Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Big Sky Country Wedding

This is another story about my roommates and their shenanigans. It all started with my dear roommate Lindsay and her "bit" with another dear friend: their short-term goal is to get me hitched to his dear friend. And then, of course, she will marry the first dear friend and the two of us will live down the road from each other. Finally, we will ship Chris up there and find another single man for her to marry and all will be well. And did I mention that the final destination of this story will be a geographic region to which people really only travel if they're in the Witness Protection Program or if they're teenage girls "living with their aunt for nine months or so..."? This region is what (apparently) is called "Big Sky Country" (aka Montana/Wyoming/South Dakota) and also, apparently, it's "heaven."

As Lindsay was defending her little plot, I replied, "very well, keep your 'bit,' but if I marry [this fellow], be warned that you will have the ugliest bridesmaid dress known to man." Seriously, the atrocities committed by this dress would go down in the annals of clothing history as one of the most hideous crimes against fashion ever committed. I told all this to Chris, and this is what she wrote to me:
"So, the bridesmaids will be wearing dresses made of bison hide. Something
similar to the dress on the right, obviously we'll make 'em knee length since
you'll be having a late fall wedding and it gets chilly in Montana. They'll all
be wearing matching elk horn bracelets and as a nod to you as the bride,
necklaces with a silver skull pendant. The eyes will be nice aquamarine
gemstones to match your cornflower blue motif.
"The groomsmen will have matching
skull cufflinks and be decked out in buckskin pants that they made themselves as
part of the pre-wedding festivities. Congratulations! Lindsay is going to be
such a gorgeous maid of honor."
And this was the picture she found for the bridesmaid's dresses:

If this wedding ever does happen, my mother might cry a little bit (after getting over the original shock that I've landed myself a feller, that is).

An additional part of the plan was that the menfolk would hunt for and kill their own bison/buffalo for their outfits. We may need two additional "alternate" groomsmen in the event that any of them get eaten by bears in this endeavor.

So anyway, ladies and gents, clear your calendars for every "late fall" for the next couple of years, because you're invited (all seven of you that read my blog). And golly, do I hope that none of these wildernessy men start reading my blog today.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Where Have All the Good Men Gone?

I don't know how many "hardcore" feminist friends I have, but I have a feeling they might be mad at me for this post. It's a post about chivalry.

I do think it's absolutely stupid for a man to ruin his coat to spare a woman from ruining her shoes. The fairer sex is not too delicate to step around a puddle. I do it all the time. However, I am a little sad that the days of honorable gentlemen are basically gone. And I'm a little sadder that we're getting used to it. Today, I was standing on the train, and a man asked me if I would like his seat. I was floored. In a year of Boston public transit, I've seen that happen fewer than five times. Seventy years ago, however, a man wouldn't think of sitting on the train while a woman was standing. I declined the seat, however, as I was getting off at the next station and soaking wet from walking a mile in the rain (seventy years ago, a man also might have shared his umbrella without fear of me thinking he was some type of offender).

Don't get me wrong, gender equality is a good thing: women should have the same opportunities in education, employment, and society as men; but what is so wrong with some good-old-fashioned chivalrous respect? I yearn for the days before men unapologetically swearing (and I'm well aware that many women have potty-mouths as well) and spitting (ick) when ladies were present.

I know all this is wishful thinking. I'd probably fall over and die if I ever saw men stand up when I walked into a room. If I could make one request to all the men in the world, I would really just request that they stop the spitting. Seriously, it's icky. As for the rest, I'll just have to live in my own fantasy world with the real man of my dreams:

Needless to say, if I were around, he would have removed his hat.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Life, Coached

I've had a new roommate since mid-July; her name is Chris and she's a delight to live with. I've never lived with anyone who was a bigger science nerd than me before, and it's fun to say things about molecular biology and have someone not look at you like you're speaking in tongues. But seriously, she's wonderful; after only knowing me for less than a month, she made me this cake when I finished my crazy-stressful competency exams for my program.


So yummy.

She has, however, taken it upon herself (okay, and I did kind of agree to it, so it's equally my fault) to become my "life coach" (you know, like on Oprah). A great multi-tasker, she life-coaches Lindsay as well. Every so often she gives me tasks, and I follow them because she has a PhD and as a graduate student, I am programmed to do whatever anyone with a PhD tells me. Most of her tasks and weekly "homework assignments" (strangely named, because most of the assignments can't be completed at home) involve talking to people (particularly those with Y-Chromosomes), and becoming a more cheery and upbeat person. Here are some of her assignments so far:
  1. Touch two elbows. For those who aren't familiar, elbow touching is a big part of the Western Mormon Young Single Adult mating ritual. We are a peculiar people.

  2. Break the personal space bubble. This could mean anything from "stand dangerously close to people when talking to them" to "stop backing away when people approach you."

  3. Write something flirty on a boy's facebook wall. Unfortunately my flirting is usually laced with advice to avoid falling prey to an ursine creature's carnivorous desires. Hey, it's a good sentiment.

  4. Stop saying negative things for a month. Chris, though astute in other areas of life, hasn't quite caught on to the fact that I am legitimately scary, inaccessible, strange, and off-putting. However, I guess I can stop pointing this out and using it as my explanation for why people don't come to ward choir.

  5. Sit in the kissing booth at the church fall carnival. As noble as whoring oneself out for charity is, I plan on developing some non-specific, yet very contagious, upper respiratory tract infection the day before that will magically clear itself up the day after. Barring that, I'll come up with some exorbitant fees in the canned goods:lip action exchange. Or maybe just turn it into an "Awkward Side Hug" booth.

Needless to say, I quite enjoy having my life coach for a roommate. Don't worry, other roommates, I'll do blog posts devoted to you soon enough. And as for the rest of you...see you at the kissing booth...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Patterns and the Art of Roughing It

I will be the first to admit that I am a creature of habit. I like my routines and my patterns. Not in a serial killer kind of way, and not in the sort of way that I'm unable to function if one little thing is wrong, but I like things done the way that I always do them. Sometimes I wonder if we, as creatures of habit, get trapped in our patterns. The strange thing is, however, that our patterns don't trap us--we trap ourselves in them! We are perfectly capable of breaking our patterns, but we feel like we can't. There are, of course, addictions and other habits that are a little more difficult, but I'm not talking about those. I'm talking about the little things, and it's been sort of an epiphany for me. Just because I always sit on the left side of the orange couch doesn't mean I'm not allowed to sit in the blue chair (it's also less awkward than kicking Lindsay out of the left side of the orange couch). My post-gym blueberry bagel with reduced-fat honey walnut cream cheese doesn't taste any better at the corner table by the lamp than it would in a booth by the wall. (It doesn't even have to be a blueberry bagel! I was feeling devil-may-care today and ordered french toast with reduced-fat plain today...of course the girl over-toasted it and put it in a bag when I clearly asked for a tray, but whatever...) That's one of my new goals: to break free of my unnecessary patterns, and start working on ones that will actually make me a better person.

One pattern that I recently broke was my pattern of never sleeping outside ever. I went to our church's campout this past weekend, and actually didn't have a terrible time. I actually would not have gone or even thought about going, had I not heard from Colleen, a friend in the ward, that there was a performance, and that that performance was a competition. I was then inspired to put on my musical-theatre game face (which involves a splendidly whorish amount of stage makeup, I might add), and brave the cold and the spiders and go camp. It was not as horribly wilderness-trek-like as I'm making it out to be; the campsite was like a resort to the people who are actually fond of the outdoors.

I survived the campout. I did not get eaten by bears, and I was not consciously aware of any spiders crawling on my face. The bonfire smell is still not my friend, and I'm still not completely in love with organized group fun, but overall, the pros outweighed the cons. Our performance won "best of show," which I still have trouble believing, but I guess I can take a page from cheesy 80's and 90's sitcoms (which was part of the theme of our show, by the way) and say that the fact that everyone had fun and worked together made us winners already. I just gagged a little bit typing that, but it's more positive than anything else I could honestly say.

Highlights of the rest of the campout: my caramel apple cheese tartlets were robbed at the dessert cook-off, there was a footbridge, several moves were busted during an impromptu dance party, not everyone is what they seem...but more on that later.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hats

I hate shopping with other people. I tend to wander off by myself, much to the dismay of the person with whom I'm shopping. This happened this summer when I was shopping with my mom. I got distracted by this hat.


It was actually a grey hat, but it was the same cloche style. It was a little too big for my head (which is odd, considering I have a pretty big head), so I didn't buy it. The point of this story is that I like hats. And it turns out, I wear them all the time, even when I'm not wearing them.

I first figured this out yesterday. I'm co-directing a variety show for the talent competition portion of my church's annual campout. (It turns out that my love of the performing arts causes me to do really stupid things, like sleep entirely too close to spiders.) At yesterday's big rehearsal, I had to give directions to a very large group of people, half of whom have probably never heard me talk, either because they've never met me or because at any point when I was talking they were standing more than three feet away. However, when I stood to give directions, I noticed something very strange: I was speaking at a discernible volume! I could only reconcile this anomaly with my hat theory. Normally, I'm wearing my "Alex" hat. The "Alex" hat is really comfortable, but it's very slight and unassuming. When I put on a different hat, my "Person In Charge" hat in this instance, I became a completely different character--someone who is loud and assertive and actually capable of making people listen to her. I do have to be careful, because the "Person In Charge" hat looks very similar to the "High-strung Performance Nazi" hat, which fits a little too tightly around the part of my brain that makes me act like an actual human being (thankfully, I have people that keep me in the right hats, for the most part).

People say that this loud and assertive thing is good for me; that if I altered my "Person In Charge" hat to fit everyday situations, I'd be better off. Or maybe I can just give up on cranial couture altogether. I'm not entirely convinced I want to hang up the "Alex" hat just yet, though. At least not until my hair grows out a little more.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Obligatory Introductory Post

This is my second attempt at a blog. My first attempt was a food blog, which didn't go so well. Not because I don't cook (I love to cook), but because I don't use recipes. I'm very much a fan of the "art" of cooking, and not so much the "science," and therefore it irks me to have to go back and retroactively quantify what I'd done for the benefit of my two internet followers. Additionally, food blogs often require photos, and my food gets eaten far too quickly to bother with perfect angles and appetizing lighting.

This blog is going to be much more general, full of thoughts, rants, musings, and the like. So here goes my attempt at an introduction. This blog is entitled "Skeleton, You Are My Friend," and the web address is "but you are made of bones." For those who aren't cultured enough to know, this is the first line of "Skeleton Song" by a lovely British artist named Kate Nash. Consequently, this is also the theme song to my life. I'm a forensic anthropologist (in training) living in Boston. I am healthily obsessed with the skeletal system. I have no skeletons in my closet, but I have been known to keep skulls under my bed (solely for study purposes, I am not a sociopath). I'm working on my Masters Degree in Forensic Anthropology at the BU Medical Campus, and my thesis is titled "Age-at-Death Estimation of Three-Dimensional Reconstructions of Computed Tomography (CT) Scans of the Adult Pelvis" (or something along those lines with fewer prepositional phrases. A lot of people think what I do is strange, or creepy, or an "odd choice of profession for someone so tiny and cute," but I love it.

In terms of the other, non-academic portions of my life, what can I say? I'm a morning person, almost to a fault. I can accomplish an entire day's chores before noon, however that leaves me with ten hours with nothing to do. I love music. I used to be a much better singer than I am now, but I try to practice whenever I'm near a piano or in my empty apartment. I like doing creative things, whether it's cooking or making scarves or writing musical parodies of horrible books about vampires. I'm occasionally quite misanthropic, but I often enjoy people in small doses. I'm in constant debate as to whether I'm a cat person or a dog person. I hate open ended questions.

If I continued, I could probably come up with more introductory things. But I'm sure I'll reveal them as I attempt to keep a blog alive and interesting. So please read...or not...whichever.