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!