Archives of Our Lives

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

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

All I Really Need to Know I Learned From "Saved by the Bell"

Dadgummit. They got the ducks again.

Any child of the '80s will recall that episode of Saved by the Bell--the episode that impacted young minds more powerfully than any other [save perhaps the one wherein Jessie had a drug-induced nervous breakdown]. It was the the time when Bayside struck oil and decided to hire an oil company to drill on the football field; the plan was to make Bayside High a first-rate prep school with the oil profits. Unfortunately, there was an oil spill that caused the deaths of the entire student population's science projects: Becky the Duck, in particular.

*Photos from*

Even before I found these photos online, I could clearly envision the sight of that poor dead duck, black and slick with spilled oil that had invaded her home--the nearby pond. She was dead--dead...and all because of the greediness of humanity. I must have only been six or seven when I first saw that episode, yet the images were so real and urgent that I have remembered them vividly after 15 years.

And now it's happened again, only in real life. Only this time it wasn't an oil spill that was to blame--it was an oil wasteland. These wastelands are toxic ponds, which are the dump sites for Syncrude™, a northern Alberta oil sand company (there's sand up there that is saturated with oil and people dedicate their lives to the extraction of this finite resource [hence "oil sands"]). In other words, there are specific designated areas for Syncrude™ to dump their toxic sludge. That's all fine and well, except for the 500 migrating ducks which landed in the toxic waste on Monday, all but five of which became oil-logged and sank almost immediately. These designated toxic areas that are not new; they've been a part of the company since its beginnings. In fact, Syncrude™ spokespeople claim this is the first time the birds have landed in 30 years. They seem to consider this a positive point--I think they should be embarrassed. Shouldn't they know by now that this is not okay?

It also begs the question, "If Syncrude™ has been dealing with migrating fowl for at least 30 years, what was the major oversight this season, that wiped out entire flocks of living animals?"

See, normally the oil company places sonic-wave noisemakers [pictured above, from] in the vicinity of the hazardous areas, which serve to deter flying animals from landing thereabouts. This season, it was snowing. Snowing. Evidently it was snowing a great deal--it would have to be, since that is Syncrude's™ only excuse for their oversight. On the other hand, the ducks were still flying around up there; how bad a snowfall could it have been? And if it was, in fact, snowing too heavily for the ducks to fly, it has since stopped; surely there was enough time to prepare for the annual migration.

Anyway, I think it's all a load of nonsense, and I hope Syncrude™ learns from their mistake (hopefully a lesson in the form of a mega-fine, which could amount to $1,000,000, according to the New York Times). It should not be happening. There is absolutely no excuse for such ignorance. A lot of people (my older sister, for sure) will be inclined to think, "Oh, Camille, it's just 500 ducks. Canada has lots more where those came from. You're overreacting." But that is exactly the mentality we need to fight:

If you're going to take a passive stand, you may as well just lay back down.

The future of our planet is at stake. Our ecosystem is fragile enough without these monstrous companies killing off hundreds of animals...even if it is only every 30 years.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ford™ Has Something Stuck in Its Teeth and I'm Not Breaking the News

Ford™ is claiming their vehicles are now equal to the quality of Toyota™.


I heard them say so in three of their own commercials tonight during intermissions of American Idol™. I'm no marketing executive or anything, but if I were, I certainly wouldn't be equating my product's quality with my toughest competitors'. After all, the point of paying for a commercial on national television is to influence consumers to buy a specific product--namely, your own product, if you're happen to be the one creating the commercial. The point is not, I daresay, to confuse your target audience by telling them that your product is every bit as good as the other guy's. All that does is make the brands blur together, when what Ford™ should be doing is making their cars stand out.

If I were creating these commercials, I would be telling the world that my crossover-hybrid-blah-blah-blah is not as good as Toyota's™--it's superior.

And what's the deal with Ford™ claiming that their cars are now as good as Toyota's™--you mean, Ford™, that they weren't so great last year? You mean that only now are you getting your act in gear (excuse the pun)? You're telling us that the past few years were a struggle for you, but in these "times of economic difficulty" [as George Dubbleya would say], you've finally made a comeback and are now--only now--starting to match the quality of your competitors? I'm pretty sure that's a weakness I wouldn't want to be proclaiming in commercials between segments of American Idol™.

Instead, I would highlight my company's newest technology, thrilling innovations, five-star safety ratings, and extra cup holders. I would use our sleekest-looking vehicle driving down the street in the chicest of cities, and an unseen mystery narrator with a mesmerizing voice.

Then again, that's what all the car commercials are looking like these days. Maybe Ford™ just wanted to do something different? Humble themselves? Sheepishly admit their past flaws, and convince us those days are long gone? I don't know.

But I do know that I am more a Toyota™ fan now than ever before, because they are the company who doesn't make excuses. They don't acknowledge their flaws or failures, and that means I--as a modern-day consumer--don't know of any. In my mind, Toyotas™ are an ideal choice of a mid-range vehicle: affordable, attainable, reliable, safe, fuel-conscious, and now are produced locally.

Poor Ford™; someone should really tell them.

*Photos from and

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Monday, April 28, 2008

The Longer I Stay Married, The Less I Know About Marriage

Dear B,

Oh, B!

It's beautiful. It's the most beautiful beautiful I've ever seen.

It looks so perfect there on that hand of yours.

You're getting married. I am excited for you, you know. And I'm immensely glad I nagged you for so long to tell me as soon as it was official--that phone call was one of my life's most thrilling moments.

The fact you agreed to keep me on the line with your cell phone in your purse while you and Tanner went to tell your parents...well, that was just icing on the proverbial cake. I just closed my eyes and could picture the entire scene as it was unfolding, with you and Tanner narrating, and your family as the audience. It made me homesick; it made me happy.

When we were in Mr. Finn's algebra class together, we bonded over our love of You've Got Mail and our disdain of boys in general--irony was the spice of our lives...remember?

We're singing quite a different tune now that we're in our twenties, huh? Even up to the day I got engaged, my mantra was "Guys, in general, are jerks." You held out for a while more--longer than me by far; you did good. But times are a-changin', and its time we commune over something other than our loathing of the fouler sex.

You're getting married, and I have moved to Canada like I always said I would. Since I can't be there this summer (at least, not the entire summer) to bond like we usually do when we aren't in school, I won't be able to pass along my six months of knowledge to you in person. So I'll just have to do it on my blog:

The Lies Everybody Fed Me About Marriage, Which I Unquestioningly Swallowed

1. Marriage is hard. That's bogus. The truth is, marriage is impossible. More than half of marriages end in divorce these days, and I can totally see why. Take two human beings--both of them too stubborn for their own good--and stick them together. Cramp them into the same tiny house, sharing the same bathroom, trying to agree on the same food for dinner and the same channel on T.V. Give the woman PMS and give her husband a logical sense about him. Give them college tuition (x2), air conditioning bills in Arizona summer, and ramen noodles. Give them work, and school, and the chaos of cramming a trailer full of wedding gifts into whatever starter home they can afford. And then give them a joint chequing account. It's no wonder people get divorced all the wonder at all. But you, my dear, are getting married in the temple, and that makes it really serious, which of course you know. So that means divorce is probably not going to be a consideration for you.

And without an escape from the impossible situations in which you will surely find yourself, you are going to need to get really creative in order to keep your sanity. But knowing you, it will be a barrel of laughs the entire time.

2. The consummation is magical. Talk to Jami about this. I can't bring myself to do it on the internet for all the world to see. (Hi, B's mom!)

3. Going to bed angry doesn't solve anything. Another lie. I go to bed angry all the time, and then have nightmares that Poor Kyle is hooking up with his ex-girlfriend (one hussy in particular seems to pop into my dreams after the most unsettling of arguments). I wake up seething at Poor Kyle, who really didn't do anything except disagree with me before bed (poor, poor Poor Kyle). But once I realise he didn't do what I dreamed he did, nothing else--our argument from the night before; the toilet seat in the upright and locked position; the fact that the lawn still isn't mowed--seems as bad. You know? So I say: go to bed angry all you want; your nightmares will be so horrible, everything else will look rosy.

I'm sure there's more advice to be given, but what can I say? I've only been married six months, after all--I know nothing.

But anyway, congratulations! I'm so happy for your happiness.


*Photos unabashedly stolen from Brad Burnham photography. I'm not sorry, either.*


Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Fate Worse Than Death

We're out of milk today. See?

It's a miracle!

Well, we weren't out of milk this morning, but by the time I made a batch of miserably under-cooked pancakes [yes, I fail at pancakes every time, even though I use a mix from a box from a store], we certainly were. Out of milk, that is. This is the first time in our marriage that we have used up an entire gallon of milk just by drinking it, before it went sour.

"What else do you do with your milk, Camille...besides drinking it?"

Good question. We like to fill up water balloons with it and have neighborhood reconnaissance parties with our homemade grenades.

No, not really. What I mean is, usually I use more than half the gallon of milk just in baking projects during the week. Only lately, I haven't been baking much (on account of we're fat up here at our house) and so I didn't think we'd be able to get through an entire gallon, sans goody-baking. ["Sans" means "without" in French. It's pronounced "sahn"--it's a very chic word to use, I've noticed. "Chic" means "trendy" in French...]

Anyway, we drank a gallon of milk all by our grown-up married selves, and now Poor Kyle has to eat his Cinnamon Toast Crunch--the only cereal my husband will ever endorse as worth his energy to eat--sans milk.

"Why is he eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch if you guys are fat at your house?"

That is also a good question. About two weeks ago, we decided we'd go on a couples diet. Isn't that quaint? Couples, dieting together, like we love and support each other or something.Well, it would be quaint if we were actually dedicated about it. The following things are contraband on account of our diet:

-sugar (not the natural kind from fruit, just the kind in candy. And cupcakes. And fruit snacks.)
-fried anything
-carbonated beverages.

Unfortunately, between the two of us, we've blown every aspect of our couples diet, and I think we may have actually gained weight since committing ourselves to "the cause." Poor Kyle refuses to work out (and by work out I mean walk--walk--farther than the house to the truck) with me, and I've decided a life without Diet Dr. Pepper is not a life worth living.

I'm pretty die-hard, where DDP is concerned.

On top of that, Poor Kyle swears he never committed to stop eating sugar--just soda and fries. I don't want to call my husband a liar or anything...but...I think he's lying.

At any rate, our diets are blown all to heck; we pretty much failed before we started. And since we're miraculously out of milk this Sabbath morn, Poor Kyle is now forced to eat dinner--yes, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, beacuse I don't cook on Sundays anymore, since I like to rest too--bone dry. Parched. Arid. Moistureless. Dehydrated.

A guy I used to date once told me that he felt sorry for the poor fool who got suckered into marrying me.

I wonder if this is what he meant?


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My Best Friend's Uterus Has a Split Personality

So I have this friend. We’ll call her “B.” She’s pretty funny, as far as friends go. And by “pretty funny,” I actually mean “the life of every party.”

Here's a classic "us" moment caught on card. Don't ask.

Sometimes she names inanimate objects; she finds it comical, and usually I do too. She has a green Honda Accord called Stella, a love seat named Paxy, a sofa christened Alberta, and a MacBook who answers to Gregron (well he doesn’t answer, so to speak…because he’s not animate). She also has a stomach named Sam and a boyfriend named Tanner, who is not inanimate, but Tanner’s stomach Sally most certainly is.

What, that's not funny to you? I guess you have to know ‘em.

Anyway, I had the good fortune of talking to B today, and she carried on for the better part of 10 minutes about her latest naming frenzy:

“So how have you been, B?” I asked, because I really wanted to know.

“S,” she said mournfully, “I’ve seen better days.”

“Oh, no!” All was not well with my friend B, and I needed to get to the bottom of it. “What’s wrong?”

“Well, it’s this dad-gummed uterus of mine. Every month like clockwork it starts giving me the most horrific problems. Just today I was thinking it would be less painful if I cut it out with a searing-hot steak knife from Black Angus.”

“Ouch! That sounds like a problem indeed—they have surgeries for that, you know. But either way, I wouldn’t recommend Black Angus’ knives. I’ve eaten there before and they are a bit on the dull side. You’d be better off going to Outback.”

“Oh,” she thought aloud, a bit more cheerful, “I could go for some Outback,” she said. “Those bacon cheese fries…mmm... But that’s just Sam talking—Sam is my stomach, you know.”

“Oh, no, I hadn’t heard. Congratulations on another splendid name.”

“Thanks,” she replied. “Then again, it could be Eunice talking… She has that effect on me.”

“Sam and Eunice? Two stomachs, B? How’d you pull that one off? I thought only cows had two stomachs.” I was incredulous at the thought of all the bacon cheese fries she would now be able to consume.

“Actually, cows have seven stomachs. But that’s beside the point—Eunice isn’t a second stomach. She’s my uterus.”

“Oh. My. Well that sounds like a fitting name for a uterus.”

“Yes, I thought so. My uterus was causing me so much misery last month, I decided I needed to name it, and it needed to sound awful. Awful and ugly—because that’s how it makes me feel, you see. I wanted it to start with ‘U,’ since I’m all about alliteration, but the only name I could think of that started with a ‘U’ was ‘Ursula,’ and that’s ugly--

"But not ugly enough," I guessed.

"Right. Not ugly enough. In the end it had to be ‘Eunice.’”

“Well…Eunice is a pretty ugly name," I agreed. "But it doesn’t start with ‘U.’”

“I know—do you think I’m stupid? But I got over it because really it’s the ‘you’ sound I’m going for. It’s onomatopoeia or something like that—Ms White would know.”

“I hate Ms. White. She made the eighth grade so miserable for me. And ninth.”

“Me, too. Anyway, I was telling Tanner about how I named my uterus Eunice, and he seemed to feel really bad about it. He was all, ‘Lindsey, you might think your uterus is a Eunice now, but it will pass. I know it’s giving you problems, but someday it’s going to be a vital part of giving you children. You’re really going to be glad you have a uterus—maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow…but someday. I think you’ll have regrets if you name it Eunice.’”

“That’s what he said?” I clarified.

“That’s what he said,” she confirmed.

“He’s so good for you.”

“I know, right? He's a good man. So anyway, I asked him what he thought I should name my uterus, since he’d suddenly taken such a keen interest in it, and out of the clear blue, he goes, ‘Karla.’”

Karla?” I asked, again for clarification.

Karla,” she confirmed. Then she continued, “Well at first I was worried because I didn’t know about the name ‘Karla’ for my uterus—it sounded too sweet, somehow. But then it occurred to me that if it was spelled with a ‘C,’ it might not be so bad—“

“ ‘Cs’ are so much better than ‘Ks,’" I added.

“Totally. So I asked Tanner, ‘Carla with a C?’ and he said, ‘Of course, how else?’ and it So three weeks out of four, my uterus is called Carla with a ‘C,’ and the miserable week of the month when Tom is here [Tom…Time Of Month…get it?], it’s called Eunice.”

“With an ‘E,’” I added, for clarification.

“That’s right—Eunice with an ‘E.’”

That would have been the end of our conversation, had I not thought to ask, “Hey, B? That’s a really great story. You should blog about it. You could call it, ‘My Uterus Has a Split Personality.’ It would be amazing.

“Hey, that’s not a bad idea. It would be funny. Why don’t you do it, though? I’m too busy, and it would be better if you told the story. Tell it as if it were you.”

“You mean you would sell me the rights to your life stories? Like Kramer sold his life stories to the guy with the deep voice on Seinfeld?”

“Sure, why not?”

“You must really love me.”

“I do, S….I do.”


Monday, April 21, 2008

Thanks. For Nothing.

This is madness.

I cannot believe my own readers (of which there are 100 or so, as far as I can tell [not much, but hey--they're mine]) do not support me in not supporting Poor Kyle's remarriage.

Whose side are you all on, anyway? Poor Kyle is not the one who writes faithfully here every day (or night), laboring endlessly thinking of clever new topics to keep you entertained. You want to know a secret? He doesn't even care about you much. Oh, sure, he reads your comments (which are becoming fewer and fewer lately. [Don't think I haven't noticed.]), but does he ever leave any of his own? No. It's like he doesn't even want to be connected with my blog, or any of you; as though we're some strange distant relatives he only sees at family reunions every other year, and even then he doesn't sit with us at lunch.

So how can you all be siding with him? Traitors.

The only one of you who has been loyal throughout my time of serious travail has been Anonymous #2 and #3, who I secretly suspect are the same person. So that is it; one person out of 100 agrees that I should be Poor Kyle's one-and-only, and that I am right in my decision to haunt Poor Kyle if he ever remarries after I die young. And he or she won't even leave his or her name.

If this doesn't beat all.

The only thing you can do to make up for your mistreatment of me is to participate in the new survey I'm posting on the right sidebar. All you have to do is answer the following question:

If Camille took a page out of Bossy's book and tried to go on an excellent road trip next summer, would you be interested in giving her a place to sleep at night?

That's it. I was going to write a thrilling post complete with before-and-after photos, tense controversies, and personal life scandals...but now all you get is a lousy survey.

And it's all you deserve, after yesterday's abandonment. I hope you're sorry.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Just For the Record

If I die young, I do not want Poor Kyle to remarry.

Yes, some wives do tell their husbands to remarry if the situation occurs. Some noble wives give their full blessing and support to their husbands' remarriage. They're sweet.

I'm not. I don't want him to remarry--I would probably haunt him if he did. I am not an understanding wife like that.

Is this selfish? Of course it is; and it's more than just a little bit selfish--it's really selfish. And why shouldn't I be selfish? Haven't I got the right to be selfish when it comes to my eternal life? If I support Poor Kyle's remarriage, and he does so in a Mormon temple (where it will be for time and eternity, just like with me), that means I would have to share him with some other home-wrecker woman...for forever.

And that is not a thought I relish.

Whenever we have this discussion, Poor Kyle brings up the point, "Don't you want me to be happy? You can't seriously expect me to live my entire life all alone, can you?"

Umm, Poor Kyle? Don't you want me to be happy? Life is short--we hear it said all the time. Eternity, on the other never ends. You can't seriously expect me to happily share you with some other hussy for eternity, can you?? Don't you want me to be happy forever, even if it means a few short years (okay, a lifetime) of your own loneliness?


"What about our kids?" he goes on to ask. "What if you die and we have a couple kids already? How am I supposed to raise our children alone?"

Poor Kyle, this is a non-issue. Teachers these days do a wonderful job raising today's children. And by law, Canadian kids must attend school--so let the teachers raise them! Arrange with your boss to go to work an hour early every day so you can get home by the time our kids do, and take over for the public educators (or private educators, if you do what I say and send our kids to French immersion school [another issue which might cause me to haunt you, by the way]).

Kids raised without mothers grow into strong and self-sufficient adults, anyway. Look at me--I have a wonderful mother who is still alive, and I'm the biggest wuss I know. My kids are better off without me.

"Well, if I die young, I definitely want you to remarry," he gallantly remarks. "I don't think anyone should have to be alone for their entire lives."

Yes, you would want me to remarry--a fact I find infuriating, by the way. Do you have no sense of jealousy whatsoever? It's a moot point, anyway. If Poor Kyle dies young, I'll be sitting pretty. I'll have my eternal salvation covered, I'll have tried the whole consummation-of-the-relationship (and realised I can live without it), and I'll have a life insurance policy payoff. Hello, world, meet your newest first-class traveller.

Not that I want my husband of six months to die young--I would be crushed, naturally.

But what kind of idiot would I be if I tried to find another man who could put up with the mess of me? I'd be better off just to wait out my life in Europe.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

{What We Do in Bed}

Eternal Grinding of the Stressed-Out Teeth:
A Screenplay in One Act
Camille--Archives of Our Lives


Scene 1:

A newly married couple at a hotel on their wedding night, already in bed and on the brink of a deep sleep. Cozied up together, the man and his wife are smiling dreamily, as if nothing in the world could possibly be wrong. The man closes his eyes and his wife continues to watch him, seeming to contemplate her good fortune. Suddenly, a loud clicking sound startles the woman out of her reverie. After searching all throughout the suite, she finally discovers the clicking is actually her new husband biting his teeth--clicking and clacking and chomping.

Woman (to herself): How he dreaming he's eating corn chips? What is this?

The man stops the clacking, and for a moment, all is quiet. Sighing with relief, the woman busies herself climbing back into bed, fluffing her pillow, straightening the sheets, and finally laying down.

As soon as she's quieted down, a new noise begins. This time, the noise is a terrible clinching and grinding noise--the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard is like a choir of angels in comparison to this grinding. Looking suspiciously at her new spouse, she confirms he is the culprit; teeth clenched, jaw circling back and forth, he looks akin to a bulldog ready to eat someone.

Woman (to herself): Oh, my. What-- That is a terrible noise! Oh, it grates on my nerves--it hurts my ears! (To him, sweetly) Honey...babe? Can you turn over or something? (Grinding continues) Could you...could you maybe stop grinding your teeth? I know you're just having a bad dream...but everything's okay. (Grinding continues) It's really bad for your teeth...and I want you to have good teeth--y'know...what's left of them. So...could you maybe just...quit doing that? (Grinding stops, but husband remains fast asleep) Oh, thank you so much! Are you awake? Babe? No? Okay...well, I love you... I'll see you tomorrow, I guess. Right. Tomorrow. And the next day, and forever. (More to herself now) Because we're...married.

Scene Two:

Same couple, five months later. Again already in bed, the husband turned on his side with his back to his wife. The woman, sitting up in bed next to her husband, is typing away furiously on her white MacBook laptop. She has the screen brightness turned down so as not to disturb her husband (though the man sleeps like a rock through anything). Suddenly, a clacking and clicking echoes through the room, far noisier than the tip-tap of the woman's typing.
Woman (to herself): Here we go again. (The clacking stops, and the woman begins counting down) And

(The man begins grinding his teeth exactly how he did on their wedding night. The screeching and grating is almost unbearable, but the woman doesn't even flinch.)

Woman (reaching over with her left hand, still typing with her right): Oh, for the love. Would you cut it out, you big bear? (Giving his shoulder a gentle but solid pull with her left arm, she turns him over so he is facing her. He is still fast asleep, and the grinding continues) I don't think you have any idea how horrific that sound is...every night we go through the same routine. (Meanwhile, she has placed her hand in a firm grip on either side of his jaw. The grinding stops)

Husband (mumbles wearily, obviously still asleep): Get off me, woman.

Woman (smiling slightly): That's not very nice, dear. You know we agreed you would never refer to me as "woman." (Giving his shoulder a gentle but solid shove, she turns him back to how he started, facing the wall) I love you... Go back to sleep; I'll see you tomorrow... And the next day... And forever...

Notes from the author: Our new summer sheets [yeah, in Canada they have winter sheets and summer sheets]? White, 500 thread-count, Egyptian cotton? A revelation. Also, I know our bed is missing a headboard. I'm working on it, but trying to do so cheaply.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

How Not to Teach a Lesson on The Immaculate Conception

Poor Kyle and I attend church meetings every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Almost everyone in our congregation (we call them "wards" [as in "mental ward," only most of us aren't insane. I am, of course...but that's totally beside the point]) has a job to do at church, or for church throughout the week.

Guess what job they saw fit to assign me?


Yessirree. Kids.

Poor Kyle and I teach the six-turning-seven-year-olds in primary (which is Sunday School) every Sabbath morn. To say that this assignment is trying my faith...well, that would be putting it lightly. We have ten kids in our class, and they're a high-spirited bunch, at best. At worst, they are disobedient and irreverent and spending two hours with them is as much fun as spending two hours on the stair master (not that I have ever experienced two hours on a stair master...but it seems pretty wretched).

Anyway, they're good kids, and I will admit they are quite responsive to my "looks." Which I'm rather proud to divulge, myself. I mean, I've always wanted to have those kind of "looks" (by "looks" I mean withering glares, not physical beauty [though, who knows? Maybe my physical beauty has something to do with it too?]).

A few weeks ago it was my turn to give the lesson (we were talking about the birth of Jesus Christ) and our kids were behaving (!!!). We came to the part of the story where Joseph could either break off his engagement to Mary, or have her stoned, or stay with her. I decided to really sink my teeth in--I mean, so many teachers tend to skim over that bit of history, and I, being a forward-thinker [or so I imagine], wanted to make sure my students were well-informed. I explained that Joseph and Mary were not even married yet, but Mary had become pregnant, and Joseph didn't understand that the baby was Heavenly Father's. He was angry and hurt, but he still loved Mary and didn't want her to die from being stoned. So instead, he broke off the engagement. That would have been the end of it, if not for the angel who came to Joseph in the night and told him to lighten up--the baby was a child of God [literally]. Then we moved on. The entire subject of the immaculate conception took...maybe five minutes of the lesson.

After we finished the material, I wanted to see how much of it they had retained, and so I asked one girl--we'll call her "Hallie"--what she had learned.

"Ummm...." she said, wracking her six year-old brain, "ummm... I learned that... It's okay to have a baby even if you're not married?"

How nice of you to retain that bit of information, Hallie, but no. Not exactly. I mean, women can have babies even when they're not married, and it happens to some of the greatest people I know...but I don't think our church exactly promotes such activities.

Then again...what if sweet little Hallie grows up and conceives immaculately herself?? I happened once. I don't profess to know the entirety of God's plan for this world...what if I tell Hallie it's not okay to have a baby out of wedlock, and then she grows up to be like Mary, Mother of Christ, and conceives immaculately? She'll be so confused! And depressed, and maybe she'll remember that day in class when I told her such-and-such, and now she feels like a sinner when what she really needs is to be comforted in her time of travail--

I hope I don't have to answer for this when I get to my final judgment. What am I going to say?

"Well, Heavenly Father...did you have to make it so confusing to explain to kids?"

It's hard to know. And it's exactly why I'm not having children of my own [anytime soon]. I am a terrible teacher; but they deserve the best.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I've Just Had an Epiphany.

Our television is on the fritz [where did that phrase even come from?]**, and I am aghast at how...aware...I am of its absence.

When I was young, my parents strictly monitored our T.V. time--at least until my sister and I got sneaky and started watching cartoons while my parents were out, when we were supposed to be practising the piano. We even made pacts of silence with each other, vowing never to tell our parents (though I'm sure they caught on all by themselves soon enough). Nevertheless, because I was raised to view T.V. as a treat rather than a necessity, I must have figured those notions would carry over into my adulthood.

And they did...or so I thought, until the Asian repairman representing Hatachi came to take away the big 44" box of entertainment.

"So long," I thought as I waved them off, "I'll see you when your volume works again."

Turning to go inside, I decided to make myself a deluxe turkey sandwich on homemade bread for lunch. After ten minutes in the kitchen, I carefully balanced my plate on my glass of ice-cold milk, and slowly made my way down the thirteen stairs that lead to the creepy basement.

There's a picture of the room--even though it's blurry, you can make out the T.V. in the right hand corner. So there I was, sitting down on the green leather hand-me-down sofa, and I reached for the remote. Imagine my surprise when it was nowhere to be found! Suddenly, I remembered the Hitachi man had taken the clicker...and the T.V.

Only ten minutes into the drought, and I was already parched.

See, I like to eat lunch and watch HGTV at the same time--it makes me feel like my time eating is not being wasted, if I can multi-task (not that watching HGTV is really "getting anything done," but at least it's sometimes educational. [Did you know that black dishwashers can easily be re-configured into stainless steel ones? All it takes is a sheet of metal for under $30 from any hardware store, and power tools]). Plus, I'm alone all day (just me and my shotgun, stalkers!) and I'd rather watch home renovations while I eat than listen to myself crunch lettuce. Even though lettuce does make a nice crunch.

Anyway, the T.V. is gone, and tonight is American Idol and I don't fancy missing it. I also don't fancy missing the new episodes of The Office, or CSI: Miami/New York/Las Vegas, or Holmes on Homes, or reruns of Seinfeld, or Mythbusters, or--

Oh. So this is what my parents meant.

**They don't know. Nobody knows. That's depressing.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

{On the Brink}

I imagine you've come here [to this blog, that is] today looking for entertainment. Entertainment, amusement, or just an update on this little life of mine. Well, you're not going to get it, Greedy.

And I'll tell you why: I am exhausted.

I have been painting my kitchen cupboards for the past two months, but only this week have I gotten seriously down to business. And let me tell you this one thing: painting kitchen cupboards is not as easy as HGTV makes it look. Oh, sure it would be...if you had power tools and a paint sprayer and a five-person crew to back you up. But it's quite another story if you're just one person (and most of us are [just one person, that is]).


Anyway, I'm too tired to go into detail of all the work I've been doing. So instead let me simply give you a sneak peek into what is to come...


So there you have it. My cupboards are getting a major overhaul, and it's sucked all the life (and blogger) out of me.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Meet Chair.

Hi. I'm Chair.

I'm old, but you can't call me "Old Chair"--I've been called that too often throughout my life. People have called me "Old Chair," "Ugly Blue Chair," and even "Worthless Piece of Garbage Chair," but my new owner doesn't believe in stereotyping, so she just calls me "Chair." Because that's who I am. Anyway, it's nice to meet you. Let me tell you how I came to be...

...Actually, I can't start from the
very beginning, because the lady typing my story hasn't known me from the very beginning--and I can't type it for myself, because I am an inanimate object and therefore cannot type [though I seem perfectly capable of speaking...].

So instead I'll tell you how I came to be, insofar as my typist knows the story...

Back in the '70s, I was a very fine piece of furniture. When I was brand new, I lived in a nice home with my courteous Owners. They sat on me all the time of course, but I didn't mind, because I am
Chair, after all. They never let their filthy kids jump on my cushions, and they never allowed their sneaky cat to scratch at my legs. I was loved--at least as much as humans can love their living room furniture.

But that was over thirty years ago, and times...they change. One day, Mr. and Mrs. Owner came home from the city, talking excitedly about their new furniture. They kicked me to the curb (quite literally) to make room for the new arrivals, and I was left for the garbage collector. But that night, a nice lady driving by saw me, and thought, "That ugly old chair has potential!" Which of course I did. The new lady picked me up and dropped me off at her nearby parents' house to store for a while--next to an old rickety door that someone else had already scavenged--until she could take me home and make me her own.

To make a long story short (because nobody likes reading Very Long Stories), the new lady never did get around to picking me up from her parents' backyard. I stayed there all winter, and got snowed on and peed on and probably bird nested on, too. Finally one day, a different new lady--who had recently taken up exercising (and who happened to have scavenged the old door sitting next to me)--ran right past on her morning jog. She jogged directly into the old new lady's parents' house and asked what I, Chair, was doing in their backyard. As it turned out, the parents were sick of me sitting there, and said, "Take it, if you want it. Our daughter scavenged it from the neighbors and never did pick it up. So you take it, and don't forget to take the old door you scavenged from the neighbor last summer, too. Get that garbage out of here."

Everyone seemed to think I was garbage.

So there we were, just me and the door, and the
new new lady. The new new lady took me home (even though she felt guilty for scavenging me off of her sister-in-law's scavenge). She sanded down my already-worn finish:

And she placed me in her well-ventilated garage:

(Oh, look--there's my old friend, Door... Hi, Door!)

...and painted me a nice crisp black. She washed my foam cushions and their blue covers and finished my black paint with a shiny coat of polyurethane.

And now look at me! I'm sharp, I know.

The only problem is, I don't really fit here, because I'm blocking the walkway to the Twins, and that's bad. So the lady tried putting me in her living room:

But while I look nice by the piano, I don't really blend in with the other colours she's got in the living room. See? I kind of stick out like a sore thumb.

I also look bad in the basement, even though none of the furniture down there matches anyway:

Where can I live? Finally, the lady had a breakthrough. I am now the proud resident of...any guesses? Here's a few hints:

The Blue Room! But of course! At long last, I have found my niche in the world. Good thing some previous owners' teenage yahoo painted this room blue to match me. And it's another good thing that the blue room hasn't been painted over yet.

...and that's the story of a chair named Chair.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

{Strange and Random Neighbor Kids}

I am mildly obsessed with doors; I am always on the lookout for doors with character--doors with soul. I like to decorate with doors, or even with photos of doors. I have photographed doors in Paris, London, Amsterdam, and a smattering of other equally interesting (though less-known) locations.

The front door of the house where I lived in Brussels, Belgium.

The door of the bedroom where I stayed in Normandy, France.

Probably my interest in doors dates back to when we were remodeling our house, and I would go on long family drives with my parents and sister--we were on the quest for the perfect door to copycat.

Anyway, I like doors a lot, and I am the type of person who always feels compelled to answer the door when someone knocks (unlike my mother-in-law, who ignores it anytime she doesn't feel like dealing with people). I just thought it was normal to do so--plus, it bothers me when I don't know who's trying to get in contact with me. But I'm kind of starting to reconsider my previous notions that just because there's a knock at the door, I must answer like some sort of glassy-eyed zombie. Maybe I don't have to answer...maybe it's better if I don't, because...

...people have stopped asking me to babysit. Instead, when they fancy some "mommy time," they're just sending their kids over to my house unannounced.

Today, two random neighbor girls (whose parents I have never even spoken to, by the way,) stopped by my house just as I was sitting down to a nice turkey sandwich (complete with Jarlsberg cheese, butter lettuce, roma tomatoes, and fresh mustard) and a glass of skim milk.

I was perturbed. I knew one of the girls a little bit, because she'd been in Poor Kyle's primary class last year. But I'd never met her little friend, and I was quite shocked to see them at my front door.

In fact, when I went to answer the knock at the door, I saw it was these strange little girls and said, "Hi...umm...what do you want? Why are you here?"

They just stood there, looking at me.

I stood there, looking right back at them. Finally I could stand the awkward silence no more (because I so despise awkward silences), and, though my mind was screaming, "Shut the door! Shut the door! Shut the door!," all I said was, "Did you want to come in?"

They needed no further invitation. Like a flash, they were in my house, shoes discarded at the door, exploring our creepy basement (where I secretly hoped a boogey man really would pop out and scare them, so they wouldn't think our house was "fun" anymore). Anyway, all kids like Poor Kyle better than me, and since he wasn't home, the girls lost interest fairly quickly and left me to my sandwich.

But it makes me wonder about their parents. I know I live in Mayberry and all...but haven't these people ever seen American Beauty? (Okay, probably not, since it's rated "R" and the population here is predominantly Mormon [and, okay, I haven't seen it either, but I know what it's about...]) The whole point is that bad things can happen even in seemingly perfect environments. I could be a child molester. I could be a drug dealer. I could harbor fugitives in my (exceedingly) creepy basement. The adults in question have never even spoken to me, yet they're trusting their precious children in my care? Trusting me in my carelessness would be more like it. Because I don't care about these strange and random neighbor kids...not really...

So what are these parents thinking?

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

It's "Cheer Up, Charlie" Time...

Oh boy, am I ever in a good mood today! Look at what the forecast is**:

Can't see? I'll zoom in on it:

See that, there at the end, under the bright yellow sun under the word "SUN?" Seventy-one degrees! I know, it predicts snow tomorrow--but don't worry. It won't happen. I know it won't. It's the power of positive thinking, see? I learned about it yesterday [actually, I've known it since grade school, but sometimes I don't utilise my positive thoughts to their fullest potential. But yesterday I re-learned how to do so]. I can decide how cheerful my life will be, regardless of the lousy white stuff that might be sprinkling from the sky--which won' sprinkling, that is.

It all started when I bought a new pair of tennis shoes (or "running shoes," as Poor Kyle would like to point out they should be called, when their purpose is to run. Not to play tennis. Because I don't play tennis. {But old habits die hard and I've always called them tennis shoes, so leave me alone, PK! At least I don't say SOAR-EE when I try to say "sorry".}).

Anyway, I went on the inaugural run sporting my new cross trainers yesterday. Oh, look, here they are:

And since it was such an exhilarating workout (after which workout I even remembered to stretch [not that it did me a lick of good, since I'm sore like a granny today,]), I decided to further my sportiness for the day. Poor Kyle invited me to go golfing with him, and so I did.

I've never golfed before. But with the power of my amazing new tennis shoes (and after one hour on Mayberry's own driving range and two hours on the nearby course), I was almost passable as a beginner. See?

I know, the girl in that photo could be anyone, but trust me: if I could claim anyone else's body, I might--but we're all about honesty here at Archives of Our Lives. It's me.

Anyway, after all my hard work yesterday, and what with my bad case of The Whooping Cough, I decided to forgo the run today, and walk briskly instead. It was nice outside; there blew a lovely breeze [isn't it funny how, when I'm walking, the wind is "a lovely breeze," but when I'm running, it suddenly becomes tornado-scale gales? I know.], the sun was peeking through the crisp white clouds, and I was listening to this song [currently playing].

So despite recent setbacks in my Canadian residency paperwork, and despite the fact that I may never become an employed member of society, and despite children running amok in the neighborhood, and despite The Whooping Cough that is (ahem) going around...

...well, it's just not worth it not to be happy.

**I just realised it's kind of a personal thing to post one's Mac dashboard on the internet for all the world to see. I bet you're all wondering just what possessed me to look up the exact definition of the word "bequeath," or perhaps why I felt the need to have a French-English translator so close at hand. Well, you'll just have to ask God when you die, because I'll never tell.

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Monday, April 7, 2008

{The Dreaded Inevitable}

**To Whom it May Concern:

Yes, my blog is (temporarily) white. No, I'm not racist--actually, it has come to my attention that on some computer monitors (ahem--PCs), my red blog with cream letters actually looks like a red blog with vaguely green letters and for some reason this makes it difficult to read. I, the proud owner of a Mac [thanks Mom and Dad!], hadn't realised that not all monitors are created equally. Rather than sending you all out to have your eyes checked (which can be costly, and in my opinion, a complete waste of time), I have decided to keep it black and white until I can figure out how to have the sidebars coloured. As in this blog. And this blog. And this blog. heroes.

Unfortunately I hate technology and it hates me back and I don't know how to do it yet, so you'll have to bear with my boring black and white blog for the time being, until I get a bit smarter (or pay someone to do it for me...any takers?).**

Now, let's talk about exercise. Growing up I was active enough. I climbed trees, participated in summer league softball (faithfully for 10 years), and jumped on the trampoline. I also fought viciously with my older sister, ran wild through the neighborhood, and took my high-spirited dog Sampson for walks while wearing rollerblades. Then in high school I played on the basketball, volleyball, track, and even marching band teams (during various years). I got my fair share of exercise.

So I don't know where I went wrong. Somewhere along the timeline of my life, I developed a loathing for strenuous activity that I can't seem to shake. Because it hurts to run. It's not nice; it's not natural--not to me. I've never understood the kind of people who say their "days don't go well if they don't get out there and run and blah blah blah." You know the type--exercise people. Me? Not so much. Any day of mine wherein I do not feel compelled to put myself through utter pain and misery...well, that's a pretty good day.

Nevertheless, I've put on weight (and lots of it) in the five months since I've been married, and I am just vain enough to dread going home to Arizona in May looking like this:

Moreover, I don't fancy the idea of buying new jeans just because my expanding thighs can no longer fit into the ones I've got.

So, after putting off the dreaded inevitable for...oh, three months or so...I finally ran out of excuses. I ran. Not far, mind you. But far enough to remind me why I hate it so. To make matters worse, there is a {seemingly} continuous wind blowing here in Mayberry, and every time I attempt to exercise in it, I contract a new case of The Whooping Cough. That's right--The Whooping Cough. I've been hacking and wheezing all day since my "workout," and all I did was exercise for 20 minutes (only five of which minutes were rigorous). But what can I do? I can't stop the wind from a-blowin', so I just have to toil on. Indeed, my plight is mournful.

It has given me some insight, though--I do understand why people in serious emotional turmoil might turn to running as an escape: when I'm running, I'm so intensely miserable each step I take, there is absolutely no room for any other kind of misery. Got depression? Go running--I promise you'll forget everything you once thought was bad in your life. Got a toothache? Go run somewhere--it'll be like your tooth never ached at all. Dog die? Throw on some tennis shoes and run your living daylights out--by the time you get back, you will be so consumed in your own unfortunate existence, you'll forget you ever even had a dog, let alone remember that it's dead.

That's how I feel about running.

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Small Talk

They finally phoned. They phoned, and I was less-than-thrilled.

Meeting two new people, inviting them into my "not-quite-decorated-even-though-I'm-unemployed" house, letting them sit on my red sofa (whilst banishing myself to the wooden Amish chair which is less of a chair and more of a tree stump [inasmuch as we don't have all the seating we need {inasmuch as we're newlyweds}])...well, it didn't sound like fun.

Not to mention the small talk.

But I try to do what's right, and they were just trying to do the same, so I figured I wouldn't make it harder than necessary for them.

So they came. They came, and they sat on my red couch (which you can see in the above photos, barely), and I fidgeted around on the tree stump chair. They asked me how I was doing and then proceeded to compare notes on their kids' kindergarten teachers for 15 minutes, while I sat silently squirming. They brought me an apple pie, which was nice (though I promptly bequeathed it to my mother-in-law on account of I don't like pie).

Then they remembered I was there, and shared with me a message, which was also nice, but by the time they got around to it, my bottom (bottom!) was growing numb and all I wanted was for them to vacate the premises so I could get rid of the apple pie and get on with my life.

But they wanted to chat more, asking me when we're having kids, and then why we are waiting so long to have kids (to which I sincerely wanted to respond, "because I don't want to end up like you," but that might have only estranged them). I explained I want to get my degree before I have kids, so in the (un?)likely event of Poor Kyle divorcing me for being such a nasty people-person, I would have an education to put on a resumé. And then I explained I can't go to school just yet because it costs $7,000/semester now, instead of much less once I get my Canadian paperwork completed. And no, I can't work either (unless I want to get deported [which I kind of do, but still...]), so I am basically an S.A.H.W.: Stay at Home Wife. And yes, since they asked, it does go against everything I stand/sit for, and I know Anne of Green Gables would be disappointed in me. I do bake, though.

"But I don't babysit," I added (since I've learned to set ladies straight on that subject as soon as they find out my lack of daily responsibilities).

And then they left, hopefully for another five months until they feel so immensely guilty for neglecting their duties that they phone me once again.

I know I'm flippant; I know it's my fault I don't like the idea--not theirs. But I'm not even going to try to rationalise away my bad behaviour. Perhaps someday, but not now...

...and I wonder why I don't have many friends up here.

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Friday, April 4, 2008

{To Be a Hotdogger}

We saw the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.


I know. It was the happiest day of my life--happier than high school graduation, or getting married, or finally visiting the Louvre (okay, maybe one step under the Louvre).

And it recalled to memory the time, so long ago (but it was really only a year or two) that me and B decided we were going to audition to be Weeniemobile Patrons--they're called Hotdoggers, and for one short phase in my life, I wanted nothing more than to be one of them. We spent hours rehearsing the jingle. We went to the website, printed out the forms, and even filled out the applications--but I don't think we ever sent them in. I'm not sure why--I might have missed my calling in life.

Anyway, we were in Washington, headed to Oregon, and I was reading Better Home and Gardens Spring Edition, when suddenly, P.K. exclaimed, "What is that??"

I looked up and saw the strangest-looking red and yellow vehicle driving the other way on the divided highway. I didn't recognise it at first, because it was quite a ways away, and the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile doesn't exactly look like a giant Wiener from a head-on view. Here's a rear view, so you can see what I mean:

So you can see why I might've had a difficult time placing the unique vehicle. I quickly realised my errors, though, and shouted with glee, "It's the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile!" My voice got a little louder with every syllable.

We were so awestruck by such an amazing sight--for seeing the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile is something that most people only dream about--that by the time I thought to grab my camera, it was just passing by us. I begged P.K. to turn around at the next Authorized Vehicles Only turn-around point, but I guess when you're lugging a 53-foot trailer around it's just not feasible to do chase Wienermobiles. All I could do was call B and tell her the joyous news, for reference.

But I know I'll see it again someday. It has to be that I'll see it again.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Do Not Pronounce It "Orry-Gawn"

We went on a trip [business related]. A recap, in photos:

Destination: Oregon

Mode of Transportation: The FWhatever50. Naturally.

With a G.P.S. [thank heavens]:

and heated seats...

...which might have been a bit superfluous, since the weather was lovely:

We jammed (jammed?) to this mystery album (any guesses?):

...all the while marveling at the magnificent bridges and tunnels built by the CCC just after the Great Depression. I really appreciate the New Deal. And FDR. Those were the days...

We also marveled at the scrubby trees on the banks of the Columbia River:

Everything was going swell. We picked up trailers at the appointed hour:

And started back on our way (after grabbing a bite to eat):

But then, about midnight, something went terribly wrong. Turns out, our load was four feet over the legal limit in Oregon. And we got in big-time trouble for it:

Not only did PK get a ticket, but we had to leave the trailer at a scale in Washington and go stay in a hotel for the night while we waited for our rescuers (in the form of my in-laws, whom I, like an idiot, forgot to photograph).

It was a most inconvenient detour.

Then the next day we had troubles loading and unloading said offending trailer (which troubles I also failed to photograph just wasn't a good time to be taking pictures).

And then we almost didn't make it to the fuel station, which almost didn't have ultra low sulfur diesel, which turns out to be really important stuff.

But everything worked out in...

...The End.

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