Wednesday, December 31, 2014

CY2014 Wrap-Up

Happy New Year, Little Osteophytes!*  I'm not going to a huge "year in review" like I've done in previous years, but I thought I should at least update you on my Goals for 2014.
The goals:
  1. I did not attend my high school reunion because 1) I realized that I have unrealistic expectations for reunions because of years of watching TV and movies, 2) the reunion was held the weekend after Labor Day weekend and it didn't make sense buying a plane ticket for such a short time, especially when 3) I didn't actually like high school all that much.
  2. I did avoid Facebook for a short time in the summer when a lot of people were being jerks about stuff.  I also did some liberal un-following.
  3. If by "go to California" you mean "win a research award that will fund a trip to a meeting in California in 2015," then Check.  (Notice how I inserted a brag about how I won a research award in there?)
  4. My 12 Dates/Year quota was the only one I actually did well.  Stay tuned for a post (that I've already drafted) all about how I was a dating fiend in 2014.
  5. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  I was probably high on Diet Coke when I came up with the crazy idea that I would ever stop drinking Diet Coke.
  6. I had one fancy dinner party in 2014.  But it was pretty rad and also partly responsible for much of my 2014 dating success.  Dinner parties are tricky though, when one has roommates one feels obligated to invite and wants to make an even table without making it seem like an awkward apartment date.  
I don't think there is anything super cool that happened in 2014 that I have not already blogged about, so here are some goals for 2015:
  1. Pass my qualifying exams.
  2. Come up with one realistic and one silly backup plan for if I do not pass my qualifying exams.
  3. Regain my self-confidence and learn to drive before my PA State ID expires in July.
  4. Be legitimately okay about turning 30, regardless of the status of my uterus.  Also start wearing neck cream when I turn 30.
  5. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and go to the gym at least one time per week and take a vitamin every day and drink lots of water.**
  6. Throw some fancy dinner parties.

Be happy and safe, everyone.

*Lady Gaga has Monsters, I have Osteophytes...unless someone can think of a better name for all of my adoring fans.
**I realize that this is four goals in one, but "maintain a healthy lifestyle" was too non-specific.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Vest

Whenever I'm home, I go through old photos from my childhood and I found a bunch from my tween-teen years in which I was experimenting with some interesting fashion choices.  Shortly afterwards I watched an old Garth and Kat sketch on SNL, and I realized I may have been more of a trendsetter than I thought as a kid, because far before the Wiig-Armisen era, I was rocking the dorky vest.

Here are some highlights:

This was a pretty benign one that my mom made.  Note how studious it made me look.  Also note my pixie cut, inspired by Halle Berry (however Halle Berry probably never got mistaken for a boy at the 5th grade Halloween Party).

This was just me dressed up for a normal day at church, as far as I know, and not a "Relief Society Presidents of History" costume contest.  I still have the necklace.

This was high school.  I can tell because of the retainer and because I have two distinguishable eyebrows.  My mom made this vest because it was the early 2000's and Asian-inspired things were very in style.

This was one of my more unfortunate hairstyles.  But I think I pulled off the turtleneck-tucked-into-belted-jeans look quite nicely, if I do say so myself.

I was really obsessed with "Goosebumps" books, so when I saw this fabric at the fabric store, I was like, "Mom, you clearly must make me a vest."  Note how my belt matches my shirt, and note my awesome thumb-in-my-belt pose.  Also I think I made this necklace.  Also I'm sure I went to school in this outfit.  None of the other kids were as fashion-forward as I was, and therefore were too intimidated to ever hang out with me.  One time they even put me in a locker as to not be blinded by my stylishness.

I saved the best for last (or vest for last-ha!).  This was also in middle school when Old Navy Performance Fleece was a thing.  We must have been really poor when I was growing up because apparently Old Navy was too expensive for us and my mom bought me this knockoff at Sam's Club.  Discount substitutes notwithstanding, I knew how to be cool.

Is it weird that this reminds me of Anthony Michael Hall in "Sixteen Candles"?
So, Fred, Kirsten, just know that I'm onto you for stealing my look.  It's totally okay, I won't sue or anything, but if you would like to send me thank-you notes or cash or something, that would be cool.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Special Dating Post: Finding Your Holiday Romance

Merry Christmas, gentle readers!  If you're anything like me, you're probably finding yourself single this holiday season.  If you are me, you're finding yourself single this holiday season and spending all of your Christmas vacation watching made-for-TV holiday movies on the Hallmark Channel and ABC Family.  But, because I am brilliant, during this time I figured out exactly how to find true love just in time for Christmas (or New Year's Eve, at the very latest), and while it may be too late for me, I would love to impart this wisdom upon you, gentle readers.  Here are four strategies:
  1. The Lie.  Heading home for the holidays?  Family giving you a hard time because in addition to their disapproval of your career choice, you're still single?  Just hire a fake significant other to come home with you--nobody will suspect a thing (which is good, because the truth would just about kill your great grandmother).  Your faux-beau could be an actor, an acquaintance, or just someone that walked into your place of employment one day.  It doesn't matter whether you like each other; it doesn't matter if they're not single in real life; it doesn't even matter if you kidnapped them at gunpoint; once you reveal personal secrets to each other and once you're forced to kiss under the mistletoe in front of everyone, the sparks will fly and you will go from "fakin'" to "taken."*  
  2. The Relocation.  No luck finding love in the big city?  Just find yourself in a tiny town for the holiday.  Extra points if it's against your will, and even more points if it's a town that's inexplicably obsessed with Christmas.  Your true love will be pretty easy to find in said small town, because he/she will literally be the only other person your age.  When you first find yourself attracted to this single-parent/widower/veterinarian/volunteer-hockey-coach, be careful, because (as their not-apparently-related older acquaintance will tell you), nobody ever thought he/she would move on after nonspecific-tragic-event.  But in the end (and after you use your big-city know-how to save the town from some crisis), you will be in love, not only with single-parent/widower/veterinarian/volunteer-hockey-coach, but also with small town life, and most importantly, with Christmas.  
  3. The Switch.  Don't like your life?  Take somebody else's!  Swap houses with a complete stranger (bonus points if it's a city-mouse/country-mouse situation--see #2).  This is probably one of the more high-reward tactics:  not only will you end up with someone from stranger's hometown, stranger will end up with one of the many people with whom you're having no luck romantically!  Two lovebirds, one stone.  
  4. Magic.  Sometimes a case is so hopeless that earthly forces are insufficient.  In these cases, thank goodness for magical Christmas ornaments and older men who may or may not be Santa Claus.  They will manipulate the world so that you'll have a chance to relive that bad date over and over until you get it right, or they'll keep letting you run into that handsome stranger until he realizes how wrong-for-him his snooty rich girlfriend actually is.  At the end, you will give a kiss to your new honey, and a knowing wink to a light in the sky that is definitely your guardian angel and not an airplane.
Gentle readers, there is one week until Christmas.  I have full faith that, by using one or more of these tactics, you will be engaged by 2015.  Good luck!

*I am so, so sorry for that rhyme.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Vampire Slaying, PhD

I posted the following on Facebook one day:
I think that if Buffy had been in grad school instead of high school, she would have been a lot more complacent about all those apocalypses.
This got me thinking, what would happen if Buffy had been in grad school?  Here are some classic BtVS moments, re-imagined to be more appropriate to the grad school life:

Silver Linings...

I won't have to go into lab tomorrow!
(From "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date")
The "I Hate My Life and Every Decision I've Ever Made" Phase

Pretty much sums it up.
(From "Becoming, Part 2")
The Complicated Student/Adviser Relationship

From "Lover's Walk"
Departmental Seminar Refreshments

From "Restless"
And Finally, The Dissertation Defense

From "Showtime"
These are all I can think of for now.  There will probably be follow-up posts once my next Buffy-binge-watching session inspires me.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Reasons Why November Wasn't the Absolute Worst

I could write about how November was pretty sucky, in my true "depressing blog" fashion.  And it was kind of crappy.  The month started out with the epiphany that I'm kind of terrible and nobody will ever love me (not that I deserve it, anyway) and I'll never be as fulfilled as the pregnant ladies in diaper commercials or as musically talented as my roommate and my hair will never stop having split ends.

But really (and especially compared to last November...ugh) it actually wasn't such a terrible month after all.  Here's why:

I was freaking domestic as all heck, for one thing.  I made all manner of Thanksgiving food and a wreath!  Here are pictures:
Sweet Potato Casserole...toeing the line between side dish and dessert.
Cranberry Meringue and Cranberry-Pear-Pecan Pies
The wreath.  Not edible.
There were also two varieties of from-scratch cranberry sauce (not pictured).  The cranberry sauce may have inspired me to take up canning, despite my fear of giving my friends botulism.

I think the wreath was my favorite thing to make, despite it's not being able to be eaten.  Craft therapy isn't just for people in mental institutions, I guess.  Also I did this with people.  Two friends came over and we had craft night and ate soup and rolls and pie and watched the Grumpy Cat Christmas Movie on Lifetime (simultaneously better and worse than it sounds).

I did other things with people in November, too.  Despite my protestations that I was not worthy of love and friendship, people still insisted on hanging out with me (stupid people).  My old roommate came over one night and we ate green curry and watched the second Muppet movie (better than I'd expected it to be).  Another friend and I started a tradition (as in, we've done this twice) of making breakfast* while watching the previous evening's episode of "Grimm."

Culture!  I saw two plays on non-dates with a friend this month.  The first was Awake and Sing, which was really good.  The second was a college-level production of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, which was not spectacular, but it had sentimental value on account of the time I played Lucy in our fifth grade production.  Also before both plays, friend and I ate burgers, which is less "cultured" but still delicious.

Thanksgiving also happened.  Through a last-minute twist of fate involving cranberries, I got talked into going to a friend's family's house for Thanksgiving dinner, and it was lovely.  I played with an adorable three-year-old and got my nurturing quota in for the year.  Not to fear, however--I still managed to get most of my "by-myself Thanksgiving" traditions done on the surrounding days.  Such as watching the "Buffy" Thanksgiving Episode.

One day.
Probably one of the most not-crappy things about November was that I got the results back from my grant application.  Not the knowing-whether-it's-funded results, yet, but the scores.  And the scores were not terrible!  They were in fact quite good!  So much so that if I did get funded, it wouldn't be too surprising!  That I will find out in January, however, so I am crossing my fingers.

So yeah...not bad...not bad at all.  And it's December now, and I've decided to get into the Christmas spirit if it kills me.

*This could be a good time to share the anecdote about how I unwittingly bought a nine-dollar loaf of Brioche at Whole Foods...but it's not that exciting of a story.  I unwittingly bought a nine-dollar loaf of Brioche of Whole Foods.  The French Toast I made therewith didn't even moderately rock my world.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Baby Steps

I am happy* to report some progress in my attempts to be more the type of person who is nice and sociable and less the type of person who is introverted and lame and has no friends.

  • I was meeting with someone from the Office of Proposal Development about a preceptorship application I was filing, and I noticed she had a Golden Girls mouse pad.  Introverted Alex would have thought that was cool but not said anything, but not that day!  I was like, "so you're a Golden Girls fan?" and then told her about when I went to see the Golden Girls Drag Queens.  Talking to a work-related person about personal things?  Who even does that?
  • After class one day I was talking to my classmate and we happened to walk into the bathroom together.  My rule is usually "when you enter the stall, the conversation stops."  This girl clearly did not have that rule, and continued to chat.  At first I was mortified as I am not capable of that level of multitasking, but somehow--don't know how--I managed.  I think I gained some Female Points that day.
  • Then I went to a Halloween party, but that was more because I was coerced, but still.  Read about it here.
  • I feel like I'm finally starting to fit in with the other grad students in my department (as much as I can, being a bone person in a department full of brain people, I guess).  I would always hang out with just the other people in my year, but now I'm having full conversations with the higher years.  It's probably because I'm doing the quals thing soon and I'm officially "one of them" now, but it's cool.
  • Three of the past four days I ate dinner not by myself.
Baby steps, guys.

*Maybe "happy" is a stretch.


Happy (Belated) Halloween, everyone!

I did actually do things on actual (i.e., not-belated) Halloween.  Social things, even!  I originally intended to stay home alone and do a Hocus Pocus/Beetlejuice double feature, but instead my friend roped me into going to a ward Halloween party.  Of course I couldn't just go to a Halloween party without a costume because that would be even lamer than watching movies alone on one of the best holidays, so I decided to dress as a secondary character from an obscure, no-longer-on-the-air TV show:  Dr. Claire Saunders from Dollhouse.

What I was going for
What I was.  Fake scar tissue is hard to manipulate.
Anyway, nobody got it because very few people have seen or remember Dollhouse, which is unfortunate because it has the one-two punch of Joss Whedon's writing and Amy Acker's acting.  People just thought my scars were creepy.

Apart from that, the party was okay.  Halloween parties are kind of like awards shows, I've decided. You don't really care about the people except for what they're wearing.  I did get to revel in the lovely double standards of men's and women's costumes (e.g., how men can dress as shirtless vikings or male strippers and people think it's so clever, yet had I decided to bare my shoulders there would have probably been a riot).  There were some okay snacks, but I couldn't really eat much without the scars on my lips falling off.  But after the party I went home and watched the first half of Hocus Pocus, and finished it the next morning.  It's definitely a movie that I have to watch alone because the scene at the end with the ghost of Thackeray Binx makes me cry.

Later that day I went to the anatomy lab and spent four hours with the cadavers, which I guess is a very Halloween-appropriate activity.  Then I saw an old friend from college and watched Beetlejuice.  I guess I got all of my Halloween activities checked off, though I could have done more.  I think next year, when I am 30, I will go all out for Halloween.  I even have an idea for a costume.  Teaser:  there will be blue body paint involved.

Until next year!

*If you get this reference, you are a cool person.  Also, RIP "The Neighbors."

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Addendum! A Saturday in Salem

I have been remiss!  My last post got so sidetracked talking about how much I hate Dawn Summers and staying up past 10:00 pm that I forgot to actually finish writing about my birthday weekend.  Here is a summary of a fantastic birthday-adjacent activity that took place last Saturday. 

A few weeks previous, my friend Jon Sue-Ho sent me an email inviting me to Salem, MA, to see...
wait for it...

Drag Queen Golden Girls!!!

Of course I accepted the invitation immediately.  The only engagement more pressing would have been a tea with the actual Golden Girls, which would have involved bringing three women back from the dead, so obviously that would be a higher priority than seeing some men in lady clothes.  But here is the tale:

We took the Commuter Rail to Salem, which was pretty fun because I like riding on trains.  We got there and decided to keep our expectations very low.  After all, we were going to see a drag show in the basement of a bar in Northern Massachusetts, so we couldn't expect much.  We waited in line behind some female musical theatre enthusiasts (the kind whose dream role is Mama Rose) who had clearly been pregaming the show, so that was fun and also really loud.  We sat down and waited for all of the people who had paid more for tickets than we did to get their drinks, and the show started.


I'm not going to describe the whole plot but it was basically the Golden Girls "Lost Halloween Episode" which was a main plot with a "clip show" of Golden Girls episodes that actually happened.  So good.  Also, I got to take a picture with the Golden Girls afterwards!

It's not every day that I take a picture with four men
and am not the prettiest one in it.
But, check out the Bea Arthur.  Spot.  On.
One cool thing was that the one who played Sophia was an award-winning Judy Garland impersonator, and after the show he came out as Judy and sang a song.  Also Dorothy and Sophia are a couple in real life, which is darling.

After the show we went to get food, because the food proviso in our tickets was a $20 per person minimum, which would have been fine if we were drinking alcohol, but that's a little excessive for bar food, so we went to a hot dog place across the street and it was DELICIOUS.  Also way cheaper than $20 per person.

Then we had some time to kill before our train, so we wandered around Salem.  Salem, MA, on a Saturday night in October strangely reminds me of Waikiki...only colder and much more haunted-feeling.  Nonetheless, there were tons of tourists and tons of stuff catering to the tourists.  It was pretty cool though, seeing people in Halloween costumes two weeks before Halloween.  All of the museums were closed, but I got to poke my head into a few magic shops and I think I would like to explore them more on a future occasion.  There was a red line on the sidewalk that we followed around the main part of town through all of the landmarks (akin to Boston's Freedom Trail--maybe it was called the "Wrongful Persecution" Trail?) and we were determined to find the end of it.  And we did, in the most anticlimactic manner.  It just stopped among some not-particularly-special-looking houses.  It was probably a decoy line painted by some murderers to lead tourists to their lair.  Thankfully we got led to no lairs, but we did double back and get to the train station.

The most remarkable thing that happened while waiting for the train was that we were standing uncomfortably close to a couple that was furiously making out.  So furious was the out-making that the girl dropped her jacket on the ground, and I spent the next five minutes concerned that she would forget it when boarding the train.  And she definitely did.  Thankfully a more outspoken bystander pointed it out.  This may have been the highlight of the trip that didn't involve drag queens.

Anyhow, Salem + Drag Queens + Birthday = Goodness.  Thank you to Jon Sue-Ho for a lovely evening.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Twenty-Nine and Feeling Fine

Again, apologies for the rhyming title.  It isn't even 100% accurate, actually, as I have been super sick for quite some time.  I'm on the mend, though--my middle-of-the-night coughing fits are much shorter and much less of an ab workout.  Hence, I'm writing this a week later, and if I wanted to be more accurate and less rhymey I would title this post "Twenty-Nine and Feeling Slightly Better."

At any rate, my birthday was a week ago and I am now 29!*  It's only been a week, but I think I'm settling into 29 quite nicely.  Some highlights:

  • Presents!  Because the best part of aging is the swag.  From my family I got a new printer, which I finally set up two nights ago.  My friend PT got me a giant box of fruit snacks (which are actually fruit snacks and not well-disguised gummy vitamins as an attempt to kill me--it's a real concern).  I also got lots of cards and good wishes on Facebook and the promise that one day LT will figure out where the post office is to mail my present (which is also not an issue because I haven't figured out what I'm getting her yet and her birthday is in a week...I should get on that).
  • Cake!  My roommate made me a cake and it was delicious.  There was Ganache, which is second only to Diet Coke on my list of "miracle elixirs."
  • Activities!  I wasn't intending to have people over or to see people at all due to the aforementioned illness ("come over and celebrate my birthday and also maybe get pinkeye! yay!"), however, my roommate made me text people to come over.  It was very last-minute, and only two people showed up, but it was nice and fun until it was 10:00 pm** and people showed no signs of leaving anytime soon.  Even though I was putting out my best yawning and coughing signals.  It was like that episode of "Buffy" where it's her birthday but Halfrek's "justice" spell is keeping everyone from leaving.  Stupid Dawn.
If you're a Buffy fan, you'll know that Dawn is screaming "Get Out,"
which is kind of a thing she does a lot.
Nonetheless, that's how I feel about late night guests.
But I still think Dawn is the worst.
I mean, really, I think the entire viewership would have been just fine
having her die at the end of Season 5 instead of Buffy.
And don't get all whiny about spoilers,
the show's been off the air for over ten years now. sum up, my birthday happened.  And now it's over.  Which is just fine because life goes on.  For instance, I've got this crazy cellular and molecular neuroscience take-home midterm to do this weekend.  And I'm going to play my ukulele in public again tomorrow.  However, I would just like to point out that in exactly 51 weeks, I will be THIRTY.  I guess I should get going on my "list of twenty-something experiences."

*Unless you ask my mother, in which case I've been 27 for a couple of years now.
**Because when you're almost 30, 10:00 is considered a late bedtime.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nightmare at Trader Joe's

Halloween is just over two weeks away, so it's time to start dusting off the scary stories.  Gather round, dear readers, and listen to my tale:

Nightmare at Trader Joe's
(a tale of terror for the socially awkward)

It was a dark and rainy night (no, seriously, it's really raining outside), when I ventured out into the streets of Brookline in a quest for bread and sliced turkey at the Coolidge Corner Trader Joe's.  As I was walking down the aisle, I ran into the professor from my department whom I'm never sure I should call by his first name or not because he's not that much older than I am and he was never my professor.  Of course, it being a rainy night, I was wearing my giant raincoat that makes me look like a petite serial killer and my hair was horrendous and also I may have a mild case of conjunctivitis.  No matter, however, as I was more concerned whether I had anything embarrassing in my basket.  I then thought, what is the most embarrassing thing one can get at Trader Joe's?  It's not like they sell tampons...would Trader Joe's-brand tampons have a special name?  Like "Trader Flo's?"  Ha, I'm pretty clever, I should market that.  Before getting too lost in my brilliant tampon-naming thoughts, I managed to realize that I had nothing in my basket to be ashamed of (apart from a bounty of microwavable dinners-for-one), and proceeded to make the appropriate amount of small-talk before I continued down the aisle.

But I didn't need anything in that aisle.  

But I couldn't turn around!  Because then I'd look like I didn't know what I was doing in my own neighborhood Trader Joe's!  So I pretended to be looking for something in that aisle, which unfortunately was the weird soap/fake deodorant/essential oils aisle.  I landed on a shelf of bottled water, the most benign thing I could find in the aisle, and stared at it until he had walked away.  I spent the rest of my shopping trip looking around corners, because the only thing worse than running into someone you know at the grocery store is running into that person again at the grocery store.  I decided that I was in need of no more groceries and booked it to the checkout queue and hoped to the Virgin Mary that he wouldn't end up right behind me, or worse, that I had forgotten my wallet and we would have stumbled into humiliating "You've Got Mail" territory.  Thankfully, none of those things happened, but it was a close call (with the him being behind me, not the forgetting my wallet).  I paid for my groceries, did not wait for a receipt, and exited the store without further incident.

You know, you see these kinds of things in movies and you read about them happening to other people, but you never think it's going to happen to you.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

On "The Working (Mormon) Mother Problem"

This is actually something that has been on my mind for quite some time, but as the urge to actually blog about it was inspired by a particular thing, I'm going to do this in "open letter" format, as those are kind of popular these days.

Dear Leaders of the Latter Day Saint Church/Directors of the LDS Institute of Religion,

First of all, I love you guys.  I really do.  I know we don't always see eye-to-eye on things and sometimes you make me cry and question my self-worth entirely, but hey, I'm a Mormon feminist, so that's just part of the package.  I try to trust in your counsel and believe that you mean well and kind of know what you're doing (your line of communication to the Person In Charge is much shorter than mine, after all), but then I read this (for people who don't like to click on things, it's the chapter on "Mothers' Employment Outside the Home" in the "Eternal Marriage" Institute Student Manual), and I felt a little perturbed, to be quite honest with you.  As a single LDS woman who hopes to one day have a PhD and also a husband and children, this is something that's on my mind quite a bit, and I hope you don't mind if I offer some of my thoughts:

First, this manual was published in 2003; however, the most recent quote in this chapter is from 1996, and the majority of the quotes are from before I was born.  I know that some principles are eternal, but things have changed.  As Dallin H. Oaks so kindly pointed out last October, the median age for first marriage for men and women is on the rise.  A lot of LDS women aren't getting married at age 21 anymore.  And not because we're too busy burning our bras and singing along to Helen Reddy--we're just facing the reality that marriage isn't a guarantee.  So we're following the counsel of Gordon B. Hinckley and "getting all the education that we possibly can," and with that education comes opportunities and careers, hopes and plans.  Imagine what it would be like to plan for several years to build a house, and lay a foundation, and then have to leave it behind.  Getting married and having children would be lovely; but sacrificing our entire careers to do so would feel as if we were abandoning a huge part of ourselves.  It's not that we love our careers more than our families, but we've loved them longer.  Furthermore, with that large amount of education we obtained, many of us also obtained student debt.  Even if I were married to a billionaire, I would still feel a responsibility to pay for my education myself.  And unless my mommy blogging really takes off, that means I need a job outside of the home.

Secondly, many of the quotes seem to imply that the only reason mothers would work (if they have husbands who also work) would be to afford fancy and unnecessary things.  This is not why most mothers work outside the home.  As I mentioned before--we put a great deal of time and sacrifice into developing our talents and our careers.  We find fulfillment and joy in them.  One quote by Ezra Taft Benson wondered how any woman could find anything more exciting and fulfilling than housework and changing diapers, begging the question, has Ezra Taft Benson ever changed a diaper?  Of course there is joy in motherhood, and some women need only that to be fulfilled, and that's great, but every personality is different.  A woman should not be made to feel like a bad parent (or the instigator of her divorce or the cause of gang violence and societal collapse) because she is truly happy being a working mother.

Third, not only are the quotes in the lesson a little outdated, they also lack variety of source.  None of the people cited have ever had the experience of being a working mother...or a stay-at-home mother...or a mother...or a woman.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if women who are trying to make important decisions about their families and careers could hear the perspectives of women who have had to make these same decisions?  I'm sure there are women in the General Auxiliary Presidencies who would love to chime in about their experiences as mothers or as career women (as some of them haven't even been married!).

Finally (though I could say more), and maybe this part is to all of the married or hoping-to-be-married people who read this blog, but I want to stress two words in "The Family: A Proclamation to the World":  "individual adaptation."  Actually, I just want to stress one word:  "individual."  I strongly believe that there is no "one size fits all" approach to raising a family.  I came from the "working dad/homemaker mom" household, but we weren't the Cleavers.  Some kids I knew came from the "two-income family" household, but they weren't the Huxtables.  (I don't know of any pop-culture reference of a family where the mom worked and the dad stayed home off the top of my head.)  Following a tradition out of a sense of societal obligation only can be really harmful and can cause resentment if partners feel that compromises are unfair or sacrifices are unequal.  (Also, they could be limiting to men who are--gasp!--actually better at nurturing than their wives are.)  Husbands and wives should consider together, as equal partners, what situation works best for them as a couple and as a family.

And that's all I have to say about that.  To sum up, maybe just think about updating the Institute Manual a little bit.  Thanks.



Sunday, September 21, 2014

Life as of Late: September 2014

Guys, I've been really remiss with my blogging.  I've just been super busy!  Complete with "Buffy" .gif's to illustrate, here's what's been up:

In mid-August, I started working as a Back and Limbs TA/prosector for Medical Gross Anatomy.  This means lots of teaching students, but also lots of dissecting.

I am not this creepy when I handle scalpels.
Dissection was really tedious.  And also time-consuming.  So much so that I wished there was a magical spell for it.  (This is the part where I would post a .gif of Dark Willow flaying Warren with her magical powers,* but I decided against it because I already posted a Gentleman which is sure to give the ladies from my home ward nightmares as it is.)  The students just had their first exam, so thankfully I have a break for a little while until the Head and Neck module starts.

And by "I have a break," I mean, "I will just be incredibly busy doing other things."  Real school has started up again.  My two "real" classes are "Advanced Kinesiology and Biomechanics" and "Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience," both of which involve a lot of reading and keep me quite stressed out.

Forty-minute presentation on an article about apical-basal polarity of neuroepithelial cells.
Also, this is the year that I take qualifying exams, so you know....

Maybe if I could brain-suck the QE committee...
My summer/fall transition hasn't been completely devoid of fun.  Thanks to some talented and creative people in my ward, I got to participate in a film that will be entered in a film festival for our tri-ward campout.  It was a musical riff-off similar to the one in "Pitch Perfect," and it was quite fun to pretend that I lived in the world where complex emotions can only be expressed through singing.

Yes, we did.
Other than that, things haven't really been all that exciting or great.  I've had some confusing life stuff going on that's kind of put me on a tilt-o-whirl of emotions.**  Add to that the fact that the weather has gotten significantly colder over the past few weeks and I have an upper respiratory tract thing which turned into a coughing thing which means cough medicine.

Even the tablet stuff is is that even possible?
Anyway, at least it's kind of officially fall now (or it will be in a few days, I guess).  Maybe that will make things more interesting.  At least there's Halloween!

Even Giles is down with it.

*Don't worry, he was a murderer and a misogynist and totally deserved it.
**This is probably stuff that will be written about in my memoirs once I'm dead.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Music: Rise from the Bottom

I haven't done "My Music" posts in a while, because how could any other song compete with a song I had listened to 25 times?  So I did something uncharacteristic (and a little morally hinky):  I reset the plays for any song I had listened to over 10 times.  That was maybe a month or two ago, so here is my current "Top 25 Most Played" list:
  1. "I Want To Be Your One Night Stand" - Jeremy Messersmith (referred to hereafter as J. Mess, because he's on here a Lot)
  2. "Scientists" - J. Mess
  3. "Bridges" - J. Mess
  4. "Ghost" - J. Mess
  5. "Someday, Someone" - J. Mess
  6. "Skeleton Song" - Kate Nash
  7. "the zombie song" - Stephanie Mabey
  8. "Across the Universe" - Fiona Apple
  9. "21 Guns" - Original Broadway Cast of American Idiot
  10. "You'll Only Break His Heart" - J. Mess
  11. "A Girl, a Boy, and a Graveyard" - J. Mess
  12. "We Get On" - Kate Nash
  13. "Merry Happy" - Kate Nash
  14. "For The First Time In Forever" - Frozen Soundtrack
  15. "Little Talks" - Of Monsters And Men
  16. "Wuthering Heights" - The Puppini Sisters
  17. "Bring On the Wonder" - Sarah McLachlan
  18. "Burn" - Ellie Goulding
  19. "Falling Slowly" - Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
  20. "My Love" - Irie Love
  21. "Death Bed Salesman" - J. Mess
  22. "Tomorrow" - J. Mess
  23. "Tourniquet" - J. Mess
  24. "Sigh No More" - Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon (from Joss Whedon's Much Ado soundtrack)
  25. "Cathedrals" - Jump Little Children
In some ways, this is like a jump into the past, as a lot of these songs are ones I haven't listened to in some time, which is fun, but also kind of bittersweet.  Also, if Jeremy Messersmith collected royalties based on my iTunes, he'd be so rich right now.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Honey Bee-YU, or (Very) Small and Simple Things

I went to BYU.  I really liked it.  Being a BYU student was a pretty good experience (probably because the aspects of my personality that I would have had to hide at BYU hadn't developed yet), but being a BYU Alumna, on the other hand, is a different story.

Every so often, on a Friday night around 7:00 pm (because somehow they know I have no life?), some perky returned missionary named Tyler (they're all named Tyler), calls me up on the phone, asks me about my life, tells me about the new developments at BYU, and then asks me for money.  Recently, I've decided to loosen my purse-strings a tiny bit and donate.  They do have a new anatomy lab, and I can support that, and I figured, maybe if I gave them enough cash they would finally acknowledge that my life is cool enough to get a two-line blurb in the "What are the Alumni up to?" section in BYU Magazine.*  This last time, I gave them some money, and I got this lovely card signed by Cecil O. Samuelson's printer:

This is out of focus, but whatever.  It's scriptures (of course).
It was nice enough from the front of the card.  But here's what the card said on the inside:

Keeping with the tradition of assuming people can't read things from photographs of printed words, here's the text of the second paragraph:
"In fact, your gift is much like the contribution the honeybee makes to its beehive.  Over its short lifetime a single honeybee contributes one-twelfth of one teaspoon of honey to its hive.  Because the bees work together and depend on each other, work that would be overwhelming for a few becomes lighter, and the results are astounding."
Um...what?  They could have just been like, "thanks for your donation; it was nice of you; here's a receipt for when you do your taxes," but comparing my donation to minuscule volumes of bee spit?  They should have just been a little more direct, for example:
Dear Alexandra,
Thank you for your small contribution to Brigham Young University.  We just wanted to acknowledge how small your contribution really was.  So small that a poor scholarship kid had to buy a used American Heritage textbook.  If you want some additional perspective, here's what the Marriots gave last week:  [large sum].  They're having another wing of a classroom building named after them.  You wouldn't even get one of the dodgy Cluff Building bathroom stalls named after you with what you gave us.  Nonetheless, we wanted to express our appreciation by sending you this thank-you card that cost only slightly less to design, print, and mail than the wee amount that you donated.  Someone will be calling you again shortly at a very inconvenient time asking for more of your mere pennies. 
Not even the current President of BYU because that guy only signs cards going to high rollers. 
Again, I liked BYU, and I would go there again.  I just wouldn't graduate.

*They still haven't.  Apparently spending a year identifying the remains of missing American Heroes before going on to get my freaking doctorate isn't as news-worthy as having my eighth kid or publishing a book about upholstery. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Reasons Why July Was Pretty Fly

Again, apologies for the lame rhyme, but I couldn't help it.  Incidentally, I once dated this guy who would give me a dollar anytime I used the word "fly" or some other lame slang adjective ("dope," maybe?) in public.  I didn't take advantage of that as much as I should have.  Oh well, live and learn, I guess.

Anyway, back to July being good:

7/1:  I went to Toscanini's (a delicious ice cream place in Cambridge) for a friend's going-away shindig, and I ate Grape Nuts flavored ice cream (it was delicious, trust me).  Also I marveled at how late I was staying up on a school night.

7/3:  I made a ton of delicious muffins and it rained spectacularly.

7/4:  I went to an Independence Day breakfast at JM's house and then I rented a Rug Doctor to clean my couch (you should have seen the color of the water afterwards) and felt really good about all of my efforts.

7/5:  I defrosted my freezer and found five dollars (on the street...not in the freezer).

7/7:  I went to Tri-Ward Home Evening for the first time in ages.  We played that game where there's a water balloon and you catch it in towels.  It was actually fun.

7/11:  Some friends and I got together for a burger outing at Burger Dive in Somerville.  I walked across the Mystic River to get there (more accurately, I walked across a bridge over the Mystic River) and it was beautiful.  Burger Night was great as well--it was a great group of people and many laughs and many dipping sauces were had.

7/12:  I went swimming at the public outdoor pool in Brookline.  It was great and refreshing.  Then I got frozen custard in the middle of a really long walk.  I ended up walking a total of over 7.5 miles that day.

7/13:  John Ratzenberger (aka Cliff Clavin) was at church for some reason.  My inner child-raised-on-TV exploded a little bit.  Then Germany won the World Cup and I won a bet (though the party against whom I won got a fairly decent consolation prize in my admitting that I actually got excited about a sporting event).  I stayed up too late this night.

7/14:  Weird Al Yankovic started releasing a million new music videos (and by a million, I mean eight).  They were fantastic.  "Word Crimes" is my favorite.  I also stayed up too late again.

7/18:  I gave my NIH grant proposal a title and a budget and it became an official administrative thing!

7/19:  I bought a cake stand at a secondhand shop in Allston for five dollars (this is exciting because before that I had been serving my cakes on dinner plates like some kind of Philistine).  Then I ate a Lobster Roll for the first time.  It probably wasn't a spectacular lobster roll from any famous lobster roll place, but I just wanted to say that I've eaten one.

7/21-7/25:  I went to the gym every day this week.  I am awesome.  (Although I only went to the gym one day of the week before and one day of the week after, but I blame a weird foot pain on the latter week being a slacker week).

7/25:  I participated in the first half of a "Ladies Night" which consisted of getting frozen custard with a bunch of ladies from my ward.  Apparently we were very apparently Mormon, because a woman came up to us and asked if we were a group of Mormons.

7/26:  After living in my apartment for nearly a year, I finally organized all of my sheet music.  I ate Thai food at Basil Rice with JM.  It was delicious.

7/27:  It was Sunday.  Post-church Munch and Mingle was the most delicious fresh fruit I had eaten in a while.  I probably ate too much of it.

7/31:  I FINISHED MY GRANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Cue celebratory music and happy dancing.)  I celebrated by eating Panda Express and spending money on bargain cookbooks.  One of which is a Kosher Holiday Baking Book.  I'm not even Jewish but I'm really excited about the over 45 Passover recipes.

Even if the rest of the month had been total crap, the fact that my grant is turned in and I no longer have to think about it just makes the month.  After the Panda Express eating and the book buying, I packed my stuff to go home for the weekend.  I'm writing this in Pennsylvania right now.  I'm thinking that August is going to be pretty good as well.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Restaurant Review: Basil Rice

My first Social Saturday was touch-and-go in that I almost didn't do anything with anyone, but I succeeded in the end!  I was much overdue for some girl talk with my friend JM, so I invited her to try a new restaurant* with me:  Basil Rice Asian Street Food.

Located at 479 Harvard Street in Brookline, Basil Rice occupies the spot left vacant by the now-closed Pita Pit.**  You almost wouldn't even notice that it was there, but people should take notice.  We went in at 5:30, and it wasn't crowded at all.  The staff was wonderfully friendly and seemed very excited to serve us.  The menu is mostly Thai-style food (there's a lot of Basil and Rice on the menu...go figure), but there's a wide variety of dishes to choose from.  JM ordered the Pork Wonton Noodle Soup (8) and I ordered the Beef Basil Fried Rice (9).  Both dishes came out in a reasonable amount of time.  Also, the server brought us both big cups of water, which I certainly appreciated., as the rice was quite spicy.  It was almost too spicy for my taste, but I powered through because it was delicious.  It was garnished with fresh cucumber, which offset the spiciness quite well.  The portion was quite large, and I'm looking forward to eating my leftovers tomorrow.  JM was very satisfied with her choice of soup, as well.  After dinner I got myself an order of Mango Sticky Rice (6) to go, and it was heavenly--and I don't even like mangoes all that much.

This place is great and it's in a super convenient location near Coolidge Corner.  Moreover, it's cheap (they're doing a 20% discount until August 14th) and they deliver!  So give this place your business (and feel free to invite me to come with you)!    

*This is the first time I ever went to a restaurant during its opening weekend.  I felt very sophisticated.
**I regret never going to Pita Pit before it closed.  It would have been some good Provo nostalgia.  Hence my jumping on Basil Rice opening weekend--can't miss out on these opportunities.  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A New Experiment: Social Saturdays

So...this might come as a shock, but I'm an introvert.

Okay, fine, it's not a shock.
This was actually something that I didn't realize for a long time.  I would start feeling really miserable at social activities and just think "oh, I'm shy," or "everyone here is just clearly beneath me and that's why I'm not having any fun," but then I actually realized what introversion meant and all of a sudden, everything started making so much sense.

One of the things that sucks about being an introvert is that church on Sundays is EXHAUSTING.  Sometimes its so bad that after church I have to lock myself away in my room and not talk to anyone for hours.

I think I figured out why (or at least part of why) Sundays are so hard.  It's because on Saturdays I don't do anything.  I mean, I do things; I wake up too early, clean a bunch of crap, maybe run some errands, and then go for a long walk before watching Hulu and going to bed too early.  So other than a phone call to my mom and maybe some small talk with a store clerk, I really have no human contact, so talking to people on Sundays is the equivalent of running a marathon after several weeks of sitting on the couch and doing nothing.

However, I did notice that on Sundays following a Saturday where I actually did stuff, it was not so bad.  So I'm going to put this to the test.  I will test the central hypothesis that socializing on Saturdays makes socializing on Sundays less exhausting.  The rationale for this is that, should my hypothesis be proven correct, I will become happier and more pleasant to be around because I will learn how to condition myself to social situations.*  So what I'm going to do is this:  do something with someone or a small group of someones every Saturday and see how it makes Sundays feel.  

On a related note, anyone want to do anything fun next Saturday?

*Okay, clearly grant-writing has started to seep into my blogging.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dating Post #4: It Takes a Village...Actually, No, It Does Not.

After a number of posts in which I claimed to be a firm authority on all things related to Mormon dating, I had a minor freak-out when I suspected that I might, in fact, be a huge fraud.  I had this entire thesis that dating is not a difficult or stressful thing, and yet...  Would I have to retract all of my dating posts?  Make a public statement that I actually knew nothing and we were all up a creek and it was anyone's guess whether we'd just die alone?

But I took a second to think it over.  Why is dating, which has been happening forever, and Mormon dating, which has been happening since that one day Joseph Smith made eyes at Emma Hale while he was carrying a shovel* so stressful?  I think I figured out the reason:  Other Humans.

Other people, especially single Mormons, love to talk about couples--who's dating, who went on a date, who just broke up.  Gossip is no virtue, to be sure, but if it just ended at the gossip, it might be fine, but it continues to meddling.  From the giving of unsolicited (and often poorly-founded) advice to people on the verge of relationships to the hounding of the newly-broken-up, people have this desire to involve themselves in other people's love lives.

I've been reading a lot of Jane Austen lately.  My favorite Austen is Emma.  I think it's very relatable to Mormons because Highbury is basically one big singles' ward full of busybodies.  Think about it:
  • Emma gives bad relationship advice to Harriet, leading Harriet to get heartbroken.  Multiple times.
  • Mrs. Weston and the Coles speculate whether Mr. Knightley and Jane are an item.
  • Emma and Frank gossip about the relationship between Jane and Mr. Dixon
Clearly, Frank and Jane had the right idea with the secret dating.  Sure, everyone talked about it afterwards, and maybe Frank wasn't the best secret boyfriend, but at least their relationship had a chance to develop before all of England had to throw in their tuppence.**  I love this line from Mr. Knightley's response to the speculation about him and Jane:  "[Cole] gave me a quiet hint; I told him he was mistaken; he asked my pardon, and said no more.  Cole does not want to be wiser or wittier than his neighbours."

Let us not want to be wiser or wittier than our neighbors.  Here are my helpful hints on how to do this:
  • On giving advice:  Don't.  Okay, that's hasty.  No, actually, it's not.  Don't give advice.  Because really, why are you doing it?  In twenty years, will whether or not two people decided to date each other matter to you?  Are you really that concerned with the happiness of two random people in your ward?  Probably not, which means you're probably doing it so you can take some of the credit for whatever happens.  But what if someone asks for your advice?***  Then, sure, give it.  But realize that you are not one of the two people involved, and therefore you don't know everything.
  • On people getting together:  Did you see two people holding hands once?  Yes?  Was it in public?  No?  Could there be a chance that the entire world doesn't know about it yet?  Yes?  Could there be a chance that that is on purpose?  Yes?  Should you tell other people about it?  (Say it with me, now,) NO!!!!  At the very least, wait for the official press release (aka, when they sit together in church).  
  • On existing couples:  Unless you're have some sort with a couple, you are not part of that couple.  By all means, like them, think they're cute when you see them together, invite them to fun little brunches, but don't keep track of them like they're mating pairs of endangered bull trout or something.****  Like I said before, people have been dating forever.  It's not really that interesting.  Now, if every time they kissed one of them turned neon green and started levitating, that would be interesting, and please, write a report for Nature or something.*****  
  • On people breaking up:  See above, re: you don't know everything.  But I liked X and Y together so much and they need to get back together and I want to make it happen and let everyone know that it was all because of meeeeeeeeeee!  No.  Stop.  Maybe there's a tiny, tiny chance that if you meddled they'd get back together and everything would be fine, but the more likely outcome is that, for whatever reason, one or both members of the former couple will end up feeling even worse about things than they did in the first place.  So console, eat ice cream, have angry dance parties, but don't meddle.       
Maybe this is one of my harsher dating posts, but really, the meddling and the gossip has got to stop.  It's making something which should be fun and wonderful and simple a lot harder and terrifying than it should be.  If you won't hearken to my words, listen to the Fresh Prince:

*That's what happened in the movie, at least.
**Because it's Britain.
***By reading this blog, I'm assuming that you're asking me for advice.
****This is not a hypothetical thing.  People actually have lists.
*****Because this is just the kind of crap that Nature is into.  That and Machiavellian yeast and stuff.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Life as of Late: July 2014

This should really be called a Boring Life Update Post, but as I said before, I don't want to make people automatically assume I'm going to be boring.  But sweet heck, it's been pretty boring.
  • I'll start with the least boring thing first.  I went to the wedding of one of my best friends a few weeks ago.  It was beautiful.  It was also the first wedding I've ever gone to.  Turns out, I cry at weddings.
  • I crocheted a giant afghan as a wedding gift for this friend.  Crocheting giant afghans in the summer is not super fun.  Also, I strained my rhomboid because I'm the type of person that gets shoulder injuries from yarn crafts.
  • I also picked up a date at that wedding!  Not in a trashy "Wedding Crashers" kind of way, but in the way that the groom's little brother needed to be entertained for the weekend so we went kayaking and ate pizza.  I'm still going to count it as a Hallmark Twenty-Something Experience.  Also, it puts me ahead of schedule on my Twelve Dates per Year goal.
  • This is where it stops being interesting.  Much of my life has been dominated by writing an NIH Individual Predoctoral Award.  Grant-writing is really fun, if you're the type of person who doesn't understand English and therefore doesn't know what "fun" means.  It's due at the end of this month, but it's actually starting to look like a real grant, and therefore I am optimistic that it will go well.  And even if it doesn't, there are always more funding cycles in the sea.
  • I'm auditing a Functional Anatomy class in the Physical Therapy department at school.  It's kind of weird to be in a class and not have to worry about a grade.  Although I fully expect to have nightmares about the fact that there was an exam today that I didn't take.
  • When I'm not grant-writing or attending classes for fun and not credit, I am at the gym, because I've turned into one of those people who exercises all the time and actually enjoys it.  Even planks are becoming fun and not at all hard (unlike my abs, which are like steel).
  • The Fourth of July happened.  I celebrated my independence by renting a Rug Doctor and cleaning my couch.  I also defrosted my freezer.  I am awesome and not at all lame.
I think that's about everything.  As I said, it's been a pretty boring July.  I hope that once August happens and my grant is turned in I will start doing fun things again.  Perhaps I'll even write another dating post.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Beast Within

A short play by yours truly.

We open on an office, in which I am working.  It's 11:00 in the morning.

STOMACH:  Psst!  Hey, Alex!
ME:  What?
STOMACH:  Remember that sandwich that you have in the fridge?
ME:  Yeah.
STOMACH:  Can I have it now?
ME:  No.  Lunch is at noon.
STOMACH:  But I'm hungry!
ME:  Deal with it.
STOMACH:  But you haven't fed me since breakfast, and that was five hours ago!
ME:  I gave you a Nutri-Grain bar at nine.
STOMACH:  That is nothing.  A Nutri-Grain bar crumbles and withers against my amazing digestive powers.
ME:  You're just going to have to wait.
STOMACH:  I'll scream.
ME:  Don't you dare.

In conclusion, we ate lunch at 11:00 today.

I realize this is the second post I've ever written about my growling stomach.  At least I switched writing styles, and at least it's twice as many posts as I've written about phlegm.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Kind of a Funny Story...

So remember a few months ago when I went "Speed Mingling?"  Take a moment to read about it here.  It's okay; I'll wait.


Remember the part about the cute, bespectacled redhead?  I saw him last night at a big YSA activity on the beach.  I didn't even recognize him at first, but then when I recalled who he was, I was like, "oh yeah, we actually met at speed mingling."

And then he was like, "Yeah, you wrote about me on your blog!"

Apparently a mutual friend who reads my blog saw my post and showed it to him.  Now, if this had happened ten years ago, I would have been like this:

Right before crawling in a hole to die.
But now, I'm basically like,

People know me...or at least they know my blog
It was hilarious.  So much so that it doesn't even matter that bespectacled redhead and I are not soul mates.  I wouldn't trade this ending to the story for all the happily-ever-afters and nearsighted ginger babies in the world.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Importance of a Good Eight Hours

I like to go to bed early, because the early sunrises and chirping birds make sleeping in a non-option.  It's not so much that I really need all that much sleep, but I enjoy getting it nonetheless.  Here is last night's dream, as proof that my sleep life is far more exciting than my awake life.

My neighborhood in Pennsylvania was being slowly invaded by a gang of vampires, led by Lestat, who was portrayed by Arsenio Hall.  They made their mark by digging little holes in the ground in the borders of the neighborhood.  It was so serious that I insisted that nobody leave the house anytime when it was remotely dark outside.  Now is probably a good time to mention that I was a vampire slayer in this dream.*  Even though I wasn't Buffy, I was acquainted with the Scooby Gang, and I decided that I needed Spike as backup.**  So from the couch in my family room, Mrs. Weston (née Poor Miss Taylor) sent Spike a lengthy text message asking him to come and help, and also possibly to marry me--I didn't read the message that thoroughly, but you know how Mrs. Weston can be.

The next part was pretty cool.  I was in this school or possibly abandoned shopping center building fighting the gang of vampires, who were dressed in some very crude armor.  I made my way through by sliding on the floors for great distances, presumably as a result of my own innate slayer strength.  I found Lestat's "right hand man" vampire and was trying to beat some information out of him to no avail.  I was nearly about to chop his head off when he pleaded "you can't kill me--I'm the Elders Quorum President!"  Apparently the reason nobody was killing the vampires (the male ones, at least) was because they were attending the local singles' ward and really bumping up the male population.

We all made our way into a grocery store after that, and one other male vampire was mulling over the pre-decorated cakes.  His dilemma was that he had forgotten to get a cake for Elders Quorum, but it was Sunday and he wasn't sure if he should break the Sabbath to buy a cake.  I was like, "you drink the blood of the innocent...I'm pretty sure buying a cake on Sunday isn't going to tip any scales."  Over in fresh produce, Spike and Lestat (aka Arsenio Hall) were getting into it because Spike thought he told Lestat never to show his face in these parts again and also how can you tell whether a mango is ripe?

That dream left me with so many unanswered questions, but unfortunately, my kidneys hadn't left me with any more unfiltered blood, so I had to wake up.

*I have a complex, probably.
**This part was probably prompted by the fact that I'm thinking about going to Comic Con this year and James Marsters will be there.

Monday, June 23, 2014

With Those Who Mourn

This is probably the least obliquely I will ever write about a current and controversial event.

The news of Kate Kelly's excommunication made me realize something:  I need to stop reading the "Comments" sections of news articles.  Some people are just mean.  But throughout the meanness I saw a common theme:  that because of Sister* Kelly's behavior, she "had it coming."  (Cue "Cell Block Tango.")

People are so quick to defend church leaders' shortcomings sometimes by saying "they're only human."  Well guess what?  Kate Kelly is human, too.  She's not some Big Bad Apocalyptic Forerunner.  She's a woman with a brain that understands things just as imperfectly as the rest of us and a heart that is now broken.

I don't follow Ordain Women or the Church Public Affairs Department closely enough to know everything that's going on, but I'd bet the box of Trader Joe's Yogurt Covered Raisins on my desk right now that a lot of things could have been handled differently and better.  There were definitely some Church actions that were the target of some of my shade throwing** and probably OW could have taken a different approach to some things as well.  People all make mistakes and errors in judgement and decisions that aren't super rational because of sadness and anger and confusion and frustration, and let's just face it, a lot of us are just kind of making our way through the darkness and doing the best we can.

But this isn't really my point.

The point is, we--all of us--lost one of our own today.  That's sad.  She is sad.  And hundreds of other people just like her are sad and hurt and probably terrified that the same thing might happen to them or to a family member.  So even if you're not sad that it happened, be sad that they are sad.  Mourn with those who mourn, comfort those who stand in need of comfort.

*Because she is still my sister.
**A garbage truck, really?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Linger Longer is the Worst

Wearing a cute outfit to munch and mingle...



This is one of those times when I miss having LT around because we would just stand in the corner and eat food and not have to worry about anyone talking to us.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Relationship Post #2: Bound and Rebound

(Listen to this song while you read.)

I was talking about old boyfriends with a friend once, and she asked me if one man I dated was a "rebound" relationship.  It was then that I decided that I disliked the word "rebound."  It sounded cheap, like this was just some rando that I was using to get over the previous boyfriend.  The purpose of this post is to make us stop feeling guilty about rebounding (unless you're treating your rebound person like dirt, then by all means, wallow in shame).

Sometimes after a breakup, we're left with big, ex-shaped holes in our hearts.  They're not the kind of holes that you dig in the dirt, though; they're through-and-through projectile wounds.

Just like this.*
And then the next people come along and try to fill the hole, but like most bottomless holes, everything they put in just falls right out the other end.  They can't fill the hole.

And this is frustrating and we feel guilty because, so often, those "next people" are wonderful and kind and far too patient with us.  But they can't fill the hole.

But then something remarkable happens:  somehow, they mend the hole.  They put the bottom back in, so that it can be filled.  I know that kind of sounds lame.  I mean, we can't be sending these people greeting cards that say "Thanks for being the guy that helped me be ready for the next guy," but that's what they did, and it was necessary.

Sometimes we need people to make us feel something other than despair.  To help ourselves feel that the last person wasn't the "be all, end all" of love and romance.  To help us end a chapter or close a book.  To mend us and put our bottoms back (there is no way to make this not sound weird).  So we can again bound and rebound.

*The perfect .gif for this would have been from the Buffy episode "Primeval" where First-Slayer-infused-Willow/Xander/Giles-hybrid-Buffy punches Adam through the chest and rips out his uranium power source,** but alas, that .gif could not be found, so I had to make do with Spiderman.
**Laura, this isn't a typical scene on Buffy, should this description happen to turn you off from trying out the series.  Season 4 was just weird.