Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Blonde Tails: Mortified with Men

Do blonde's really have more fun? Really?
No, I don't think so. But we can tell one heck of an embarassing story. Or more than one.
Perhaps because obliviousness invites all sorts of odd spectacles into one's life experience, we become magnets for trouble, ridicule and the extraordinary. Which most people consider fun.
Most people aren't blondes.
The only fun from these tales is in the telling of them, trust me.
So enjoy

The other day I was finishing up my run on the Salmon Creek Trail when I espied a familiar face from my institute class emerging from the tree's with a group of rather large and muscular friends.
This particular young man had recently struck up a conversation with the line "You have the most amazingly beautiful eyelashes."
Viewing the meeting through the lens of my past experience with the generally shy breed of young mormon males, I immediately considered him rather eccentric, dashing and debonair. (The beautiful accent helped-though I can't pin down its origin). Here was someone I could easily play along with. A genuine flirt-so to say. So I smiled and playfully batted them at him and we passed a few notes back and forth during class.
I saw him a few times at random events in the weeks following and he would wink and wave or join me for a short conversation.
So, winding down from my run it seemed only natural to me that I ought to say hello my friend. I pulled my headphones out of my ears and ran to join him.
I had noticed the groups of young men in orange suits and vests cleaning up the weeds and debris from the path and really, in the back of my mind, I knew what such groups were.
It never once occurred to me that his group of friends was wearing these vests as well...or that he himself was.
No. The only possibility that entered my oblivious, endorphin happy mind was that I had missed the notice that there was a YSA volunteer group going to clean up the path today-like the one I had joined in on two years ago.
So, jogging up to this group of buff, sharp-eyed men I jovially called out-
"Hey! Is this a volunteer group?"
Completely valley girl style.
Like I said-lots of endorphins.
The group halted as one and turned toward me with dubious and amused expressions.
"Yeeeaaaah..." said my friend, looking me up and down through the corners of his eyes.
There were a few titters from the group.
Then the compatriot closest to my friend coughed loudly into his elbow.
"Cough***we're criminals***cough, cough, cough***"
I quickly continued on with my jog-my pulse racing far faster than before, and fire from the toe of worn out sneakers to the tips of my too-tiny ears.

One afternoon after a trying day of finals at University, I wearily wandered into the Hart Physical Education building, thinking to pound my stresses out on the gym equipment. My head was down and my thoughts were still racing. Every person I passed was possible critic, a hidden foe I had not considered.
I looked up as I entered the locker room to find a face peering intently at mine, as if to divine meaning from the twitch in my eye. He looked at me as though I were a bug squashed on the lense of his glasses. Irritation, confusion, surprise and suspicion-all were present.
"Humph," the noise came out of me of its own volition. I had already had enough. I tossed my head for extra effect. My finals were over-I didn't have to take any more criticism from anyone this day. And I wouldn't. I turned my eyes from his overzealous gaze and marched intently into the locker room. Agrily I stomped down the dark hall, thinking mutinous thoughts as I turned the corner to open my locker
...And froze.
For there in front of me was a rather large quantity of men, in varying degree's of nakedness. My face flushed the color of a cherry tomato as I turned and fled back down the dark hallway to the entrance.
But before I reached the exit I came to an abrupt halt. The boy whom I had snubbed still stood under the frame of the door, looking up at the 'MENS' sign with a bemused and concerned expression.

He did not see me. I tiptoed slowly and silently back into the black hall.
I was not going back out there to face Mr. Critical glare. No siree. No way. Not happening.
But how could I stay in here?
What if another boy needed to leave?
What if they found me here?
What would I say?
I began to pace restlessly.
I stared at the ceiling, hands tangled in my hair-considering yanking it out by the roots.
How did I get myself in these kinds of predicaments?
Why is it that these strange sort of embarrassments seem to happen so constantly to me?
I was muttering frantically to myself when chilvary and concern seem to have taken the better of the boy and he came after me.
I spun around to find him looking down at me with a nervous and somewhat pitying expression.
"Um...are you lost?" He asked.
I couldn't speak.
Shock had me completely wrapped within its icy talons for a full minute before I could embarrassedly choke out a pitiful,
"Can I...escort you to the ladies room?" The previously scorned boy graciously offered.
"Please?" I whispered to the ground.
He didn't try to touch me, thank heavens-I may have melted like the wicked witch I had apparently been impersonating. He turned and walked slowly out of the Mens locker room and led me silently to the womens down the hall, glancing back at me cautiously as if afraid I were going to attack.
I released a chagrined 'Thankyou' as he turned away and left me at the door. I ran a full ten miles that day.

See Surrendering Stories-the tale of The Haunter, and From Rock-A-Bye Baby to A Goddess of Chaos for more examples of blonde fun with men. ;)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kissing Frogs

Over the past few months, since the release of the movie The Princess and the Frog, I have experienced a distinct feeling of unease about my own relationship with the little amphibians. You see, every time I talked to a little girl about whether they liked the movie or not I got a response along the lines of:
"It was so funny, but I would NEVER kiss a frog! That is sooo gross!!!"
"Ya, but why did she kiss the frog if she wasn't a princess? Why would you do that if you didn't have to? Frogs are icky. Only princesses should have to kiss them."
Both answers disturbed me, and one of course prompted the age old lecture that every girl is a princess...of course this led the child to ask 'Then why did the girl turn into a frog instead of the Prince turning into a human like he was supposed to?'
Now riddle me the answer to that one.
Anyways, as I mentioned before, I was beginning to become uncomfortable. So I started asking people my own age. Nonchalantly, of course.
"So hey, uh, have you ever actually kissed a frog?"
I threw the question out in the middle of conversations, in hopes that the answer would be a mild-'Of course! Who hasn't?' and we would continue with the previous subject.
No such luck.
The answer was usually a burst of laughter and then the curiously dubious face 'Have you?'
I suppose you have already guessed what my answer is.
I kiss every frog I meet.
Every. Single. One.
First I have to chase them down of course, but I have had a lot of practice with catching small slippery creatures. I have the usual conversation with them, wonder out loud if they'll actually turn into my handsome Prince this time, then close my eyes and wish.
The frog is usually stunned for a moment or two and then begins to croak loudly and squirm desperately out of my grip. I sigh and let them go.
I have kissed many many frogs in my time. But I have never found my Prince.
Perhaps I am believing in the wrong fairy tale?
Yet Prince Phillip has yet to sweep up behind me and finish my song of dreaming, As much as I would want to I unfortunately did not grow up under the Sea, I'm not to eager to convort with the Beast, I'm not trying to escape the pressures of a Palace life or the bullying of a step family, and I most certainly do not turn into an ogre at night-though my brother might argue that point. So where do I fit in?
I'm thinking perhaps I have been looking in the wrong places. Like Stitch, I've been trying to steal stories that are simply already taken.
I'm thinking perhaps it's time to write my own.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Top 25 Lessons of Nannying

1. ANYTHING can be solved with gummy bears and tootsie rolls. You can have a snit, a fist fight, hurt feelings, general boredom or incooperativeness-and as long as you bring the back up, everyone will go home happy. Even you.

2. The Beatles still rock the world. Try to argue that they're the beginning of the modern downfall of true music and mark the start of horrifying musical commercialism with a seven year old. Go ahead. I dare you.

3. Children will say anything and everything about anyone you both know, just so their opinions are out in the open. And you don't get to be offended on behalf of your friends or relatives. Or even embarassed. Because if they see you react-they WILL pounce.

4. As it turns out, studying history has more than academic benefits. Little boys like WAR stories. Real ones. Detailed ones. And they don't want to read about it. They want you to recite everything you know off the top of your head. Oh-and make it sound good. Boring stories make for a very long bedtime process. Good thing I studied Napoleon's war strategy or I'd be a goner.

5. Entertaining children without electronics is far more difficult than one would originally suspect. Especially when the child refuses to do anything else. Especially when you live in constant rain and can not take the child outside. Where is the Cat in the Hat when you need him?

6. One should make sure the cell phone is hidden is a locked cupboard before any child even knows it exists.

7. Apparently, keys are delicious. So are pennies.

8. One should not assume that just because you have strapped the baby in with five different types of buckles, they are secure. Houdini took lessons from babies. This is especially true if their conniving brothers are present in the room-in which case one should really just give up and feed the baby on the floor.

9. The mothers who are constantly hosting friends are NOT crazy or even necessarily socially assertive. Life is about ten thousand times easier when the friends get the child out of your face and into the playroom, backyard, or bedrooms. Everyone is happier, boredom is generally unmentioned, and you can get quite a lot of other things done while they're distracted. Particularly if the baby is sleeping. Plus there's a BONUS (but only if you're actually the Mom): When you invite other children over to play, your children generally get an invitation to said friends house at a later date. Giving you extra and even more liberating free time.

10. Children like NOISE. A movie in the background, a radio or even playing the drums on your legs will keep things moving and children busy for hours. For some reason, silence makes them listless and crazy--while noise makes the world interesting.

11. Coloring books and utensils are God's gifts to babysitters. Thankyou God.

12. Little girls LOVE it when you sing to them and dance like a crazy person...little boys DON'T.

13. You must be --insert age of child speaking-- years of age to do EVERYTHING.

14. No matter how cool they think you are, or how old you are- you will never be as big or amazing as their oldest brother or sister. Even if they're 12.

15. If you walk into the house of four growing boys and you can't catch a ball-you may as well walk back out. (Thanks for all that training Dad!) Furthermore, if you don't actually know the names and various numbers associated with the players of their favorite sports teams, you must either act well and learn fast, or admit to being a complete and utter loser and failure at life.

16. Mom really is the most beautiful woman on the planet, and Dad is a superhero.

17. Maniacal laughter and the word NOTHING are VERY BAD SIGNS.

18. You think oil's a hot commodity these days? Try walking in with sugar and new movies in a house where they're generally unheard of. The world will be your oyster.

19. Older siblings can be very helpful. Especially when they're being paid.

20. Rocks, flowers, dirt, balls, worms and dogfood are all edible. And I'm not just talking about with the babies.

21. If you think things are going smoother than they should, you're right. You are being tricked. One (or all) of them was supposed to do the dishes. Bed time was half an hour ago. Somebody found a bag of hidden M&M's. There is now a frog or some other sort of lovely little critter in your bag. You are not hearing the baby wake up from her nap because she is perfectly happy emptying her bottle, her diaper, the wipee's, and the batteries from her newest toy onto her freshly washed sheets. You were supposed to serve brussel sprouts with dinner. You read an extra story-it was a large chunk of a chapter book. You forgot to make them brush their teeth or pray. They have found a new way to torture the house pet. Whatever you do-don't go upstairs. It will be worse than you imagine. Trust me.

22. There is no cure for a nine year olds insomnia. Unfortuntely, you can not legally drug other peoples children. Really, you can get in trouble even for drugging your own.

23. The only way to stop the series of questions is to come up with a truly amazing and undefeatable question that has no known answer. The unknown frightens and stumps them.

24. One should never say the words 'I just don't know,' or 'I'm not sure,' or 'Maybe when your mother gets home,' or 'absolutely not,' to a child. Them is fighting words.

25. After all the bumps and the bruises, when your hair hurts from being yanked and pulled, when your arms are tired from holding a cranky baby for hours on end, when your ear holes are three times larger than when you arrived and you are suffering from a headache and lack of nourishment; they will tell you that they love you, climb into your lap for snuggles, give you a sweet baby hug or kiss and say that you're pretty much their amazing older sister-and you'll remember why you love this job so stinking much. That moment is worth all of it. Every time.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Powerful Notes

Today I read the second half of a novel that greatly inspired me. About a mother who loses her entire family in Hitler's occupation of Leningrad (St. Petersburg) during the reign of Stalin. It was horribly depressing, and I cried through the whole thing. It was, however, not about tragedy. It was about the nature of love and forgiveness and moving on in the face of the impossible. It made me take a very hard look at myself, things that I've done and ways I've reacted to the things done to me. This author gets more into the mind of women than any I have ever read. Immediately after finishing (literally, I read the last pages in the car on the way) the story I went to Institute, where we talked about the nature of God and ourselves as His children. Needless to say, I had a LOT come to mind. I don't want to turn this into an essay, or elaborate in detail because I feel the true significance would be lost or twisted. But I thought I'd post the notes I took during this institute class, because it's something I want to share. Something very powerful.

'Steel in the blood.' 'The -insert chosen nationality or occupation-in me.' 'Her -insert chosen strong relative-'s relation.' So many sayings that boil down to the same thing. The God in us.

The part that continues to want to live, to create, to endure. The part that CONTINUES.

God is love. Love is all that endures. Love is all that creates. Love is a force in every dimension. Physical, emotional, spiritual. It is everywhere, in everything.

Every action is caused by or fueled with love. It is the origination of everything.

I have seen depravation, horror, death, hate. Lives ruined by every type of sin imaginable. I have not seen nor heard any thing to negate the evidence of God's love and power in all beings, in everything around me.

People are choosing to deny love, to deny and defy God. They deny themselves. They choose to separate themselves from the forgiveness and joy that comes automatically with love. I can not deny myself-my Savior-my love-my God. I am a child of God. God is love. I am love.

We have only to see and feel our own reactions to hate, anger and pain to realize we are made of love. It hurts us and we protect ourselves however we can.

I am sure that God is real and of His love for me through a thousand tiny little things that he shows me each and every day. For the guidance that I recieve, the spirit that I feel, the questions I am asked and what they make me think. I can feel His love in the hug of the two year old girl I nanny, and see it in the eyes of my friend who thinks she is beyond redemption and yet holds onto hope. I see Him in change for the better, in flowers among the thorns, in nature that continues to heal and rebuild-no matter how many times it is destroyed.

The tree of life in the vision is the love of God and the seeds are grown inside of you! You taste it only when it is grown and bearing fruit. When you have become and are able to issue to others the true love of God.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Venture to Remember

A Venture to Remember

Tonight I went walking in memory lane,
Picking flowers from tree's most reminiscent to me.
First blown in with the scent of fresh fallen rain,
Came visions of growing, which taught my closed eyes to see
Lost dreams and lost passions that time has proved vain,
Which had sprung up behind me in the cracks of the lee
Whose shelter I crawled from, and yet I left fain
To explore the forgotten held in my memory.
For then I saw blossoms of laughter and game
And among glowing branches I danced joyous, happy
To remember their shining moments of flame.
My dancing brought me to the shores of a great black sea
Into which I careened with no thought of pain
Until crashing down on my heart and mind came the key
To rememb'ring why I'd no love of the lane
And why stayed so many years in the safe little lee
Hidden, forgetting, with no venture to diegn
Tempt me from imagined invulnerability.
Yet then I was trapped neath the waves of my bane
And suffered full punishment for the things I let be
That could have been succored with a righteous aim
If only I had listened when called upon to see.
A hand reached to grab me from waves that would maim
And laid me upon sweet smelling florets so softly
That I wept from the sudden absence of pain.
I looked up for the savior passionately
And tears stung my eyes for the unforseen gain
Of a friend I'd forgotten lived here in memory.
His smile angelic, he called out my name
And told me he had always been and always would be
The force I could lean on to keep my soul sane
To keep me from wallowing in my own misery.
He took up my hand and together we came,
Through long meadows of flowers each more precious to me
Home by the trial of my memory lane.