Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Dear ukdvdltd (at ebay),

As a single latetwentysomething residing in a peculiar area of the world in which I am, in fact, considered to be an old maid, I only get so much pleasure out of my little life. Recently, I discovered one Mr. Thornton (played by a certain Mr. Richard Armitage) in the BBC film adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South. In this discovery, I recognized that owning this particular film adaptation would be particularly pleasing in its escapist and byronic nature. And so, looking for a frugal steal of a deal, I turned to no other than the infamous ebay. At said website, I was able to locate and purchase the complete DVD set of said film from your company.

I am impressed that, in spite of holidays and weather-caused airport closures, the item was able to skip across the pond, as it were, and arrive here in a timely manner. I was not impressed, however, to discover that, without any heed or warning on your part, this item, when placed in my DVD player, was exposed for the fraud that it is. You see, ukdvdltd (at ebay), your DVD is incompatible with my DVD player due to its incorrect regional code. What is a regional code? you ask. I'll tell you what it is, it is a code that correlates directly with the DVD players of the UK and all of Europe, but not so much MY DVD player from the UNITED STATES.

Here is what I need from you, ukdvdltd: When selling items on ebay to an international customer base, do your research. If the regional codes won't match up: warn the customer. Or, if you knew this would be an issue for a customer such as myself, please clearly advertise this. Also, I really need a complete refund for the 11.70 lbs. I spent (plus shipping & handling charges). You see, I need to take this refund and apply it to the purchase of the DVD set which will actually cooperate with my DVD player.

Thank you for your time and what I assume will be your superb and reasonable customer service. If ever I am in the market for the DVDs under the UK regional code, and if my predictions about your service are correct, you will certainly be my first choice for DVDs and other media.

The Rookie

P.S. Buggar off, you bloody wankers! Who do you think you are? Don't you know how this has ruined me!?

And, because it made me laugh hysterically:

Monday, December 29, 2008

17 Miles

Growing up, we didn't travel much as a family.  In my parents' defense, you can imagine the enormity of shoving 10 yours, mine, and ours children into the family station wagon and you start to see why one trip to Yellowstone early on in their marriage (and in my young life--I was too young to remember the nightmare) was the only vacation I think we ever ALL went on together.

But one travel experience that took place several times every year was the long drive down to my grandfather's house in Antimony, Utah (pop. 122).  My dad loaded the willing into the car for a long weekend of sitting around listening to adults talk about people you didn't know and were possibly related to. People who were probably dead. It was misery, but I never missed an opportunity to go because it was a "vacation," a rare opportunity. And home was equally boring, though it had more toys. And even though the only television allowed came in the form of my grandfather watching Jeopardy, "the ball game," and the 10 o'clock news on full volume, there was something about it all that kept me coming back. Maybe it was in hopes of the slight chance that my dad would drive us the hour and a half to Bryce Canyon on back roads (all dirt, mind you-- I never knew there was a major highway that would take you here). We'd drive with stops along the way at the Antimony Merc, the ugliest all-dirt cemetery where my grandmother is buried right near the entrance, and at a condemned "haunted!" mill (the highlight) that I easily could have been severely paralyzed in had the rotted out wood given out under the weight of me (now that I think of it, my father--never blessed with the red flag warnings of a potential worst case scenario--was insane to take us here).

The drive down was equally as boring. My father didn't believe in purchasing the treasures to be found in the gas station. Nope, the cooler was stocked with homemade, soggy sandwiches wrapped in aluminum foil (my "frugal" father thinks even ziploc bags are unnecessary) and a 2 liter of Shasta. Needless to say, I typically tried to fall asleep by Provo.

After enduring the long, miserable trip, typically in the dark, watching, waiting for the numbers to shrink on the green signs reading "Cedar City 228 miles" and "Richfield 73 miles," Antimony finally showed up, glowing like a beacon, at the entrance of UT S.R. 22. "Antimony 17 miles" it reads. And though I'd been stuck in the backseat for hours as it was, those final 17 miles always took the longest. At the end of those 17 miles was my grandpa's porch light, his dog Tibby barking in the night, the blaring sports report on the 10 o'clock news, and a big, rough hug with my grandfather's gruff Hello Schweethaht! in my ear. The drive down was miserably long, indeed, but those 17 miles were torture. The longest leg of the trip.

I haven't driven those 17 miles in who knows how long. My grandpa passed away at 92 while I was still in college and I've been back to his house and Antimony only once (another post for another time). But I've been thinking lately about how most of my life is a lot like those 17 miles. I feel like sometimes I am just surviving, enduring the monotony of a long road trip. Most days I'm trudging through the 17 miles to the weekend, the 17 miles to summer/winter/fall/spring. I'm living for what is next and not enjoying what is now. And I don't think I'm alone here. Life is frequently spent in auto pilot. Endurance mode. But sometimes, you can look up in the dark night along UT S.R. 22 and there are more stars out there than you've ever seen in the city. Sometimes the moon blinks its single silver-blue eye in the dark, murky water of Otter Creek Reservoir as you pass, and it is beautiful. This change will be a challenge, but I really want to work on redefining my idea of enjoyable moments. Life is lived in that in-between time. Life is lived in those 17 miles. Rather than thinking those miles to be a monotonous torture, I want to work on thinking of those 17 miles as my life. Wish me luck!

(And, seriously, what was my dad thinking, letting me walk around in that condemned mill?)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mr. Darcy, I'd Like You to Meet the Competition

Water Bottle?




Red Vines?




Fuzzy "Monster" Socks?


Two week vacation from the adolescents?

Check (and a resounding, harmonious rendition of "The Halleluia Chorus").

The first half of the BBC's North and South?


This is what bliss looks like.

I swooned.

I haven't swooned in...well, ever, really. But swoon I did watching this. I blame it on the subtle, killer of a soundtrack...and perhaps that Richard Armitage as the haunted Mr. Thornton. I cannot wait until the second half arrives in the mail (though I may have cheated and looked ahead on youtube just a little bit). Should I be ashamed at the pitifulness of it? Because I'm not. What is it with BBC and the entirety of their female literary canon looking in on my adolescent diaries and spitting out films mirroring my frivolous young fantasies?

Yes, Mr. Darcy, meet Mr. Thornton. It is a toss up. No one can tell which of you smolders hottest with your brooding white heat. But oh the fun of comparing!

Now, onto the important things:

Laundry completed, presents wrapped, Christmas shopping done?


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The White Stuff

Today, while stuck spinning out on a ridiculously steep incline a mere quarter mile from my school (for over half an hour until the plow truck salted the road. Yes I said "OVER HALF AN HOUR." Stuck. In my car. Trapped there because I had spun my last spin in front of some poor sap's driveway and couldn't abandon my car in front of their only access to the road/ice slide while I took the treacherous hike up to the school). Anyway, while stuck, I thought to myself how snow is sort of like a Hollywood actress. Oh, at surface value she is beautiful. Pristine. Her mere appearance makes the world quiet and lovely and soft. But beneath the perfect veneer lies an iciness that could rival Cruella De Vil. Yes, snow might look pretty, but deep down it's a B!T@#!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Because It Really Bugs Me THAT Much

I know, I already posted tonight. I need to go to bed. But I can't stay quiet about this any longer. It is late and my "you know better" censor is in the off position. I might even offend a few of you reading this. But, as said, that censor is as good as gone.

There are many things out there in the blogosphere (blegh...that word) that cause me to shake my head in shame and embarrassment. But none quite as much as the following. Ladies (and the occasional gentleman): DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, alternate between upper and lower case letters in your post titles (i.e. "fUn WiTh PiCtUrEs" or "oUr ThAnKsGiViNg"). Do not do this in the body of your posts. Do not do this anywhere.

You are no longer 14. It looks ridiculous. Not, as dubbed by Paris herself, "Hot." Please stop. Seriously. Stop.




My job grows more and more surreal by the hour. Take, for instance, these oddities on the to do list for the week:

Pick up a crown from Burger King
Find cleaning product to remove the gum from between blind slats at school
Design a costume as "Flava Flav" (including alarm clock "bling")
Pick up 6 strips of 1/2" PVC pipe from Home Depot
Purchase 200 paper lunch bags
Download & Burn CD (with: 1 Madonna song--"Papa Don't Preach," 1 Kiss song--"Detroit Rock City", the Grey's Anatomy theme, and one CLEAN song by Public Enemy--does it even matter what I chose?)
Locate Disney's Hercules (preferably at a video store I don't have a late fee with)
Create salad for faculty "Festivus" party (contemplate possible stupid human trick to contribute to the talent show for said party)

No, I'm not building a pipe bomb or having an identity crisis or attending a costume party. I just teach. And have co-workers driven to the same state of madness by the adolescents as I have been.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Adult Conversation

You know how stay at home moms long for adult conversation? After long days of little kid talk, they just need to spill what's been sloshing around in their mind all day. Though their personal space has been invaded all day long, they feel lonely.

Lately, I understand this feeling more and more. You see, I too long for adult conversation. You know, logical, rational, respectful, polite interchanges. Speech in which one does not shamelessly, miserably lie to one while looking one directly in the eye and smiling. Where one syllable really is just one syllable as opposed to a whine-ish extension (a la "Shut u-up"). Conversation without the monosyllabic grunt or the under-the-breath degradation, or the text messaging acronym ("IDK" must die, but I digress). Communication sans the defensive, the false cockiness, the hidden insecurity. In a language I can understand--no hidden meanings behind "let's dig", no "MO-ted" (is this even a word?). Oh, how I long for adult conversation.

I realized recently that other people go to work and, when not in the (angry) customer service field, receive this dignified treatment I oh-so-desire. Sometimes, my only sense of sweet revenge is the mere fact that one day these same adolescents will be adults annoyed by adolescents, hopefully their adolescent children. And hopefully I don't teach them too.

And mother's, not to slight your most noble and difficult position in any way, but count your blessings. It could be worse. They could be teenagers.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Long Overdue, Christmas, and Such

I know, I know. Post already. I've heard you all loud and clear. I've just been busy with the holidays. With family. With my job. You know, busy with my life and all that nonsense. Clearly I need to remember where my priorities should be. Because anyone with a brain could tell you that staying up until far past 11 on a school night to write a blog post, (er...create photo collages for an "easier" post) is far more important than sleep. Or my sanity. As these two things seem to be intertwined in my life (everything gets sort of hazy after a mere 4-5 hours). But I'm rambling.

Anyway, I thought I'd post a few pictures since it has been a while. The first is a medley of my Christmastime lovelies. I've downloaded some great new music to my iTunes. I've purchased cinnamon pine cones (and in the process I might have snorted their intoxication--I love coming home to it). I've been shopping. I haven't wrapped a dang thing. But the Christmas decor is up and glowing and so I believe that equates to bragging rights on the blog...

The next set is from nearly two months ago. My sister and her kiddos, brother and his boys, and we singletons (Alice & myself), headed up on the tram at a nearby ski resort to the top of the highest peak. We did this before the snow flew too heavily (after a horrible day on the slopes in 7th grade I've vowed never to ski again...but that is another post). Anyway, it was a windy day. A fun day. And lately I'm missing that blue sky and bright sun. It seems I never see the sun anymore between the daylight hours at school and my little basement hovel. So, I figured I'd better get them made into some form of documentation before I just deleted them altogether from the memory card (I tend to do that a lot with pictures--ah, the beauty of digital).

These are kind of divided by adults and kids. The kids are cuter, the adults compile a bunch of funky pictures I took before my battery died. Oh, and if you can click on the kids' collage and make it bigger, be sure to notice the look of sheer horror on the kid in the left corner's face. He didn't so much like the tram. He was clinging on for dear life, poor boy. I, of course, viewed this as the perfect Kodak moment. Afterall, what are kids for if not to provide us with an endless source of cheap entertainment?


And I hope to post a "real blog post" sometime. Soon. I swear. Maybe after midterms are over.

What about you? Are your Christmas pretties up? Are you missing sunlight as much as I am? Are you too struggling to fit blogging in these days? The comment addict wants to know...