Monday, December 31, 2007

The End of an Era

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Dear Crayola,

This is, of course, a difficult letter for me to write. It's been three days since we last saw each other, and the vision of your obvious dejection has been pulsing through my head since I drove off the dealership.

I wish that I could tell you that this decision was not about you, but dear Crayola, it was. For four years I stood by you while you were in and out of mechanic shops, sputtering and stalling on the street, and obstinantly refusing to go on. I was there, Cray, because we were in this together. But I just can't do it anymore.

I wanted to take some time after our split, figure out what I really wanted in a vehicle. But a shiny silver Solara came into my life unexpectedly, and I wasn't strong enough to say no. It breaks my heart that you had to watch us drive off together, but I hope that you would wish us the best, as I wish for you in your next 100,000 miles.

We must move on, Crayola, but I will never forget you and the times we had together. Just as my initial remains embroidered in your headrest, your memory will linger in my heart and inevitably in my credit card statements.

Take time, Crayola. Get healthy. Become what some high school junior has always dreamed of in a car. I leave you with a full heart, but hope you understand that there is only room in my life for one prima donna.

Love always,

Kristen

P.S. I hope this isn't salt in an open wound.... but look how pretty she is....



Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas: A Photo Essay

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Idaho winters are hard on everyone, especially Germans.


This is what happens when my brothers are told to shovel the driveway. Note the antenna, the only evidence that this snowdrift is actually Crayola, my friendly Jetta.



At ten in the morning the sleeping Radfords still had not discovered that Santa had visited.



Shortly after this picture was taken, Papa whined, "But the other kids are already outside trying THEIR new bicycles out!"

Kristen and Preston are still celebrating their firm appointment as
favorite children, due to this gift.


Photographic evidence that I'm a rock star in the mornings.



Papa wonders if Santa was telling the truth about how much he spent.

.

Marisa pauses mid-celebration to calculate the calories in this slice of Christmas orange.



And Aaron ponders why Christmas is hard when you're this good looking.




Kristen and Ashley celebrate their subtle vanity.



And to all, a good night.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Preparation for Separation

2 comments

I’ve been labeled fickle. Where I prefer a more euphemistic approach, with verbiage more along the lines of “impulsive” or “picky,” I can’t deny that my own impetuosity has seeped deeply into the neurotic happenings of my romantic life.

At this point, you might say things are over before they begin. Short of calling it quits over appetizers, I often feel the need for quick, clean and blameless breaks.

This is not always easy, my friends.

As vast as the assortment of men within a 40-mile radius of my house are the possibilities of break-up methods with the aforementioned gents. Allow me to share a few fail-proof methods.

The Fruit of a Loon:

It’s a bit like going to trial: be diplomatic, be fair, be sensitive. And when that doesn’t work, plead absolute insanity. In fact, many break-up obstacles can be avoided simply by allowing your neurosis to do the work.

“Darling, you were actually dating my other personality for the past few weeks. Due to her tragic suicide, I’m taking over and, well, things are going to be a bit different.”

Don’t Cry: Just Deny

So it’s time to cut things off. Problem: you’ve previously expressed affection to the unsuspecting lad. A simple solution, my friends: close your eyes grit your teeth and pretend it didn’t happen.

“When I said I love you I was actually just quoting a line in a movie I once saw. I apologize for the confusion. But I can loan you the DVD.”

It’s not you, but it sure as hell isn’t me.

Polish your PR skills; this tactic requires bad news to be delivered in the most flowery way imaginable.

“I hate to do this, sweetheart, and it has nothing to do with you. It’s entirely about me, and my inability to be with someone who is so sweet…even to the point of clingy. You’re so wonderfully devoted… though that got a bit pathetic. And I love how stable you are… even if it comes off as unadulterated boredom. I wish I could be better.”

A Charming Game of Chicken

Give him a challenge he never saw coming: “Break up with me before I break up with you.” This is perfect for those whose consciences can’t rock the three prior methods.

“I love our relationship. I love that we just get each other. I love how much fun we have. Oh, and I love that you’re okay with me dating so many other people. Oh my gosh, John did the funniest thing at dinner the other night….”

Happy Breaking.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

MY Grown-up Christmas List

5 comments

Dear readers,

It has come to my attention that many—if not all—of you have been torturing yourselves in the quest of finding me the perfect Christmas gift. And though your concerns have not been shared verbally, I can only deduce through body language and casual mannerism that this is a topic of utmost concern, no doubt darkening the shimmering days of the advent in needless worry.

"I know she usually just wants world peace, but I'm on a budget this year," you mumble as you thumb through stacks of cashmere sweaters.

"What do you get someone whose selflessness prohibits her form ever asking for anything?" The question numbs you, stopping you in your shopping tracks to question your prior method of gifting.

Say no more, dear friends, for this year, with humility coursing through my veins, I will shed my Mother Theresa-like disposition to offer some helpful suggestions. As I live a life of material self-deprivation (in order to give myself more fully to charity), it is quite difficult for me to generate a list of material goods. That said, here goes:

Subscription to J. Crew's "Shoe of the Month Club" (Yes, it's for real!)

One (1) digital camera (think of the blogs, my friends!)

One (1) green wool coat, Banana Republic, size Small

Four (4) tan seat covers, Volkswagen Jetta (2001)

One (1) black wool asymmetrical jacket, Ann Taylor, size 4

Fifteen (15) pounds macadamia nuts

One (1) Six-Carb cheesecake, Cheesecake Factory

An item of your choice from the Winter 2007 Tiffany catalog

One (1) weekend in New York City

Seasons 1-3 of Grey's Anatomy, DVD

One (1) 2008 BMW M5. Black.

The complete works of Charles Dickens

Diamonds, in general


Merry Christmas, all.

Friday, December 7, 2007

My Frustration with Claymation

24 comments

As the self-appointed ambassador for universal Christmas cheer, I openly campaign for the free expression of yuletide celebration as any individual sees fit. One’s shining star is another’s shimmering angel. Here a wreath; there a light. Bing Crosby or MoTab.

I advocate; you celebrate.

This open policy of holiday sponsorship has one heaping, glaring exception:

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. In Claymation.

I have nothing against my fine rhino-challenged caribou friend. I adore his blinking nose, his tender insecurity, and his new-found fame. I find his a classic tale of duckling to swan, rags to riches.

But the movie? It’s just creepy.

First we have a tiny elf with a perma-swept blonde ‘do who looks more like a disadvantaged Ken doll than one of Santa’s jolly helpers. What’s more, the tiny sprite wants nothing more than to leave the whimsical land of Christmas cheer and become a dentist. A dentist! I can picture it now: Little elf moves on to the real world only to drag himself through 8-5 days in a shapeless white coat, trudge through a volatile and depressing marriage and hang himself in his hallway closet.

Not the stuff of Christmas cheer.

Next we have Santa: a pudgy, stick-legged dictator who more resembles a troll than a jolly-old-elf. But his physicality is the least of our problems. Santa is downright mean. “Donner, you should be ashamed of yourself!" What, for fathering a kid who doesn’t fit the mold of the average reindeer? Well, Santa, why don’t we start recommending therapeutic abortions for Prancer and Dancer’s offspring, just so we’re safe from threat of further birth defects. Perhaps if the North Pole provided better health care, Mr. Clause…

I can't ignore the issue of the Island of Misfit Toys. No, I’m not speaking of a Salt Lake City Single Adult Ward. I’m referring to the depressing, color-saturated environment wherein all the “weird toys” have been exiled. Charlie-in-the-Box is a great example to children of what happens when you’re a little bit different: “Kids, it’s best to be like everyone else. Why? Because if you’re not, not only will you be banished into seclusion with other loners, but Santa will never, ever visit you again.”

And who can forget the terrifying, panic-inducing Abominable Snowman? Thirty minutes into this warped tale and your child may never again sing along to “Let it Snow.” Trips to the park for sledding and snowmen? Forget it. Why? Because charming, jolly snowmen quickly transform into sharp-teethed, raging monsters desperate to tear red-nosed reindeer and dentally-minded elves to shreds.

And so, this Christmas, I urge you to pull this horrid display of Christmas cheer-gone-awry from your DVD shelves, focusing on more healthy, more genial celebratory entertainment.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Lessons from Seattle Grace.

4 comments
I have an addiction. Thursday nights are blocked out on my calendar, and I anticipate 8 pm as most 5 year-olds anticipate Christmas morning. I find myself chattering on about dream-men with Scottish nick-names most afternoons, and I've mapped out what classes it would take for this writer to be accepted into medical school.

Yes, Grey's Anatomy has taken me hostage. And I've never been such a happy victim. The following are indispensable life-lessons that I have learned from my Thursday-night love affair:




Brilliant, rich, devastatingly handsome surgeons are solely interested in masochistic, emotionally-unstable basket-cases.

Folk music always plays across the hospital loud-speaker just as a patient is about to die.

An 'on-call room' is simply code for 'consensual brothel-house.' i.e. KNOCK FIRST.

Surgeons don't sleep. Upon returning home, they toss and turn until 4 am, when they get up to make it back to the hospital.

When in doubt, push another round of epi.



People are often dead for three hours and come back to life (after multiple rounds of epi).

US surgical teams, especially in the Pacific Northwest, are a clean 50/50 ratio of black/white.

Doctors cry. A lot. Preferably in the hospital ladies room.

The best way to snag a doctor is to get on the heart transplant list. (Denny, we miss you.)



Scrubs are made tie-waisted strictly for on-call room purposes.

Doctors never get paged while having sex.

On any given day there are three important patients. Of those three, two will live, and one will die (cue the folk music).

Even though your best friend slept with your wife, moved to Seattle to win back said wife, and flirts with your current girlfriend, you will inevitably end up as best friends again.



Most surgeons live in packs, usually in a fraternity-style setting.

Surgeons are not psychiatrists. Nor are they even slightly mentally healthy.

Failing your exams, cutting l-vat wires or covering up for a surgeon whose trembling hand could kill a patient at any minute will never get you fired.

Mercy West is sooooo lame.

Just when you get attached to a handsome, black cardio-thoracic surgeon, you find out he's actually a bigot.



When epi doesn't work, charge to 360! Clear!

Nurses are merely props in the OR. They remain nameless, usually faceless, and always wordless.

Seattle Grace, my friends, is the place to be.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanks-surrendering

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It’s always been my opinion that the fourth Thursday in November is reserved for the voluntary giving of thanks to God, nation, family, etc. However, as T-Day 2007 rolled by, I came to the painful realization that upsetting the gods of Thanksgiving leaves them with no choice but to squeeze every last bit of gratitude out of your haughty being through random acts of inconvenience and humiliation.

Beware, my friends, of upsetting the omniscient gods of gratitude.

I’m not entirely sure at which point during the preemptory weeks to Thanksgiving that I first upset this grand council. It might have been when I labeled Thanksgiving merely a “Kick-off-to-Christmas” holiday. Perhaps it was when I threw a brick through the window of Nordstrom for broadcasting their Thanksgiving observance and swearing not to decorate for Christmas until black Friday. Was it when I committed to driving back to Utah while dinner was still warm on the table to work a shift of frivolous retail? Or maybe when, in lieu of gushing our blessings around the dinner table, I suggested we all claim the things in life that annoy us the most.

“I’ll go first,” I said, my mouth full of creamed broccoli. “Neons and Civics disguised as racing cars.”

Believe me, dear readers; the Spirit of Thanksgiving has made me pay.

T-Day Karma is a sneaky fellow, first securing my Volkswagen as an accomplice. As I tried to make my escape after dinner, my on-again, off-again German companion (see prior posts) decided to offer its own fuel pump as a sacrifice to the Thanksgiving gods.

Fettered, but not broken by the demands of November gratitude, I instead solicited the help of my brother’s unregistered (shhhhhh!), but reliable Chevrolet for the trek southward, leaving my sad broken German on my parent’s cold Idaho curb.

Successfully arriving in Utah in time to work a midnight-to-eight am shift at Banana Republic and then a full day at my full-time job, the all-powerful Thanksgiving gods attacked my health. By the time I made it home on a very black Friday, my temperature was up and my spirit was down.

If only I had acquiesced at that point.

Instead I carried on, ill and unlicensed, until a pothole dug by the very spirit of gratitude took with it not only my brother’s tire, but also the rim of the front passenger wheel.

And so now, let it be known: to the spirit of Thanksgiving I surrender. You have my gratitude. I lay my undying humiliation at your autumn feet.

Beware, my friends, the gods of November.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I am your ghost of Christmas present.

4 comments



In Miracle on 34th Street a disenchanted pig-tailed tot convinces the whole of New York City to believe in a Santa Clause moonlighting at Macy’s.

Will Ferrell, dressed in green tights and a perma-smile, used carols and sugary snacks in order to urge city folk to discover Christmas spirit.

And who can forget a blanket-dragging Linus convincing his scribbled cohorts to believe in “the true meaning of Christmas.”

All valid causes, to be sure, but I have a different agenda on my mind.

This year, I pledge to make Christmas entirely about me.

My plan is at work, and the tinsel-encrusted wheels in my head have been turning for several months. My anticipation of the holiday season will only be cap-stoned when, as carols ring and colored lights twinkle, your thoughts are turned from North Pole elves and bright colored packages to, well, me.

That’s the plan, my friends. I vow to insert myself so blatantly into every party, each parade, every nutmeg-sprinkled vat of wassail, never ceasing until the line where Christmas ends and Kristen begins becomes irreparably slurred.

“Oh, the vanity!” you might exclaim as I adhere my tiny self-portrait to the face of a kneeling shepherd in your nativity.

Come now, I’ve always been drawn to random acts of overwhelming narcissism.

“But why?” you ask as I scribble your name on my own naughty/nice list.

Power. Authority. Self-efficacy, blatant egotism.

You know, Christmas cheer.

And so this Christmas, I urge you to turn your thoughts from the vast commercialism and exhausted consumerism that has become the holiday season, focusing on what is substantial, meaningful, and long-lasting….

ME.

Prepare for the unfolding of the greatest PR scheme ever performed.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Never, never, never trust a German.

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I can’t deny that I would loathe a society void of German influence. I live for the cocoa-filled decadence that is German chocolate cake. I can’t begin to imagine Christmas without the regal Taunenbaum, and epic poetry without Faust seems much like a feast without the entrée. In fact, aside from the tiny historical blunder that was World War II, Germany has, in my mind, contributed quite nicely to the social order.

Or so I thought.

Enter Crayola, the sputtering, untrustworthy Volkswagen that is my daily German companion.

Sure, she looks innocent enough: her cool blue exterior the very color of loyalty, premium alloy wheels and an initial-embroidered headrest that once was our special bond.

This, my friends, is my very own femme fatale.

Our past has always been a bit rocky. I brought her home on a whim, always attracted to something new and shiny. From the start she made me work for her affection: learning to drive a stick being more effort than I’d ever put into a relationship before.

And yet we seemed to get along, and our first year together was the stuff they write books – or auto brochures, rather – about.

And then something changed in Crayola. She was no longer the zippy 1.8 I fell in love with. She began backing into everything. Mailboxes, garbage cans, mini-vans, you name it – Crayola hit it. I didn’t understand the masochism then, and I blamed myself, knowing full well that I couldn’t help her if she wouldn’t help herself.

So we separated.

It was two years, and the dark days she spent as my mother’s chariot made her realize how good we were together. When we reunited, it was magic. It was as if Crayola had grown a new heart – albeit simply a clutch and a fresh set of performance tires. Many a long hour we spent together, gallivanting through town, soaring down the interstate. I fed her premium, gave her baths and never left her unattended for long.

But she snapped anyway. And one stormy April day Crayola tried to kill me.

The rain was pouring, mud and sleet flinging at my windshield when Crayola halted her wipers without explanation and drove me, quite nearly, into the freeway median.

I pulled over, shaking, fuming at the temper tantrum I hadn’t known her to be capable of.

Well, that was April.

June brought with it bad brakes and threats of rear-ending every car on the road.

August was a busted coil pack and Crayola taunting me with her flashing CEL light.

And just this week, she attempted again.

I was pulling out of Fashion Place mall, cold and exhausted from a 14-hour work day. I wasn’t asking for much: merely a safe trip home and perhaps a heated seat. But she was having none of it, and her halting, choppy acceleration let me know that our relationship was, once again, on the rocks.

Despite her protests, I made it home, slamming her door and marching into the house, telling her to sit outside in the October cold and to think about what she’d done.

I gave her 10 hours, but 8 a.m. brought no remorse for her previous actions. In fact, it wasn’t until she saw my tears that she began behaving.

And so here we are, picking up the pieces of a broken relationship and trying to move on. I wonder, at length sometimes, how life could be different had I chosen another companion – Japanese or American, perhaps.

And yet, we’re here, and every day is a risk with this menacing European.

Because, my friends, you can never trust a German.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Leaving no food unpicked...

11 comments
For about as long as I can remember, I've been labeled a picker. Food, in my mind, is never the sum of its parts. It is these aforementioned parts, rather, that interest me.


Sandwiches are a spattering of cheese and lunchmeat, the innards of which I eat while tossing the gooey bread in the trash can. Boxes of yuletide chocolate-covered macadamia nuts transform into a tray of broken chocolate shells, the nut having been excavated with my expert fingers and popped into my eager mouth.


My hand is red on Thanksgiving morning from the slaps my mother bequeaths it as I reach for water chestnuts simmering in their hot sauté of melted butter.


Restaurants are a danger zone of their own, the menu transforming before my eyes into a mere list of ingredients of which I can create my customized meal.


"Yes, the steak salad, except maybe not steak. Have you any sea-fish? Ah, yes, just take the halibut from that entrée and instead of iceberg let's go with spinach. I'd like it without the onions, but add some avocado and balsamic vinegar on the side, please. Oh, and no croutons; perhaps just sprinkle some feta on top."


After my customized meal arrives, it is not enough to satiate my appetite. My date's meal is automatic free game, roaming the table in anticipation of being picked at. Upon my first bite, I usually receive a quizzical look and something to the effect of,


"Umm, did you want some?"

"Heavens no. But maybe I can just have the crab on top of your sushi?"


Piles of discarded calamari breading litter my side of the table along with lonely corn chips after I have sipped the salsa bowl dry as though it were soup.


Yes, my eating habits are irreparably disordered.


Today, as I lunched at the Costco food court, I approached the counter and asked for the usual:


"A slice of combo and a soda, thanks."


The woman with the neat hairnet and disgruntled expression smirked just enough to let me know she was onto me. She took my money, gave me my food, and then, as if struck by inspiration, placed a handful of napkins and a fork in front of me.


After countless lunches at the Costco on 5300 South, I had yet to suspect that my usual habit of picking off toppings with my fingers and discarding the marinara-soaked bread had been noticed. And yet here was this women, handing me utensils and nodding encouragingly, as if to say, "Go ahead, sweetheart. Try your hand at civilization."


Now, I adore Costco. It's like a little piece of heaven packaged in concrete and complete with snacks. But it's not exactly tea at Bergdorf's now, is it? Upon the receipt of this blatant scorn, I pulled out the only weapon left to my disposal:


"Thank you, Ma'am. May I have that to go?"


I've grown accustomed to my family, close friends, even the occasional date giving me a sardonic stare and saying, "Hey, psycho. Just eat your food," but to be callously judged by the very wholesale warehouse to which I had pledged my undying devotion? Well, I can't lie. It stung a bit.


And so I sat in my car, each globby, breadless hunk of melted cheese a reminder of my prior rebuke, questioning the very essence of my habitual picking.


And in one final act of embittered rebellion, I tossed my crusts out the window.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Long and SHORT of it

10 comments
Glossy photos on classic Vogues and visions of Audrey Hepburn and Edie Sedgwick have been dancing through my head for a good four months.

There's something to be said for the woman who can rock a short hair cut and keep all her elegance and panache completely in tact.

I once thought that I could join these ranks.



So, I made the appointment, knowing that my hairdresser would be booked out a good two months and I'd have adequate time to prepare myself.

Audrey, Edie, I tried. Oh, I tried.

This, it turns out, was the end result:



Upon severing all ties with a good six inches of hair, I spent the next 48 hours in intermittent tears after deciding I strongly resembled a boy. I considered purchasing large, flashy earrings by the gross or emblazening my t-shirts with the words, "XX Chromosomal Makeup."

In the end, my friends had much, much better things to say. The following are a few of my favs:
  • "Didn't I see you on the Breakfast Club?"
  • "I'm sorry. You were just a LOT prettier yesterday."
  • "Little boy, have you seen Kristen?"
  • "Having short hair will show you which boys really like you for who you are."
  • "No really, you could be on ANY 80's teen movie."
  • "We're really hoping you'll beat the luekemia."
  • "You're just self-conscious because guys tend to go for really feminine girls."
  • "Oh. I thought you meant HOT short like Victoria Beckam?"

Audrey, Edie, throw me a few words of encouragement.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Can THIS.

1 comments



An old adage advises that no good deed goes unpunished.

Well, I hold the firm belief that the above statement is categorically true, and therefore strive to avoid good deeds whenever humanly possible.

Through elementary school my family was forced to stuff themselves with the pizzas I wouldn’t sell and the chocolate I refused to peddle to unsuspecting neighbors. Dreams of first-place awards and shiny new bicycles couldn’t budge me from my impassioned anti-fundraiser stance.

At 12 I spent two hours volunteering at the Pasco Humane Society, finally leaving in tears, smelling like cat urine and vowing never to return to the shack of hopeless canines.

Once I helped my elder sister on a particularly grueling babysitting charge, only to break the front tree swing and run home before the residents cast their blame on me.

High School brought with it afternoons of Special Olympics, the warm feeling of selfless volunteering not enough to make up for the shame of having a lower bowling score than the average special Olympian.

Denying every instinct that coursed through my body, and hoping to experience this “warm feeling” I had heard spoken of so often, last night I agreed to collect cans for a local food bank.

I shivered the entire time.

I was never cut out for door-to-door solicitations nor do-gooding in general. After five houses my partners’ bags were laden with aluminum goodness, while mine sat folded in my hand.

Ignoring warnings of my own social awkwardness, a co-gooder pushed me toward the front door of the next house.

I was immediately caught off guard when the man, who had been peacefully watching TV just moments before, gave me an expectant, annoyed and silent stare.

“Um, cans,” I blurted out, holding my empty paper bag open for him to see. “There’s this food drive. We want cans. Have you any?”

“No,” he said, a tad more matter-of-factly than I thought was socially acceptable when solicited to help the poor.

“None?” I asked, uncommonly eager to match the filling bags around me.

“No.”

I glumly left the doorstep, wondering if the poor man might benefit from some of the food we had already collected.

Four houses later and my turn was again up. With a perpetually-empty bag and the resolve to feed the starving, I tried again.

“We want cans, for hungry people. Do you like being hungry?”

The approach worked, and I had my first – and last – success of the night.

Tart cherries, canned salmon and sugar substitute filled the bag I held smugly as I shivered in the October evening.

Visions of sugar-free cherry pies and golden brown salmon cakes whisked through my mind as I trotted across the street to the perspective goldmine of top ramen, canned pumpkin and pork ‘n beans in the houses to follow.

My deed was immediately punished.

The headlights of the oncoming traffic shocked me just as I heard my paper bag tear, the contents of which rolled swiftly to various locations of 17th East.

The line of four cars waiting patiently while I scrambled across the street, gathering cans and boxes, all the while keeping the thoughts of disappointed starving people at bay in my mind.

The glowing sense of being selfless? Perhaps I’ll warm up to it.


For now, this is one can I’d like to kick.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

.... and this was our twenties

6 comments
In a blatant, methodical plan to ensure I survived the wreckage and delusion that is turning 25, my dear friends threw a party in my honor.

It was perhaps the first thing in my life I have ever done on-- er, in-- my honor.

It was elegant. It oozed with charm. It was the talk of Provo for days -- or at least the south side (most south-side conversations are restricted to that of methamphetamines.).

Behold, dear readers, the decadence which was my coming-of-age.




(Hail to Bethany Malouf and Rachelle Anderson for their creative genius)



The menu, which tasted even better than it looked



The Birthday Girl: all smiles, clearly sedated


Deeply honored guests



Somewhat honored guests


People who attended

The brilliant hostess herself, with the honored


Beauty in the details


The foreboding Chef



I suppose I'll stick around for 26.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Unrequited Love, i.e. Attack of the Killer Snow Globe

6 comments
There are times in life when your love for something is not enough to solicit its love in return. This became blatantly clear yesterday with this, my fondest of snow globes:


A lovely black wooden base, the picturesque Norman Rockwell scene animated so delicately within the pristine glass. Not an air bubble in sight. If innocence were definable in a globular sense, I’d imagine this would be the poster child.

That is, until its true colors displayed like 4th of July fireworks in the wee hours of October 7th.

The aforementioned snow globe waited until the house was quiet and its tenants asleep before making its unsolicited attack. Deeply angered from its two-month stay in storage, I underestimated its potential danger as I retrieved the globe from its box and set it on the top shelf of my new bookcase.

Bending down to stuff my large collection of handbags on the bottom shelf, I began organizing the contents of the fixture. In one (gentle) wobble, a framed picture on the top shelf slipped, the inertia of which launched the globe off the shelf and into my unsuspecting skull.

In a display of shattered glass, holiday glitter, sticky snow and some strange smelling liquid, I stood in shock, the pulsing pain on the back of my head the only sensation letting me know that the killer snow globe had not succeeded in its crazed mission.

The crash alerted my roommate, who stumbled into my bedroom in a wild dash.

“Are you okay?”

“Ummm… I don’t know,” I sniffled, my tears due partly to my throbbing concussion and partly to the blatant betrayal of the object I had loved so freely.

Picking glass from my hair and ignoring her own blood-induced nausea, my roommate tried to free me of any shrapnel left from the attack.

Twenty-four hours and two hairwashes later, I was still picking snow from my head. While snow in hair sounds wildly romantic, I have the sneaking suspicion that the sticky, synthetic variety doesn’t exactly count.

Goodbye, dear Snow Globe.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Jeans Shopping, i.e. fear and loathing at Nordstrom

3 comments
Suck in, flatten rib cage, exhale, exhale, exhale ... ouch!

If only not breathing were in style this season.

I find that there are few more painful processes in life than searching for the perfect denim. We live in a society where jeans are a wearable calling card of social status as well as the wrapping paper of a perfect physique. Well, I am neither a glowing socialite nor a Calvin Klein model, so jeans shopping, for me, could be its own chapter in the writings of the Marquis de Sade.

While we aim for this:



This is, generally, the end result:



The hunt goes something like this:


1. Stop eating. Two to three days prior to scheduled shopping trip, liquids and chicken breasts are your only allowable sustenance, preparing the body to be pinched, dragged, squeezed and tucked into thick and unforgiving denim.


2. Keep an open mind. Your size? Negotiable. I like to wander the racks of Sevens, Joe's, Rocks, Papers, and take anything from size 27 (feeling good) to 30 (an act of total and complete resignation).

3. Experiment. Lie on the floor, lean back, bend over -- whatever it takes to get the suckers zipped. Sometimes I get creative, hopping up and down in the dressing room, hoping that the inertia of my descending body will be enough to lodge my thighs firmly in the pants.


4. Big girls DO cry. It's okay to be upset. Feel free to call the jeans names. Assume the pants were mis-marked. I like to tug the guilty pair off and throw them in the corner, glaring at the faded blue heap on the floor. I mutter something like, "You stupid, sorry, joke of a jean. You're ugly, disgusting, and not remotely fashionable. I hate you." Disregard the confused, yet fearful, look the salesgirl shoots at you.


5. Come to the general assumption that you can live a successful life in skirts, dresses, and stretchy pants.


Jeans? Superfluous. Denim was sooo last year.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Breaking up is hard to do

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After three years of part-time work and fine-combed merino wool, the time has come for me to leave Ann Taylor.

The separation has been amicable. I will miss my discount and the uncanny ability I had to get paid for performing virtually no work at all.

Goodbye, Ann.


Unfortunately, there is a dark horse in this love triangle. I have found a new passion, greener pastures and, well, a better discount.

Hello, Banana.


Ann, I believe the choice here is quite obvious.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Men: Rhetorically and Categorically

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2,615,929--The population of Utah in 2006.

Allow me to break this down. If there are 2.6 million people in Utah, it's safe to say that half of them are male. Of those, let's say a quarter are ages 20-40. That said, perhaps a third are single. (I feel I'm being liberal here, as this is the premier state for weddings.)

By my math, that leaves 108,997.04 single, eligible men in Utah.

Last year, I dated 107,837 of them.

I find this cross-section broad enough to make the blatant, perhaps offensive, generalizations that follow. In my dating experience (which as you can see, remains extensive), I have found that Utah men can be concisely packaged into the following categories, with only enough wiggle room to keep me, against all odds, still dating.

The Mormon Player

He's smooth. He's hot. He's what every girl wants. Or so his mother tells him every week at Sunday dinner. This is the boy we often see at the Malt Shop on Friday nights, dangling a new blonde freshman from his Polo sleeve. His daily hour at Gold's gym is as obvious as the hearty dose of Aqua Di Gio that wafts from his general direction. Usually named "Brett, Tyler or Jared," and hailing from Sandy, this is the boy who holds out til the ripe age of 23 to wed. You know, to give the ladies a fair shot.

Indier Than Thou

His hair is long. His jeans are tight. He makes you feel infinitely uncool. And even while you're dating, you have the sneaking suspicion that he despises your general being. Your music sucks. Your movies? Juvenile. You know nothing of art and you have no right to claim an affection for anything European. His ex-girlfriend understood him, and the chances that you will are about as slim as you fitting into his Diesels. He doesn't wear cologne but rocks four different iPods as his daily accessories. Often spotted at the Broadway on weekend nights, you'll know him by his blatant sense of enveloping disdain.

The Wanna-be Indie Than Thou

You know you've found him when he says, "I like really, really underground music. Death Cab for Cutie's doing amazing things right now." He wants to hate you, but instead he really, really digs you. Nonetheless, he feels the need to constantly tell you how disconnected he is from you and life in general, meanwhile disqualifying aforementioned statements by calling you sweetheart at every available opportunity. He makes you mixed cd's burned to the brim with Dashboard and the Killers, and writes poetic blogs that make you cringe.

The Perpetual Frat-Boy

The Mormon player plus 10 years. The PFB is still sighted with blonde freshman, but a hipper joint, like PF Chang's, is generally preferred. A luxury car and a private bedroom at Arlington are all that separate these from the MP's of yesteryear. PFB's were once engaged, usually around age 24. Since then they've had serious relationships once every 5 years, and find themselves still living across the hall from their "very best friend and former mission companion." PFB's play golf on the weekends, where they tell their friends (who double as their roomies) all about current blonde freshman.

The Overeager Identity-eater

You get the sneaking suspicion that he's assessing your every move while filling out an imaginary checklist. First date conversation consists of family aspirations and your opinion on the feminist movement. He is unimpressed by your hobbies, instead, asking you whether you believe if "breast is best" when it comes to infant feeding. While you're pleased he's overlooked his disdain for formal female education long enough to take you to dinner, you can't order the chicken without him asking whether you know how to make it. He prefers his women in twin-sets and starts most statements with, "my mom says . . ." By date three you're either engaged or mentally lynched, so OIE's tend to be off the market quickly.

The Gem

He doesn't need his mother to tell him he's perfect. He just is. He's smart, sassy, down-to-earth and wants everything you do. Anytime you find a gem, you think to yourself, "this is it," only to find that said gem is making every other single Utah girl think the same thought. You see, gems know of their rarity, and thus, the playing field is broad and open. And the players? Well, temporary. Gems marry for the sake of procreation just shy of their 40th birthday. Their children, wife and home are undeniably perfect.

*Above categories are strictly hypothetical and, though containing obvious truths, remain (fingers crossed) subject to change.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cast no Stone (at these stones)

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Most of you, dear readers, will never understand the repercussions of a strange and terrifying phenomenon — one that respects no freeway, permits no interstate remain unscathed. One that leaves its victims marked, crazed, wracked with terror. I'm speaking, of course, of suicide rocks.

They're reckless, callous; they have nothing left to lose. At once abandoned from the granite batholiths of their ancestors, or abducted by the self-interest of the mining industry, these represent the sediments that have refused to mold to the everyday life of the average countertop. They will not settle into bathroom tile, they will not grace your garden embedded with your child's handprint. And they will not lay idly by, awaiting hikers and campers to use them as a picnic perch.
These, my friends, are rocks with an agenda.

I can only say now, 48 hours after becoming another faceless victim of suicide rocks, that perhaps we've misjudged these terror-enraged stones. What could drive them to hurl themselves into unsuspecting Volkswagens on the freeway?

I don't know my aggressor. We never met until that fateful afternoon when our lives merged in an instant of screams, scratched paint and shattered glass. The rock was young, perhaps a mere 4 or 5 billion years old. He could have been anything – a monument, a temple, grinded into concrete. Instead he chose a suicide mission – one that left him broken and alone aside a puddle of tempered glass on I-15.

Of course, I can sit back and ask, "why me?" But the wondering, the unanswered questions – it's enough to make anyone crazy.

I confess, I have not always treated rocks with the respect they deserve. I've thrown them, skipped them, and more than once I fell asleep in geology 101. I didn't try to understand them – often mixing up minerals and sediments, stripping an igneous of its identity by labeling it metamorphic. My disregard quite literally came back to hit me – in the window.

And so this rock – this stone without a name who decided one fateful September day to throw his life – and himself – to the wind and into my car: who is he? I confess, anger swelled as I regained control of my vehicle and, shaking, pulled off the nearest exit. But now, with the terror of the moment swept away like the shards of glass left behind, I think of him: this desperate, passionate and abandoned stone.

I appreciate the warm-wishes of you, my family and friends, to myself and my unsuspecting car. My scratches will heal and my car, once my deductible is paid, will be good as new. But I urge you to turn your thoughts from me to this nameless stone, who lies, discarded and alone, with no company but the memory of his actions. May we all strive to understand those who we once thought of as merely pebbles and boulders. Perhaps we can polish them, refine them, and lead them to a life worthy of more than a suicide mission on I-15.

*This blog is dedicated to the nameless rock that now resides near the median of I-15 between Lindon and Pleasant Grove. Though his identity remains unknown, he appeared dark in color and deeply, deeply disturbed.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Catch this Phrase

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"I know, right?"

The snickers are blatant, taunting and wholly uncompassionate when, from a dark corner of my subconscious escapes the above expression.

"That dress is awesome."
"I know, right?"

I have no aspirations to become the Paris Hilton of Salt Lake, spreading cliché tag-lines to passers-by while simultaneously clutching a handbag, a hot beverage, and an armful of clothing, all the while steadying oversized sunglasses on the tip of my nose.

No, the truth is far less glamorous.

"Um, did you really say that?"

Yeah, I did. And it resonated somewhere in the recesses of my own pet-peeve-dom. "I know, right?" is merely a drop in a bucket of Utah slang that I have—quite unwittingly—gathered in my six-year residency.
Well, perhaps maturity is recognizing that you are your worst pet peeve.
The following are all phrases that have infected my repertoire, needling their paths from the cultural epicenters of the beehive state into my unsuspecting mind.

"No 'T' for me."

My nightmares are but an endless series of guttural stops, unapologetically replacing the proper pronunciation of a consonant.
Case in point
"East is where the mao-ins are!"
"Can you help me sew on a bu-in?"
"Of course I know him! I went to Brigh-in!"

May the gods of speech rain audible 'T's' on the Wasatch Front.

Just say "play"

There was a time I could, with some surety, claim that I had never asked a friend to "play" since the close of the 5 th grade, when just as backpacks turned to book-bags and contacts supplanted glasses, "play" transformed to "hang out."
Well, not so, say the chipper blondes of the Utah Fun Society. "Let's Play!" is the new "Wanna hang?" is the new, well, "let's play."
And who says Utah isn't SUPER fun!!?

A state of “nym”-phos

Ah, the acronym. Short, consice, with only the faintest hint of formality. More wordy states, take note, we have no patience for your verbosity here.
"I totally had a NCMO with an RM last night!"
"No, no. We had a DTR, everything's cool. But keep that on the DL."
"Are you already in PG, ’cause I'm totally still in SLC."
"umm, BTW, AF doesn't have a good YSA."
Resist the urge to LOL.

Frustrating as my slow decline into total cultural submergence may be, perhaps this charming air of locality should be celebrated. Like the “wicked awesome” phrases of New England or the “No worries” attitude down under, without our own little tag lines we’d just be in, well, a state of boredom.

Right?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sometimes, your BFF gets married.

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And they're so happy.

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But it annoys you.

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And disgusts her grandmother.

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Sunday, September 9, 2007

And then, there were two.

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Friday, September 7, 2007

Homeless

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Leaving a car at pioneer park or walking past the soup kitchen on 4th west may make anyone uneasy. Nonetheless, these activities are required for everyday urban errands -- like eating at Caputo's and shopping at the Gateway.

I'm timid in my work clothes, eyes downcast, my high heels clip-clopping apologetically as I weave through the loiterers, carefully avoiding eye contact until, startled, I respond to the light tap on my elbow.


I fumble at my purse, stuttering something like,

"uh, I uh, see I don't, oh, well I mean, that is, I don't really carry cash, I mean, money, er cash, just visa? mastercard, oh I'm sorry, uh huh, okay, really, it's not you, it's me, I mean, god bless," finally rescuing a crinkled dollar bill from the unearthly abyss that is my handbag.

Awkward and uncomfortable, I tried to put myself in their shoes.

Consider it done. Aside from the fact that mine are Charles David and I have 50+ more pairs to spare, our shoes are now one and the same.

"Address, miss?"
"And where would you like that delivered?"
"Are you going home?"
"Are billing and shipping the same?"
"My place or yours?"

These are now the questions that leave me stuttering, my mind resisting the realization that I'm homeless.

A fourth of my possessions are currently in my car. The other three quarters, jumbled and disorganized, are in my friend's Eagle Mountain spare bedroom. And me? I live on a couch.

A vagabond, a gypsy, a nouveau-Boheme. Call it what you will, the glamor is wearing thin. I don't sleep enough. I'm missing half my mail, and it takes me 45 minutes to get to work.

I take comfort in the temporary nature of my situation. Desirable apartments are quite elusive in urban Salt Lake, though my pen is inked and my checkbook handy. So I remain without an abode, hearth-less, my bed in pieces in a basement corner.

I have yet to line up on 4th west for a hot cup of coffee and a Costco muffin, and it's been years since I've napped, wrapped in an olive blanket in Pioneer Park.

But for the time being, my pride stripped and my humility blatant, please sir, could you spare a one-bedroom?

Flight of the Conchords- Albi (racist dragon)

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You'll thank me. Really.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I have a favorite nephew

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Don't worry.. Nick and Joe won't be able to read this for several years.