Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Swift Kick in the Bum

I had this thought/epiphany/emotional breakthrough last night.  I need to create my own inciting force, I think.  Unfortunately, I have no idea how to do that, but I feel that it might very well have to start with an attitude adjustment.  So here goes...

I am going to stop
  • constantly questioning whether or not I made the right choice by coming here.  First of all, I'm 83% sure that the answer to that question is "yes," and secondly, even if I didn't make the right choice, I came out here and there's nothing I can do about it.
  • living in the past and wondering what I could have done differently or better. 
  • reminiscing and replaying little moments of varying significance for the purpose of hiding and seeking solace in past memories/emotions.  This is a big thing that needs to change:  what has to be so wrong with me that I will think, hey, let me remember this really sad event so that I may make myself very depressed? Must nip that one in the bud.
  • worrying about things that are no longer in my control and people of whom I am not the boss.
  • hiding out in church from people I'm afraid to be friends with because I'm afraid that saying goodbye is going to suck as much as it did when I said goodbye to people in Boston.
If I find myself doing any of these things, I am going to force myself out of it, possibly with a by-myself dance party.

This said, I reserve the right to
  • be sad sometimes and cry when nobody is watching.
  • curse Hawaii, especially when people on the bus are stupid.
  • get jealous when my old friends start hanging out with people who are cooler than me.
  • miss people.  Specific ones, not just people in general.
  • decide that this thought/epiphany/emotional breakthrough was just a phase or a product of undigested celery or something and take it all back.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hugging, Revisited*

*or, One Step Forward, Ten Steps Back

This awkward hug has got nothing on my awkward hugs.
Remember when I wrote a post about how I didn't hug people?  I stuck by that for a while.  Then I got a boyfriend for a little bit, and somehow got really awesome at hugging.  But then I moved to Hawaii and my entire world turned upside down and somehow like an awkward turtle, I regressed ALL the way back into my awkward shell, and once again, I suck at hugging.

This wouldn't have been so bad if I had moved to New York or somewhere where people hate each other, but instead, I moved to Hawaii, an island full of really friendly Polynesians who really like to hug.  And cheek kiss.*  My first Sunday at church, the branch president came up to me and went in for the cheek kiss.  I kind of went with it, but on the inside, I was thinking WHAT IS THIS?  WE HAVE NOT MET.  Sometimes I try to preemptively go for a handshake, forcefully extending my arm before he can get near me, but somehow he turns it into a hug.  The man's an evil genius.

Other people try to hug me, too.  I have to tell them, "no, seriously; you don't understand; I am REALLY bad at hugging."  I go into Flipper mode or T-Rex mode or worse:  this one time I went for the double back pat.  And the guy whose back I double-patted called me on it.  All I could say was, "yes, I know; I'm aware that this just happened."  Also, there's usually this high-pitched noise of blatant discomfort that involuntarily comes out of my mouth.  Don't know what that's about.

So anyway, there you go.  This blog post is me recognizing that this is a problem, yet I have no way to fix it, unless I just go around hugging people awkwardly for no good reason until I start to somehow get better at it.  Awkward side hug booth, anyone?

*This is a thing I do not understand.  Where did this come from?  Who went up to someone one day and was like, "okay, Imma put my face up against your face, and then we're both gonna kiss the air.  1, 2, 3, go!"  Also, what happens if the cheek kiss goes horribly wrong when both parties turn the same way and then it turns into a mouth kiss?  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Birthday, Ryan Davis

You will note that I am in my pajamas, and my ukulele skills are not at their very finest, and maybe I am a little bit awkward when I am talking to my computer screen.  Deal with it.  If you listen closely, you may think that there are actually seven chords in this song, but I'm pretty sure that I completely made one of them up.

A year from now I will be better at playing the ukulele and will write more verses and then this will be on the Youtube with a link to where you can download the song on iTunes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

We Need a Little Christmas...Just Not Quite This Very Minute

At a much darker time in my life, I had a small* role in a high school production of Mame.  For those who don't know Mame, it's probably in the top ten of worst musicals ever.  Basically the only good things to come from this musical are the title song and the ever popular "We Need a Little Christmas."

I still remember one line as croaked sung by the sophomore "tenor"** playing young Patrick:
But Auntie Mame, it's one week from Thanksgiving Day now!
In other words, in 1929/30 or whenever this was supposed to be taking place (sometime in the midst of the Depression, at any rate), it was preposterous to be putting up Christmas decorations a week after Thanksgiving.

We've come a long way since the roaring and/or depressed 1920s.  The gin is out of the bathtub and back in the stores.  You know what's also in the stores?  Christmas decorations.  Starting in October.  Tinsel and red and green wrapping paper and colored lights pushed the costumes and fun-sized candy bars off the shelves before Halloween was even cold in the ground.  It's unfair, I tell you.

I went to the drug store today, two days before Thanksgiving.  The Christmas music was playing nonstop!  I wanted to plead, "just give us two more days, then go nuts!"  Poor Thanksgiving, the overlooked middle child of the holiday season, my favorite of all holidays.

Christmas can be magical.  But when we try to prolong the magic, by the time it's actually Christmas it's become spoiled and exhausted.  Instead of having Christmas to be some big event that we have to spend months "getting ready" for, why can't it sneak up on us naturally, descending upon us as lightly as that first snowflake after Thanksgiving?***

Just something to think about, I guess.

*And by "small" I mean microscopic.  That director did not like me for some reason...probably because I wasn't good at dancing or brown-nosing.  But I'm over it...I got my self-esteem back when I got cast in secondary roles in college operas as a non-voice major.  Take that, Sandy.
**He was not a tenor; he was a baritone, if he was to be considered a singer at all.  This director also thought that a voice part meant being able to hit the notes.  I erroneously believed I was a first soprano for years.
***It kills me that I live in a place where there are going to be no snowflakes.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

My First Hawaiian Stake Dance

In an attempt to switch directions from the past four months of moping around friendlessly hating Hawaii, I decided to "put myself out there" last night and go to a stake Young Single Adult (YSA) dance.  Here are some bullet points:

  • I had forgotten that dancing requires you to stand really close to people for extended periods of time.  And not just any people--man people.  This is a thing I have not done in a long time.  It was weird.
  • There was a lot of unrecognizable hip-hop music that all sounded the same.  Sometimes, when I dance to hip-hop music, I have to channel my inner Ellen Degeneres (without the whole lesbian part, probably) in order to even pretend to get into it.
  • After the first several songs of reinforcing all of the stereotypes about White people and hip-hop dancing, I lost energy (I'm sick, after all) and stood against the wall with my arms crossed for a little while.  This guy/kid came up to me very enthusiastically and asked, "you're not dancing, or are you a chaperone?"  Brilliant!  I nodded, "sure, I can be a chaperone!"*
  • After getting shanghaied into a couple of slow songs, the aforementioned guy/kid caught on to the fact that I was actually there for the dancing and not, in fact, for the monitoring of it.  He asked me to dance.  (I wanted to be like, "I'm a chaperone, remember?")  I am confident that even if I had taken off my heels, I would still have been taller than he was.  Also, he didn't know how to lead, so I had to do that.  First thing he asks me:  "How old are you?"  I have no qualms about revealing my age (even though I suspect that it is a significantly older age than most people in my branch), so I told him:  27.  Then he asked if I served a mission (no), if I planned to (not anytime in the next several decades), and why not (none of your business, kid, now stop dancing into the other couples!).
  • There was some really good bean dip.  And Tres Leches cake.  (The theme was "Fall Fiesta" which meant Salsa dancing and faux-Mexican food, apparently.)
  • I was slightly sick when I went to the dance.  By the end I wanted to stab my sinuses with an awl.  This morning I am all kinds of stuffy and achy.  I am constrained not to write any more about this dance for I must go to the drug store and medicate myself.

*Let me mention that it irks me that we had "chaperones."  Sometimes I feel that at YSA activities, people put too much emphasis on the "young" part and not enough on the "adult" part.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My "Inciting Force"

I've been reading Emily of Deep Valley by Maude Hart-Lovelace.  It's kind of a spin-off in the Betsy-Tacy series, a book that says, "meanwhile, in other people's lives..."  Laura gave me the book for my birthday, saying that I should be able to identify with Emily.  I surely can!  In the book, Emily stays home to have a "lost year" while all of her friends go off to college and she feels lonely and depressed and without direction, so she takes on all of these projects to give her life meaning and I'm not finished yet so I don't know what happens or how it ends, but presumably she ends up with this handsome schoolteacher.

This has inspired me to start writing things down in the hopes that eventually I will publish the memoirs of my year in the paradise that is my personal hell.  (You will notice that this is another project to give my life direction.)  I tried to write some things earlier today, but failed.  The reason?  I lack perspective.  Also, I can't yet figure out a way to not make this a story about my first major experience in heartbreak, but mostly it's the perspective thing.

Unlike Emily, whose story was published decades ago, my story is still in progress.  And sadly, it's still in exposition mode.  I'm on the third or fourth chapter of being miserable and moping around with nothing to do.  I have yet to encounter an inciting force, some event that sets things into motion.

I fear it's getting too late.  This story is only a year long, and I've spent five months of it in exposition, and it's not even great exposition.  I mean, it's slightly better than three blank pages symbolizing Bella Swan sitting in her room wearing the same outfit for three months and screaming into her pillow every night, but it's pretty lame:  work every day; cry in church; sit at home and write in my journal while listening to The Civil Wars; lather, rinse, repeat for five months.  Something had better kick me into rising action mode pretty quickly.

For Emily, going to a dance with Cab Edwards helped.  There's a dance at the institute this weekend.  Not really my scene, and I'm certain we won't be doing the Turkey Trot, but maybe I'll crash.  See what happens.

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

True Love as Described by a Forensic Anthropologist

When you're reconstructing skeletal remains and you see this tiny little piece that doesn't really look like anything and you don't really know what it is, and then you notice that it bears the same taphonomic signature as this other piece that, as it turns out, has a little piece missing.  They fit together perfectly and the whole thing makes sense, and it's such a joyful moment that you don't even mind that it took several tedious hours of sifting through pieces that didn't fit anywhere and that you had to sit there for five minutes holding the thing together so the glue could dry, and that joy is enough to make you want to keep doing that, trying over and over again.  This is what love is like.

If you can't tell, I spent much of the day alone with fragmented vertebrae, acetone-soluble adhesive, and my thoughts.  I should really get some sort of music-listening device for the lab floor.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

As It Turns Out, They Do.

In response to my previous post, good things do come to those who wait, and then keep hoping even when all seems lost.

So remember how distraught I was when my dream room was taken?  Horribly distraught, that's how.  Like an idiot, I kept checking the website just to see if maybe whoever booked the room cancelled.  They didn't; however...the B&B lowered their room rates!!  So now I got to book an even nicer room for under the government rate.  I'm the luckiest idiot there ever was.

Look how freaking adorable this room is!
Queen bed, private bathroom.  And free WiFi in the room, a home-cooked breakfast every morning, and delicious (in theory) cookies waiting for me when I come back in the afternoons.

This was the happiest of all days.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait...Unless They're Me

I'm going to a conference in Washington, D.C. in February, and I really wanted to stay at this really cute Bed and Breakfast next to the conference hotel instead of at the conference hotel.  I tried to be "responsible" and wait until the advanced program for the meetings came up before I booked my room so I could confirm which days I would be staying.

I waited a day too long.

I was so sad to find out that the room I wanted (the only one under the government rate that I could get reimbursed for the full cost of the room) had been booked.  It made me not want to go to the conference anymore.  I ended up booking a room in the conference hotel.  I'm trying to see the bright side.

-I don't have to go outside in February to go to the sessions.
-My room has a full private bathroom (the B&B room had a communal shower)
-There's a TV.

-No free breakfast
-No free WiFi in the room
-It's so "mainstream" and I can't say that I'm supporting a small business that serves locally-grown food.

I'll have to find some other occasion to stay at that B&B for two nights or so in my life.  Honeymoon?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

In a Dark, Dark Room

Today was pretty fun.  I stayed at home and rested for most of the day before meeting my old roommate Doree at the Ala Moana Shopping Center for late dinner and reminiscing.  While I was waiting for her to get there, I browsed around Barnes and Noble to see what I could see and maybe buy something awesome if something awesome was to be bought.  And oh, it was.

Surprisingly, they still had Halloween stuff there (although it was definitely overshadowed by Christmas stuff), and in the Bargain book section, they had this book:

It was hardcover, for only $5.98.  Bargain, indeed!  Let me tell you about this book:  this is probably the book that wins the award for "book most frequently checked out from the Aliquippa Public Library by tiny Alex in the early 90s."  I believe it was partially responsible for my creepy phase (that I have yet to grow out of).  There's this one story about a girl who wears a green ribbon around her neck in order to [SPOILER ALERT] keep her head from falling off; there's a variation on the ghostly hitchhiker story; and then there's a bunch of other stories that are super creepy with illustrations that terrify me and fill me with nostalgia in equal measure.

This is a book that I will read to my children.  Maybe not at bedtime, though.

Friday, November 2, 2012

About Nothing in Particular

I can't believe it's already November.

In some ways, it almost feels like fall.  Not in the kind of way that it would feel like fall in any normal part of the world, but a little bit.  I walked outside in a sweater and was almost chilly!  I could have been chilly because I also have a cold, but having a cold kind of also makes it feel like fall.

I found a new route home from the bus stop today.  It's through a suburban neighborhood; it's kind of a nice change from the sidewalk along the major street.  It's significantly faster and it feels a little safer (not that the other way was dangerous).  I'm kicking myself for not finding it sooner.  There were still Halloween decorations out, but many were being taken down.  I bet it will be nice at Christmastime.

On that note, I got my leave approved for my Christmas holiday!  Not that I was worried about it not getting approved, but my holiday is actually a reality now.  Kind of exciting.