Monday, March 30, 2009

toss, turn, repeat.

one of the things i have prided myself on my whole entire life long is my ability to sleep.


it's pretty impressive.

i can basically sleep anytime, anywhere, under any circumstances for pretty much any length of time. this includes on airplanes and during rehearsal dinners. i feel no guilt when i snooze until almost-noon on a saturday. i am pretty much permanently on the outs with morning. my family used to draw straws to determine which unlucky soul was in charge of waking me up.

like i said, i can sleep.

except for last night. and, actually, a couple nights last week as well. even though i was drop-dead, prop-your-eyes-open-with-a-toothpick tired, i simply could not fall asleep.

i tried everything.

i fluffed my pillows. i listened to soothing music. i put on more blankets. i took them off. then i took off my pants. (what? sometimes that helps.) i ate a girl scout cookie. i went to the bathroom. i tried to read.

no luck.

i was so frustrated and exhausted i wanted to cry. ok, ok. i did cry. i wanted to sleep so bad! i must have finally headed to dreamland around 3 a.m., because that is the last time i remember looking at the clock.


what is going on here? what?

this insomnia thing is a totally new experience for me, and i am ill-equipped to handle it. given my aforementioned sleeping skills, i am crossing my fingers and toes that it was just a random fluke. but, just so i am prepared, any remedies you have would be much appreciated.

for now, i have a stack of really boring reading material at the ready.

just in case.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

and all eternity

{editor's note: a temple recommend is a card, signed by you and your ecclesiastical leaders, that shows you are worthy to enter a mormon temple and participate in all the things that go on there. to get a temple recommend, you go through an interview process. the recommend is good for two years, and then it needs to be renewed. and hopefully, for reasons you will soon see, you don't wait to renew your recommend until the day before a wedding.}

i woke up with a start in the middle of the night on thursday because i all of a sudden remembered that my temple recommend was expired.

i tossed and turned all night and as soon as i felt like it wasn't too early in the morning, i started making frantic phone calls and sending frantic e-mails trying to track down anyone in the bishopric and stake presidency who could help me.

and now i have another reason to believe that prayers are answered because by friday afternoon, i had a new temple recommend in hand.

normally it wouldn't have been such an urgent emergency (redundancy?), but in this particular case if the stars hadn't aligned so perfectly, i would have missed all of this...

... which i wouldn't have missed for anything. (except for an expired temple recommend.) and luckily, i didn't have to.

Friday, March 27, 2009


let it be known that i have never watched a full episode of "american idol." i prefer my reality TV to be of the humiliating and devastating dating variety, thankyouverymuch.

but, let is also be known that tonight i am off to a david archuleta concert, because i don't think it is ever a good idea to pass up free tickets to anything, especially not to concerts put on by an aw-shucks, squeaky-clean "idol" sensastion who finished last season as runner-up but still, apparently, can draw a crowd. especially here in his home state of zion.

just between us, i am a little terrified, given my nearly paralyzing fear of tweens, who will surely be out in force. i feel like every time i see a tween or teen they think to themself, "i am way cooler than that girl." and they are probably right. though sarah points out that they will probably be so busy texting eachother and taking pictures on their phones, they won't even notice i am there.

plus, i am a total sucker for lyrics like, "i know this crush ain't goin' away" and general teen angst. click here if you dare see what you're missing.

be still my beating heart. (and yours, too. no?)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

smell me (revised)

driving down to moab with two lawyers yields many hours of scintillating legal-style conversation, including a debate about the merits of fingerprint and DNA databases. no laughing. it's pretty interesting stuff. though it would have been significantly more interesting if i had already read this article. (will the fact that the headline is "csi: your armpit" make you more inclined to click the link?)

the piece examines the possibility of using body odor (aka: an "odorprint") to identify criminals. no laughing. it's pretty interesting stuff. though the technology doesn't appear to be very reliable. at all. endless b.o. jokes scattered throughout the article sort of make up for that, but i don't think b.o. jokes would come in very handy in a court of law.

the conclusion is that odors, which can linger for days, and which are also invisible, making it nearly impossible to determine their origin (despite the classic verdict, "he who smelt it, dealt it"), will not become part of our crime fighting any time soon, so we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

it did get me to thinking, though, about that sneaky olfactory sense, and i am starting to wonder if smelling does us more harm than good.

for example, did you know that when you think you are tasting something, you are actually probably smelling it instead? this is particularly true with fast food. because fast food is so highly processed, and then submitted to all kinds of chemical processes, like flash-freeze-drying, to make it last for so long, it has lost almost all its natural taste by the time it's ready to be eaten. so, fast food companies infuse their food with what amounts to culinary perfume, a manufactured scent that smells how the food should taste. because our sense of smell is much more highly developed than our sense of taste anyway, our brains buy it. 

like i said. sneaky.

or consider this study, which posits that the birth control pill reduces women's ability to select optimally  genetically compatible mates because the pill changes women's odor preferences, and not for the better. women on the pill become increasingly attracted to men with genetically similar odors, which is bad news for life-sustaining genetic diversity. (i dated my cousin. i should know.) i won't get into the complicated scientific reasoning for the phenomena here, but rest assured it's (all together now!) pretty interesting stuff. it's also more than a little bit unfair. as my friend natali puts it, "now i can't even sniff out the right man because i want shorter, lighter periods and better skin?!" 

i have one word for that.


but wait! there's more! i just now, this very second, came across another smell-related article, this one claiming that "twilight" actor robert pattinson, though easy on the eyes, might be less so on the nose. edward, say it ain't so!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


one thing i am learning is that, a lot of the time, being a grown-up means doing whatever the h-e-double-hockey-sticks you want, which is pretty great, especially when what you want to do is take a weekend getaway to moab with the girls.

and it is even better when those girls include jess and dana, in from d.c., and susan in from california, plus local favorites ck and sallee. and even though it is sort of inconvenient, it is also sort of awesome when the hotel loses one of your reservations and you all six have to cram into one room, because girly sleepovers are the best.

and it gets even better than that when the weather is perfect and you get to spend the whole weekend wearing a tank top and hiking through some of the most stunning places in the world.

like, the windows in arches national park, at sunset no less...

and also the chesler park loop in the needles district of canyonlands...

and also up to delicate arch, even though the wind threatens to quite literally blow you away...

even just the view from the car makes you want to stay forever...

i guess the downside of being a grown-up is, you always have to come home.

Monday, March 23, 2009

let them eat cake

{what does this have to do with anything? read on my friends, links and all.}

i was guest poster over at segullah on friday, something i have been dreaming of doing for some time now. so, one moral of this story is that dreams really do come true.

for the other morals of this story, i guess you'll just have to read the post for yourself.

Friday, March 20, 2009

the visitor

{camera cord found!}

when mama bear comes to town there is no time to blog.

no time to blog because you are too busy.

busy with brunch and potlucks and dollar movies ("twilight" is just as good the third time as it was the first and second, btw), and also with shopping and decoding complicated family history (too many aunt nellies!), and also with cooking and sleepovers and watching "the office" in bed.

and also with family concerts.

and also with unexpectedly lengthy sewing projects (that luckily yield unexpectedly darling results).

and also with early birthday celebrations.

and also with lots and lots and tons and lots of laughing.


i need a nap.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

breathe in, breathe out

i have all kinds of things to tell you, especially about the recent visit of the mama bear, but my photographic illustrations of the as-yet-to-be-recounted events are being held hostage due to the mysterious disappearance of my camera cord. have you seen it? i have searched high and low to no avail, and i have a sinking feeling that it might be wedged between the many, many plastic containers of sweaters under my bed. i am also of the firm opinion that buying a new cord will be less of a hassle than pulling out all those containers, not to mention that spending money is the patriotic thing to do these days. but, we shall see.

in the meantime, let me say that, while last night the air smelled like the grotty great salt lake, a few nights ago it had that sweet and fresh, dew-filled, season-changing smell that always makes me miss japan something awful. i would gulp down same-smelling air by the nose-and-mouth-full as i raced my bike home at the end of the day, thinking all the while that life would probably never get better than that moment.

never mind that sometimes i have nightmares about being called on another mission. those crisp and pedaled evenings were some of the best of my life, and it's nice to catch a whiff of them every now and then.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

a few words about breasts

{i was too afraid to do a google image search to match the title of this post, so no picture this time. sorry. but i am sure you can use your imaginations.}

i do not spend very much time talking or thinking about breasts. probably because i have my own, so no big deal. and also probably because my own breasts are, frankly, not that big and not that interesting.

but, i've come across a lot of boob news lately, mostly related to breast-feeding, and it's all pretty captivating stuff. so i thought i might pass it along. (if lent caused such a stir, i can only imagine what the breast-feeding debate will do, but here we go.)

up first, salma hayek's breasts, which, depending on who you are, are probably worth talking about no matter what's going on. they got an abnormal amount of press a few weeks ago, though, when, on a trip to sierra leone, salma hayek breast-fed a baby whose mother had no milk. you can watch it here. (no worries, totally g-rated. or, depending on who you are, sorry. totally g-rated.)

the interweb went crazy with, from what i could tell, public opinion over whether she should have done it or not split right about down the middle. i thought the most compelling argument was "why should we care?" i personally thought it was a touching story, but nothing worth getting all riled up about. not like, say, whether chris brown and rhianna should be back together. (answer: they should not.)

but then, just today, i came across a whole stream of articles about breast-feeding on it started with this blog thread, and included a pro argument and a not-so-pro argument.

while i don't look forward to lactation as wistfully as the author of this pro argument, i hadn't ever framed the breast-feeding debate in such stark feminist terms before, and i was honestly a little surprised to discover that some women see it as a shackle of modern housewife-and-motherhood akin to the vacuum cleaner. (there are a lot of good jokes in there about sucking. give it your best shot.) also surprising was the contention that breast-feeding might not do as much good as we would like to think. do with that what you will.

but, breasts aside, the thing i found most interesting of all was the ever-recurring theme that women do themselves the most damage by judging the decisions other women make, or by feeling guilty about their own decisions. whether or not breast-feeding is better, some women are going to do it and some women aren't and choosing sides isn't going to get anyone anywhere. and the same thing goes for all the other debates over how and what it means to be a woman. the ability to make the decisions that are best for us personally without fear of judgement from our peers, would, it seems to me, move everyone toward victory a lot faster.

and the final act in this boob-tastic day involved my well-endowed co-worker and a certain gentleman with a focus problem, giving me the chance to hear for the first time in a real-life context the phrase, "hey, buddy, my face is up here."

so perfect. so cutting. now that's something to be wistful about.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

courage. character. cookies.

these were delivered to me a few days ago, making that day one of the happiest in my life.

i am still trying to work out a rationing system so every single cookie won't be gone within minutes of opening the box. my method so far has been to just not open the boxes at all, but that era is rapidly coming to a close. especially since my candy stash has recently run dry.

i guess i could limit myself to one box a day and stretch them through the end of the week, at least.

that seems reasonable. right?

it's not easy being green

thomas friedman, that venerable columnist and member of the liberal media elite (open cheek, insert tongue) was in salt lake tonight promoting his new book, "hot, flat and crowded," as well as making an impassioned plea for energy innovation that will help save the planet before it is too late. being the responsible and concerned citizens that we are, dave, melissa, dallas, kent and i went to check it out. also in attendance? the love of my life, mayor ralph becker. though i would expect nothing less.

friedman draws a very interesting parallel between the information technology boom of yesteryear and the energy technology boom that we need now to solve problems such as global climate change, strains on natural resources, energy poverty and dwindling biodiversity. the major stumbling block being that the i.t. boom introduced totally new technology that offered totally new functions (a phone i can carry in my pocket? what the what?), which made people willing to pay a premium for the technology, while energy innovations only give us a different version of something we can already get for cheap. never mind that the new version might be better and cleaner. the incentive to pay a premium for something you can get without paying a premium is pretty low.

the idea of a global green revolution is certainly an enticing one, and friedman offered up some really fascinating statistics (ex: more people will be born during his lifetime than were alive on the earth in the year he was born), but i could have used a few more practical applications. a call to "change your leaders, not your lightbulbs" is inspiring, but not immediately practical. and i take some issue with friedman's framing of wise environmental stewardship in terms of american dominance. something about phrases like, "green is the new red, white and blue" and "the space race is over. the earth race is on" rubs me the wrong way. it might be naive, but it seems that a revolution to save the planet should be a collaborative effort between all the people on the planet, not something to be lorded over some people by others. but maybe that's just me. (friedman is bff with al gore, so he has an edge on me there.)

but lest i give the impression that i thought the whole thing was lame-o (because i did not think that in the least), i will say that a few ideas really, really stuck out to me.

one. friedman gave a call to "get off facebook and get in someone's face" about the important environmental issues. i can get behind any call to be engaged in our communities and with our leaders in the real world. so thumbs up there.

two. he talked about how any revolution is going to bring some pain. not physical pain necessarily, but the pain of sacrifice. for example, paying a little more for clean energy. (and, as friedman points out, if we were to pay the burden price of our cheap electricity, including the cost of building plants, stripping the earth for coal and passing a damaged planet on to our children, that dirty energy wouldn't be so cheap anymore.) i personally find it easy to talk the talk when it comes to environmental issues, but i need to be reminded sometimes to walk the walk. no pain, no gain. as some people say.

and three. and my favorite. he encouraged all of us to see our environmental efforts as a work in progress. we don't all have to have a carbon footprint of zero by tomorrow, but every little bit helps. and every little bit can be added upon. this one-step-at-a-time idea is emerging as one of my favorite life themes right now, and i am happy to apply it in this context as well. today, a few extra dollars a month for wind power. tomorrow, a healed planet.

or at least one step closer.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sunday, March 8, 2009

saturday, 3:45 p.m.

outside my window: blue sky and bright sun that is shining right on the spot where i have curled myself up. happy sigh.

i am thinking: about how brunch at the blue plate diner with heather and kat is a perfectly satisfying way to spend three hours on a saturday.

i am thankful for: a lot right now. though drive-thru dry cleaning is towards the top of the list.

from the kitchen: not a thing. my spanish omelette and steak-cut fries should keep me full for a while.

i am wearing: the sexy mermaid t-shirt, striped cardigan and black yoga pants. i have officially embraced workout clothes in public. it feels pretty good.

i am reading: frommer's guide to turkey!

i am hoping: the snow keeps staying away.

i am creating: a trip itinerary. planning itineraries is not my strong suit, i am sorry to report.

i am hearing: heather's valentine's day mix cd. it rocks.

around the house: my next netflix dvd, my bike mounted on the trainer (and blocking the main basement thoroughfare), a new cactus.

one of my favorite things: harvest cheddar sun chips.

a few plans for the rest of the week: dinner with mara, thomas friedman lecture. and mama bear is coming to town, which is probably the very best plan of all.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Friday, March 6, 2009

i will not be discouraged. i will not give up. i will fight.

a happy international women's day! to you, and you, and you.

how did you celebrate?

i celebrated with a screening of "a powerful noise," a stunning documentary about women making a difference around the world, which was just what i needed to clear my mind of all the reality tv junk i filled it with this week, and restore some perspective about what's really important. (hint: it is not jason the bachelor.)

the film tells the stories of three women, one in mali, one in vietnam and one in bosnia and herzegovina, working to meet the needs of the women around them. one woman starts a foundation to educate domestic workers so they cannot be taken advantage of and abused by their employers; another an organization to support women living with HIV and provide AIDS prevention education; the third an agricultural co-op so widows left behind by bitter civil war can support themselves and their families and heal damaging ethnic divides. and, in a sort of amazing way, as the women's needs are met, everyone else's needs get taken care of, too.

when you help women, you help everyone.

as the columnist katha pollitt put it, there are no women's issues, only human issues. former secretary of state madeline albright has a slightly less kind way of saying the same thing: there is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women.

consider this. educate a mother, teach her to read and write, teach her a skill and she can start to earn money and support her family on her own. suddenly, she can afford bed nets so her children don't contract malaria. suddenly, her daughters who have been working to help support the family can go to school. suddenly, she is in a place to empower other women. suddenly, her life is changed. her family is changed. her community is changed.

and it just gets bigger.

when you help women, you help everyone.

i often fall victim to the pessimistic (and ultimately avoidant) conception that the problem is just too overwhelming. poverty, infectious disease, abuse and family violence, war. i'm not bono. what can i possibly do?

but today i was reminded that every single little itty bit counts. every single little itty bitty project, every single little itty bitty solution, every single little itty bitty dollar chips away at the bigger problem. and every single little itty bit grows.

i mean, let's face it. if i can spare the money to buy a bunch of clothes i don't need from forever 21, (you're welcome, economy!), i can probably spare the money it would take to help fund a well in a rural village so girls can go to school instead of carrying water all day long.

don't you think? i do.

care to join me? here and here and here are a few places to start.

and then we won't have to worry about going to hell anymore, which will be a big relief.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


{boo! hiss!}

once upon a time i lived with boys. we will call them reed and carid, because those are their names. and those boys loved "the bachelor."

no joke.

they loved "the bachelor" with a love that is true. certainly with a love truer than anyone actually on "the bachelor" has ever experienced. every monday night there the three of us were, camped out on the couch (usually with a bunch of ice cream), watching the train wreck (so awful but can't. look. away.) that is reality tv dating.

i am pretty sure the season we watched was the one with dr. travis stork, though it also might have been "the bachelor: an officer and a gentleman" with andy baldwin. they all sort of run together. (though i know for sure it wasn't the one with the fake italian prince.) i do have a very clear memory of reed being really upset when the bachelor made out with five girls in one episode. i think the conversation went something like this:

reed: dude! that is just not classy.
me: seriously? welcome to the premise of the show. looking for love on tv is not classy.
reed: well, i wouldn't go that far.

sadly, i don't live with the boys anymore, and it is sad mostly because they always took out the garbage. and because i would really love to know what they thought of the finale of this season of "the bachelor." (i guess i could call them and ask, but i would feel sort of dumb. how could i feel any more dumb about calling them than i do about writing a whole blog post about "the bachelor," you ask? well, that's a good question.)

for those of you just returning from some sort of media hibernation, this season's bachelor, jason, turned out to be a total tool and proposed to melissa but then changed his mind six weeks later, dumped her on national television and went after runner-up molly, who decided to take him back with alarming rapidity. (check out my favorite recounting of the events here. there is also a pretty great jimmy kimmel interview with the beep-hole bachelor here.)

to quote reed, "dude! that is just not classy."

not that i should be expecting much from people who go on tv to find true love, of course, but i did find the whole thing rather infuriating. mostly, i think, because this selfish, leave-every-door-open compulsion is a pernicious presence in real life, non-tv dating as well, and it makes me so mad i could just spit meaningless neil lane diamond rings. you just don't get take-backs on stuff like that. you don't get to say, "i love you, i love you, i love you with all my heart" and then turn around to "follow your heart" somewhere else.

to quote jen: "he didn't follow his heart. he followed his weiner."

do you hear me, jason? if i meet you in real life, i will ignore you. and i mean it.

all of that said, though, it wasn't totally depressing. partly because it's just tv and it doesn't really matter. (easier said than done, my friends.) but mostly because, as we watched tv-true love go down in flames on the screen, we were stuffing jen's wedding invitations. solid proof that, in real life, real true love triumphs.

Monday, March 2, 2009

red letter

it was a pretty big day for me and the interweb, as i received my first hater comment on the blog, from none other than "anonymous." hello, big time!

the dad-man came to the defense of my honor, but also offered a characteristically well-thought and well-worded defense of periods of denial and reflection across all religious traditions. i must agree that periods of physical denial, such as the monthly fast in which i, as a mormon, participate, when undertaken in the proper spirit and frame of mind, with reverence and a goal of drawing closer to God, are effective and valid and sacred. and i certainly don't mean to demean that. but, it also remains the case that i do better when i am trying to add real virtues instead of just take away vices.

with that said, continuing discussion of the non-insulting (and non-anonymous) variety is certainly welcome, but i am going to move on to a less controversial topic: babies!
that's right. i met joelle and baby natalie for a little dinner tonight, and may i just say that baby natalie is sitting up and smiling and generally turning into the gosh-darndest cutest baby in the world, as you can plainly see here.

i think even "anonymous" will have to agree with me on this one.

{also, two unrelated questions. one: do they make non-reflective spectacles? because i could be totally into that. two: did anyone else watch "the bachelor" finale tonight? seriously, what the heck was that?}