Monday, December 20, 2010


I don't post as often as I used to. But let's not get greedy, people. 'Tis the season and all.

Speaking of, can we talk about that whole "Tis the Season" nonsense? I see that phrase everywhere these days "Tis the save big at (insert store name here)", "Tis the Season...for a McCafe!"

No. No it isn't. Stop using that phrase!

Meanwhile, have I mentioned that we've been called to serve in the Nursery? Yes, that's right. Undeniable proof that somebody up there hates us. And the thing is, I really do want to believe that some day (some far, far day) I will want children of my own. Spending time with other people's little bundles of joy makes me want children sooooo much less (if that's possible). Because I can only desire to want children in the abstract. When faced with the reality of what children are, I am forced to admit that I want no part of it. It's like my goal to one day climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Sure, it sounds exotic and fun, but do I really want to train for weeks beforehand just so that I can sweat and choke and heave myself up some dumb rock? No, not really. But you know what? I'd enjoy that scenario a whole lot more than I would ever enjoy giving birth to a parasite that will spend the next 18 years sucking the life out of me.

Which brings us to the fact that my sister is pregnant with twins. It's one thing to have another human being living inside of you, but two? Two whole other people chillax'in in your abdomen? Holy. Rusted. Metal. Batman.

So, to sum up: Congrats to my sister and a big fat I-am-so-incredibly-sorry-for-whatever-I-did-to-deserve-this to whoever decided I should spend 2 hours a week surrounded by small children.


Monday, December 6, 2010

In which I convince you that I truly am in need of medication.

Okay, so it's still a little weird to me that I'm married. I blame movies. And vivid dreams.

It's like when you watch a movie or have a particularly clear dream and you wake up the next day thinking it was real (or at least some parts of it were real) and then you have that quick realization that no, you are not actually a CIA agent in disguise (and thank heavens for that, because I would totally suck at that job). Well, I keep doing that with the whole "husband" thing. Only it turns out it is real. So it's like this twisted cycle of "Hey, I think I'm married...oh no, that was just a dream, silly me...uhhh, was it a dream? I think I did get married...woah, vivid dream again...why is there a man in my bed?!?!"

Honestly, it's tripping me out. I've been looping this cycle for over two months now. When does it end????

In other news, I had this wicked rad dream the other night wherein I had re-discovered my ability to fly and my husband was very supportive of my new skill set. Only I knew it was a dream because of the whole "husband" part. I mean, me married? That'd be soooo weird.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Standardized Anxiety

Watching me preparing to take any standardized test must be like watching someone the morning of their execution. Because, of course, this test is not merely a measure of my test-taking skills, it is an accurate and unquestionable measure of my worth as a human being. If I do not do well, the world will not end. I will die, of course, but the world will not end.

Deep down I know none of this is true, but for about twenty four hours this sort of lunacy bubbles just under the surface of my frail, silent, terrified sanity. I try chasing it away with self affirmation, but I'm so much better at sarcasm. Occasionally I can drown it in copious amounts of orange soda. Why orange soda, you ask? I honestly have no idea. But thanks for asking. This time I cried on my husband's shoulder while he affectionately told me that I am, in fact, totally insane. It worked pretty well, actually.

But anyway, I passed the GRE. Or, more accurately, I laid that sucker over my knee and spanked it.

Pity Anthro programs care so little about GRE scores.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

This picture looks much cooler on my phone than it does on this blog.

There is a pond on the Mall, a memorial of some kind--something about Daughters of the American Revolution I think--which I walk by most days at lunch. Also there are trees a changin' round here. Not all of them though, just some. And lampposts, which is a funny little word with a double P for no good reason.

Today was warmer than yesterday, but colder than I'd like. Only it's not so humid now, which means my hair looks nice.

What if I took a picture with my phone everyday, and then posted it here? Who would get bored first, you or me?

I'm betting on you, since I have a pretty good attention span. I'm not like those people who apologize for having short attention spans. Mostly because I think those people are just trying to find a more polite way to say "Your existence bores me to tears", and I'm just not that polite.

Where were we? Oh yeah, the picture-per-day idea. Well, I think it's pretty obvious that neither one of us cares whether that materializes or not.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Lady Amalthea

Uuuuuuu-nicorn! Uuuuuu-nicorn!

Tell me you've seen that movie, please. Tell me I am not the only one who gets the sheer awesomeness of that freaky animation mixed with a soundtrack from America. I mean, come on people, "When the last moon is cast over the last crumbling mountain, and the last lion roars over the last dusty fountain..."

Honestly, why haven't more people seen and memorized this movie? How can a movie with a transvestite song ("Now that I'm a woman, everything has changed!") not be more widely loved? Ok, so it's not really a transvestite song so much as a ballad about a Unicorn being turned into a human girl by an inexperience magician trying to save her from the Redbull (no, not the drinkable kind, the giant bovine made of fire kind) who drove all the other Unicorn's into the sea so that King Haggard can watch them in the tide only now she is falling in love with a human man and forgetting what it's like to be a Unicorn and that's bad because only she can save the other unicorns!!!! This is EPIC people! SAVE THE UNICORNS!

Fact: My mother hid that movie from me for ten years because listening to me belt the lyrics to every song ("Look and see her, how she sparkles, it's the LAST UNICORN!!!!!") everyday for a year eventually began to wear away at her sanity and it was either separate me from that movie or kill me. Friends, there were days during the first few months when I wished she had gone with the latter rather than divide me from that magical VHS. Eventually I stopped looking for it, but I never forgot the words (not just to the songs, but to the entire movie). Then when I was 20 years old, perhaps thinking it would be safe now that I had finished more than a year in college and was living on my own, my mother brought it out of hiding. Actually, I think she had forgotten about it altogether and only accidentally stumbled upon it while packing up the house to move. And suddenly, there it was. The magical VHS that had for so long evaded my searching. The movie that had shaped the child I was and defined the woman I would become.  

The Last Unicorn.

And behold, the heavens did open and the walls did shake as, once again, at the top of my now considerably more powerful lungs I belted the words to that beloved song "In the distance hear the laughter of the LAST UNICORN! I'M ALIVE! I'M ALIIIIIIIIIIVE!!!" And behold, my mother did weep bitterly.

Anywho, I obviously now own that movie on DVD, (Special edition, Suckas!) and the day my now-husband agreed to watch it with me one Sunday afternoon was a defining point in our relationship. If you've ever wondered when it was that I knew he was the one for me, well folks, I'm pretty sure it was the moment he held me as we watched King Haggard's castle fall tumbling into the sea while hundreds of glittering unicorns came out of the water and rushed forth into the world again! (What can I say? My husband has the patience of a saint.)

But seriously, I know you've only read this far because you are waiting for that moral lesson to come out where I somehow tie this into something I learned in India and make it a microcosm for some big, philosophic idea in life. And don't worry, friends, I'm almost there.

Because you see, near the end when King Haggard has discovered the Lady Amalthea's true identity and the Redbull knows ("Molly, he knows! He knows!") that she is The Last Unicorn meant to be driven into captivity in the sea, there is this short scene with really bad dialogue (which matches the dialogue in the rest of the movie), in which Amalthea begs to stay human. "Don't let him change me!...Everything dies. I want to die when you die! I'm no unicorn, no magical creature! I'm human, and I love you....Lir, I will not love you when I'm a unicorn."And it sounds so familiar sometimes, doesn't it? "Please don't expect more of me! Don't ask me to do hard things, to be something greater than I am right now! Everybody gives up sometime; I want to give up too! I am happy as I am, and I'm afraid of wanting more."

No, this isn't about choosing career over love or never making compromises or the inevitability of death. It's about being afraid to accept your true potential because if you do, then it means you are capable of more than you are doing right now. It means you have no excuse for not doing great things. It means you'll have to make sacrifices and be brave and face up to your biggest fear. It means you'll have to turn around, look the Redbull in the eye, and fight back.

It means you have to apply to grad school again.

"She will remember your heart when men are fairy tales in books written by rabbits. Of all unicorns, she is the only one who knows what regret it - and love."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Between Sleep

I wake up before the dawn, and roll over into lumpy warmth and comfort. It smells like a boy, but I mind less and less. It grumbles and chuckles when I poke it awake. And then it opens bright blue eyes, and the day begins again.

How odd to hear his shaver as I run my morning shower. How strange to step over his cast-off pajamas on my way to plug in my curling iron. He leaves before I do, and though I should be in the bedroom getting ready for the day, I can't help standing with him in the hall as he chooses his shoes, closes his jacket, and heaves his bag over his shoulders. I'll see him again in a few hours, but still. I don't want to waste any of the precious morning minutes together.

I'm always a bit crankier in the evenings when I get home. Tired and cold and still so unused to sharing my space with another. This was always the time I most needed solitude. But he's home already, in his socks and wrinkled slacks and untucked shirt. He's been on the computer, and the kitchen needs cleaning. But he comes out to hold me, to ask about my day, and somehow that makes it all so much better. Together we'll make dinner, and eat sitting on the floor by our cardboard-box table.

And at night we'll laugh together, snuggled in our bed which is our only furniture so far. Until the lights go out, and we lay talking and confiding. When sleep comes, she finds us together.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

That's "Mrs." Awesome to you, kid.

Soooo.... I got married. Hot dang.

The tricky thing about planning a wedding in two months is that afterwords it all seems like such a blur, and like so many difficult but rewarding times in life, the stress and pain all kind of fade away pretty quickly in the glow of happier things. One thing I will tell you, wedding planning is not for wimps.

So many little things that had seemed sure to go wrong ended up going so well. In fact, the accidents that came out of minor catastrophes ended up being some of my favorite parts.

The invitations, for example, so very nearly sent me to an early grave. Getting the addresses was not bad, actually, but getting cards and photos printed on such short notice was grueling. I found myself two days away from my mailing deadline with nothing to put in the envelopes. In fact, I didn't even have envelopes. That night I discovered Fedex online. Two days later I was standing in my living room, holding a box of full color invitations with envelopes and inserts. And I loved them. I still do. No really, I absolutely adore my invitations. And somehow our photo ended up matching them perfectly. Minor miracle? I think yes.

The dress was more than a minor miracle. With my specifications (6'1" and LDS) getting a wedding dress that would be long enough and fit the modesty bill would be difficult enough. Getting that dress in less than three months? Tee-hee, good luck. Most dress shops can't even order in a dress in that time, let alone get it fitted and altered to specifications. So it should come as a huge surprise that I found the perfect dress in the first and only shop I visited. It was even long enough as-is, so long as I didn't wear heels (I hadn't planned to anyway. At my altitude, I don't need any extra vertical help). The only set back was the lack of sleeves. Like nearly all wedding dresses, it came totally strapless. Enter Russian-designer-and-shop-owner-of-Awesomeness.  "My dear, ve put like dis, same material, it goes in a V, you see? And buttons!" I'm pretty sure she must have been whispering Bippity-Boppity-Boo in Russian under her breath because the transformation was pretty magical. The whole thing took less than three weeks from the day my mother first teared up watching me in the dress shop to the day I tried on the finished gown. Well done, White Swan Bridal. Your arsenal of Russian women with attitudes is impressive, to say the least.

And then there were the flowers. This seemed easy at first, all I wanted was a simple bouquet for me and a button-hole for the main man of the night. However, not only did I put off talking to a florist until the week before the wedding, I barely even talked to the florist. Turns out a simple bride's bouquet can be pretty pricey these days. So basically, I heard the price quote and said "Crackah what? Please. Take me to Costco, people. I'll do my own flowers."

And so it was that six dozen roses (two white, two pink, and two pink-tipped-white) ended up spending the night in my refrigerator the night before the wedding. And then when we opened the fridge the next day, five dozen of said roses were dead. (Let's just say I left the responsibility for changing the temperature on the fridge to the wrong person, and leave it at that.) Somehow my mother managed to make two button-holes and three bouquet options from the survivors, and the thing is, the first bouquet was absolutely perfect. One reason I had hesitated in contacting a florist was that I was still so unsure about the bouquet in the first place. I don't like those tightly wrapped balls of flowers that seem too geometrically perfect to be real. I didn't really want a sheaf of roses either, and though I had toyed with the idea of carrying a single rose instead of a bouquet, that didn't seem right either. So when my mom handed me three perfect pink buds with long stems and a graceful, droopy pink ribbon tying them together, I was thrilled. It was perfect. It was absolutely what I wanted. Simple, innocent, elegant, and unique. Wow, mom. And that is why I am actually grateful that my refrigerator murdered most of the flowers, and even more grateful that my mother is just as magical as my Russian dress shop owner.

You know what else was magical? The lighting at our wedding. And this, it shall be acknowledged here and now for all the world to understand, was entirely at the hands of my sister, who also speaks Russian, as it turns out. So maybe she, too, was whispering Bippity-Boppity-Boo in Russian as she wrapped strands of lights and lit candles and luminaries all over the grounds at our venue. Originally, when I had first started planning my reception, I had envisioned it all taking place just before sunset, in that gorgeous soft light of early evening. Take a note people: the sun sets earlier in late September than it does in early August. In fact, it set exactly one minute before my reception was scheduled to begin. I realized this was going to be a problem the week before the wedding, the day my sister casually mentioned "are you at all worried about lighting?" and followed that up with the perfect solution and the organizational skills to pull it off. Later she asked me if I would rather have had the reception in daylight after all. Answer: Ummm....did you see my magical, romantic, glowing garden reception? Trade that for daylight? I repeat: Crackah, please.

Oh, I also forgot to plan music for the event until the night before when I spent an hour making a playlist for my iPod. Which might seem kind of lame, but my arsenal of Russian speaking geniuses had not yet run out. You see, my Russian speaking brother just happens to play the guitar and sing. He took the time to learn a Jack Johnson song the groom and I both love, and then he played and sang while we had our first dance. Which was awesome. I cannot tell you how awesome. I get a little choked up when I think about it, actually.

And then there were friends who flew all the way across the country to be there. Some brought chubby, gurgley babies to smooch, and others came early and stayed late to set up luminaries, tie ribbons, and figure out how the fetch that last button on my dress is supposed to go because the photographers are here and my new husband just tried to fix it with a pen.

(On an aside, that conversation went something like this:

Him: I can't figure this last button out....

Me: Hmm, can you go get my mom to help me then?

Him: Actually, I can just use my pen to-

Me: TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF THE BRIDE AND BACK AWAY SLOWLY. There will be absolutely no contact between your ballpoint pen and this wedding dress. You sick, sick man!

Friend of the bride who just walked in: Let me get that, Jen. It's okay, Groom, you can go now.

Bride: Thank. Heavens.

End of aside)

We served artisanal breads and preserves with a variety of really cool cheeses, and though I had always pretty much planned that, it still kind of surprised me that it went as well as it did. It looked gorgeous, and though I didn't get to sample any of the cheese myself (I spent so much time in the softly glowing gazebo greeting guests) I hear it was all pretty darn good, particularly the brie torte with fig and cranberry preserves. Also I just like bragging that we had a brie tort at our wedding.

I did get to taste the wedding cake, or course. But when your wedding cake is actually a variety of world-famous Georgetown Cupcakes, in all your favorite flavors, you make time to try some. And the groom manfully restrained himself from smashing cake into his bride's face. I think something about the pen incident a few hours before sort of tipped him off about mixing messes with my wedding dress. Also he didn't want to waste the cupcake. When cake tastes that good, you don't mess around with it. I only got one, but it was divine as always. Two words people: Key Lime.

Hmm, this is turning into a really long and boring post about my wedding reception, so I'll refrain from describing the necklace I jerry-rigged out of an earring or the antics of our 2 yr old flower-girl whose skill with a ribbon wand is to be greatly admired.

I will tell you that our set up was pretty fantastic for greeting guests. I mentioned the gazebo before, strung with white lights and hanging candles. But to get the full effect you need to imagine it in a moonlit garden with a soft breeze and the sounds of laughter and joy coming from the terrace where the food and guests had converged. That's where Mr. Awesome and I spent almost the whole night, greeting guests as they came, but mostly just being with each other. Because it was separated from the main party area just a bit, it gave us a chance to be alone together between influxes of arriving guests. To dance a little bit without everyone watching us, and laugh at our own dumb inside jokes. We got to enjoy the romance of a perfect fall evening with each other, on our wedding day. And that was priceless.

Clean up was not priceless. But the friends who stayed to help were incredible. We sent them home with some extra food from the event, too, so I hope it wasn't too hard on them. And anyway, I happen to know most of them don't have church until 1pm the next day. Our new ward starts at 8:30 am...guess who didn't make it that Sunday ;).

And then we were exhausted and ecstatic and married!! And we ran off to Scotland together, which is a post for another day.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Misc L. Aneous, esq.

I was having a temper tantrum, though not a very big one as tantrums go. Something about my chin in a picture I think. "Jenni, remember when you were in India? What was it you said about loving your..."

"Knock if off. Only I am allowed to philosophize about my trip to India!"

But of course, he was absolutely right. And look, I don't want to get into some sappy post about my engagement but let me just say that I would greatly appreciate if he would NOT DO THAT. Okay? In the first place he is way to patient with me, which totally makes me look bad, but there is no reason to compound the insult by being right. Mmmkay?

Anyway, I did learn some junk in India and I do tend to forget it. This basically means I need to go back to India, right? Right? Whose with me?

It costs 3x more to buy a stamp than it does to buy a 4'x6' photo print. Also the mail man at my office is totally crazy. Sometimes it's cute, and sometimes it's scary. About a week ago a coworker came running out of her office thinking he was attacking me. Nope, just banging my desk for emphasis. He really hates misdirected mail.

I think I broke my toe. And when you hear that you think: Oh sure, a broken toe, big deal. But it IS a big deal, yo. Because it hurts to walk on this thing, and closed toed shoes are currently out of the question. And wearing flip-flops in the office is generally frowned upon. So pity me already, people! And yes, the fact that a certain republican spent significant time holding a bag of frozen raspberries against my foot (while repeatedly asking if I was okay and do I want some water and can he give me a back rub) should probably cover me in the pity department for several foot injuries to come. Yes, I know this. But my foot hurts!

Lessons we have learned in this post so far: Cathlin is a twit. Her fiancee is greatly to be pitied.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

How It Happened

I spent the evening running. Well, jogging/walking/running. It's all just an excuse to be alone with my thoughts anyway. Easier to let my mind wander when my legs are doing the same thing. Anyway, it was also humid out, and I took the last hill home at a full run. And I walked in the door a fluffy, sweaty, flushing mess of satisfaction. Which is how all exercising should end, fluffy and sweaty and at peace with God and man. Sorry, I've just waxed poetic about humidity and sweat.

And then the rocks hit the door, and I knew. I knew in the way you always know these things, which is to say that I had no idea, knew all along, was completely surprised, and remained unfazed in anyway. Two rocks hit the door and my life flashed before my eyes, or maybe it was my reflection in the mirror. She looked confused at first, and then she shrugged her soccer-jersey clad shoulders and ran a hand over the wisps of hair escaping her pony-tail. If she could deal with it, I could. We were a team, this sweaty apparition and I. Together we opened the door.

He wasn't there of course, no one was. Just the small stones scattered on the balcony, the fireflies dancing in giddy anticipation, and a disembodied voice reading Cyrano's lines. Do you know Cyrano? Of course, we all do. We have all been Cyrano at one point, haven't we? Calling out our lines from under the balcony, where no one can see our huge noses. Only this Cyrano does not have such a large nose. In fact, he has a perfectly charming nose. I love his nose. But he stayed under the balcony anyway, reading out lines from the play I love. And because I did not have any lines of my own to read, I passed the time peaking through the slats of the balcony floor, pelting him with the pebbles he had used against my door. And then he stepped out into the glow from my door and held up a box. More stones. But this one is yellow and sparkly and magical. A sapphire, which defies reason with its color. And I take it. With all my heart.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Reflections on a Year That Didn't Exist

It's been a year now, since I moved to DC to embark on a fictitious year in a life otherwise totally planned out. A full year since I stepped out of the hallowed doors of academia for a brief hiatus in the "real world", a place of employment and dating outside the ivory towers I've so long considered my true home. For the most part, things have gone according to plan.

I got a job, though not nearly as menial and low-paying as I had anticipated. Oh, I am most certainly NOT complaining! I am very grateful for the employment and early promotion that pretty much fell into my lap within a month of moving here; such luck I did not expect nor deserve. And though the plan to work full time and not write papers has succeeded brilliantly, what I did not anticipate is the relationships I would form within that work context. The paycheck and benefits are nice, but the people have stretched me, challenged me, and improved me. There once was a little girl from Minersville Utah, and I'm not that little girl anymore.

I took a fencing class, too. I never expected to come out a world-class Dread-Pirate-Roberts-Style fencer, but I would be lying if I said I didn't harbor a certain illogical hope. That said, what I did learn in that class was how uncomfortable I am with my physical abilities. Whether I can do something well or not, I am terrified and mortified at the idea of someone seeing me do it. This made the course more than a little difficult for me at first, but over the weeks I was able to loosen up about it. Eventually I even learned to enjoy it. I would have expected my fencing style to be someone reticent, slow paced, and even retreating. In reality, my fencing strategy turned out to be along the lines of "Attack! Attack! Attack again! MustnotlethimhitmesoIwillhithimfirstattaaaaaack!" Not always graceful, but unfailingly aggressive.

I did not learn to tango, unfortunately. So this form of dance must remain on my to-learn list. I did learn a little bit about 18th century dancing technique, however, and a little more about swing. About the former I still know relatively little, but I did attend a short dance lesson in George Washington's assembly rooms at Mt. Vernon. As far as dates go, that one will remain one of my favorites. Hot cider, gingerbread, and dancing instruction aside, I highly recommend taking a moonlit stroll through George Washington's private garden with your significant other around Christmas time.

I also highly recommend swing dancing! East-coast swing, to be more precise. I'd learned west-coast style before but the lindy-hop seemed at once too complex in its basic step and too simple in its variations thereon. West-coast has a simpler basic step and allowed more improvisation thereon. I learned all of this, of course, on another date which ranks in my top dates of all time. This time, set the stage in the 1950's. Picture an old amusement park, with a carousel and bumper cars. Imagine a ballroom packed with couples, jiving to the groove of "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" and other similar tunes as played and sung by a live band and appropriately costumed singer. And of course, when it gets too hot inside with all the dancing, you'll just step outside and wander down to the swing-set where you'll talk and laugh and watch the stars and fireflies. Then you'll dance again, of course, and race to the carousel where you'll ride matching ostriches and hold hands. And when it's all over you'll go for a malt at the Silver Diner, and then he'll walk you to your door like a gentleman. And this time-traveling year will feel even less real then before.

I had also hoped to cultivate a disinterested approach to watching politics unfold in DC. I came here an independent, and independent I remain. But I had wanted to be an observer, sort of like taking my anthro training into my political life. And it is not that easy. I find myself drawn into political discourse, fascinated by both sides but undeniably pulled to the left. I will probably never register as a democrat, but I wonder if I'll ever seriously consider voting republican at all. The protests, the arguments, the rallies and the speeches fascinate me. But I cannot remain aloof to it all. I take sides, have opinions, and argue back. Someone, somewhere, a lofty anthropology professor probably, in a tweed jacket, will laugh at my naivete. Lesson learned, oh young fool! It is not as easy as it sounds, particularly when, unlike your stay in India, you actually understand what is going on.

Overall, this year feels like such a resounding success to me. It wasn't as I had imagined it, and that is as it should be. So, now, time to pack up right? Time to tie off any loose ends of the year-that-didn't-exist and finish up preparations to resume my real-life in academia. Scotland awaits!

Except, you can't plan everything can you? Sometimes the world surprises you. Life surprises you. Sometimes, despite all your best laid plans a boy walks into your life and turns your best laid plans on their head. True, sometimes that boy is a republican. But sometimes that boy is also incredibly smart and funny and good. Sometimes that wonderful boy asks you to marry him.

And sometimes you say yes.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

June Prose

The air conditioning in the lobby is incredible, and the rush of hot, wet air that hits my skin as I push through the outer doors is a relief, at least for a moment. Humidity is fickle like that. The dessert heat burned and scorched, killing you quickly and impersonally. This heat is worse perhaps, because it does not kill impersonally. It lives and breaths and creeps into your nose and lungs. This heat does not kiss your skin like sunlight, it invades you and transforms you. I can feel my hair rising, curling and waving with the hot, wet air. My skin feels more alive and less my own. This heat does not kill you. It consumes you.

The pigeons have it in for me, you know. They wait, just there across the street. Innocently pecking through a crushed mound of potato chips or bread, dipping into the fountain specked with sunlight and fungus. As though they do not see me coming, as though they have no intentions toward me at all. But they are too quiet now. I do not trust these pigeons. See? The fat one, there! He'll be the one today. His turn to fly at me, just past my face. A great fat flutter of gray wings and feathers, like cigarette butts and death.

The sun is here, of course. She's everywhere, that whore. That great glowing Grushenka. She'll steal it all from me, one day. Ruin me, like Katerina.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

If I were the Queen of the Forest:

No one would ever again use the word "prego" to describe being pregnant. It's an insult not only to the Italian language but also to cheap, sodium filled spaghetti sauce and I WILL NOT STAND FOR THAT.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I'm pretty sure no one but me can read this and still love me.

I cannot stand hearing that ugly accent asking for a certain co-worker of mine when I pick up the work phone. Sometimes whoever it is mumbles, too, which I find very disturbing. Maybe it's not even the same person but it drives me nuts. Why does it bother me? I think partially it is because while English is associated (in my mind) with my own culture, that accent is associated (in my mind) with stupidity. So I somehow come out feeling that whoever it is just called my culture (and by extension myself) stupid. I think this makes me some sort of linguistical-elitist and/or socialist. Thoughts?

Also the mumbling seems disrespectful because it feels like whoever-this-is has decided he/she/it can be lazy about MOVING THEIR FRIGGING MOUTH and expect me to put forth extra effort to interpret the garbled message they give me. So I always say, even when I somehow manage to understand him/her/it the first time, "I'm sorry, WHAT??" That way this lazy, rude, mumbling him/her/it has to repeat the message and thereby expend more effort. Sometimes I make whoever-it-is repeat it multiple times. In other words, mumbling-throat: I'm totally messing with you, Suckah!

In other news, I'm dating a republican. Freaky, I know, right? Somebody call the X-files because an alien has invaded Cathlin's body and is making her do CRAZY stuff. Anywho, some random problems with the ideological differences in the relationship (unsurprisingly, all of these are my fault):

1. When I read political news and find myself trudging through the sludge of the comments section, I find myself reading every republican/tea party/gun-slinging, hate throwing, right wing meanie-head comment and then associated them all with him. This means at the end of the day, without even knowing it, he has managed to insult me and and my political opinions dozens of times, with a smattering of profanity, misspellings, and death threats thrown in for good measure. I honestly find myself thinking "How can I be dating someone who would write this sort of filth?" and then I find myself thinking "How can HE be dating anyone who is so obviously confused and delusional?"

2. Sometimes when he isn't around and my family starts joking about republicans I get this weird mother-bear instinct and have to restrain myself from threatening to leave the family if they don't STOP INSULTING MY BOYFRIEND! I. Am. Nuts.

3. I spend significant portions of our time together (while we are talking, driving, watching movies, and even eating) poking him in the face. This really has nothing to do with our political differences, and I can offer no real explanation for why I do it. I'm just putting it out there as further proof of that this post's title is an apt one.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spelling Lessons

O is for Old, because he kinda looks it now.
B is for Barack, because it's his first name (duh).
A is for American. Or America. Or Armpit.
M is for Mayonaise, because it's almost lunchtime.
A is for American Armpit. I already told you that. What, you want a different word for each letter? Well, then you should have voted for Obami or Obamu or Obamt. Yeah. Obamt, I like that one.

Obamt: To be obalmost as obawesome as me.

Happy Friday, Everybody!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I am officially an April-idiot.

None of the following are in anyway related. This sentence is superfluous. China.

I've been slowly but surely developing a love affair with putting periods behind every. word. in. a. sentence. It makes me feel--relevant? Revelatory? Punctual?

I don't want to go into too many details here, but have you ever seen the movie "Meet the Parents"? I hated that show. However, it taught me a valuable lesson: I don't wanna "meet the parents". Oh wait, I already did that and it wasn't that bad at all. But still, I don't want to have the parents meet the parents! And since I am relatively sure none of the people directly involved in this situation read this blog (Except Mom. Hey Mom!) I'm gonna go ahead and admit that. Partially because I can feel the awkward now, but mostly because I'M NOT FRIGGING FRAGGING FROGGING ENGAGED SO DON'T GET ANY CRAZY IDEAS PEOPLE! Whew. That felt good. And just in case I was wrong about the whole "they don't read this" thing...erm...hey there Smoochy, how was your day?

In other news, can I just say, I love DC in the spring time? It's not just the cherry blossoms (But that's part of it, and it's awesome, so be jealous, obviously). But there are these flowers, and fountains, and festivals! And lately, waiting for my bus has been a little less like a strange form of freeze-the-snot-in-your-nose torture. Plus: can you say "Cardigan Season"? Not that every season isn't cardy season for me, just that the stores are selling them now so I can restock for the next few months. What? You think my ever-present cardigan is a bad fashion choice? You want I should don a medieval cape and dress instead? Because I've seen people who do that and it is SO MUCH WEIRDER than me!

Lastly, I bought this flavored water today (and visions of the plastic bottle spending an eternity in a land fill have been dancing in my head ever since.) But anyway, flavored water + vitamins. And, okay, so I don't really care what vitamins the stuff has as long as it tastes good. Which means I didn't read anything on the label other than "black cherry-lime" before whisking it through the self-checkout. Now, half a bottle into it I just checked the label again and actually looked at the vitamins it offers. Among vitamins c, a, and e you know what this little darling has been loading me up with for the past three hours? "40 mg caffeine". That's right. The girl who never drinks caffeine in any form just bought herself some buzz-juice that will have her awake and jiving to the beat of her own drum for the next 12 hours at least. I have April-fooled myself. Awesome.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Represent A. Tive, Esq.

Down 20th street to Constitution, I pass security guards at various checkpoints, though I've never taken the time to identify the specific buildings they guard. Eventually, after the stop-and-go rhythms of walk signals and traffic lights, I reach the footpaths. They are paved in concrete, in asphalt, in cobblestones, in sand. They twist and wind around each other, ordered in their disorder. Most days I choose a light concrete path and let it lead me to the white stone temple where Lincoln sits, enthroned and mildly menacing to us, poor tiny mortals gazing up at him. I've wondered, many times, what it is we worship in that temple; for we worship something, some vague American thing.

Rarely, in fact only once have a taken that first right turn onto another footpath sloping gently into disaster. On that path thick black stones rise slowly higher as I pass, first to my knees, then my shoulder until finally they tower over me, reflecting my image back to me through a haze of dead men's names. I feel strange there, guilty. It is not my war. I cannot reconcile with it, claim it, comprehend it. The other war memorials here are kinder to me. They splay out easily, telling me their tales of honor won and wrong defeated. They do not mix tragedy with victory. They do not bury me in dead men's names.

Washington's is as unambiguous as they come. I do not go too close to that memorial, of course. I am not welcome there, not really. I am American, yes, and a patriot too. But there is something uniquely unwelcoming to me, as a woman, about the towering phallic symbol.

On the way back, walking north again toward Pennsylvania Avenue, I pass Isabella Reina. She is surprisingly short, and almost crudely shaped in iron turned all shades of blue and green. Perhaps because her placard is in Spanish, perhaps because she stands just off the beaten path, or perhaps because she is a woman among so many men, I find I like her best of all.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Honor Code Rebellion....or not.

So I went to BYU. If you don't know what that it. Anyway, I had this relationship of tension with the Honor code. On the one hand, I was desperate not to fit in. As a friend of mine likes to say, I needed to be different just like everybody else. On the other hand, I honestly liked the code and would have lived by it, or wanted to live by it, anyway. No boys in the bedroom? 'Kay, my bedroom is kinda messy anyway and it's nice to know I can walk into my room in nothing but a bathrobe and not find my roommate's boy-toy sitting next to my underwear drawer. (Yes, I just referenced partial nudity AND underwear in the same post. Are you freaking out? because I know I am.) No smoking? Awesome, I choose a cancer-free life whenever I can. No male visitors past midnight? Whatev' yo. I can handle a dude-free home after hours (see the above references to nudity and undies) and when I really did need some testosterone in my life past midnight no dorm-wide curfew could have stopped us. (Word to the wise for all you Zoobies out there, Rock Canyon park is not too far from DT and makes for excellent make out turf. Yes, Mom, it so happened. More than once...) Modest clothing? Great! The last thing we need is more uninhibited muffin-tops and cleavage rolling around in this country, and I've always been a fan of layers anyway. The day I discovered the cardigan, well, that my friends was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Even some of the "weirder" rules suited me just fine. Take the "clean shaven" rule for example: Have you ever tried to make out with an unshaven male? Trust me, clean shaven is the way to go.

Anyway, the point is I couldn't rebel against the Honor Code or even really be upset about it because it didn't ask me to do or not do anything I would have done or not done anyway. And the "we shouldn't have to be compelled" argument just doesn't hold water for me because when it comes bathrobes and panties I like to know my roommate is on board with the no-boys-in-the-bedroom rule. So how does one rebel against a system that neither represses nor even really annoys one?

Easy. Vote democrat.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Modern Conveniences or Why I Am a Spoiled Brat

I woke up Saturday morning to a white filled world. The snow continued to fall all day, trapping my in my own house. And of course, my internet wasn't working.

Four days later, it's finally working again. Come on, comcast, get it together! I can't survive four days without internet access.

Who do they think I am, George Washington?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Gloria McAwesomeface

80% of Americans claim they want to write a book.
5% of those get past the first chapter.
less than .01% of those get published at all.

Get this, one of those less than .01% of 5% of 80% people?

She's totally my sister.

I hereby claim awesomeness-by-association.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Brother Cooper's House

I clearly remember the hours I spent as a child, staring at the closet door from the vantage of my bed, too scared to close my eyes, wondering if it would be safe to cross to my bedroom door and make a break for my mother's room. Sure, I was young, imaginative, prone to nightmares. But there was something in that closet.

Twenty years later, I still watch for monsters in the closet. I shouldn't be afraid of the dark anymore, but these monsters find me anyway. They haunt the closets of almost any house I enter. They wait for me, fangs dripping, mangled fur pressed against my coats and shoes. They are the specters of internal fears, of threats levied against my fragile sense of belonging. They bring with them a lifetime of fear and insecurity, of never knowing when the next blow would fall, the next safety net vanish.

And so, among the other gifts you gave to me, the advice, the blessing, the bed large enough to stretch my full length upon, I've one more thing to thank you for.

I lived in your house for six full months, and there were no monsters in your closets.

Friday, January 15, 2010

How I found God in the temple of the Goddess.

"Being Mormon, to me, means that no matter where I go, no matter what language or country, there is always someone I can connect with: some one who loves me."

This quote makes me want to cry. It makes me want to cry because I've traveled just a bit (four continents and counting) and it's true. I think this statement has power on two levels.

The first is the most obvious. The LDS church is a worldwide church, existing all over the world in various countries, in dozens of languages, and with wide ranging singing abilities. I've attended sacrament meetings in French, Spanish, and Tamil. I've sung hymns with other members in hotel rooms, cathedrals, and the back rooms of an old house. In the stifling humidity of the south Indian jungle, the glory of spring in Paris, and the bitter cold "lluvisna" of winter in Argentina I've bowed my head to offer thanks to God with other equally sweaty/drowsy/shivering Mormons. And the one thing that carries over through all of these various experiences is that no matter what language they speak or what continent they call home, I love Mormons and Mormons love me. If it has "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" written on the building, I've come home, no matter how far from home I've traveled.

But the statement quoted above has meaning and truth on another level. One of my very most favorite aspects of the true gospel is that all religions have some amount of truth to them and all people have access to the light of Christ. So, for me, being a Mormon means recognizing that everywhere I go I am surrounded by people who, though not LDS, are nevertheless just like me. They seek truth and light wherever they can find it. They yearn to be closer to God, however they understand Him now. They want to help other human beings, whether they see others as children of God or not. They love me, and I love them, irrespective of their familiarity with Mormon Hymns.

I distinctly remember the worst day I had in India. I am certain I always will. For reasons I have struggled with but ultimately forgiven, on that hot day in Tamil Nadu I found myself alone, heartbroken, and lost in a city of almost two million people. On that day I had no LDS members to turn to, no RS president to bring me cookies and no hometeachers to offer blessings. For that one day I was alone, outside the arms of my beloved religion, and devastated. But I wasn't alone, after all. All unbidden a handful of total strangers reached out and held me up. A man on a motorcycle noticed a lost girl and helped her find her way. A business man at the temple approached a strange girl to share the blessings of his religion with her and led her into a circle of faith otherwise closed to her. A woman with problems and pains of her own spent the afternoon speaking in broken sentences and strange new gestures to a girl who, though visiting in that country, did not speak the local dialect and could not communicate with anyone else there. None of those individuals were Mormon, but they are one reason I am glad to be Mormon myself.

Because being a Mormon, for me, means seeing the world for its potential to love and be loved. While I do not believe, as my Hindu friends have told me, that all roads lead to God. I do believe, as my religion tells me, that all humans come from God. And maybe, just maybe, we're talking about the same thing.

Friday, January 8, 2010


The thing about New Year's Resolutions is that a year always seems like the wrong time-frame for a truly effective goal. For example, you want to be more patient and less easily provoked this year? Awesome, but why only for a year? Isn't that more of a life long goal? And if you are using this year just as a sort of measuring device for that goal, well, you can bet you'll forget if you don't break it down into more manageable bites of time. Or, let's say you want to get a gym membership. Umm...if that takes you a whole year to do, you are using the wrong gym. In general, signing up for a membership takes about half an hour or less. Now, they'll take money directly from your bank account every month for a year (at least) but that's more a goal for them than for you, isn't it? I like my goals to fit into one of three categories: weekly, monthly, and lifely (so totally a word, right?). But, if you're the type to set a New Year Resolution, well, I won't look down on you for it. (I'll laugh at you behind your back, for sure, but look down? Never.)

And for the time being, here is my resolution, which I like to think of as a lifely goal:

Eat more fresh produce.

What, you were expecting something deeper and more pensive? Vegetables are the fa-shizzle people. The fa-shizzle.