Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Today was a rotten day. The problem was that I didn’t feel well. Whenever I have some odd thing wrong with my body, I get extremely emotional because I suddenly feel the weight of all the time I’ve spent feeling ill in the past few years and because I am terrified that the old strange sickness is returning, that the progress I believe I’ve made is all a dream . . . etc. etc. I know, I know. Bad habit. Lack of faith. Self-fulfilling prophecy. Ingratitude. Knowing all of this only too well means that in addition to feeling miserable and terrified, I also feel extremely guilty. (“This is just a tiny little thing! You’ve been so much better! You’ll be better soon! So many people are so much worse off! How dare you be depressed by this?”)
So it was a bad day. So I was an emotional nutcase already.
And then someone, a friend that I love dearly, gave me some advice about something that she doesn’t know all the facts about. And since she didn’t really know what she was talking about, her advice didn’t really apply and yet it still hurt to know that she saw me as being in need of such counsel. Of course, being a walking time-bomb, I let it completely devastate me.
Luckily, I didn’t let on. Because I could see then (and, of course, even more clearly now) that she was really trying to help, truly speaking out of love for me.
One of the things that hurts about it, though, is that I realized again how many times I do the same thing to other people. I’m an oldest child, a teacher, a permanent preacher, a know-it-all, a bossy-pants. I try to advise people. It’s got to be so annoying! Of course I do it out of love, out of a desire to help people avoid pain that I had to go through. But that doesn’t matter. Doing it implies that I don’t trust them to find their own way. Doing so implies that I think I know the whole story. Doing so is something I’ve got to quit!
I wonder how many people I have hurt deeply by this behavior. Occasionally someone will tell me I’ve been out of line. This, of course, hurts a lot, but I’ve been grateful for it because it has given me a chance to examine myself, apologize and repent.
However, I have never been able to do the same: to tell someone that they have hurt me deeply with something they’ve said.
I’ve been wondering why that is. Part of it is cowardice. I’m just not very assertive. I shake when there is confrontation. Part of it is that I know how much it hurts me when someone confronts me. I always mean well, and when someone confronts me it is obvious that they didn’t know I meant well, or that it didn’t matter to them that I meant well, or that they felt it was more important to teach me than to forgive me. Again, I’ve been grateful, actually, when people have done so but it has been very painful. I truly don’t want to cause that kind of pain for anyone. But does wanting to avoid that do them a disservice, or is it better to just forgive them, and assume they meant well?
When is it right to tell someone they’ve hurt you, and when is it better to just try to forgive and forget? How do you decide?
Saturday, December 27, 2008
6 random, abstract, weird things about me.
1. I can wiggle my nose three different ways, wiggle one ear, and raise my eyebrows independent of each other.
2. One of the biggest signs that I am aging is that I can hardly stand stress in movies anymore. As in, I can’t watch car chases or intense shoot-up scenes or pretty much anything violent. I am turning into a wussy old lady.
3. I like to eat roast beef gravy on cottage cheese.
4. In order to sleep, I can’t have any skin exposed to the air. All pajamas must have long sleeves, and I have to pull the covers up to my chin (with the sheet folded out over them).
5. I pretty much don’t like any beverage except water.
6. I feel a little guilt and a lot of relief that the lady at the screening desk when I was donating blood last time found something on my papers that excluded me. I’m assuming (possibly wrongly) that whatever it was (can’t remember), it was permanent and I can never donate blood again. I’m sorry, but that experience gave me such anxiety that I am very pleased not to have to do it again. (Wooziness about medical things is the reason I had all my babies without anesthesia—it wasn’t bravery. Oh, no. It was fear of a NEEDLE in my SPINE.)
And now I tag . . . let's see . . . Michelle L. and Zina.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Christmas at our house:
Well, we figured it was our patriotic duty to help the economy by buying a Wii this year. (I've probably mentioned my aversion to game systems here before, so some of you may be surprised. Justification: the wii, with four controllers, is a family game that encourages physical activity. You can't deny that last part when you watch this, can you?)
The game they're playing is Olympics and the event is "Swimming." Notice youngest's foot motion. I've got a gold medalist in the making . . .
Monday, December 22, 2008
I think one of the hardest things about being a woman, particularly a stay-home mother, in this generation, is not ever knowing what is required of me. Sure, I know the general things (put family first, serve others, be an example, seek knowledge and inspiration) and some specifics (hold family home evening and family prayer, read the scriptures, have family dinner together, try to get out of debt, be a good housekeeper). But when it gets down to filling the actual minutes, it is very hard to tell what is required of me. Because it’s impossible to judge what is necessary to get the results I want. If I choose to dust and vacuum today instead of reading a great book, does that affect eternity? Should I read to my kids or make bread? Does anyone really care? How can one choice, for one hour, make a difference?
It’s a problem of too much leisure, really. I choose to be home with my kids, but they don’t need or want me to be giving my whole attention to them for all the hours we are together. So what do I do? In my mother’s generation, and even more so in her mother’s, there was more work to be done. Women were home, but they were busy with the laundry, etc. When my father was a boy, there was no question of how much undivided attention he got from his mother. The answer was: hardly any. Eight kids and hardly any money meant a lot of work for her and a lot of kids running free through the neighborhood (which was a safe thing to do back then).
These days I crave to know what is required of me. I wouldn’t trade my life of ease and freedom with my predecessors, but I envy them their surety about how to fill the days.
Friday, December 12, 2008
They are foreign to me.
And when I say “Vegas,” I’m not talking about the nice, Mormon-filled suburbs (really, there are a lot of Mormons out there and, really, there are some nice suburbs). I’m talking about the Strip.
Hubby and I spent a few days there because we “won” some hotel nights and free tickets, blah, blah, blah, for listening to a time-share schpiel. And because we could visit Grandma and Grandpa on the way (and leave the kids there, too).
And somehow our time on the Strip didn't end up being like any of the commercials.
We stayed at the Tropicana. Dirty carpet. “Non-smoking” room that reeked of smoke (but they’ll happily come spray air-freshener if you complain). Sleazy-looking casino. Over-priced, tasteless food.
I’ve decided that there might be something cool about Vegas to people who have lots of money. (Then you could actually afford to shop at those gorgeous stores! And since you could afford show tickets, you’d have somewhere to wear the stuff you bought!) But for those of us who are cheap and don’t gamble, there’s nothing. But the thing is that while you’re there, you’re always excruciatingly aware of what there is to have. You know that there are very very rich people among you, somewhere (or else how could all those stores stay in business?). Everywhere there is evidence that STUFF must be worth having. Everything around is designed to breed dissatisfaction with yourself: you don’t have enough. You aren’t beautiful enough.
It’s a universe dedicated to materialism.
I find the contrast (between the kind of people who I see there, mostly, and between the kind of world that the casinos are designed to make you want to believe in) interesting. I was standing in line at the check-in counter and heard two women behind me discussing their clothes. Apparently one had just bought some designer boots for an outrageous amount of money that must have been a “good” deal. The other one was ooh-ing and aah-ing over them, and over the good deal her friend had gotten. The way they talked about their clothes and their shopping painted a picture for me: these must be some beautiful, rich-looking women! When I finally turned around, I saw two women who looked like people I see all the time at K-mart or Walmart. Greasy hairstyles stuck in the early 80’s (bangs to heaven) and all. And what I couldn’t believe is that they were so thrilled with some designer boots. Does anyone, anyone in their lives really care? (And what does this description say about me and my judgmentalism? Like they didn’t deserve the boots since they looked like typical middle-class America?)
But, really, what’s the point? Of any of it?
Is there really such thing as glamour? Does anyone ever feel it, or is it only something that other people have?
So here’s just an example of the lack of glamour in my Las Vegas vacation. Our activities on Tuesday:
Wake up. Eat cold cereal and milk in paper bowls (brought from home in a cooler—can’t stand spending $12 on a mediocre hotel breakfast).
Invite Grandpa to bring the kids to the hotel for a swim. Swim with them, then supervise the mass shower and cleanup in our room. Send Grandpa and kids off.
Head to Harrah’s where we have “free” tickets for the magic show. After parking in the boonies and walking a mile to the box office, we find out that the “free” tickets are only free if we pay for two alcoholic drinks during the show ($25). Decide we didn’t really want to see that particular show that much.
Walk a ways until we find Ghiradelli’s (we have a 20% off coupon, and I have never forgotten the heavenly chocolate milkshake we got at Ghiradelli’s in Hawaii) and order two hot fudge sundaes. Eat about six bites each because we haven’t had lunch and the sugar is too much on an empty stomach and because the hot fudge becomes impenetrable as soon as it cools. Feel stupid because that’s about $13 down the tube.
Walk a couple of miles down the strip to the Half Price Ticket kiosk to see if we can get Cirque du Soleil tickets for half price. Wait in line a long time. Find out that we can get them for $65 (regularly $70!). Hmmm. We could afford $35 or $40, but not $65.
Exhausted and hungry, I can’t make it the long way back to Harrah’s and then the other long way through Harrah’s to the parking space, so Rog runs off to get the car while I wait on a bench. And wait, and wait, because the map Roger has isn’t clear enough about the road that seems to go to the Strip but instead goes under it for a few blocks.
Tired and desperately hungry now, we drive around away from the strip for some normal food. Eat at Taco Time. Stop at the grocery store to stock up for supper: baguette, spinach dip and raspberries. Watch dvds on our portable player the rest of the evening, stopping for card games and crossword puzzles. Enjoy being together.
There. How’s that for a glamorous vacation? See why I adore Las Vegas?
On the way out, the people in the elevator asked, “Win anything?” (We never even pulled a slot machine.) When we shook our heads, they said, “Neither did we,” glumly. Guess their vacation was glamorous, too.
[I do have to mention, by the way, that our time with the parents was very nice. And just hanging out with my sweetheart, wherever we are, is always nice. It's just humorous to me how much we fail at having a Vegas experience . . . Wonder if anyone's Vegas trips turn out like the commercials.]
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Friday, December 05, 2008
But I grew up. And now I can’t even watch Mark Hamill without practically wretching. Did I ever think he was cute??? (Because obviously “handsome” doesn’t, and didn’t, apply and neither did “sexy.”) Ew. But Harrison Ford . . . ah, that’s something else. Yes, Mom, you were right. (Although I still won’t agree with you about Neil Diamond. Double ew.)
So I guess I grew up in taste.
So I’m wondering whether it’s that I’m an old (“mature”) lady now, or whether there is an actual change in what is considered handsome between generations. Because I cannot find anything attractive whatsoever about the actor who plays Edward in Twilight and who also played Cedric in Harry Potter. In both of these movies, the characters played by this guy were, according to the books, supposed to be devastatingly attractive with such heights of attractiveness that said attractiveness could not be denied by anyone who saw them. But I find nothing at all attractive about this guy. What’s wrong with me? And furthermore, I can’t find anything attractive about the actors who play Jasper and Emmett either. And all of these guys are supposed to be supernaturally good-looking.
Is it just me? Are there other women out there who are my age who find these actors completely unattractive? Is it an age thing, a maturity thing, or a matter of personal taste?
Probably an age thing. Because I found the actors who played Charlie and Billy much more attractive than the vampires—and of course, Charlie and Billy are “adults.”
When I went to see Twilight, I had already braced myself for being disappointed in the casting. I actually didn’t mind that the vampires weren’t anything I'd ever consider attractive. And although I can’t believe anyone finds that Edward actor attractive, that didn’t bother me all that much either. The chick who played Bella did fine—being appropriately pouty and lacking a personality, just as the one in the book does (is it that hard to actually smile at anyone? ever?). And Billy and Charlie were good, and Bella’s mom. I really liked Bella’s classmates (oops, I almost said “friends,” but that would imply that she was capable of friendship). So, in general, I was tolerating things OK . . .
Until I saw the person they had cast as Jacob.
There is NO WAY that that baby-faced, Donny-Osmond-grinning kid could be Jacob. As soon as I saw him, I knew I would never see another Twilight movie, or watch this one again. Jacob, as I’ve mentioned, has always been my favorite, for several reasons. Not the least of which is that he is just sexier. The whole Quilute thing is sexy to me, the wolf in him, the mystery.
And there is NO mystery, no maturity, nothing interesting about this Jacob. He looks like what he was probably meant to be in this movie: a teenage pin-up, meant to be cute but not distract too much from the Main Couple.
If they make a movie out of New Moon, which is hugely about Jacob, and keep this same actor I’m going to wretch. A whole movie out of this cutie-pie? Gag, gag, gag.
Sigh. So the movie wasn’t meant for me. (And was I expecting it would be?) It was meant for someone with 13-year-old taste and, from what I hear, it has succeeded in hitting that market. Good for them. But, sigh.