Sunday, December 14, 2008

Introducing . . .

This is my Big Sister.



Isn't she cute? This is kind of an old picture (as you can see by the date stamp) and she's not usually this blonde. But trust me, she's cute.

I adore Big Sister. I look up to her. She sets and excellent example for me. On of her qualities that I admire the most is her ability to see the best in things. She always seems to be happy, or at least content, even when life isn't so great. She's all about "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."

Now me, I'm more like, "Lemons? I don't need any freaking lemons! I need a boyfriend! What the heck and I supposed to do with stupid lemons?"

Ahem. Sorry about that. Momentary outburst. We were talking about Big Sister.




This is Big Sister and her husband, Brother-in-Law Numero Dos. We'll call him J for short. Or should we call him BiLND? Or #2? Hahaha! #2. Get it? I crack myself up.

Anyway, the only time I really remember Big Sister not being content was when J was out of the country for two years. The last six months, she wouldn't even talk about him. She pined for him. They've been married for 4 1/2 years now, and she's still all stupid over him. It's pretty cute, when it doesn't make me puke.

Big Sister and J have also been trying to get preggers for quite a while. They've had some trouble, with no apparent reason. They've tried all sorts of treatments with no luck, and recently decided to give in vitro fertilization a try. We'll find out around Christmas how successful it was.

Big Sister also recently started a blog, "Que Sera, Sara?" (Isn't she clever?) You can read about her IVF experiences here.

Drop by and say hello. And send lots of baby thoughts their way!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

She's Just so Cute!

I know I promised a real post today, but I'm putting it off until tomorrow. For today, here are some pictures of the most adorable dog on the face of the earth. And she's mine, all mine! Bwah-ha-ha!



She's a little camera shy. It's hard to get her to look.



What? Why must you pester me so?



Fine, take the stupid picture. Go ahead, show me off to all your friends. If you must.



Seriously?




Zzzzzzzz . . . . Snnnooorrrkkk!

This is what happens after I get up in the morning. I let her out, get her some food, let her back in and get in the shower. When I get out, she's sacked out again, all snuggled up in my spot!

And she actually does snore. Sometimes it keeps me awake.

I'm not kidding.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Update

I know I've been horrible about blogging, when I clearly implied I would be blogging every day this month. I promise a better update soon (like tomorrow) and I have a list of my kind deeds, but I needed to share this fabulous information.

My pants are too big! Today, I wore my freshly washed jeans, and I was able to take them off without unfastening them. Just, whoosh!

I think I need to invest in some belts.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Where Am I Going, and Why Am I in This Handbasket?!?

I've been thinking lately about the world we live in.

Generally, I'm an optimist. I know there are bad things out there, but I can usually focus on the good in the world; the good in people. Lately, though, I seem to be overwhelmed by the bad.

Don't get me wrong, I haven't forgotten the good, or given up on it. I know there are great, beautiful things about the world. I know people can be kind and loving and generous.

But there's so much bad too.

It seems like people have no moral code anymore. They don't expect there to be consequences for their actions. It's all so hedonistic - "Do what makes you happy, don't worry about others." I'm not just talking about the big stuff like murder and robbing banks. It's the small stuff that bothers me.

People have affairs.
They give up on their marriages.
They betray their friends, they hurt their families.
People steal from their employers.
They're dishonest.
They speak of freedom and tolerance, but are intolerant.
People kill their babies, when there are so many who want a baby to love.

My thoughts on liberalism and abortion are fodder for another post, but you see where I'm going. It's that people think only of themselves, of what's going to benefit them.

I often feel like the world is lost. I feel like we've lost our sense of purpose. And I remember how blessed I am to know the things I know, to understand my purpose. The world can be a scary place, filled with confused people. I hope that when it comes time to fight for what's right, I'll know I'm on the right side.

I drive past a church every day on my way to work. The other day, after this had all been weighing on my mind, the marquee said this:

"In a changing world, we can trust God's word."

Truer than they know.

-----
P.S. - Kind deed for 12/5 - I invited a co-worker to join me for a spinning class at my gym, which she just joined.

Kind deed for 12/6 - I invited my roommate to come with some friends to the Parade of Lights.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming

I've been swimming since I can remember. In fact, I can remember my first bathing suit. It was a two-piece blue and green plaid with ruffles around the top and the waist. It was freaking adorable. And the only bikini I've ever worn. I could get away with it when I was two and cute.

I took swimming lessons every summer, usually with my best friend Katie and her brother Justin. After a while Katie and Justin joined the summer swim club, which met for practice at 6:00am. Even at 10, I valued my sleep and was like, "No freaking way!" My mom still made me take lessons, though, on the basis that it was good exercise. In high school, I was on the swim team for two years, and I worked as a lifeguard.

I've always loved swimming. I think part of it has to do with how graceful I feel in the water. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I'm decidedly ungraceful on land. Seriously. Anybody. But in the water I'm smooth and light. I also like the feeling of being all alone. When I swim, it's just me and the water. I don't worry about anyone else. In fact, I don't even think about anyone else. Usually.

Even though I was always chubby growing up, I never let that keep me from swimming. I loved it too much to let the opinions of a bunch of stupid people keep me from doing it. In the last 50 pound or so, though, I started to let it get to me. I never swam anymore. For a long time, I didn't even own a bathing suit.

When I decided to get serious about losing weight, I decided I would start swimming again. I'll admit that it was hard at first, and not just because of the suit. Swimming is hard, I tell you! I thought I was going to die there for a minute. But it got easier, and it became more fun. It's still hard, but it's relaxing too.

So I've been swimming twice a week for a while now. I always go after work, and the pool used to be dead at that time. I've even been the only one in there before. Now, though, there's always a bunch of people. I'm thinking maybe the people who exercised outdoors when it was warmer switched to swimming for the winter? I'm not sure, but I always seem to have to share a lane now.

That brings me to my kind deed for the day : I offered to share my lane with another swimmer, even though I hate sharing a lane and she was all geared up and I knew she would leave me in her bubbles. Luckily, she was nice enough not to lap me too many times.

That's not really my point, though. My point is that today (and Tuesday) the pool was FA-REEZ-ING! Sure, pools are always a little chilly when you first get it, but you warm up once you start moving, right? Not here. I swam half a mile, and at the end, I was still cold. It was like swimming in tap water! Brrrr.

The really annoying part about it was that I called before I went to make sure the problem was fixed! The girl on the other end told me the problem had been resolved, and yet, I had to thaw out in the sauna afterwards (and this dorky teenage boy came in when I was in there - awkward!). I stopped at the front desk on my way out to talk to someone about it, and the girl was a complete brat. I said that I had called, and the girl said, "Yeah, we got the parts in today and it was fixed today, but it takes a day or so for it to get back up to temperature." I said, "Well, you shouldn't tell people it's fixed if it's not." And she said, "Um, it is fixed." All snotty-like. So I said, "But it's still freezing, so it's really not." Get this. She rolled her eyes at me and said, "Fine, it's not."

That brings me to my second kind deed for the day. I barely refrained from leaping across that counter and slapping Miss Prissy McSnotty-pants silly. It was an exceptionally charitable act, if you ask me.

Man, nothing makes me madder than lousy customer service.

One benefit of all this swimming I'm doing is that my suit seems to fit a lot better. The girls aren't spilling out anymore. In fact, the girls don't spill out of anything anymore, hallelujah. And my clothes are all getting too big. I keep stepping on the hems of my pants because they're too long now that they waistband sits on my hips. I keep pulling them up, and it makes me feel like a gomer. Hard to complain about that, though!

So, even as I drug myself shivering through the frigid waters (okay, that's a slight exageration), I was still pretty proud. I even finished off with my handstand. I always do a handstand at the end of my workout. It reminds me to have balance in my life. Plus, it's the only playing I get to do. And it makes me feel graceful.

Then I went in the sauna until my teeth stopped chattering.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

December 3

At the end of today I realized that I didn't do anything that was so much kind as not mean. I'm kind of embarrassed about that. Anyway, my thing is that I made an effort to make friendly, involved conversation with my roommate that drives me nuts. I usually go back and forth between ignoring her and wanting to kill her, so it was kind of an effort. Still, doesn't seem especially kind, does it?

Tell me you did better.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Random Acts of Kindness and Sensless Acts of Beauty

In church this week we discussed kindness. We talked about how we could use kindness to bring our congregation closer, about how being kind is a key to happiness. At the end of the lesson, we were challenged to do a kind deed every day this month.

I like to think I'm a kind person. I like to think that I do a kind deed every day without thinking about it. Still, it's an interesting thing to think about. One of the teachers said, "There is so much meanness in the world." That's so true, isn't it? Rudeness, gossip, road rage, intolerance. Personally, I think most of it stems from selfishness. We spend so much time thinking about ourselves that we forget the people around us. We see them as annoyances, instead of people with lives, loves, concerns and joys. Kindness is really the antithesis of selfishness. It's doing something for another person when you could just as easily only think of yourself.

If selfishness is the cause of so many of the world's problems, it stands to reason that kindness could be the solution, doesn't it? Amelia Earhart said,

"No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves."
One kind deed a day doesn't seem like much, but if 100 people do a kind deed everyday, that's 100 people who are touched. 100 people who may do a kind deed the next day and touch another 100 people.

I've accepted the challenge of doing a kind deed a day for the month of December. I'll report them here. They'll probably be simple things, but sometimes those are the most meaningful. I might just post what I did, or I might add it to the end of a post, but I promise, it will be here.

Yesterday I had a nice chat with the checkout girl at Wal-mart. People often take their frustration out on customer service people, but how often to they benefit from good moods?

Today I got the door for a girl who was going into the Jenny Craig office with her arms full of Chick-Fil-A bags (yes, I noticed the irony).


Would you like to join me on my quest to spread kindness? December is a perfect month for it. I'll extend my challenge to you - try and do one kind deed every day for the month of December. You can report them here, if you want to follow along with me. I'd love to hear them.

One kind deed isn't a lot. You don't have to go out of your way. It's a small thing, but it can make a difference in a life, and in the world. Let's be kind to each other!




Wednesday, November 19, 2008

WW - and NOT for White Whale

This will be a quick post since it's getting late, but I'm so stoked and I have to share the good news!



A couple months ago, I joined Weight Watchers. I've been chubby (read: fat) my whole life, and I was just plain sick of it. It's taken a lot of time for me to get to the place where I was really ready to make a change, but I'm there now, and I wanted something that would work. I've heard good things about WW, so I decided to give it a try. And guess what?

I've lost 16 pounds!!

I still have a long way to go, but 16 pounds is nothing to sniff at. I look at it like this:



Hooray for Weight Watchers!

So, Internets, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. This is what I looked like when I started (I'm on the right, if you weren't sure).



And this is what I'm shooting for.



It's a long way to go, but now I know I can do it!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's Such an Embarassment

Welcome to this episode of My Most Embarrassing Moments!

Before I started my job, I invested in some "really good" shoes. They were supposed to absorb some of the pressure from knees and ankles, and they were supposed to keep me from pronating (rolling to the side of your foot). For a while, they were great. Lately, not so much. In fact, when I do pronate, I'm pretty much guaranteed to fall becuase the shoes have some height to them.

Today I was at the front counter helping a customer. I took a step backwards to get something, and I turned my ankle (aka pronated). Down I went! I tried to catch myself on this paper table, but unfortunately, it's on wheels. The table moved back, and I landed on my butt. Did I mention that this table sort of a wire rack with a table top? It made a lot of noise when I fell against it. Everyone in the shop came running. E-VER-Y-ONE. As if that's not embarrasing enough, I was checking myself for injuries, and I found this:



That's right. Big ol' hole in the back of my pants. See the two fingers through it? It gave a nice view of my turquoise underpants. I had to go home to change.

Just be glad I can't take a picture of my own butt, because the bruise there is not pretty.

On the up side, in the time it took me to drive home and back to work, the gas station on the corner dropped 7 cents! I couldn't take a picture, because my phone doesn't have a camera (I know, I know, I might as well be using cassette tapes for all my technological advancement), but it looked a little like this:



Can I get a hallelujah! Well, can I? Seriously, I can't hear you. I'm so excited about falling gas prices! I honestly never thought gas was going to be below $2.00 ever again. I was composing the stories to tell my kids about how "When I was young, gas was only $1.25 a gallon." And I was coming up with smart-ass responses to "Really? So what was the world like in black and white?" But here we are at $1.89! If I weren't so excited about how much money I'm going to save, I'd be annoyed at all that wasted creativity.

Finally, for your viewing enjoyment:



I call it Sadie and Ball. It's a pretty common sight around here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Have a Confession to Make.



So am I! That's right. I'm Republican. Go Elephants!



I've noticed, while touring the blogosphere, that it's not really a popular thing to be. That's one of the things I've never understood, actually. I don't know anyone who's nervous to admit they're a Democrat. What's the deal with that?

Since I'm coming out anyway, I'll give you a little flash of my views. You may not agree with them, but that's the great thing about living in America. First Amendment, baby!
  • I believe abortion is wrong. There are some cases where it would be acceptable, but only with deep thought and prayer on the mother's part. Every baby should have a chance to live.
  • I believe that less is more when it comes to government. Less taxes, less interference, and for Pete's sake, less spending!
  • I believe marriage is sacred and should only be between one man and one woman.
  • I believe that everyone should work to support themselves, and that people who are successful shouldn't be punished with higher taxes (I'm talking to you, Mr. Obama!)
  • I believe in free enterprise and small business. The government should stay out of it.
  • I believe that all people deserve freedom, and that it's the responsibility of the strong to protect the weak.
  • I believe that Toby Keith has as much right to say that America will "put a boot in your ass" and the Dixie Chicks do to say they're ashamed of their President. And I don't think that makes Toby an ass, I think it makes him patriotic.
  • I believe that this election year, we're pretty much screwed either way. I respect John McCain for his service to his country, but I'm not a fan of his politics. However, I'm voting for him because a vote for McCain is a vote against Obama, and he scares me. Say no to Socialism!
So there. That's my confession. I'm a Republican, and I'm proud!



And for your viewing enjoyment, courtesy of Big Sister:

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Maybe It's a Little Late to Be Asking . . .

. . . but I need some guy advice. You would think that at 24, I would have a pretty good handle on this dating thing, but the truth is, I suck at it.

I'm sitting here waiting to leave for a party, and I'm hoping a certain boy will be there. We'll call him Cute Army Boy. He's cute. He was in the Army, but he was wounded in Iraq. When he told me about it (in a group conversation) he said it just like that - "I was wounded." Of course, me with my big mouth chimed in, "Oh, yeah, he's all mellow about it. 'I was wounded.' He probably got shot or something." He responded with this:

"Actually, I got blown up."

And I was, miraculously, stunned into silence, in which I thought, Holy crap! Blown freaking up? The silence lasted about three seconds, after which I said, "Blown up? Seriously? Like by a bomb?"

I'm so eloquent.

After we had established that it was, in fact, a bomb, I mentioned that at least he still had all his limbs, and he said he'd had some mild brain damage. I said, "Well, you look okay" (again with the eloquence) and he said, "If you'd seen me a year ago, you wouldn't have said that." And that was it. No bitterness, no plays for sympathy, just matter-of-fact-ness. Like it was no big deal.

And then I fell in love with him a little bit.

Apparently he was raised as an Army Brat, and joined himself when he got old enough. He joined as a Medic, but was sent to Iraq as a Machinist. At night, they went out to look for IEDs and one night he found one. I think the way he tells the story says so much about him. I mean, he didn't even get a medical discharge. He got a medical retire. That means that he gets all the same benefits he would have if he had been career Army and then retired. If that were me, I would either milk it for all it was worth or be really bitter. But he's not.

**As a funny aside, when I told this story to a friend earlier, I accidentally said IUD instead of IED. Then I was like, "Wait, I'm pretty sure an IUD doesn't blow up."**

Anyway, now that we've established that Cute Army Boy is freaking amazing, let's get back to me. I'm sitting here, all ready to go to this party and literally forcing myself not to leave for another 15 minutes so that I won't be exactly on time. I'm all done up and cute. I smell good. My problem is that I have no idea how to do this boy-girl thing.

I know that if you want a guy to ask you out, you have to show some interest. My problem is that I've never been able to find the happy medium of "showing interest". I either act like I'm not interested at all, or I end up looking like a desperate, pathetic fool. There's got to be something in between that, right?!?

So help me out here, Internet friends. How do you show a guy you're interested without coming off desperate and pathetic?

Cause honestly? I'm feeling a little desperate and pathetic.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Washington D.C., Baby!

I spent the last weekend in September in Washington D.C. with my big sister. She and her husband have lived there for three years, but I've never been able to get out there.

My sister has a habit of calling me and saying, "Guess where I am?" and then proceeding to brag about being somewhere great. Last year, she called and told me she was at the National Book Festival. Ever since then, I've been planning to go to this year's festival. It made for a fantastic weekend.

Big Sister took a couple days off work to play with me. The first day, we started at the International Gallery at the Smithsonian Museum. They had a Jim Henson exhibit, which was so much fun. A lot of the original muppets were there. Remember Mnah-Mnah? You know, "Mnah-Mnah! Do-do-do-do-do." He was there. And who knew that Mnah-Mnah was his name? And did you know that the original Kermit was made from Henson's mother's spring coat and some ping-pong balls?



After the Muppets, we walked down the National Mall and checked out the monuments. We started with Lincoln.



He's a heck of a lot bigger in person than he looks on the five dollar bill.

We also stopped at the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial and the World War II Memorial. I found them really touching. So many people who left their homes to protect our freedom and the freedom of others. So many who never came home. The Vietnam Memorial is especially touching that way. It's so long, and the names on it are so small.

The Korean War Memorial was my favorite. It's not one that is as familiar to most of us as the Vietnam Memorial. It's several statues of soldiers, spread out, and there are ground plants all around them. It's even better at night. Kind of creepy and poignant.



My favorite part of the World War II Memorial was the quote engraved around the flagpole. "Americans came to liberate, not to conquer, to restore freedom and to end tyranny."

The second day we went to the Hirshhorn Museum, another Smithsonian Museum. It was by far the coolest museum I saw there. The best exhibit was a video called, "The Way Things Go." Here's a small clip.



The National Book Festival was on Saturday and it was amazing! We caught the tail end of Brad Meltzer, who wrote The Tenth Justice and his new book, Book of Lies. We also listened to Salman Rushdie, who wrote The Satanic Verses and who had a death threat made against him but the president of Iran. He had to spend a decade in hiding. Another author we listened to was Geraldine Brooks, who wrote an amazing book called Year of Wonders, about a small village in England during the plague.

My favorite author, though, was Marisa de los Santos. I read her book Love Walked In in preparation for the festival and I thought it was amazing. Listening to her talk was great. She talked about her characters like they were real. It was fascinating to listen to her talk about her creative process.



I was also able to have her sign a copy of her new book for me. It was like meeting a celebrity. I swear, I'm such a dork.



I was also able to see a friend of mine from New Zealand, Jen. I hadn't seen her in ages, and it was so great to get together again. I was also able to meet her husband Nick, which was fun. They pretty much eloped, so I never even heard about him until she was married! She's also preggers, and I'm way excited for her.

I actually stole this picture of us from her blog - Nick took it.



All in all, it was a fantabulous, if exhausting weekend!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

An Aura of Confidence? Me?

A strange thing happened to me today. I was talking to a friend of mine - actually, we're more of close acquaintances - and we were talking about why men don't ask women out. She mentioned that some men are too intimidated to ask a girl on a date, and I said, "I don't get that. I'm like the least intimidating girl ever."

"No, you're definitely intimidating," she said.

"What? How am I intimidating?" I was surprised at this comment, since I've always seen myself as sort of neutral. You know, not really invisible, but doesn't stand out either.

"Because you're so confident," she said. Now, if her first comment surprised me, my jaw hit the floor on this one. I actually laughed out loud, partly out of disbelief and party out of pleasure.

I've gone through several stages of confidence in my life. Well, I guess I've really only gone through two - confident and utterly unconfident - but I've flipped back and forth a lot. In high school, I was pathetically unconfident. I was obsessed about being fat, even though, looking back, I was totally fine. Not a stick, but hardly a heifer. One of the guys I liked back then even told one of my friends, "The reason I could never date Betsy isn't because of her weight, it's because she doesn't like herself."

Then I went to college and managed to be less pathetic, although I wouldn't say I was really confident. Not until I went to New Zealand. I'm so glad I did that - it changed everything for me. When I got back, I was felt like I was a different person. I did all these hard things there; things I never thought I could do. I was finally happy with myself, and I didn't feel like I needed a boy to make things good.

But if there's one thing you can count on in life, it's change. First a really good friend turned her back on me, without reason or warning. I was lucky though, because I met another, even better, friend around the same time. I've often wished I'd met her first, because she would never treat me so poorly. But that's not really the point. The point is that the abandonment was a blow, but it wouldn't have been so bad if it weren't for that year in Arizona.

After I graduated college, I moved to Mesa for an internship. That part when great, but then I was on my own. It took me two months to find my first real job, where I worked for two months before being fired without explanation. Two months later, and I was still jobless. You can see how this might negatively effect a person's self-image. My first shot on my own, and it was a train wreck.

Finally, I wised up and moved home before things got really bad. I took a job working for my dad. It may not sound very glamorous, but I realized that I was good at it, and smart, and a good problem-solver. I was active in my ward at church, and I started to remember what it felt like to know I could do anything.

After a year or so, I moved away from home again. Now I'm in good old GJ, and things are so great, I'm almost not surprised I "radiate confidence" (her words, not mine). Almost not surprised. I love my job, and frankly, I rock at it. They gave me a raise a month in, I'm so good. I'm learning more and more about the print industry, and I'm realizing I have an interest in graphic design. I'm supporting myself (mostly - Mom and Dad double as prescription coverage since I don't have insurance yet), and I'm learning about being a landlord (mostly that it sucks, but that's a different story).

It was so great to have someone tell me that I'm confident again. It's been so long since I've felt that way. In my post New Zealand days, a friend of mine told me I was the coolest girl he'd ever met. I feel like that girl again, and I'm so glad, because I really missed her.


'B' for Betsy!


I heart En Zed (NZ)


I'm the coolest girl he's ever met, and look what a badass he is!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Project Interior Decorate

I love having a house. Houses are so much better than apartments. I even have my own furniture! Well, I have some furniture.

A couple weeks ago I happened upon a moving sale. I'd been looking for some sort of small table, and as I drove past, I spotted the cutest table. I pulled right over to check it out. It was perfect. It had been used as a garden table, so it wasn't painted or anything, but it had good bones. For $3.00, I snagged it and took that baby home.

That weekend, I spent all day Saturday painting it. I had to start with white paint since it was virgin wood. Then I had to put two coats of paint over the white. I chose a gorgeous purply-brown color called "Spiced Wine."

Here are some before and after pictures.
Pre-painting garden table:


All finished and in my house!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I Have Returned!

Wow. The last month has been kah-razy. I started a new job, moved to a new house, got new roommates and joined Weight Watchers. So far, it's all going swimmingly.

The new job is fantabulous. I love love love love working there. The print industry is new to me, but it's something I've always been interested in. There is so much to learn and so much fun new stuff. My favorite is the cutter. It makes me feel wicked powerful. It's a toss up between that and the shrink wrap machine. I was guaranteed a raise after 90 days, but after a month, my boss asked if we could chat and gave me a fifty cent raise! He said he'd never done it before. I was on cloud nine. Yeah, the extra money is great, but the fact that I'm doing so well makes me feel amazing.

The new house is in a great neighborhood and is really cute. It's the perfect size and is totally cozy. I can't wait to decorate it. I think the roommates are going to work out as well. One is 40 and the other is 18, so there's a big age gap, but everyone seems to get along.

Weight Watchers is fabulous. I joined because I'm just plain tired of being fat. I like the plan because it's like counting calories, but easier. You can eat anything you want, as long as you stay within your points! I've noticed that I pay more attention to what I eat. I used to eat a meal and then start snacking a few minutes later, mostly out of boredom. I don't do that anymore because I have to think about everything I eat. And! Last week I lost 3.4 pounds. Right on.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Checkin' in

Hello! I know, I know, I haven't blogged in over three weeks. But I've been busy! I just moved and started a new job. I still don't even have all my stuff unpacked. I promise promise promise I'll start blogging again soon. But, for your reading enjoyment:

Freewheelin' fun at the DNC
by Dave Berry

DENVER --
This vibrant Western city has pulled out all the stops to make Democratic convention visitors feel welcome right from the moment they arrive at the huge and modern airport, conveniently located in nearby Kansas. From there it's less than a day's drive to downtown Denver, which has been spruced up for the convention with the installation of thousands of brand-new, state-of-the-art spittoons.

No, I'm just poking a little fun at the Denver folks, who are a bit defensive about Denver's stereotyped image as a ''cow town'' -- the kind of place with cattle mooing in the streets, and cowboys drinking in honky-tonk saloons, and a mayor with a name like ``John Hickenlooper.''

These stereotypes are totally false, except the one about the mayor, who actually is named John Hickenlooper. I happen to semi-know Mayor Hickenlooper, because I belong to an all-author rock band called the Rock Bottom Remainders, and when we performed in Denver two years ago, Mayor Hickenlooper joined us on stage to sing the classic Troggs song Wild Thing. Really. He took the difficult vocal solo part that goes, ''You MOVED me,'' and he totally nailed it. You would have sworn you were hearing an actual Trogg. The mayor got a nice round of applause from those audience members still able to clap without falling down. I mention this story because I really like saying ''Hickenlooper.'' Hickenlooper Hickenlooper Hickenlooper.

But my point is that, despite the mayor's name (''Hickenlooper''), Denver is a modern and sophisticated city with huge quantities of culture in the form of museums, latte machines, flush toilets, etc. And the city has done a fine job with the convention preparations, which include many ``green'' touches, such as the ''Freewheelin'' free-bicycle program. As I understand it, the way this works is, there are nearly 1,000 bicycles in special racks set up around Denver, and if you feel like offsetting some carbon, you just go to one of these racks, and you realize that all the bicycles have been stolen.

At least that's how it would work in Miami. Apparently in Denver, people actually return the bicycles. Ha ha! What a bunch of cow-town Hickenloopers.

No, seriously, I applaud this program, as well as the many other ''green'' efforts at this convention, such as the bold plan to take the 19,000-seat Pepsi Center ''off the grid'' and power it entirely with delegate flatulence, even though this has forced Barack Obama to move his Thursday acceptance speech outdoors.

Speaking of the convention: It got off to a rousing start Monday night with speeches by three or four dozen important Democratic party dignitaries, who sounded the convention's official Monday theme: ''A Whole Lot of Speeches.'' But the big news was the decision to seat the entire Michigan and Florida delegations, which means they will be able to participate fully in the roll-call vote, which means you just know the Florida delegation will mess up the buttons somehow and accidentally nominate Walter Mondale.

Meanwhile outside of Denver, Joe Biden has wasted no time acting vice presidential, attacking John McCain for being out of touch with ordinary Americans because he couldn't remember how many houses he has. I think this might backfire. For one thing, Joe is not really one to accuse anybody of being out of touch, seeing how he has been a U.S. senator for 200 years. But also there's the question of fairness. I mean, do YOU have a perfect memory? Can you look yourself in the eyeball and honestly say that you have never forgotten how many houses John McCain has? I know I have. Sometimes I forget my own pants.

Speaking of which: I am shocked to report that there are lavish parties being held here, financed by huge evil corporations giving away free food and liquor to advance their evil corporate agendas. As a journalist concerned about corruption, I cannot BELIEVE I have not been invited to any of these parties. Give me a call, giant corporations! I'm right here in my hotel room! With about 45 bicycles.

*Originally published 8/25/08 in the Miami Herald

Saturday, August 02, 2008

I Just Don't Understand.

I recently discovered a blog that I LOVE, and not through Madame Queen, even though she linked it recently.

It's called "Jason. For the love of God." It's written by That Chick, who also writes at Scrivel. I'm not going to pretend that I get the title, but I do get that That Chick rocks.my.socks. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. Plus, I relate. I'm telling you, I love it.

I also love blogging in general. I love that I've made friends that I've never even met. I love that there are people willing to share themselves, and others who are willing to support them. I love that a bunch of crazy women can rent out a whole store just for a party.

That's why I was so disappointed today.

That Chick recently wrote a great post about her struggle with food. She's a little overweight. So am I. In fact, I'm more than a little overweight. I know what a struggle it is. I know how it makes you feel like you're less of a person, like everyone is judging you. So I know That Chick put herself out there when she wrote that post.

I commented on it. I congratulated her on losing 40lbs. I let her know that she isn't alone. I didn't bother to read all 38 comments first, because I really wanted to say my piece. After I'd posted my comment, I went back to read them. Most were the kind of comments you usually see, loving and supportive. But I also found this, posted by Anonymous:

"I've been reading this blog for a long time now and I have to be honest...I don't understand the appeal. You aren't funny. You are fat. Not just fat but extremely fat. So boo-hoo go work out instead of sitting on your fat ass in front of the computer all the time. Your husband cheated on you and you married him anyway. You're writing sucks and no one is ever going to publish it. You are really pathetic. I don't know if all these people just feel sorry for you or what but you are just a loser.

All your stupid minions will probably attack me now. I've seen them do it to others who have dared to say the truth about you. But I don't care. I'm the only one who will say the truth."
I hesitate to even repeat it here because it makes me physically ill. It makes me want to cry. It was the 5th of the 38 comments. Many of the following comments condemned Anonymous. I was tempted, but I didn't feel like I could put my anger into words.

It's people like this that have maimed our society. People who judge others, who believe that some are better than others, who don't have the manners to keep it to themselves. It's people like Anonymous who make me so self-conscious that sometimes I struggle going to the grocery store. The reason I don't swim anymore, even though water is one of my greatest joys. The reason I walk through a public building, wishing I were invisible.

I don't feel that way all the time, of course, but I do feel that way sometimes. I'm sure That Chick does too. That's why this comment causes me so much pain. Even though I know Anonymous is one giant jerk-face, it hurts me. I know it hurt That Chick, and that hurts me too. So here's my response.

Dear Anonymous,

It must be nice to be anonymous. You can say anything you want to anyone, with no repercussions. It says a lot about you. Mostly, that you're enough of a bitch to be cruel, but too much of a pansy to do it with a name.

If there is anyone in the blogosphere that's really pathetic, it's you. A person who feels the need to put down another person; one you've never even met.

What makes you like this? I'm trying not to be a hypocrite here; I'm trying not to judge you the way you've judged others. But really. What kind of person anonymously attacks someone who has just opened herself up? Do you think this makes you some kind of hero? That it makes you better than someone else?

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Telling the "truth", as you call it, isn't a virtue. The virtue comes in accepting people for who they are, and realizing their value and human beings.

Here's another secret. You are a pathetic excuse for a human being. You are everything that is wrong with society. You are contemptible, revolting, loathsome, foul, vile, despicable, hateful and putrid.

Someday, your cruelty will come back to haunt you. Someday, your life will not be so perfect. You will struggle, agonize, and wish for someone to comfort you. And there will be no one there. You will have brought the pain upon yourself, because you do not deserve sympathy or assistance.

Have fun rotting in hell.

Love,
ekbetsy

Harsh? Perhaps. I'm not known for my kindness when I lose my temper. In fact, it takes an awful lot to get me that angry. I don't apologize. My other regret is that I don't know Anonymous better, so that I could take shots that would hit closer to home.

Dear That Chick,

Don't let the bastards get you down. No one defines your worth except you. You have accomplished goals, worked for what you have. You fight against your weaknesses, rather than giving in to them. And that makes you a better person than many.

I don't know you, although I wish I did. But I know that you have plenty to be proud of, and that you don't deserve such hateful cruelty. I'm sorry that it happened. I wish I could undo it, but I can't. The best I can do is tell you, and anyone else that it's not okay, and do my best to keep if from happening to anyone else.

XOXO,
ekbetsy

I don't understand cruelty. I wish I could make it stop. How much better would our world be if people would only have respect for one another? But all I can do it refuse to be cruel myself, and encourage others to do the same.

Oh, and Anonymous? If you have anything to say to me, at least have the guts to put your name on it, you disgusting weasel.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Good News and Good Friends (and the Fetal position)

I told you I would get to this post!

Here's my good news: I found a new job! It all happened rather suddenly, but I'm really excited about it. It's in the printing industry, and I think it will be something I really enjoy.

Here's the deal about good friends: I have so many of them! I'm so blessed. I got kinda screwed by a "friend" in college, and I've been a little more hesitant in making new friends because of it. Recently, though, my real friends have shown just how great they are. One friend, C, dropped everything and rushed over when the whole work fiasco went down. F has been friend helping my find a place to live (I'm actually moving into her house since she's moving to Alaska.) But the most generous gesture was made by an old friend, J. (Not you, JAE. This is a different J). J and I were the best of friends growing up. We went through a lot together. We went to different colleges, though, and we grew apart. It wasn't that we didn't care about each other, we just didn't make the effort to stay in touch. I didn't even get to go to her wedding (I was in New Zealand). Well, J and her husband and baby recently moved back to Western Colorado. When I told her I got a job and was moving to the same town, she selflessly offered to let me live with them. Rent free. Twice. I am still in awe and her generousity. It reminds me why good friends are good to have.

Things have really fallen into place, which is part of how I know this is the right move for me. I applied for a bunch of jobs and got the one I really wanted. I was able to find a perfect place in a great neighborhood for reasonable rent where I can have my dog. I have a place to stay the night before I move in, so I don't have to commute as much. I bought F's furniture for a steal, and since I'm moving into her house, we don't even have to move it!

I'm really excited for this new beginning. I never thought I would come back home, certainly never intended to stay for as long as I have; but I see know that I needed this time to re-center myself. I sort of forgot myself there for a while; who I am, what's important to me. I've been able to refocus on those things over the past year, and I feel ready to go back out into the world.

Honestly, though, I'm also freaked. Like, crawl under the covers in the fetal position and rock while calling for my mommy freaked. The last time I went out into the world, it was a total failure. Granted, I'm a lot closer to home this time, but I've never been good with change. Frankly, it scares the hell out of me. I know it's the right thing, that it's part of God's plan for me, but one thing I've learned is that just because it's what God wants you to do doesn't mean it's going to be fun.

So. To recap: New job, new place, half excited, half terrified.

Wish me luck! I'm going to go try to get my heart rate back to normal. "Everything will be fine, everything will be fine." Oh, don't mind me. Just giving myself a little pep talk. I'll be here if you need me. I'm the one rocking back and forth, muttering to herself.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Good News and Good Friends . . . Whoops, just kidding.

I've been planning this blog post in my head most of the day, but for some reason, I just don't have the oomph to write it. Which is weird, because it's gonna be a good one. Stay tuned.

So, in lieu (I love that word) of good news . . .

Things I Did Today to Avoid Work:

Don't get me wrong, I worked too. Just not as hard as I could have. But hey, I'm not going to be here much longer anyway (Oooh, mysterious! Guess you'll just have to come back for the big reveal!).

And to my dad, who (whom?) I know lurks on this blog (that means reading without commenting, Daddy), just remember, I was working really hard before it all went to hell.

Gotta go, people. Things to do, solitaire to play.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

102 Things You Never Needed to Know About Me

When I first started blogging regularly, I saw several "100 Things" posts. I like them because I think they give a great insight to the author. A while ago I decided that I would do "100 Things About Me" for my 100th post. When the time came, though, I wanted to blog about my birthday instead. So now, for my 102nd post,

102 Things About Me!

1. I'm the youngest of seven children by seven years. My oldest sibling is 20 years older than me.

2. I graduated from BYU with a degree in Recreation Management and Youth Leadership. It's pretty much useless.

3. I had the funnest major on campus.

4. I have several pet peeves when it comes to driving: People who don't use their blinkers, people who leave their blinkers on, and people who stop when there's no stop sign.

5. Top five musical artists: Mae, Norah Jones, KT Tunstall, Sherwood, Death Cab for Cutie.

6. I also like Hilary Duff. It's my hidden shame.

7. My very favorite movie is Under the Tuscan Sun.

8. Someday when we're rich, my best friend and I are going to take year long trip around the world. We'll hit Australia, New Zealand, Bali, Thailand, Italy, Belgium, Prague, London, Ireland and the Caribbean. I think that's everywhere.

9. I have a dog named Sadie. I think she's a boxer-border collie mix, but I'm not sure. I got her a Wal-mart.

10. I currently live with my parents. Don't judge me. I save a lot of money.

11. I work for an animal health store. I know nothing about animal health. I do, however, know about business, and I'm learning the other stuff.

12. My dad owns the business.

13. I would love to write a book someday.

14. I would also love to work in publishing (I'd like to be an editor), but I don't want to live in the city.

15. I studied abroad for a semester in New Zealand. It was the most amazing experience of my life.

16. My biggest regret is not spending more time with my grandmother before she passed away from breast cancer. I was only eight, and it scared me to see her so sick. Still, I've regretted it since the day she died.

17. If I believed in hell (which I don't, really), I'm positive that it would be Junior High. For eternity.

18. I believe that we make our own hell.

19. I believe in ghosts.

20. I think I believe in psychics. Not necessarily the tarot-reading, crystal ball kind, but I believe that some people see and sense things the rest of us don't.

21. My mom has told me stories about my great-grandmother, who used to meet with a group of people and try to move buttons with their minds.

21. I really miss college.

22. I'm a country girl, all the way. Well, as in, I like the country and I don't like the city. Not as in, I know how to artificially inseminate a cow.

23. I'm in love with David Cook from American Idol.

24. I've been para-sailing.

25. I can touch my toes to the top of my foot. I was 12 before I found out not everyone could do it.

26. My wisdom teeth came in when I was 15.

27. I still have my wisdom teeth.

28. I have four nieces and three nephews, and I'm totally crazy about them.

29. I can read a book in a day. It's not uncommon for me to read two in a weekend.

30. Some of my favorite authors: Jennifer Crusie, Madeline L'Engle and Jayne Ann Krentz.

31. I love books, but I'm not wild about "literature." I can appreciate it, but it's not my first choice. I'm all about cheesy commercial fiction.

32. In September, I'm going to the National Book Festival in Washington D.C., and I. Am. So. Excited.

33. I love love love road trips. I think it came from my parents and I always driving whenever we went on a trip. I learned so much on those trips.

34. I have an excellent sense of direction, and once I've been to a place, I can almost always get back.

35. I love the idea that there are myths that are true. Have you seen National Treasure? I wish that was real.

36. I was 22 the first time I was stung by a bee.

37. I've been to Disneyland 4 times. My favorite ride is Space Mountain.

38. The snake on the Indiana Jones ride? Scares the bejesus out of me.

39. I'm really afraid of snakes. I've tried to be tough about it, but I just. don't. like. them.

40. There is a drive-in in my hometown, and I love it. I go as often as possible.

41. I lived in Arizona for a year, and I almost roasted alive.

42. The backyard of the house I grew up it was, and still is, my favorite place in the world.

43. Growing up, my dad used to take me camping and fishing for my birthday every year.

44. I also went to a church camp every summer, and I was always annoyed by the girls who were all, "Eww, I'm dirty!" Duh. That's what happens when you sleep outside.

45. Words like "gonads" and "sperm" still make me giggle.

46. I got picked on a lot in junior high.

47. My favorite teacher of all time was Mr. Hypio. He taught 8th grade English and Science, and I totally adored him.

48. I never moved a single time before I was 18.

49. I've moved 11 times in the last 6 years.

50. I hate moving.

51. I'm starting a new job in 2 weeks.

52. Which means I'm going to be moving again.

Whew. Halfway there. This is harder than it looks!

53. I am terrible at standing up for myself. I'm great in my head, but in real life, not so much.

54. Sometimes watching chick flicks makes me sad.

55. I love Grey's Anatomy. My BFF and I talk about the characters like they're real people.

56. I also really like Private Practice, Eli Stone, Bones, NCIS, Ugly Betty, According to Jim . . .

57. I like TV. Can you tell?

58. It annoys me when people talk about people who like TV like they're lazy. I don't like TV because I'm lazy. I like it because I like stories.

59. I'm kinda lazy.

60. As the youngest child, I'm kinda spoiled. I'll admit it, but if anyone in my family says so, it makes me cry.

61. I've always wanted red hair.

62. I'm a sucker for boys with dark hair and blue eyes.

63. I'm not all that good with kids. I never had any little sibs, and I didn't do much baby-sitting. I want to be one of those people that just loves kids, but I don't really get them. They're just so small. And loud. And little.

64. I'm a big fan of musical theatre.

65. I was in a production of Evita my senior year of high school. I was a "Woman of Argentina."

66. I saw The Phantom of the Opera in London. Because I'll all cool and sophisticated like that.

67. The women in my family are the most amazing people I know. You might think I'm biased, but really. They're incredible.

68. I like trashy romance novels (well, tastefully trashy).

69. I'm kind of anal about proper word usage. I have to work really hard not constantly correct people's pronunciation or tell them they're using a word wrong.

70. I love Scrabble.

71. Scrabble is one of the only games I can beat my mother at.

72. My mom kicks my trash at checkers. Every time.

73. I like office supply stores better than clothing stores. But not better than shoe stores.

74. When I'm upset, I can go to a bookstore and just the smell calms me down.

75. I'm a totally different person now that I thought I would be five years ago.

76. I had a roommate in college who stabbed me in the back in the worst way, and I've never quite gotten over it.

77. I loved my time at BYU, but sometimes I wish I had gone somewhere else, just so that I didn't have to say I went to BYU. People who didn't go to BYU sometimes judge people who did.

78. I'm addicted to Daveto's, a restaurant in my town. I wonder if there's some kind of support group for that?

79. I love giving presents. I get a huge kick out of finding just the right gift.

80. I cannot draw to save my life. Even my stick figures are bad.

81. I quit piano lessons after about a year. I so wish that I had stuck with it.

82. Because students at BYU are required to live in approved apartments, all of which are furnished, I'm 24 and I don't own a single stick of furniture.

83. I'm pretty sure I've lived in a haunted house.

84. My favorite color is yellow, although I kind of just stick with that so I have something to say. I really like all colors.

85. I can't watch scary movies, because I'm a big wuss. I watched most of The Sixth Sense with my eyes closed, and it's not even very scary.

86. I watched part of IT when I was five or six. I didn't make it through. You know what got me? Fortune cookies turning into killer crabs.

87. I really want to learn how to quilt.

88. I crocheted a blanket for my brother one Christmas, and it got a little out of hand. I started it mid-October, and finally finished it at 3:00am Christmas morning.

89. I was in Sunshine Generation.

90. I snore. Loudly.

91. I love the water.

92. The first boy I made a fool of myself for was named Andrew. I was 14.

93. The last boy I made a fool of myself for was named Rob. I was 21. See item #77.

94. I really, really, really hope I'm over my "making a fool out of myself for a boy" phase.

95. Fish give me the creeps.

96. When I was a little girl, I would start snowball fights with my mom, and then she would pelt me with snowballs until I fell over laughing.

97. Someday I want to get a breast reduction.

98. The only spaghetti sauce I like is the one my mom makes. Otherwise I eat spaghetti plain.

99. I don't like milk on most cereals.

100. I'm addicted to Otter Pops.

101. With the exception of mascara (because mascara is the same everywhere) I wear exclusively MAC makeup on my eyes.

102. I have almost perfectly straight teeth, and I never had braces.

Whew! I did it! It was a lot harder to write than I expected. Hopefully it wasn't as hard for you to read. If you read all 102, congratulations! You now no more random things about me than you ever needed to. Don't you feel lucky?


Monday, July 21, 2008

Hello, Internets. Did you miss me?

Hooray!!

I finally have the internet at home again! You probably just thought I was neglecting you. Silly.

Moving created some problems for me, internet wise. First, my wireless card shriveled up and died. No problem, I thought. This new house has hookups all over! Mmm-hmm. Have you heard about how this new house is a disaster? Well, that's a story for another time, but for example; the cat 5 hookups that were supposed to be installed in the floors? NOT CAT 5. Regular telephone hookups.

Once I got a new wireless card, I discovered that I couldn't log onto the network because there is one of those fancy passkeys. I'm sure it's written down somewhere, but I dare you to find it in my Dad's office. If you go, you might want to take a sandwich and a compass, because it might be a while before you get out again.

Finally, in my infinite genius, I managed to hook MY wireless router into the original one, and BADDA-BING-BADDA-BOOM, I'm back in business!

I'm so excited. No more trying to get my hits of blogginess in between tasks at work. No staying late to write. I'm reading blogs from my bed. Yay!

Okay, here are a couple of things you should know:

I had a great interview for a new job this weekend. It went really well, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they offer it to me. It's perfect - full time but no overtime, no weekends, 8 - 5, decent pay, benefits after 6 months. Plus, it's in an industry that has always interested me, the people seemed great, and there are dogs in the office. Could it get any better? Keep your fingers crossed with me, okay? I need all the good vibes I can get.

Also, this is my 101st post. For my 100th post I was going to do something special, but I wanted to write about David Cook! And my return to the Internet! So I'll be doing something special for my 102nd post. I think. Maybe 103. But either way, keep yourself posted, because fun is coming your way!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

I just returned the from best birthday adventure EVER!

Oh, you'd like to hear all about it? Well, sure, I'd love to share it with you.

Saturday morning, I took off for Utah, where I was going to spend my birthday with my great friend Jessie and her husband Jason. Aren't they cute? Don't they just look like so much fun?

I have to tell you, I had the best birthday. First, Jessie and I went to this great (and cheap) little place for pedicures. They did the whole deal - soaking, conditioning, trimming the cuticles, even a paraffin dip. The pedicurist even managed to scrape the calluses off my poor heels, which were starting to look like hooves.


I chose a pretty reddish-pink color for my toes.



Don't they look nice? I even sprung the extra couple of bucks for a flower.



In this close-up of my big toe, you can see said flower, as well as the dry skin that is screaming out for foot cream. Sorry.

After the pedicures, we went to my very favorite Utah restaurant, Cafe Rio. This was particularly nice of Jessie, since she doesn't actually like Cafe Rio. True friends go to restaurants they hate for their BFF's.

After lunch, we spent the afternoon kicking it at Jessie's parents pool. I swam without self-consciousness, laid in the sun, laughed at the SPF 8 sunscreen (SPF 8! Ha!) and got a little sunburned. It was bliss.



The next day we went back to the pool in the morning, where I applied sunscreen but still came out a little crispier than I would like. Ah well, pink is better that pasty white, right?

That evening was the main event, the American Idols Live Concert! Yes, I'm that much of a dork, and I'm not even ashamed of it. This concert rocked!

It was held at the E Center in Salt Lake, and it was packed!






Jessie and I were discussing the amount of people, and her dad said, "Pshaw! This would never hold a Rolling Stones concert!"

The concert was amazing! It started from 10 and worked up through the top ten Idols. When Chikezie came onstage, my first thought was, "Wow, he's a real person!" We had amazing seats too.

Here's Syesha - she was great, if a little scantily clad. But heck, if my boobs and legs looked that great, I'd probably show them off too.



And look! It's Micheal Johns in real life! He was probably my second favorite of all the performers. He had the crowd all worked up, too.



Oh, but wait for it! Here he is! The love of my life! The main reason I went to the concert - David Cook! Ohmigosh! I was like thisclose to him!! Of course he stuck his arm out right as I snapped the picture, but that's okay because his face is safe and secure in my mind. Do I sound like a stalker? Because I'm not, I swear. Perfectly normal celebrity crush. Really.

And here's a random picture of an arm. I don't know when this was taken. Probably as I tried frantically to get another picture of David after having lost all train of thought when he was so close.

After the killer concert, we drove home and I slept peacefully despite the ringing in my ears, and dreamt of singing, red carpets and David Cook.
The next day I drove home. It's about a five hour drive, but who cares when you get to look at scenery like this?


Seriously, I love my home. It's the best.
You may have noticed that there are no pictures of me on my birthday. Well, I took some, but not a single one turned out well. So here I am today - do I look older now that I'm 24? Not looking my best for sure. No makeup, hair pulled back, in desperate need of a bang trim. At least I only have one chin.

Happy my Birthday!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

SPLAT!

Have you ever had the experience things just going all to hell? One minute things are great, life is good, and you're happy. The next minute, SPLAT! You've hit a wall. Probably one covered with mirrors, reflecting back the fact that your oh-so-perfect life is not so perfect.

I really hate SPLAT!s.

I had one recently. It's a big part of why I haven't been blogging. Remember the nasty Co-Worker? Well, when she quit, I found myself taking on a lot of extra responsibility. First it was just trying to divide her tasks so that everything got done. Then we hired a new person, and it was up to me to train her. On top of everything else I was doing. Putting in nine to ten hour days was the norm. I was okay with it, though. I felt useful, like I was really doing my best job; I was happy with life.

Then one day, my dad (aka THE BOSS) called me at the store.

"I hear you're being a terd. Knock it off!"

"What? I'm not being a terd! Who told you that?" At this point, I actually thought he was joking.

"Don't you defend yourself! I just got a call saying that you were being a brat and it's just like having The Redhead around again!"

It was at this point that I realized this wasn't a joke. One of my co-workers had actually called my father to tattle, rather than coming to me with a problem. I knew who it was, but I asked anyway. The response? "Everyone feels that way."

I was devastated. I felt (still feel, acutally) betrayed, unappreciated and confused. I had spent the last few weeks working like a maniac, making sure the place still ran. I was in the midst of what turned out to be a 12-hour-day. Worst, I had no clue as to what had gone wrong. I thought my co-workers were my friends. At least, I thought we were friendly. I had no indication whatsoever that they were the least bit unhappy with me.

What am I, psychic? Because if you don't tell me something is wrong, I can't fix it!

I'm still not sure which is worse - that they were all complaining about me behind my back or that instead of talking to me, they went to my dad. I can't help wondering what the heck I'm doing, living at home and working for my dad anyway.

I never intended to stay here long term, you know.

I've been here for a year, and even that's longer than I meant it to be. I ended up here because I was unhappy in Arizona, and I was getting ready to move back to Colorado. I was going to come home, live with the 'rents for a few weeks until I found myself a job and a house, then start my life over. I ended up living at home and working for my dad because he called me and said, "I need you to go home and work at the store. They're desperate for help." I thought, Really? He needs me? and I packed my car and left that week.

I've been thinking about moving on for a while now, but I never really did anything about it because I was happy where I was. In my prayers, I had said, "Okay, God, I know I'm supposed to move, so you just let me know when." This whole ordeal happened a couple days later. Hello, sign.

While betrayal wasn't my first choice as far as answers to prayers go, I'm starting to see the wisdom of it. Change is scary for me. It's scary for everyone to some extent, but it's hyperventilate, hide in the closet scary for me. Making a big change in my life takes a lot of courage for me, and that's something I seem to be in rather short supply of. However, now I'm just pissed.

Have you ever noticed how anger is a rather consuming emotion? It's kind of like pot. Unbridled and in large doses, it's dangerous; but in the right circumstances (like for cancer patients) it's acutally helpful. For me, the anger and betrayal is giving me the motivation to push beyond the fear.

So now I'm back where I was a year ago - unhappy, looking for a job and a place to live. Only now I have to find a place to live with a dog. I'm filling out applications, faxing resumes, making contacts; all the while thinking, Hmm. This all feels rather familiar.

And the kicker is, I'm terrified. Yeah, the anger is keeping me from just giving up, but it's definitly not getting rid of the fear altogether. New situations can be such a risk for me because of my depression. If they don't go well, it's not just a crappy situation that I have to endure for a while. It's hide-in-my-bed-can't-get-up-for-a-month-want-to-die, and I'm just not sure I can do that again.

I keep telling myself that having faith and courage doesn't mean that you're not scared. It just means that you keep pushing through. Sometimes I buy it; usually not.

But for now, I'm stuck at my old job, feeling like everyone here hates me. I know that probably not true, and I know it's my attitude making things uncomfortable for me, but it's awfully hard to pretend everything is okay around a bunch of backstabbing, immature liars! Ah. See, the anger has reemerged.

I'm still stunned from the impact. I'm seeing stars and rubbing my forehead, thinking "Where the hell did that wall come from?!?"

I so didn't see this coming.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Birthday, America!

Look, I'm back! Did you miss me? We'll go into the reasons for my extended absence later. Today, I want to write about something else.

Happy Independence Day!



In honor of this, one of my favorite holidays, I'm stealing Jessie's 10 loves idea again.

10 Reasons Why I Love America

1. Freedom of religion. As a member of a religion that has been persecuted in the past, I am constantly grateful to live in a country where I, and others, are allowed to worship God as we see fit.

2. Upward (or downward) mobility. For centuries, and in many countries today, people were stuck in the class they were born in. If you were born a serf, you were never going to be a knight (was that a mixed metaphor?). Not in America. You can be born in the ghetto and grow up to be a millionaire.

3. Technology. Can you believe that there are still places with no running water? No flush toilets? Much less infrastructure, cars, cell phones or internet. I think we forget how blessed we are. I know I do.

4. Democracy. Sure, it has it's flaws (like lying politicians and year long campaigns), but it's miles ahead of tyranny, communism, monarchy, or dictatorship. We have options. Isn't that great?

5. Compassion. It's screwed up in a lot of ways, but one thing our country has going for it - we don't let our fellow countrymen suffer unnecessarily. You can see the evidence in Katrina, the flooding in the Midwest, the tornadoes nationwide. If someone is in trouble, we do what we can to help. That makes me proud.

6. Freedom of Speech. This goes along with democracy and freedom of religion, but there are still lots of places in the world were criticizing your leaders is simply not allowed. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to express my opinion, even if it is stupid.

7. Freedom of the Press. I know, I know, it's freedom of speech, but I'm grateful for it for different reasons, okay? We hear lots of complaints about how the press is corrupt, or leans one way or the other, but we're lucky to have a press that is semi-objective. Look at some of the corruption in government that the press has uncovered (Watergate, anyone?). The founding fathers intended the press to be the 4th branch of government; a watch-dog of sorts. What amazing foresight.

8. Variety and Diversity. I love that you can drive across America and see completely different climates, landscapes and cultures. We're all so different, but we can always come together when we need to.

9. The Armed Forces. I know that most countries have some sort of armed forces, but I have great love and respect for ours. I'm grateful that there are men and women who are willing to stand on the front lines to protect my right, and your right, to live in a free land. Maybe they're not all in combat, but they would all be willing to die for their country, and I'm eternally filled with awe and gratitude for that. Whether you respect the cause or not, you've gotta respect the bravery of those men and women.

10. The American Dream. Maybe it's not now what it was in the 1950's, but America is still a place where you can make your life what you want it to be. It's not easy, but it was never supposed to be. It's a blessing and a privilege to live in a nation where you can make yourself into whomever you'd like. It's why people keep coming here. Whether it's a white picket fence with a dog and 2.5 kids or a condo in the city with a Jag parked out front; if your willing to work for it, you can get it here.

So lets hear it! Three cheers for the good ole' US of A! Hip, hip . . . HOORAY! Hip, hip . . . HOORAY! Hip, hip . . . HOORAY!

Oh, one more thing. Did you know that there are actually three verses to The Star-Spangled Banner? Yep, it's true. Here are verses two and three:

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream;
And the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh, thus be it ever, when free men shall stand
Between their loves home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
The conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust!"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!