A hard weekend to follow

So, as I am wont to do, I shall provide here a list of highlights – these being from the March 2008 New York City Adventure Weekend (which RULED):

Friday: Fung Wah with TTJ. Seats alarmingly close to toilet actually not all that bad. Delightful topics of conversation including U.S. military spending (was proved wrong; lucky TTJ not boastful I-told-you-so sort [unlike his tripmate]).

Friday night: Spamalot with TTJ via late birthday-present tickets (thanks, J?B)! Worshipped (yes, really) (reasons not yet definitively ascertained) by astonishingly inebriated young man at otherwise entirely respectable event.* (Like, whoa.) (Am going to deepest, hottest circle of hell for shortly thereafter suggesting to astonishingly inebriated young man that he join the limbo line, which he did…)

Saturday afternoon: Was first read and then (after facetious suggestion that he memorize the poem during our lunch) recited Shakespearean poem “Who is Silvia?” from Two Gentlemen of Verona by incredibly cheerful and totally hot creperie waiter. (Like, whoa.) Potentially delicate conversation with semi-rabid Yankees fan. Fun stroll through Central Park complete with brief stop so J?B could use laptop and wireless Internet to check/send e-mail about very important event (thought those things happened only in movies; way cool when they happen in real life). Pictures of TTJ practicing mad rock-climbing skillz on Central Park architecture. Long stroll through Met with TTJ included slight overdose on stark somber Dutch portrait and tortured medieval art rooms (depressing) before escape to eighteenth-century-and-later European paintings and stained glass (invigorating).

Saturday night: Totally whacked, totally atmospheric Indian not-quite-boxcar-size restaurant festooned (FESTOONED) with lights (strands of soccer balls, variegated and white Christmas lights, jalapeños, disco balls) for incredibly good incredibly cheap food. (Solved Mystery of Invisible Vegetable Biryani Raisins for TTJ by pointing out raisins not always almost black.) Midnight run/stroll across Brooklyn Bridge in time to see Empire State Building lights extinguished but too late for Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory spoils (actually OK as 34-degree temperature not particularly conducive to ice cream enjoyment). Impromptu 1:00 AM boardwalk swing dancing result of brilliant (BRILLIANT) idea by J?B and accompanying laptop jukebox (YouTube footage to come). 1:30 AM stroll back across Brooklyn Bridge accompanied by a cappella rendition of “We Are the Champions” chorus en route to hot chocolate and pastries courtesy of all-nite Dunkin Donuts (huzzah for City that Never Sleeps!).

Sunday: Fond farewell to belovéd J?B (NYC hostess and guidess extraordinaire!) until next meeting. Efforts to be respectable churchgoers assisted by extraordinary public transit luck but ultimately thwarted by unsuspected Columbus Ave building renovations (infiltrated Catholic mass instead). Attempt to find Fung Wah bus departure point successful after brief impromptu mini-tour of Chinatown and environs. Safe return to Boston followed by blissful reunification with roommates.

Moral of weekend: Want to be more like TTJ and J?B. Unfortunately am mere mortal. Shall keep trying.

*I actually declined his first entreaty, advising him to donate to a charity in my name. However, after multiple subsequent and drunken “Can I worship you? Pleeease?” petitions (his, not mine), I eventually acquiesced (what else could I do?), which led to a somewhat surreal scene involving an astonishingly inebriated young man first kneeling and then kissing my shoe.

Life. The Anti-Serious.

I’ve been reading back over the past few entries, and I feel like I’ve been very serious lately. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with seriousness, especially if one is watching eastern European films, where happy endings are outside the cultural capacity. But for the sake of levity in postings, I’ll relate some of the delightful things that have happened this week:

Monday: Long walk along glorious Charles River with one of my favorite people, golden late-afternoon sun shining breathtakingly on water and buildings. (Golden late-afternoon sun not, however, warming anything. Thanks to TTJ for dressing in multiple layers and offering me one of them!) Lots of “I-can’t-believe-I-live-here” moments; lots of Brownian thoughts (God’s in His heaven/All’s right with the world).

Tuesday: Witnessed TTJ’s official Dance of Joy not once but TWICE. (Awesome.) Successful crow pose held a short while (big deal).

Wednesday: Second No Sugar day survived by means of grit, willpower, and one peanut butter sandwich. Long (fairly) and delightful (completely) talk with someone already on list of favorite people (now closer to top).

Thursday: Successful crow pose held long time (very big deal)! (LOVE yoga. Easiest for persons with no bones but still very enjoyable for mortals.) Serious red meat craving alleviated via impromptu successful Spikeburger quest. Joyful discovery that former Davis Square coffeehouse is now a creperie!

Friday/weekend: Hasn’t happened yet (obviously), but will include trip to New York City (gooooooo Fung Wah!) with TTJ to hang out with J?B, play, have Cultural Experiences, and potentially meet potential links to potential clients for potential essay/free-lance editing bidness.*

A pretty typical week, all in all. Mine is a fairly mundane existence but it has its beautiful moments. Lots of them, in fact. I have a goal to focus more on these both in my thinking and in my online journal writing – we’ll see how I do.

*Many of you know I edit college/graduate school/law school/business school application essays. Some very exciting developments (and wonderful friends who apparently have lots of confidence in me) have lately led this risk-averse diametrical-opposite-of-an-entrepreneur to consider the formerly un- and perhaps even anti-considered. Divinity seems to be at work here. Stay tuned – more to come.

Chain overreactions

Not long ago I realized that I should never allow myself to act within approximately 24 hours of receiving news, whether that be good news or bad. I don’t deal well with surprises or stress and am prone to impulsiveness in the best of situations; un-glad tidings, even only somewhat un-glad, tend to engender intense negative reactions that take a variety of freak-out forms. To make matters worse, when I’m acting under the influence of a surprise I’m absolutely convinced I’m being completely rational, even (and maybe especially) when I’m being the diametrical opposite thereof.

I’m glad that I learned that about myself earlier. It came in handy this evening, when an initial reaction to a situation was one of hurt and pre-defensive anger (note: anger is always a secondary emotion with me; it’s pain or fear that I don’t want to face, so I turn it outward). With just a little more information, though, my entire outlook on the situation radically changed – leaving me very, very grateful that I was for once able to remain quiet when the event occurred. I could have really hurt someone whom I love dearly and whose motives and actions are, thank goodness, much more ingenuous than mine. (I would like to be more like this person when I grow up. Perhaps I should actually tell her that.)

So, step one seems to be recognizing the problem. Step two is managing to keep myself from acting on the impulses I feel during the initial shock. I would like for step three to be avoiding the huge overreaction in the first place; I wonder if such a huge change could take place without some kind of cerebral transplant?


I’m not eating sugar today.

Or tomorrow. Or Thursday.

There, I’ve posted it. Now I’ll have to stick to my resolution, despite the Desk Drawer of Temptation, which is both well within reach and full of European confections. (Until yesterday it also contained Easter candy, but that’s all gone now. Hence today’s resolution.)

One… day… at… a… time…

(update: early Tuesday evening)

Whoa. I had no idea how many times a day I normally dip into my little Desk Drawer of Temptation until I made a conscious choice to stop doing it. To warm myself up, which I usually do via hot chocolate, I had to put on a sweater and run up and down the stairs a few times. And to stave off hunger, I’ve had to actually…

Make myself real food.*

Like, a whole sandwich and everything.

*In all honesty, I do quite enjoy cooking. I made a big potful of split pea soup yesterday, and had a wonderfully barbaric time stripping the hambone with my bare hands. (YARRR. Gorth eat big big meat! Tear much foods!) I just rarely make the time for cooking because it’s so much easier to grab a handful of peanut butter M&Ms to assuage those little hunger pangs. (One may think that a life that’s too busy for essentials like feeding oneself is a life that’s just too busy. One would have a point. Perhaps one should look into time management training for friends who are too preoccupied to do it themselves.)

Personal revelation

The following is an excerpt from an e-mail I sent to a friend today.

As I mentioned, I’ve been thinking about our discussion of personal revelation (I’ve included another friend in this message since you said that you and he have the same basic modus operandi). You said that your normal procedure is to examine a problem from every possible angle, decide upon the solution that seems to make the most sense, pray, maybe but certainly not always receive a confirmation that you’ve made the right decision, and then move forward with that decision, while J?B and I seem to have a more efficient insta-revelatory method. I admit that I do receive answers to questions/problems in this way, maybe even frequently, and I love it when that happens. But I’ve found that, as a rule, God uses this method only when the answer or idea is something I wouldn’t or couldn’t have thought of on my own. Generally, I study questions to death and beyond, trying to find the best answer (and worried that I’m going to get it wrong – but that’s a whole nuther subject); when I think I’ve made a decision, I ask God about it, and then, like you, move forward even if I don’t feel I’ve received a clear confirmation (following D&C 9:7 and 58:26). Sometimes when I’m weighing the options I can see, God sends me an entirely new option – one, again, that I would never have thought of myself. In other situations, God has to intervene because I’m ignoring all signs that I’m heading down the wrong path – as when last year He told me very clearly what my ideal weight was (I was not at all happy about that at first). And then, sometimes God sends me ideas completely out of the blue – for example, that I should move to Germany for a few months. In all of these cases, whatever He’s telling me to do is really important, so He has to do some prompting to make sure I get it. You’re probably very good at figuring out what God wants, so He doesn’t have to supply creativity in your case. 🙂

All this brings up the completely valid question of how I know whether a prompting comes from God or from my own sometimes overexcited imagination. The clearest indication that it’s from God is, again, that it’s something I wouldn’t have thought of myself. There’s also an indescribable but unmistakable feeling that accompanies most of these revelations. In the absence of unprecedented creative genius or obvious emotional response, though, I just have to apply the Ether 4:12/Moroni 7:13 litmus test – if it’s something good, that will make someone else happy, or at the very least won’t hurt anyone, then I figure I might as well do it.

End of e-mail excerpt. Beginning, I hope, of discussion.

Repeated history

So when I was in first grade, Mrs. Lemon* would always write 6 – 8 assignments on the board before school. The assignments for each day were designed to take the entire school day, and we could work at our own pace.

Some days, I had every single one of the assignments done before morning recess, and spent the rest of the day happily writing poems at my desk and leaning back in my chair (something I never thought of doing until we were told not to) (once I fell over).

Some days, I was still frantically trying to complete my work when the class was lined up to go home.

A few years ago, when I was working a copy editor, some days I’d get through 10,000 words. Other days I’d get through 50,000.

I haven’t yet ascertained the cause of this somewhat alarming disparity. I’ve only noticed that it continues, literally to this day. Monday I was astonishingly productive and got a lot done. Yesterday and today… Not so much. I had less time on Monday to accomplish more things, and managed to take care of everything; the to-do list yesterday and today has contained precious little, yet even those few things remain on the list, unaccomplished and forsaken.

Would that I could somehow even out my productivity. Any ideas?

*Yes, this really was her name. My second grade teacher was Mrs. Fickle. My third grade teacher was Mrs. Candy.

Today’s studies

I’ve skipped ahead in my Book of Mormon prophet character studies to Abinadi, who I always think of as “my” prophet – maybe because the first talk I ever remember giving in Primary was about him. My mom told me about Abinadi, helped me write my talk (or, more likely, wrote it for me, since I don’t think I could write yet), and stood next to me while I read it in case I needed help. (I remember stopping a couple of times and asking her “What’s that word?” as I read, even though I knew what the word was – the other kids all did that, and I wanted to be like them. What a conformist I was!)

Apart from the childhood memory warm fuzzies, I like Abinadi because he’s kind of funny – he hides out for two years, then comes back in disguise, and then the first thing he does is… identify himself. Kind of defeats the purpose of the disguise, one would think. I really wonder why he did that, and what details are missing and/or what cultural knowledge is assumed (and thus not explicitly stated) that would make his actions more understandable to a 21st-century American reader. Someday I’ll have to ask him.


Shopping at Market Basket (with its myriad inconsiderate* customers who park their carts in the most inconvenient places possible, including across aisles)


+ lots to do

+ an NPR story about Kwame Kilpatrick (and his claim that the media has blown his case out of proportion and his blatant attempt to portray the charges against him as merely the product of racist persecution)

+ badly written articles (even though without these I would have no job)

+ hunger



*Suggestions that I may be similarly inconsiderate at times are not currently under consideration.

UPDATE 3/15: Thanks to the miracles of sustenance (in the form of frozen fried chicken!), a little rest, fantastic roommates who compassionately listened to my ranting (and were suitably incensed at the world’s injustices), a roommate who just freaking ACED the GMAT (goooooo J_H!!), and (most of all) some divine intervention, I’m feeling much, much better. Thank goodness God has both infinite patience and a sense of humor. 🙂

I’m SO it!

I’ve been tagged! How exciting – I always thought of being tagged as something that happened to real online journalists, and I never expected to be tagged meself. I shall do my best to live up to the responsibility that lies before me. Here goes:

10 years ago

March of 1998. I had two jobs, one as a nanny for the four children of Mack and Becky Wilberg and the other at JCPenney. I was also going to school full time at BYU. My two best friends each had six months left of their missions, so I was kind of lonesome. My brother visited for a week that month en route to the MTC, and he gave me a stuffed Eeyore (the Classic Pooh kind, not the Disney kind) that I still have.

5 things on today’s to-do list

Study the scriptures (I’ve just started doing character studies of Book of Mormon prophets – am currently on Lehi)/meditate/write in my journal
Fix C-t-P’s pajamas
Run 3 miles
Start working on my Easter dress
Go to an appointment in Harvard Square – hopefully I’ll also have time to stop by Cardullo’s (imported European food store) to see if they have the licorice mint candies I adore

Things I would do if I suddenly became a billionaire

Study local and global NGOs to see which needs are greatest and how I could use my newfound wealth most effectively. Start or work for a foundation to help microcredit institutions, build schools, develop sustainable agricultural techniques in famine-prone areas, and/or research more efficient and environmentally friendly energy options. Learn more about what I can do to convince the government to reduce military spending and increase funding for education and health care (see http://www.truemajorityaction.org for the famous Oreo cookie demonstration).

3 of my bad habits

I’m terrible about answering my phone or calling people back.
I drive way too fast (a habit I’m not particularly willing to overcome).
I frequently eat junk food (especially sugary junk food) late at night.

Places I have lived

These are covered in another post.

Jobs I have had

Also covered in that other post.

Things most people don’t know about me

I need a lot of sleep. A LOT. Like, 9-10 hours each night, and I don’t function well with less. It’s kind of embarrassing in this culture where those who need the least sleep are the most admired, but experience has proved that I am no Napoleon.

When I was 20, I had a crush on Leonardo DiCaprio. I’ve never had a crush on any other celebrity, but this was just after Romeo + Juliet came out, and holy cow is that boy beautiful in that movie. (Until he starts talking, that is. If he were silent, it would be perfect.)

Flying still makes me nervous. Just before every takeoff or landing, I’m reminded that the greatest chance for things to go wrong is during – takeoff and landing. I’m not really fond of turbulence either.

I almost always think of something else to add to a post as soon as I click Publish, so I then frantically try to edit the post before anyone reads it.

That’s it, I guess. Oddly enough, I think this is kind of a boring post – but oh well.

I tag: Joanne, Trent, and Meredith Stellers.

Social studies

So right after I started going to a new school in fourth grade, a kid I was talking to at recess said, in a very matter-of-fact tone, “You’ve probably figured out that nobody likes <girl>.”

I hadn’t, actually.

She seemed like a nice girl, and everyone seemed to be nice to her. There weren’t any obvious signs indicating her social standing – at least, that I could see. But then, I’ve always been pretty much socially oblivious; I generally don’t know people are even dating until they announce their engagement, and I’m always surprised to find that person X is friends with person Y (and that these groups of people actually get together and do stuff). If there’s a person that nobody likes, I usually have no clue. If there’s a person that everybody likes, I usually have no clue. During party postmortems or after church, when friends start talking about who was talking to/flirting with/standing entirely too close to/snubbing whom, I’m generally surprised to find out that any of these things were transpiring at all, much less right in front of me. Life in a singles ward is about as private as a fishbowl, but I’m still completely unaware of most of what’s going on socially. This astonishing cluelessness feels unusual to the point of downright odd.

It does have its benefits – I don’t get stuck listening to gossip (something I really, really, passionately hate), for example. And it provided a way to navigate those awkward wallflower years from ages 10 – 32 and counting; at some point in my excruciatingly shy teens or early 20s (a time when I referred to myself as a social maggot [I was no butterfly!]), I decided that trying to fit in was useless and I started pre-defensively just going off and doing my own thing, regardless of what everyone else was doing. But one reason I don’t notice what’s going on is that I still do this – and it’s still just as much a defense mechanism as ever. When I have to do what everyone else is doing, I start fretting over what I think/fear people think of me so much that I can’t really pay attention to anyone else.

But. Maybe if I overcame this self-absorption I’d not only start noticing social phenomena but also stop worrying so much about my own notoriety.