Archives of Our Lives

{a narrow and broad look into the lives of people I love}

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

[Comfort Music]

Blogging five days a week is a real drag.

Aren't you all sick of my blog? I'm sick of my blog.

We got back to Canada today. I could go on and on about how bloomin' cold it is here, or how I miss the green winter lawns of my home state, or I could talk about That Baby some more...but it would be redundant, really. We all know I thrive in Mesa; we all know I enjoy green grass; and we all really know I love That Baby more than I ever thought I would be able to love any human child.

But I won't bore you with it all over again.

I realised something on my long drive up to Canada. During the winter, I've noticed a lot of cooking blogs post recipes for "comfort food." Dishes like beef stroganoff, vegetable stew, and piping hot lasagna are supposed to take us back to "the good ol' days" and make us forget all our cares (like snow tires and frozen windshield wiper fluid).

I have always totally believed in--and supported--the notion of comfort food. And I got to thinking on the drive up to the north country, as I flipped through songs on my iPod while scanning a cooking magazine, "Aha! Comfort music!"

Comfort music. Songs, albums, or playlists that we've known forever, or that got us through a particularly hard time (read: and icy-cold Canadian winter). For example, my dear friend Chelsie sent me a mix of songs two years ago when I was living here in Canada (before I knew I'd really be living here in Canada someday). It was the perfect blend of Relient K, Rent, Wicked, and random Canadian songs; I listened to it over and over and over, and I have no doubt that I might've not survived being so far from home without it.

That's comfort music.

And Billy Joel--pretty much every song he ever wrote is comfort music to me. I was introduced to his musical genius back in seventh grade, and since then, there has never been a time when I haven't embraced his music [unlike various "it" bands, like the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears, who came and went faster than any kid could get through high school].

If you don't have any comfort music, get some. I am convinced that comfort music is an absolute necessity for these winter months--every bit as important as scarves and touques and chicken noodle soup. If you haven't heard Piano Man by Billy Joel--hear it. Borrow it as your own comfort music until you find your own.

And if you already know what comfort music means to you...do tell.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

North for the Winter

I'm apologising now for the fact that will soon be made known to you:

This is going to be a short post.

It is so draining to say goodbye to people I love. In the words of my mom...I can't hardly stand it.

I never knew I could love a human child like I love that boy. Truth be told, his was the hardest goodbye. My parents' was sad, too, as was my sister and brother-in-law and grandma.

After that, I gave up. We just skipped town without saying goodbye to anyone else. So if you are in Mesa and saw me there just a few days ago, now you know: I'm gone.

We've just spent 15 hours on the road and have stopped over in a quaint new hotel that has eight fluffy pillows on its king sized bed. In other words, I've died. And gone to Heaven (despite what my heckler might have wished upon me).

And to anyone who lives, has lived, or ever will live in Utah: I just want you to know that I am impressed at how well you all are keeping the billboard business alive and thriving--this stretch of I-15 has been fascinating. I put away my Real Simple magazine and read the side of the road. Truly.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

{For the Sake of Progress}

Well, it is finished. I have taken off two of my blogger friends' blogs. I feel kind of sick inside; I'm generally a nice kind of person, and I don't fancy kiboshing people I know and love. Alas...Emily and Tessa must have been too busy to post, so off they came.

Still, I am a forgiving person, and any blogs that get deleted from mine can easily get put back on--just let me know when you've posted again!

Anyway...everything is changing around here. I almost can't take it anymore. First there was Matta's. That alone was almost enough to send me over the edge, but I am slowly getting over it.

Then, last night, the president of my church died. Gordon Bitner Hinckley. He was aged--97, to be exact--so it wasn't really a shock. But it was certainly a sad day. Have you ever known someone so innately good...someone who seems never to disappoint you--never let you down? He was that kind of guy [a person would have to be, with all those responsibilities]. And it's not like he was some unknown, mysterious celebrity who would never talk reporters or stay hidden behind dark sunglasses. The man spoke to me--to all the members of the church within satellite range--multiple times a year. I have no less than 10 eloquent (and meaningful) quotes of his memorized, right at the tip of my head. How many people in the world are equally worth memorizing? The world is a less-optimistic place without him.

So Matta's is gone; the prophet is dead.

But here's what really seals the deal, making this week a sad one:

They painted Golf Land/SunSplash. If you don't live in Mesa, or have never been to Arizona, then this shouldn't matter to you. Not one bit. But to anyone who has ever made childhood memories at the legendary water park and game world, this will probably come as a tragic blow.

{photo courtesy of about.com}

And even though it actually looks pretty good, and I can't really remember what colour it used to be (blue? white? grey?), it nevertheless makes me sad to see the changes. Gone are the old-school days of "my" Golfland. The Golfland where I went on my first wretched, wretched date. The Golfland where Chelsie and I flat-out spied on one of Lindsey's most thrilling dates. Gone.

Everything is changing around here, and I'm not so sure I like it.

Progress for the sake of progress? Come, now--is this really necessary?

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Local News

Poor Kyle had to fly down from Canada to drive me back there. I guess he thought I wouldn't actually come back.

What dear? Tomorrow's high is supposed to be freezing? Oh, that's nice. Mesa got rain today, and hail, too. It was very exciting. What's that? You had to shovel yourself out of the driveway to get to work? You were 20 minutes late? Your truck never did heat up on the thirty-minute drive? That's too bad...

I guess his suspicions were warranted. But he's here now, and we're headed to Texas to visit the far-away grandparents tomorrow. The whole lot of us--me, Poor Kyle, Adell, Clint, The Baby, and my parents. Should be a real adventure.

Since I'll be signing off for the weekend, I thought it best to leave you all with something to mull over. I do not subscribe to Google Reader (which is an application that people know when someone's blog has been updated). I find it rather thrilling to click on all the links of all the people I know (and some people I don't know).

I do not find it thrilling, however, to clickity-click on the links of boring bloggers who rarely update. It hurts my heart. In fact, there are some links I don't even bother clicking anymore, since I know I'll only be met with the painful sting of rejection. So when I come back on Monday, I am going to load up my Firefox, open my blog, and go through all of the links in both of my link-lists on the right hand side of the page. Any blogs that have not been updated in over a month are getting the kibosh. That's right. The Big Kibosh.

[Back when I was at ASU, I got so frustrated with all the "local news" guys--who would exchange phone numbers with me but never call--that I did this same thing. I went through my cell phone contact list, phoned all the contacts I'd not heard from in a while {if ever} and informed them I'd be taking them off my contact list to leave room for more with-it guys. I got quite a few lovely dates out of this tactic, but in the end, I became so disillusioned with ASU and its pitiful excuse for a meaningful student body, that I just moved to Canada. **Sorry if you went to ASU. No, truly. I am sorry. From the bottom of my heart. And if you're going there now, my advice to you is get the heck out of that hellhole, before it's too late.**]

But I digress.

To Whom it May Concern:

The following bloggers are in peril of no longer being my friend (my gosh, I feel like I'm in 4th grade all over again! I suppose I should un-invite all of you to my birthday party, too), and run the risk of being exterminated from the link list on the right-hand side of this blog. This is getting out of hand. You're becoming local news:

-Lindsey Burnham (I know you're working on one)
-Afton Willis (my gosh, Afton, give me a break!)
-Allison Pierce
-Emily Lewis
-Kim Fontes--(tsk tsk tsk)
-Tessa Burt

I know all of you are probably spectacularly busy, but come on...just one measly post. Everybody's doing it! And if you don't care whether or not I keep your link on my blog...just keep right on not posting.

Also, I have noticed a few new people saying hello to me, and I am tickled pink to know of you! I've been reading most of your blogs, and if you comment on this post, I'll make sure to add you to my links--I need to have something to put on my list of people who I actually know, since I have a feeling many of the aforementioned bloggers will shun my call to action.

Out with the old, and in with the new! I think that's how it goes.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

{Not Forgotten}

A part of me has died. A rather large part of me.

Matta's. Gone. Closed. This is an outrage. How could they do this to me? How could they knowingly shut down the institution that made my life worth living? How could they close their doors and shut me off--cut me off--from the only chips and salsa I have ever actually tasted in my dreams? How does the Matta family sleep at night?

You can read the story--what meager explanation it might give--here.

I've made some really special memories there, and now...they're all I have. Oh, sure, the Matta family says they're relocating somewhere else in Mesa. Only they don't know where. And they don't know when. And really, would I even enjoy it anymore without the old-town, been-here-since-before-I-was-born, my-mom-ate-there-after-her-first-time-through-the-temple ambiance? I sincerely doubt it. They haven't even promised that their salsa will be the same at this alleged "new location," nor were they willing to sell the recipe. Not for my car. Not for a million dollars. Not even for my soul [I offered]. They tried tossing me a bone with the whole, "There's still a Matta's Grill open somewhere out in the boondocks" line. But when questioned, the despondent-looking veteran-waitress of 21 years could not guarantee me it would be the same Matta's I've always loved...so I'm not buying it.

To more accurately express my deep sense of loss, I have put together a short film [it's not really seven minutes long...more like five and a half. I had trouble cutting down the song in iMovie, so as soon as the music ends, let it be a sign that the movie is over]:

"The End of Life as We've Heretofore Known It"

video

To anyone who has ever chosen to have dinner at El Charro over Matta's: shame on you. Shame on all of you. And shame on me, for marrying out of the Arizonan Covenant, moving to Canada, and letting it come to this.

The worst part of the whole tragic tale? Matta's was the only Mexican food that Poor Kyle has ever enjoyed, and ever considered eating a second time.

And...my life will never be the same.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

O, Poetry!

I have struggled with poetry all my life. I don't really like it. Don't really need it. Nevertheless, my teachers in high school and college seemed insistent that I familiarize myself--but I think it is basically bogus. I can make anything poetic. And if anything can be poetry, why does the word "poetry" even exist?

Watch:

"Poetry"
by
--cps Fairbanks--

I have struggled
With poetry
All
My
Life.
I don't really like
It.
Don't really need
It--
Poetry.

See? Poetry. And yesterday when I was tending my nephew, I happened upon a collection of Emily Dickinson's "masterpieces," just the sort of thing my English teacher sister would stow away in her son's diaper bag. Fully prepared to mock her every word, I opened the book and was shocked to find myself actually relating to a poem she'd written about snow:

"It Sifts from Leaden Sieves"
by Emily Dickinson
It sifts from Leaden Sieves --
It powders all the Wood.


It fills with Alabaster Wool
The Wrinkles of the Road --


It makes an Even Face
Of Mountain, and of Plain --
Unbroken Forehead from the East
Unto the East again --

It reaches to the Fence --
It wraps it Rail by Rail


Till it is lost in Fleeces --
It deals Celestial Vail

To Stump, and Stack -- and Stem --
A Summer's empty Room --


Acres of Joints, where Harvests were,
Recordless, but for them--

It Ruffles Wrists of Posts
As Ankles of a Queen --


Then stills its Artisans -- like Ghosts --
Denying they have been --

I took these photos last month, long before I ever knew Emily Dickinson had found similar beauty in the snow. Of course it's good and well to talk about the beauty of the snow now that I don't have to deal with it. Tomorrow's high for Phoenix is 66 degrees...

If the Canadians
Are lucky--
It will
Get up
to
Freezing.

by
--cps Fairbanks--

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Monday, January 21, 2008

{Learning}

Here's something people might not guess about me: I was wild in my youth.

Not wild wild. I never had any desire to drink or do drugs (though there was a phase during my teenagehood that I considered planting a pack of cigarettes in my bedroom just so my parents would think I was wayward, thus making anything "bad" I did afterwards not seem so bad after all. [I never did follow through with that notion. I guess it wasn't such a great idea. They probably would have shipped me off to Dr. Phil's boot camp]).

No, my wildness was fairly mild. [That's right--I was a mild wild child.] Basically I was just...off the walls. Hyper. Enthusiastic. Passionate. Enigmatic. Psycho.

Adults hated me, essentially.

If I--as an adult--had known me then, I would have hated me. I mean, just look at me:


I was the girl who made even the most stalwart primary teachers beg to be released (there's a true story to back me up on that one). Every time I run into someone who used to be in our ward, I cringe--they always start out saying, "You're Camille? Camille Strate? Man...I remember when..."

I was the Marky Davis of the Maricopa Stake.

As most hyper, enthusiastic, psychotic children do, I got in trouble a lot. Most of the time, "getting into trouble" was no big deal. I'd get sent to my room. I liked my room. It gave me time to think about what I'd done and look at my rock collection. [I named my rocks. (Like I said: psycho.)] But occasionally, I would get in trouble and it would really stick. I knew I'd crossed the line. I knew I was busted. And I hated it.

Like the time I was shimmying up the palm trees at Lincoln Elementary and Ms. Hinshaw, the P.E. teacher, came out and gave me 3-day detention. I guess climbling trees wasn't allowed--unfortunate, since I had such a knack for scaling tall edifices.

And the time I got my good friend's bike stolen. Oh boy, was that bad.

And the time I skipped Mr. Buck's Junior AP U.S. History class to addend a boy's volleyball tournament--which Mr. Buck just happened to attend, also. That was a big-time bust. (Though I distinctly remember getting in less trouble than Sadie Babbott*, who did the same thing and lied about it. At least B and I told the truth...) But it was nevertheless bad.

There have been more recent escapades, too. Right after high school graduation, for example, I went to England with my good friend and got into a nice heated debate with the bobbies. We'd been misbehaving, naturally. I was so ashamed of myself.

I still get in trouble occasionally; only as an adult, I can't simply go to my room. As an adult, "going to my room" would mean I'm just running away from confrontation. I suppose part of being an adult is 1) not getting into trouble anymore, and 2) owning up to it if I do.

I got in trouble recently, and it was bad. I could feel the confrontation brewing just like granny can feel a storm coming on; I could feel it in my bones. And in my blood pressure. My heart beats faster. My hands shake. My eyes dart about the premises, frantically searching for the nearest escape--anywhere but "here" will do. That is me in the face of confrontation.

I am such a little girl. 21 years old, and I might as well be a toddler, for all the "growing up" I've done.

These kinds of realisations are most unpleasant... When I was a little kid, "saying sorry" was such a good solution--the natural solution--to all of my tight spots. It worked every time. My question now is...am I past that? Is there anything that we adults are supposed to do differently--anything more sincere than "sorry?" And if so, why don't they teach a class on that in high school? It would have been substantially more valuable than most of the other blather I sat through...

*Names have been changed for privacy's sake*

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

{MVD}

Sick of baby talk? That's understandable. I'll talk about something new today...

...Like the Motor Vehicle Division. The sole purpose of the Motor Vehicle Division is to remind God-fearing people here on Earth to behave themselves, or else they'll end up stuck there eternally in the afterlife. That's right. The Motor Vehicle Division is very akin to Hell. Hades. The Underworld. Pit of Eternal Damnation. The Catholic church should forget about Hail Marys--a real punishment for sins would be to send people to the Motor Vehicle Division, give them a numeric ticket, and rig the electronic board so that it never calls their number. And if they've done something really bad, like killed a man or fornicated, the Father could find an extremely fertile parishioner to drag all her children in to the waiting area and let them run amok. A retribution worse than death.

Since I moved out of the country and failed to have my address changed, I missed the cut-off for renewing my car's registration, which meant I could not send in a cheque, because it would take too long to receive my tags in the mail and thus inhibit my driving freedoms during my stay in Arizona. I was forced to submit myself to the horrible experience in person.

It had been a while since I'd visited the Motor Vehicle Division; I knew when I entered, the first step is to take a number, but I could not locate a ticket dispenser for love nor money (and I tried both). Finally I asked one of the less-crusty individuals who already had his ticket, "Hey, where'd you get that," motioning to his golden ticket. (Okay, it was white. But it may as well have been diamond, it was that valuable.)

He nodded his head in the general direction of a very long line, and I clarified, "I have to wait in line just to get a ticket to wait in line?"

He crinkled his eyes, smugly looking me up and down, and I could almost hear him thinking, "Hiya, toots...a nice girl like you doesn't belong in a place like this. Might as well turn around and git--you'll never make it."

Not to be deterred, I made my way towards the line for the unfortunate souls like me, twice nearly slipping to my death on wayward bouncy balls and chew toys. [No...chew toys are for dogs. What are those plastic water-filled squishy things that babies munch on when they're growing teeth? Teething rings? One of those.] I don't know why people don't get a sitter for their children when they have an appointment with the Motor Vehicle Division.

After 20 minutes of waiting in line for the line, and I was officially given a ticket allowing me to wait some more. K667 was my number. I found a seat in between Gold Velor Sweatsuit Man and Bubblicious Bubble Gum Smacking Woman. Bad choice. Only choice. D@#!mn. Looking up at the electronic board recording what number was being "served" ("sentenced" would be a more appropriate action word) at which counter, I was thrilled to see that we were on K666. I was up next! What luck! [The triple sixes should have tipped me off, but I was too naive to think that anything but K667 could come after K666.]

My heart raced as the numbers on the board changed and a robotic voice announced, "Now serving number..."

"Here we go," I thought, gathering my bag and car keys, "let's get this show on the road."

"A001."

"Nooooooooooooo.... They've started the sequence over again!" I mentally did some calculations and concluded that there were a lot of letters between A and K, and even more numbers between 001 and 667. D@#!mn.

As it turned out, and as is true with most demonic institutions, there was zero rhyme and zero reason to the numbers called. After A001 came B405 and 406 and then 410. Then on to the letter O and its accompanying 332 and 354. I started keeping track of the letters and numbers, thinking maybe there was a word of the day and the Motor Vehicle Division People have to guess what is being spelled out.

"Let's see...I came in on the letter 'K' and next it was 'A,' 'B,' and 'O.'"

"KABOB!!!" I exclaimed, jumping up and waving my ticket around like a maniac, my wild eyes looking for confetti or a giant balloon or any kind of prize. All I got were a few children jumping up and down with me, thinking it was some kind of something fun. The adults didn't even bat any of their eyes--lunatic behaviour is not uncommon at the Motor Vehicle Division.

When they finally did call K667, I walked shakily up to counter 8, where one of The Tempter's Demons informed me that I could not pay for my registration until my car passed Emissions--another hour's worth of waiting in line.

As I made my way out the door, dejectedly, the words of that less-crusty man echoed in my wasted head.

"You'll never make it...never make it...never...make it."

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Should Have Knocked on Wood...

...when I titled that last post, "R & R."


I'm on baby duty tonight. Preston is so soft and round. He's got a double chin and dimples. He's quite a lovely child. And, yet...so stressful.

It just goes to figure that Adell would bear a child who doesn't know what to do with his hands; so he has to be wrapped up tightly all the time. Swaddled, they call it. Otherwise he smacks himself in the face. And sometimes at night he cries just to cry. Not hungry, not stinky, not anything but just...kind of belligerent. Of course babies can't really be belligerent, because that would mean they could feel spite, and I won't believe that he's spiteful. I think he just doesn't quite know--well, anything. Yet.

Anyway, Preston doesn't like me as much as he likes his Grandma. But that's okay. I wasn't expecting him to love me straight off the bat, like I did him.

It's strange, that. I can spend lots of time meeting new people at church, or school, or anywhere, and maybe--maybe--a fourth of them I end up loving. But this little guy? Absolute, unconditional love. Immediately. Most strangers I meet don't poop their pants; Preston does. Most strangers don't totally ignore me when I'm talking to them; Preston does. Most strangers don't scream in my ear for extended periods of time; Preston definitely does. But despite his unfortunate quirks, I feel like there's nothing this boy could ever do to make me love him any less. Weird.

Must be because he doesn't have any cats.

He's sleeping now. I wish I could, too. But every noise he makes draws my attention. I'm afraid he's going to choke on his spit-up, or turn his head the wrong way and not be able to lift it and then he'll suffocate. He's stressing me out.

Which is why being Auntie 'Mille is far superior to being "Mommy." In my {ahem} humble opinion.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

R & R

Here I am. Home again.

I've been gone three months, but really it feels like I have never left.

I met my new nephew. He's nice enough. Kind of finicky. He expects a lot of the people around him. Likes things just so. I think the general idea of his child rearing experience (i.e. his life) is for everyone in his vicinity to dote on him. Completely. He doesn't fancy me. I'm not the doting type...not yet. And it's true what Adell said about the French. He doesn't fancy that either. He'll learn what his Auntie 'Mille (pronounced "ant-ee meal") is all about, though. We'll get through this phase together.

I'm staying at his house, though, and I'll be honest--tonight's my first night; I'm not fancying waking up every three hours when he does. Go figure. So we'll see how it goes. I might move back to my parents' house before long.

When my plane landed and I debarked, my dad met me at the gate [one of the many perks of a parent who works at US Airways]. It was good to get a few one-on-one minutes with him. Then my mom and my Grandma picked me up, along with Preston. What fun it was to see them all! It's lovely here in Mesa. It's like I never left. The only thing different is that Bath and Body Works had its huge sale, and all my relatives consequently have Wallflower air fresheners in their homes. Mesa smells better than I remember.

I've had my first Super Burrito Carne, and my first Diet Doctor Pepper** from QT. We're well on our way.

As it is, I'm quite fatigued, but in keeping with my 5-days-a-week resolve, I thought I'd better post. So here is the post. Tomorrow I'll write something better. Promise.

Oh, and post script: Thank you to all the people who came out of the shadows and let me know they're reading my blog--what a thrilling surprise! Also, thank you to the 16 people who've voted so far. And whoever said I should never. ever. post on this blog...are you the same person who told me I could just go to Hell? Just come out with it already; I'm really curious to know who you are, and what you have against me!

**I read and re-read this sentence. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with it. Finally, it hit me like lightning: I spelled out "Doctor Pepper." Who does that? It's Dr Pepper (with no "." at the end of Dr.). I've been away for far, far too long.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

The Great Debate

I am trying to post more often. Have you noticed? Last week I wrote on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I am trying for the 5-days-a-week type of blog. Make it more like a job. Make myself more dedicated to "the cause." ["The cause" is yet to be determined, since my blog still hasn't defined its real purpose in the e-niverse.] Make my life have one more meaning.

There's a problem, though. In all my natural indecision, I can't decide if this aforementioned resolve is a good one. In my life, checking peoples' blogs is a daily (and often bi/tri-daily occurrence, if I'm particularly unmotivated to do more productive things). Reading blogs comes as a real joy to me, but I don't know if I'm the only person this obsessive. Is it good to post so much, or bothersome? Do you, as a person who is currently reading this blog, feel obligated to check up on me, or is "blogging" your idea of a real good time? How much are we really alike, you and me? Shall I blog a very lot, or very little? And please don't give me some answer like, "It's up to you, Camille. Whatever makes you happy." Because it's not about me. I blog because I like writing, yes; but mostly because I like to entertain.

So I am putting it up to you all. Not fishing for compliments {ahem}, just wondering if I'd be a nuisance or not. Do keep in mind the question isn't whether or not you like my blog...I'm assuming since you read it, you like it. Nor is the question whether I should change the way I write--because I won't. I just want to know if reading this blog 5 days a week would be tedious.

In an effort to come to an educated conclusion, I'm taking a poll...look to the right-hand side of your screen. See it? So take a moment to vote--let your voices be heard. I won't get my feelings hurt if you think blogging 5 days a week is too much. Truly. No, really. I want to know. I'm not fond of being a bother, so if you have any opinion on the matter whatsoever, speak up!

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

We're So Stupid...

Kyle has the shingles...

...I once had the shingles.

Do you know how rare it is to contract a case of shingles while under the age of 50? Very rare indeed. The odds that both Kyle and I would have them (I got them when I was just 18) are unreal. They're not contagious, either, so it's not like I gave them to him. He just woke up one day and bam! Shingles!

As soon as his doctor diagnosed the problem, he immediately put orange drops of something in Kyle's right eye, to make sure the virus wasn't spreading (which could cause blindness). It hadn't spread. Good news.

Last night, however, Kyle felt a swelling and stinging on his right temple, and his eyes looked really bloodshot (like pink eye, which is a symptom of the shingles), and I was sure he was going more blind by the minute. He straightaway phoned his mom, who is our resident pre-doctor contact. She tells us if what we have is serious enough to warrant calling the doctor. (She qualifies for this role by--aside from raising four healthy children--having attended one year of nursing school back when she was 19. She may as well be our primary caretaker.)

The doctor wasn't home. We phoned Kyle's mom again. She said to go to the Emergency Room.

Now, going to the Emergency Room where I grew up (in America) is a big deal. If it's the weekend and the doctor's office is closed, we go to the Urgent Care (which is similar to the Emergency Room, but different). If the Urgent Care is closed, we bust out the Doctor's Book of Home Remedies and try every--every--suggestion. But we don't go to the Emergency Room. The Emergency Room costs a lot of money. You have to be almost dead to make it worth your while--in America. In Canada, though? Free.

So though I hesitated agreeing to the Emergency Room because of the "big huge deal" implications, I also didn't want my husband to go blind.

We went.

I gotta say, I was not expecting it to be so...pokey. I know I live in a thriving town of 2,500 people, but I always assumed that since we are big enough for a hospital, there would be...I dunno...people there. The doors to the ER were locked, first of all. We had to ring a buzzer once, twice, three times, before the one and only nurse roused herself enough to let us in. Here Kyle was becoming more blind every second, and the one and only nurse would not let us in! I was just grateful it wasn't a heart attack or something. He'd have died, freezing on the hospital steps. There's irony for ya.

Next, Miss One and Only asked Kyle for his Alberta Health Card, which he'd misplaced years ago. I suppose free health care does come with its costs. In Canada, it's not just a matter of copying an insurance card or looking him up in their system. Never mind that he was born in that very building. Never mind that health care is free in Canada--to all Canadians. She was bound and determined that Kyle needed to have his card.

"You wouldn't go to the bank without your bank card, would you," she asked smugly, as if she'd been waiting all night to use that line.

"Well, actually," he replied, matching her smugness tone-for-tone, "I would if I didn't have my card. They would just look up my account...in their system." [Later I reminded Kyle that one can catch more bees with honey, and it would serve him well to be a bit...sweeter...when he's asking favours of people.]

"One and Only" finally found Kyle in the system: "Sure enough! You are a Canadian! And you really were born in this hospital..."

About that time, doctor meandered around the counter from the break room, dressed in jeans and a leather jacket, and sipping a steaming cup of something.

"This had better be good," he mumbled, "because I'm on my way home." My goodness. The doctor's leaving?? What's the point of an Emergency Room if there's not always going to be someone to fix your emergency?

The good doctor was a bit annoyed that we came in *just* for the shingles--when we'd already seen a doctor about them. Evidently if the shingles are going to attack one's ocular nerves and make that person go blind, it will happen straightaway. No dilly-dallying.

"Well," I told him, "we aren't really hypochondriacs. I tried my best to research this before we came here [to this joke of a hospital], but Wikipedia told me that pink eyes could be the first sign of vision loss..."

He muttered something about how computers and their accompanying technology are making every person an expert, and why did he even bother with medical school if people just used Wikipedia to diagnose their various "emergencies."

I had no idea we would be so unwelcome at the ER. And the part that really gets me? There wasn't even anyone else there to be helped! Why were we such a bother?

I don't know, but let this be a lesson to you all...

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

{Fame}

Back in the miserable month of August, I wrote about how the only thing getting me through the month was this hilarious kid. He's gained international popularity for the three words he declared on the local news in Portland, Oregon last summer, "I Like Turtles."

It wouldn't be so funny, except for the fact that he was asked what he thought of his zombie face-paint job. Turtles had nothing to do with the matter. Anyway, there would be no sense in me revisiting the incident, except for this: The page I linked to in my original commentary, "The Washington Post," linked back to me! I don't know, I guess they have tech people working on figuring out who is reading their website. Anyway, they found my post and linked back to it! Isn't that amazing? Go ahead...click here. Scroll down a bit. Just to the right of the fourth paragraph is a little box that reads, "Who's Blogging?"

See that first link there? The one that reads, "Archives of Our Lives." That would be me. You can click on it again if you want--it will bring you to the original post I wrote about the kid. It's an entire mind-blowing network of link love!

I am tickled pink about this. And though I know it's not really a huge deal, I kind of feel like I've won a Grammy.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Goin' Home...

I know, I know. I live in Canada now. It's my home. Well, "They" say that home is where the heart is, and so in my case, I have homes all over the world. I'm quite divided as to where "home" is for me. Torn, really. I mean, my heart is here in Canada, of course, but still...so very much in Mesa.

But let's not think about sad things like leaving home. Instead, let's think about this: I'm going to Arizona soon! I knew I would not get to be there for Christmas, and I was kind of hoping Gwidon wouldn't exit his mother's womb until after I got there. Little punk that he is, he squeezed out all early on me. And now I've missed his first growth spurt, and his mother doesn't know French, and I think she has plastic bottles in her house, which--aside from causing the child to have cancer--aren't green. So I gotta get down there. I mean...I just have to.

Aside from being Preston's new (and very temporary) nanny, there's lots of other things I plan on doing when I get home to Arizona. Namely...

-Dragging Broadway and reminiscing about all the good times we used to have breaking into this abandoned warehouse.
-Eating Super Burrito carnes (if I have to explain what these are, you don't deserve to know).
-Shopping at Target. Oh, Target.
-Hanging out at 5 E. Hillside.
-Visiting my grandparents. Maybe even the Texas ones...
-Going to the Scottsdale Fashion Mall, just for kicks.
-Buying 25 cent magazines at the Mesa Public Library.
-Renewing my Arizona tags on Tamra Camry.
-Going to Costco to look at the cheap cheese. And the cheap meat.
-Going to Costco for any reason at all, really.
-Spending a great deal of my time at the neighborhood QT. I really miss it there.
-Eating fresh, ripe, free (free!) citrus from my backyard. Okay, fine, it's not my backyard anymore...but I'm pretty sure my mom and dad won't mind.
-Going to church at the Westwood Ward.
-Staying up until 3 a.m. just so I can go shopping, and remind the Canadians how useful a 24-hour Wal-Mart really is (it's one of the selling points for my "America-is-Slightly-Superior-to-the-Rest-of-the-World" campaign).
-Roller blading on the blissfully bare (read: snow-less) sidewalks.

Can you tell? I'm pretty hyped about this. I'm only packing one sweater, too. Out of spite. I figure one good thing about living in this frosty country is that when I go home to Arizona I might never--ever--need to wear a sweater.

**P.S. Preston made Jenny Biggs' blog! Check him out here...he's quite handsome, and it will be worth your while.**

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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

{Night on the Town}

Kyle and I have discovered a new form of newlywed recreation!!!

Don't worry, this is rated completely G [anyone who knows me would not expect anything different].

We have started a tradition of a weekly date night...at The Auction.

The Auction is great and glorious fun. I have always been intrigued by the finger-snapping, wheeler-dealer type people who go to The Auction and come back with amazing steals. I have an uncle who once bought out an entire warehouse of running shoes at The Auction, figuring he could turn around and sell them on eBay for full retail price [spell check knows "eBay," by the way]. Kyle and I each got a pair of sneakers for our wedding. And Christmas.

Another uncle bought a full sized school bus at The Auction. A different uncle is best friends with an honest-to-goodness auctioneer, with whom I had the pleasure of dining at The Outback once. He taught the whole group of us some tricks of the trade.

So, combining my Auction intrigue with my immense satisfaction in finding deals at yard sales and thrift stores, it is no wonder--absolutely no wonder--that I was delighted to attend my first real auction tonight.

My only {blood} relations in Canada, the people who--in a roundabout way--introduced me to Kyle, happen to be The Auctioning type. [They once bought a pallet of Jello packets at The Auction for, like...five dollars or something. They've been known to land a brand new stainless steel dishwasher for $75.00. Or something.] Anyway, since they are veterans of The Auction, they agreed to take Kyle and me under their deal-finding wings and show us the ropes. The two of us had such a splendid time, we're going to try and become veterans ourselves. We want to go back every Tuesday, if possible. Make it a tradition, of sorts.

A summary of our loot:
-12 pack of lemon lime soda in glass bottles=$3.00
-4 bags beef jerky=$5.00
-1 bag of 18 miscellaneous chocolate bars=$5.00
-meat thermometer in original packaging=$10.00
-rectangular coffee table (just needs a good coat of paint)=$15.00
Total of all deals, after sales tax=$40.00

Spending two hours enjoying the company of family, observing other peoples' "good deal joy," and marveling at the acceleration of the auctioneer's mouth...

...Well, that's quite priceless (what other word would I use?).

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Monday, January 7, 2008

{Truffleupagus}

I made truffles. That's right--not a typo.

Inasmuch as I am not legal to work in Canada, and not eligible for in-province tuition prices, I basically spend my days thinking of things to do to entertain myself. I am not complaining--who wouldn't want six months of completely free time to do anything she wanted? I have all kinds of fantastic ideas floating around in my head--home renovation projects, how I want to design our bedroom, what I am going to plant in my square foot garden come spring. I really am enjoying this phase of my life. {Explaining to other people what I do during the day, however...that's a different story entirely.}

But I lost track of what I was originally talking about: truffles. Now, I have never to my knowledge eaten a truffle before, but I happened upon a recipe for them during my daily foray into the blogging world, and became obsessed with wanting to make them. I've had lots (and lots and lots) of Lindor Lindt Balls, but these are kind of different. Here's the low-down, should you ever decide to make truffles of your very own:

Finely chop some baking chocolate (your favourite kind) and place in a mixing bowl. Then take whole whipping cream and pour into a stove-top pot. Heat the cream on the pot and when it's almost boiling, remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl over the baking chocolate. Stir the cream and chopped chocolate together until smooth (oh, so deliciously smooth). What you will have created is a ganache (guh-nawsh). [Watch the three-minute movie on the "ganache" link to see what it will look like.] After you have made your ganache and let it solidify, you can either roll it in straight cocoa powder and be done, or you can roll it around in straight melted chocolate and then in cocoa powder (thus forming a chocolate shell, similar to that of a Lindor Lindt Ball). Refrigerate in an airtight container and send them to work with anyone who will take them. This is when a husband comes in handy. For me, anyway.

Since I am not a food blogger (I know, I know--my blog has no defined purpose. It has an identity complex already, so don't bring it up), I am not going to do beautiful step-by-step photos of the entire process. {Someone else already did that.} Instead, I will just show you the finished product:



Et voila! Bon appetit!

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Friday, January 4, 2008

{The White Board of Our Lives}

I would like to publicly announce that the situation on the home front is not as bad as I made it sound in my previous post. All right? Kyle and I are still married, and happily so. Yes, he's played his Xbox 360 more frequently since Christmas, but that's because we got two new games on or around Christmas. And he's been on holidays from work, too. And, truth be told, I enjoy my fair share of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, too. (In fact, I just might be a more gifted rocker than Kyle...but I'm trying to mend my fences, not build vast walls. So I'll leave that tender subject for a day when we've grown thicker skins.)

Aside from that, though, I've not got much to post about. Besides my amazing cinnamon rolls and surprisingly tasty truffles. Unfortunately, I would really like to post accompanying photos of those two culinary delights, so that update will have to wait, too.

The only thing I do have photos of right now is our white board. Kyle bought a white board shortly after moving into this house [about a year before we got married]. Even though at the time I lived in AZ and he lived in Canada, we talked on the phone at least once a day, and sometimes more. [The problem with that was...how much can you really talk about, after knowing a person so well for so long? Soon, I was compiling lists of things I could tell Kyle during our daily phone calls, so I could keep myself interesting to him, and consequently, he would not break up with me. (Ironically enough, it's a system I used with lots of the guys I dated, and Kyle was the only one to keep up with me. He must have had his own list. That's why I never felt compelled to break up with him--we never ran out of things to talk about.)]


But I digress. He bought a white board while we were not yet engaged, and since I was living far away from him, it happened to be one of the things he mentioned during one of our phone conversations. When he told me he bought a white board, I thought, "Oh, you should have gone with a chalk board. They're much cuter." Before long, though, I came up for a visit, during which Kyle proposed and we became engaged. After spreading the news to the world, it somehow ended up on the Whiteboard (we've always had a lot of people in and out of our home, and I've since lost track of who's written what):


"Kyle has a girl frind," it proudly proclaims, and below, as an afterthought, "go Camille!"

And suddenly, the white board didn't bother me so much. The next trip I made up to Canada was during the Christmas season, and one afternoon, tempted by the festive dry-erase markers, I left a surprise note for Kyle (which he never noticed until much later):


My two subsequent visits to Canada also occurred near various holidays, and I decided to keep with the tradition for Easter and Canada Day:



Someone else even joined in on the holiday cheer and added "Happy Halloween" to the mix (compliments of one "Maddy," as you can see):


And scattered among the holiday drawings are random doodles created by neighbor kids whose parents ship 'em over here when they fancy a nap. Doodles like this:


They actually remind me of rudimentary cave drawings from the homo habilis era. Or something. I mean, look at that top one--doesn't it look strangely like a sketch of Stonehenge? (I've been there, by the way. It was in...cred...i...ble.)

My favourite neighbor kid sketch is this one, though:

That's right. "Yo yo yo dood." It makes me feel right at home (read: Central Arizona), where our cinder block wall is always getting tagged (with poor spelling) by gangs. Eestside! Westside! Sowthside iz gunnu kik yo's as!!!

And then came the era of the board that saw many house guests all at once: our pre-reception. A houseful of Americans; we were bound to get at least one declaring The Greatness that is our country:

That's my sister's writing. I can tell.

Then, someone saw fit to leave another pro-U.S.A. mark:

No wonder every other country in the world hates America. We're so cocky.

I loved this note the driving friends left us on their way back to AZ (very clearly in Derrick's writing):


But after all the house guests left, Kyle & I officially got married and took a honeymoon and things quieted down. We got into the routine of newlywedhood. We unpacked boxes and hung photos of ourselves. We're in a groove. And when everything's quiet around our house, and we reflect on the exciting events of the past few months, it's nice to be reminded occasionally--we really are married:





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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Ring it In {The New Year}

One time I got married.

That was so many days ago [73]. So much has changed since then.

I've lost my new husband, you see. For a while I was the only thing with which he cared to spend his time. He had eyes only for me. The honeymoon was basically bliss, to be sure--as most honeymoons are. We returned from the lush tropics of the Caribbean and he was so helpful around the house. "Of course," he assured me, "any time you cook dinner I will gladly do the dishes. It's only fair, dear."

"Of course we won't be one of those boring married couples who only watch T.V. at night..."

"Of course we'll still be romantic and...umm...tender."

But those days are gone. Lost. Out of reach. Beaten. Never to return. They've surrendered to the worldly wiles of other, more inviting devices...

...Xbox 360, namely.

It was bound to happen sometime. Like after we have children and I am no longer able to retain my stellar physique [tongue-in-cheek, naturally]. I just didn't expect it to happen so soon. Two months married, is all. And already I've learned where I stand.

But don't worry. I have begun to occupy myself with other pastimes. It is my goal to make certain all my dating friends understand what they are up against. "Hey," I told one friend in particular, "you know all those nice things your boyfriend is doing for you right now? Rubbing your feet, going on walks, answering the phone when you call him? If you two ever get married, all of that will end. Just so you know."

"What?" she exclaimed, "But...but...that's so depressing!"

No. That's life.

**Happy New Year! I am looking forward to sharing "Oh-Eight-the-Great" with all of you! Stay tuned for these stories and more; as long as the years keep coming, I will write about them!**

--C. P. S. Fairbanks

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