Archives of Our Lives

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

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'm Closing My Doors...

...but opening all my windows. Or at least one window.

Guess what? This is the last time I will ever post on

Sad? Me too, a little bit.

Don't worry, though. The future is bright and shiny, like a new quarter straight from the mint.

Because starting today, my website is self-hosted. Not gone, just...growing up a little bit. Maturing. Acting its own age. Looking more professional so I don't feel silly handing out business cards at next year's BlogHer™.

It's in the rough stages of development, but you'll see a lot of changes within the next little while. Things will be looking better. You'll be happier this way, in the end. I know, it doesn't feel happier. It feels sad. And lonely. But I promise...I'm still here for you. I haven't disappeared, I've just moved. It's going to be excellent.

So, with no further ado, I give you...

Switch your links now. Do it. Just change them once, and I'll never make you do it again. Switch your links, your bookmarks...anything that used to be connected to the version of this blog, go SWITCH THEM NOW TO THE NEW ADDRESS! Please. It's annoying, I know, but it's just this once, and I'd really appreciate it.

Okay. Enough housekeeping. Go visit the new blog, leave a comment there, and we'll reconvene tomorrow for more enthralling discussion of my toothless husband and whatever else pops into my brain. Thanks, everyone!

And goodbye, Blogspot.


The Miracle of the Elevens.

Last night, after watching a movie on my laptop with Poor Kyle, I glanced up at the toolbar in the right hand corner and noticed the battery read 11% charged. I plugged in the laptop to let it build up juice, and went to lay my tired little head on the memory foam pillow awaiting it. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the red numbers of the alarm clock glaring out at me: 11:11 p.m. On the eve of November 11. 11/11. 11%. 11:11 p.m.

It's a Remembrance Day miracle.

Image from here.

Where I grew up, this holiday was called Veteran's day, and it meant absolutely nothing to me. That sounds cold and heartless, but it's true. To me, it was a day off school. The end. While I'm sure my teachers put forth a noble effort to help me appreciate the significance of the day, I'm also sure I blocked those attempts out of my memory--I didn't care why we had a holiday, but I was glad.

Well, I've changed. Maybe it's the fact I've moved to Canada where I'm inundated with poppies and flags and war stories and memorials, or maybe I've just grown up [the former, most likely]. But whatever the reason, I find my thoughts drawn ever-increasingly to the veterans of old these days.

Cemetery-Brussels, Belgium, 2007. I passed this site every day while I was living in Belgium, on my way to drop off my charge at school.

If you are American, you may or may not have ever heard of the significance behind poppies at this time of year. You may not even know what a poppy is--I know I didn't, until a few years ago. {Poppy seed that's another story.}

Well you're in luck--it looks like this. Image from here.

In Canada and England, the poppy is hailed as a symbol of the sacrifice veterans made for peace back in World War One (and all wars thereafter). Based on a poem written by Major John McCrae published in 1915, the poppy has come to signify all the lives given during time of war. The poem is very moving; Canadians have rather adopted it as their own, and even have it printed in itty bitty writing (both English and French, of course) on their ten-dollar bill:

That's some hard-core appreciation right there. Image from here.

Don't worry--you needn't strain your eyes to read the teeny words. I've reprinted them here. Normally I'm not much of a poet, but it's an important day. I have a huge amount of love, respect, and appreciation for our veterans. One of my grandpas made the military his career, and sacrificed much to do so; my other grandpa was drafted into the Korean war, but went willingly. Both are heroes to me, along with everyone else who fought--or is fighting--in some way for these countries.

In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae (1915)

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Image from here.

I wouldn't have gotten all sappy on you, except for the Remembrance Day Miracle I was given last night--it was a sign, for sure. Happy Veteran's day, and please take a moment or two to remember and give appreciation to those who deserve it.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

My Brain Thinks Funny.

I have been having nightmares lately. It's weird.

The first one came right after watching The Dark Knight and then promptly falling asleep--I dreamed that I had Martha Stewart over for dinner, but my house was messy and I served macaroni & cheese with hot dogs sliced up and mixed in. It was awful.

Last night I had another nightmare. Poor Kyle had gotten me pregnant, but instead of growing a human child, I gave birth to a pile of dirty laundry.

It weighed 100 pounds.

Hi, creepy. Image from here.

I don't know why this is happening to me. I suppose I have been more stressed lately than usual, but if that was the reason for my nightmares, wouldn't they be somewhat themed on my stress factors? I haven't thought about laundry once this weekend--it's the least of my concerns. So why would I dream about it?

If the themes of nightmares my nightmares were based on the issues in my life that are really causing me stress, my mind-movies would play out something like this:

I re-start University in Canada this January. On my first day of school, I arrive dressed like a {fairly} normal student, wearing what I would have worn back at Arizona State University: jeans and a t-shirt. I park my car, walk into a building, and realise everyone else is wearing parkas and flannel. I look like a fool.

Then, since I can't decide between majoring in Art History {which makes me immensely happy} or English {which could actually be profitable}, I end up taking Engineering classes. But since I so dislike mathematics, I end up being the worst engineer ever to walk to earth, and thousands of people die trying to cross my bridges.

Moreover...because it took me so long to declare a major and get through school, and also since I never completed my immigration papers, I had to pay double tuition (that's a real-life nightmare, by the way) and Poor Kyle and I never could claw our way out of debt. Financing my education, on top of paying the medical bills to give birth to my worthless pile of dirty laundry, made it so we could never get ahead.

I die poverty-stricken, leaving Poor Kyle with nothing but huge debt and soiled clothes, so of course he would re-marry. And she would be skinny.

Those are the nightmares that race through my brain almost every waking hour of my days.

Happy Monday to you, too.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

No New Post

Sorry no new post. In Oregon. Poor Kyle hates stopping. I was lucky to get three chocolate chip cookies for $1.00 at the Golden Arches.

Be back tomorrow.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hey Y'all, Watch This!

Tonight I'm watching for breaking news. I'm seeing a whole lot of this:

Image from

**Which has, incidentally, changed to this since I started the post about 20 minutes ago. Poor McCain. Image from**

This being only the second election of my adult life, and the first one I've ever really paid attention to, I'm wondering just one thing: When do we find out who wins? I mean, if we don't already have a really good prediction, like CNN does.

***Update: Never mind. I got it sorted.***

If you're heartbroken about this {or if you're jumping for joy, this could be a good celebration}, I would like to introduce you to a brand-old feature of Archives of Our Lives that should cheer you up: The Follow Me Feature.

See there, to the left of this post, the group of 16 people who follow this blog?

Don't they look like they're having fun? That's because they are. They are having fun following this blog.

Here's how you, too, can have fun for the low low cost of nothing:

Step 1: Sign in to your Blogger™ account. Don't have one? Start one up at Don't want to? Fine, then. Forget about it.

Step 2: Return to It should look something like this:

Or in other words, exactly where you are.

Step 3: Direct your gaze (and your mouse) to the "Follow This Blog" feature. It will be easy to find, because it's at the top left-hand corner of the blog, and it's titled "Maybe I Can't Lead, But You Can Surely Follow."

Just a reminder--it looks like this.

Step 4: Click "Follow This Blog." It's the red link above the photos of all the other happy people who are already following this blog.

Step 5: Enjoy fresh updates right in your Blogger™ Dashboard every time you sign in--and ever time I've updated. It's like Google Reader™, but for people who don't understand how to use Google Reader™. People like you and me...or maybe just me.

And a note to those 16 of you who've already signed up: Thanks guys. You're the best.

Anyway, join in the fun--I'll make it worth your while, with a special giveaway only for people who are signed up to follow this blog. When? Soon, I promise. I just have to go to Oregon and come back, and we'll be golden.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Call Me a Convict-I've Got a Conviction.

I have a conviction.

Nobody freak out--it's weird, I know. But I've found something to take a stand for, and now there's no going back. You should be proud.

Beginning this, the Fourth Day of November, 2008... I, Camille of Archives of Our Lives, will hereby never step foot into another Wal*Mart™. Ever.

I'm so passionate about my new conviction, I could probably go write for these guys.

How's that for conviction? Oh, what? You thought I was going to write something political, given the fact that this is a very big day for America? Nah...I got over that. No more politics on this blog.

But back to the matter at hand: Wal*Mart™. I will no longer be using their "services," and calling it "service" is being generous.

How did I come to this amazing conclusion, you ask? Simple. Last month, during the most stressful week of my life, I walked through the doors of a Wal*Mart™ at 3:30 a.m. I walked out an hour later, and my faith in humanity was gone.

See, I was accompanying Chelsie, who needed to buy spray paint for--well, it's a long story. Of course there were no available associates within a 10-aisle proximity to the paint department, and of course the spray paint is kept locked away, so we were forced to scour the aisles for 10 minutes before finally finding any life form whatsoever.

It was another 10 minutes before we actually found any useful life form (i.e. someone with a bloody key to the spray paint case).

If that had been the end of the trauma, I would probably be fine. However, as we approached the one and only check-out line, the dense air of change hovered thickly over my head. I should have known.

There they were, two middle-aged ladies standing behind one checkout counter, chatting away as if they were getting mani-pedis together, instead of what they were actually doing [working for, in my opinion, the world's most hateful and monopolising enterprise]. Though we approached the conveyor belt of doom with our items (I'd detoured to find my favourite lotion ever made) in the same cart, we put them on the black-top seperately, and divided them clearly with a plastic bar reading "Wal*Mart™...Always low prices. Always." {Subliminal messages, anyone? Brainwashing? Lemmings? What?}

Chelsie's spray paint was first. The woman in charge of scanning (she wasn't wearing a name tag, or I surely would have remembered what to call her) turned towards us and began lethargically scanning each can of paint. Upon completing that task, she asked to see Chelsie's identification (as buying spray paint is illegal for minors in the state of Arizona). No problem. Chelsie's 23 if she's a day. {Though, may I point out, this was at least our fourth trip to Wal*Mart™ for spray paint within the week, and she'd been carded once, and been taken on good faith twice. Not exactly the most stringent standards, Wal*Mart™.}

Chelsie produces her I.D. with no incident, and the lady looked at it--with only her eyes--and returned it to Chelsie. End of story.

But not the end of story. Instead of proceeding to swipe Chelsie's debit card--as all the other cashiers had done during the past week--she turned to me and asked for my I.D.

"Excuse me?" I asked, thinking I'd heard her incorrectly. Surely she wasn't carding me, too! I wasn't buying any paint--there was a divider between my lotion and Chelsie's paint. What more did she want?

"I.D.," she repeated, almost menacing this time. Clearly she was annoyed by having her 3 a.m. chat interrupted.

"Oh," I explained, "well I'm not buying any spray paint."

"You're in the same party, though. I need your I.D."

Seriously? Seriously. This had never happened to me before, and I was mad. Of course I had an I.D., and of course I'm over 18, and of course I could produce it at will. But this woman seemed to go about it so bitterly, as though this--this harassment of me--was going to make everything right in her world. I was not happy.

"Well," I said, "I'm not in her party, then. We just met up back there on aisle one hundred fifty, and she let me put my lotion in her cart. I don't even know her." I knew there was no way this blatant lie would get me anything, but I wanted to make it as miserable an experience for that woman as she'd made mine.

She looked at me blankly.

Oh, was I ticked. If poor Chelsie didn't need the spray paint so much, I would have simply walked away. [But therein lies the power of Wal*Mart™. They stay open later than any other store in the universe (i.e. always. There's that word again.), so that fools like me can plan on procrastinating, and then I'm forced to accept their mistreatment of me, simply because there's no alternative.]

Finally I handed her my driver's license--it took me all of one second--along with the sentiment that this was the stupidest thing I've ever heard [immature, I know. But I needed some shred of...dignity...or...something.].

This time, though, when the cashier took my I.D., instead of just inspecting it for a birth date, she swiped it. She swiped it! Through her credit card machine! As if it would give access to the Arizona State I.D. records, and she would be able to see if I had a history of sniffing spray paint at 3 a.m.! SHE FREAKING SWIPED MY DRIVER'S LICENSE! {No amount of exclamation points could possibly express how furious I was.}

Upon seeing nothing--absolutely nothing--appear on her screen after swiping my card, she handed it back to me with a huff. I paid my total, took my own bag, and walked away with Chelsie, fuming for hours afterwards (That's right. hours. 3:30 a.m., and our day was still hours away from being finished. It was a really long week.). So is Wal*Mart™ telling me that if I was a mom of four kids who needed me to buy spray paint for their community theatre backdrop, I would have to hire a sitter so that I could legally buy the cans of paint without a minor "in my party?"

Go to hell, Wal*Mart™. I've never--never--had a positive experience there. And yes, I do believe that a certain amount of retail therapy can make one have a more positive outlook on life. But with Wal*Mart™, I leave feeling like my soul is sucked right out of my body. I really, really loathe Wal*Mart™. Their customer service is sub-par on every level and at every department I've ever braved. I will pay a little more to shop somewhere I'm treated like a person, not a number.

"Save money. Live better." is their newest slogan. More fitting would be "Save money. At a cost." Image from here.

Think about it...have you ever left Wal*Mart™ feeling better than when you arrived? Probably not.

Good deals be d*mned. I will cut coupons and watch deals as much as I have to, so I won't even notice a dent in the budget from the sudden change in grocery stores. No amount of blue light specials are worth my value as a human being. I'll plan ahead so I can shop at a store that closes at 10 p.m., and if I fail to do so, I will simply fail. No more last-minute run-ins to buy poster board for the assignment due tomorrow. And since making this commitment, since finding the conviction never to step foot in a Wal*Mart™ again, I have noticed a little spring in my step. A bounce to my spring. I'm like a dadgum Tigger.

I feel free.

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

{Captivated by the Season}

My original plan for today's post was to write something very profound. I was going to write something deep, perhaps even wise, and make you all stop to reflect on your lives. I was essentially going to change the world.

Then I sat down with my laptop and I could not bear the thought of all the effort it would take to change the world. Since it's Monday and I never really got to enjoy the weekend, I'm making today an extension of yesterday. Today it's gonna be all about the fluff of my life. Lots of pictures, not many words. It's my Monday gift to you...

Currently my iPhoto library looks like this:


Why? Because I went to Oregon. Why? To be with Poor Kyle. Why? Because I love him. Why? Good question. (Smiley face.)

Anyway, I was glad to go on the three-day road trip even though I had just returned from Mesa the day before. After taking all these photos of fall leaves and anything that struck me as beautiful, I'm even gladder [more glad?].

I hope you are as captivated by the season as I have been. Enjoy.

Everyone should take a long drive through fall foliage at least once in their life. It's really very healing. I wasn't even sick, but I feel healed.

Don't you feel healed?

If I could tear out the trees in front of our house and replant them with these beauties (above), I would. Only I don't know what they're called. Any ideas?

I thrill at the sight of a long, straight bit of railroad track. There's so much hope in a railroad track.

Oh, and also...I don't brush my hair anymore. Not worth it. I threw away every brush I own, so any hairstyling I do from now on will be with fingertips, bobby pins and Trash Ties™. Just thought you should know.

Leaves in the gutter--how lovely.

Again with the railroad tracks--I'm sensing a theme.

There. All better. Like chicken soup for the friggen soul.

{Happy Monday.}

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