipstick I am always afraid it is going to end up on my teeth, or get faded, or not stay right, that it just does not seem worth it.

That being said, I do try and exfoliate every now and then (face and body, but not at the same time), and more frequently than that I do a deep conditioning treatment with my hair. I’m surprised that shaving was not in the task. (I don’t think that’s what the “hair” was referring to. I know, I am gross, but I am never barelegged and shaving is a pain.)

Anyway, despite exfoliating and conditioning having been accomplished a few times since the list was written, they will always pop up again, and my roots will show, or I will decide it is time to whiten my teeth again.

I have been thinking about this topic more for two reasons. One is that my younger sisters mentioned that they did not really get good guidance on hair and makeup and fashion from their older sisters. True, and yet I think what started the conversation was looking at an old picture with a bad haircut, and some bad haircuts were considered very stylish back then.

Every now and then I would experiment with a wilder outfit or try to get a little fancier, but it wasn’t really my personality. It was easier to pull on jeans and a t-shirt, and so I did that almost every day. And my strategies for taming my hair would not be helpful for many people.

The other reason I am thinking about it is that I have decided that the October newsletter will be on preparing to be more attractive. It would make more sense to focus on the September one, which I need to write and send out this week, but I keep thinking of what I will put in, and whether I will have any credibility based on my own relative level of attractiveness.

The thing is, I know more than I do, and I believe I can be helpful. Part of the focus will be that you are probably not going to do everything, but find the things that work for you. That’s one of my key things in general, is trying to get people to think rather than telling them everything. It’s a two-page letter. I can’t tell them everything on any subject, but I can tell them likely scenarios, and ask key questions, and hope that gets the thoughts flowing. I am staunchly pro=thought.

I am good at analysis in general, and that helps in many areas. If a look does not work, I can usually pinpoint why. So, I hope that it will be of some use to people, instead of being irritating. And I will retire the blouse eventually, but right now it goes with two skirts that it would be hard to find another match for, and I am not that into clothes anyway, so I’m allowing it with full knowledge that it was never that flattering anyway and now it is all snagged.

There is one thing I want to make clear, though, in case I have raised any questions. I may not be that girly, but believe me, I am all woman.

Disco Sweat (20/70)
John 3 – John 10

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blackberry girl

Well, the last few days of rain have finished off the blackberry crop, which was on its last legs anyway. It’s a disappointing moment every year, but it was not always like this.

I used to kind of dislike blackberries. Besides my family doing a lot of U-pick stuff when I was growing up, I also picked berries for pay for a bit. There was a summer program where school buses would take us to different berry fields and brings us back, and we would get paid for each flat we turned in.

Those were always strawberries. I remember seeing something like a work permit application or something that mentioned caneberries, so there may have been teens picking blackberries and raspberries somewhere, but for me it was always strawberries through that location, and then I picked blueberries on the farm of a family friend.

Regardless of what and where I was doing, somehow I always ended up making about $5.00 a day. I think I could have doubled that if I had really applied myself, but for a twelve-year old in 1984 that seemed pretty good.

Blueberries were definitely my favorite. With strawberries you had to be low, so you either crouched over and killed your back, or sat in the dirt and got filthy. Also, there were stickers growing between the strawberry plants. With blueberries you could stand, and maybe a branch would poke you every now and then, but it was relatively injury-free, and also, blueberries were always delicious.

That was part of my problem with blackberries. They could be very sweet, but sometimes they weren’t. If I had to be picking from thorny canes, at least let it be raspberries, which were tasty and I remember the thorns as being less vicious, but I could be fooling myself. Also, I did not like blackberry jam, only strawberry and raspberry (blueberries were for pie).

This all changed by accident. It was the Fourth of July block party, and we decided to take a pie. I thought I grabbed a bag from the freezer to defrost, but the ice was thick and I had really taken out a bag of blackberries, which I didn’t even know we had. Well, what was done was done, so we just made blackberry cobbler instead.

It was so delicious. Maybe blackberries are not always sweet off the bush, but bake them with sugar and they are magically transformed. It was amazing. I guess that was when I started to think about the blackberries around the barn.

The property next to our cul-de-sac is going to be a park someday, but they have not gotten around to it yet. It was a small family farm when I was growing up. I liked to see the cows there when we went by. Where the horses used to be, there are now apartments, and where the sheep used to be, there is assisted living, but the cow pasture is still basically a pasture, and the barn is still there. It is now surrounded by blackberry bushes.

Sometimes when walking the dogs or something, neighbors would call over the fences telling me I could pick them, and it was fine. I didn’t think about it much, but now I had motivation.

It has become kind of a special experience for me. Oddly, I have never been unemployed during blackberry season (just before, and then something comes up while they are ripening), so I always have to find moments here and there for it, but it is time I enjoy. It becomes kind of meditative for me, and educational.

First of all, the reason the berries are not always sweet is they look ripe sooner than they are ripe. You know if they are ready by the feel as you pull on them. Ripe berries slip off of their caps easily. Not yet ripe, and they cling. (Overripe and they squish.) You have to listen to the berry.

Secondly, the thorns are there, but the navigating around them, then that pull that tells you if the fruit is ready, plus being outside, all of that leads to the meditative part. Yes, I do get stuck on a regular basis, but it’s not really that bad. Or maybe I just feel that way now because for the last fourteen years we have had a ferocious cat. The cats we had back when I was a kid, not so much.

Also, and this could just be my imagination, but it seems to me that if you pick more, they produce more, and I am kind of impressed by that. It seems very generous of the berries.

I also started to have other feelings, which I am sure were at least partially brought on by the economic hard times we have had. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be so expensive, and here was all this good fruit for free, but so much of it was going to waste.

I am not the only one who picks there, but there is still so much more than ever gets used. I was stretching our food dollar, which was great, and despite the pie experience we were often just eating them straight, as fresh fruit, but it just made me more aware of food waste and nutrition issues.

The house is still being rented, and that area is fenced off. On the other side of the fence there is a pear tree, and often while I was picking berries I would hear pears plopping off the tree, too ripe to stay. The family renting the house could have picked them, but they didn’t.

As I walk around more, I have discovered a plum tree that started dropping like crazy, and they lay in the street and quickly turned to fruit leather, stinking, and useless. They’re on road so it doesn’t even become compost, and I hate that waste because I know it could be much better. Okay, if it’s too much fruit for you, give it away. Aren’t there gleaners around or something?

So yes, I sound a little politically sensitized there, but in general the activity is peaceful, and so I have some regret when the fruit goes away, and I never know exactly when they will develop the park and the vines will go away.

I know those vines get rooted in deep, and so they are a pest for a lot of people who get blackberries on their property, but I will never be able to see them that way.

28 minutes walking outside
Luke 19 – John 2

Task: CFL, needle drops, and mouse

I was thinking this one was done today, but I forgot about the mouse part.

There are a few different stories here. One is that I do inject insulin once daily, and so then I have a syringe that cannot go in the regular garbage. When this first happened I would take a full container to the pharmacy, pay them $5.00 to dump it, and then buy a new one from them. That seems like a sweet deal for them, but most pharmacies don’t want the hassle anymore.

Looking for a new solution, I stumbled upon Metro Hazardous Waste Roundups, where they hit different locations and you drive up and they take your waste. With the sharps, they give you a new container, free of charge, so it works really well. I had one getting really full, and I needed to look up a collection event. Since the events run March through October, when I looked it up I realized that I had a problem, because it was winter.

I was coming up with all sorts of creative ideas, but then I opened one drawer to get something else, and somehow I had a big empty one that I had completely forgotten about. That is why I could make it through to September. Regardless, it was still on the list, and today both boxes were dropped off, replaced, and we also got to drop off the CFLs.

Yes, we did have a bag of some that had merely burned out, but that was not how it ended up on the list. I have alluded to Jane’s personality issues, and one thing with that is that she likes to steal things and chew them up. I have lost more pairs of shoes this way than anyone, but Julie has lost much more expensive shoes.

We do take precautions to put things out of her way, but it is easy to underestimate the reach of a dog, and in this case we did. I was on the computer, job hunting, and Mom had just gone to check on the dog she was sitting for. I think Mom leaving was the trigger, but if I had been in the living room, instead of my bedroom, maybe it could have been prevented. As it was, I paused in my job search when I heard a faint crunching sound. I knew it couldn’t be good.

I came out and found Jane happily munching away on a Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb and the box it came in. That was not good. Those things have mercury in them was the main problem, followed closely by the also disturbing issue that the dog did not have the sense to quit chewing broken glass. In fact, she would fight to keep chewing it.

Fortunately, I tend to keep my head in these moments. I grabbed a piece of bread and threw it outside. Jane will generally choose real food over non-food items. (If it’s real food, we will probably need to use a combination of a chair to hold her off and Mom’s cane to pull the item away. It’s not pretty, and we know that we suck at discipline. It never mattered before Jane.)

Anyway, she followed the bread into the back yard and I closed the door. I then looked up instructions for cleanup on the internet. It was a fairly complicated process involving duct tape, a canning jar, paper towels, and a vacuum, all of which made for a situation where MacGyver would have been more than welcome, but I was on my own. I did the best I could, and sealed everything in the jar, but then there was no place to take it. It had been on a kitchen counter for several months now, but today it is gone!

I suppose there could still be traces somewhere, and someday one of us is going to pull a Jeremy Piven, but you can only do what you can do. The really funny part is that Mom was calling Jane “Argento Vivo” because of her speed and energy (and mood swings). That of course means Quicksilver, which is of course an old word for mercury. Well, Jane is mercurial.

So what I forgot to do was the mouse. I wrote about the mighty mouse a while ago, but I still haven’t disposed of it, computer parts not always being easily recycled. I guess for now I am hanging onto it. It does have sentimental value.

23 minutes walking outside
Isaiah 22 – Isaiah 30

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Task: Contests

Specifically, that task was to check the details on specific screenwriting contests and see about entering.

There are some really negative feelings out there about screenwriting contests in general. A lot of industry insiders will tell you that the only one that has any real worth is the Nicholl fellowship, and maybe they will give some credit to Scriptapalooza. The issue is that if the judges aren’t people who can really buy your script, then there’s not much value in having those people read it.

I get that, but they say it in conjunction with “Sure, maybe you will win some money.” I would love to win some money. I would be all for it. Also, winning is still something that you can say to possibly give you some credibility, even if it is only a small boost.

My issue is that there is always an entry fee, and sometimes that just isn’t something I can swing. They usually aren’t even that expensive, but I have been pretty broke.

In this case, I ended up skipping The Big Break, but entering Past Present in the Nicholls Fellowship, and Coulrophobia and Sisters of Justice in Script PIMP (PIMP stands for Pipeline Into Motion Pictures, so get your mind out of the gutter).

Script PIMP announces in November, I think. The second round of the Nicholls is going on, but I did not make it in. That was pretty disappointing, but the competition is really stiff. That is one contest that truly does give you exposure, and quite a decent prize.

There are more contests going on all the time, so there is always the opportunity to enter—you just have to know that it may not mean anything.

Disco Sweat (20/70)
Wall sits
Luke 10 – Luke 18

Friday, September 17, 2010

Task: Agents

Of the various tasks on the original list, I am avoiding writing about some of them because I haven’t actually completed it yet, and I need to get on the ball. With this one, it may not be worth finishing.

Back when it first happened, I felt like it was too soon to seek an agent because no one would be interested in me. Someone else told me that what I had at the time (four or five screenplays) was a decent body of work, and it might be worth asking around. Not sure where to start, I went to the Writers Guild site and printed out their agencies list, then started making phone calls.

It turns out what I had was not nearly as important as what the list had, which was an abundance of places that didn’t really do literary, only talent (actors); lots of places that were not taking on new clients, or not before the end of the year, or not without referrals, or all of the above.

So, it was slow-going work and not very rewarding, but I was planning on calling through the entire list when I got the Intel job, which kind of derailed me. That’s okay, taking the contract was probably more productive.

Also, a lot of the information that you get has a surprisingly short shelf life. The other thing that happened right before the Intel job was that I attended the 2009 Willamette Writers Conference. One of the speakers there, Rima Bauer Green, did have a literary agency, and I liked her and thought I should look her up.

I probably waited two months, maybe three, but not much longer than that. When I went, the site was gone, and internet searches only found a few mentions in old blog posts. Granted, it was a bad economy, which is probably why a lot of those agencies were not accepting new clients, but to be an invited guest in August and a missing person in November is a little scary.

Anyway, the WGA list is not as helpful as you might hope. Perhaps my first instincts that it was too soon for an agent were correct. I may return to the list, if for no other reason than to check my notes, but it is not my main priority, or even in the top 3. Still, if anyone knows a well-connected agent, can you refer me? I promise I’m brilliant and productive.

30 minutes walking outside
Luke 3 – Luke 9

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Well

Sometimes people will ask me where I get my ideas. That varies a lot, but here are some examples.

Jade Mask: I dreamt I was walking down a street in Italy, arguing with Barry because he needed to get something and he was planning on stealing it, and he was not thinking straight. (Barry is not a thief, I am sure.) Also, there was the imagery of the safe, which was stunning, and when you have a haunting image, sometimes those stay with you more. Anyway, the argument happens pretty similar to the dream, except that it is set in the protagonist’s apartment, not on the street. It is set in Rome.

Between the Lines: Years and years ago, I went to a single adult dance, when I was still a little young for them (maybe 26, and even though they are 30 and up, there is more emphasis on the up). Anyway, they do a lot more line-dancing and specific dances there, and two songs that I had never heard before, “I just want to dance with you” by George Strait, and “500 miles” by the Proclaimers. Somehow those songs stuck with me, and ended up part of a Cinderella story set in Connecticut where line-dancing plays a role.

Hungry: Well, this stems from the infamous vampire dream I had in 9th grade, but it has gone through so many changes that the only remnant left is the explanation for why vampires have reflections. Some influence came from other dreams, including one I’d had after reading a bunch of vampire short stories, including “The Girl with the Hungry Eyes”. Even though there are no plot similarities, that’s how Christine ended up being a model.

Past Present: Actually, the ideas for this one had been kicking around on and off based on old relationships and some of the scars that they left, though not necessarily on me. When Josh died, the loss and the reminiscing brought it all together, and it just poured out of me. I wrote the entire thing in a month.

Out of Step: This one came from another dream. In it, I saw the girl I would have been if I had never been fat, and she was pretty shallow and insensitive—not necessary mean on purpose, but with no thought for others at all. There had to be some suffering to rectify that. My trajectory from the injury was largely inspired by someone else I had met who was a champion wrestler in high school, and then was in a car accident where it took him a year to get back his ability after a very brief coma (less than a day). I think it made an impression because television and movies get it so wrong.

Coulrophobia: Actually, it was largely the word. It’s a cool word, and fear of clowns is an interesting concept. I think I may have to rewrite it as darker though. Right now the clowns are coming off too well.

Sometimes it isn’t clear. With Sisters of Justice, I know it was based on my relationship with my younger sisters, but I’m not sure how we ended up as orphans fighting crime in different fields. I had a similar thing going on with Cara (the novel I wrote), but no one had careers yet, and the parents weren’t dead (though the father was gone). Some ideas just stick, and actually, writing is what makes them unstuck.

Once an idea takes hold, it is like there is this story, with its own world, that I visit periodically, exploring it and figuring it out, and seeing what happens. Once it is all written out, I don’t need to do that anymore. Like with Past Present, it is probably not at all commercial, but I could not have written anything else at that time.

Of the things that are on deck right now, one television series and one movie came from dreams, one movie would be a sequel to another movie (which didn’t do that well, so there’s no point, but that wouldn’t stop me), one movie came from a combination of Henry Rollins’ thoughts on dating and my frustration with the powerful corn lobby, and one television series and one movie basically come from thinking something smart alecky and then recognizing some potential.

And I don’t think any of that was detailed enough to be a risk for my intellectual property!

Hip Hop Body Shop (20/60)
Mark 12 – Luke 2

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Writing update

I have gotten a few questions about what is going on, so here we go.

The screenplay was submitted to one person who showed interest, and who was planning on filming in New Mexico anyway, though that property was having problems. He pointed out some changes that needed to be made, and a new draft was submitted. Now he wants still more changes, though there is still no money changing hands or commitments.

The good part is that a professional is actually looking at it, and considering it as having potential. Sure, if we were professionals instead of aspiring, there would be an advance or something like that going on, but we’re not, and this is closer than I have ever gotten. I completely understand that.

The downside is I have no motivation to go back and look at more changes. I keep trying, and then recoiling. Sometimes forcing myself to open the file and sit in front of it helps, but I admit I am having a hard time. I might be a little overextended, or maybe just cranky from the criticism, as I think he has a different vision than we do, and if you want to get paid, sometimes the artistic vision gets tweaked.

Anyway, I am going to keep trying on that. I wish we had been farther along when all of this started happening. As it was, I submitted the second round of changes right before I started the new job, and that’s where the overextension comes in. Actually, my most compelling reason for wanting to write professionally is that it would leave me time and energy for writing, which a full time job really cuts into.

Anyway, I think the next few posts will focus on different writing-related things, and maybe that will get me in the mood.

24 minutes walking outside
Wall sits
Mark 5

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mama Ru’s

Okay, today I actually did the travel blog instead. I had promised to put up a link to the site I was working on when it was done, and I still feel like I want to do a lot of things with it, but for now I still wanted to share something. So…

Blog post:
Actual site:

27 minutes walking outside
Matthew 25 – Mark 4

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Leash Laws

Picking up where we left off, I do keep our dogs on leash when they are out of the house. I think this is very important. They don’t have any bad intentions, but they don’t need to. If the other dog was not happy to be charged, there could still be an altercation. Also, our dogs have no understanding about how cars can hurt you.

(I think other breeds are probably this way too, but when I tried to ask someone who had pit bulls, all she would say is that they were perfectly behaved dogs and that more dog bites come from cocker spaniels than any pits or rotties or any of the scary breeds. Which is true, it was just beside the point.)

Having your own dogs leashed isn’t enough if other people don’t do it. We’ve had two of our dogs attacked by dogs running out of houses, and it had an effect on both of them, especially Fozzie. We started having him wear his muzzle on the walk because sometimes if another dog was around he would get nervous and nip at our other dogs.

It was bad for us, but it wasn’t really good for the other dogs either. I don’t know if the dog that ran at Angel every had any other issues, but the dog that ran at Fozzie got hit by a car on another occasion when he was running loose.

I don’t blame those dogs at all—it is the owners. Granted, anyone can have accidents, and we have had dogs get loose accidentally, and it is always scary and embarrassing, but some owners don’t even try because they know that their dogs are perfectly friendly, or so well trained, that it is fine. Then you see that the manner of training is that when the dog is irresistibly tempted, and leaves his spot, he gets hit with the stick, and yeah, I’m not impressed with the methods or the results.

The scariest time was not with our own dogs, but with one we dog sit for. When we sit for greyhounds we board them, but we do home visits for a friend with a golden retriever, and one time when I was taking him for a walk, we were charged and surrounded by two rottweilers. The owner came over with this stupid grin on his face—they had just treed his cat also, but he knows they won’t do anything bad.

Well, to his credit, they did not bite, and Cav, who is very well-behaved, did not bite either, so it was fine. However, I sometimes encounter another man walking two dogs in that area. The one is fairly docile, but the other is very aggressive when he sees other dogs. It doesn’t matter, because he has his dogs on a leash, and I have mine on a leash, and they stay separated. If the rottweilers had charged them, I think the one dog would have attacked, they would have bitten back, and probably the other dog and the man would have been injured two. And rotties have strong jaws. It could have been really bad.

Ultimately, dogs are impulsive, and they don’t think about long-term consequences. It’s part of their charm. It’s also a really good reason to limit the freedom that you give them. We have a fenced yard, which is great, there are dog parks which also allow some control, and they generally don’t really mind being on a leash anyway. Plus, it’s the law, if that matters.

Anyway, I am totally cool with the leash part of the leash laws. I have mixed feelings about the other part.

It stems from an episode of “Head of the Class” from shortly after Billy Connolly took over. He described seeing someone collect their dog’s waste, “the most biodegradable substance on Earth”, seal it in a plastic bag, and throw it away, so that “someday some archeologists will be digging and one will go ‘Oh look, I found a CD’, and another will say ‘I found a walkman’ and the third will be like ‘I just found a really good reason not to be an archeologist.”

It’s what he said about it being the most biodegradable substance on Earth. I’m not even completely sure it’s true—maybe that title goes to grass clippings—but it is pretty biodegradable.

I think adding to waste in landfills should be avoided if possible, and that’s where it ends up. I know it would not be high-grade fertilizer like you get from ruminant herbivores, but still, it would go back in.

I can see that leaving it on sidewalks or other people’s lawns, or even nature trails is gross, but I’m kind of in favor of leaving it on roadsides and in the middles of fields. Anyway, I get a twinge whenever I am placing dog waste in plastic bags, and not just because it is disgusting.

I do this with Cav the most. One thing I have noticed is that whether a dog will go on walks or in their yards seems to be a personality thing. Chevis, his predecessor, never went on the walk. He always does. (Of our current home crew, only Jack does.)

The pickup must seem like the strangest thing to him (to the extent that dogs think). Feeling lighter, he is all ready to go, and suddenly I am holding him in place and scooping, and he is like “Come on! What is wrong with you?”

That’s unless he ever gets the idea that I am putting it away for a snack for later, in which case he would probably decide it was brilliant, because dogs are gross.

38 minutes walking outside
Matthew 16 – 24

Because I’m so ugly!

That’s a quote from Overboard. My sisters and I quote movies a lot. I’m not in as bad a state as Goldie Hawn with poison oak, but I do have a temporary issue.

Thursday morning I was walking the dogs, and a jogger and his dog came around behind us. He was on the other side of the road, which shouldn’t be too bad, but our newest dog, Jane, has a bit of a hyperactivity problem, and she when she sees another dog out there with a human it is the coolest thing in the world and she needs to go and sniff them right now! There is also a good chance she will jump on the person, which we have not broken her of yet.

Her interest is friendly, but it is still appropriate to keep your dog from forcing herself on others, so to make sure she could not wriggle out of her double harness, I tried to get closer to her. The grass was wet, there were other dog bodies in the way throwing me off, and she was bouncing around trying to escape. When she bounced against my legs, I went down on my knees.

I can’t even say that she bit me. It’s more like as I was going down and she was coming up, one of her teeth collided with my face and grazed it. It did still result in some bleeding, and so I have this scab above my lip, and now a small bruise has developed next to it.

I’m sure it will all be gone in a few days, but I’m kind of sensitive about it now. The bruise is like a small crescent going around the scab, so unless you get close it is hard to tell what the discoloration is. People may think it’s hair, and that I need a wax.

The wound is what bugs me the most. Any time you see people with little face wounds on the news it is meth. I just had a couple of small zits break out on me too, so my face is getting really close to ravaged.

I just started a new job. What will they think of me? During training, I kept shifting from alert to almost asleep. Sure, that was based on the room being stuffy, so when we were doing stuff I was okay, but I was having trouble during the just listening parts, but it could have been drugs. They don’t know me.

I guess I’ll have to be really careful not to lose any teeth before this heals.

25 minutes walking outside
Matthew 11 – Matthew 15

Saturday, September 11, 2010

In or out?

I don’t know whether I am an extrovert or an introvert. I’m sure I have a lot of friends who would vote for extrovert, but if you observe my life in general, I look more like an introvert.

I’m not saying it would not have been confusing before, but it is more confusing now due to my changing my thinking about the definitions. Simplistically, I used to think of it more as extroverts being loud and introverts being quiet.

Karen was the one who initially got me thinking. We were talking about her plans to re-enter the workforce (which she has since done successfully), and she told me that one thing that she had learned about herself was that she really was an introvert, meaning that dealing with people takes energy from her, and she needs solitude to recharge, so jobs teaching or training or presenting would not be a good fit for her. I love that stuff.

Well, life circumstances came up that made me question my type, during which time period I read an interesting piece by Orson Scott Card (he has a column in the Mormon Times that I really enjoy) on that topic. Card is an introvert. It is not that he doesn’t have social skills or like people or anything like that—he just needs a certain amount of solitude. Since his wife is an extrovert, getting energized by dealing with people, they need to compromise with each other at times.

The circumstances were that low-paying job that required three hours worth of travel. I was getting up quite early, and everyone tried to tell me that the bus time would be good reading time, only I was too tired to read, so I tried to just keep my eyes closed, attempting to counterfeit rest without getting enough out of it to risk missing my stops. It took a lot out of me without really giving back, and I started to feel like I hated people.

This is where I reveal myself to not always be a nice person. My kryptonite has always been needy people anyway (attention-seekers, really—there are other needs that do not bother me), especially if they are stupid. Oddly, if you spend your life focused on getting other people to validate you, it seems to damage a lot of your cognitive ability.

One nice thing that I discovered about the job was that they got the Oregonian. This meant that I could read the papers at work, and have one less thing to squeeze into my small amount of leisure time. Unfortunately, there was a needy coworker, and he would follow me on my lunch, and talk to me while I was reading, trying to impress me with things he knew or had done. This did not go well for him, but some grim satisfaction in thwarting him was not enough compensation. I started leaving the building, almost running to throw him off my tail. I would try waiting him out, but he was more patient than I was, so I actually started eating lunch in the workroom, so he would give up and go, and after he came back, that’s when I would really go on break.

He left, and I thought this would be some relief, but one of the new people who came on, when she had downtime, liked to scoot over and watch what I was doing. She was not zealous about personal space, I guess, so I would have her knee pressed against my thigh, and she didn’t smell too great (I think it was coffee breath), and it just wasn’t good. And she was a nice person, and I was feeling at the time, maybe I should try and befriend her, or earlier that maybe I should try and reach out to him, but I just didn’t want to. And when I say I didn’t want to, I don’t mean that I was vaguely against it. I mean that I was internally screaming “Go away and leave me alone!”

That is not the worst of it. Riding my last bus, and getting off at my stop, was someone I used to know. I pretended not to know him. No, there were no verbal snubs—I just avoided eye contact or signs of recognition, and I could see he was thinking I was familiar, but I did not leave an opening for follow up. I should mention that he has cerebral palsy, because somehow that makes my behavior seem worse, though that wasn’t really a factor in it. Ultimately, he is a very nice person, but he is also a stereotypical sci-fi geek who married a crazy woman and then was always kind of bummed that things weren’t working out (like she wouldn’t live with him, for example), and I just had no energy for him.

So, does this make me an introvert, or just a jerk? Because at the same time I was seeing annoying former coworkers in stores and ducking away before they turned around, I still loved talking to my enjoyable former coworkers, and kicking back with friends. I’m not sure if it energized me or not, but it was a completely different feeling. I like attending social gatherings, but I will often take a passive role in them, listening and watching rather than doing. I guess what I need to do is pay attention the next time I hang out with friends and see if afterwards I need a nap.

There may be one more clue. Recently, our trainer for the new job had us all take this learning styles assessment so we could be aware of what works for us as we took in this new material. Anyway, some of the questions focused on what worked better for you, and some on what you preferred. I couldn’t help but notice that my preference was usually the opposite of what worked best for me.

Maybe I’m just contrary.

20 minutes walking outside
Wall sits
Matthew 1 – Matthew 10

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Not dieting

When I wrote about how I was not working on driving, I referred to looking at three trouble spots (where I had not even been thinking about driving), and deciding that I could really only focus on one. I was not dieting, and I was not looking for love, because what I was focusing on was trying to get things in order financially.

Technically that is still my only focus. It looks like I am working on weight because of the exercise reports, but really, everything I am doing in that area is pretty minor. I am trying to launch a writing career while maintaining a day job, after finally getting a day job, and surprisingly this takes time.

Sometimes the priorities are set by urgency. Without steady income I get behind in my bills, which includes the mortgage, and besides leaving me homeless that could result in the homelessness of three other people, three dogs, and a cat, all of whom I love.

Beyond that, there seem to be a lot of ways in which having money helps with fitness (despite being fun to spend on other things). Money comes in handy for doctors’ appointments, medicine, gym memberships, fresh produce, and all sorts of things. You can eat healthily without a lot of money, and you can exercise for free, but the money still seems to make things a lot easier. Perhaps my perspective is shaped by going so long without it.

Of course, in my dream world, where I am selling screenplays, I have more free time for exercise anyway. Writing does take time, but a lot of the time is thinking time, and you can exercise and plot things out at the same time, much more than you can plot while answering customer questions or checking documents for accuracy.

It has been long enough since I had figured all of that out that when I seemed to be experiencing mission creep, I initially thought, well, it’s okay for plans to evolve. Upon further reflection, I think I haven’t actually changed anything. The time I am putting into exercise is really pretty minimal. I do other little things here and there, like trying to remember to take my vitamins, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator, adding a whole grain or a fruit here or there—but it is really all very minor.

The blogging is the big time drain, and it does take away from commercial writing time, since I don’t expect to ever be discovered as a blogger or turn that into income. However, it feels like something I should be doing, and I may be gearing up for something.

For new readers, a few years ago I did this 200 page document where I went over everything in my life. That has never been posted, though a lot of the things that I wrote about have ended up having blog posts as well. The point is, it felt like something that I needed to do, and even as I started I sensed about how long it was going to be and some of the places it was going to hit. Shortly after finishing that, I had the dream that grew into my first screenplay, and started writing that. I’m going with this.

I suppose the part about not focusing on looking for love will have a post or two in the future, but one step at a time.

25 minutes walking outside
John 14 – John 21 (and Psalms 22)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The biggest loser

When I walk before work, I have a route that has been taking 22 minutes. Today it only took 20, and I had to lengthen the route a little to get that in. So, I am still slow, but less slow.

For those of you who might find this an unnecessary level of detail, that is a real concern of mine. You see, I find that I don’t have the best role models for weight loss. No, I don’t specifically mean the process of losing weight and keeping it off—it’s more the staying a good person while you do it.

I noticed this recently when a good friend began losing weight. Just as the pounds started dropping off gradually, she also gradually lost the ability to talk about much else. The last time we were out together, we were at an activity and she started talking to people about how she did it, and receiving their compliments about how great she looked, which is fine, but I had heard it before, so I wandered over to talk to some other people. I came back, “One night I just had cookies for dinner because I wanted the cookies and it took all my calories....” Okay, I wandered off and socialized some more. “I substitute the vegetables…” And it just went on.

There are only three restaurants that she can go to now, because they have meals that fit her requirements, unless we go on the day of her weigh-in so she has a week to recover, and they are not good restaurants. Conversation will be focused on who has paid attention to her, and recaps of conversations where she was called hot, and I find I don’t enjoy being with her anymore, and I have pulled back.

I feel guilty about this, like I am not a very good friend, but I don’t feel like I can talk to her about it because I know she will think it is all jealousy. I don’t think it is. I mean, my emotions are not exactly right either, because I find I give vent to my annoyance by ordering more fattening dishes, or dessert, but those might be things that I would order anyway—I just know that I am feeling annoyed when I order.

However, I do know that she does not take criticism well, because the one other thing that she will still talk about, besides her new hotness, is her grievances with other people. Her ability to take things personally and hold a grudge has bothered me before, but when I have tried to talk to her about it she does not get my point at all, and starts getting touchy and I back off. It’s just funny because I have seen her cut off other friends before, and heard her complain about them, and I guess I am in that group now.

The thing is, before this happened it felt like a lot of my time with her consisted of comforting her and complimenting her and building her up, and it would appear that she doesn’t need that now, except that I fear that the new self-confidence is hollow, so maybe she does need me, but she’s annoying. As you can see, I have some conflicted feelings.

Anyway, it was interesting to me because I knew two other people who had lost weight, and had personality issues, and it caused me to reflect.
The one is just a seething mass of resentment for all the wrongs he suffered while fat, but he kind of had a bad personality before, so may not matter so much. I would be more concerned about being like my third example.

She is actually a fairly pretty girl, and has had some good opportunities and really has a good position in life, but she always had a little extra padding. I wouldn’t even have called her fat, actually, though hey, if you’re thinner than me, I don’t think of you as that fat.

Anyway, this girl lost some weight, and she looked great and bought new clothes, and maybe she always had kind of a mean edge before, but she started getting really nasty, especially about other girls who were receiving positive male attention, and I think the issue is that she really thought that losing weight would fix everything, and when it didn’t she was pissed.

I could see this happening to me. I have always thought of weight loss as the magic bullet—then I will be worthy of love. When I put that kind of pressure on it, weight loss proved to be impossible, but I can also see that maybe it would have been harmful. I’ve let so many things go, and I pretty much like myself now, and that’s a good thing to have gained.

I guess my good example is Karen. (Steve has also lost weight, and he has probably done fine with his personality, but I don’t see him enough to take good or bad lessons from him. Still, good job.)

Karen and I had very similar self-images growing up, and while we had different experiences with it, we understand each other pretty well. She has lost weight, and sometimes we talk about that, and diet, and exercise, and a lot of the things that have worked for her are not things that I will be putting into practice, but it can still be helpful to think about.

(Actually, I don’t really want much in the way of diet or exercise advice right now. I’m trying to just take very small steps that work for me, listening to my inner voice, and that may change, but right now it’s where I need to be.)

In addition to that, though, Karen and I also talk about books and movies and travel and old friends and new experiences and our families and animals, and she is just open to a very big world, regardless of the amount of space that she does or does not take up in it. Yes, she does appreciate positive male attention, but she does keep some checks on the ego, and she always asks about me and looks out for me too, which is nice.

(I did have another friend once who was very self-centered, and I knew whenever we went out she would be talking and I would listen, but she talked about interesting things, and so it felt different. Of course, she could not talk about being hot, since she was still overweight.)

Maybe the good thing about being on a four or five year plan is that if things do happen that gradually, there would not be sudden personality shifts. Julie sent me an article recently from someone who had lost weight, and so now she was in the thin person club, where she could hear the things that thin people say about fat people, and see how she is treated differently. There are good things about that, but she closed by hoping that she would always remain a fat girl on the inside.

I want to feel good about my looks, but I don’t want to care about them too much. I don’t want to full of resentment because I end up seeing that people are nicer to me, or that men pay more attention. I don’t want to be eaten up with regret at not getting my act together sooner.

I think I will be okay. I am still really good at being happy. Some of that comes from a tendency to be grateful for what I have. I think my sense of humor is a big part of that, because sometimes if I start to veer into the melodramatic I realize it is ridiculous fairly quickly, and I am grounded again. And some of that is that even if I have not had romantic relationships, I have had great relationships of every other kind, with people who have been supportive and helpful and appreciative. So, I have that to hold on to.

However, if at some point in 2014 I start going on about how this guy said I was hot and that guy was looking at me, even though this other girl was there, but he was looking at me, slap me upside the head—figuratively, literally—whatever it takes. Seriously.

20 minutes walking outside
John 7 – John 13

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

You better check yourself before you wreck yourself

One thing that has been very inspiring for me in my quest for health was the book “Born to Run”. I actually read it twice because I wanted to make sure that I really had it down. Granted, I have not done much running yet. I did some really short running intervals when I was on the treadmill, but I can’t maintain it for any period. That will take a while. I do feel myself wanting to more—I actually dreamt I was running down up Baseline a couple of weeks ago—but I am focusing more on walking. (Though I recently did need to run for the bus, and I did pretty well for that short sprint.)

Anyway, there is a lot of good information in the book, and one point he makes is that you need to be doing status checks on a regular basis. Are you getting overheated? Dehydrated? Are you thinking clearly?

I could not have gotten into my current situation if I had done that. It is hard to think that there were times when I was relatively fit, but that I had the same or worse self-image that I do now. In ninth grade I rode my bike everywhere and I could roller skate for two hours and it was no big deal. In high school I felt tired running up and down a basketball court, but I could still do it, and I was decent at free throws. In college I could do many ballroom dances, and one classmate told me that during my tango final I did something with my shoulder that was grace personified. I cannot do any of those things now.

(And that’s just sticking with the physical, leaving alone things like not noticing that I was letting people I didn’t even like determine my self-worth, and all of that garbage.)

It is frustrating, but dwelling on it is not going to be helpful. I do want to learn from it though, so I need to be aware of myself now. Am I improving or backsliding? What can I do? Where do I need work?

Actually, in my current state I remind myself of this old TV commercial for a garbage bag. Comparing the advertised one and the rival, “Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy” “Hefty, hefty, hefty”, like they were opposites, but I am both. I cannot believe how weak I am in some ways.

That being said, I am doing more pushups and more crunches now on their respective days—still wimpy, but getting better. I see no improvement on the wall sits. I don’t know. Maybe that one doesn’t actually build muscle; it merely reveals the lack of it.

For the tapes (many of which I was once better at), sometimes it is a relief that I only have twenty minutes free anyway, other times I would be able to go longer. It depends on the tape. Some of those instructors are a lot more sadistic than others. Richard Simmons is a freak, but his workouts are the most accessible.

I don’t walk that fast, but my endurance is good. I’m still terrible once you throw in an incline, but also some of it is just pushing through. One nice thing about having a relatively low minimum of twenty minutes is that you know you can achieve it, so that gets you through the first five minutes or so, which is usually the rough part, and then by the twenty-minute mark you have gotten into the swing of things, and so you can add on.

I am feeling pretty good. I think both the exercise and the scripture reading are helping out there. I am not getting enough sleep, I know, but there is so much to do. After the forty days are up, and I have had a week, I will start a new thing, and blogging every day will not be a part of that, because it is a little burdensome for that part. Still, I think it is serving a purpose now, maybe getting me ready for the next step, and I’ll stick with it.

I don’t want to paint too rosy a picture. I still hate how I look (especially photographic evidence of it), and realistically, I would probably still have a hard time accepting romantic interest (give me a chance and we’ll see). However, I guess I am thinking about it less. I am thinking about health more, and depending on weight loss to fix my entire life, and that is good. I do see that no one else seems to be as bothered by my weight as I am (well, maybe Mom), and although I do get into these trains of though where I imagine things happening quickly, ultimately I am still on the five-year plan. (Four years would be better, though, because that’s Julie’s next sabbatical and she’s planning this European excursion and it would be nice to be fit for that.)

Anyway, things are good overall, and I am paying attention, and being in touch with my body, as cheesy as that sounds. I don’t want to overdo it though, because I have a whole other set of fears, which is probably what we will get to tomorrow.

Hula Workout (20/40)
Wall sits
John 1 – John 6

Monday, September 06, 2010

Feeling trunky

I don’t know if anyone other than missionaries uses this term, but “trunky” was sometimes used to describe missionaries getting close to the end of their service who were losing their focus—they already had their trunks packed.

When I said I was first called to emergency preparedness eight years ago, I know because I know how old I was. Tanasbourne is a young singles ward, being for ages 18-30. In some places where they have enough people there are units for older singles too, but not around here.

One month after I graduated from high school they started a new singles ward in the area and I started going. It was great. It wasn’t a big ward, but there were really awesome people in it, and we were a pretty tight-knit group. It was amazing. I left at times to go off to college, and then to go on my mission, and they changed the building where we met a couple of times and the name of the ward once, but basically I had been in that ward for twelve years, and then I turned thirty without having gotten married.

Now, no one kicks you out. Some people do linger, and then eventually take themselves off to the regular wards after a while on their own, but it was time for me to start thinking about it. I realized that I had been teaching Sunday school for three years, and it was on a four-year cycle, so I decided that I would stay for one more year, and I would complete the Sunday school cycle about the time I turned 31, and that would be the perfect time to move on (I’m a sucker for completeness). Then I got called to emergency preparedness.

Well, that kind of changed my plans, and I no longer had an idea in mind for when I would go out. I have thought about it at different times, and then I kept feeling like I was needed here, and this was where I belonged. The last time the bishopric changed, they brought in the Duncombe’s whom we have known for ages, and loved, and I went right in and told him “I’m old, but I feel like I’m needed here,” and he told me that I should do what I think is right. He told my sisters that they were there for as long as he and his wife were, but at least at the time he said I had a choice.

Well, time kept passing, and all three of us keep getting older, and yet still we feel needed here. At some point (it’s been over a year but I don’t remember exactly when we started), we started praying for people, going on the assumption that if there were people in the ward who needed us, then we could work harder on getting their needs met and on getting people out of the ward. Then we could get on with our own lives.

There were two parts to this plan. One was that we would really try and keep our eyes out for people’s needs, and be helpful, so we would pray for charity and inspiration together. Also, though, we were going to pick three guys who were pretty close to being ready to get married—maybe they just needed a little nudge—and pray for them every night, and then as they got married we could rotate in other people.

So far only one of them has gotten married (though many other people we have not prayed for have gotten married), but it just kept expanding, to where we are praying for nineteen people now (another one did get engaged, so that’s something). Maybe it is not working as intended, but it probably makes us better people, and more loving, which we need.

The point of this is that last year, I started feeling close to done. When they release the bishoprics they usually do it in December, and in October I started thinking that maybe this would be it, and I would be done, and yes, I had my trunks packed. Then, they didn’t get released, and I turned thirty-eight, and I started to see the error of my ways, but I couldn’t quite let go of the idea.

I was visiting with the bishop, and he was talking about all of the good I do, and his gratitude for that, and I started feeling about ten inches tall, and I knew I had been wrong, but I told him what I had been thinking anyway, and I got a little bit of a smackdown there.

I realized that a lot of my thinking had been pride-driven. At the best of times it does not feel great being 38 and single, but in a single’s ward, where there are people who were not born when I graduated from high school (not many, but still), at some point it starts to feel unseemly, but that was my ego.

Talking it over with my sisters, they pointed out that the unseemly part would be if I were chasing guys, which I am not. We have had some friends marry younger guys, and that can be okay, but everyone pretty much feels like younger siblings. (Well, actually there are two men who kind of are age-appropriate, but I can’t stand the one, and the other, well, it would be surprising if things went in that direction.)

Don’t get me wrong. There are other things that are hard about the ward. It is bigger than that original group, and I feel like there are more issues with cliquishness, and shallowness, and ego. There are a lot more people that frustrate me, where years ago I only remember there being one or two. (I know, different kind of pride.)

At the same time, that’s why we are needed. Our faith is strong—like our personalities—and we are committed to service. Julie and Maria are brilliant at helping girls who feel like they don’t fit in, and there are a lot of those. We are good at helping the other people who try and serve and get exhausted by their efforts. So yes, I know I am needed here.

I do still sometimes wonder if I’ll be done by the time I’m 40—surely I won’t have to still be in the young singles’ ward when I’m 40—but I really don’t know. All I can do is work with what I have got right now, here where I belong.

37 minutes walking outside
Push ups
Luke 17 – Luke 24