Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A funny thing happened at the band competition

There were lots of bands of all different sizes at the Red Rocks Marching band competition. Our band is rather small -- we compete in the 2A division, which is the second smallest.
With half a dozen bands in each of five divisions, the competition was a long drawn out thing. Our band performed at 5:45pm, and the awards ceremony was scheduled for 10:30pm. After we finished performing, we went back to the buses, put equipment away, changed out of uniforms, and ate dinner. Then we trooped back down to watch the 4A and 5A competitions.

The big bands are truly impressive, in sheer size and volume. We have around 50 band members, and only a few color guard girls. The bands in the 5A division have 150-300 band members, with dozens of color guard, fancy uniforms, and lots of supporting percussion in the stationary Pit which includes gongs, huge bass drums, xylophones, etc.

Here is one of big bands performing. But the great thing about this video isn't the band. Watch the drum major (he's in the lower left corner at the beginning). I'll zoom in on him in a few seconds. Check out the feathered plumes on the uniform hats that are next to him on the platform.

video

The band calls those feathers "dead chickens" or just "chickens" for short. Perhaps it was the lateness of the hour (10:30 pm after a very long day of traveling and chaperoning and standing around in the hot St. George sun waiting and running on the field setting up props and watching the band and then taking the props down and riding on the cart holding the props on so they wouldn't slide off and nearly falling off the cart myself and laughing hysterically all the while) or the fact that I was bored (0r both), but those dancing chickens were the FUNNIEST thing I had seen in a long time. I still laugh every time I think of this.

If you don't think it was funny - I want to hear about it. Because I really want to know if my sense of humor is just whacked. So tell me, is my Funny Bone broken?

That is all.

Monday, October 27, 2008

An Exorcism a Day Keeps the Blues Away

Preface: The following story is my entry into the

Get your entry in by WEDNESDAY NIGHT! That's only one more day people!


-----

The day I faced down the devil started out like any other.

It was a bright and sunny day -- a typical Tuesday: Up at 6am for family scriptures, then nag repeatedly with the occasional threat thrown in while getting kids in and out of showers, dressed, lunches packed, piano practiced, and out the door to school.

At last the house was quiet. After morning prayer and a quick read through Alma 30, I started on my perennial To-Do List. Halfway through folding a load of laundry, Caroline popped into my thoughts. Caroline was one of the young women in my ward, and as the Young Women's President, I had direct stewardship over her. At 17, she was a beautiful girl, or would have been had her lovely features not been twisted into a perpetual scowl. Caroline had strayed from the straight and narrow and was struggling. She and her friends were dabbling in drugs and alcohol and who knows what else. I had reached out to her multiple times without much luck; she was generally angry, hostile, and rude. Her parents were at their wits' end knowing what to do with her.


Go visit Caroline.


I looked at the clock. It was 9:05 am. Caroline should be in school at this hour. Was I supposed to call the school and get her out of class?


Go to her home.


This is silly, I thought. Her mother works -- I'm sure no one is home.

I returned to folding and began delivering clothes to my children's rooms (this was back when I was a nice mom -- now my kids must haul their own clean laundry to their rooms). All the while, a disturbing image of Caroline lying half clothed on her unmade bed danced behind my eyes. I sighed and set down the basket on the kitchen table, still half full of clean clothes. I can't just show up on her doorstep. I picked up the phone and dialed her number. Ring.... ring.... ring.... ring..... ring......... ring............

I hung up the phone with a little more force than necessary. I felt silly. I was glad I hadn't wasted time driving over there for no reason. Even if Caroline was there, what would I say when she opened the door? Uh... Hi! I just love you so much that I thought I'd come and see you because I had this feeling you were ditching school and I am such a wonderful caring loving leader that I am here to help you do the right thing! I could almost hear the door slamming in my face and the muffled derisive laughter as she walked away. I strode to the table and snatched up the basket to finish my task.


What is more important: what Caroline will think of you, or her soul?


I stopped short. In that moment, the laundry was forgotten. I picked up the phone again and redialed Caroline's number. This time instead of ringing I heard the buzzing of the busy signal. I slammed the phone back on the receiver, grabbed my purse, and ran for the car.

I prayed out loud during the 4 minute drive to her parent's home. Dear Lord, forgive me for being slow to hear. Please guide my mind to know what to say and do to help this girl. Please give me the courage I lack so that I may be a tool in Thy hands for whatever must be done today.

I climbed the front steps of the old brick farmhouse and rang the doorbell. Silence. I knocked loudly on the door. Bam Bam Bam BAM BAM! Still nothing. I made a tent over my eyes with my hands and pressed my face close to the front window and peered inside. The normally tidy living room was in a shocking state of disarray. Sheet music from the overturned piano bench was strewn across the room, and beside the sofa the end table was on its side. A vase of dried flowers was shattered on the entry tile.

Alarm tightened my throat, and I stepped back from the window, momentarily at a loss. Something was wrong here. What should I do? Should just I go in? Should I call for help?


Go inside. NOW.


I turned the unlocked doorknob and pushed. The door swung open easily until it bumped against the base of the broken vase.

I called out, "Caroline?"

Nothing but a faint spluttering sound coming from the kitchen. What was that smell?

I stepped over the scattered flowers and moved toward the kitchen, where shattered dishes littered the antique wood floor. Every cabinet was open and half empty, the contents scattered across the counter tops and floor. Burned tomato soup burbled in an untended saucepan on the stove, hissing and spewing acrid smoke as each bubble burst in slow motion. Broken stoneware and glass crackled under my shoes as I crossed the kitchen quickly and turned off the stove. And then I saw the old-style beige rotary phone on the floor; the phone cord had been ripped from the base and the receiver was nowhere to be found.

I made my way down the hallway toward the bedrooms, listening for any sounds.

"Hello? Anybody home?!"

An answering thud sounded somewhere below me. I tiptoed to the top of the basement stairs and called again.

"Caroline? Is that you?"

A chilling scream echoed up the stairwell and then trailed off into a low groan. I was frozen with fear and dread for a moment. I closed my eyes and murmured another brief prayer, took several deep breaths, and began to slowly descend the stairs.

I found Caroline in the back basement bedroom. She was curled up on the stripped bed wearing only her underwear and a t-shirt; her legs, arms and face were red with bleeding welts where she had scratched herself raw. The phone receiver was clutched in her right hand. A low moan escaped her lips, and her puffy eyes were closed tightly against the bright morning light that filtered in through the lacy curtains on the window. On the nightstand was a small piece of glass and a small plastic straw. On the floor, an overturned Ouija board.

I sucked in a startled breath.

Caroline's eyes opened, scanned the room dazedly, and then slowly focused on me standing in the doorway. Her eyes narrowed, and she pushed herself partway to a sitting position. My heart jumped into overdrive as I looked into bloodshot eyes that seethed pure hatred. The distorted gutteral voice that burst from her chapped and bleeding lips was not her own.

"Who are you!?"

"Caroline, you know me. It's Sister Jones from the ward."

"Caroline is gone! This body is mine now!"

Dear Father in Heaven, please help me.

I took a slow breath. "Caroline does not belong to you. I command you to leave her body now!"

Caroline's tortured face twisted into a cortorted mask of fury. The scream came with such force that I could feel the shock of it against my whole body.

"Leave now or DIE!"

And she got slowly to her feet and began to stagger toward me, the phone handset raised threateningly.

What happened next was done without any thought or plan of mine. My right arm raised firmly to the square and I heard my voice speaking calmly but forcefully, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to depart and leave this girl alone!"

The girl's eyes widened in surprise. A tortured shriek ripped from her throat, hung in the air for a long moment, and then she collapsed to the floor. My knees turned to jello, and I went and knelt next to her, gathered her in my arms, and held her tight while sobs racked her frail body and my tears of gratitude and relief mingled with hers.

I moved away a couple of months later. A few years ago I heard that Caroline had pulled her life together, gone to college, and was engaged to be married. I imagine that she's forgotten all about me. But I will never forget her, nor the day that the Lord helped me face down the devil--and win.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Marching Band

Friday evening was the Red Rocks Marching Band Competition in St. George, Utah. I had the opportunity to go along and watch Susan compete with our high school band (which shall remain nameless even though most of you already know where I live but I have to make some small effort to protect my identity just in case there is some freaky internet stalker who might wish to come and steal my beautiful children and murder me in my sleep).

For grandparents and other interested family who have never seen the band march, here is a short video of part of their competition routine. Susan is the adorable one wearing black and red.


video


Here she is up close. Isn't she a cutie? I sure love this kid.


She has been incredibly diligent and dedicated to this whole marching band thing. These kids meet to practice at 6:30am 4 days a week, with a two hour after school practice on the fifth day. In the summer they had two band camps, one in May and one in August, for a combined total of 18 days marching out in the hot sun. She's learned a lot, made tons of friends, and had a blast along the way.

And it all paid off when they won THIRD PLACE in the 2A division! What a great way to end the season! Everyone was happy and relieved and we all went back to the hotel and some of us stayed up most of the night being silly (hint: "some of us" means SUSAN and not her poor tired mother), which is what kids do on band trips, right?

Way to Go, DONS!

That doesn't give my location away, does it?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Don't Miss This Contest!!!

So The Crash Test Dummy and Art and Sewl are co-sponsoring a Ghost Story writing contest.

Click on the poster below to be transported through time or space... or the internet to the contest site, complete with rules and some pretty covet-worthy prizes to whet your writing appetite.


The more the merrier, so get over there and scare up some stories!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Eyebrow Adventure, aka Amidey Made Me Do It

So. When I entered my midlife crisis this summer and realized that my Chick Card had been revoked, I first did the ear piercing thing. I also began to consider getting my eyebrows waxed, with a fair amount of encouragement from some of you (see comments for the last two posts). Yes, it is true, my friends; somehow I reached 39 years of age without ever having had any hair ripped off my face (or any other part of me, thank you very much). It was part of the "a la naturale" thing I had going... no hair color, no piercings, no tattoos, no eyebrow waxing, and for several years, no eye makeup. I was downright granola for awhile, I'm telling you! I even made my own homemade granola. Also yogurt, cheese, and butter from raw milk gotten from a cow I milked myself. I wore Birkenstocks with socks, even. (But not while milking the cow.)

So, with that kind of emotional baggage, you can understand my reluctance to get my eyebrows done. My whole identity revolved around being REAL. Hair color and eyebrow waxing were for shallow girlie women who secretly hated themselves and were insecure about their appearance. My husband liked me the way I was. I liked me the way I was. Mostly. Well, sometimes. And above all, I didn't want to get my eyebrows done just because most of my friends thought I should. If I was going to do it, I would do it because I wanted to do it.

So I waited more than a month. (Bad writing alert: I started three straight paragraphs with the word, "so". The floggings shall commence immediately.) I waited, because I am stubborn and spiteful. And I looked at my eyebrows in the mirror every morning; with each passing day they began to look bushier. Finally I capitulated. I called Kari Rawlings of New Reflections Salon and made an appointment for myself and Jessica, my lovely fellow Sister-OutLaw.

My handsome but annoying husband overheard the conversation and smirked as I got off the phone.

"I knew you would end up doing it. If Amidey wants you to do something, you always do it."

If he hadn't been holding a reciprocating saw, I might have socked him. Instead, I stuck my tongue out and put my fingers in my ears.

"NanaNanaBooboo!"

And then I ran.

What a dork. (Him, not me.) (As if I needed to tell you that.) (Right?)


So, last Wednesday we went. Amidey came along to document the process. We are nothing if not dedicated bloggers, after all.

Behold, the videos.


video

video


Worse than the waxing, however, was the tweezing that commenced after the camera was turned off. Dude. That really hurt. I was yelping and crying and making a complete fool of myself in the chair. Okay not really. But I saved up the pain and went home and cried like a baby later that night.


And here, we are, Jessica and myself, after the ordeal was over.


The funny thing is... I don't know that I see a whole lotta difference. Do you?


Before


After

Yikes - take a look at the wrinkles around those eyes!? Whoa, baby - I think a little botox might be called for here! I mean, hey, I'm already well down the slippery slope of appearance artifice, right? Why stop now? I could be young forever -- Wheeeeeee!


What's that? Too late, you say? TOO LATE?! Are you calling me... OLD!?

&$*&@! so called "friends"! Who needs you, anyway! :stalks off to make voodoo dolls:

You will rue the day you mocked the Funny Farmer!

Scared yet? No? :sigh:


OH! Wanna know what my husband said when he got home that night and saw my new brows?

Nothing. He didn't even notice.

Shocker.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thorns

I didn't exactly plan not to go to church today. That would be a sin on top of a sin, to consciously plan to skip church and then do it. And I didn't do that. But when at T minus 30 minutes and counting I was out dealing with escape artist chickens, I realized that I would be late, and the temptation came: It doesn't matter; indeed, just skip the whole thing.

And then I dropped the feed bucket and ran for the house to get dressed, because I know that when I don't want to go to church is the day that I really need to go to church. (Which, honestly, is pretty much every week lately. What's up with that?)

I arrived only a few minutes late -- in time for the sacrament, even. (Hooray!) I ignored the bishop's wry grin as I walked all the way up to the second row to sit with my prompt and halo-clad children.

And sure enough, near the end of the High Councilor's talk came the scripture nugget that I needed. I spent the remaining two hours of the block poring over scriptures, writing in my church notebook, and completely ignoring the hard-won lessons prepared by the Sunday School and Relief Society teachers. (Does that make me a bad person?)

I'm glad I went today. I really needed that boost.


Well, Duh...






What? Oh... you want to know what the scripture nugget was?

Promise not to laugh?

Cross your heart and hope to die, stick a needle in your eye?



Okay. Here goes:



Though he were a Son,
yet learned he obedience by
the things which he suffered.

(Hebrews 5:8)


And on the opposite page:


For we have not an high priest
which cannot be touched
with the feeling of our infirmities;
but was in all points tempted
like as we are,
yet without sin.

Let us therefore come boldly
unto the throne of grace,
That we may obtain mercy,
and find grace to help
in time of need.

(Hebrews 4:15-16)


And finally:


There was given to me
a thorn in the flesh,
The messenger of Satan
to buffet me,
lest I should be exalted above measure.

For this thing
I besought the Lord thrice,
that it might depart
from me.

And he said unto me,
My grace is sufficient for thee:
for my strength is made perfect
in weakness.

Most gladly therefore
will I rather glory in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may rest
upon me.

(2 Corinthians 12: 7-9)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fooling Around...Take the Poll!

Not THAT kind of fooling around. Sheesh.

Gotta new header up today, after much blood sweat and tears. Okay, I'll admit it--there was no blood or sweat involved. But there were tears. And cursing, even.

Lemme know what you think. Vote in the poll (cuz you just love polls!) and comment here if you'd like.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Conference Thoughts: You don't know everything, but you know enough.

Today's thoughts come from Elder Neil L. Andersen on Saturday Morning. You can watch, listen, or read it to review if you'd like.

Early in his talk, Elder Andersen shares the story of a struggling missionary who has decided to return home:

"We sat together in the mission president’s home. The missionary told me about his challenging childhood, of learning disorders, of moving from one family to another. He spoke sincerely of his inability to learn a new language and adapt to a new culture. Then he added, “Brother Andersen, I don’t even know if God loves me.” As he said those words, I felt a sure and forceful feeling come into my spirit: “He does know I love him. He knows it.”

"I let him continue for a few more minutes, and then I said, “Elder, I’m sympathetic to much of what you’ve said, but I must correct you on one thing: you do know God loves you. You know He does.”

"As I said those words to him, the same Spirit that had spoken to me spoke to him. He bowed his head and began to cry. He apologized. “Brother Andersen,” he said, “I do know God loves me; I do know it.” He didn’t know everything, but he knew enough. He knew God loved him. That priceless piece of spiritual knowledge was sufficient for his doubt to be replaced with faith. He found the strength to stay on his mission."


I've watched and listened to this talk multiple times, and every single time a sob catches in my throat at “He does know I love him. He knows it.” I spent a lot of years believing that because God didn't answer my prayers the way that I wanted, that he didn't love me. And yet, like this struggling missionary, I have known all along that God does love me. I gained a sure testimony of my Heavenly Father's love at 19 years of age. But somewhere along the way, I somehow forgot that lesson.

:Licks pencil and adds to the already long list of things to repent of:


Elder Anderson continues:

"Brothers and sisters, we each have moments of spiritual power, moments of inspiration and revelation. We must sink them deep into the chambers of our souls. As we do, we prepare our spiritual home storage for moments of personal difficulty."

Ahh... how true that is. Those powerful moments of witness have been frustratingly rare in my 39 1/2 years of life, especially when compared to the seemingly endless times of trial. However, remembering what I do know has made all the difference during the difficult stretches. Because, as Elder Andersen said, "Faith is not only a feeling; it is a decision." A decision to continue attending church meetings even when it seems pointless; to continue praying even when it seems that no one is listening; to obey commandments that make no sense to my mortal mind and seem to benefit me not at all.

It is during times like that I think of the words of C.S. Lewis:

"[The devil's] cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do [God's] will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys."

I wonder if maybe that's the major part of this test of mortality--to see how we will react when things don't go the way we planned. Like my husband said the other day: "We've already proven in the pre-earth life that we will obey when in the presence of God. We are here to demonstrate that we will obey when we're out on our own." Or something like that. It sounded much more profound when he said it.

Life is not so dark now as it once was. And while my challenges are certainly not over, remembering what little I do know (and that it is indeed enough) helps me keep my perspective while I wait for the day when I will see things as they really are.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about this talk. Please discuss.

Monday, October 13, 2008

This made me laugh

I'm having trouble coming up with funny stuff of my own to say lately, so let me direct you to a post that made me smile. Widely.

Someday I'm going Supernova

Friday, October 10, 2008

Blog Review: The Crash Test Dummy Diaries

I may regret this day's work. Yes, I think I definitely will regret this. Why, you ask? Because I am going to tell you about one of my very most favorite blogs. It's one of those best-kept-secret kind of blogs -- still small yet but destined for greatness. I'm going to regret this because once you visit this blog you will be spoiled forever and may never come back to the Funny Farm.

But you know what? That's fine. I'm not blogging for fame and fortune anyway. Actually I'm kinda over blogging this week. So if all my followers forsake me for this great new blog, I'll be mostly okay with that. Totally Oh-Kay. In FACT, I am so okay with it I'll even open the door for you! And don't let it smack your cute little behinds on the way out!!

Ahem.

The Crash Test Dummy Diaries (CTDD) is clever in a lure-you-in-with-humor-and-then-pierce-you-to-the-heart kind of way. Take this post for example. Drop Dead Funny. Here's another one of my favorites. Her observations on spousal snoring are spot on. The one about the bed made me chuckle. The Crash Test Dummy tells the truth about family bliss and her religion with a satirical twist that will have you laughing at the same time you're shaking your head in frustration because dang she is so right.

And then, when you're least expecting it, she'll pull a fast one on you. Every now and then she gets deep, and every time that happens I find myself in over my head wondering where the bottom of the lagoon went! One of the things I appreciate most about this blog isn't the humor, although there's plenty of that. No, the thing that makes The CTDD a great blog is the pain behind the laughter. All the best writers have that in common. The Crash Test Dummy is no exception.

Go. Read. Laugh. Cry. And if you ever get tired of really great writing, I'll still be here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Dutch Babies

Remember when I was all sad and rejected because my husband wouldn't eat Dutch Babies? Well, y'all are in luck because my good friend theThe Amazing Cook has posted the recipe with pictures.

While you're there, check out her hilarious post about all the stoopid questions people ask you when you're trying to get pregnant.

Like I said, this girl can cook. She's posted several recipes and they are dang good, like Maple Oat Bread, Leek Soup, Clam Chowder, and the most rich and fattening Pumpkin Cobbler. She also makes a wicked tuna salad and yummy Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches... I gotta get her to blog about those! Hint hint!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Conference Thoughts

Last weekend was my church's semi-annual General Conference. General Conference was a hugely uplifting and motivating event for me this year. I'd like to spend a few posts sharing and discussing my feelings about some of the talks that were given during this marvelous weekend.

For those not familiar with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, General Conference is held on the first weekend of April and October each year. There are five 2-hour sessions: Saturday Morning, Saturday Afternoon, Saturday Evening Priesthood Session (for men and boys age 12 and up), Sunday Morning, and Sunday Afternoon. On the last Saturday of September is the General Relief Society Meeting for women, and the last Saturday of March is the Young Women General Meeting for girls age 12 and up and their mothers and leaders.

Each session is filled with music and inspirational talks chosen from among the Church's general authorities. For members of the church, it is a time to listen to our living prophets and hear God's specific instructions through them.

General Conference (GC for short - since I'm lazy) is like a buffet for me; I tend to pick and choose from the talks that are most interesting and personally relevant. Over the years I have come to realize that what I get out of GC is directly related to my spiritual preparation for it. If I am praying and studying the scriptures, I have a much more fulfilling and positive experience with GC than if I am just coasting along, neglecting those very most basic principles that invite tutoring by the Holy Ghost.

Last April, GC was kind of a been-there-done-that event. I wasn't reading scriptures or praying regularly (more on that later), and therefore wasn't really prepared for the feast that was available to me. All the talks sounded much the same; just more humdrum "do better" and "beware the world" ... frankly I don't remember much. I watched because A) we always watch/listen, and B) it was the first GC since President Hinckley had died and we had a new President to sustain. I remember feeling neutral about President Monson, nothing particularly critical, but nothing amazing either. I had long since gained a testimony of the succession of prophets, and it didn't particularly bother me that I didn't have a huge Witness that Thomas S. Monson was now the Lord's Prophet, Seer, and Revelator for the entire church. It was no surprise, therefore why would I need a witness?

I remember being somewhat interested in some of the talks, bored by most, and downright annoyed by others. I didn't make a great effort to concentrate on all of the sessions. The weekend came and went. I told myself that I would study the talks more carefully in the weeks ahead. I even downloaded mp3 files of all the talks to my computer and mp3 player. And I never listened or read a single one.

This Conference was entirely different. A few weeks ago I began, with the encouragement of a good friend, another attempt to read scriptures everyday and pray at least once per day. It's been making a difference in me. But I didn't realize how much of a difference until GC weekend. Whereas past conferences I've picked a little from the buffet of talks, here a little and there a little, tasting with skepticism and often disappointment, this time I felt like I was gorging on a succulent feast. Nearly every talk had something in it that was delicious to me. My heart felt full to bursting with renewed hope and optimism. It came too fast and furious to take it all in, and I felt an enthusiastic motivation to study the counsel until I could make it part of me.

FYI - the church website has a media player on which you can watch all sessions of GC -- with the exception of the SECRET priesthood session, which has always been odd to me, since it eventually gets published in the Ensign anyway -- and I highly recommend this. It includes all the prayers and music, and you can also skip to the specific talks you'd like to watch. Mp3 audio files are available now at this link, and soon will be followed by written transcripts if you prefer that method of study.

My plan is to share a few thoughts about some of the talks I found most helpful and inspiring. I would love it if you would like to join in and discuss them with me.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

So there was this cute guy...

at the gym yesterday. I first caught sight of him as I walked to the fountain to fill my water bottle. He was pumping iron with an obscene amount of weight on the bar. His face was focused and tense with effort, triceps in sharp relief on the backs of his arms as the bar was pushed up, then let down to touch his broad chest, then back up again. Down. Up. Down. Up...

Someone cleared his throat behind me, and I jumped. Oh, sorry! Uh... go ahead, yeah I'm through. I stepped away from the fountain, my water bottle only half full. I forced myself to turn away from the hunk on the bench press and walked purposefully to the other side of the room.

I put my earbuds in, turned up the volume, and started into my workout: Arms, back, abs, legs. I finished the leg press and was headed to the leg curl, and there he was perched on the calf machine right next to the leg curl machine. Dude--this guy was hot! He wore his dark hair cropped short, and his eyes twinkled mischievously when he smiled at me as I approached. I grinned back uncertainly. Blushing, I spun away and walked in the opposite direction toward the stationary bikes. Forget the leg curls--I am so not doing those with him watching!

I picked the first bike in the row and started pedaling. I fought temptation for a minute, lost, and looked across to the calf machine. He was gone. I casually scanned the room until I found him just finishing squats over by the windows. Then he moved over to the pull-up bar, right in plain view from my position. His shirt stretched tight over his back muscles and his biceps bulged as his body moved smoothly up and down. He made it look sooooo easy. He dropped to the floor, wiped the sweat from his brow with a towel, and headed right toward me. He grinned and winked at me as he passed. What the heck? Is this guy flirting with me?! I am a happily married woman, for heaven's sake! I should leave right now, that's what I should do! What if a member of my ward witnesses this? What do I do if he actually talks to me?!

But I didn't leave. I didn't really want to.

He continued behind me and got on a treadmill one row back. I risked a glance over my shoulder and was relieved to see that his eyes were riveted on the bank of televisions suspended from the ceiling. He was probably watching Sportscenter or that sleazy music video on screen #5. I pedaled with an adrenaline assist until my 20 minutes were up, then began to gather my stuff and prepared to dash for the door. Before I could bolt, I heard footsteps and then a voice right behind me.

"Hi."

I turned slowly and grinned crookedly up at those smiling eyes while winding my earbud chord around my mp3 player. "Hi, handsome. Have a good workout?"

"Yeah. You?"

"Yeah. I was a little distracted though. Did you have to show off with the pull-ups? You know I can't concentrate when you do pull-ups."

His grin widened wickedly. "Yeah. I know you can't."

I punched him lightly on the shoulder. "Come on. The kids will be wondering what's for dinner."

"What is for dinner, anyway?"

"Dutch Babies," I smirked.

He winced in mock disgust. "Would you be offended if I picked up some pizza?"

I stared at him... dumbfounded. Then I found my voice.

"Get me a Supreme, will you?"

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I have issues.

Specifically, rejection issues.

Most of the time, my irrationality lies dormant. It sleeps peacefully beneath the placid waters of my consciousness like the monster at the bottom of Loch Ness. Those who have never seen it wouldn't believe it was there even if I had photographic proof.

The beast surfaced today. Twice. It made me cry both times.

My good friend was having a baaaad morning. She hadn't slept well for two nights in a row and had that sleep deprivation hangover: irritability, headache, lethargy, the works. She was bummed because she had so much housework to do and wanted to go back to bed instead. I needed to use her dance studio to practice clogging, so I asked if I could come over. I figured once I was there I could help pick up a few things, maybe sweep the kitchen floor, wipe off a counter... you know, the kinds of things a good friend does.

Her reply, "You can come over if all you do is practice. You are NOT going to come here and clean."

Ah... the girl knows me too well.

But an odd thing happened inside my brain when she spoke. I didn't hear the words she used. My irrational rejection filter changed the message to "You can come and practice, but then you have to leave because I have stuff to do."

Now, we're good enough friends that I know that she wasn't telling me that I could come just to practice and then I had to leave. I know she loves me and loves it when I come to hang out at her house. I know this. So why did I feel rejected when she wasn't jazzed about the idea of a maid-disguised-as-friend visit?


Fast forward a few hours to dinnertime The evening was hectic, with all six of us going in four different directions. I decided to make Dutch Babies, a quick, easy dish that uses lots of eggs, since our hens have just come into lay and I needed to use up the pasty, anemic store bought eggs to make room for the brown egg boom. I was whipping the eggs when my husband came home.

"Mmmm. What are you making?"

"Dutch Babies."

Pause.

"Will you be offended if I make myself a sandwich?"

I stared at him with my mouth open slightly. What did he just say? This is the man who eats nearly everything I put in front of him. The list of foods he dislikes is very very short. He has always been very supportive and encouraging of my efforts in the kitchen, which makes him easy to cook for.

After several seconds of gaping dumbness, I finally found my voice.

"Yes I'll be offended! Don't you like them?!

He shook his head slowly, a hint of wariness in his eyes.

I was dumbfounded. I've known this man for Twenty-One years! How is it possible that this glaring food aversion fact escaped my notice?!

My eyes began to sting. "But... but... Your whole family loves these! I thought you loved these! Your mother makes them at family reunions, and I even made them once not too many months ago! You have never said anything about not liking them!"

He shook his head, eyebrows raised placatingly. "My mother loves them, but I've never been crazy about them."

Oh. Whoops.

I turned to the sink to wash some dishes so he wouldn't see the tears welling up in my eyes. Why am I crying!? What a stupid thing to cry about. Must. Stop. Now!

I felt like a fool for not knowing something so simple about my husband's food preferences. I mean, you think you know someone, and then something like this happens; suddenly the world tilts on its axis and you're left grabbing wildly for the kitchen sink sprayer to keep from being thrown off. Um... could we cut the drama please? He just doesn't like this dish. It's not like he just told you he wants a divorce. Oh, right... Right. Sorry. Uh... yeah.

He came up behind me and put his hands on my shoulders. His gentle voice tickled my ear. "Scrambled eggs sound really good, though."

"Sure thing. Just... I need a minute, okay?"

I fled to the bathroom and sobbed quietly into a towel until the pressure in my head was bearable. Then I dried my eyes and went back out to turn part of the whipped eggs into a ham and cheese omelet. He ate, kissed me goodbye, and went to help a family move.


What happened today was not a big deal to Tom. It wasn't a big deal to my friend. But my stupid guerrilla issues made it a really big deal to me, and my attempts to talk myself out of those feelings of hurt and rejection went mostly unheeded by my inner child.

Isn't it funny how a wound seems healed, and then the scab gets ripped off and it bleeds like it just barely happened all over again?

Yeah, Real Funny.