Archives of Our Lives

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

Friday, October 31, 2008

Boo.

Halloween used to be my favourite holiday. It was my one chance to dress up like a beautiful and sparkly (insert over-clichéd childish dream); the one time out of the year I could beg—and eat—all the candy I wanted with no thought of negative consequences. Halloween was almost better than Christmas for me. I truly looked forward to it every year.

Then one year…all of that changed. It was a tradition in our extended family to do our separate trick-or-treating, then head over to the neighborhood Halloween party, and eventually meet up with all our cousins at my grandma’s house down the street. My Grandpa would have prepared a pot of beans (why he chose beans I may never know, but man…were they ever good) for everyone to eat, and that was only if we had room leftover after hoarding Grandma’s stash intended for the neighbor kids.

This time, though, as my sister and I approached the front door of Grandma’s house, something seemed different. Where the door would normally be swung wide open, inviting all to enter, it was unwelcomingly closed. Usually we would be able to hear the raucous laughter of my uncles telling the latest jokes, or my granddad joining in the chaos with his booming, trademark voice—but this year, the lights were off in the house, and all was quiet. Even the jack-o-lanterns, who were glowing with the customary light of candles, seemed to droop and frown. All was not well at Grandma’s house.

Here I am around the time of the dreaded day--in the foreground {my favourite place to be, evidently}. Adell is squished in the back, wearing the gray T-shirt. Don't we look innocent and unassuming? Totally unaware of any bad in the world...

Nevertheless, we two girls approached the entry, foolishly—as two young girls are wont to be—assuming the best. Never considering foul play. Naïve along with the best of ‘em, that’s how we were.

Suddenly, as we took our last step to reach and turn the doorknob, we heard a heart-stopping wail.

“Waaaaaaaaaa…uhhhhhhhhh…waaaaaaaaa…uhhhhhhhh…”

The pitch was piercing, oscillating between two notes of an interval I never knew existed. It sent shivers through my spine, and I knew it was the last noise I would ever hear, for I would soon be dead—murdered by the boogeyman before I ever got to tell Daniel Wilsford of my true love for him, and that was that.

“Run, Adell!” I screamed, for—though I was the younger sister—I always worried for her presence of mind during frightful situations. If one of us should die, I was the best for the job. {I’ve always made a very good martyr, you see. It’s my gift.}

We ran. Both she and I screamed blood-clotting screams of terror, our eyes squeezed shut, as if it would make the horror disappear (though running with our eyes closed did substantially hinder our progress of escaping immediate danger).

Tripping over our fairy princess shoelaces, we didn’t make it far before we collapsed in the grass of Grandma’s front yard, damp from our own sweat along with the early-evening dew that was just beginning to form. We panted our pathetic breaths, having skipped out of P.E. often enough to know we were--neither of us--cut out for such exertion. We were doomed.

The pause gave us time to breathe, and during the break we realized the noise of terror emitting from the portico had faded into that of…humour? Humour indeed. Looking back from whence we’d shortly escaped with our lives, we saw the lights had been turned on, the front door opened, and all our long-lost relatives laughing from the entry. Jubilantly. They’d gotten us—the snot-nosed little girls who were always reading books (in Adell’s case) and beheading chickens (in my own).

A practical joke had been played, and we were the butts. I’m always the butt.

And who was the major culprit, you ask? Who was to blame for the wail of fright (and “fright” is putting it mildly)?

A battery-operated ghost hanging from the eaves of Grandma’s front porch. Of course. She’d unearthed them from the bottom of a bin at Pick ‘n Save™ the year before, at the after-Halloween markdown sale for what was no doubt “a steal.” It had a sensor—a sensor!—which detected the movement of any innocent passerby, at which signal it would flatly freak people out. This technology was ahead of its time during the mid-90s, and I had never imagined anything so horrifying. I can hear the wails to this day—probably because they are still common decorations among my relatives—and they frighten me…to…this…day.

Adell and I have gone on to live {fairly} normal and well-adjusted lives, despite the turmoil of our youth.

Strangely enough, however, I’ve never felt the Halloween fervor since then. I’ll buy my own candy, thankyouverymuch.

Happy Halloween, from everyone (all two of us) here at Archives of Our Lives.

Boo.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

I'd Rather Not.

Q (from Aimee): My question (and excuse if I missed this post): Have you ever driven one of PK's rigs on a roadtrip or are you always the passenger? Do you have any desire to drive such large mechanical beasts on long, open roads?

A (from Me): Hi Aimee! Good question. The answer is...no. Emphatically. No, no, never, no. Let's do keep in mind that Poor Kyle's "rig" consists of a Ford F-number-50 and a 52 foot-long wedge trailer. Nothing too ridiculous like a Peterbilt with a sleeper in back, or a "Kenworth hauling logs." (I'll give 10 points to the first person who knows from whence that quote originated.)

Poor Kyle, he loves this rig. Sometimes I suspect he loves it more than me...sometimes he admits it.

Though if we're being honest (and we always are here at AoOL), Poor Kyle would give his two front teeth for a flat-top Pete with a queen-sized sleeper in back, complete with a fridge, microwave, and plasma TV.

{Good thing he has no front teeth to give, or I'd be in huge trouble.}

But back to the very important matter at hand. I have had occasion to drive the Fnumber50 once or twice since its purchase in February of this year. However, I married a man who cares--really, truly cares--about his posessions. And though I know he wouldn't mind if I took his truck out for a drive every day, I know I would be ultra paranoid about...well...messing it up.

Add that paranoia to the fact that hauling trailers absolutely terrifies me, and you've got the world's worst match as a wife for Poor Kyle.

I do, however, make a fairly excellent passenger. Nobody works the seat-warmer like I work the seat-warmer. Nobody.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

D@mn That Grass.

It's always green somewhere in the world--only never where I am.

I have lived my life holding strong to the mantra "the grass is always greener on the other side of the hill." I don't mean to do this; I know it's totally fickle of me, and nobody likes a fickle woman {though some in my acquaintance would profess that "fickle woman" is totally redundant}.

Only in my case, the grass is always greener on the other side of the border. Any border. I always want to be wherever I'm not--it's a wretched affliction, truly. During July, outside of Arizona the grass will surely be greener. But amidst the frigid Canadian winters, there's no place I long to be more than my lush green City of Mesa.

It doesn't just have to do with the weather, however. When I am living the life of a single wife, visiting friends and family in Arizona, I miss Poor Kyle terribly and can hardly wait to see him again. But inevitably, as I re-pack my bags the night before I'm scheduled to return to his country, I once again mourn the loss of my family. I have two families, you know, and both of them love me so very much.

I would that everybody's trials could be so simple as deciding which loved ones to visit.

Of course there's really no question: I married Poor Kyle and now I'm stuck with him (hello dear!). I am stuck with him, but the phrase "stuck with" implies that it's against my will. I should say I'm stuck to him [but actually, that sounds a little less G-rated than I normally try to keep this blog. Dang]. Well at any rate, he and I will "be an item" forever, and not once have I regretted my choice to be his wife. *Mushy alert: I love him more with nearly every day that passes. I never even knew that having an understanding, calm and patient disposition would be a requirement of the man I married--it just happened that way, and I can see now it was absolutely necessary. In case any of you noticed, I'm not exactly the easiest person with whom to live. And that's the understatement of infinity.

I only wish that "cleaving unto my husband" as is preached in the Bible, didn't require to take me so far away from everyone else I dearly, dearly love.

I'm lucky I've been able to come down and visit so frequently this past year. To everyone I was able to bond with for the last two weeks: Thank you. I love you. I'll miss you. To those of you who I wanted to spend more time with, but was forced--for one reason or another--to neglect: I'm sorry. I love you. I'll miss you. And to anyone else who had hoped to meet/see/visit me and was totally shafted by how busy I was {I really don't know any person more vain than myself, to think of a whole city full of people who are sad they didn't get to see me this month}: I regret that, too.

Maybe for Christmas...

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Not That I'm Judging, or Anything...

I was raised with the understanding that I was to dress modestly. In our family, "modest" was very specific: cover my shoulders, cover my bosom, cover my midriff, cover my buttocks. (In other words, boobs, belly, butt. [Only we're not crude here at Archives of Our Lives. We're very ladylike, and we use words like "midriff."])

My parents were firm in laying down this family law, and I never thought to question it--it was not negotiable, so I didn't even bother trying. {Later on in life, I realised my physique was not conducive to showing all that skin anyway, and skanky clothing never appealed to me; I knew it would only showcase my chubby imperfections, and I wanted no part of it.}

But for some reason, a lot of girls in my acquaintance--who were raised the same way as I--have taken a liking to wearing bikinis.

Bikinis! I'm floored. Me, I'm a fatty, so I have never been tempted to wear one (except for maybe when I was a young little thing--seven or eight--and thought a bikini would make me beautiful. But I got over that.)

I've been asking around a lot lately--people in my family, people I knew growing up, people who knew me growing up. The question of my poll was this: "Was it ever a gray area? Bikinis, I mean. Was there something I missed, wherein our standards mentioned dressing modestly except at Cabo? What the...? Did YOU ever think it was okay to wear bikinis?"

And it wasn't just me. I didn't miss something. It has never been a gray area. The answer is so simple: if one believes in dressing modestly in every other situation of one's life {and notice I said "if," because this doesn't apply to anyone who was never raised this way, neither does it apply to anyone who simply doesn't embrace these values {to you: go for it. I'm not judging. It's not hypocritical if you never said one thing and acted differently. Please. Wear all the bikinis you want. You don't even need my permission--nor my approval.} there is no reason to wear a bikini on vacation. Or at the pool. Or to the prom. Or at the mall. Or snorkeling. Or anywhere.

If a person (specifically a female, but hey--I'm not judging) considers themselves a follower of the modest movement, then said person might also look into finding a swimsuit which will cover their stomachs. It can be done.

Image from Modbe Clothing. Other ideas include Shade, DownEast Basics, and that one about an apple.

The question is not "Should people wear a bikini?" or "Should Camille wear a bikini?" or "Does Camille hate bikinis?" or "Would Camille make a good movie star?" or "Are bikini wearers bad people?" No. The question is none of these. Quite simply, what I want to know is....

"Has a bikini ever been considered a modest choice in swimwear?"

And if we can all agree that indeed, bikinis are not a modest choice in swimwear, then why do so many women--who otherwise consider themselves modest to a T, and would never so much as think about wearing a tank top to the grocery store--wear them?

I suppose it sounds like I am standing on a self-righteous soapbox and think extremely highly of myself...

Think what you will of me. And wear bikinis if you want. Just don't think bikinis are modest.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

I Have Completely Lost My Capacity for Making Decisions.

My body cannot take much more of this exhaustion. Every morning that I wake up to the sound of my phone's alarm, I think, "If it is really time to get out of bed I'll kill myself." The days are long and the nights are short, and my predominant feeling is one of constant pain.

I'm just...so...tired.

Nevertheless, I care about my blog, and the people who read it. So I will continue to post during this trying time, and hopefully reap the rewards [a readership who trusts me when I say I will write every weekday possible] later on in life.

Oh, I'll write; only I can't guarantee I'll be making any sense.

The good thing is, Thursday is here. And that means I get to answer a question--one of my favourite features here at Archives of Our Lives.

Q (from Loralee Choate):

How the hell and why do you have so many anonymous commenters? I read hundreds and hundreds of blogs and I've never seen such a high ratio.

What's the deal? Have they told you? Is it family that hates registering for things or something?

Finally (Because this would be how I feel):

Does this not drive you nutso? Have you considered turning the anonymous option off?

A (from me):

Oh, Loralee. Your query breeches the subject that is a constant issue among the inner echelon of Archives of Our Lives cronies. To allow, or not to allow? That is my great inner debate. Poor Kyle, he thinks I should not allow anonymous comments anymore. Ever. He gets as annoyed as you seem to be.

Me? I'm not so bugged. I mean, I like readers. I do. The fact that I seem to have a million who are sneaky and unwilling to own up to their true identity...well...I still like readers.

I don't know why I have so many. Maybe they're all one person; maybe they're 100 separate people.

I have considered removing the ability to allow anonymous comments--I consider it every day, and come to no conclusions.

So what's the skinny, everyone? I have completely lost my capacity to make decisions. I am numb from exhaustion this week, and I cannot--physically and mentally cannot--decide if I should do something about this, or leave it be.

You can leave your opinion in the comment section, or at the poll to the right.

I'd be much obliged.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

{Ow to the Nth Degree}

One-word Wednesday:

Ow.

No, that's not just a dirty thumbnail.


The pointer finger, on the other hand {ha! Get it? Other hand?} is dirty (dirty with seven hours' worth of spray paint); but the thumbnail is nothin' but a nice dark shade of "ow."

Okay, so I've never been great at one-word Wednesdays. In fact, one-word anything is a challenging concept for me to grasp. I'm a person of many many words. If you were to ask me to describe myself in one word, I'd surely use something double, like absentminded or overrated.

So instead of simply posting a photo and one word about the thumb I smashed with all my might into a piece of wood tonight, I am going to write a list. A list of things that become increasingly difficult without the use of my right-hand thumb. And I will include the same "one word" in each item of my list. One-word Wednesdays, the AoOL way.


1. Using the "space bar." Ow.

1.5. Flossing. No way, José. Ow.

2. Removing my contact lenses. Ow.

3. Writing with a pen. Ow.

4. Gripping. Anything. Ow.

5. Putting my hair into a ponytail. Ow.

6. Wiping (you guessed it). Ow.

7. Zipping zippers. [What is the correct verbage of the word "zipper?" Zipping? Zippering?] Ow.

8. Cracking knuckles. Ow.

9. Pulling ceiling fan chains. Ow.

Photo from here.

10. Thumb wars [though I can never win anyway {something about having rheumatoid arthritis at a young age}]. Ow ow.

Without the use of this thumb, I might as well be a monkey. Or a sloth.

What's hurting you today?

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hello? Kansas? Anybody?

A recent map of visitors to Archives of Our Lives looks something like this:

And when I say "recent" I mean mere minutes ago. And when I say "something like this," I mean exactly.

I'm thinking Archives of Our Lives needs to branch out.

Quick, tell all your friends in the mid-west (why do they call it the "mid-west" when it's really just the "mid?") to read my blog.

For that matter, tell anyone outside the North American continent, too.

I'm the next big thing. I'm taking over Dooce™.

Or didn't you hear?

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Days are Long 'Round These Parts.

Whoa, I am exhausted.

Not only because it's been a busy weekend, but wow--did you see that last post? I impulsively decided to make it a "Reader Appreciation" weekend, and responded to every comment I received. No wonder Pioneer Woman™ and Dooce™ don't do that--I had 31 comments, and it was all I could do to keep up with them. Think of what it must be like to have 12,000 comments daily! Mind-blowing. [I'd be in hog heaven, yes...but it's mind-blowing.]

Still, I hope I got the message across--I'll say it one more time just to be sure: If you're reading this blog, you're helping me fulfill my purpose in life. Thanks.

If you commented on that last post, be sure and check back in the comment section to see what I said back to you. It might be the last time I ever do it, so you won't want to miss it.

Now, enough housekeeping. As I am typing this, it's 4:06 in the morning. Why am I awake? I have an entire pageful of reasons. I'll tell you about them later. Like tomorrow. For now, what I am going to do is sleep.

But do not despair--I've got my alarm set for 7:45 a.m. When it rings, I will promptly turn it off, sit up in bed, open my laptop, and type--in this post box--the first thing that comes to mind [most likely it will be what I was just dreaming]. It seems like a good way to start off my Monday.

Let's just hope I wake up witty...

...

5:13 a.m.

Nephew whimpering in the next room over. Debated whether my sister would rather I pick him up and play with him, or let her get him and try to feed him back to sleep. Pondered the fact that babies often fall asleep while nursing. Thought it would be odd if I ever fell asleep in the middle of the drive through at Taco Bell™. Spent so much time thinking about this that sister got up and fetched the child herself.

We all promptly fell back asleep.

6:59 a.m.

Woke up to the gritty sound of the garbage truck. Felt like I was a kid again, since my hometown has had the same garbage trucks...well...since I was a kid. Heard the garbage truck set off the same car alarm twice. Wondered why that had never happened when I was a kid. Concluded that car alarms never came standard when I was a kid. Life was so simple when I was a kid. Fell asleep.

7:45 a.m.

Hit snooze on my cell phone's alarm clock.

8:16 a.m.

Received text from Gus, my partner-in-crime in all things regarding this wedding I'm here for, informing me of a last-minute change of plans. Realised she was probably more tired than I, and not making any sense. Called to clarify. Decided I might as well stay up. Peed. Remembered I was supposed to write this post. Couldn't recall what I'd dreamed about, except that it involved Taco Bell™ and the garbage man. Calculated my total sleep for the evening to be aproximately three hours.

It's going to be a long day.

p.s. One year ago today, I was also very tired. Happy Anniversary, Poor Kyle. I would have loved to spend it with you!

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Growing a Face of Leather {Thick and Tough}.

**Update: Everybody's comments have been so sweet today, I decided to declare this "Official AoOL Reader Appreciation Weekend." Every comment I get, I will be responding to. I will read all the blogs of any new person who introduces his or her self, so if you left a comment (or are planning on it still), there is {or will be} a reply comment waiting for you. Boy, if that isn't a treat, I don't know what is. {Yes, I do. Something that starts with "Golden" and ends with "Spoon" comes to mind. I'd way rather have ice cream than a personal message from me, but it's the best I can do.}**

I have had this on my mind a lot lately; I would like to address a few topics here on this blog today.

Well, only one topic, really: me. That is, me in respect to Archives of Our Lives.

A lot of people say that blogging is their "journal;" their creative outlet; the place they go to vent and feel all of their feelings. I say, good for them. I read lots of those blogs, and faithfully so. I follow several blogs written by stay-at-home moms who mostly write so their friends and family can be updated on their lives. That's fine, too. In fact, I haven't met many blogs I don't like. There's something intriguing to me about peeking into the lives of others, whether they be career people, family people, homeless people, or all of the above.

Each blog has a purpose...and the purpose of my blog is to entertain.

I have never aspired to anything more. I don't expect to change the world, nor do I anticipate anything monumental ever happening here. I blog because I hope to brighten people's day--to give each and every one of you something to look forward to.

Here I am--just me and the ice cream truck driver. I like waffle cones and the colour pink, and I never mean to make people mad. I'm just me, plain and simple.

A well-known theme of blogging is that many of us "live for comments." I subscribe to that school of thought, one hundred percent. I read each and every comment made on my blog--most comments I read more than once. Every piece of advice I receive, I contemplate. Every time a new person de-lurks, I immediately swing by his or her blog to check it out [though it takes a few comments from a new person for me to feel a true bond, so if you feel like I don't give your blog enough attention, just say so {by commenting}]. And I notice when otherwise-regular commenters go missing.

In other words, I care what you think. I care very much, and it's not necessarily because I want you to like me (though that's always nice). Rather, I care because I write for you. Not for me. For you. If you are reading this post, whether you like me or not, you are fulfilling the purpose of my blog.

And because I care so much what my readers think, I put forth a great effort not to offend people.

But guess what? I am doing a lousy job of it. Despite the fact that I never--ever--publish a post without carefully considering ways my words might be misconstrued, I have learned that I am quite often unsuccessful. I have estranged people who are dear to me, along with people I've never met. Posts I have considered hilarious have driven many people to the point of boycotting my blog altogether. I've been called a b**ch. I've been cordially invited to eff off. I have been told I'm immature, inconsiderate, inappropriate, disappointing, disrespectful, ignorant, rude, thoughtless, careless, mean, selfish, cruel, bitter, vicious, a button-pusher, and starved for attention. {I've had to grow some pretty thick skin, but not so thick that I ignore people altogether. Only thick enough that these comments can't quite seep into my self-esteem.}

To solve this problem, I've been advised to close my blog to anonymous comments. I've been told to close all comments period. It's been suggested to make my blog private.

Many people think I should simply delete my blog and quit this aspect of my life completely.

But none of those ideas appeal to me: I don't really mind anonymous commenters; forbidding all comments completely would defeat the purpose of my blog, as would going private; and I don't relish the idea of quitting altogether.

Instead, I've decided the best solution for my dilemma is to write a disclaimer:

This blog is not homework--reading is not mandatory. It is never my intent to hurt people's feelings. Inasmuch as I cannot forsee what everybody is experiencing in their lives, I cannot predict which phrases to avoid, which words to gloss over, or which parts of my brain to keep to myself. If your feelings were hurt and you want to tell me...by all means, tell me. If your feelings were hurt and you want to quit my blog, I will understand.

But if your feelings were hurt and you can find the time to step back, realise I didn't mean any offense, and you still sort of agree with or enjoy some of the things I write...then please know that you are welcome here.

I may not babysit your kids, but I will--with any luck--give you something new to laugh about nearly every day of the week {give or take some [or all]}.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Picture This: Your Face.

Confession: I left the last post up for two days because I liked reading it every time I opened my laptop.

I have never met anyone so intrigued with their own life story as I am with mine. But that's another post for another day.

This day is Thursday! Time to answer a reader's question! Hooray! Enthusiasm!

I know one person in particular is going to be thrilled with my choice of the week.

Question, from Raygon [to whom I would link, except her blog is all fancy pants and private, so most of you wouldn't be able to access it]:

What kind of camera do you have? Do you Photoshop your pictures (like the pics of the flowers)? Or are they naturally that colorful and vivid?
Please, oh please, answer my question...I have only asked 100 times! Come on, Camille!

Answer, from Me:

Oh, Raygon. Thank you for your long-suffering support of my blog. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to answer this question, and even more sorry that I won't be able to answer it the way I wanted. Ideally, I would have a photo of the cameras I use, and maybe one of me using them, but life is not always ideal. I thought I'd better go ahead and answer this week, for fear of losing you as a friend altogether. Sorry for the delay.

The answer is...

...it depends. There are two cameras in my life that I use on a regular basis. Both are cameras I have commandeered from Poor Kyle. (Poor Kyle, indeed. All that he has is basically mine now, and nothing I have appeals to him in the slightest. I think he got a bum deal.)

For everyday point-and-shoot pictures, I use this:

Image from here.

There it is in the mirror, being clutched by my rather fearsome-looking left hand [curse this rheumatoid arthritis].

It's a Konica Minolta DiMage Z3, and it's not made anymore. Which is just as well, because probably none of you have heard of this brand anyway. Which is why they went out of business, I suppose.

"Dear our customers..." Such a thoughtful way to end an era. Page from here.

Nevertheless, it's a fantastic machine, and is 100% user-friendly. I use it for quick photos that I need right away. I'm sure I'm not utilising even a tenth of what it can do, but I'm not too savvy when it comes to apertures and f-stops. For me, and for most pictures, it works like a charm.

It took this photo...

...and this photo.

Uploading my snapshots to iPhoto takes seconds--not minutes--and I'm very pleased with every aspect of it, save perhaps its bulkiness. When I take pictures with the Konica Minolta, I do not edit the shots in Photoshop. I usually only use iPhoto's limited editing options, because that's all I really need for my instant-gratification snapshots. [Fact: I actually only use the "enhance" feature. I kind of don't know how to do anything else.]


Poor Kyle let me take this camera to Europe with me last year [he wanted to marry me], and it has been my nearly-constant companion ever since...

...Which seems fine by him, since he upgraded to this:


The Canon EOS Digital How Long Can They Make This Name SLR:

An SLR is a digital camera that is better than other digital cameras, as far as I can tell. It does better things--though I'm not sure what, exactly. It might have something to do with pixels. Or all the lenses available for purchase. Image from here.

And I'll tell you the honest truth: I know nothing about photography. Sometimes I steal the SLR to make myself feel fancy, but I never change the settings from "automatic," and I only know that I like one lens: the 50mm f1.8. I don't know what it means, but it makes the backgrounds of photos all blurry, which is a style I like:

I used the fancier camera for this photo of my inquisitive nephew...

And for this image of my favourite new bedding.



And for these images of my backyard [those were happier days when the grass was green].

{It kind of bothers Poor Kyle when I sneak away with his camera. First I thought it was because it costs more than my life. Then I thought it was because he thinks I take ugly photographs. Finally I learned he just likes being the one who knows how to take pictures. I was stealing his thunder. So someday I'll just buy my own--perhaps for my next birthday--and that will be the end of it. He doesn't have to look at my artwork if he doesn't want to.}

For the photos that I do attempt with the SLR, I do use Photoshop for some minor touchups--again, I am far from well-versed in the program; I simply follow Ree Drummond's easy tutorials, and I can usually come up with something that looks nice enough.

And that, my friend, is everything I know. I bet you were hoping for a bit more wisdom, huh? Sorry. I can't be acting all wise, or people might start expecting more out of me.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hello, My Name is Fickle.

*Warning: Long Post. Worthwhile, but long.*

October 20th will be the first anniversary marking the marriage between Poor Kyle and Me.

Today is the third anniversary of the day we met. October 13, 2005. I remember it like yesterday...

...but instead of recalling the story in its entirety (yawn) for you today, I will sum it up like this:

I moved to Canada, where there was a boy with a big head. He introduced me to a boy who spoke French. Frenchie introduced me to Poor Kyle. I moved back to Arizona. Two years later (almost to the day) we got married. I moved back to Canada again.

One year later, I wrote this post.

But the union wasn't all smooth-sailing. In fact, some of the roughest waters of my life, I forged during those three years.

You know, come to think of it, there's really no way you could understand how we got to this point, without going into at least a little bit of detail. So this is what I'll do: Provide an ultra-condensed version, taken directly from excerpts from my journal (read: my life history). Except for name changes and present-day perspectives, which will be indicated by [brackets]. You can skip to just the pictures and captions, if you'd like--I mean, it's not like you don't know how it ended. But if some of you think you might enjoy this peek into my helter-skelter mind, this post is for you.

So with no further ado...

The True Saga of Poor Kyle and Camille

October 20, 2005
...So Friday night [Frenchie] showed up, with his friend Kyle, to our chips and salsa night. It was lots of fun getting to know [Frenchie] more, and the initial meeting of Kyle (who is so funny, and I like a lot). The next night we had an odd array of people over for more Mexican food. [Frenchie] and Kyle came back, along with [Boy 1] and several girls I didn't know. Needless to say, it was a pretty awkward night. Eventually, though, the crowd dispersed and I was again left in peace...

October 2005--the selfsame weekend I met Poor Kyle.

November 4, 2005
...Well so much for [Frenchie]! The verdict is...I have a lot to thank [Boy 1] for because he introduced me to [Frenchie], who in turn caused me to meet Kyle, who is a splendid--truly splendid--chap...

November 10, 2005
MONUMENTAL DECISION! I'm staying in Canada for an [unexpected] second semester. I'm staying. I really am. I'm staying, regardless of 1) what Lindsey says, 2) what Chelsie says, 3) what my family says, and 4) what happens with Kyle--even if he thinks I'm a major dork, I'm staying. I told him the big news. He didn't seem too excited, which threw me for a loop, because he'd made such a big deal out of wanting to know... The evening ended so awkwardly. I think my problem is that too many people are involved with this relationship. Like if I hear from people that he likes me, or his family likes me, then I have to try harder to keep up the good graces.

But it shouldn't be like that. If I start out being myself (as I make a point to do), then there's really no need to change...


November 20, 2005
...He kissed me. [By the way, this was the quickest meet-to-kiss I'd ever had with a guy. One month seemed way too quick, but when he went in for the kill, I found myself surprisingly untraumatised. I took that as a sign.] For the first time in my dating life, I didn't feel like the guy was slobbering all over me on our first kiss... And it was not drawn out. Just perfect, really. Not too short, not to long. And I absolutely knew it was going to be that way...

A few weeks into our budding relationship.

December 16, 2005
[DTR!!!] ...On the way home from [Mayberry] I FINALLY worked up the nerve to approach Kyle with my marriage woes. I honestly had no idea how he'd take it. I told him how all my life...my ideal marriage age had always been 25--six years away. Then I tried to explain that my theories were changing as of late, but he could only focus on the "25" issue... He said he was indeed heading down the marriage trail, and so it was good I shared my thoughts with him... Am I going to marry Kyle? It's a possiblity...

1 January, 2006
...It's just that, nice or not, I simply cannot allow myeslf to believe I'm in love with a boy I'd never heard of two months ago...

9 January, 2006

...He is so totally ready to be married and I am so fully NOT. Why is my timing always SO FAR OFF? What will this year bring? What do I even WANT it to bring? Ach...

16 January, 2006
HUGE! MONUMENTAL! Today, for the first time in my life, I told a boy I loved him. Kyle, of course, and I should stop calling him a boy. Except if he's not a boy then he's a man, and if he's a man then I'm a WOMAN and that is frighful indeed.

14 February, 2006
...Kyle hates me...

24 February, 2006
...Kyle is NOT my best friend.
[What am I, eight years old?] I like him, and I love him, but at this point I could live without him. I don't think I can marry him...

20 March, 2006
...So when he said "I love you" I figured it was as good a time as any to say "Let's get married." I wasn't expecting what he said next. He told me he wasn't sure anymore if it was right! It was so insane because he'd been the one going crazy to know. SUCH a transformation... We didn't come to any conclusions.

Snapped a few moments before he decided we shouldn't get married after all.

22 March, 2006
...I feel like we are in a relationship RUT...

9 April, 2006
...I guess I can totally blame myself. But I really don't want to. I would much rather blame our troubles (not even married and we already have troubles!) on his poor communication skills.


11 April, 2006
...I've come to the conclusion that Kyle doesn't know me at all. Or he knows me but he doesn't care about me. Oh, I know he says he loves me, but sometimes I wonder if he really does.

27 April, 2006
...Perhaps Kyle and I should see other people this summer while I'm in AZ and he's in Canada...

And then we stayed together...

28 April, 2006
...Okay, so I didn't EXACTLY move on the idea that we should see other people this summer. Instead, we decided not to decide anything right away. I'm back in Mesa, and when I'm here and with my family, it's easy for me to forget all about moving back to Canada. Like maybe this is where I'm supposed to be. But maybe not??

All Summer of 2006
CONFUSED. Keep dating? Stop dating? Get along. Disagree. Best friends. Hardly talk anymore. Back and forth. On and on. Meh. Decided not to move back to Canada in the fall.

10 August, 2006
...Broke up with Kyle. I am not happy. In fact I can very much say that I am quite as miserable as I have ever been...

30 August, 2006
..Kyle came to visit. He loves me. I told him I'm still not 100% sure about us getting engaged. He doesn't like that I'll be open to dating other guys, but he says he'll wait for me to figure myself out...

2 October, 2006
I'm engaged! Haven't set a date. I'm thinking next fall. Kyle's thinking this week...

6 November, 2006
...We killed our dog today...

13 November, 2006
...There have been some really neat developments with me moving abroad to work as a nanny. A few families from Belgium seem really nice, and I've already started emailing one. I really want to do this. It's something I'll be able to look back on when I'm married; an experience I'll never forget. I don't want to be old and bitter that I never got to see the world before I settled down. I'm trying to do everything I can to get it all going. My biggest fears of going are 1) That my unwell grandpa might die while I'm gone even though he promised he'd be at my wedding in October, 2) That things will be harder between Kyle and me, and 3) that I might get molested by a Frenchman.

13 December, 2006

Maybe I won't be a good wife. Maybe I shouldn't marry Kyle.

10 January 2007
A lot of people ask me how I can move to EUROPE when I'm engaged to be married. I wonder if it means I'm not a good person, or if I shouldn't get married yet. I mean, I guess they're right. If I was totally hyped to get married, why would I take off to Europe for several months. It's not like I even had it planned before I got engaged!

12 January 2007
Four days from now I will move to Belgium. I don't know what posessed me to do this. I'm terrified. What if it's the most horrible experience of my life? What if I get molested and can't get to my pepper spray in time? What if it's the wrong thing to do??

18 January, 2007
I am in Brussels, Belgium. It's amazing.

I can do kids, as long as Europe is involved. Though technically, this photo was taken in London. On the Eye.

14 February, 2007
Maybe it's taking me so long to be ready for marriage because before, I tuned out everything I heard on the subject. I hated the thought so much that now, the time has come for me to recognise my feelings, and I have no idea what I'm looking for! And I thought last V-day was bad. This one really beats all.

5 March, 2007
I've just had some awful news. Grandpa is dying. I need to go home to be there for this. I'm not sure what to do, but I know I have to be there.

8 March, 2007
My grandpa died tonight. I made it home just in time. I am so grateful I was here. I will never regret my decision. Kyle is coming tomorrow. I wish I had asked him to come sooner. I know he would have been here for me.

Summer 2007
Went back to Belgium. Worried about marrying Kyle. Love Kyle. Scared of marriage. Too young for kids. Moved back to AZ to plan a wedding.

2 September, 2007
For the first time since we got engaged, I've had a confirmation and a sure knowledge that marrying him is right. Of COURSE I will marry him. But I just realised I don't know his handwriting. All this time we've been apart, we only ever email and iChat. This is bad and must be remedied.

5 September, 2007
I'm getting more excited to marry Kyle with every passing day.

9 September, 2007
I have been so SAD lately. It might just be all the extra estrogen, OR it could be the fact that in 41 days I'm getting married, and moving away a week later. Don't misunderstand: I'm glad to get married--thrilled, really. The moving part is...harder to accept.

4 October, 2007
Kyle is the man I'm going to marry. I've learned so much about myself since meeting him--so much about LIFE. I am happy when I'm with him.

I'm not the kind of girl who says sappy things like "I can't even picture myself without him." I can. I could, if I wanted to, picture myself single and alone in the world. Maybe in New York, maybe in Paris...a Yuppie, to be sure. But it's not what I want--at least, those dreams are not my priority anymore. Family is what's important. Life would have so little meaning without families.

Kyle is my family.

Success!

...And that was the last time I ever questioned getting married. It was touch-and-go for, oh, about two years there. But once I finally figured things out, we were golden.

Anyway, there's a reason I call Poor Kyle "Poor Kyle." And now you know exactly what it is. Happy Anniversary to Us.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

{Stuck on a Toilet with Nothing to Read}

Winter is upon us. I'm reminded of all the snow we got last year. One day in December, I decided to brave the frozen white and do my civic duty, but I was no good at shoveling. I may never get used to the feeling of perspiring outside while it's below freezing. Snotsicles make me so uncomfortable.

You know...uncomfortable. Like sweating giant pit-stains in a dark satin dress on prom night.

Like being caught unawares in a room full of children who are not *quite* potty trained.

Like having nightmares of being the wedding photographer who forgot to bring a camera.

It's like eating cinnamon rolls for breakfast every day all winter and wondering why last summer's swimsuit feels so...snug.

Like running into a husband's skinny ex-girlfriend at the post office the day you didn't bother with concealer. Or mascara.

It's like being stuck on a toilet with nothing to read.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

We Interrupt This Program to Kill Ourselves...

...figuratively speaking, of course.

View outside my bedroom window. Photo taken less than five minutes ago.

Have a happy weekend. Me? I'm off to dig a cave and hide in it until Spring.

No more posts until then.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Just the Sort of Thing Strong Bad Would Love.

There's something seriously wrong with me.

"Just now you're figuring this out," you ask? Oh, be quiet, you. Yes, just now.

It's a strange disease, the complexities of which I cannot fully comprehend. It's all in my head, I'm sure. I just can't make it stop.

Here's my ailment:

Every time the word "probably" comes up in my daily conversations, I secretly want to pronounce it "poorbably." Porbably. Porbably. Porbably porbably porbably. Over and over in my head I reapeat the nonword. It sounds like a word that Strong Bad would use. What does it even mean? I only know that it has such an easy flow about it, and it wants to be in my brain. I never do say it aloud, because I'm so ashamed of myself for molesting the actual word.


Image from here.

Aside from the fact that I make up twisted words in my head...what's the deal with my brain repeating it twenty times to myself? It's like I have OCD, and I can't rest until I've mispronounced the same word a certain number of times.

It's not just porbably, either. It happens with "Connecticuit." See that second little "c?" The one that's supposed to be silent? Well, my brain doesn't want it to be silent, hidden away like it never existed; my brain wants it to be articulated. So every time I talk about Connecticuit, even though I say it aloud correctly, in my head I hear "Connecticuit. Connecticuit. Connecticuit."

Is there a prognosis for this disease?

Better yet...is there a cure?

Porbably not.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Few Announcements.

It's Thursday. Which means it's a great day to answer somebody's question.

Q [from Alicia]:

I was going to hesitate to ask, but then the end of your post said "Don't hesitate to ask." So here's me not hesitating: For how long will you not be able to work or go to school or whatever in Canada? Also, what are their reasons for not letting you do so? Don't get me wrong--I think you should do whatever you please with your time, but it would be nice for you to have some options (I'd think).

Also, on a related note, what do you think you will do once you are allowed to work and attend school?

That's all I got, but I'll keep thinking of questions for you. :)

A [from me]:

Thank you Alicia, for your question(s). They are valid, and I will answer them.

I can't work yet in Canada because I am not a Canadian citizen, nor have I completed my paperwork allowing me to work (similar to a Green Card in the United States). When I do get that paperwork finished, I will be considered a resident of Canada. Not a citizen. I will not be able to vote, but I will be allowed to work. And pay taxes. [And, if you are wondering, I am already allowed to be on the Canadian Healthcare plan, simply because I married a Canadian and live here. I think that's pretty nice of the government, though I haven't had to tap into it yet. Thankfully. And anyway, I don't think Alberta Healthcare offers laser treatment for volcanoes in right nostrils, which is what I'd really like.] For more information on how you can marry a Canadian and fill out paperwork, see The Government of Alberta. It's fun. Really.

I can go to school here, but since I don't have my paperwork finished, I am technically considered an international student, which means my tuition would be $11,000/year. Which is more than twice what I'll pay as a resident. Initially my plan was to finish my paperwork by last December and get back into school by January, but the paperwork has taken a lot longer (about 10 months longer, actually) than I expected. It's still not finished, but I am anxious to finish school sometime in this decade, if at all possible...

...which leads me to announce that I will be starting classes in January.

See? Me and my acceptance letter. Wahoo.

I have applied to the closest University and likely have another 1.5 to two years until I graduate. I never really considered myself a dropout. But I guess I have been, technically speaking. How depressing.

On the bright side, last year when all my high school friends were graduating from college, I had done some brilliant things with my life that others might never have the opportunity to do. As much as I'd like to already have my degree, if it meant that I couldn't have taken off a year to move to Europe and get married to a certain Poor Canadian, I wouldn't choose any differently.

And, to further answer your question, Alicia [i.e. "what do you think you will do when you are allowed to work and attend school"], I intend to work and attend school. I have no job prospects, but I will be getting my degree in Museum Studies and Art History, with {maybe} a minor in...French.

That's right. French. Parlez-vous? It's just an idea I've had kicking around in my brain, and I haven't told anyone about it yet. Not even Poor Kyle. {Hi, Poor Kyle! [He doesn't much care for French.]}

Just remember, you heard it first on Archives of Our Lives.

And, as always, I'm open for any more questions you may have. Don't hesitate. Really.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Me and My Big Ideas.

Thank you to everyone who piped in on my one (and hopefully only) political post yesterday. I have enjoyed reading people's opinions, and I looked up--and investigated--every single link I was given. I feel more educated on the subject now than ever, and I've decided my choice must come down to what I value most in life...financial responsibility, or family matters. It seems like neither candidate will let me choose both.

Despite what many [or all] of you might think, I don't write posts like that just to stir up a little bit of loco in people's lives.

Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I do.

But I can almost swear never to get political again, on account of every time my phone rang yesterday, I answered it with great trepidation. I was just sure somebody with access to my number was going to really chew me out for going postal and signing up to be a Democrat (which I haven't, but I don't promise I won't make any rash decisions).

Which brings me to the topic of today. Rash decisions.

The most monumental rash decision I ever made was to move to Canada after my first year at ASU didn't go so well. It was monumental because it led me to meet Poor Kyle, and I can honestly say my life has never really been the same since. When I drove North to this country for the first time, and saw all the sights of Alberta, I had no idea the role this place would play in my future.

Here's me, not yet 19 years old, in the midst of said trip. So oblivious to the fact that the bridge I was admiring would soon become a feat of architecture I'd see almost daily.

Another rash decision I made was to pack my bags and become a nanny in French-speaking Belgium. I thought I knew the language, but I knew nothing. It was one of my life's most profound experiences, and I would not have changed it for anything.

I lived in a tower, and to get to my tower I had to climb this itty bitty winding staircase [which I soon discovered to be slippery when wearing socks]. I climbed it at least 10 times a day. There were 16 steps. It was the highlight of...well...it was just a highlight.

It was that voyage that taught me how to truly travel lightly, how to communicate with people in their home country, how to be independent...how to make it on my own. I was in Paris for a week...all by myself. On a "family" trip to Amsterdam, I woke up early one morning to see the Ann Frank House, and wandered through the streets with a map until I eventually got there. I did it. I have a huge sense of confidence (not indestructibility, just confidence) in myself because of all the opportunities I've had to see the world.

Oh, Paris. How I miss you.

And that brings me to my next topic: what if I had a travel blog, documenting all the places I've been or would like to go? Would you read it? Would that be boring? Would you groan at the thought of yet another blog you feel obligated to follow?

Hit me with your honest opinion--I can take it.

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Nobody Scream, But I Might Just Be a Democrat.

I listened to talk radio (CNN and NPR, specifically) for the first real time in my life last week.

For over twelve hours.

I won't go into the details of the mental breakdown that isnpired me to do this, but I will say that it had something to do with a drive from Oregon to Canada, a Sirius satellite radio, and a husband who didn't like being ignored by a book-reading wife.

Who's recommendation was this? Thanks, whoever tipped me off. It reminded me of a certain small town of barely 3,000 people. Quite endearing. Photo from here.

It was also the day that the Bailout Bill was being put back to The House for debate and a re-vote, and the highly anticipated (and only) vice presidential debate was scheduled to take place.

And did you know? If you listen to CNN all day long, for twelve hours straight, you will hear the same news over and over. For twelve hours straight.

I learned that all Sarah Palin had to do at the debate was not sound like a blubbering idiot, and she would have come out the victor. And Joe Biden's (can I call him "Joe?") only task was to refer to Palin as "Governor," not acknowledging in any way, shape, or form, the gender of his opponent, and it would be considered a tie. Fair and square.

I also learned the terms Freddie and Fannie, the names Frank Raines and Barney Frank, and that $700,000,000,000 (that's seven hundred billion dollars...as in billion) is supposed to save our economy [which, incidentally, is worse off than it ever was in the Dirty Thirties, as Canadians know the Great Depression].

It's almost like I got smart...or something.

The most important thing I learned, however, is that I have no idea who I should vote for in the presidential election. I have already learned my lesson that it's silly to vote for a candidate based on what family is doing. I want proof. I want evidence. I want to know, for myself, for sure, that I am voting for the right person. In my travels abroad, I have met a lot of people, and I've learned that, from outside our borders, many people think America is a laughingstock. I was shocked when I first realised that not everybody hails America as the greatest country on Earth. It opened my eyes, and I have been supremely interested in my world perspective ever since.

I want to vote for the team that will make the rest of the world stop laughing at me.

Only I can't figure out which team that is.

I know that so many people would give their organs (not the vital ones, maybe just a kidney, but still...) to be able to vote in this election. People throughout history have fought for the right to vote. I do not take it lightly. In fact, I'm starting a poll of Canadians, asking who they would vote for if they had a choice. So far I'm 1-1 (it's a small poll--I don't have a lot of friends up here).

So I'm asking you to weigh in. Not that I'm going to vote for whoever you vote for...but I'd like to hear people's pros and cons...why you've decided who you did, or if you are struggling to decide, like I am. And don't be shy [or do be...whatever works]. You don't have to answer. If you want to, you are welcome to hide behind anonymity, or you can leave your comment under a name that only I would know, like "Your Manager From the Gallery in Scottsdale" or "The Person Who Accused You of Stealing my Graphing Calculator Freshman Year at ASU" or "Your Mother." Or else you can just leave your name and buck up for the ensuing mud-slinging. I get it all the time--it's not so bad.

I ask this so I can see the world from some different perspectives, not so I can raise you-know-what. I need help, is all.

Ready? Go!

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Spotty...

...no, not my face (though if we're being honest [and we always are] my right nostril could really use some sort of laser treatment).

I'm talking spotty internet.

I have a dream, though. Of reception...of service no matter where I go, or how far away my hotel room is from the front desk. I have a dream that I can always check my emails on the road. And I do mean on the road. Even in the middle of nowhere.

Image from here.

What's that, you say? Such technology already exists? Apple™? iPhone? 3G?

Fine. I dream of that, then.

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