Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pillow Talk

Once upon a time there was a bed. This wasn't just any bed--it was a twin size bed with bookshelf headboard. It was firm (maybe a little too firm). And best of all, it came at the basement bargain closeout price of $100 (okay, so it maybe was advertised in the local paper and maybe it was slightly used by a little kid who, luckily, didn't have a bladder problem). That was in 1999.

For the past eight years that bed was my bed. I put my chapstick and set my alarm clock on that headboard each night. I put on my shoes each morning on the edge of that bed. I changed its sheets. It has seen different comforters and color schemes, but the bed has remained the same. Sturdy. Or at least kind of sturdy. It has watched me transition from an awkward eighteen year old, fresh out of high school, to an (I hope) slightly less awkward adult, back in high school all over again. For eight years this bed groaned with me as my alarm went off. And it has been a good bed. Or at least kind of a good bed.

And here is where our story shifts. For the past eight years my body has carved a bit of a groove in one side of the bed--the side that was away from the wall for years. So the firm bed has become a bit lopsided. I even tried wedging a flat pillow between the mattress and box springs--which only switched the side of the lop. Then its springs started springing where they shouldn't have sprung...specifically my ribs. Between feeling like I might topple off into the dark oblivion of night and fearing death by springing, sleep has been more and more restless in the past months. And, while no pea hides beneath my mattress, I awake feeling a bit beat up.

So, I decided that the time for change has come. And change did, indeed, arrive today in a delivery truck carried in the hands of two mullet-sporting men.

This, dear friends and brethren, is a Bountiful Rest "Serenity" featuring a 1" Body Comforming Latex Pillow Top, Queen size. And I am beside myself. Now, I just need to look into bedding (this is my old twin size comforter). Although the night I purchased this bad girl of a bed that stands at about the height of a large Saint Bernard, I sprung for these babies. And they are SOFT!

And that's all I wanted to say. Happy sleeping to all, and to all a good night! I've been looking forward to this night for eight long years.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

How I Spent My Time Off

So Thanksgiving weekend worked a little like this:

Wednesday Night: The roommate, Alice, baked pies. I made cheeseballs and rolls. Basically, I made the hugest batch of cheeseball-goo (yes, that is the official term) ever and it ended up being enough for a cheeseball at home, a massive cheeseball for my parents' Thanksgiving dinner and a more reasonable sized cheeseball for Alice's parents' Thanksgiving lunch.

My sister, W, and her two kiddos "Bug" and "Bud" spent the night.

Thursday we made breakfast then headed first to Alice's parents. You can see pictures and a post here.

Then we headed to my family's party. Now, let me preface this by telling you a little bit about my family. First of all, you know how most people have the good sense to say "It starts at 6" but everybody really knows that things start cracking around 6:30-ish. Well, not my family. In my family if they say it starts at 6 two of my siblings show up at 5:30 and if you aren't there until 6:30 then you've missed the whole thing. Well, my absent-minded-aging-I'm-hoping-she-didn't-have-an-agenda-with-this-action-mother informed both my sister, W, and me, that the thing started at 6. And she told everybody else that it started at 5. Lucky for us they at least didn't start putting things away until after we ate something. That was nice of them.

At 12:01 AM Friday morning, a local mall opened its doors for the start of black Friday. First off, let me tell you that I don't trust in "crowd mentality." By crowd mentality I mean that COMPETITION + SALES + SLEEP DEPRIVATION + ADOLESCENT "WHERE ELSE CAN I GO THANKSGIVING NIGHT" LOITERING = PANDOMONIUM. MAYHEM. CHAOS. My niece and sister joined Alice and myself for a night of sale shopping. We thought it was a great plan. We thought--" fun, lots of crazy sale-shopping moms in their cozy public pajamas getting deals." Wrong. What were we thinking--I'm just saying that the least common denominator tends to come out after midnight. I'm just saying that after the late movie got out, Aerpostale and American Eagle Outfitters were maybe thinking about hiring a bouncer for the holidays. There were lines to get in to the stores. It was crazy.

So after all that craziness and making our purchases at the fabulous "buy one get one free" Lane Bryant sale, we thought maybe a quiet sit down girl talk session at the food court was in order. Afterall, that 5 (or maybe 6...jury's still out) o'clock dinner was hours ago. Chick-Fil-A sounded in order. We wove our way through the crowds to the food court, clinging to one another's coats. We sat down with our chicken sandwiches and waffle fries. And what do we witness at the table RIGHT NEXT TO OUR OWN--

Thug #1: #@$! #$**#% **!)#!# @$% #^$%& %@# BLEEP your BLEEP @!#$# !@#@$%#@%@ ~!##%@#!@# BLEEP

Thug #2: (As he holds Thug #1 by the throat into the fake topiary display) You wanna look at me that way again you !@#@! !@#$#@%@&&%##@@! @#$@%!#$#@$@^ BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP!?!

And the "conversation" went on from there. W, the sister, panicked and called 911--which only resulted in a failed call (that doesn't seem safe). Alice went and grabbed security who was possibly a bit overwhelmed and focused on potential shoplifters. The "conversation" was broken up and taken into custody. We finished our waffle fries and decided that our lives were more valuable than cheap anti-bacterial soap from Bath & Body Works.

Proceed to a 2 hour nap at home. Then at 4 AM we hit JC Penney. Okay, so I did find some cute stuff at 50% off. But after standing in line in the lingerie department for 25 minutes staring at the same santa-inspired negligee, including hat, only to be told that the register was having trouble and I should possibly find another line, I put my stuff down, told my shopping party this was ridiculous, went and dropped the sister, W, off at Toys R Us so that she could stand in line for nearly 2 hours, and headed to the 6 am opening of Target. Which leads me to this conclusion: Target has the good sense to open at an hour at which most hoodlums are either asleep or too intoxicated to make it. Target has plenty of its sale items on display in fire-inspection-safe spaces sans potential death by trampling. From now on I'm sticking with Target on Black Friday...after a decent night of sleep. Target also had these little items on sale:

Which between catching up on sleep and doing laundry, has been pretty much what I've done with my time since the sleep deprived, confusing dream that was Black Friday. Here's to Target and The Office. Oh, and MY LIFE which has been spared for now!

What about you? Any adventures in Black Friday shopping? Anybody else witness a fight or perhaps get in one themselves?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Just Thought You'd Like To Know...

This is my least favorite part about winter.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

B is for Books

Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.
~ Groucho Marx

What am I without books? Books that have changed my life:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
"Why?," You might ask...Well, it was the summer between 8th and 9th grade. I'd devoured The Babysitters Club series left lying around the house. My Jack Weyland collection had been read and re-read twice that summer. I was out of Seventeen magazine articles. Worst of all--nobody could take my license-less booty to the library for a few days--and my mother always told me public transportation was out. All that was left in the house was a ratty old copy of Jane Eyre left over from an older sibling's high school days. I picked it up, started reading, and I have never been the same since. It was my first "classic" (i.e. "old") novel.

My Antonia
by Willa Cather

Why not. It is my favorite novel. I've already posted about it. Simply put--the woman makes my heart swell about a Nebraskan prairie I've never even seen before. And that, my friends, is good writing.

Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place by Terry Tempest Williams

It is about the landscape in which I was raised. It was one of those books that entered my life at the moment I needed it to. Sometimes that is all it takes. And her prose is exquisitely perfect.

Dream Work
and/or A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver

As a poet, Oliver is my hero. Her Handbook was my textbook for my first poetry class in college. She dared me to try it. I did and now "novice/hack job of a poet" skims that list of titles I hold.
Oh, and how could you not love something like this:

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

Don't bother with the movie. The book is the thing.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
One of my all time favorites. I never was a fan of sci-fi, but this was perfect for my 4th grade self.

I could go on. A true confession would reveal that every book I read changes me in one way or another. Each time I slide the bookmark from its page I am given a gift. I slip into another life, another skin for a brief time. Whether the book makes me think or simply entertains, each book I read seems to come to me at the exact moment I need it to. Every book I've read has changed my life. And isn't that the beauty of it?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Everybody's Doing It...

And so it begins. Every blogger I know well is starting these "Encyclopedia of Me" posts on their blogs. And so I have decided to start one too. Maybe I will have more time in my life dedicated to blogging if I do this? Who knows--maybe it's a half-brained idea that I will begin with the best of intentions and never complete (like that novel or the poetry collection or cleaning my house).

So on with the A's.

It took me a while to realize that not everybody had an Alice in their life. Some women go through life without many female friends, some women have a handful of girlfriends they hit the town with but never confide in or show their ugly side to. I have a best friend. And I don't mean best friend as in we have matching bracelets or two-halves of a heart charm necklaces. I don't call her my BFF. I do text message her more than I ought. But I mean best friend as in we watch out for each other. We listen when the other is talking. We laugh. We fight. We each pay the other half of the rent. We are one another's favorite movie/dinner/lunch/shopping/video night/pedicure/facial/gym/and-so-much-more date. We agree on everything (except the things we don't agree on). We are like-minded enough that we get along swimmingly and yet we celebrate our differences. I like to curl up with a good novel or poetry collection, she likes to dabble in the memoir of someone with a troubled past. I love period pieces and French cinema, she humors me and goes to some of them as long as I'll hit an Adam Sandler flick now and again with her. She has been my friend since the summer after seventh grade. I am lucky that while many singletons my age and my religion ache of loneliness, ache for companionship--I've got a built in buddy for life and I can always rely on her to be there when my day sucked, my hair sucks, or my feelings were hurt.

Other A's that matter:

Aunt. I am the proud aunt to 6 nephews and 13 nieces ranging in age from 11 months to 18 years. I try and fool myself into thinking that I simply must be their favorite aunt. Isn't the single, childless aunt always the favorite? This fantastic title gives me the chance to sometimes give advice on boys (because they actually think I know this stuff better than they do--although telling my niece that if anybody at the LDS Institute of Religion sauntered up to her proclaiming that he was divinely inspired that they belonged together she should, and I quote, "Run like hell!" I think this was a pretty good chunk of advice). At other times it has me playing red rover or singing bed-time songs. I love each one of them, near and far. I even have a name sake (her middle name is my first name--see--favorite, favorite, huh!?!).

Art. I love the arts: performing arts, visual arts, literary arts. I am intrigued by whatever it is which compels us to create--and why do some of us feel that need more than others? I appreciate that art is an expression and interpretation of what it means to be human. I love that whatever medium it might be--if it is art it is intended to connect to me in some way--even if that connection is to leave me alienated and thinking.

Adolescents. I spent a few painful years in adolescence. But I'm talking about adolescent people. I am a high school teacher and my life is surrounded by their flamboyance, energy, and emotion. Most people go to work and their co-workers are all adults. I go to work and, other than meetings and passing periods, rarely see my co-workers. Instead I spend my days amongst the mood-swinging, awkward, falsified-confidence of adolescents. I cannot help but smile and approach it all with care and a good sense of humor. I cannot help but talk about "My Kids" when the topic comes up. They are enjoyable and entertaining and sometimes infuriating and frustrating. And on days they really annoy me I remember that my life could resemble The Office. Adolescents bring me joy and allow me the chance to nurture and share my love of language.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

That Bling Thing

Hello. My name is "The Rookie." And I am an accesoriholic.

I used to own only one pair of earrings. One. They were simple and small wooden studs I picked up on a vacation in Oregon. I wore them with everything because my theory was that wood went with every kind of home decor--it could certainly go with my tevas/jeans/free-t-shirts-clad college wardrobe. So I went through every event in life wearing the same pair of earrings.

I don't know who introduced me to the miracle that is jewelry. Perhaps it was when my parents got the big screen tv and cable--What Not to Wear episodes still follow me into the dressing rooms of major department stores. Perhaps it was growing up and knowing that "professionalism" included my wardrobe. Perhaps it was realizing that no matter how my pant size fluctuates, my earrings always fit. Perhaps it is that deep down inside of me I have a weakness for shiny, bright things. All I know is that the words "moderation" and "jewelry" do not belong in the same sentence together. (Yes--that is a close-up of my "necklace rack" you see in the photo above).

I love chunky necklaces. I seek sleek necklaces. I adore dangles. I hope for hoops. I need beads: black, white, crimson, cobalt, lime. I search for silver. I love gold, bronze, copper...I think you get the point. But my favorite type of "hoop-lace-dangle-bead-shiny" is "hoop-lace-dangle-bead-shiny" on clearance.

So, here is to all those small, spinning racks in the department stores of our world. Here is to making an ensemble complete. Here, ladies and gentlemen, is to jewelry.

Oh, and about that one pair of wooden earrings. Well, two became one during a seemingly typical day on the job at the lumber mill during college (another story in and of itself). The left (or was it the right?) earring it fell out one day...and we all know that "needle in the haystack" cliche. I finally parted ways with the single earring a couple of months ago.

What about you? What are you simply obsessed with? Do you prefer to bedazzle your wardrobe or simplify it sans-accessories?